Latest News

Adventures in Fiction: Manly Wade Wellman

Posted by on 1:10 pm in Adventures in Fiction, Latest News | 0 comments

Adventures in Fiction: Manly Wade Wellman

Adventures in Fiction: Manly Wade Wellman By Michael Curtis At Goodman Games we recognize the importance of Appendix N in the history of D&D and DCC. May 21 marks the 115th anniversary of the birth of Manly Wade Wellman, a unique contributor to Appendix N. Here is some more information on this important writer. Manly Wade Wellman arrived in this world on May 21st, 1903, born literally an ocean away from the place he’d be forever associated with in his later life. Young Manly’s playground was the land of Portuguese West Africa (now Angola), where his father was stationed as a medical officer. It was undoubtedly here, in a land far removed from the staid world of 20th century America, that the seeds of Manly’s imagination found their first fertile ground. Wellman would grow to become an accomplished writer, penning stories in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, occult detective stories, prehistoric adventure, and horror during a career lasting almost 75 years. While all of Wellman’s oeuvre is worth reading, it is his Silver John stories that most impacted the world of fantasy role-playing. Wellman is one of the names on Gygax’s Appendix N roster of influential authors. Although no specific title is listed alongside his name, it’s been suggested that the character of Silver John influenced the bard class in D&D—a wandering troubadour who uses song, magic, and knowledge to defeat supernatural menaces. Stripped of the pseudo-medieval trappings of D&D, the bard and Silver John become almost indistinguishable from one another. The Silver John stories influenced the world of Dungeon Crawl Classics in a much different manner, however. Rather than inspire a single character class, Wellman’s tales of the witch-haunted hills and hollows of the Appalachians served as the germ for DCC #83: The Chained Coffin. That adventure is set in the fantastic region of the Shudder Mountains, a realm inhabited by goodly-hearted yet superstitious folk who share their mountain home with witches, devils, and secrets harkening back to a time before time. Gamers looking for adventures set somewhere other than the standard sword & sorcery inspired settings of fantasy role-playing will find a familiar yet eerily different world in the Shudder Mountains. The Shudders are a place where Manly Wade Wellman would have felt right at home and we here at Goodman Games raise a glass of good ol’ blockade whiskey on this 115th anniversary of his birth. For more information and plenty of Appalachian-style adventures for your Dungeon Crawl Classics campaign, please check out DCC #83: The Chained Coffin, DCC #83.1: Tales from the Shudder Mountains, and DCC #83.2: Death Among the Pines. Be sure to visit our Appendix N reprint section and the Adventures in Fiction page for more information on classic pulp...

read more

Adventures in Fiction: Gardner Fox

Posted by on 1:20 pm in Adventures in Fiction, Latest News | 0 comments

Adventures in Fiction: Gardner Fox

Adventures in Fiction: Gardner Fox By Jeff Goad Today is the birthday of Gardner F. Fox. Most people know him as the legendary and prolific writer for DC Comics who created the Justice Society of America as well as many of the most iconic DC Comics characters including Doctor Fate, the Flash, Hawkman, and Sandman. He also wrote many of the earliest Batman stories and was the first to introduce the Batarang. His contribution to the world of comics is well documented and uncontested. But when people see his name on the list of Appendix N authors, there’s often no recognition of his name as a writer of fantasy. He has passed into relative obscurity for contemporary fans of the genre. It is not surprising considering that he is best known as the author of the Kothar books (discounted by many as a cheap knockoff of Conan) and the Kyric books (a likewise discounted knockoff of Elric). Paperbacks like Kothar Barbarian Swordsman often littered the shelves of 70s and 80s bookstores beside similar fare like Brak the Barbarian and Thongor of Lemuria. So why does the Appendix N specifically suggest that we read: Fox, Gardner: “Kothar” series; “Kyrik” series; et al? Stick with me kid, and I’ll show you why. First off, what is a lich? Ask any fantasy enthusiast and they will tell you it is a powerful undead wizard. Well that wasn’t true before D&D. The word “lich” was just an obsolete word for “corpse”. But in Kothar Barbarian Swordsman, Kothar meets an undead wizard named Afgorkon (who casts healing spells… just sayin’….) and he is described as a lich. After reading this story, Gary Gygax added the lich to the 1975 Greyhawk supplement and it has been a focal point of the game ever since. Afgorkon is also a great example of a patron in Dungeon Crawl Classics. He is a powerful entity who exists out of time and he offers help in exchange for services, but his requests are never as simple as they seem…. Reading the Kothar books beside more literary inclusions in Appendix N like The Lord of the Rings, The Blue Star, or King of Elfland’s Daughter definitely show that Kothar Barbarian Swordsman is no piece of great literature. Sometimes we want Citizen Kane and sometimes we want The Evil Dead. Kothar is like the latter because it’s fun, thrilling, fast-paced, frothing with creativity, and when you laugh you know the author is laughing with you. Like the comic book heroes Fox wrote about, he also had multiple identities. In 1965 and 1967, he published two novels about Commander Craig (a kind of James Bond in space) under the pseudonym of Bart Somers. In 1969 and 1970, he used the name of Rod Gray to publish the four erotic novels that form the Lady from L.U.S.T. series, with not-so-subtle titles like The Poisoned Pussy and The Copulation Explosion. He also published other titles under the names of Simon Majors, Kevin Matthews, and others. His willingness to adopt different identities can have pretty hilarious results. For instance, look at the academic introduction to Kothar Barbarian Swordsman, written by Donald MacIvers, Ph.D. He talks about the great importance of the work and relies heavily on quotes from “a German philosopher no longer widely read” named Albert...

