Monday, June 15, 2015

Levels Beyond Basic version 8 is up!

In fact, BOTH sections of Volume I are up; Section 1 - Characters and Combat, and Section 2 - Magic.

ODT is a wonderful medium to work in, but just not Libre Office 3. Before the upgrade to Ubuntu 12.04.whatever, the default ODT MSWord clone worked just fine. There were no hang-ups when I created odts that had 50 or more pages, with or without pictures, columns, footers & headers, and whenever I converted the odt into pdf - the finished product would not hiccup and bounce the inserted pics to the next empty page and otherwise screw up my page settings.

So, due to my own lack of time and patience to sit down & figure out why these things are happening, I just split LBB into 2 parts. There is nearly 30 pages of other stuff that wound up on the editing floor, and did not make it into this version. Most of it is a section on Variant spellcaster classes that needs a lot more work to make it presentable to my players as a set of house rules. This section may wind up in Volume III, the Referee's Guide.

Another biggie that got the ax is the "Spell Index" sorted by schools. This was cut due to the expected size of the index when finished (I only have the MU, Cleric and Druid spells listed so far - and I have yet to finish the Illusionist & Witch spells!), and b sorting spells by school, the rules would shift ever so blatantly towards the Advanced game, even if classifying all spells according to AD&D schools is primarily a tool to help players & refs design new spells.

Cutting the index led in turn to the cutting of the Vancian Spell section. There are only a handful of finished spells for this section and several hundred Vancian spell names with only another hundred or so with the barest descriptions of what the spell can do.

Of the final thing to get cut is the Warlock Variant and the Tiefling race. These are pet projects of mine, and may eventually find their way into a house rules supplement. For now, I am primarily designing a Tiefling Warlock class for a new player who likes these sort of things. For that matter, I rather like Tieflings, and I think that the Warlock class is a drop-dead fit for that race. Unfortunately, it may not blend so well with the implied setting of Holmes and Portown. Time will tell, and thankfully so, as I will have to spend quite a bit of it to perfect this race & class for LBB rules.

WHEW! Now that Volume I of "Levels Beyond Basic" is finished, its a load off my mind, and now I can start serious development on the second volume tentatively titled: "Holmes' Hordes & Hoards". I originally wanted to reprint all the monsters and treasures from 0e, Holmes & the Supplements, only put together  - exactly like the Monster Manual, and the treasure section of the DMG...

However, that idea never really settled well with me, since, if I want HH&H to look just like the MM & DMG, why not just use the MM & DMG instead of reinventing the wheel yet again? So, taking a cue from the ingenious "Dungeon Alphabet" for S&W or Labyrinth Lord (or any OSR game for that matter), I will attempt to present monsters and treasures in a slightly different way. In fact, it may turn out to look a lot like the Monster & Treasure Assortment supplements, but there are a lot of little extras that I will throw in too.

Things like: a "Why is This Monster Here?" table; a Holmesian monster name generator; the Portown Wandering Monster Encounter Table (geared towards my own version of Portown), an Ancient & Rare Coins table, and other variations on random magic items, and some other things I thought of whilst driving at work last night and promptly forgot about...

I continue to change Volume III's name, which may be a fortunate thing. At this moment, it is tentatively titled "The Holmes' Referee's Portown Guide", or the HRPG. I expect that Volume III will most likely undergo several more name changes until it is finally finished.

I am continually finding a lot of things to cram into the Ref's Portown Guide, and I am afraid that it may be easier to rename all of my optional rules and slap a "HRPG Supplement" tag on the cover of each and be done with it!

I have so many things ready to go, but have never released (due to art & copyright stuff), that without further editing, could take up 100 or more pages already. Just thinking about it exhausts me. :P

Anyhoo, most of this is purely speculative until its actually finished. LBB vol. I is not really finished, because I'll always toy with the writing and go in and find typos and contradictions in the rules I added, but mainly, it'll never be finished until I find or make my own original art for it.

Also, I do not intend to start a kickstarter, crowdfund, or patronize for any sort of campaign of other people's money to put this into print. It'll always be free, as long as it stays up, and not declared to be an illegal document.

Any modules I create for 0e, Holmes, Basic, Advanced, or otherwise OSRIC, or OSR in general is another story. I could rationalize selling modules or adventures (campaigns) on Drivethru or RPGNow for a few bucks or cents, whichever comes first. :D