Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Alahazra and Delays in the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game OPP

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game organized play program participants received some not altogether unexpected bad news yesterday ... the organized play program launch has been delayed until October 1, due to difficulties with the printing and distribution of the character class decks and OP materials to retailers.

I say the news is not unexpected.  It's been obvious, from official announcements and rumblings within the fanbase, that Paizo has been encountering difficulties with the printing and distribution of the new Skull and Shackles materials for several weeks now.  In my opinion, their difficulties have been compounded by a, frankly, too aggressive adventure release schedule, with planned monthly adventure releases.  

While their fans remain in a holding pattern, Paizo has thrown them a bone by way of an advance peek at the new Alahazra digital miniature sculpt (see above) and a promotional item card for the Skull and Shackles game.

I'm impressed with the new digital character render previews for the Pathfinder iconic characters.  The first set of six minis didn't impress me as much as the second set of six though.

I'm planning to participate in the organized play program at the local game store, and I'm not all disappointed by the delay, as it buys me some time to get better acquainted with the PACG system.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Darkest Dungeon Update

The squire and I kickstarted this video game, as it has a similar vibe to the original Diablo video game.

Here are a couple of examples of play, based on the current beta state of the game.  Looks pretty intense!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Alahazra in The Pathfinder Skull And Shackles ACG Base Set

If you decide to purchase the new Paizo Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (PACG), Skull And Shackles Base Set, I highly recommend you include Alahazra in any adventuring party your organize.

In PACG, each player takes turns sending their character to an adventure location and attempting an encounter.  An encounter consists of turning over the top card in the adventure location deck, and following the instructions on the card.

Alahazra's special ability is to look at any card on the top of any adventure location deck.  She can do this multiple times during her, and any other player's turn, as long as she has the spell cards necessary to power her ability.

This ability allows her to see what the encounter will be, before a character is sent to any location.  As a result, the active player can send their character to the encounter they are best equipped to deal with, rather than blindly flipping  a card and discovering you are unsuited for that encounter.

A super-powerful ability, and one that every PACG adventure party should take complete advantage of.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Appendix N: September 2014

Considering how little my Appendix N list has grown in the last six months, its debatable whether this update is strictly necessary.  However, a recent entry on another blog prompted the addition of a pair of writers, Bakker and Erikson, and their book series, to my to-buy list. 

Since I use this list as a resource as I browse out-of-the-way used bookstores, I'm updated it as well. 

The only books I have added to my Appendix N list since April 2014 are a trio of Lin Carter anthologies: Golden Cities, Far; Discoveries In Fantasy; and Dragons, Elves and Heroes.

Abbey, Lynn: Daughter of the Bright Moon; The Black Flame

Adams, Richard: Watership Down; Shardik

Alexander, Lloyd: The Book of Three 1; The Black Cauldron 2; The Castle of Llyr 3; Taran Wanderer 4; The High King 5

Anderson, Poul: Ensign Flandry; Flandry Of Terra; Agent of the Terran Empire; The Long Night; Three Hearts and Three Lions; The Broken Sword; The High Crusade; A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows; The Last Viking 1; Hrolf Kraki's Saga

Anthony, Piers: A Spell for Chameleon; Split Infinity; On A Pale Horse; Ogre, Ogre

Ariosto, Ludovico: Orlando Furioso

Asimov, Isaac:  I, Robot; Foundation

Asprin, Robert A.: Thieves World I; Tales from the Vulgar Unicorn II; Shadows of Sanctuary III; Storm Season IV; The Face of Chaos V; Another Fine Myth

Bakker, R. Scott:  The Judging Eye

Barker, M.A.R.: The Man Of Gold; Flamesong

Baum, L. Frank: The Wizard Of Oz, Emerald City Of Oz, Land of Oz

Beagle, Peter S.: The Last Unicorn; A Fine And Private Place

Beckford, William:  Vathek

Bedier, Joseph: Tristan and Iseult

Bellairs, John: The Face In The Frost

Bellamy, Francis R : Atta

Bester, Alfred:  The Stars My Destination

Blackwood, Algernon: 

Bloodstone, John: Thundar Man Of Two Worlds

Bloch, Robert: Strange Eons

Bok, Hannes: The Sorcerers Ship; Beyond the Golden Stair

Brackett, Leigh: Eric John Stark, Outlaw Of Mars; The Best Of Leigh Brackett; The Sword Of Rhiannon; The Ginger Star 1; The Hounds Of Skaith 2; Reavers of Skaith 3