read more

Adventures in Fiction: Fred Saberhagen

Posted by on 11:50 am in Adventures in Fiction, Latest News | 0 comments

Adventures in Fiction: Fred Saberhagen

Adventures in Fiction: Fred Saberhagen By Jim Wampler At Goodman Games we recognize the importance of Appendix N in the history of D&D and DCC. May 18 marks the 88th anniversary of the birth of Fred Saberhagen, a key contributor to Appendix N. Here is some more information on this important writer. Science fiction and fantasy author Fred Saberhagen was born in Chicago, Illinois on May 18, 1930. Beginning his professional writing career at age 30 with a short story published in a 1961 issue of Galaxy Magazine, Saberhagen went on to become best known for his works featuring the characters Dracula and Sherlock Holmes. Fantasy role playing enthusiasts of a certain age are probably much more familiar with Saberhagen’s second-most popular work, The Swords Trilogy, which began being published in 1983, just as the Dungeons & Dragons craze was hitting its peak. Saberhagen followed that up with a subsequent sequel series, The Book of Lost Swords, which totaled eight additional books in all. And yet it was naturally a much earlier Saberhagen work that E. Gary Gygax cited in his famed Appendix N listing on page 232 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide. That honor was reserved for Changeling Earth (1973) — itself the third novel in a trilogy collectively referred to as the Empire of the East series. What makes the Empire of the East series so very interesting is its deft blending of post-apocalyptic science fiction elements with magic, demons, and god-like Artificial Intelligences. In fact, Saberhagen linked his two great science fantasy works, making The Swords Trilogy books a sequel to the Empire of the East, albeit it set 50,000 years after the first series. Reading these books, one can easily see the influence on Dungeons & Dragons, with its early penchant for mixing-and-matching elements from both traditional fantasy and science fiction literature. It’s also easy to see that by intentionally hewing the Dungeon Crawl Classics system back to the original inspirational sources of Gygax’s Appendix N literature, many of these genre-mashing DNA threads have ended up hale and hearty in DCC RPG as well. And of course, one cannot long contemplate mutated creatures, lost ancient technology, semi-sentient animals, and god-like AIs without taking the next logical step — an entire game system devoted to that precise genre, such as the Mutant Crawl Classics RPG. Sound enticing? To celebrate Fred Saberhagen’s birthday and perhaps explore these concepts via fantastic role playing with paper, dice, and pencil, be sure and check out DCC #79: Frozen in Time, DCC #84: Peril on the Purple Planet, DCC #87: Against the Atomic Overlord, and of course the new Mutant Crawl Classics RPG line. Be sure to visit our Appendix N reprint section and the Adventures in Fiction page for more information on classic pulp adventure! [Show...

read more

Remembering Bob Bledsaw Sr.

Posted by on 12:06 pm in Latest News | 0 comments

Remembering Bob Bledsaw Sr.

