Tuesday, September 9, 2014

JMG on Hiatus

Friends, as some of you know, my wife Jodi has, for most of the last three years, suffered from a ruptured ACL. Tomorrow, she is finally going to get the ACL reconstructive surgery she's needed to get back into shape... late always being better than never. While it is a simple outpatient procedure, any and all thoughts, prayers, and good vibes would be most welcome.

So for the next several weeks at least, possibly two or more months, we will be concentrating on her recovery. If I am slow in responding to e-mails and posts, this is why; also, we won't be working on anything for JMG during this time, and I won't be doing much blogging or any gaming, either. We're not avoiding anyone, we are just busy, between my job and her therapy. We'll be back with bells on once she's up and kicking... hopefully much sooner than later!

Monday, July 28, 2014

[New Blog] Hanging Out in the City State

Hey All,

I decided that since I'm talking so much lately about the Wilderlands, I should start up a new blog, as, well, JMG is supposed to be about the Olden Lands, not the Wilderlands.


I'm going to be mirroring all the Wilderlands posts from here (and eventually, some of the old stuff from the Adventures in Gaming blogs) to the new blog.

Going forward, I'll also post all new Wilderlands-oriented posts at the new blog...

Click here to check out my new blog, Hanging Out in the City State.

[Charts and Tables] Instant Rumor/Event Table

Eh, it's Monday, but here's an old table, anyway. I whipped this up some years back to generate instant rumors and campaign events. I threw it together from various sources, mostly the Dominion Events tables from the old Companion Dungeons & Dragons set.

D100   Rumor/Event
01-02   Assassination (d6): 1 Adventurer, 2 Merchant, 3 Guild, 4 Military, 5 Religious, 6 Gentry, 7 Noble, 8 Royal
03-05   Assault/Raid on (d10): 1 Citadel, 2 City, 3 Enemy Leader, 4 Fort, 5 Keep, 6 Ship, 7 Tower, 8 Town, 9 Village, 10 Demihuman Settlement
06-08   Banditry (d4): 1 Caravans/Convoy, 2 Gang Establishment/Hideout, 3 Highwaymen, 4 Muggers
09        Birth in (d6): 1 Adventurer's Family, 2 Ally's Family, 3 Enemy’s Family, 4 Gentry Family, 5 Noble Family, 6 Royal Family
10-11   Bounty Hunt/Posse
12-14   Brawling
15-17   Breakout (d4): 1 Constable’s Barracks, 2 Jail, 3 Prison Camp, 4 Private Prison
18-19   Caravan Escort
20-21   Cattle Drive
22        Comet
23        Coup d'état
24        Courier/Messenger
25        Crusade
26-28   Death [Natural] (d6): 1 Adventurer, 2 Merchant, 3 Guild, 4 Military, 5 Religious, 6 Gentry, 7 Noble, 8 Royal
29-30   Duel (d4): 1 One-on-One, 2 Gang vs. Gang, 3 Gentry Clan vs. Gentry Clan, 4 Noble House vs. Noble House
31-35   Dungeon Rumors
36        Earthquake
37-38   Execution (d8) 1 Bandit, 2 Brigand, 3 Thief, 4 Noble, 5 Traitor, 6 Murderer, 7 Witch Burning, 8 Mistress
39        Exploration (d6): 1 Local, 2 Regional, 3 Neighboring State, 4 Distant State, 5 Distant Continent, 6 Nexus Gate/Portal/New World
40        Explosion
41        Fanatic Cult
42-44   Feud (d6 vs. d6): 1 Gang, 2 Merchant, 3 Guild, 4 Military, 5 Religious, 6 Gentry, 7 Noble, 8 Royal
45-47   Fire/Arson
48        Flood
49        Hunt (d3): 1 Commercial, 2 Big-Game, 3 Monster
50        Insurrection
51-52   Intrigue (d4): 1 Personal, 2 Guild, 3 Religious, 4 Political
53-55   Kidnapping (d6): 1 Adventurer, 2 Merchant, 3 Guild, 4 Military, 5 Religious, 6 Gentry, 7 Noble, 8 Royal
56        Lycanthropic Outbreak
57        Madman/Madmen
58        Magical Happening
59-61   Market: Glut, Shortage
62        Meteor Shower
63        Meteor Strike: Major, Minor
64        New Celebrity Adventurer/Sage
65-67   Personal Escort
68        Pilgrimage
69        Piracy
70        Plague/Pestilence
71        Population Migration (d3): 1 In, 2 Out, 3 Around
72        Pretender/Usurper
73        Religious Schism
74        Rescue
75        Resource: Found, Lost
76-78   Riot
79        Sabotage
80        Salvage
81        Sinkhole
82        Smuggling
83        Spy/Spy Ring
84        Storm/Tornado
85        Swindle/Scam
86-87   Tournament
88-89   Trade Route: Discovered, Lost
90-91   Trailblazing
92-93   Traitor
94        Volcano
95-97   Wandering Monsters: Major, Minor
98-99   War (d8): 1 Internal Border Ambush, 2 Internal Skirmish, 3 Migrating Barbarian/Humanoid Band(s), 4 Migrating Barbarian/Humanoid Clan(s), 5 Migrating Barbarian/Humanoid Tribe(s), 6 Neighboring Border Incursion, 7 Neighboring Border Invasion, 8 Neighboring Border Skirmish

100      Waterspout/Whirlpool

Thursday, July 24, 2014

[Sale] JMG Super-Holiday Sale Ends Friday, July 25th at Midnight!

Yep, the Super-Holiday Sale ends Friday, July 25th at Midnight! So get it while the getting is good!

And now a snippet from a Work in Progress, a Slice of Hell:

THE DAMNED
The greater portion of the population of the Hells consists of the Damned. The Damned are those who sinned against the tenets of their Gods or possessed an Infernal Patron. In Hell they are transformed into Least Demons. So plentiful are these that the Hells are all but overrun with them, condemned to wander the plains, wastes, deserts, and hills of the Hells until either they are destroyed utterly by being consumed to Negation or Transformed into something greater and more terrible.

When the Fallen Soul makes its way to the Hells, it is transformed into a Least Demon, of a rank in power depending on the depth and might of its evil. Check on the following table to determine the fate of a PC or important NPC. First add together the Fallen Soul’s level and Charisma modifier, then roll a die depending on the Fallen Soul’s alignment: LG, LN, NG, TN, or CG +0; LE, CN +1d6; NE +2d6; CE +3d6.

Forms of the Damned
Roll     Form
1-10     Larva (1/2 HD Least Demon)
11-15   Nupperibo (1 HD Least Demon)
16-20   Manes (2 HD Least Demon)
21-25   Lemure (3 HD Least Demon)
26-30   Dretch (4 HD Least Demon)
31+      Unique Demon (1/2 Level HD)

Naturally, if the Fallen Soul had a Pact with an Infernal Patron, and a part of that Pact specified an exacting disposition in the afterlife, then such would apply… to the letter of the agreement, and no more.