Bradbury, Ray:  The Martian Chronicles

Bradley, Marion Z: Warrior Women; Sword and Sorceress Anthology; Sword And Sorceress II; Sword And Sorceress III, Sword And Sorceress VII; The Planet Savers 1958; The Sword Of Aldones 1962; The Bloody Sun 1964; Star Of Danger 1965; The Winds Of Darkover 1970; The Forbidden Tower 1977; Stormqueen! 1978; Seven From The Stars;

Bramah, Ernest:  Kai Lung's Golden Hours; Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat

Brooks, Terry: The Sword of Shannara

Brown, Fredric: The Best Of Fredric Brown; What Mad Universe

Brunner, John: Secret Agent Of Terra; Stand On Zanzibar

Budrys, Algis: Rogue Moon

Bulmer, Kenneth:

Burroughs, Edgar R.: Pellucidar; Tanar of Pellucidar; A Princess Of Mars 1; The Gods Of Mars 2; Warlord Of Mars 3; Thuvia, Maid Of Mars 4; Chessmen of Mars 5; The Mastermind of Mars 6; A Fighting Man of Mars 7; The Moon Maid; Out of Time’s Abyss; Jungle Girl, Land of Hidden Men; Pirates Of Venus; Lost On Venus; Carson Of Venus; Escape On Venus;  Tarzan Of The Apes 1; The Return Of Tarzan 2; The Beasts of Tarzan 3; The Son Of Tarzan 4; Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar 5; Tarzan and the Lost Empire 10; At The Earth's Core

Cabell, James Branch: Figures Of Earth; Domnei; Cream Of The Jest; The Silver Stallion; Jurgen, A Comedy Of Justice; Something About Eve; The High Place

Campbell, J Ramsey: Demons by Daylight

Card, Orson Scott:  Ender's Game

Carter, Lin: Thongor and the Dragon City; Thongor and the Wizards of Lemuria; Thongor Fights the Pirates of Tarakus; Thongor and the End of Time; Zanathon; Tower at the Edge of Time; The Black Star; Beyond The Gates Of Dream; Down To A Sunless Sea; Journey to the Underground World; Warrior of World’s End; Flashing Swords 1; Flashing Swords 2; Flashing Swords 3; Flashing Swords 4; Flashing Swords 5; Dragons, Elves and Heroes; Golden Cities, Far; The Spawn of Cthuhlu; Discoveries In Fantasy; Great Short Novels Of Adult Fantasy; New Worlds For Old; The Young Magicians; Lost Worlds;

Cervantes, Miguel: Don Quixote

Chalker, Jack L.: Midnight at the Well of Souls 1; Exiles at the Well of Souls 2; Quest For the Well Of Souls 3; The Return of Nathan Brazil 4, Twilight at the Well of Souls 5

Chandler, A. Bertram: The Road To The Rim; The Hard Way; The Wild Ones; The Inheritors; The Gateway To Never; Star Courier; To Keep The Ship; Matilda's Stepchildren; The Rim Of Space;

Chant, Joy: Red Moon And Black Mountain

Cherryh, C.J.:  Ealdwood; Downbelow Station

Chesterton, G.K.:  The Man Who Was Thursday

Clarke, Arthur:  Rendezvous With Rama

Cook, Glen: The Black Company

Cooper, Edmund:  Double Phoenix

Crawford, F Marion:  Khaled

Daley, Brian: Han Solo At Star’s End; Han Solo’s Revenge; Han Solo And The Lost Legacy

Davidson, Avram: The Phoenix And The Mirror; The Island Under the Earth; Masters of the Maze

deCamp, L. Sprague:  The Virgin & The Wheels; The Tritonian Ring; The Complete Compleat Enchanter; The Compleat Enchanter; Lovecraft, A Biography; Swords And Sorcery; Spell of Seven; The Fantastic Swordsmen;  Warlocks and Warriors; The Fallible Fiend; Conan The Barbarian; Conan And The Spider God; Lest Darkness Fall; The Carnelian Cube; The Emperors Fan; The Reluctant King; The Unbeheaded King; The Goblin Tower; The Clocks Of Iraz; The Queen Of Zamba; The Hand Of Zei; The Hostage Of Zir; The Virgin Of Zesh

Derleth, August: The Trail of Cthuhlu

Dick, Phillip K: Eye In The Sky, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?

