Friday, April 3, 2020

All's Faire in Middle School: A Guest Review by my Daughter

Today is a special one here at Daddy Rolled a 1, as my daughter has written a review of a fun graphic novel she received as a Valentine's Day gift. She read it immediately and shortly thereafter while I was walking her to school, we came up with the idea of her writing a review of the book that I could share on my blog.

She's been working on the review for the past few weeks, but got really focused on it as we were forced to work and study from home. She wrote the review in a Google Doc that she sent to me, and I have asked her at least twice to go back and edit things and add more details, as well as make sure to include things like whether she would recommend the book.

Below is her review, which I have reproduced as she wrote it, including any typos and/or grammatical mistakes. My daughter is 10 and in 5th grade, her last year of elementary school, so she was excited to share this story with other kids her age.


All's Faire in Middle School
Written and Illustrated by: Victoria Jamieson

This book is about
A Girl named Imogene. Who grows up with parents who work at the renaissance fair, She is starting middle school when her mom gives her news that she will have to go to a real school, not be homeschooled, she starts to worry about making friends.

Main Characters
Home: Imogene, Felix, Dad, Mom, Kit, Violet, and Cussie.
School: Imogene, Miko, Emily, Sasha, Jacob, Anita, Dr. MacGregor

Renaissance Fair
The Renaissance Fair is the fair that her parents work at daily and perform shows at weekly, Imogene fights as a squire, and is training to become a night.

K.I.T. (Knight in Training)
Imogene creates a club to help younger kids who love to come to the renaissance Fair how to become a night. She teaches them how to sword fight, defend themselves, and her signature trick, juggling!

Dressing right?
Imogene always worries so much about dressing incorrect, so she goes to the store, buys some new clothes, and tries to impress her friends

Why did I choose this book?
I chose this book because I thought it would be a fun book to read before I go to middle school next year. The art also interested me a lot! The plot of the story was also very well written and told by the pictures and words.

[Note: The above was what my daughter first provided to me. After that, I asked her to read two reviews I'd written about different comics for ComicAttack, and then asked her some specific questions I wanted her to address. The below is the additional information she sent me]

I love the art in this book because of the color the illustrator chose and the way the pictures are drawn. On each page, you will notice how the illustrator really focuses on the characters styles, by focussing on how the hair will look or what the character is wearing every day.

Victoria Jamieson has written 8 books

  • All's Faire in Middle School
  • The Great Pet Escape
  • The Great Art Caper
  • Roller Girl
  • Pest in Show
  • Olympig
  • When Stars Are Scattered
  • Where Triplets Go, Trouble Follows
  • Bea Rocks the Flock
  • Spinning

Kid Range
7 and up

I recommend people to read this book if they love graphic novels, art, and if they love middle school, or are preparing to go into middle school. Also if you are into Faire's or Renaissance Faire's. 


I haven't read the book yet myself, but I have talked with my daughter about it quite extensively, and based on her insights through our conversations, I think it would be a great book for kids, especially girls, who are learning to navigate the complex social structures that happen as they transition from elementary school to middle school, and all of the peer pressure that can happen during that time.

If you're interested in reading this book or getting it as a gift, I highly recommend that you try to order one from your local comic book shop to be shipped to you, or to a friend. These small local shops can use all the help they can get right now, as they struggle to hang out and pay their rent until their shops can open up again and comic book companies start publishing new books again. If you don't know where your closest shop is located, use the Comic Shop Locator and type in your address. Yes, you can order it from Amazon, but paying a couple extra dollars and ordering from a local shop helps so much more.

Thanks, everyone.  I hope you enjoyed the review - drop a comment below to let me know and I can share them with my daughter. She's willing and eager to write more reviews here if people are interested.

Hanging: Home office (laptop)
Drinking: San Pellegrino Sparkling Water
Listening: "Ooo La La" by Faces, from the album "Ooh La La"

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Open Game Content: REVISED Sorcerer for B/X - Old School Essentials

I got some good feedback from the B/X - Old School Essentials Sorcerer class I posted earlier this week, on both Facebook and MeWe, mostly relating to the XP table being too low, as well as needing to separate out the Spells Known and Spells Per Day on the level progression table. I did some tweaking, completely changed the spells known and per day section, and re-calculated the XP based on some great articles found on the Thoul's Paradise blog (tip of the cap to Tim Brannan for pointing me in that direction).

Given all that, I'm posting a revised version of the class, and also including a "D12 Sorcerer Subclasses" table, inspired by Dyson's Dodecahedron Blog and his series of D12 subclasses for B/X and other OSR type games.

To see the commentary and discussion on Facebook that led to this revision, see the following links:

You'll find a lot of great conversations and also new (free!) content for various D&D type games and other old-school games being posted at the Facebook groups linked above, if you're looking to distract yourself while being in isolation at home. 

Here's the revised Sorcerer, including the class requirements and write-up of the class abilities from the previous version. 

As always, I'm interested in your comments, thoughts, suggestions, and general feedback.