LEAST DEMONS: Larvae, Nupperibo, Manes, Lemures, and Dretch are Least Demons, below even Lower-Order Demons in rank and power. They possess few if any powers save that they are immune to any form of Mortal mind-affecting enchantments (sleep, charm, and similar spells); such spells wielded by Demons affect them just fine. They are also resistant to Cold, Electricity, Fire, and Gas, suffering no damage with a successful save and half damage with a failed save. Finally, while in the Hells, they regenerate one hit point per round.

Unlike Living Souls and Lost Souls, the Damned are partially immune to the memory-draining features of food and drink in the Hells; they can never forget their failures and sins, but soon forget all the joys they had in life and lose all hope for any future.

Though they possess no true life-levels, their Dark Energy is measured by the life-levels they possessed in their Mortal Life. Demons and Devils feast upon this power; this power can be temporarily tapped or permanently drained; drained Dark Energy is much more potent than that which is merely tapped. Provided their entire Dark Energy has not been drained entirely, Least Demons re-spawn in Demon Pits when they are slain. Each time they are slain they lose one hit die, until they are re-spawned as Larvae. If they are permanently drained of all their Dark Energy they cease to exist; this is known as Negation. Once a soul has been drained to Negation it ceases to exist, and cannot be brought back, even with the most potent wish.

Least Demons who were of some importance, possessed magical talent, or other special abilities in their Mortal days can possess a Dark Energy, especially those born of noble blood, as such can be important in the casting of spells… or for holding their Immortal Soul ransom against their Mortal family and followers.

LARVAE the lowliest form of Least Demon, possessing merely ½ HD. Larvae are wretches beyond compare, being sickly yellow maggots 1 to 3 feet in length with the distorted faces the Damned possessed in life. They can only speak in screams and hisses, gibbering and babbling, as they inch along at merely 60’ (20’), and can only bite for 1d3 points of damage.
They manifest in great, writhing masses on the various plains of Hell, where they are gathered by the Night Hags; by ancient traditions and treaties, only Night Hags may harvest the Larvae, though foolish Demons, Devils, and visiting fools sometimes try to muscle in on the Hag’s business. Larvae are used as currency by the Night Hags; they are worth 100 gp per point of Dark Energy.

NUPPERIBO are 1 HD Least Demons. They are very nearly blind and deaf, managing only to mew, gibber, blubber, and drool. They are able to bite once per round for 1d3 points of damage. They have the appearance they did in life, but they stand only 2 to 3 feet tall, with rugose graying flesh, wormy tail, emaciated frame, and 1d3 Demonic Features (treat any Extraordinary Power, Weakness, or Oddity roll as “Nothing Unusual”).

MANES are 2 HD Least Demons. They are able to bite and claw one each per round, each dealing 1d3 points of damage. They have the appearance they did in life, but they stand only 3 to 4 feet tall, with rugose graying wormy flesh, and 1d3+1 Demonic Features (treat any Extraordinary Power, Weakness, or Oddity roll as “Nothing Unusual”).

LEMURES are 3 HD Least Demons. They are able to claw twice per round for 1d3 points of damage and bite once per round for 1d4 points of damage. They have the appearance they did in life, but they stand only 4 to 5 feet tall, are fat with a sagging, blobby body, graying skin, and 1d3+2 Demonic Features (treat any Extraordinary Power, Weakness, or Oddity roll as “Nothing Unusual”).

DRETCH are 4 HD Least Demons. They are able to claw twice per round for 1d4 points of damage and bite once per round for 1d4+1 points of damage. They have the appearance they did in life, but they stand only 5 to 6 feet tall, with round, rubbery bodies, thin arms, and spindly legs. They possess 1d3+3 Demonic Features. They possess the following abilities, each of which they can use once per round: darkness (5’ radius), scare, telekinesis (50#); and once per day they can create a stinking cloud.


UNIQUE DEMON: Villains of amazing and potent Evil are transformed upon arriving into the Hells as a reward for their evil deeds. They manifest as Demons with base hit dice equal to half their level in Mortal life, rounded up. Warrior-types will be Demons of Battle; spell-casters usually Demons of Power; those of seductive sort with high Charisma may well end up Demons of Lust; and all others end up Demons of Service. If properly buried with magic items, these manifest in the Hells as Demonic items (though if the original item is looted from their grave, these are lost instantly).

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

[Reviews] Tim Brannan reviews six JMG Products

ENnie-Award Nominee and author of The Witch and Eldritch Witchery Tim Brannan of The Other Side blog has reviewed six James Mishler Games products: Castle Adlerstein and Environs, Chronicles of Mhoriedh Map Pack, Gods, Demi-Gods, and Cults #1: Chaos Queen of Ants, Hercynian Grimoire #1, Ogres of the Olden Lands, and Vampires of the Olden Lands

Monday, July 21, 2014

[Monday Memories] Imperial Town of Tell Qa: Northern Bastion of the Falling Empire

So I’m holding Throwback Thursday on Monday; meh, it’s what blogs are for, right?

What prompted this was a bit of interest shown in my city-based products from the AGP days, specifically Imperial Town of Tell Qa and 100 Street Vendors of the City State. I’ve already talked about 100 StreetVendors here, so I’ll merely blather on at length about Tell Qa.

Tell Qa was the first product produced at AGP; in fact, it was produced and printed for Free RPG Day 2007, the inaugural iteration of that event. When I set out to start publishing my version of the Wilderlands, the Wilderlands of High Adventure, with AGP, I had two ideas. First, I wanted to publish a regular magazine, Adventure Games Journal… sadly, much like Hercynian Grimoire, it never really got beyond the first issue (though I haven’t given up on Hercynian Grimoire yet). Second, I wanted to produce, among other supplemental materials, city-based adventures and source material along the lines of the original City State of the Invincible Overlord.


And so I decided that my first product would be an urban setting along those lines. Doing a whole city state was a bit much to tackle at first, so I decided to publish a town setting along the lines of Modron. I’d always been intrigued with Tell Qa and Smyrsis Province in the Empire of Viridistan; here, after all, was a Lawful Good ruler with a demon-loving imperial liege lord, surrounded by other fiendish and demonic co-rulers. How did that all work? And so I created an interesting town setting to combine the odd Mycretian and Evil Empire vibes that one got from reading about Tell Qa and Smyrsis in the original source material (City State of the World Emperor).