Dickson, Gordon R.: Dorsai!; The Dragon and the George

Donaldson, Stephen: Thomas Covenant The Unbeliever

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan: The Lost World

Drake, David:  Hammer's Slammers

Dumas, Alexandre: The Three Musketeers

Dunsany, Lord: The King Of Elfland’s Daughter; Over the Hills and Far Away; The Charwoman's Shadow; Don Rodriguez; At The Edge Of The World; Beyond The Fields We Know; 51 Tales

Eco, Umberto: The Name Of The Rose

Eddings, David: Pawn of Prophecy, Queen Of Sorcery, Magician’s Gambit, Castle of Wizardry, Enchanter’s Endgame

Eddison, E. R.: The Worm Ouroboros; Mistress of Mistresses; A Fish Dinner In Memison; The Mezentian Gate

Ende, Michael: The Neverending Story

Eriksen, Stephen: Gardens Of The Moon, Deadhouse Gates

Farmer, Philip Jose: The Maker Of Universes 1; The Gates Of Creation 2; A Private Cosmos 3; Behind The Walls Of Terra; The Lavalite World; Hadon Of Ancient Opar

Fiest, Raymond: Magician

Finney, Charles: The Unholy City; The Circus of Dr. Lao

Foster, Alan Dean: Nor Crystal Tears, Splinter of the Minds Eye; The End of the Matter; The Tar-Aiym Krang; Bloodhype; Orphan Star; For Love Of Mother-Not; The Time Of The Transference

Fox, Gardner: Kothar Barbarian Swordsman; Kothar and the Conjurer's Curse; Kothar and the Wizard Slayer; Kothar and the Magic Sword; Kothar And The Demon Queen; Kyrik Warlock Warrior; Kyrik Fights The Demon World; Kyrik and the Lost Queen; Kyrik and the Wizards Sword; Warrior Of Llarn; Thief Of Llarn

Funke, Cornelia: Inkheart

Gardner, Craig Shaw: A Malady Of Magicks

Garner, Alan: The Moon Of Gomrath; The Weirdstone of Brisingamen; Elidor

Gemmell, David: Legend

Goldman, William: The Princess Bride

Glut, Donald F: The Empire Strikes Back

Green, Roger: King Arthur

Gygax, Gary: City Of Hawks; The Samarkand Solution; The Anubis Murders; Death In Delhi; City Of Hawks

Haggard, H. Rider: King Solomon's Mines; The People Of The Mist; The World's Desire; When The World Shook; She And Allan;  She; The Return Of She Ayesha

Haldeman, Joe:  The Forever War

Hambly, Barbara: The Time of the Dark; The Walls Of Air, The Armies of Daylight; The Ladies of Mandrigyn, Dragonsbane

Harrison, Harry: The Adventures Of The Stainless Street Rat; The Stainless Steel Rat

Harrison, M. John:  The Pastel City; A Storm Of Wings; In Viriconium; The Centauri Device; The Machine In Shaft 10

Heinlein, Robert: Glory Road; The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress; Starship Troopers

Herbert, Frank:  Dune

Hickman, Tracy:

Hodgson, W.H.: The House On The Borderland; The Night Land; Boats Of Glen Carrig; Carnacki The Ghost Finder; The Ghost Pirates

Holdstock, Robert:  Mythago Wood

Holmes, John Eric: Mahars of Pellucidar

Horwood, William:  Duncton Wood

Howard, Robert E.: Cthulhu; Sword Woman; Almuric; The People Of The Black Circle; Red Nails; Shadow Kingdoms; People Of The Dark; Beyond The Black River; The Hour Of The Dragon; Black Hounds Of Death; Conan 1; Conan Of Cimmeria 2; Conan the Freebooter 3; Conan the Wanderer 4; Conan the Adventurer 5; Conan the Buccaneer 6; Conan The Warrior 7; Conan The Usurper 8; Conan The Conqueror 9; Conan The Avenger 10; Conan Of Aquilonia 11; Conan of The Isles 12; Solomon Kane, The Hills Of The Dead; Skull-Face; Black Canaan; Swords Of Shahrazar; Marchers Of Valhalla, The Book Of Robert E. Howard; The Second Book Of Robert E. Howard; Tigers Of The Sea; Bran Mak Morn; Son Of The White Wolf; The Last Ride; The Lost Valley Of Iskander; Black Vulmea's Vengeance; The Vultures Of Whapeton; Pigeons From Hell; The Sowers Of The Thunder; The Iron Man; The Gods Of Bal-Sagoth

Hughart, Barry:  Bridge of Birds

Hyne, C J Cutliffe: The Lost Continent

Jackson, Steve: Fighting Fantasy; The Warlock of Firetop Mountain 1; The Citadel of Chaos 2; The Forest Of Doom 3; Deathtrap Dungeon 6; Curse Of The Mummy 27; Armies Of Death 36

Jakes, John: The Last Magicians; Brak The Barbarian; Mark of Demons; The Sorceress; The Fortunes Of Brak; When Idols Walked; Mention My Name In Atlantis