[Edit: Based on some great commentary from the creator of Old School Essentials himself, Gavin Norman, at the Old School Essentials Facebook Page, I have revised the written text behind the class to remove the comparisons to the magic-user class and also to fix an error indicating that sorcerers don't have access to the highest level spells, which was a hold-over from the previous version of the class.]

Hanging: At various points in my home office (laptop) and in the living room (pen & notebook)
Drinking: Tap water
Listening: "Whistling in Tongues (Todd Terje Remix)" by Felix Laband, from the album "Whistling in Tongues"

Sorcerers are adventurers who, due to some sort of mystical ancestry, have an innate ability to cast arcane magic spells. Sorcerers have more flexibility when casting their spells, but are limited in the number of spells they know at each level.

Arcane Magic
See Magic in Core Rules for full details on arcane magic.

Spell Casting: Sorcerers do not carry spell books, nor do they need to prepare their spells ahead of time. Instead, a sorcerer knows a number of spells as shown on the level progression table, based on the character’s experience level. Thus, a 1st level sorcerer knows one spell, selected by the referee (who may allow the player to choose). Sorcerers use the list of Magic-User Spells, from the Cleric and Magic-User Spells supplement.

A sorcerer may cast any spell known without having to prepare it ahead of time. The sorcerer may cast any spells known at any time, as long as the sorcerer has not used up the spells per day for that spell level, as shown on the level progression table.

Some sorcerers choose their spells according to a theme based on their magical bloodline, but this is purely for role-playing reasons and is not a requirement.

Because of their need for freedom of movement, sorcerers cannot wear armour heavier than leather and cannot use shields. Their weapon options are similarly limited to clubs, crossbows, daggers, spears, and staves.

After Reaching 11th Level
A sorcerer may build a stronghold, often in an area of magical significance or reclaiming an ancestral fortress. 1d4 apprentice sorcerers of levels 1-3 will then arrive to learn the ways of sorcery. The stronghold may also attract other followers or creatures (1d3 cultists, or 1d2 creatures related to the sorcerer’s magical bloodline as determined by the referee).

Magical Bloodline Ideas
Demons, Dragons, Dreamworld, Faeries, Holy, touched by the Great Old Ones, Shadows, Storms, “Wild magic”

D12 Sorcerer Subclasses

[Edit: After posting this, Dyson Logos, from whom I got the idea for the D12 Subclasses, commented on one of my social media feeds that he did not like the "Wild Mage" power, as any smart Sorcerer player would simply burn off all of his remaining spells each day, or even spend non-adventuring days doing so, with the goal of "mis-firing" so as to add a new known spell to their repertoire at no cost. That hadn't occurred to me, so if you foresee this kind of abuse in your game, you can limit the power to only one additional spell of each level, or implement other such limitations as fits the needs of your campaign.]

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Open Game Content: Master Alchemist for 3.5e D&D
William Fettes Douglas [Public Domain]
At the beginning of March, I read about something called the RPG Blog Carnival over at the OSR D.R.E.A.D. blog. The idea of the Blogger Carnival is that it gives all different types of bloggers the same topic to write about, as a way to increase their visibility to each other and the community at large. 

This month's topic is Alchemy, which is perfect, because back at the beginning of the year, I had begun transcribing a lot of my old notes for a proposal I was writing for a book called the Quintessential Expert, a follow-up to the Quintessential Aristocrat, way back around 2004 or 2005. A decent part of that book was dedicated to alchemy and alchemists, because I've always liked the idea of them as a class and as a system of magic. 

While my intent had been to post two different versions of the Master Alchemist Prestige Class I created (one for the original 3.5 rules that it was based on, and then translating the core concepts and ideas into a regular class for B/X D&D), I wanted to at least get the ideas out here for the carnival before the end of the month. 

A couple months ago, I wrote another class called an "Alchemist Apprentice" for 3.5 D&D, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and B/X - Old School Essentials. It includes a Craft Alchemy skill for LotFP (based on a general Craft skill posted at the Blood, Death, Satan & Metal blog, and also an Alchemy class skill for B/X or OSE. Each one works slightly differently. 

With that background, here's the 3.5 version of the Prestige Class I wrote for my original Quintessential Expert proposal. Note that the proposal and class write-up uses British English spelling since Mongoose Publishing is based in England (e.g., armour instead of armor). 

Hanging: Home office (laptop)
Drinking: San Pellegrino Sparkling Water
Listening: "Acknowledgement" by John Coltrane, from the album "A Love Supreme", 1965

The pursuit of perfection has driven man for centuries.  Scholars, philosophers, nobles, and priests have all sought to attain the perfect state of being.  None, however, have come as close as the master alchemist. 

The master alchemist knows that all things in the universe tend toward perfection.  He concentrates on finding ways to help items achieve their perfect state.  Many believe the alchemist’s primary goal is the transformation of base metals into gold.  This, however, does not even begin to scratch the surface of the alchemist’s true objective – the transformation of himself into a more perfect state of being. 

