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Martin Ralya
60% coffee. Mostly harmless.
60% coffee. Mostly harmless.

Martin Ralya's posts

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Today's Yore post is a round-up of three somewhat connected things I bumped into online, starting with a 1975 Gary Gygax quote that I find absolutely fascinating. Here's the first bit of that quote:

"Dave and I disagree on how to handle any number of things, and both of our campaigns differ from the “rules” found in DandD. If the time ever comes when all aspects of fantasy are covered and the vast majority of its players agree on how the game should be played, DandD will have become staid and boring indeed. Sorry, but I don’t believe that there is anything desirable in having various campaigns playing similarly to one another. DandD is supposed to offer a challenge to the imagination and to do so in many ways."

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My Seattle group plays Urban Shadows twice a month, so I stick a quick recap in the invite for each session to help everyone (myself included) remember where things are at.

When I looked at the one for our upcoming fifth session, I realized just how much stuff is already in our El Paso sandbox -- and how good Urban Shadows is at spinning up a sandbox.

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+Karl Keesler wrote a great post about rebasing HeroClix -- moving them from Clix bases to normal 25mm bases:

Based on repairing Wrecker (shown below), who arrived separated from his base, a spot of glue works perfectly on Clix. I love Karl's idea!

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I had a great experience buying bulk HeroClix from to use with Super Mission Force and 3d6 Supers! -- they were about a third of the Ebay prices I've seen recently. I don't need them as HeroClix, just as superhero minis, and I wanted a ton of variety. Bulk lots of random figures = instant HeroClix collection!

SMF ( and 3d6 Supers! ( look like a lot of fun, too; I may blog about them down the line, when my print copies arrive.

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New today for my (dusty) desk: Bob, Agent of Hydra!

I fucking love Bob. He's one of my favorite side characters in Deadpool.

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Probably illegible without zooming in (and I think the photo is big enough for zooming), but this is the Star Trek episode generator at Seattle's MoPop.

1) Totally gameable

2) Neatly and beautifully addressed in the old Decipher Star Trek Narrator's Guide, one of the best GMing books ever written

I don't game the way Decipher Trek assumes one will anymore -- by prepping a story in advance -- but seeing this makes me wish that book weren't in storage, because I'd love to see if the beats can be maintained while hacking the whole thing to be less plotted.

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Newstand Press publishes an entire line of one-page RPGs based on Arnold Schwarzenegger movies:

- Abort Retry Fail
- Abort Retry Fail 1000
- Unbelievable Macho Bullshit
- One Ugly Motherfucker
- Soviet Method
- To Hell With You!

Beautiful. No idea if they're any good, but I'm about to find out!

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I was poking around looking for solo RPGs to play and I stumbled across this page. There's some good stuff here!

For example, I had no idea that +Paul Czege​ had published an #Instagame, a complete RPG contained in one Instagram-sized image:

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I love Grimtooth's Traps. I own all of the original books (I think; they're in storage), plus the walloping great omnibus Goodman Games put out a couple years back, so I can heartily endorse this +Bundle of Holding on that basis alone. Here's the direct link:

It includes Grimtooth's Traps 1-4, which is a lot of traps. They got sillier as time went on, which isn't a bad thing, but there's something delightfully evil about the more serious early volumes.

But. But! This bundle also includes Catalyst's CityBooks I-VII, about which I've only heard good things. I'm a sucker for system-neutral gaming books (as you might imagine; see, so I don't know why I've never checked these out before -- but I'm thrilled to have them all in one place now.

The $8 basic price gets you quite a bit, but as always it's the bonus version -- currently about $20 -- that's the real steal. 10% goes to charity, too, which for this bundle is the Roleplaying Game Creators Relief Fund (
Through Tuesday, July 25 we trip the city streets fantastic with two all-new offers that enhance any existing FRPG campaign: Flying Buffalo Catalyst and the Great City Campaign Setting.

1. Flying Buffalo Catalyst

This offer marks the debut in .PDF of the classic CityBook line produced in the 1980s and 1990s by Flying Buffalo, publisher of Tunnels & Trolls. Now available in .PDF for the first time anywhere, these well-remembered supplements join other titles in this offer of the acclaimed Catalyst line of generic fantasy supplements. And -- oh yeah -- we added MSPE!

Pay just US$7.95 to get all six titles in this Catalyst offer's Starter Collection (retail value $30) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the first three CityBooks, the first two Grimtooth's Traps collections, and Treasure Vault, another new Catalyst scan.

And if you pay more than this offer's threshold (average) price, which is set at $17.95 to start, you'll level up and also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with eight more titles worth an additional $41:

- Mercenaries Spies & Private Eyes: Michael Stackpole's classic action/espionage RPG inspired by Tunnels & Trolls. Includes the Adventure of the Jade Jaguar solo adventure.
- CityBooks IV-VII: Four more sets of people and places you can easily drop into any city adventure -- IV: On the Road, V: Sideshow, VI: Up Town, and VII: King's River Bridge.
- Grimtooth's Traps 3-4: Titled Fore and Ate (don't ask us why), these two books give you hundreds more traps to waylay dungeon delvers.

2. Great City Bundle

Want a city ready to populate with your new CityBooks? Our Great City Bundle features the massive Great City Campaign Setting from 0one Games. With 0one's near-systemless campaign guides, lightly ornamented with OGL/Pathfinder statistics, and its beautiful maps and bestselling blueprints (as state-of-the-art interactive .PDFs), you can easily add the Great City to any FRPG campaign.

For just $8.95 you get all four titles in this offer's Starter Collection (retail value $38) as DRM-free .PDFs, including the complete 162-page Great City Campaign Setting corebook, the companion Player's Guide, and the Backdrops collection of locations -- plus 0one's Blueprints: The Great City.

And if you pay more than this offer's threshold (average) price, set at $19.95 to start, you also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with three more titles worth an additional $56, including the complete six-part Road to Revolution adventure path (Pathfinder version), Urban Creatures & Lairs, and the beautiful Color Map Folio.

The streets will be livelier until these two offers end together Tuesday, July 25.

Flying Buffalo Catalyst:

The Great City:

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As a kid, I used to spend hours poring over any sort of "superheroes A-Z" content I could find. I had some that came in issues of comics, and the long-running Marvel-phile column in Dragon, and probably other sources I've forgotten about.

When I started playing TSR's Marvel Super Heroes, I traced hero silhouettes from those articles (Captain Britain was a favorite) and used them as the basis for drawing all of my characters.

Fast forward from the late '80s/early '90s to now, and I'm kicking myself because it wasn't until a few days ago that it occurred to me that of course this is still a thing, and it's probably gotten even easier to acquire big volumes of it.

It has! Enter the Marvel Encyclopedia (, which although it's a bit squirrely about its author credits, is at least partly written by +Matt Forbeck -- and which is utterly fabulous.

This book is titanic. It's a coffee table book, hardcover, and over 400 pages. Full color, of course. (It had a dust jacket, too, which I find less than useless on books this size.) And it's $22 shipped with Prime.

It covers more than 1,200 characters, both heroes and villains, with origins, pictures, background info, and other fun tidbits. It also covers crossover events, famous hero/villain groups, and more. It's exactly the kind of big, splashy, high-production-values book I'd expect from DK and Marvel.

This is the kind of non-gaming RPG sourcebook that I love. Need on-the-spot inspiration for an NPC? Flip through this beast. Stuck for hero ideas for your next character? Lose yourself in over 1,200 of them. Can't remember who Obscure Hero X is? They're probably in here.

This book is so cool.
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