Remembering Bob Bledsaw, Sr. Robert Eugene Bledsaw, or “Bob” to those who knew him, was born on May 18, 1942. In 1976 he and Bill Owen founded Judges Guild. Bob passed away on April 19, 2008. Judges Guild was the first company to publish a D&D adventure module, and was hugely influential on the evolution of fantasy role playing games. Goodman Games has collected some of Bob’s work in our Judges Guild Deluxe Collector’s Edition. On this 76th anniversary of the birth of Bob Bledsaw Sr., we offer this homage, first written several years ago by his good friend and colleague Bill Owen, the co-founder of Judges Guild. My buddy Bob Bledsaw and I, both being avid wargamers, became fast friends in the fall of 1974. Dungeons & Dragons was the first game we played together and this launched a flurry of weekly adventures that he hosted at his house for about 18 months. Bob was an “older guy” of age 31; the rest of us were in our late teens. Along with D&D being a brand new game concept, we were in awe of his prodigious pace of campaign material production. I later learned that perhaps he had some insomnia that gave him more time than the average guy. That he had the time was especially remarkable as he had a wife and three young boys. The only other explanation was that he had been laid off as a designer at the local General Electric plant that made record players. It’s one thing to have the time to produce such a wide-ranging fantasy game campaign. What held us in thrall was his creativity and story-telling ability. Where did that come from? Over time I noted the dozens if not hundreds of comics and hardback books that one found in his house. This rich background of Swords & Sorcery styles is part of it. And Tolkien’s Middle Earth was the natural common reference for all of Bob’s players—we had devoured the Lord of the Rings trilogy so we had a base to launch from. And we even launched into the outer atmosphere finding ourselves on another planet! We paid little attention to the TSR approach, which struck me as dark, and domineering. Bob’s vision was expansive and frequently surprising. So many times, I remember the sheer adrenalin and excitement of reacting to some turn of events that had snuck up on us. Realism was often the goal of historical wargames and with fantasy, what is real? Objectively, fear and maltemper ought to be “realistic” in a scenario of powerful monsters. Instead Bob lit the fuse on high spirits, hilarious word play (yes, puns, alliterations and irony were all parts) and opportunities for helpful non-played characters to come into our retinue. These NPCs allowed Bob another avenue to play in the game along side us and not only via his plaintive cry, “My poor monsters!” If you missed a game, he’d bring you up to date in a matter-of-fact, bland speaking style that was leavened by the crazy subject matter such as how he relayed about Markham’s wife being kidnapped by orcs and other news. Yes, several of us teenagers’ characters “married” NPCs and I’m sure that Bob, the married man, probably had his own private thoughts about our grandiose romances...

read more

Roadworthy: Judge Evie

Posted by on 11:57 am in Latest News, Roadworthy Judges | 0 comments

Roadworthy: Judge Evie

Welcome to Roadworthy! This is a chance to show off a Road Crew Judge and allow them to share their experience and wisdom. We provide these profiles to help provide insight into their personality and style, and maybe give up-and-coming Judges some advice on improving their game. The Road Crew theme for 2018 is Strange New Worlds! Head out and find unique places to run games for willing participants. Do something that makes us take notice! Who knows, maybe we’ll put you up on our website. Jump on into the Road Crew program for your chance! This time we join the youth movement. Time to meet the incomparable Judge Evie! Roadworthy: Judge Evie What’s your name, where do you live (and game), and how would you describe yourself? My name is Evie Walls, and I live in North Huntingdon, PA. I am 11 years old and game at our local game club, the Norwin Game Knights. I also game at our local game store, Phantom of the Attic, or just at home! I would describe myself as friendly, but fierce. It’s all “nice Evie until the dice come out.” How did you first discover DCC? I started playing DCC when I was 8. My Dad was the Judge, and he ran The Portal Under the Stars. I has some pretty weird characters including Casey Ryback, and Bunnyface. Yeah weird. We played with my mom, Carrie, and our friend Frank. It was super fun! Since I was still a bit new to the concept, I asked some pretty weird things like “is death contagious?” As of “right now,” how many Road Crew games have you run in 2017? Or 2018? I believe I have run a total of 6 Road Crew events, 5 last year and 1 this year. I am looking forward to running many more in the future. Each one of them has been an experience I will always remember. Whether it was giving life to magical sticks in Nebin Pendlebrook’s Perilous Pantry, or my players driving cars in HECK on Inferno Road, I will never forget them. What’s your favorite Road Crew game experience so far? My favorite Road Crew game event that I have ran would have to be when I helped run Inferno Road at Gen Con 50. Being around other Judges that love the same thing as you do is amazing. I always look forward to running games with fellow Judges, because they are the ones who will understand you. Inferno Road was one of those scenarios. Also, nothing is better than running a game in HECK! Absolutely nothing. Tell us where you run your Road Crew games. I run most of my Road Crew games at our game club, the Norwin Game Knights. I plan on running a few games at Gen Con this year too. Tabletop Day is right around the corner, so there is another opportunity. Maybe Gary Con next year? What advice would you give to other Road Crew judges? My advice to other Road Crew judges would be don’t feel like you have to stick to the adventure exactly. If you are basing an adventure on cereal, don’t feel the need to keep a werewolf monster. Use a giant evil bowl of dry cereal who is evil because the milk ran out. Be creative! That is what these games are about, so go big or go...