The master alchemist studies the interactions of various substances, chiefly metals, bases and acids, as well as gasses, liquids, solvents, and dusts, and through them learns how to create powerful potions.  Through processes of calcination, distillation, dowsing, gasification, smelting, and sublimation, he learns how to create compounds, alchemical dusts, and alchemical gases.  His experiments also expose him to the operations of the four basic elements – fire, water, earth, and air.  Finally, at the peak of his career, the master alchemist applies his total body of knowledge to achieve the ultimate perfection of his body, transforming himself into a perfect state. 

The master alchemist is not a spellcaster, and the various spellcasting classes do not continue developing their spellcasting ability if they become master alchemists.  Historically, many alchemists were monks or other religious men, who were the most likely to be literate and have access to the equipment and texts of ancient formulae in order to learn the secrets of alchemy.  In a fantasy campaign milieu, most master alchemists will come from the expert class. 

Humans and gnomes, and a few half-elves, are the most likely races to pursue the mysteries of alchemy, although dwarves sometimes take to the class as well.  Elves prefer the more traditional approach of arcane wizardry, and half-orcs generally lack the intelligence to become powerful alchemists.  Halflings are generally not very interested in sequestering themselves away in a laboratory to brew potions. 

Hit Die: d4

To qualify as an alchemist, a character must fulfil the following requirements:

Skills: Craft (alchemy) 8 Ranks, Craft (glassblowing) 5 Ranks, Heal 5 Ranks, Knowledge (religion) or Knowledge (arcana) 2 Ranks
Feats: Alchemical Familiarity
Special: Must have used the Craft (alchemy) skill to make one of each of the Alchemical Substances listed in Core Rulebook I

Class Skills
Craft (alchemy) (Int), Craft (Int), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Profession (Wis), Speak Language (none), Spellcraft (Int), Use Magic Device (Cha)

Skills points at each level: 4 + Int Modifier

Class Features
All the following are class features of the alchemist prestige class:

Weapon and Armour Proficiency: The alchemist gains no additional proficiencies with weapons, armour, or shields.  Note that armour check penalties for armour heavier than leather apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Sleight of Hand and Tumble.   

Brew Alchemical Potion (Ex): The master alchemist gains the Brew Potion feat for free and can use it to make any potions listed in Core Rulebook I even if he does not have any spellcaster levels.  For purposes of using the Brew Potion class ability, the master alchemist’s caster level is equal to half his ranks in the Craft (alchemy) skill plus his number of levels in the master alchemist prestige class.  For example, upon entering the master alchemist prestige class, a character with eight ranks in Craft (alchemy) would have a caster level of five (four for half his number of ranks in Craft (alchemy) and one for his 1st level in the master alchemist prestige class).  The master alchemist does not learn how to cast the spells he uses to make his potions.  He can simply use them to create the potions listed in Core Rulebook I, assuming his effective caster level would be high enough to cast the required spell for the potion being created.  The master alchemist uses his Intelligence bonus for any spell effects that are determined by ability score modifiers, and just like any other character using the Brew Potion feat, he pays any material costs and experience point costs as necessary.  In all other aspects, this ability mimics that of a wizard using the Brew Potion feat to create potions. 

At 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th levels, the master alchemist learns to go beyond the boundaries that restrict others who create potions.  He is able to create potions based on spells higher than 3rd level, assuming his effective caster level (as explained above) would be high enough to cast the spell in question.  The Games Master has final say over which spells can be made into potions.  The master alchemist’s effective caster level must be equal to the spell level multiplied by two, minus one, or else he is not high enough level to cast the spell.  For example, to make a potion from the equivalent of a 4th level spell, the master alchemist must have an effective caster level of 7th (4th level spell x 2 is 8th, minus 1 is 7th). 

Even though the master alchemist is not a spellcaster, the potions he creates are considered magical spell-like items, and therefore are affected by anti-magic zones and dispel magic spells. 

Calcinatio (Ex): Calcinatio is known as the fire operation.  By studying the basic elements, the master alchemist takes his first step toward transforming his body by taking on some of the qualities of the salamander, the traditional creature associated with fire.  He gains the ability to make a special Burn attack once per day.  When making a Burn attack, the master alchemist does an additional 1d6 points of fire damage on a successful hit in combat.  Those hit by a burn attack must make a Reflex save (DC 10 + the master alchemist’s Constitution modifier + ½ the master alchemist’s class level) to avoid being burned for an additional 1d4 rounds. 

Evaporation (Ex): At 4th level, the master alchemist learns the secret of evaporating his potions to create alchemical powder.  An alchemical powder has all of the properties of a potion, except that it is in powder form instead of in a liquid state.  The powder can be flung into the air to coat one object or person within a 10’ radius from the master alchemist (a ranged touch attack is required).  An alchemical powder costs three times the normal price of the potion upon which it is based.

Create Alchemical Dusts (Ex): Also at 4th level, the master alchemist gains the equivalent of the Craft Wondrous Item feat for purposes of making any magical dusts listed in Core Rulebook II (specifically, dust of appearance, dust of disappearance, dust of dryness, dust of illusion, and dust of tracelessness).  The master alchemist is considered to know the spells required for making the dusts.  His effective caster level is the same as that for the Brew Alchemical Potion ability (half his ranks in the Craft (alchemy) skill plus his level in the master alchemist prestige class), and this effective caster level must be high enough to cast the spells required in the description for making the magical dusts.  The master alchemist pays any material and experience point costs as normal. 