James, M.R.:

Kay, Guy Gavriel: The Summer Tree; Tigana

Kline, Otis Adelbert: Swordsman Of Mars;  Outlaw Of Mars; Planet of Peril; Port of Peril, Prince of Peril

Kuttner, Henry: Fury; The Mask Of Circe; Elak Of Atlantis, The Dark World, Robots Have No Tails

Kurtz, Katherine: Deryni Rising; Deryni Checkmate; High Deryni

Lanier, Sterling: Hiero’s Journey; The Unforsaken Hiero

Laumer, Keith:  Envoy To New Worlds; A Plague Of Demons

L’Engle, Madeleine: A Wrinkle In Time

Le Guin, Ursula: A Wizard Of Earthsea; The Left Hand Of Darkness; Tehanu; The Farthest Shore

Lee, Tanith: The Book Of The Damned I; The Book Of The Beast II; The Birthgrave; The Dragon Hoard; The Storm Lord,  Night’s Master, Death’s Master

Leiber, Fritz: Swords and Deviltry 1; Swords Against Death 2; Swords In The Mist 3; Swords And Wizardry 4; The Swords of Lankhmar 5; Swords and Ice Magic 6; The Knight and Knave of Swords; Heroes And Horrors

Lem, Stanislaw:  Solaris

Lewis, C.S.: The Voyage Of The Dawntreader; The Silver Chair

Lindsay, David: A Voyage To Arcturus

Livingston, Ian: The Forest Of Doom3, Deathtrap Dungeon 3; Armies Of Death 36; Curse Of The Mummy 27;

Lovecraft, H.P.: The Doom That Came To Sarnath; The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath; The Shadow Over Innsmouth; At The Mountains Of Madness; The Lurker At The Threshold; The Tomb; The Watchers Out Of Time; At the Mountains of Madness Omnibus 1; Waking Up Screaming; The Dunwich Horror

Lumley, Brian: The Burrowers Beneath; The Transition Of Titus Crow; Spawn of the Winds; The Clock of Dreams; In The Moons Of Borea; Khai of Ancient Khem; Hero Of Dreams

MacDonald, George:  Lilith; Phantastes; The Princess And The Goblin; The Princess And The Curdie; Evanor; At The Back Of The North Wind; The Wise Woman

Machen, Arthur:  The Three Imposters; The Great God Pan

MacLiesh, Roderick:  Prince Ombra

Malory, Sir Thomas: Le Morte D'Arthur

Martin, George R.R.: Dying Of The Light; A Song Of Ice And Fire

Matheson, Richard: I Am Legend

McCaffery, Anne: The Ship Who Sang; Dinosaur Planet; Dragonflight 1

McKillip, Patricia:  Riddle-master of Hed

McKinley, Robin:  Hero And The Crown; The Blue Sword

Meredith, George:  The Shaving Of Shagpat

Merritt, A.: The Ship Of Ishtar; The Seven Footprints Of Satan; The Moon Pool; The Metal Monsters; The Face In The Abyss; Dwellers In the Mirage; Creep Shadow Creep

Miller, Walter: A Canticle For Leibowitz

Mirrlees, Hope:  Lud-in-the Mist

Moorcock, Michael: Legends From The End Of Time; The Jewel In The Skull; The Mad God’s Amulet; The Sleeping Sorceress; The Runestaff; The Lord of the Spiders; The Masters of the Pit; The City of the Beast; The Warlord of the Air; Stealer Of Souls; Stormbringer; Elric of Melnibone; Elric At The End Of Time; The Vanishing Tower; The King Of Swords 3; Sword of the Dawn; The Sailor On The Seas Of Fate; The Sword Of The Dawn

Moore, C.L.: Northwest Smith; Jirel Of Joiry

Morris, Janet: High Couch of Silistra; The Golden Sword

Morris, William: The Well At Worlds End I; The Well At Worlds End II; The Wood Beyond the World; The Water of the Wondrous Isles; The Sundering Flood; The Glittering Plain; The House Of The Wolfings; The Roots Of The Mountains

Mundy, Talbot: Tros Of Samothrace; Avenging Liafail 2; Liafail3; The Praetor's Dungeon 3; The Purple Pirate 6

Niven, Larry: The Man-Kzin Wars; A World Out Of Time; A Gift From Earth; Tales of Known Space; Neutron Star; The Magic May Return; The Magic Goes Away; The Flight of the Horse; Ringworld; World Of Ptavvs

Norman, John: Tarnsman Of Gor 1; Outlaw Of Gor 2; Priest-Kings Of Gor 3; Nomads Of Gor 4; Assassin Of Gor 5; Raiders Of Gor 6; Captive Of Gor 7; Hunters Of Gor 8; Marauders Of Gor 9, Tribesmen Of Gor 10, Slave Girl of Gor 11; Time Slave

Norton, Andre: Quag Keep; Exiles of the Stars; Warlock of Witch World; High Sorcery; Witch World; Sargasso Of Space; Lord Of Thunder

Nowlan, Philip F.: Armageddon 2419 A.D.

