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Adventures in Fiction: Gardner Fox

Posted by on 4:18 pm in Adventures in Fiction, Gardner Fox, Latest News | 0 comments

Adventures in Fiction: Gardner Fox

Adventures in Fiction: Gardner Fox by Jeff Goad 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. We invite you to explore the entirety of the series on our Adventures In Fiction home page. May 20th is the birthdate 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...

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Origins Event Registration Opens Tomorrow

Posted by on 2:30 pm in Conventions, Latest News | 0 comments

Origins Event Registration Opens Tomorrow

The long-running Origins Game Fair is happening on June 8-12 in the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, OH. And there will be a lot of game events happening at the show as well—starting on Wednesday night and running through Sunday! Including some special ones run by Goodman’s own Michael Curtis and Brendan LaSalle! And starting tomorrow, you can sign up to play in any of these great events! So be sure to head on over to their TableTop Events page and pick out your games now so that you don’t miss out! Oh, and while you’re at the show, be sure to stop by our booth. There may be a surprise or three waiting for you there… Check out the Goodman Games’ 2022 Convention Schedule for all of the shows we will be attending this year. ORIGINS...

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No Darkness Without Light: Roger Zelazny’s Jack of Shadows

Posted by on 12:38 pm in Appendix N, Latest News, Roger Zelazny | 0 comments

No Darkness Without Light: Roger Zelazny’s Jack of Shadows

No Darkness Without Light: Roger Zelazny’s Jack of Shadows by Bill Ward “I am Jack of Shadows!” he cried out. “Lord of Shadow Guard! I am Shadowjack, the thief who walks in silence and in shadows! I was beheaded in Igles and rose again from the Dung Pits of Glyve. I drank the blood of a vampire and ate a stone. I am the breaker of the Compact. I am he who forged a name in the Red Book of Ells. I am the prisoner in the jewel. I duped the Lord of High Dudgeon once, and I will return for vengeance upon him. I am the enemy of my enemies. Come take me, filth, if you love the Lord of Bats or despise me, for I have named myself Jack of Shadows!” Godlike beings in competition, the bending of natural laws, a multiplicity of strange environments, the collision of magic and science, characterization rooted in myth and metaphor, and stakes of cosmological or world-shattering import – Roger Zelazny’s most popular fiction, be it his Amber Series, his brilliant Lord of Light, or the subject of this essay, Jack of Shadows, showcase the inherent fascinations that inform much of his work. Not that a grab-bag of story elements alone could possibly define an author – particularly one as creatively unrestrained as Zelazny – but if you should see such a grab-bag flung over the back of a man in a hurry, shades black, cigarette canted, perhaps as he races with seemingly suicidal speed atop a growling chrome hog though the log-jammed streets of conventional narrative, then you’ve just spotted one of the wildest storytellers of the twentieth century. Run after him! Jack of Shadows, Shadowjack. Say his name in shadow, and he will hear it. Shadows are his realm, his kingdom, the source of his power. And Jack himself is a Power, one of the many beings infused with uncanny magic that rule the darkside of the world like petty pagan gods. He is also a thief, or the thief; a darer of impossible deeds and filcher without parallel. We meet him in Twilight, that region of the sideways, unrotating world where the two halves of permanent dark and permanent light mingle in a perpetual dusk. Jack is strong here, for Jack’s rule was absolute “wherever light and objects met to make a lesser darkness.” But Jack, mid-plot to steal the Hellflame, the bride price for the woman he desires, is betrayed, captured, surrounded with mirrors, and neutralized. Without shadow, Jack is just Jack (well, almost), and he is beheaded for his reputation and apparent intentions.  And Jack is reborn, darkside, re-coalescing in a new body atop the rancid Dung Pits of Glyve at the West Pole of the world. Darkside Powers have multiple lives just as they have innate sorcerous abilities and a mastery of magic. All at the price of having no soul. Thus are the events of Jack of Shadows set in motion, Zelazny’s 1971 novel (serialized in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and published in book form the same year) of a (our?) world divided by light and dark, science and magic, and the colossal events set in motion by the only Power that could possibly master both. Combining a pulpily-paced picaresque adventure...

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Pre-Order Crypt of the Devil Lich!

Posted by on 3:00 pm in Latest News | 0 comments

Pre-Order Crypt of the Devil Lich!