Solutio (Ex): The second of the elemental procedures to be learned, solutio, is the water operation.  Mastery of this operation allows the master alchemist to transform himself by taking on the abilities of the undine, the mythical creature traditionally associated with water.  Solutio grants the master alchemist the ability to Drench, as per the water elemental special ability.  His touch immediately puts out torches, campfires, exposed lanterns, and other open flames of size Medium or smaller.  The master alchemist can also use this ability to dispel magical fire as per the dispel magic spell, with his Caster Level equaling the master alchemist’s class level. 

Brew Compounds (Ex): After much experimentation with various potions and substances, the master alchemist learns the skill of combining two potions into one powerful mixture called a compound.  Only two different spell effects, maximum, can be added to a compound, and the resulting compound mixture is 50% more expensive than the sum of each individual potion separately.  For example, a master alchemist could create a compound that provides the benefits of both a potion of bull’s strength and a potion of bear’s endurance.  Such a compound would be worth 900 gold pieces (300 gold pieces for each potion separately, plus an additional 50%). 

Coagulatio (Ex): The earth operation, coagulatio, is the third of the elemental procedures the master alchemist learns.  He takes on aspects of the “mythological” earth creature, the gnome (not the gnome race as described in Core Rulebook I, but a mythological version closer to an earth elemental).  In this case, he is able to transform his body into a sturdier state, gaining a +2 bonus to all Fortitude saves and damage reduction 1/-. 

Cavitation (Ex): Through a complex process of decreasing the static pressure in a liquid potion, the master alchemist is able to form bubbles of gas, effectively turning a potion into an alchemical vapor.  The resulting alchemical vapor acts similarly to the potion upon which it is based, except that it is typically stored in glass vials which can be thrown as a grenade-like weapon (range increment 10’).  When it lands, the vial breaks, releasing the alchemical vapor that affects everyone in a 10’ radius (saving throws apply as normal if the effects are detrimental). Creating an alchemical vapor quadruples the price of the original potion upon which the alchemical vapor is based.  The master alchemist may not make an alchemical vapor out of one of his alchemical compounds (see above).

Craft Alchemical Gas (Ex): At 8th level, the master alchemist gains the Craft Wondrous Item feat for the purpose of creating the following magic items from Core Rulebook IIbottle of air, censer of controlling air elementals, eversmoking bottle, horn of fog, and incense of meditation.  The master alchemist does not actually create the vessel for the item (such as the horn for the horn of fog) but just the contents, which are typically stored in plain glass vials with stoppers.  The effects work the same as the magic item description, however.  In addition, the master alchemist can make a magical gas that mimics the effects of the spells cloudkill, solid fog, and stinking cloud.  Magical gases based upon these spells act in the same manner as the horn of fog, except as noted in the individual spell descriptions.  In all other ways, this ability functions similarly to the Craft Alchemical Dusts ability described above, including the calculation of the master alchemist’s effective caster level. 

Sublimatio (Sp): The air operation, sublimatio, grants the master alchemist a spell-like ability based on transforming his body to take on aspects of the sylph, the fey-like creature associated with air.  Upon gaining this level, the master alchemist gains the ability to use each of the following spell-like abilities once per day: feather fall, fly, invisibility, levitate.  His caster level is equal to his master alchemist class level, and he uses his Intelligence modifier for purposes of save DCs and spell duration. 

Perfect Transformation (Ex): At this stage in his career, the master alchemist has gone beyond the mere transformation of elements to attain the ultimate transformation – that of his own body.  The master alchemist gains immunity to all diseases except supernatural and magical diseases.  He also gains Resistance 5 to Acid, Cold, Electricity, and Fire.  Lastly, the master alchemist stops aging and no longer takes penalties to his ability scores for aging and cannot be magically aged.  Any such penalties that he has already taken, however, remain in place.  Bonuses still accrue, and the master alchemist still dies of old age when his time is up. 

You were exposed to the secrets of creating alchemical items, and retained that knowledge even though you have not mastered the art of magic. 
Pre-Requisites: Intelligence 13+
Benefit: You are able to use Craft (alchemy) to craft alchemical items, even if you have no spellcaster levels.
Normal: Only characters with spellcaster levels can use Craft (alchemy) to create the alchemical items listed in Core Rulebook I.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Open Game Content for B/X or Old School Essentials: Sorcerer

[Note: I updated this class with a revised XP progression as well updating the Spells Known and Spells Per Day, and I also added in a table for D12 Sorcerer Subclasses. You can find the revision here.]

In this post, I present an Old School Essentials (OSE) compatible version of the 3E - 5E Sorcerer (a spontaneous magic-user that doesn't have to memorize spells from a spellbook ahead of time). I also briefly discuss the upcoming OSE campaign I'll be running.