I cast most of the Mycretians in the role as the Christians in the Early Roman Empire… ready to passively be thrown to the lions in martyrdom, but also at times active in the war against Evil. The High Viridians, of course, were my stock-in-trade debauched and depraved Greco-Romans, thematically inspired by the Ehleens from the Horseclans series; most are this far out in the sticks because of politically troublesome indiscretions back at home, so are of quite the unpleasant sort. Similarly, the Horseclans-inspired Tharbrians wandering the Plains of Lethe to the north, wandering into the province to raid and trade as the mood suited them. Then there were the Smyrians, a local people of more kindly if rustic sort, caught between the hammer of the Tharbrians and the anvil of the Viridians. Add in a few odd bits here and there – such as the Aelvoress Elves and the Eagol Dwarves – and there were plenty of cultural interactions and conflict; especially plenty of opportunities for adventures to take down icky, nasty villainous High Viridians.

Here’s a sample of one of the locations in Tell Qa
75. TEMPLE RUNE KI (B-4): This temple is dedicated to Shang Ta, the lawful neutral god of the sky, air, law, ritual, and meditation, who is revered by monks, philosophers, hermits, and those seeking something unusual and exotic. His is an ephemeral faith, dedicated to contemplation on unanswerable mysteries of reality and the illusion of life; the philosophy can be best summed up as “Do the best you can and hope for the best.” Grand Lama Xuthaanos the Somnolent (LN male Shardan 10th level cleric of Shang Ta, SL Gentry 13) spends most of his time in a meditative stupor, as do his 7th level Lama, two 3rd level Baunge, two 2nd level Adepts, and 12 1st level Mendicant Brothers; the temple Guru, Eoscma Douurn (LG male Smyrian 5th level cleric of Shang Ta/3rd level Mycretian, SL Gentry 8) follows the more ascetic forms preferred by the Somnolent Order, and is the only priest who is not regularly blessed out on tithweed juice. Eoscma is a good friend of Milos, the Captain of the Guard and Veliik Tocsmek, the Disciple who leads the monkish strike teams. The temple is guarded by a half-dozen Initiates, while the “meditating” priests are served by a dozen slaves. Weekly ceremonies are replete with chanting, the drinking of tithweed juice, the ringing of gongs, weaving of tithweed mists, the discussion of visions, and indecipherable sermons which often dissolve in the Grand Lama frothing at the mouth and haranguing the fellowship in tongues. Daily meditation, usually accompanied by the inhaling of tithweed mist and the chanting of prayers from the holy texts, is required in order to “lighten one’s soul” in order to enable it to “float unto Shang Ta who is one with the Celestial Dream.” Contrary to rumors, the huge green stone statue of a dragon that dominates the central hall is made of cheap stone, not jade, though the huge pearl in its right claw is real, and worth 50,000 gp. If the pearl is ever lifted from the claw, a magic mouth appears and loudly screams invectives at the thief. The temple and its priests are not very active in society, though the dozen Mendicant Brothers of the faith often go out to beg for donations; they can be quite a bother in the markets and streets, and can be recognized by their saffron robes, blue-stained lips and teeth, black and silver Rune Ki Staffs, and simple wooden beggars’ bowls.
I should note, for those interested in finding them, there are indeed some Easter Eggs in Tell Qa… such has always been my way. If you are an old-school fan of Dungeons & Dragons, you might just find them… 
For design of the town I went with something more medieval, and yet also rather more Roman, using the castra-style towns of the Roman frontier as a guideline, making it perhaps one of the more orderly towns you’ll find in the Wilderlands. The footprint was based on historical populations of medieval towns; this means the area is a LOT smaller than the City State or Viridistan. When my own hand-drawn urban cartography proved… inferior to my hopes, Peter Bradley provided the cartographic labors on this map, as he would later on the Rhadamanthia map and other AGP products.

The Free RPG Day version of Tell Qa, the Imperial Town of Tell Qa: Northern Bastion of the Falling Empire ended up being 16 pages long; 1,000 units were printed for Free RPG Day (there was also a short run using my own map, 21 copies I printed at a local Staples to show at the GAMA Trade Show in 2007).

Tell Qa was also included in the 2007 Gen Con Special, XXXI, which included 20 new, unique encounters, plus information on Mycr and the Mycretian class and two new races: the Nguak Duck-folk and the Liowan lion-folk. All new rules elements were for Castles & Crusades, as all AGP products were designed for use with Castles & Crusades. XXXI, named thus as 2007 was the 31st anniversary of Judges Guild, had a print run of 310 units.

Tell Qa remains available in PDF format thanks to Judges Guild.


And finally, as a bonus, here is the original History of Tell Qa, which was cut due to space considerations:

Many millennia ago Tell Qa was merely an outpost of the ancient Smyrian civilization. Then the Smyrian queens turned away from their gods and became enamored of evil. In 100 BCC the capital city and the mountain valley that was the center of Smyrian civilization was destroyed in a terrible earthquake, the vengeance of the Smyrian gods. Chaos ruled as monsters debouched from the ruined Valley of the Dead Queens and strange beasts multiplied and thrived in the Eagol Ruins to the east. Then began the migrations of the Wild Men and a thousand years of chaos…

By the time the Viridians arrived from the Immortal City and conquered Tell Qa in 1203, they were welcomed not as invaders, but as liberators from chaos. Tell Qa thrived as a border town of the Empire of Viridistan. It was the center of Viridian operations during the incursions of the Tharbrians in 2097, and the Vasthosts that destroyed the horde at the Battle of Glint Valley camped around the walls of Tell Qa. The Golden Age of Tell Qa followed, as the lands between the Flee and the Sharryn were absorbed into the empire, and wealth poured through the town gates. The empire was re-organized in 2101 by Reddisorn the Golden, and Tell Qa was made the capital of the new Province of Smyrsis.

Then the Great Plague ravaged the populace at the end of the 25th Century, and the city, which was nearly four times its current size, shrank to little more than a large village surrounding a citadel, the whole standing amidst a vast field of ruined and empty buildings and crumbling walls. When the Tharbrians invaded again from the north in 2817, the few remaining Imperial Vasthosts met the horde in the east, were destroyed at the Dark Battle of Havocia, and the empire lay wide open to invasion by the Tharbrians. The remaining cities burned, villages were razed, and whole populations extirpated. Fortunately for Tell Qa, several Imperial Vastthrongs had been held in reserve in Smyrsis. Though they were unable to hold back the Tharbrian raiders, after the Tharbrians moved on, the remaining soldiers regrouped around the citadel of the Shah. They rebuilt Tell Qa from the ground-up, tore down the ruins of the old city, and atop it built a new town. But it still took centuries to recover.

