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Adventures in Film Fiction: Hammer Films and the Cleric Class

Posted by on 12:18 pm in Adventures in Fiction, Latest News | 0 comments

Adventures in Film Fiction: Hammer Films and the Cleric Class

60 Years of Hammer Horror’s Dracula – And the Creation of the Cleric Class By Bob Brinkman The year 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of the Hammer Horror film Dracula. Why is this so important? You can thank Dracula for the creation of the cleric class, and the Hammer Horror series in general for influencing several aspects of Dungeons and Dragons (and later the Dungeon Crawl Classics role-playing game). The history of Hammer films is as mysterious and convoluted as the history of gaming itself. Founded in 1935 as Hammer Productions, the original incarnation went bankrupt and was later revived in 1938, going on to become Hammer Film Productions in 1948 with the release of The Dark Road. So, depending on your reckoning, Hammer Films has just celebrated either 70 or 80 years. The other big anniversary, and one with a decidedly important impact on our hobby, is the 60th anniversary of Hammer’s Dracula (also known as Horror of Dracula), starring Sir Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. This is where the cleric comes in. Blackmoor While some of the exact details are contested, Hammer’s Dracula film played a major role in the shaping of the cleric class. Everyone agrees that Dave Fant, a player in Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor campaign, portrayed the first vampire in a D&D game. His character, Sir Fang, was so powerful and unbalancing that the idea of a vampire hunter was hatched. The basis of this vampire hunter was Peter Cushing’s character from Dracula. The powers of this character class were expanded to fill several useful niches and the vampire hunter morphed into the priest, and finally the cleric. While there is some debate over whether the first cleric was played by Mike Carr or by William Crolley, it was at this point where magic using split into two differing classes, forever altering the landscape of gaming. When directly asked about the influences for character classes and clerics, Gary Gygax is cited as mentioning Brother Odo (Odo of Bayeux), Friar Tuck, and Hammer Films, with a smattering of faith healing charlatans thrown in for theatrical measure. In this matter, the thread of Hammer Films seems to be a commonality of inspiration between both Arneson and Gygax. While Peter Cushing’s portrayal of Van Helsing certainly does not resemble a cleric on the surface, when one looks a bit deeper, there are several points of similarity. The greatest of these is his ability to turn undead (a point specifically cited by Gygax). In the original Dungeons and Dragons, this power was even accomplished by use of a cross and not a “holy symbol.” If one blends Cushing’s Van Helsing with the sublime performance of Andrew Keir as Father Sandor in Dracula: Prince of Darkness or the imagery of Friar Tuck, one has something that truly begins to resemble the early archetypal cleric. The Monster Manual Moving forward, Hammer Horror would continue to cast a long shadow over how vampires were seen, both on-screen and within our hobby. Prior to Lee’s portrayal, the primary appearance of a vampire in cinema was well-dressed, suave, and distinguished. Christopher Lee brought a bestial quality to the character. Unlike the almost rodent-like appearance of actor Max Shreck in Nosferatu, Hammer’s Dracula took the grace and nobility of Bela Lugosi’s characterization and added a sense of feral rage...

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New DCC Product In Our Online Store!

Posted by on 12:23 pm in Latest News | 0 comments

New DCC Product In Our Online Store!