Offutt, Andrew J.: Demon In The Mirror 1; Eyes Of Sarsis 2; Web Of The Spider 3; Conan, The Sword of Skelos; Conan The Mercenary; Swords Against Darkness I; Swords Against Darkness II; Swords Against Darkness III; Swords Against Darkness IV; Swords Against Darkness V; The Iron Lords 1; Shadows Out Of Hell 2; The Lady Of The Snowmist 3; Sword of the Gael 1; The Undying Wizard 2; The Sign of the Moonbow 3; The Mists Of Doom 4;

Peake, Mervyn:  Ghormenghast; Titus Groan; Titus Alone

Piper, H. Beam: Space Viking; Little Fuzzy; Fuzzy Sapiens; Fuzzies And Other People; Lord Kalvan Of Otherwhen

Poe, Edgar Allan:  Collected Stories

Powers, Tim:  On Stranger Tides; The Anubis Gates

Pratchett, Terry: The Colour Of Magic; The Light Fantastic, Equal Rites, Mort

Pratt, Fletcher: Land Of Unreason; The Blue Star; The Well of the Unicorn; The Carnelian Cube

Saberhagen, Fred: The First Book Of Swords; Second Book Of Swords; Third Book Of Swords; Empire Of The East

Salmonson, Jessica: Amazons!

Schmitz, James: The Witches of Karres; The Demon Breed

Shackleford, Jack D.: Tanith

Shea, Michael: Color Out Of Time; A Quest For Simbilis; Nifft The Lean; The Incompleat Nifft; The Mines of Behemoth; The A`Rak

Sims, John:

Sirota, Mike: Master Of Boranga

Smith, Clark Ashton: Lost Worlds Volume 1; Lost Worlds Volume 2; Out Of Space And Time 1; Out Of Space And Time 2; The Abominations of Yondo; Genius Loci; Poseidonis; Zothique; Hyperborea; Xiccarph; Tales Of Science And Sorcery; Other Dimensions 1; Other Dimensions 2

Smith, David: Red Sonja 1; Red Sonya 2, Demon Knight; Red Sonja 3, When Hell Laughs; Black Vulmea, The Witch of the Indes

Smith, L. Neil: Lando Calrissian and the Midharp of Sharu; Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of Thonboka; Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Osean

Smith, E.E. ‘Doc’: Triplanetary

Spenser, Edmund:  The Faerie Queene

Springer, Nancy: The White Hart; The Silver Sun

St. Clair, Margaret: The Shadow People; Sign of the Labrys

Stapledon, Olaf:  Last And First Men; Starmaker

Stasheff, Christopher: The Warlock Wandering; The Warlock Rock; A Warlock's Blade; Warlock And Son; The Warlock Is Missing; Her Majesty's Wizard; King Kobold

Stewart, Mary: The Crystal Cave; The Hollow Hills; The Last Enchantment

Swann, Thomas: Green Phoenix; The Goat Without Horns; The Forest Of Forever; Day Of The Minotaur; Cry Silver Bells; Moondust; The Gods Abide

Taylor, Paul: The Elder Edda

Tierney, Richard: Red Sonja 1; Red Sonya 2, Demon Knight; Red Sonja 3, When Hell Laughs; The Drums Of Chaos

Tolkien, J.R.R.: The Hobbit; The Lord Of The Rings

Twain, Mark:  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Tubb, E.C.: The Winds Of Gath 1; Derai 2; Toyman 3; Kalin 4; Jester Of Scar 5; Lallia 6; Technos 7; Veruchia 8; Mayenne 9; Jondelle 10; Zenya 11; Eloise 12; Eye Of The Zodiac 13; Jack Of Swords 14; Spectrum Of A Forgotten Sun 15; Haven Of Darkness 16; Prison Of Night 17; Incident of Ath 18; The Quillian Sector 19; Web Of Sand 20; Iduna's Universe 21; The Terra Data 22