We invite you into the Crypt of the Devil Lich, the most vicious dungeon crawl since Tomb of Horrors!  Created in homage to Gygax’s classic adventure with the goal of providing an even greater challenge, Crypt of the Devil Lich became an instant legend when it was first run as a tournament dungeon crawl. After all, this is the adventure with a mummy dragon, the hall of prophets, and a castle suspended by chains above a lava sea – not to mention a legendary villain! Now, more than 15 years after its original Gen Con debut, we are updating it for the 5th Edition and DCC RPG rules sets—and now it’s available for pre-order! Let’s look at the details! CRYPT OF THE DEVIL LICH Goodman Games is proud to announce the re-release of one of its most cherished Dungeon Crawl Classics: The Crypt of the Devil Lich! Updated and converted for both 5E and the DCC RPG rules sets, this classic deathtrap dungeon was inspired by the dreaded Tomb of Horrors! The heroes are sent into the Devil Lich’s crypt to destroy her before she can return to power, as foreseen in a prophecy. However, the unknowing heroes have actually been tricked into entering her crypt to free her from her prison. If they are truly heroes, they will uncover the deception and defeat the evil Devil Lich before she can unleash her dark designs on the surface world. This adventure module is a conversion of the classic dungeon module DCC #13: The Crypt of the Devil Lich, originally published in 2004 by Goodman Games. The Crypt of the Devil Lich was truly a unique design, an homage to the classic meatgrinder-style trap-filled dungeons popular in the late ’70s and early ’80s.  The original adventure was designed for the 2004 1st Annual GenCon Dungeon Crawl Classics Team Tournament, a tradition that continues today. With some effort on the GMs part, the adventure can be used for campaign play.  A hardcover saddle-stitched book.All-new cover art by Doug Kovacs! A detailed introduction chapter including notes on how to adjust the adventure for higher or lower levels, using it during campaign play, notes on how to run the adventure as a team tournament, and the devilish backstory of the Devil Lich and her dark machinations. Three fully developed levels of the crypt in the rules system of your choice: 5E or DCC RPG!The 5E conversion was performed by Chris Doyle, the original architect and project manager of The Crypt of the Devil Lich.The DCC RPG conversion was performed by Goodman Games’ own Bob Brinkman, a veteran game designer.All new interior artwork and cartography40+ FULL-COLOR Player Handouts, including at least one interior encounter illustration for each numbered encounter area, in the tradition of the classic modules Tomb of Horrors and Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. Six fully developed Player Characters based on the original tournament player characters.The original team tournament scoring system. NOTE: THIS IS A PRE-ORDER FOR THE CRYPT OF THE DEVIL LICH. IT WILL SHIP ONCE PRINTED. PRE-ORDER – Crypt of the Devil Lich – 5E Edition The adventure is designed for a group of four to six 15th-level characters. CRYPT OF THE DEVIL LICH – 5E EDITION PRE-ORDER – Crypt of the Devil Lich – DCC RPG Edition The adventure is designed for a group of four to six 7th-level characters. CRYPT OF THE DEVIL LICH – DCC RPG...

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Adventures in Fiction: Fred Saberhagen

Posted by on 12:20 pm in Adventures in Fiction, Fred Saberhagen, Latest News | 0 comments

Adventures in Fiction: Fred Saberhagen

Adventures in Fiction: Fred Saberhagen by Jim Wampler 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. We invite you to explore the entirety of the series on our Adventures In Fiction home page. 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 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 Mutant Crawl Classics RPG line. DCC: Empire of the East is now available everywhere! Officially licensed by the estate of Fred Saberhagen, this hardcover sourcebook offers everything you need to play DCC RPG campaigns in the world of the Empire of the East. You can grab it over on the online store right now! And be sure to visit our Adventures in Fiction home page to read about the classic authors of Appendix...

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Road Crew: Order Your Free Frozen In Time Sticker

Posted by on 5:07 pm in Latest News, Road Crew | 0 comments

Road Crew: Order Your Free Frozen In Time Sticker

Very recently we announced the Adventure of the Month program for members of our Road Crew. Now we’re adding a special freebie to Road Crew members who are using that Adventure of the Month! While supplies last, Road Crew members can order a FREE sticker for DCC #79: Frozen in Time! It’s now available in our online store, but only for members of the Road Crew! The Goodman Games Road Crew is a fantastic way to earn amazing perks for running your favorite game! Those perks take the form of free swag, discounted (or free) modules, Roadworthy Profiles (for fame and fortune, of course), exclusive online gatherings, and soon exclusive in-person gatherings at cons! And getting those perks is easier than ever! When you join the Road Crew, you get access to an exclusive members-only section of the online store! It includes special Road Crew swag and other goodies that appear from time to time, including the Adventure of the Month and more! To qualify as a Road Crew game, you have to run a Goodman Games RPG—Dungeon Crawl Classics, Mutant Crawl Classics, Original Adventures Reincarnated, Xcrawl Classics, DCC Lankhmar, Fifth Edition Fantasy, or any other game we publish—and the game must be open to the public. This can happen through any public platform (Twitch, Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, etc.—including podcasts) or in person, just make sure that people can discover and play your game or enjoy them online! JOIN THE ROAD...