By the time the World Emperor restored his supremacy over the Invincible Overlord at the Bloodless Battle of Barrad in 3788, Tell Qa had regained much of its wealth, power, and security. Unfortunately, though the emperor’s Goblin War of 4130 was highly successful, and the lands of Lyoophiath returned to his domain, the rest of the empire was thrown into turmoil, as the resettlement of the eastern lands drained even further wealth, men, and resources. Tell Qa fell further into decline as the border patrols grew lax due, the farmers and herders grew chary of the tax-man, and barbarians and monsters once again lurked in the dark corners of the province, crowded for space by bandits, rebel peasants, and mad cultists. Then the empire descended into 30 years of civil war when the emperor was assassinated in 4196. Fortunately for the survival of the Empire, Cneninadus the Mycretian eventually rose to power. Like Reddisorn the Golden, with whom he was often compared even in his lifetime, Cneninadus was one of only two good-aligned emperors to rule Viridistan. It was exceedingly rare for any True Viridian to embrace Mycr and Mycretianism; for such to rise to the Imperial Green was unheard of! It was only through dint of the great powers granted by Mycr that Cneninadus gained the throne, and that he held it for as long as he did.

During his rule he placed the empire on firmer footing. He promulgated a new currency and development of new lands, encouraged the arts and education, enacted laws against human sacrifice and demon-worship, increased the rights of the lower classes and non-Viridians — in essence, did everything in his power to upset the status quo and alienate the remaining eleven True Viridians, who preferred to rule as amoral virtual demigods! Fortunately for him, for decades they were too busy attacking each other, jockeying for position, to bother with him and his programs. That came to an end in 4283 when the Evil High Priest of Armadad Bog, Hautulin Seheitt, and his wife, Murielle Eidn, finally eliminated the last of their remaining competitors and then assassinated Cneninadus with the assistance of eight demons. Seheitt ascended to the Imperial Green as the Green Emperor, and thus began the year-long Great Slaughter of Pain, as Mycretians and their allies were purged from the Immortal City. Many Mycretians and their allies fled north, where they settled in Tell Qa under new names, seeking to rebuild what they had lost.

As even the Golden Age of Cneninadus was unable to purge Smyrsis of its bandits, monsters, and nomad troubles, the province remains a hotbed of troubles generated from within and without. With the Green Emperor’s attentions mostly elsewhere — first, in Lyoophiath, to repel an invasion of demons at the Great Battle of Pohtega in 4343, and of late, to the north, with concerns for the machinations of the Witches of Marmon, Smyrsis is left to its own, as long as the tax moneys and other tributes arrive on time. 40 years ago, upon his deathbed, the Shah requested that the master of the Holy Order of the Somnolent Dragon, the local monastery dedicated to the Rune Ki Temple, be named his successor. As the Emperor’s Grandhee reported that the monks had been vital in the maintenance of the province’s bureaucracy, and that the master was a loyal and a-political old man, the Emperor agreed, and so the rule of the province fell to the capable hands of the master and his men.

20 years ago, before the Shah passed away, he named Kijdawr Aenekosii, his successor as Master of the Holy Order, as his successor. The elite in Viridistan were much less pleased with this choice, as Aenekosii had proven over the years to be less politically disinterested than his predecessor, opposed to many policies of the Imperial High Council, and most troublesomely, seemed to be more interested in justice and the good of the commons than in enriching his own coffers and maintaining the status quo. Unfortunately for the other members of the High Council and their cohorts, Aenekosii was also extremely competent, and regardless of his weakness regarding the common weal, the Emperor allowed his succession to the throne as Shah.

Today, in 4433 BCCC, the Shah rules the town and province with an even and light, if open, hand. Aenekosii seeks to maintain balance in a domain that is hard pressed on all sides and from within. He is most desirous that the evil eye of the Green Emperor does not fall on his lands and his peoples, and so he keeps troublemakers contained, and tries to make peace and alliances rather than expend treasure on costly and uncertain battles. Unfortunately, the world does not provide the shah with the peace he prefers, as the kobolds of Shimmertree Vale are on the move, the Eagol dwarves of the vast ruins to the northwest are appearing in greater numbers, the Tharbrians are on the move, the orcs of the Pinnacle Mountains are ever more active, the barbarians of the Berserker Wastes have been raiding from the south of late, and there are rumblings among the allied Elphan cavemen to the north of possible rebellion and even invasion! And of course, the Green Emperor has doubled taxes in the last seven years and has called for a special “Wall Tax” at least once each year.

To exacerbate the situation, over the last 15 years, Mycretians have once again been able to operate in the open — even in Viridistan itself — though quietly, subtly, and not in such a fashion as to appear interested in overthrowing the status-quo. However, over the last five years they seem to have run rampant in Tell Qa, seeking to do good deeds and confound the best efforts of those seeking pleasure or wealth through questionably moral or openly evil, if legal, activities. Their actions run the gamut from giving away curing spells and potions to the needy; robbing wealthy (and legal) slave merchants and money lenders and giving their ill-gotten goods to the poor; and disrupting the ceremonies of the evil temples, especially those who perform (legal) human sacrifices! Though the Shah has vowed to put a halt to the activities of the Mycretians, to date his decrees and policies have had little luck in stemming the tide of vigilante goodness.

[Sale] Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and Your Birthday in July!

Don't forget, James Mishler Games is still holding a sale. I know, there are other sales going on right now... but last time I checked, 60% off is way better than 25% off.

And we have a 60% Off Sale running now on most JMG products.

That's like Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and Your Birthday in July!

Obviously, the Pay What You Want stuff is still, well, Pay What You Want.

The new Barbarian Class, at $1, is already a steal.

So here's the list of stuff that is on sale:

Hercynian Grimoire #1, normally $7.95, merely $3.18.

Vampires of the Olden Lands, normally $3.95, merely $1.58.

Ogres of the Olden Lands, normally $2.95, merely $1.18.

Chaos Queen of Ants, normally $2.95, merely $1.18.

So if you've been waiting, take advantage of the sale now, because this isn't going to last... it can end any time.

And a sale like this isn't likely to happen again!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

JMG Gotta Get to GenCon Sale!

James Mishler Games is holding a sale.

I don't normally do this, except on very special occasions, but it is for a good cause. To get me to Gen Con!

Gen Con had been my annual pilgrimage for years, and I could count on less than one hand the number of Gen Cons I'd missed between 1983 and 2008. But then, no more... so I've missed the last five Gen Cons, which is more than I'd missed in the prior 25 years. This year, I've got a shot to go; I've got a badge, I've got crash space...

I just need a bit more cash; sadly, James cannot live on Games alone (eating my games, how sad would that be... but they would be high in fiber), and my car needs unleaded gasoline, not unleaded tin figurines (oh, if only). And, of course, I've got to stop at the Chessex and Gamescience booths and pick up a set of dice from each... it's tradition!

So I'm breaking my rule on having sales, and am now holding a 60% Off Sale on most JMG products. 

Obviously, the Pay What You Want stuff is still, well, Pay What You Want.

The new Barbarian Class, at $1, is already a steal.

So here's the list of stuff that is on sale:

Hercynian Grimoire #1, normally $7.95, merely $3.18.

Vampires of the Olden Lands, normally $3.95, merely $1.58.

Ogres of the Olden Lands, normally $2.95, merely $1.18.