It’s a new year and we’ve got new stuff for you in our online store. Several of our Third Party Publishers have new product out and available, and we have them. Let’s get right to it! The Autumn 2017 issue of the DCC Adventure Magazine and News is now available! Or, we can just call it D.A.M.N. #2. The second issue features three new adventures, including a level 10 funnel. Yes, you read that correctly, and it’s just as crazy as it sounds. It also has the swashbuckler class, a new patron, and tons of news for the DCC community. You can also pick up D.A.M.N. #1, which has plenty of exciting material, and everything else from Mystic Bull Games. In the world of Nowhere City Nights power-mad Sorcerers battle the righteous Gutter Knights for the final fate of Humanity, while selfish Free Agents seek to profit from the conflict. Outlive, Outsmart, Outkill is a funnel-adventure to help get you into the game. It also helps your character to get into the Sorcerer Cult—and by “help” we mean they either get in or die. Writer Julian Bernick provides this over-the-top parody of today’s reality television gone wild for the folks at Order of the Quill. Everything was going great on Earth, until that rogue object struck the moon. Devastation and disaster followed, throwing the world into upheaval and changing the very fabric of reality. The result is The Umerican Survival Guide Hardcover. The country of Umerica is a place of savage warlords, twisted science, and powerful sorcery. The Umerican Survival Guide is everything that you need to play in this setting, including new classes, gods, and patrons. There are also new rules for vehicles, armor, and mutations. The Umerican Survival Guide Hardcover collects and expands on material from the popular Crawling Under a Broken Moon zine, put out by Shield of Faith studios. You even get your choice of covers: the Chase cover and the Delve cover—and we’ve got both of them for you! If you are looking for an adventure for level 5 characters, you need to check out A Faceless Enemy. This new adventure from Chapter 13 Press is written by Oscar Rios, and gives your adventurers a simple task: escort a caravan. Should be easy, right? Well, in this case that caravan is traveling over the Dol Minor Wastelands, where a war between denizens of the abyss and the inhabitants once raged and left behind leveled cities. A Faceless Enemy is set in the world of Tales from the Fallen Empire (available in both hardcover and softcover), but you do not need that setting to play the adventure—but it will add more depth to the game. There you go! A quartet of great new product for your Dungeon Crawl Classics game. There are some amazing products coming out from our Third Party Publisher partners, so make sure you check these out....

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Roadworthy: Judge Zedd

Posted by on 11:51 am in Latest News, Roadworthy Judges | 0 comments

Roadworthy: Judge Zedd

  Welcome to our newest feature: Roadworthy!  Our Roadworthy posts are designed to give some of our star Road Crew Judges a spotlight. We’ll show off what they’ve done, where they’ve done it, and who they’ve done it with! …and get your mind out of the gutter. We start off the new year ready for our Road Crew to take on new challenges, meet new people, and boldly go where no Judges have gone before! This is your chance to have that moment in the sun, where all the other Goodman Gamers get a chance to see us show you off. Jump on into the Road Crew program for your chance! We kick off this new feature by spotlighting Judge Zedd! Roadworthy: A Profile Of Judge Zedd What’s your name, where do you live (and game), and how would you describe yourself? My name is Zak Lane, but these days to my gaming groups here in Seattle I go by Judge Zedd. I am a recovering stand-up comedian, tabletop gaming enthusiast, an armature eccentric, and in my spare time I work a real job and take care of my pet rocks.  How did you first discover DCC? Like most great discoveries it was quiet by accident, I stumbled on the core rules at a comic shop / gaming cafe downtown, I spent an hour in the store looking at the art and perusing the rules, in those pages I found every ounce of a way of thinking that I wanted from other games but I could never find. Dungeon Crawl Classics had a lot of je ne sais quoi, if you’ll pardon my French, and I came back a week later with my paycheck and bought the book, that was about 7 or 8 months ago now and since then DCC has been the only tabletop game I have run.   As of “right now,” how many Road Crew games have you run in 2017? I have run a total of 14 public Road Crew games, as well as 3 sessions of a home campaign. My Road Crew games spawned an open- table DCC group that happens once a week at the same gaming store that I bought my rulebook. I share game running duties with the very talented Judge Gajus Miknaitis who has been a huge help with keeping me up to speed on rules, happenings, and with keeping things in-line with the DCC philosophy. I actually met Gajus during game #6 of the 2017 Road Crew World Tour and each game after has been substantially more awesome because of it! What’s your favorite Road Crew game experience so far? I’ve gotta say the randomness, the consequences of the rolls, and the community itself create this perfect vortex of synchronicity. A great example of this was game #6 when my players Chester and Gajus played a two person session of Frozen in Time, without giving away too much, there is an awesome sword and a robot (the one on the cover) and when Chester grabbed that awesome sword and used it for the first time he rolled a crit on the robot. Which alone is awesome enough but when Gajus suggested that I make that awesome sword into a Lucky Weapon like the ones in Crawl! #2 it was...

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2018 Road Crew Reset!