Van Arnam, Dave: Star Barbarian

Van Vogt, A.E.: The Voyage Of The Space Beagle; Quest For The Future

Vance, Jack: The Languages Of The Pao; The Dragon Masters; The Best of Jack Vance; The Dying Earth; The Eyes of the Overworld; Cugel’s Saga; Rhialto The Marvelous; Trullion, Alastor 2262; Wyst, Alastor 1716; Marune, Alastor 933; The Faceless Man 1; The Brave Free Men 2; The Astura 3; Lyonesse 1; The Green Pearl 2; Madouc 3; The Face 4; The Blue World; Galactic Effectuator; Big Planet; City Of The Chasch 1; Servants of the Wankh 2; The Dirdir 3; The Pnume 4; The Last Castle; The Palace of Love; The Book of Dreams

Verne, Jules: The Mysterious Island; A Journey To The Centre Of The Earth;

Voltaire:  Candide

Walton, Evangeline:  The Island of the Mighty; The Children Of Llyr; The Song Of Rhiannon; Prince of Annwyn

Wagner, Karl E: Bloodstone; Death Angel’s Shadow; Dark Crusade; Legion From The Shadows

Weinbaum, Stanley; The Black Flame; A Martian Odyssey

Wellman, Manly Wade: The Old Gods Waken; The Hanging Stones; The Lost And The Lurking; After Dark; Silver John; Who Fears The Devil?

White, Theodore: The Once and Future King

Williams, Robert M.: Return of Jongor

Williamson, Jack: The Trial Of Terra; The Legion Of Space

Wolfe, Gene: The Shadow of the Torturer 1; The Citadel Of The Autarch 4

Zelazny, Roger: Nine Princes In Amber; The Guns of Avalon; Sign of the Unicorn; The Hand of Oberon; The Courts of Chaos; Jack Of Shadows; Dilvish, The Damned; The Changing Land; Isle of the Dead; Trumps of Doom; Blood Of Amber; Sign Of Chaos; Knight Of Shadows; Prince of Chaos, The Chronicles Of Amber 1

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Paizo: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Skull And Shackles Review

For several years, from 2010-2012, I'd been searching for a card-based fantasy roleplaying game resource.  As a busy family man, it was difficult finding time to prepare for role-playing game sessions, and do all of the between-game record-keeping.  A card-based fantasy RPG resource system, I reasoned, would save time by allowing DMs and players to participate in adventures without the necessity for a lot of pre- or post-game preparation and record-keeping.

As nothing suitable was on the market, I'd gone so far as to develop a structure and color-coding of cards and a method of maintaining character decks from game to game (essentially having 18 card-slot tri-fold vinyl binders, within each of which a player's character resource cards would be stored).

In August 2013, Paizo published their Pathfinder Adventure Card Game ("PACG"): Rise Of The Runelords ("ROTR") Base Set.  As I've mentioned in the past, although I'm a big fan of Paizo, and have purchased their many resource card and miniatures sets, I'm not a Pathfinder RPG player.  I had heard the PACG system was similar, mechanically, to the Pathfinder RPG game, and was initially leery of purchasing ROTR, as I had little interest in playing DnD 3.75.

However, my disinclination towards complicated RPG systems was mitigated by my love of resource cards, and this game was reportedly bursting with them ... to the tune of 1,100.  I purchased the initial ROTR Base Set and all of the adventure expansions, intending to see whether this was my resource-card Holy Grail, but due to a transfer to another position and city, I never had an opportunity to open the box and play the game.

This summer, the squire and I attended Gencon 2014.  Paizo released the Skulls and Shackles Base Set and hosted a booth and gaming tables at Gencon, but the Paizo traffic was so heavy we never did obtain access to either (though we attempted a dozen times).  It was just as well, I suppose: I'd have bought the new Skull and Shackles ("SAS") Base Set, sight unseen, even though I really had no way of carrying it back to Canada, with my luggage already overstuffed with other, smaller games.

Returning to St. Albert from Gencon, I eventually dropped by my FLGS, Mission Fun and Games and purchased a copy of SAS.  But until this week, we had no opportunity to play the game.

The Skull and Shackles Base Set has an MSRP of $60 and comes in a big box.  A really big box.  In fact, other than those heavy gamer "coffin-box" games (event games that take all day to play) this may be the biggest game box on the market.  The box is big because it is designed to hold all of the planned adventure supplement decks. 

This is not the original insert for the SAS Base Set.
This custom insert is from Go7 Gaming.
The SAS Base Set includes roughly 500 cards, a set of rules and five polyhedral dice.  You will need more dice to play, since this is a multi-player game and you will routinely need to roll two, three or even more of one particular die.  The boxed set only contains one of each of four, six, eight, ten and twelve sided dice, but most role-players already have an extensive dice collection.  If you are not a role-player, presumably you will buy additional sets of polyhedral dice when you purchase this game.