Chaos Queen of Ants, normally $2.95, merely $1.18.

So if you've been waiting, take advantage of the sale now, because this isn't going to last... if I hit my goal, the sale ends. If I don't hit target sales each day... the sale ends, as it won't work.

And a sale like this isn't likely to happen again!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

[Throwback Thursday] Rhadamanthia and the World of the Wilderlands

The very first campaign setting I ever encountered was the “Continental Map” in the Expert module X1: Isle of Dread, with the snippet of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos in the Expert Rule Book. I thought it was very interesting and, in time, with the further development of the setting in the B and X Modules and the Gazetteer series, fell quite thoroughly in love with it. From the first I always was eager to see more of what the world, later called Mystara, had to offer, as there were always mysterious lands and realms just beyond the next border.

With the Wilderlands, which was the first campaign setting I actually ever played in, I wasn't merely interested in what lay beyond the original 18 maps; I was thoroughly obsessed with finding out! Sadly, unlike Mystara, which continued to be developed for years, the development and expansion of the Wilderlands ended abruptly with the closing of Judges Guild. And for a long time, all that fans had was speculation on what might have been, what could have been, what should have been. And then, finally, decades later, Bob Bledsaw re-appeared on the scene.

Then at conventions we’d hear heard wonderful tales of the lands beyond the Wilderlands, of the Great Glacier in the North, the Kingdom of Karak in the East, the Demon Empires in the South, and the Giant Kingdoms in the West. Being an inveterate cartographer, of course, I always requested, nay, demanded even, some sort of cartographic expansion of the Wilderlands and the lands thereabouts. It was not until later, after the Necromancer Games release and before I started up AGP, that I was able to convince Bob that there was a demand to see more of the world of the Wilderlands. Together we would work on taking the notes and ideas he had built up over the years and make them into something concrete.

One fine September, I started receiving simple envelopes packed with folded sheets of paper. Altogether nine envelopes containing 25 maps, each a standard-sized sheet of paper, the top half a hand-drawn map half the size of the Wilderlands, the other half filled with notes and details on the locations found on the map. For two weeks thereafter every day was like Christmas, wondering if a new map would show up in the mailbox. I still have the envelopes they were sent in; the ripped state indicates the excitement each held, and my foolishness in not handling the envelope carefully, lest I damage the maps. Fate was in my favor, though, and none were ever damaged. Each time I would open the envelope, pull out the maps and notes, and sit for hours pouring over them, the first person to see put in writing and map the hitherto unreleased ideas of the original creator of the City State and the Wilderlands.

Slowly, over time, I scanned and pieced together the maps while discussing and expanding the various elements with Bob in person, over the phone, and via e-mail. By the time we finally got the map in a position that felt fairly complete for the scale intended, I had already started AGP, and worked with Peter Bradley to take over from my primitive Paint-based scribbling and turn the map into something beautiful and useful. Unfortunately, Bob never lived to see the final version of the map; it was literally completed mere days before he passed away in 2008. I was, however, able to bring copies of the preliminary print to his family at his funeral.

With the work I did with Bob on the Rhadamanthia Map, I was able, to ensure that his vision of the wider world of the Wilderlands was not lost when he passed. One thing I learned while working with him was his great tendency toward puns and impish humor, a characteristic I have found endemic to the great designers. For example, one day while we were talking, I asked him about the Skullie Amazons in far-eastern Karak. I thought, naturally, that they perhaps worshiped skulls and wore skull-based clothing, etc. But no; he’d named them on a lark; he said that as they were “red-haired, smart, and dangerous,” he’d decided to name them in honor of Dana Scully, the character from the X-Files. I did my “We Are Not Amused” look at the phone, which did not help at all, and all he did was chuckle at me in amusement with my high-falootin’ assumptions about what was and was not fantasy.

It was a sense of amusement that pervades all his earlier work, if you look for it. One of my favorite bits in the entirety of the Guide to the City State is the tale told by Flustag the Cavalryman in the Lancer’s Club, “He also is fond of relating his encounter with barbarians in the frozen wastelands… tapped in a boxed canyon, two against 100; charged two against 100; cutting blindly until exhausted, two against 100... and finally winning, we all agreed… they were the meanest two barbarians we ever faced!”

That’s the kind of sense of humor that created the City State and the Wilderlands.

Thereafter, I went on to publish the companion tome for the Map of Rhadamanthia, the Guide to the World of the Wilderlands. Intended as an introduction to Rhadamanthia and the Wilderlands, it details 14 of the 15 Districts, each the size of the Wilderlands, and also details the Wilderlands proper, the central district, by breaking it down into its 18 Regions. In retrospect, a product completely at the other end of the spectrum from the original Wilderlands products, which provided the lowest-level of information and allowed the Judge to determine the great and campaign-spanning elements. But then, it was designed to showcase both what Bob had created and the direction I was going with my own version of the Wilderlands, the Wilderlands of High Adventure.

Of the material therein that pertains to Rhadamanthia and the wider lands around the Wilderlands, 90% is Bob’s work, with 10% my own additions, alterations, and interpretations. Any mistakes are my own.




Tuesday, July 15, 2014

[Now Available] Barbarian Class for Labyrinth Lord

Well, I finally got around to fixing up that barbarian class I had worked up for Labyrinth Lord... and it isn't even Wondrous Wednesday yet! Will wonders never cease?

Here's the sales blurb:

Barbarian Class
By James Mishler and Jodi Moran-Mishler

This class is designed for use with Labyrinth Lord. The barbarian presented herein is designed to emulate the classic barbarian from Sword & Sorcery literature. To that end the class includes the following abilities:

Proficient Weapons
Battle Rage
Berserk Rage
Fast Movement
Illiteracy
Impressive Physique
Outlander
Tribal Skills
   Desert Tribe
   Hill Tribe
   Forest Tribe
   Jungle Tribe
   Plains Tribe
   Seafaring Tribe
   Steppe Tribe
Uncanny Senses
Wilderness Survival Skills
Battle Cry
Slayer
Barbarian Horde


The class is designed to be used with the forthcoming Barbarians of the Olden Lands supplement, detailing the barbarian peoples of the Olden Lands of the Chronicles of Mhoriedh. However, they can readily be used in any Labyrinth Lord campaign.

9 Pages
MSRP $1.00


Monday, July 14, 2014

[Barbarians of the Olden Lands] Kholmyks, the Witch-Folk of the Mountains

Shortly after the Doom of Elysion, the Mhordlakhy poured forth out of the West, into the lands that now hold their name. There they found a patchwork of petty Guidhel and Kartaghan tribes, descended from wanderers from the East and the South. Most of these they conquered and absorbed, though it was a centuries-long process. One of the tribes that resulted from the merger of Mhordlakhy and Kartaghan clans, the Kholmyks, furiously fought their further conquest and assimilation by the greater Mhordlakh tribes, and thus migrated East, into and across the Mordhlagh Mountains.