read more

We’re Going to the UK Games Expo!

Posted by on 11:25 am in Latest News | 0 comments

We’re Going to the UK Games Expo!

We’re jumping the pond. Goodman Games is going to the U.K.! Specifically, Judge Brendan is heading over to the UK Games Expo, where he will be running games and meeting fans for three days of fun from June 1st – 3rd. This is the 12th year of the Expo, and Goodman Games first official visit to a European show! We are very excited to meet our fans in the UK, and Judge Brendan is already chomping at the bit to make his way to the show. He’ll be running both Dungeon Crawl Classics and Xcrawl at the show, and wowing fans with his unique charm. Over 30,000 people annually show up at the UK Games Expo, but they haven’t seen anything like Judge Brendan. And if you are in Loughborough or London, there’s an added bonus: Judge Brendan is making a pair of store appearances during his visit as well! Weekend Warlords in Loughborough will have him on hand on May 31st, and then he’ll be at Leisure Games on June 4th! At both locations he’ll be running some Dungeon Crawl Classics events, so be sure to check out each store for details. Goodman Games is sending Judge Brendan to the UK. Is this an international incident? No. This is an international AMAZEMENT! What: UK Games Expo Where: NEC Hilton Metropole – Birmingham, UK When: June 1st – 3rd You can check out Judge Brendan’s full schedule for the show right here. Try to sneak your way into one of his games. It’s worth the effort! What: Weekend Warlords Where: Loughborough, UK When: May 31st Judge Brendan will be on hand running DCC: Neon Knights for all who want to join in! Come for the game, stay for the adventure! What: Leisure Games Where: London, UK When: June 4th, 5:00pm – 9:00pm Judge Brendan will be running DCC: The Inn at Five Points for his final campaign in the UK! Give him the send off he...

read more

Tales From the Magician’s Skull PDF Now On Sale!

Posted by on 11:52 am in Latest News, New Releases | 0 comments

Tales From the Magician’s Skull PDF Now On Sale!