The game includes all sorts of cards representing scenarios, adventure locations, ships, villains, monsters, henchmen, obstacles, allies, weapons, spells, items and other cards; enough content to easily provide several months or more worth of weekly gaming sessions.  The SAS Base Set comes with five built-in scenarios, and the first Adventure Path (included as a deck within the Base Set box) provides you with an additional five.  That's ten weeks (two and a half months) of weekly adventures in the box, with more Adventure Paths on the way.  Because the encounters of any adventure path are semi-randomly generated using the provided cards, you can play the same scenarios multiple times and they stay fresh.

The SAS Base Set also includes cards for seven iconic Paizo characters: Valeros the Fighter, Lem the Bard, Seltyiel the Magus, Jirelle the Swashbucker, Merisel the Rogue, Lirianne the Gunslinger, and Alahazra the Oracle.  Although some may be displeased, I'm happy that four of the seven included characters are female.  That gives the ladies of the house lots of character choices.

Each character is represented by a set of skills and powers on a small character card.  The more proficient a character is in a category, the higher the related die they get to roll.  For example, Jirelle the Swashbuckler has a d10 for dexterity-related dice-rolls, but only a d4 for intelligence-related dice rolls.  Character also have several special powers and, in addition, are represented by a deck of 15 cards: those cards are both the abilities, spells, weapon and equipment of the character, and also their health.  Once they run out of cards in their deck, they are dead.  Thus players must balance the benefit of using (and thus discarding) cards from their hand, against the risk of depleting their deck and perishing.  Collecting new cards, healing spells, and other rules allow you to recover cards, but death in SAS is serious business.  When you run out of cards in your deck, your character dies and you have to start a brand-new character.  Severe!

In a four-player game, each scenario is represented by a scenario card, and six adventure locations.  The adventure locations might be as intimate as six chambers in an underground complex, or as broad as six widely-dispersed islands on the high seas.  The scenario card provides overall backstory to the adventure and identifies the villain or objective, while each location card includes a stack of ten randomized cards, some of which are beneficial, while others are harmful or antagonistic.  Some ten-card locations might contain five spells.  Others might contain five treasures.  Still others might contain five antagonists or five allies.  Each location identifies the number of each kind of cards that are waiting to be discovered there, so the players know which location the Fighter might be best at, which the Sorceress should visit, and so on.  But there are other types of cards at each location, so there still some risk involved.

There is no Dungeon Master.  The players take turns sending their characters to various locations, with optional accompaniment from other party-members, and dealing with their resulting encounters.  When a character arrives at a location, they have the option to have an encounter (flipping the top card of the location deck face-up and following the instructions on the card).  Sometimes bringing your party members along is a good thing, while other times characters and the party benefit from someone attempting to face an encounter alone.  But each player has to take their own character's turn using their own abilities and own cards, with help (where permitted by the rules) from other characters.  That is, if it is my turn and I encounter a Troll, another player cannot fight the Troll, only I can fight it, even though other characters may assist.

A count-down timer, represented by a deck of 30 cards, propels the game forward.  During each player's turn, they flip over one of the cards in the count-down timer.  If you run out of timer cards before you complete your objective, the game ends and you fail the scenario.  Oddly, failing a scenario is less disastrous than dying.  If you fail the scenario due to exhausting the timer, you get to keep the beneficial items retrieved and replay the scenario; if you die, you lose all of your items and character upgrades and must start with a completely new character.  Those two outcomes hardly seem proportionate.  Hopefully Paizo fixes this rule before the next Base Set is released.

Successfully completing a scenario provides you with several rewards.  The first is that you get to keep the loot you personally collected during the scenario, with the following caveat: each character has a "deck-limit" size of 15 cards (more as you level up) and if you end up with more cards than your deck-limit, you must discard the remainder, or give them to your fellow players to augment their decks.  This is not as great a problem as it sounds, since much of the loot you acquire is better than your starting equipment, so discarding the obsolete items will be a minor discomfort.  The second reward is the ability to level up your character.  Each player's character card has checkboxes, and as you check a box as your scenario reward, your character becomes more powerful in some way.  The third reward, exclusive to Skull and Shackles, is booty in your ship's hold.  You will collect booty during your adventures on the high seas, and at the end of the scenario, any booty on your ship will be divided between the characters.  You can then take your new and improved character and attempt the next scenario.

If you are finding that you no longer have time to role-play, but still want that role-playing experience, the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is the game for you.  Each scenario takes less than two hours to play, does not need a Dungeon Master to move the story along, and since PACG is a cooperative rather than competitive game, it is easier to entice new players to the table.  The one downside is that in four-player games, the scenarios do follow a standard format of six adventure locations, which risks feeling a little samey.  But each of the ten introductory scenarios have different villains, objectives, monsters and treasure, so the scenarios themselves should help ameliorate that problem.