There the clans, once home to forest and plain, settled into the forested hills and mountain valleys, and there slowly bred their plains ponies into hill ponies. To this day they are masters of raising, training, and riding their sturdy hill ponies and donkeys; they make a good trade selling geldings and mules to the merchants of Paúkgrad and Szmaüdjypol. Never conquered for any lengthy time by any of the petty princes and kings of their lands, the Kholmyks continue their atavistic clan-based lifestyle in the craggy hills and valleys, from which they debouch in times of war, chaos, and plague to ravage, pillage, loot, and enslave all they can before order re-establishes itself.

However in turn, these cruel and savage slavers often find themselves on the other end of the slave whip. Kholmyk women, often of rare and exotic beauty, are regular targets for kidnappers seeking to sell the beauties in the slave market; thus the universal distrust of men of other races held by Kholmyk men.

RANGE: Primarily Lower Bagaudia and Eastern Mhordlakh, in the hills and valleys of the Mordhlagh Mountains. Some clans have wandered further afield, and can be found in the hill country of the Southern Verdhulann north of the Vale of Lamentation; across the Black River in the western foothills and valleys of the Mountains of Blood; in the forested hills of the Wicked Wood in Strigoria; and in the Black River Hills in the Western Marches.


APPEARANCE: Kholmyk men usually stand 5’2” to 5’8” and are of medium to stocky build; women are slightly shorter and tend to be medium to svelte build in youth, growing stockier with age and child-bearing. Being of mixed Mhordlakhy and Kartaghan descent, they have shimmering, pale, almost translucent light blue skin, reddish-gold eyes, and raven-black hair. Their lips, mouth, and tongue are deep purple rather than reddish-pink.

RELIGION: The Kholmyks, like their Kartaghan ancestors, are usually dedicated to the King of Hell, whom they know by the name Zuulchovek or, commonly, as Pop Bog, “Devil God.” Kholmyks are not so much zealous as they are fatalistic; they figure Pop Bog will get their souls no matter what they do, so they don’t much worry about pleasing him; but then, too, they do not go out of their way to anger him. Thus the Kholmyks are a very superstitious lot, as over the ages various things that apparently please or displease Pop Bog pass into and out of vogue. Currently, Kholmyks fear black cats, adore white dogs, do not trust anyone wearing cloth-of-gold, always wear something red, cannot cross water when a dead body is visible in it, believe blue-eyed women possess the Evil Eye, and grimace and snap their fingers three times each when the God of Law is mentioned.

Kholmyks do not have priests or clergy; their religious needs, such as they are, are served by female witches and male shamans. Kholmyk witches are practitioners of black magic, sourced through the King of Devils as their patron in a quid-pro-quo relationship rather than abject reverence. The magiya, as they are known, do not serve the clan so much as answer to Zuulchovek; they have their own secretive rites and ceremonies, unseen by their own men let alone outsiders. They usually hold their sabbats on the nearest and highest cave-ridden pinnacle, near an entrance to the Underworld, on nights of the New Moon. Together their covens defend the clan and prepare their men-folk for war; otherwise, each witch tends to the needs of her own extended family. Families without a witch tend to be poor and looked-down upon.

Shamans among the Kholmyks are invariably male, and usually few and far-between; perhaps one to three per clan. As a requirement of service as a shaman they must remain celibate; additionally, as magic is believed to be woman’s work, they must also dress and act in all ways as women. Thus they are known as the baba dukhs, or “spirit women.” Their magic is different from the fiendish witchcraft of the Kholmyk women, however. The shamans retain a more ancient form of magic that supplicates and commands spirits, including nature spirits, elemental spirits, and undead spirits, and thus like true witchcraft combines elements of divine and arcane magic. Their assistance is sought only by those who have no family witch or who wish not to seek the help of the family witch.

Neither the witches nor the shamans are overly zealous or forceful about their faith; they are usually a laid-back lot, as they know they won’t get much out of their people, so they don’t push much. They are happy to keep their people safe from the other evils of the world and enable them to engage in their raiding, pillaging, slaving, and slaying, so long as Zuulchovek gets his cut. They are not even overly concerned with their people paying lip service to some other Pagan god; they know that their King of Devils has a greater hold on their people’s soul than any other. The only thing they won’t stand is any interference from the Gregorian Church or the followers of the Dungeon God; such proselytizing clergy as pass through Kholmyk lands are favored subjects for torture and sacrifice.

TRIBAL STRUCTURE: While to the outside world it appears that men rule the clans, as outsiders only ever deal with Kholmyk men – rarely even seeing their women – it is actually the women of the clans who rule. The clan boyan, or lord, acts merely at the pleasure and the orders of the baba magiya, the council of crones, which is made up of all the witches who are also grandmothers. The council of crones makes all long-term decisions of the clan, including when to raid and when to trade. In the extended household, the woman with the most living children is considered the family matron, regardless of age or other ability, though she must take the advice of any magiya in her family.

Once a decision has been made, however, the men must go out to enforce the will of the women. And there they have much discretion, and usually use it as much as they dare. Older men have much respect from the younger, as to live to be a greybeard means one is mighty and wise indeed.

At the top of the clan hierarchy are the baba magiya, all old witches steeped in wisdom and evil. They are served by the other magiya, who lord over not only their own families but also witch-less families. Then there is the boyan and his family (always from a family with a witch), who have a degree of respect, as do the clan champions (boyets). Beneath them are all the rest of the Kholmyks, with those who are olboyani (families that have a living, former boyan with them) being given a further degree of respect. Beneath all are the slaves, usually female concubines and servants, but also sometimes including strong males; any slave can end up being made a sacrifice if need exists, so most are taciturn and terrified. No few are simply enchanted into submission by the clan witches. Note that the children of the concubines are not considered the children of the father; they are often sold off as slaves or even sacrificed.

A clan usually has 10d10 able-bodied 1st level men (usually barbarians, fighters, rangers, or animal trainers), an equal or slightly greater number of women (with perhaps 25 to 40% being equivalent to 1st level thieves, scouts, or doxies), and a number of youths and children equal to the number of men and women combined. For every 10 men there will be an additional 2nd level leader; for every 20 an additional 3rd level; and the clan will be led by a boyan of 5th to 7th level with a cadre of 1d4 4th level boyets. For every five women there will be an additional 1st level witch; for every 10 a 2nd level witch; for every 20 a 3rd level witch; and the council of crones consists of 2d4+1 4th to 7th level witches. In addition there will be 1d3 shamans of 1st to 6th level; one slave concubine per 10 men plus one for each level of each male leader type; and a number of male slaves equal to the total number of witches. There is also a 50% chance of 2d6 recent captives, either being held for ransom, waiting to be sold into slavery, or being readied for sacrifice.