Posted by on 11:24 am in Latest News | 0 comments

2018 Road Crew Reset!

Hail the Road Crew! Thanks again for being a part of the crew in 2017! Goodman Games made a lot of new fans in 2017, and we couldn’t have done it with you. The Road Crew ran nearly 1000 games in 2017 – an amazing accomplishment.  You helped spread Dungeon Crawl Classics, Mutant Crawl Classics, Metamorphosis Alpha, Xcrawl, and all things Goodman to a grateful world, and brought a lot of great games to a lot of people. So in 2018 the Crew rolls on! We want to keep rolling to every game store, convention, and school game day we can possibly hit! We’re working on the 2018 Road Crew program right now. We’ve got some new swag on order and some cool new graphics in the works. We’ll be posting full details in a month or so. Stay tuned! If you are scheduling and running your 2018 games now, you can go ahead and order swag now! Your Road Crew games reset on January 1st, so any games you add from now until the end of the year will count towards your 2018 Road Crew total. And, for those wanting to know, the woodgrain nametags will be shipping at the end of February—watch for them! Assignment 2018: Strange New Worlds Last year saw the Road Crew invading school game days, convention halls, and many, many hobby shops. In 2018 we want to conquer new worlds . . . and we need your help! We are looking to push beyond conventions, game stores, and game days. Do you know an unusual venue that hosts RPG events? Coffee shops, pubs and taverns, revolving restaurants—if they roll the dice, Goodman Games means to make the scene! We want to visit every weird gaming venue possible in 2018! You can help us out by telling us about the unusual gaming spaces in your area. Send any info you have to brendan@goodman-games.com! The individual who sends in the weirdest locale that manages to book a Goodman Games event wins a special prize!* You Have Leveled Up! Everyone who ran games in 2017 levels up! THANK YOU so much for your efforts. Thank you for running the games, sharing the passion, and telling the stories. We salute you each and every one. Go forth and be . . . ROADWORTHY! *How special? We don’t even know what it’s going to be yet, that’s how special. But you can check out the awesome new belt buckle at the top of this...

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Tales From the Magician’s Skull PDF Delivered on Kickstarter!

Posted by on 12:21 pm in Latest News | 0 comments

Tales From the Magician’s Skull PDF Delivered on Kickstarter!

We have received a new missive from The Skull! His devout followers on Kickstarter have been granted access to an electronic-format version of the first issue of Tales From the Magician’s Skull! This PDF copy is available to everyone who pledged for it on Kickstarter, and is the full, final version of the first issue of the magazine as it will appear in print. If you are a Kickstarter backer and were not aware of your new gift, you can see all of the details in the latest Kickstarter Update. For all of you who are awaiting the first issue who were not a Kickstarter participant, it is now at the printer! The release date will be officially announced soon. And if you are curious about the PDF version of the first issue and its availability for non-Kickstarter folks, it will be released at the same time as the print edition. You can pre-order the print edition now at our online store! All of The Skull’s devotees can rejoice! And his soon-to-be acolytes can look forward to his gifts arriving soon! THE SKULL HAS SPOKEN!...

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Adventures in Fiction: J.R.R. Tolkien

Posted by on 11:49 am in Adventures in Fiction, Latest News | 0 comments

Adventures in Fiction: J.R.R. Tolkien

Adventures in Fiction: J.R.R. Tolkien By Chris Doyle John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on January 3, 1892 in what is now South Africa. His parents, both English, had re-located so his father could accept a promotion with his current employer, a bank. He returned to England at the age of three, but his father succumbed to fever and never made the journey. Tolkien was a soldier (in the First World War, eventually reaching the rank of Lieutenant), a poet, a linguist, a professor, and most notably a writer. He is best known for authoring The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, literary classics that helped define the genre. Prior to penning these classics, Tolkien became the youngest professor at the University of Leeds. There he pursued translation, medieval studies, and private tutoring. He was also an acclaimed lecturer. In the 1920’s, he spent six years translating Beowulf from Old English to modern English, which included adding hundreds of pages of his own commentary. This work would heavily inspire his later writing epics, yet he never published it. In 2014, his son, Christopher, edited and published the translation nearly 90 years following its completion. As a child he is said to have been bitten by a large baboon spider, which could have been an influence of his later writings of Shelob in The Lord of the Rings. As the Second World War raged on, Tolkien was tapped by the British government to become a codebreaker. He agreed, and received formal training from the cryptographic department and even took classes at the London headquarters of the Government Code and Cypher School. Later that year he was informed his services would not be required. The popularity of The Hobbit and his epic, The Lord of the Rings, reinvigorated the fantasy genre in the 1960’s and earned him the moniker “The Father of High Fantasy.”  Recent polls reveal to this day that he is a beloved author all over the world. Without question, he has soft spot in many role-players as a heavy inspiration to their beloved fantasy RPGs, especially Dungeons & Dragons. But was he a “heavy inspiration”? To the casual RPG fan, D&D is steeped in Tolkien lore. The original game (1974) contained direct references to ents, balrogs, orcs, and of course hobbits. Due to the popularity of the game, this eventually resulted in a cease-and-desist letter to TSR. Later editions featured hobbits renamed as halflings (a more generic term, used by Tolkien himself), the balrog renamed balor, and treants replacing the ents. It seems clear that the original ranger character class was based on the character Aragorn as well. For more information and an in-depth discussion on these proceedings, the reader is directed to Jon Peterson’s Playing at the World, which goes into lengthy details of such. Yet, the game’s co-creator, Gary Gygax, always downplayed Tolkien’s influence on the game, often times becoming adamant about his statements. In the introduction to the first printing of Dungeons and Dragons (1974), Gygax lists the primary influences as Burroughs, Howard, de Camp, Pratt, and Leiber, arguably the masters of pulp fantasy. Whether this was due to legal reasons or was fact has been debated by RPG historians for decades. Gygax himself felt a need to “get up on a soapbox” and set the record straight regarding Tolkien and D&D....

