I should have posted about this sooner, but I’ve been on vacation, so my boss has cut me a little slack.
Recently, Sid Icarus invited me to sit down and have a chat with him about my process, a love for learning, the value of our work, my inherent gracelessness, Leif Mustard, failure, and . . . well, and so much more.
For the next 24 hours you can purchase issue 3 of Worlds Without Master, the very same issue that includes the critically acclaimed sword & sorcery roleplaying game Swords Without Master, for just twice the usual price!
And I fully intend to see a sweet century of games this way. Or fail trying!
This is why we experiment, folks! The two features I wanted to test here, namely the reverse sale where the price is increased and the progress bar that reflects the sales made so far, don’t seem to be functioning.
When you click on the issue to buy it, you’re offered the issue at the regular price.
Thus far, folks who have bought the issue used Itch.io‘s tip system to honor the sale. My hat’s off to these good folk! But their purchases don’t seem to count against the sales goal.
So here’s my deal! Until this gets sorted on the backend, if you manually add the reverse sale’s extra 100%, I’ll manually update the progress bar with my awesome drawing abilities!
Time & Temp has been up on IPR since, well, since Time & Temp has been a thing. And Dread before that! But I’ve been embarrassingly slow at getting the rest of my catalog up on the Indie Press Revolution. That is, until now!
It’s a pleasure working with IPR. They’ve got a hands-on approach that sets them apart of some of the other sites I’ve join so far this year, which is both helpful and reassuring in a way that automated systems simply can’t be. They’re also really big on con support, and since I’m inching my way back to print products, that’s something I think I’m going to appreciate.
I’m not overbrimming with opinions about Gumroad at the moment. It was easy to set up, but it doesn’t seem to handle VAT and there isn’t a whole lot of structure for cross-pollination, so right now I’m a bit more enamored with Itch.io.
That said, I’ve not done a deep dive on all the features offered by Gumroad. If you’re a Gumroad seller with an opinion to share, tell me what you’re digging!
That way you can mark off the games as you meet new friends and play with them. Or just grab the image below, check the games off with MS Paint—or whatever your favorite image editor is—and proudly display it in your social media to make your friends jealous.
The Epidiah Ravachol Starter Kit
But wait, Eppy! You’ve already marred my perfect checklist with four check marks. What gives?
That’s cause I’m going to get you started with four free games!
Trial & Terror: Supernatural Victims Unit—The first game I playstormed with the Imagination Sweatshop. Jason Keeley, Jim Sullivan and I sat down one Friday night with only the slightest inkling of a police procedural game set in a NYC where vampires and werewolves walk openly alongside mortals. By the next Friday we were on a train to JiffyCon with stacks of the complete, freshly printed game. Can your detectives build enough of a case in the first half for your district attorneys to argue in the second half? It’s a timed game and it’s free.
MonkeyDome—Another rolls around, another JiffyCon looms just a week away, and the Imagination Sweatshop, this time including Emily Care Boss, Jason Keeley, Jim Sullivan, John Stavropolous and myself, spends a Friday evening whittling a list of 20 one-line game ideas down to MonkeyDome. A post-apocalyptic jaunt through tonal whiplash. This game set the stage for Swords Without Master, which in turn set the stage for so many of my other games at Worlds Without Master. Truly a pivotal moment in my own game design, and it’s free!
Spaceknights—Inspired by Rom and Texas Hold’em, this game was made as part of a 24-hour, one-page front and back, game design contest. And it shows. But hey, it’s free!
What is a Role-Playing Game?—An entire game in 463 words that teaches you what a roleplaying game is. Pound for pound, the best deal in tabletop roleplaying. Free to read. Free to play. Free to use.
Tis the Epimas season, once again. And once again, you get the unique opportunity to give the gift of games to friends and loved ones, and receive that same gift for yourself!
This year, each bundle has at least one issue of Worlds Without Master in it, which means each issue has at least one game from Worlds Without Master in it: Swords Without Master, Enter the Avenger, Wolfspell, A Scoundrel in the Deep, Sorceress Bloody Sorceress, Invisible Empire, No Longer With Us, Masks of the Mummy Kings, and The Dread Geas of Duke Vulku!
Epimas is a yearly celebration of gaming, a holiday tradition that stretches back to the dawn of civilization, and one known the world over. And the mainstream media has done everything in their power to erase it from the season. These eight pissed-off reindeer aren’t having it anymore.
This year, Epimas fights back!
Each bundle listed at WorldsWithoutMaster.com/Epimas is a trove of indie tabletop roleplaying games and supplements. Individually, each bundle is worth an excess of $20. But you can gift any bundle below to a friend for only $12. And you get that same bundle for yourself, for free! Here’s how it works:
When you click on an Add to Cart button, you will be asked for a recipient’s email address.
As per tradition, your gift recipient will receive an email on Epimas (December 24th) with instructions on how to get their PDFs.
Meanwhile, you will be able to download the PDFs at the moment of purchase.
That way you will have time to read the instructions so you can play the games with your friends on Epimas.
What’s more, if you purchase 2 or more bundles at once, you can use the coupon code ReindeerGames to get a 10% discount. If you purchase 4 or more bundles at once, you can use the coupon code SquadGoals for a 25% discount. And if you got for the whole lot, you can use the coupon codeWholeTofoosefor a 50% discount. That’s over $200 worth of games for you and your friend for just $48!
Published late last night, the 10th issue of Worlds Without Master holds within its covers the weird fantasy game The Dread Geas of Duke Vulku. The game is blend of horror and sword & sorcery, inspired in part by the works of Clark Ashton Smith and Jack Vance. You are skalds and half-scholars under the geas of Duke Vulku and compelled by witchery to adventure with him at the command of the seventeen sages. This game is also a glimpse at what Dread may have looked like if I had waited until today to write it.
It has been over 15 years since Dread was first conceived and over ten since it was born. When the first game ever of Dread was played, there was still an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. The litany of changes to the design and structure of tabletop roleplaying games and to the methods of production and distribution since then is staggering. Pile upon that my own personal journey through gaming this past decade and a half, and you have a recipe for a new take on a familiar game.
The Dread Geas of Duke Vulku has all the elements of classic Dread.
There’s the Jenga tower, though now it is called the Spire.
Characters still die when it falls, but now there’s stuff to do once you’ve crossed over.
Characters are created through questionnaires, though much shorter ones and now the Host has their own questionnaire to fill out.
Fighting amongst yourselves is still bad news.
The heroic sacrifice option is still there, but with a couple twists, including the right to demand of your companions “Which among you will sing of this?”
The Dread Geas of Duke Vulku has a much sharper focus than Dread. It is a single scenario. One that can be played over and over without fear of spoiling the mystery, but it does not have Dread‘s scope. In its stead, you will find specific rules tailored to the scenario. This is the marriage of Dread and Apocalypse Worldwith moves built around the pulling of blocks. Among the list of new wonders to be discovered by fans of classic Dread there are:
Custom moves for each character, inspired in part by some of the designs in Dread House, where each player keeps a cache of blocks that can be used in lieu of pulling from the Spire.
Each time the Spire falls, one of the surviving characters will learn new moves.
Those sinister enough to set their will against that of Duke Vulku’s must make their pulls with their off hand.
Those that have died can still mete their petty vengeance upon their former companions by forcing them to push blocks back into the Spire.
If you are all curious, I urge you to surrender yourself to the Duke’s will today. Pick up your copy of Worlds Without Master issue 10. Regret will be the least of your torments in Duke Vulku’s service.