TERRAIN/CLIMATE: Kholmyks are native to temperate forested hills and mountains.

TRIBAL WEAPONS: Battle axe, hand/throwing axe, composite short bow, club, dagger, javelin, throwing knife, lariat, sling, spear, short sword (cutlass-like saber), and staff.

TRIBAL ARMOR: Leather coat, leather armor, studded leather armor, lamellar, scale mail, brigandine; leather coif, pot helm, and spangenhelm (i.e., “normal helm”); small, medium, and large wooden shields.

TRIBAL ABILITIES [LL]: Kholmyks can climb trees, cliffs, and mountains; train and ride hill ponies, donkeys, and mules; herd sheep, goats, and pigs; leap and jump; and imitate animal calls. They are considered native to forests, hills, and mountains.

TRIBAL ABILITIES [C&C]: Animal handling (ponies, donkeys), armor maker, battle cry, bowyer, first aid, horsemanship, horse warrior, scale, sound imitation, all wilderness abilities.

LANGUAGE: The Kholmyk tongue, like the people, is a thorough mix between Mhordlakhy and Kartaghan, with centuries of its own side-development; thus it sounds familiar to speakers of Mhordlakhy or Kartaghan, but is not understandable. It is usually written, when written at all, using a variant of Mhordlakhy script. Usually only the witches and shamans are literate.

MALE NAMES: Altzek, Balamber, Bezmer, Bleda, Chok, Ditzeng, Drogo, Dukum, Ellak, Ernak, Gostun, Grod, Hudbaad, Kardam, Kotrag, Krum, Kuber, Kubrat, Malamir, Mugel, Mundjuk, Ruga, Sevar, Telerig, Teletz, Tervel, Uldin, Vinekh, Vund, Zabergan.

FEMALE NAMES: Arzu, Asli, Ayla, Aylin, Aysel, Aysun, Basak, Belgin, Berna, Bilge, Deniz, Derya, Dilara, Dilek, Ebru, Elmas, Emel, Emine, Esen, Eser, Esin, Evren, Fidan, Gizem, Gonca, Gozde, Hande, Havva, Hazan, Muge, Nergis, Nesrin, Nuray, Ozge, Ozgur, Ozlem, Simge, Su, Tulay, Yildiz, Yonca.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

[Sunday Driver] The Wilderlands of High Fantasy

I'm stepping away from the Olden Lands for today's post, and zipping back to one of my favorite, if not my absolute favorite, campaign settings, the Wilderlands. This was the first Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting ever published; while Blackmoor and Greyhawk obviously predated the Wilderlands, neither of them beat the Wilderlands to publication as a campaign setting; similarly, while Tékumel was published in the Empire of the Petal Throne, they opted to use an off-shoot, self-contained system, rather than the straight-up D&D system.

The Wilderlands saw its genesis in Bob Bledsaw's first work on his own house campaign, which was unabashedly set in Middle-earth. A played-as-straight Middle-earth, as well, with few if any anachronistic or outre elements. Bob's campaign was so successful, and he was so inspired by it, he sought out the right to publish D&D materials from TSR back in early 1976. He was successful, after a fashion; at the time, the leads at TSR felt that publishing casual adventures and campaign material for D&D wasn't really worth doing, save in the tournament-based venue. So on July 4, 1976, Bob and Bill Owen started up Judges Guild, and the rest, as they say, is history. The first product, the city map, was released at Gen Con that year; the first copies sold were actually out of the trunk of the car, as they hadn't yet gotten a table at the show!

The Wilderlands went through several stages of development. First it was simply the City State of the Invincible Overlord, the "Nameless City" that Bob, an engineer and experienced draftsman, had drawn up. There he placed elements that he had developed in his Middle-earth campaign (washed of their Middle-earth natures) and threw in stuff from other fantasy, swords & sorcery, and science-fantasy literary traditions. You can see the influences of ERB and Barsoom, Lord Dunsany and Pegana, Fritz Leiber and Lankhmar, REH and Conan, Walton's Mabinogion, Moorcock and Elric, and the slew of more non-fictional works popular at the time concerning ancient myths and legends. There are even references to Hubbard and his work on Scientology!

The City State, in other words, was a great big melting pot of every possible fantasy- and science-fantasy related theme and idea then extant.

It sold like hotcakes. Frankly, it was Judges Guild's success with the City State and later the Wilderlands that brought TSR up to date with the profitability of releasing adventure modules and campaign support materials. The City State was released at Gen Con 1976. The first Judges Guild module, the classic funky horror/fun-house adventure Tegel Manor, was released April 1977; the first D&D module, G1: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, did not release until 1978 (note that though Wee Warriors published Palace of the Vampire Queen in 1976, it did not get wide enough release, for whatever reasons, to really kick off the module craze). From there, sales in the RPG market grew exponentially... both for TSR and Judges Guild.

Around the City State Bob built the Wilderlands, consisting of 18 maps, 22" x 17" filled with 5-Mile hexes (intended to originally be 15-Mile hexes, but due to a misunderstanding, ended up being 5-Mile), complete with wild and dangerous savage wilderness in between far-flung outposts of decadent civilization. The maps were filled with everything from lost cities to crashed space-vehicles; dwarves and elves, dragons and goblins, and stranger things. Dig deep enough in a dungeon and you'd find an "ancient" record-player; look closely at that Amazon keep and you'd see where the long rusted-away pipes, ages ago, carried rocket fuel to the alien ships that nestled around the then-fueling station.


It was weird, it was wacky, but it was also wonderful. And, with the minimalist Sandbox-style design of the setting -- in which the booklets listed basic settlements, citadels, ravaged ruins, lurid lairs, and idyllic isles -- a Judge was able to take the material presented and build upon it to make it his own Wilderlands, in a way that no other campaign setting has ever done since.

Eventually 18 maps were released for the Wilderlands:


The original booklets and maps are available today in PDF format on DriveThruRPG; note that the links below, except for the City State of the World Emperor, are merely for the books; the maps are each sold separately. The link for the CSWE is merely for Map 6, as the city books and city map are not yet available online.


 

 Wilderlands of the Magic Realm (Maps 11 to 14)


Three City States were produced during the first lifetime of Judges Guild. The City State of the Invincible Overlord is on Map 1; the City State of Tarantis is on Map 3, and the City State of the World Emperor is on Map 6.

The maps in the original series do not line up numerically; the numbers are based on when they were released, not where they were on the grand map. The later revamp of the setting by Necromancer Games re-numbered the maps so that they went in order, left to right, so the top left map was Map 1, the top right Map 3, the second row far left was Map 4, the last map in the bottom right was Map 18.