As I've been writing about, I'm working on a Dungeons & Dragons campaign to run for my daughter and her friends. I had planned to have our first session in person, but given everything going on right now, it looks like we'll have our "Session 0" on a video chat where I'll go over the rules and explain the basic principles of the game (none of them have played before and do not own the rulebooks), and help them roll-up their characters. I had dice delivered to them this week (in their favorite colors!), and I've been working on sketching out the bare bones of a campaign world based on some notes I found scribbled on a bunch of old NPCs I created back in the 1980's for a discarded world I never got off the ground.

We'll be playing OSE and while my plan is to start out by playing it pretty much by-the-book using the Classic Fantasy Genre Rules, I also just like to tinker with things. Coming up with house rules and variants is helping keep my brain engaged and help me pass the time and be less anxious with all of the Corona Virus news going on and being stuck at home (I live in California; our entire state is basically locked-down right now).

One of the things I've been searching for online, but couldn't find, was a B/X or OSE version of the Sorcerer class that first appeared in 3rd Edition. For those of you old-schoolers who never tried 3rd, 4th, or 5th Edition, a sorcerer is really just a small twist on a magic-user, allowing them to cast their known spells spontaneously, rather than having to memorize and prepare them ahead of time. As a "cost" for doing so, they know fewer spells overall and can't learn new spells from scrolls or spellbooks. There's a lot of flavor elements, in that they usually have some kind of magical bloodline (draconic being the most common) and sometimes the bloodlines affect the spells they can select, but that's really just window-dressing.

I've written before that I used to think the sorcerer doesn't need to be a separate class; just treat it as a magic-user, allow spontaneous casting, and maybe give them one fewer spell per level. While that is definitely a way you could go, and I think it could work fine, I wanted to write-up a more detailed version and work out the requirements and experience points, to make them fall more in line with the 3rd Edition sorcerer (more weapon and armor options being among them).

Below is what I came up with. I'd really like to hear your comments and suggestions on whether I missed anything, if the experience point progression looks correct, etc. In particular, I'm not sure about the limit to 4th level spells, but I was trying to come up with some options to make them different enough from a standard magic-user so that there was a cost for not having to memorize and prepare spells ahead of time.

To see more content I've created for B/X or OSE, check out these labels: B/X, Basic DnD, Labyrinth Lord, Old School Essentials, Open Game Content.

Hanging: Home office (laptop); on "stay-at-home" orders until further notice
Drinking: Alesmith Sublime Mexican Lager
Listening: "Blue in Green" by the Bill Evans Trio


Sorcerers are adventurers who, due to some sort of mystical ancestry, have an innate ability to cast arcane magic spells. Sorcerers have more flexibility when casting their spells than a magic-users, but they are not able to cast spells of the highest level.

Arcane Magic
See Magic in Core Rules for full details on arcane magic.
Magical Research: Unlike magic-users and elves, sorcerers may not conduct magical research.
Spell Casting: Sorcerers do not carry spell books, nor do they need to prepare their spells ahead of time. Instead, a sorcerer knows a number of spells as shown on the level progression table, based on the character’s experience level. Thus, a 1st level sorcerer knows one spell, selected by the referee (who may allow the player to choose). Sorcerers use the list of Magic-User Spells, from the Classic Fantasy Genre Rules supplement.

A sorcerer may cast any spell known without having to prepare it ahead of time. The sorcerer may cast any spells known at any time, as long as the sorcerer has not used up the spells per day for that spell level, as shown on the level progression table.

Some sorcerers choose their spells according to a theme based on their magical bloodline, but this is purely for role-playing reasons and is not a requirement.

Because of their need for freedom of movement, sorcerers cannot wear armour heavier than leather and cannot use shields. Their weapon options are limited, but more varied than a standard magic-user.

After Reaching 11th Level
A sorcerer may build a stronghold, often in an area of magical significance or reclaiming an ancestral fortress. 1d4 apprentice sorcerers of levels 1-3 will then arrive to learn the ways of sorcery. The stronghold may also attract other followers or creatures (1d3 cultists, or 1d2 creatures related to the sorcerer’s magical bloodline as determined by the referee).

Magical Bloodline Ideas

Demons, Dragons, Dreamworld, Faeries, Holy, touched by the Great Old Ones, Shadows, Storms, “Wild magic”

Friday, March 13, 2020

An Update on my Upcoming "Weird Fantasy" Campaign (for Kids)

About two weeks ago, I wrote a post about different approaches to campaign world design (in short - "serious" or "gonzo") and why some people prefer one over the other.

I've also written about how I'm preparing a fantasy RPG campaign to run for my 10 year-old daughter and her friends, and how in working out the details of the campaign world, I'd like to adopt a bit more weird, unexpected, and fantastical elements to the world, to move beyond just a basic Medieval Western European pastiche with dwarves and dragons. While I had a few of my own ideas for building the world, I put up the question on social media (primarily Facebook and MeWe) and asked people for their "thoughts, suggestions, and recommendations on different sources that you use, or things that inspired your games to add more weird and non-standard fantasy stuff..."

I went on to explain that my daughter and her friends are only 10, so I wanted to avoid a lot of unnecessary gore and sexual situations. I also mentioned that I knew there was a lot of stuff out there in the OSR community that would probably fit the bill, but I just wasn't aware of it, and that there are also most likely older modules from the TSR days that I've forgotten about.