If you like overcoming obstacles, defeating monsters, collecting treasures, leveling your characters and enjoying a cooperative game, check out the Skull and Shackles Base Set for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Gamealot 2014

Here's a photo of one of the gaming tables I was sitting at during Gamealot 2014,  the local charitable gaming convention run by my FLGS, Mission Fun and Games, over the September 5, 2014 weekend. 

I was running a demonstration game for something called Castle Dice, one of several games that was funded through Kickstarter. 

It's a light Eurogame with some dice-rolling and dice-drafting elements, where the object is to build the best castle from the resources drafted from the resource dice (the colored dice on the right-hand side of the photo).

The convention was a blast, but like my trip to Gencon, I failed, once again, to fully capture a gaming event I attended in photo form.  Several other attendees did take photos, so here is a sampling of their photos of the weekend's activities.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dwimmermount Has Landed!

I couldn't be more pleased with what arrived on my doorstep this afternoon.  Dwimmermount, by James Maliszewski, Alexander Macris and Tavis Allison.  I will post more once I have a chance to dig deeper into its 400 pages.
Also accompanying Dwimmermount: the Map Book and Illustration Book.
Kudos to Chevski, Macris, Allison and everyone else who was involved in making this project a reality!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Gencon 2014 Post-Mortem

Gencon 2014 was an amazing experience and one that ended too quickly. 
The squire and I made it a bit of a father / son trip, with him spending most of his time admiring the cosplayers with his American girlfriend, and me checking out all of the new board and roleplaying games.  I have about 250 photos on my phone, but the battery died and I was left without a camera for the last couple of hours, during which I had intended to take more pictures. 
I will try to post some of the photos I did capture in the next couple of days.
There were tons of new games that were released at Gencon.  Considering that I had to fly back to Canada at the end of the convention, I only purchased 1/4 of the games I was interested in, including the new Dungeons and Dragons, Cash and Guns, and Thunderstone.  The rest of my purchases will have to wait until the games are released to the retailers. 
One game that I desperately wanted to purchase, but was just too massive, was the new Skull and Shackles Adventure Card Game from Paizo.  That Pathfinder game is a handful, and my luggage was already bulging from the new Thunderstone sets and several other game releases.
I'm tempted to bring the entire family if we attend Gencon again.  The costume vendors, cosplayers, and general enthusiasm of the gaming attendees made our trip a real pleasure.  If we do attend again, we will not get too hung up with having a hotel room downtown.
More regarding Gencon once I have a chance to download the remaining photos from my phone.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

For Sale Wizkids Tyranny Dungeons and Dragons Mindflayer

Still sorting through my figures from the case of new Wizkids Tyranny of Dragons Dungeons and Dragons miniatures that I purchased over the weekend. 

I have several extra figures that I can part with, including this rare Mind Flayer miniature. 

I can ship this to whereever, but i'm in St. Albert, a suburb of Edmonton, so locals can save on shipping if you are looking for a Mindflayer to augment your miniature set. 

The Mindflayers are selling for around $12 from online retailers.  Leave a comment below or email me a link if you find a lower online price.  I might consider letting the Mind Flayer go for less.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

For Sale Wizkids Miniatures Tyranny Dragons Invisible Drizzt Do'Urden

I picked up a case of the new Wizkids Tyranny of Dragons Dungeons and Dragons miniatures over the weekend. 

There are several figures that I don't need, including an extra rare invisible Drizzt Do'Urden miniature.  I have several other extra miniatures from that case as well. 

I'm in St. Albert, a suburb of Edmonton, so some shipping costs can be saved if you are in Edmonton and surrounding area and are looking for an invisible Drizzt, or one of several other miniatures from this set of minis.

Invisible Drizzt is selling for around $30 from the online retailers, but if you can find a lower online price, send me a link, and I might consider letting it go for less.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Wizkids Miniatures Tyranny of Dragons Red Dragon For Sale

I picked up a case of the new Wizkids Tyranny of Dragons Dungeons and Dragons miniatures over the weekend. 

There are several figures that I don't need, including an extra rare Red Dragon miniature.  I have several other extra miniatures from that case as well. 

I'm in St. Albert, a suburb of Edmonton, so some shipping costs can be saved if you are in Edmonton and surrounding area and are looking for a Red Dragon, or one of several other miniatures from this set of minis. 

The Red Dragons are selling for around $30 from the online retailers, but if you can find a lower online price, send me a link, and I might consider letting it go for less.