Judges Guild eventually "drilled down" from those 5-Mile hexes, in the Wilderness Books series, describing specific regions of Map 1, breaking each 5-Mile hex down into a grand hex 25 hexes across, each sub-hex 1/5th of a mile across. In total five volumes were published, each more detailed and in-depth than the previous:



Back in the 3E days, Necromancer Games revamped the Wilderlands setting, complete with newly-drawn maps and an expanded and updated listing of everything in the original Wilderlands books, plus bits from the Wilderness Books. They published a Player's Guide to the Wilderlands, a Wilderlands of High Fantasy Boxed Set (with all the maps and two HUGE volumes with all the details), plus the Third Edition of the City State of the Invincible Overlord.

Of course, those of you familiar with my work with AGP know that I picked up and ran with my own version of the Wilderlands, the Wilderlands of High Adventure. I was able to finally get Bob to tell me more about the world beyond the Wilderlands proper, and together we were able to put together a map of the continent of Rhadamanthia, of which the Wilderlands is merely the heart.


For an overview of the lands beyond the Wilderlands of High Fantasy, and the complete continent of Rhadamanthia, check out the World of the World of the Wilderlands of High Adventure.

Though Bob passed away back in 2008, his work and Judges Guild continues, led by his son, Bob Bledsaw II, and his grandson, Bob Bledsaw III (a true dynasty if ever there was one, with the recent birth of Bob Bledsaw IV). They recently held a very successful Kickstarter campaign that will enable them to re-publish the City State of the Invincible Overlord and re-publish all 18 Wilderlands maps in two new, full-color formats.

For tons of information on Judges Guild products, click here to check out the Judges Guild sub-web at the Acaeum.

Friday, July 11, 2014

[Throwback Thursday] 100 Street Vendors of the City State

AGP ended up going out with a bang and a whimper, all at once. My final product – though it certainly was not intended to be such when I was writing it – ended up being 100 Street Vendors of the City State. If I recall correctly, I started working on street vendors as I noticed that there was a gap… carts and vendors were noted as being in several places in the original City State, but few if any specific vendors were ever mentioned. That, plus a thorough reading of the “Open Market” section, a recent session where our party was offered rat on a stick, and fond memories of the classic children’s novel The Pushcart War, inspired me to write up some street vendors. It was merely going to be a list of 20 or so, included in what was supposed to be the second issue of Adventure Games Journal

Well, by now, most of you know that I can’t write 20 listings if I can go on to 30, or 50, or 100. And so over time it grew to 100 listings, filling gaps in shops and services that were missing in the City State, or that needed some more interesting competition. A few, such as the Hot Tamale vendor, were inspired by notes in the Guide to the City State; others were inspired from literature, movies, or television shows. There are a lot of pop-culture references hidden in there, Easter-egg style. A few personal references, too, that only a few will ever understand.

As you may have noticed, most of the credits in our JMG products include my wife, Jodi, as a co-author or assistant. While I had turned to her for advice and inspiration on all the AGP products, 100 Street Vendors was the first of my products in which she should really get an assist line, if not co-author credit. She was invaluable when I was working on 100 Street Vendors, and I dare say it never would have been finished if not for her. I like to think that I wrote it for her, after a fashion; to this day, when we are bored and I'm not up for writing, we pull out her tattered copy (first printed copy, ever), roll up a street vendor, and start telling each other tales about him or her and their adventures in the City State.

The biggest difficulty was putting together the price lists for all the vendors; I scoured dozens of sources, historical and game, to find out what prices the goods and services offered might reasonably have cost. At first I thought I had put too much thought into the whole process; then, one session while using the vendors, my players showed their usual perspicacity and penurious natures when they actually started haggling over the price of some pipeweed... and these, heroes with several levels and plenty of loot. So yes, I guess it really kind of mattered, after all.

Sadly, even though 100 Street Vendors got plenty of reviews and good word of mouth, sales were dismal. So dismal, in fact, that it was the final nail in the coffin, and the swan song for AGP, which folded shortly after the release. Heck, I never even got around to taking a picture of the print booklet version for the Catablog, as so few had ever been printed…

Here’s the blurb…
 This 64-page booklet is the first expansion for the City State of the Invincible Overlord since the release of the Wraith Overlord: Terror Beneath the City State adventure in 1981. It includes 100 street vendors selling everything from rat-on-a-stick and pastries to used weapons and second-hand slaves. Each description includes the stats for the vendor, NPC details, descripton of the vendor's wagon or cart, price list of goods and services, cash box contents, NPC disposition, and one or more rumors.
Here is the complete list of vendors: Advertiser, Animal Trainer, Apothecary, Armor-by-the-Piece, Armor-Repair-While-You-Wait, Artist, Astrologer, Barber, Barber, Baskets, Bone carvings, Bookseller, Candles & Torches, Unholy Candles, Carpets, Charcoal & Firewood, Clothing (Boots & Bits), Clothing (Cloaks & Tunics), Clothing (Belts & Baldrics), Clothing (Exotic), Clothing (Furs), Clothing (Gloves), Clothing (Hats), Clothing (Hose & Pantaloons), Clothing (Masks), Clothing (Pants & Trews), Clothing (Shoes), Dancer, Dentist, Drink (Ale), Drink (Ale), Drink (Beer), Drink (Beer), Drink (Wine), Flowers, Food (Bread & Pastries), Food (Dried Meats), Food (Fresh Fish), Food (Fresh Fish), Food (Fresh Meats), Food (Fresh Meats), Food (Fresh Vegetables & Grains), Food (Fresh Vegetables & Preserves), Food (Hot Tamales), Food (Iced Treats), Food (Khalav Khalash), Food (Live Animals), Food (Pastries), Food (Pastries), Food (Trail Rations), Fortune Teller, Gambler, Gambler, Used Glassware, Dearthwood Guide, Harlots, Healer, Herbalist, Insect Trainer, Interpreter, Costume Jewelry, Quality Jewelry, Laborers, Lamps, Locksmith, Massages, Messengers, Moneychangers, Moneychanger, Musical Instruments, Oil, Peddler, Perfumes & Soaps, Pipeweed & Diversions, Pipeweed & Diversions, Pipeweed & Diversions, Poet, Potions Salves & Nostrums, Rags, Rope & Twine, Rugs & Tapestries, Sage, Scribe, Scribe, Slaves for Rent, Slaves for Sale, Spices, Magical Stones, Street Preacher of Loki, Street Preacher of Mycr, Tailor: Clothing-Repaired-While-You-Wait, Tattoo Artist, Tinker, Imported Tools, Torches, Clockwork Toys, Imported Weapons, Second-Hand & Surplus Weapons, Wigs, and Wood Carvings Also includes a complete index of vendors by usual streets, markets, and city quarters locations, random vendor tables by market and district, and guidelines for haggling with vendors and for transforming street vendors into full-fledged establishments in the City State. AGP06201, 64-page 5.5" x 8.5" digest booklet, $12.00 US MSRP
100 Street Vendors of the City State is still available in PDF format through Judges Guild.