LISTEN IF YOU DARE! THOSE WHO HAVE DEEMED IT TOO DANGEROUS TO POSSESS A PHYSICAL COPY OF THE CHRONICLES I RELATE MAY NOW EASE THEIR SO-CALLED MINDS! MY ETERNAL BENEVOLENCE HAS GRANTED ME THE WISDOM—NAY, THE JUDICIOUSNESS!—TO GRANT YOU THE MEANS TO REVEL IN MY INEXACTITUDE RETELLINGS OF RENOWN! YOU MAY NOW ACT ACCORDING TO YOUR DESIRES.  THE SKULL HAS SPOKEN! If you are one of those people who only like to read a book on your electronic device, then we’ve got some great news. The first issue of Tales From the Magician’s Skull is now available as a PDF in our Online Store! You can get all of the material from the first issue in a convenient, electronic format. Each story is lovingly illustrated by industry stalwarts, and issue #1 features art by Jennell Jaquays, Doug Kovacs, Willam McAusland, Brad McDevitt, Ian Miller, Russ Nicholson, and Stefan Poag. Here are the stories in the first issue: What Lies in Ice, by Chris Willrich The Guild of Silent Men, by James Enge Beneath the Bay of Black Waters, by Bill Ward Beyond the Block, by Aeryn Rudel Crypt of Stars, by Howard Andrew Jones There Was an Old Fat Spider, by C. L. Werner The Crystal Sickle’s Harvest, by John C. Hocking And if you are one of the people who backed both the first and the second issue on Kickstarter, we have some bonus good news. The SECOND issue of Tales From the Magician’s Skull will be shipping out to you folks soon! That’s right, the second issue is just about to ship out slightly ahead of schedule. We’ll give you specifics soon, but it’s time to get excited for the next stage of the Skull’s grand storytelling plan!   Tales From the Magician’s Skull #1 PDF Editor: Howard Andrew Jones Contributing writers: James Enge, John C. Hocking, Howard Andrew Jones, Aeryn Rudel, Bill Ward, C. L. Werner, Chris Willrich Cover artist: Jim Pavelec Interior artists: Jennell Jaquays, Doug Kovacs, Willam McAusland, Brad McDevitt, Ian Miller, Russ Nicholson, and Stefan Poag Cartoons: Chuck Whelon DCC stats: Terry Olson Layout: Lester B. Portly Publisher: Joseph...

read more

Announcing the German Edition of DCC RPG

Posted by on 11:33 am in Coming Soon, Latest News | 0 comments

Announcing the German Edition of DCC RPG

DCC RPG continues to take the world by storm! We have previously announced authorized translations into Spanish and Portuguese. (You can even buy Spanish-language editions in our online store!) We’re very excited to report that at The Role Playing Convention in Cologne, Germany, this past weekend, German Publisher System Matters Verlag announced our agreement to publish Dungeon Crawl Classics in German! Here is the official announcement, which you can also read here. You can find more information on German DCC on the System Matters web site. We look forward to reading DCC in German! The official announcement: System Matters Verlag is happy to announce that it will release Dungeon Crawl Classics in German language. We are big fans of the game and consider it one of the best designed systems on the market. The role-playing landscape would be poorer without Dungeon Crawl Classics and so it is a special pleasure for us to bring the game to Germany. We all remember the time when we sat in our parents’ basement and fought, together with our friends, against mysterious monsters, explored unsafe vaults and defied uncanny dangers. Dungeon Crawl Classics brings this “Sense of Wonder” back to the table by referring to its origins. The basis of Dungeon Crawl Classics is the “Appendix N”, the famous bibliography in which Gary Gygax lists which stories inspired him in his game development. Fantasy masters like Robert E. Howard, Jack Vance, Michael Moorcock and Fritz Leiber are gathered here. Goodman Games, the publisher of the original American edition of Dungeon Crawl Classics, has spent years working on it and conducting game tests to bring the special atmosphere of these stories into a set of rules full of excitement and surprises. The characters will talk to gods, defy ancient magic and face unknown monstrosities before they even reach the first level. All magic is powerful and chaotic. No magician can control it completely. On the contrary, magic changes the magician himself and some spells can get out of control. The players start with several level-zero characters and move them through their first dangerous adventure. Only those who survive – and this is not easy – advance to the first level. The characters do not have the luck of heroes to count on. They are adventurers and must earn their heroic status. And if they don’t want to be heroes, they can accumulate power and money and pursue their own goals. System Matters Verlag also plans to translate the adventures of Dungeon Crawl Classics. The adventures are among the most entertaining modules there are today. You will not find standard monsters. Death could be lurking behind every door. Nobody has to wait until higher levels to experience the good stuff. Dungeon Crawl Classics takes off immediately: Beastmen, magical temples, angry beasts and lying demons threaten the characters with malicious deviousness. Work on the basic rules is in full swing. We hope to release the core rulebook in late 2018. We will inform you on www.dungeoncrawlclassics.de and www.system-matters.de when pre-order starts. We hope to find many fans who will be as enthusiastic about Dungeon Crawl Classics as we are. Two adventures are included in the book. Further adventures will appear either simultaneously or quickly after the publication of the basic rules. We are also planning a podcast series with helpful episodes on rules and tips. We hope you are as excited as we are! Andreas Melhorn Editor-in-chief of Dungeon Crawl Classics – Deutsche Ausgabe Daniel Neugebauer...