The response from people was great - I copied and pasted every comment I received into a Word document, and ended up with over six pages of comments and suggestions! Reading them was really inspiring and helped me start coming up with new ways to include a bunch of the ideas into my new campaign world, or to modify things I was planning.

I thought it might be helpful to share the comments I received - I ended up putting them into buckets of different topics to help organize them a bit more.

I've really missed the OSR discussions and sharing from the Google + days, but using a combination of Facebook Groups and MeWe Groups has helped fill that hole. Here are the groups and people who commented and shared their thoughts - I encourage you to browse these groups and/or request to join them to see all of the great new ideas and content that's being shared in the RPG community.

  • The OSR RPG Group
    • Comments/Suggestions by: Ralf Keller, Liam Black, Harrison Hunt, Maks Roman, Eduardo RiveraArce, Kristopher Hedley, Michael Ramoneda, Denis McCarthy, Red Orc, Daniel Norton, Jamie Perez, Alan Stewart, John Taylor, Peter Robbins, George Patterson, Tim Samwise Seven Harper, Ada Douglas
  • The THAC0 RPG Blog Group
    • Comments/Suggestions by: Charles Rockafellor, Ryan Marsh, Steven Jacobs
  • Old School Gaming Rocks! Group
    • Comments/Suggestions by: John Anthony, Michael Roe
Thanks, everyone!

On to the different ideas. Hopefully these will inspire you all to incorporate some of these ideas into your campaigns, and please, continue to suggest your ideas here in the comments, or on Facebook, MeWe, or Twitter, and I'll continue adding ideas to this list and update it. I was particularly happy with the "Weird Fantasy Tropes" at the beginning as well as the "Other Inspirations" at the end - the "Monolith Metro" is a really fun idea.

  • Weird Fantasy Tropes:
    • Animal Companions
    • Constructs and Robots
    • Twisted Animated Objects (whimsical, colored furniture; living drawings and paintings; candy monsters; giant flying books; jacks-in-the-box)
    • Dream-world pink elephants
    • Undead that are put to rest when slain (e.g., sheet ghosts)
    • Lots of familiars
    • Potions
    • Traps
    • Puzzles
    • Portals
    • Mazes
    • Magic that changes reality
    • Fewer monsters that are harder to fight
    • Lots of running away from things that you can't possibly defeat
    • Getting trapped and escaping
    • Transformations
    • Blurring and crossing lines of reality
    • Getting small and getting big
    • Making the strange familiar and the familiar strange
    • Cults (they bring the ‘weird’ from somewhere else)
    • Vampires (lots of possibilities)
    • Rename lists of old fairy-tale monsters
    • Creatures don't have to be defeated by weapons alone - it could be with proper manners, saucers of milk, worn shoes, etc.
    • Magical dogs and cats (as players or NPCs)

  • Inspiring Literature:
    • Roald Dahl
    • C.S. Lewis: Narnia, The Space Trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength)
    • Susan Cooper: The Dark Is Rising Sequence
    • J.K. Rowling: The first four Harry Potter books
    • Clark Ashton Smith
    • Jack Vance
    • Alice in Wonderland
    • Japanese Ghost Stories
    • Chinese folk stories: Journey to the West and the Tower of Myriad Mirrors
    • African folk tales: Palm Wine Drinkard and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
    • South American tales: 100 Years of Solitude (Magical Realism); A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings
    • Ford's Faeries: A Bestiary Inspired by Henry Justice Ford
    • Philip José Farmer: Dungeon
    • J. M. Barrie: Peter Pan (specifically Neverland)
    • Wheel of Time
    • The Dresden novels
    • Witch World
    • Robert E. Howard: Conan/Kull/Solomon Kane
    • Andrew Lang (editor): The Green Fairy Book
  • Inspiring Movies:
    • “Faust” (Jan Švankmajer)
    • “Pan's Labyrinth”
    • “The Mummy”
    • “How to Train Your Dragon” series
    • “Frozen”
  • Inspiring Video Games:
    • Zelda
    • Mario Brothers
    • Wizardry
  • Non-European Cultures for Inspiration:
    • Middle East
    • Sub-Saharan Africa
    • Chinese Martial Heroes
    • Japanese Sengoku Period
    • Central America (Toltecs, Mound Builders, etc.)
  • Other Inspirations:
    • Infuse your dreams and nightmares into the campaign
    • Conspiracy theories
    • Anime characters
    • The Ancient Monolith “Metro” (Large magical monoliths; when you touch them, you are hurled through the air for miles to another monolith far away. Flying beasts who see you whizzing past may try to pursue you, but they cannot keep up. You may whiz past cumulus castles of cloud giants. There are three monoliths total in a great triangle. The overuse of this fantastical “Metro” has some delayed magical effect on the user.
    • Planetary Romance genre

Hanging: Home office (laptop)
Drinking: Coffee (cold brew, heated up)
Listening: "Tongue Tied" by Grouplove, from "Never Trust a Happy Song"

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Campaign World Design: Two Different Approaches

As I mentioned, I'm getting ready to start up an RPG campaign for my 10 year-old daughter and her friends. I've decided to use B/X D&D (via the very cool Old School Essentials set, which faithfully restates the original Moldvay/Cook/Marsh Basic/Expert D&D, but with much better layout and organization). As I've been preparing, I've thought a lot about the world in which the campaign will take place. 