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Lawful Good Gaming For Puerto Rico

Posted by on 12:00 pm in Latest News | 0 comments

Lawful Good Gaming For Puerto Rico

Lawful Good Gaming, those unimpeachable heroes of charitable gaming, hosted a Gaming Night for Puerto Rico on Dec 30th at the Revival Brewery in Cranston, RI, and Goodman Games made the scene! We raised a total of $516.45 for Puerto Rico Disaster Relief. And sure, Division III Xcrawl squad The Ronnie James Trio (all seven of them) nearly died at the hands of Commodore Beelzebub and his Hell Pugs, and a bunch of mutants were nearly transformed into mutant reindeer, but sometimes that’s what it takes. And YOU can help as well. Much of Puerto Rico is still without power or clean water. Give a little and start 2018 right! Big thanks to Revival Brewery and Brutopia for hosting, and to the Lawful Good Gaming Team for organizing the whole shebang.   [Show slideshow]...

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Happy New Year!

Posted by on 12:37 pm in Latest News | 0 comments

Happy New Year!

The baby New Year has swept across the globe, and that means its officially 2018 wherever you might be reading this, so… HAPPY NEW YEAR! We had an amazing 2017, but what we have in store for 2018 has us excited for the year ahead. This is going to be an amazing year for us. We have Mutant Crawl Classics, the Lankhmar Boxed Set, Into the Borderlands, and many more products coming your way! Plus, we are going to be at more shows than ever before! 2018 is going to be amazing. And we hope it will be just as amazing for you! Whether you have plans that are grandiose or tiny, or even no plans at all, here’s to 2018 being the best year ever!...

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Closing Out a Great Year

Posted by on 12:00 pm in Latest News | 0 comments

Closing Out a Great Year

2017 was a great year for Goodman Games. I’d like to thank all the fans, the contributors, the Road Crew, the amazing artists and inspiring writers, the game stores and institutions that support role playing, the conventions, the employees at Goodman Games that keep the lights on, the founding generation that preceded us, and even the US Postal Service for facilitating so many of our sales. I never thought I’d thank the USPS, but there it is. Thanks to everyone who made 2017 such a great year! ~ The Dark Master (aka, Joseph Goodman)...

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The New Year Is A Great Time For Evil

Posted by on 12:53 pm in Latest News | 0 comments

The New Year Is A Great Time For Evil

Do you know what happens tomorrow? What that means? Go ahead, look at the calendar, we can wait…. That’s right! Tomorrow is the last chance for you to run a Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure in 2017! And we have the perfect adventure for you to run: DCC Xcrawl: New Year’s Evil! Our new holiday-themed adventure is perfect to ring in the new year, as the adventure itself is set on New Year’s Eve! Strange things are afoot in Toronto! The spirit of the New Year is driving the Gods to drink, whipping the fans into a frenzy, and inspiring the staff to start the party before the team even makes it to the green room! Can a low-level squad, faced with shady jousters, wet jesters, hell pugs, and cubical zombies – not to mention poetry, puzzles, and traps galore – survive to ring in the New Year? And will the sponsors still pick up the tab now that the dungeon has gone mad? You can buy the adventure today, download the PDF, and have the print version on its way to you in the new year! It’s a win-win! You get to play now and get new goodies for the new year! Have an evil …er, happy new year!...

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