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New In The Online Store: DCC “Valley Out Of Time” Adventures

Posted by on 2:00 pm in Latest News | 0 comments

New In The Online Store: DCC “Valley Out Of Time” Adventures

Grab your best spear and fur-based article of clothing—we’re going dino-hunting! The new Valley Out of Time modules are the latest adventures from Skeeter Green Productions, taking inspiration from some of the iconic dinosaur-themed classics of the past! Let’s look at the details! THE VALLEY OUT OF TIME The Valley Out of Time is a serial adventure series designed for use with the DCC and MCC RPGs. The Valley Out of Time is a series of ‘zine-sized adventures from SGP. This valley can be placed in any ongoing campaign and is set in the “Neanderthal Period” of development. Huge monsters – both dinosaurs and otherwise – and devolved humanoids plague the area, and only the hardiest of adventurers will prevail! This series of adventures borrows heavily from classic dinosaur art, books, and movies; if you’ve ever seen a classic Frank Frazetta or Roy Krenkel painting, or read or watched The Land that Time Forgot, The Lost World, Journey to the Center of the Earth, One Million Years B.C., The Flintstones, any stop-motion film from Ray Harryhausen, etc., you’re going to feel right at home. Below are the first two adventures in the series: Welcome to the Valley, and Exploring the Valley! The Valley Out of Time – Welcome to the Valley – Print + PDF WELCOME TO THE VALLEY PRINT + PDF The Valley Out of Time – Exploring the Valley – Print + PDF EXPLORING THE VALLEY PRINT +...

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Remembering Bob Bledsaw Sr.

Posted by on 11:24 am in Adventures in Fiction, Bob Bledsaw Sr, 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. For the 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 and choice of fantasy brides. Another influence on Bob was all the games. In talking with his...

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Dark Tower Kickstarter Off To An Amazing Start!

Posted by on 5:30 pm in Kickstarters, Latest News | 0 comments

Dark Tower Kickstarter Off To An Amazing Start!

WOW! And we mean…WOW! The response to the Kickstarter for Original Adventures Reincarnated #7: The Dark Tower has been nothing short of awe-inspiring! You’ve already raced us past ALL of the initial stretch goals that we set in place—which means we’ll be coming up with some new ones! And you still have a few hours left to get in on the special early-bird deals for the campaign! What specials? Well, how about we start with a never-before-published art print by Dark Tower creator Jennell Jaquays? This art print is only available to backers who pledge during the first 48 hours of the campaign! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg—or sand dune, in this case. This classic adventure is getting the full OAR treatment, with reprints of the original module and an updated version for 5E! On top of that, there will ALSO be a version that adapts the module for DCC RPG! The Original Adventures Reincarnated line has been a big hit with the fans, with our latest release in the series—OAR #6: The Temple of Elemental Evil—being the biggest publication in the series to date as a two-volume set. And that is “to date”… OAR #7: The Dark Tower will be a slipcased 3-book set, collecting old and new material. Volume 1 reprints the original module with introductions and historical commentary. Volume 2 is the 5E rules conversion of the original adventure, The Dark Tower. And volume 3 is an entirely new series of adventures entitled The Chosen Sons of Set, building on the concepts presented in the original Dark Tower publication. Ranked by Dungeon magazine as one of the top 30 adventure modules of all time, Goodman Games is proud to be working with Jennell Jaquays to bring her classic adventure to life for a whole new audience. The desert sands are stirring. Something has risen from the dunes, threatening the world with a looming shadow. The Kickstarter for OAR #7: The Dark Tower has launched—and wow has it ever! Head on over to see what the excitement is all about! OAR #7: THE DARK TOWER...

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Community Resources for DCC Fans

Posted by on 3:17 pm in DCC Lifestyle, Latest News | 0 comments

Community Resources for DCC Fans

The following message is for folks new to Dungeon Crawl Classics. Of course, if you are already a fan you get the same warm hug, too. Hi there! If you’re new to DCC RPG, welcome to a larger world of gaming! There is a growing and vibrant community of players, judges, and creators out there, and we are thrilled to have you as a part of it! And yes, this particular post is for folks new to DCC RPG. It is designed to help point new fans to places where they can connect with other fans. The arms of the DCC RPG community are wide open and ready to embrace new fans into the fold. We’ve also got links to some tools and other resources that will help you get in the spirit of DCC RPG, or even help you build content for your game. So, take a moment to visit the locations below and join up. Ask questions and become a part of the conversation. It’s a great place to start! This list is by no means exhaustive, and anything we left out is strictly accidental! Fan Communities DungeonCrawlers DCC Fan Discord ServerThe DCC RPG Rocks Facebook pageMCC RPG Facebook PageMeWe – Dungeon Crawl Classics group Official GG Communities Goodman Games ForumsGoodman Games Facebook PageGoodman Games InstagramGoodman Games TwitterGoodman Games Twitch Goodman Games DiscordGoodman Games YouTube Fan Podcasts SpellburnAppendix N Book ClubSanctum SecorumGlowburnOrder of ShanaMighty DeedsThe Vintage RPG PodcastCantrips and CoffeeBlack Ink Red Film Other Resources Pre-Generated CharactersPurple Sorcerer toolsRoll Funky Dice...

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