After much thought, I've decided to start the group off with B2: Keep on the Borderlands, as part of the fun of this for me is having my daughter experience some of the same adventures I did when I first started playing. While the module itself doesn't offer too much in the way of detailed background in terms of where it existed in the wider world, for the 1987 B1-9: In Search of Adventure super module, it was set in the Grand Duchy of Karameikos in part of the world of Mystara (or what I would call the "Known World"). 

I briefly considered using the Known World as-is for the backdrop for my daughter's campaign, but part of the fun for me as a DM is world-building. I enjoy creating cultures, political entities, faiths and religions, orders of knighthood and various other fantasy-world trappings, and being inspired by a variety of different works of fiction and non-fiction, comics, TV shows, movies, other games, and real-world history. I've written about this quite a bit over the years here on the blog as it relates to my long-running World of Samoth campaign and various sources that inspired portions of my world-building. 

I mentioned in my 9th Anniversary post that I had recently found an old "recipe box" full of index cards that most people would use for writing recipes, but on which I had created different NPCs back in the mid-1980's. This box has been through seven different moves and has been sitting in my office for the past ~10 years but I hadn't really looked at it because I'd sort of just forgotten about what was in it. 

When I recently opened it, I found 111 different NPCs, one per card, with stats for 1st Edition AD&D, and in addition to the race, class, level, stats, alignment, and equipment, most of them also included a name, title/profession, a country, and a one or two sentence "History/Aims." 

I recall using the different country names I came up with for the NPCs as the start for developing a world way back then. I had a very rough sketch of a map (that I've shared here before), but that was it. The development of the different countries didn't go much beyond whatever few sentences I made up on-the-fly as I created the NPCs. There are characters with History/Aims such as "Country: Remali. It is rumored he has sailed to the Orient," or "His main interest is acquiring as much territory as possible. Of late, he has become chief of three different, powerful tribes, which he wants to form an army with. His eye is now on the Esteline Palatinate," or "He recognizes that Rathmund will naturally dominate the political and military aspects of Samoth, so he has turned to magical research and attempts to raise the intellectual ability of the citizens. He has a zoo of strange and exotic creatures." 

One of my favorite cards reads, "He and a few companions are investigating a giant in the area, and are making their way toward the King's Graveyard." Who is this giant, and what is he doing? What's the King's Graveyard? I have no idea, and I didn't know then, either. I just wrote it down because it sounded cool. But, I remember back in the day that many RPG products would include imagination-inspiring statements like this that were often not further defined or developed. They were just thought-starters for DM's to take and run with. 

It was from reading these short descriptions a few weeks ago that I began to realize that way back in 1985 or so when I made these NPCs, that, without necessarily realizing it, I was creating a campaign setting. I had written the short summaries for each NPC to help bring them to life a little bit, but the interconnections between the characters were helping to define a world. 

It's these small details that I want to use as the basis for creating my campaign world for my daughter's game, but my thinking is that I won't do much more than what I have written down on these cards until I see where in the world they want to go. I may pick one group of NPCs from the same country and use them to help add some details to the area where the PCs start out, but leave the rest of the world vaguely defined and only add details to other countries as necessary. But, I can use the histories and aims on my NPC cards as hooks to intrigue the players, and then take their lead as to which things sound more interesting for them to explore. 

Long-time readers will note the use of "Samoth" in one of my descriptions above; these NPCs were created before I developed my current World of Samoth campaign setting, but the seeds of that campaign can be found in some of my NPC cards. However, the majority of the world depicted on my NPC cards is very different from my current campaign. I'd say it's almost more fantasy-like, and has a much stronger tie to both the world of Hyboria from the Conan books as well as the World of Greyhawk. While both of those sources were inspirations to my current World of Samoth campaign, I also used a lot of other sources when building that world, including the world from Warhammer and a variety of different eras of earth history. 

I'm excited at the notion of making a more non-standard fantasy world this time around, that seems more magical and less of a retreat of standard campaign setting tropes. While thinking about this, on the same day, I came across two different social media posts that have me thinking about campaign setting design and what people like or don't like, about different types of settings. 

The first post I saw was from popular RPG and OSR artist Luka Rejec on his "Wizard Thief Fighter" twitter feed. He posted this: 

"I'm going to make a wonderful and innovative new setting, with four major regions locked in feudal power struggles with extra grimdark and a dash of magic. I'll call the regions Northos, Southos, Eastos, and Westos. My creativity will blow everybody away." 

Later in one of the replies to his tweet, someone wrote this:

"How about making them based off our own world's cultures, but only the stereotypes!! I think that hasn't been done before at all"

The implication of the thread, while very tongue-in-cheek, is that so many fantasy worlds all boil down to basically the same theme re-used over and over, and that can be boring and predictable. A few people replied that, after reading his tweet, they felt the need to go back and revise and change their campaign worlds.