read more

Adventures in Fiction: Roger Zelazny

Posted by on 12:22 pm in Adventures in Fiction, Latest News | 0 comments

Adventures in Fiction: Roger Zelazny

  Adventures in Fiction: Roger Zelazny and the Chronicles of Amber By Steve Bean Our Adventures in Fiction series is meant to take a look at the writers and creators behind the genre(s) that helped to forge not only our favorite hobby, but our lives. The idea of space gods seems somewhat common place today, but Roger Zelazny is the reason that most of us are familiar with them. By virtue of his unusual last name, Roger Zelazny is last in Appendix N. This author wonders: “How many readers have never gotten all the way down the list, leaving Zelazny a mystery?” And so, around the anniversary of his birth, let’s take a look at this three-time Nebula Award winner (nominated 14 times), six-time Hugo Award winner (coincidentally, also 14 nominations) and “last-but-by-no–means-least” author, focusing on his best-known work: The Chronicles of Amber. Roger Zelazny was born May 13th, 1937 and by 1962 he had earned a master’s degree in English. Seven years later he was supporting himself financially as a writer. If Zelazny were alive today, he’d be right at home with the contemporary RPGer: he was a member of a group of fantasy writers called “the Swordsmen and Sorcerers’ Guild of America” (SAGA) and was a lifelong martial artist—an expert in épée and aikido (which he taught) and a student of judo, t’ai chi, and pa kua. The Chronicles of Amber In 1970, when Zelazny published Nine Princes in Amber—the first novel in what would be a 10-volume series—the age of hard-boiled detective fiction was 25+ years past. Yet, Princes opens like a pulp detective novel and several literati have compared Zelazny’s style of prose to crime authors like Raymond Chandler. His Princes protagonist, “Carl Corey,” is afflicted with amnesia, setting up the mystery. Reflecting Zelazny’s own love for tobacco, Corey veritably chain-smokes his way through the first 30 pages, this act seemingly lubricating the deductive abilities of Corey’s clearly “hard-boiled” character. The appearance of a femme fatale reinforces the sense of genre. But when Corey discovers that the femme fatale is his sister, and learns his true identity as “Prince Corwin of Amber,” the reader feels the start of a genre-shift that will show that The Chronicles of Amber are not not pulp detective fiction but an edgy, intensely political, intensely personal, sometimes hallucinogenic and always magical fantasy epic. Corwin is a member of the royal family of mythical Amber—demi-gods who are far stronger, faster and tougher than mortals. Their truly god-like power is a form of interdimensional travel to any world their hearts desire, worlds called “Shadows.” (This author cannot help but wonder if, in creating protagonists who could find worlds that cater to their every desire, Zelanzy wasn’t commenting on the writer’s power to create fictional worlds that reflect the limitlessness of imagination—worlds nurtured or abused by creative omnipotence.) Yet, despite this god-like power, what most Amberites desire most is to rule Amber itself—the “one true dimension” at the center of the multi-verse. They plot murderously against each other. (George R R Martin has cited their machinations as one of the major influences for A Song of Fire and Ice.) It is only the arrival of an outside threat that ends their vicious, internecine feud. In so doing, this threat shatters their illusion of unrivaled primacy...

read more

New Judge’s Screen Now Available!

Posted by on 12:17 pm in Latest News, New Releases | 0 comments

New Judge’s Screen Now Available!

We said we would get it to you in June. We lied. The new, third printing of the Dungeon Crawl Classics Judge’s Screen is now available! This new printing of the screen features a fabulous mural by Doug Kovacs on the back, along with some tables that are perfect for the player to use. It’s multi-tasking! The Judge-side of the screen still has some of the most useful tables from the DCC Core Rulebook, and also serves the important role of hiding those things the Judge wants to keep secret. All of the pre-orders for the new printing of the screen have now shipped, and it is available for standard order today! And if you are a part of the Road Crew, don’t forget that you can qualify to get the exclusive DCC Road Crew screen after running only two events! And did we mention that version of the screen is FREE? Yeah, you know you want it. Head on over to our Online Store to pick up your new printing of the DCC Judge’s Screen! Now let’s take a look at some pics of the new screen so we can all enjoy it in it’s chart-y greatness!   [Show...

read more