Only a little bit later the same day, I came across this Facebook post by Andrew Collas over on the Old School Essentials Facebook Page (it's a community site that you need to join to see the posts, so I've posted pics of the relevant post; however, if you're on Facebook and like Old School type RPGs, I highly recommended joining the page):

"So after hours of Mystara research I am just done. I can't do anymore. The illogical nature of the setting has driven me to distraction and as such I am officially picking up my setting of Aegos again."
Later, in the comments, someone asked:

"So I have little experience w Mystara. What are the issues, in your thought? I am genuinely asking... I like Greyhawk, have no FR experience (other than video games like Baldur's Gate). Looking to develop my own world, but new at the big picture stuff..."

Andrew replied:

"Flying continents, Gnome air force, the Brokenlands having places called "Trollhatten" and "Gnollistan", endless lame "in jokes" and the topper is the island called "Safari Island" that is an amusement park for adventurers. It is silly, and if you like silly, it is for you. Me, I prefer a little more seriousness myself. the Known World as presented was good, even though Yalarum makes NO SENSE, but the Gaz. expansions really killed it and made it too weird for me." 

I found all of this fascinating, especially on the heels of another player and creator (known for some really creative and different stuff like Ultraviolet Grasslands and the Black City, described as being "inspired by psychedelic heavy metal, the Dying Earth genre, and classic Oregon Trail games.") basically decrying the prevalence of boring, vanilla fantasy worlds, and then another OSR gamer in a completely different forum, with no relation to Luka's tweet, essentially said that he prefers "vanilla" fantasy settings that are "more serious."

I can see both sides, and while my own worlds I've created for my games have tended a bit more toward Andrew's viewpoint of less crazy, more grounded fantasy, what gets me more excited these days is reading about stuff like what Luka's doing. I think there can be a happy medium between the two, which is what I'm going to strive to do with the world that I create for my daughter and her friends. This will be their first time playing a role-playing game and I want them to experience the magic and wonder that makes fantasy so fun, even if that means including some flying islands or gnome air ships, or some ideas from the One Page Dungeon Contest like cursed salt baths and frogling mayors, or some of the creative things from Trey Causey's Weird Adventures like "giant mosquito minions of the vampiric Mosquito Goddess" or "An illustrated children's book where a little girl and a sinister looking stuffed toy discuss the murder of the book's finder. The last two pages are missing."

I've never run a long-term campaign with those types of fantastical elements in them, but lately, those kinds of ideas fire my imagination more then just another set of faux-Western European countries. I want my world to be at least somewhat recognizable and allow the players to relate to the setting, but also be creative and different enough that it generates excitement and surprise from my daughter and her friends.

As for some of D&D's historical campaign settings, the World of Greyhawk, to me, adheres a bit more toward the "serious" or "plain" variety of fantasy, and these days doesn't seem as popular with games (although that could be because it just doesn't get enough exposure). Then you have worlds that are quite different from standard fantasy, like Dark SunSpelljammer, and Planescape, all of which have their die-hard devotees, but none of them seem to have the staying power of the Forgotten Realms, which one could argue is somewhat of a middle ground between standard vanilla fantasy and more magical, fantastic elements, but without getting too crazy.

What are your thoughts on world-building? Do you prefer to keep things more serious and straight, or do you like crazier ideas? For those of you who drift more toward "weird and wild," what are some of your favorite setting ideas?

Hanging: Home office (laptop)
Drinking: Singlecut "Desert! Double Dry-Hopped IPA"
Listening: "Blade Runner Blues" by Vangelis, from "Sunetul Original Al Filmului Blade Runner"


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Currently Playing: As of February 2020 (Short Update)

Readers of my blog may have noticed four tabs across the top nav-bar, right under the cover photo, including an Open Game License, Playing, Reading, and Watching. The idea was that I would update the last three frequently as I played, read, or watched new stuff. Unfortunately I haven't kept them as updated as I'd like, especially the "Reading" and "Watching" pages (the last updates were in 2017).

Today I updated the Currently Playing page to include an upcoming Old School Essentials game I'll be running for my daughter and an Achtung! Cthulhu game I've been playing in, and updating the status on my other currently running games.

Check it out and let me know what games/systems you're all playing in now.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Inventor Class for Old School Essentials (B/X) and Lamentations of the Flame Princess

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my ideas for an Inventor class concept that I had created way back in 2004 or so while I was working on a D20 book called the Quintessential Expert, which was going to be a follow-up for a book I'd already written, the Quintessential Aristocrat. The idea was to take the NPC classes from the 3.5 Edition Dungeon Master's Guide and provide options to make them more attractive as player character options.

As I noted before, I spent a lot of time working on this book for quite a few years until I finally shelved it once 4E came out. I've revisited it a few times over the years, but finally decided it was time to put my ideas out there for people to read, share, and ideally, comment on and suggest improvements.

As part of this experiment, I've been working on translating some of the ideas over to OSR-style games, primarily Lamentations of the Flame Princess and B/X games such as Old School Essentials.

The inventor class I posted before for 3.5 was, so far, the trickiest class to translate to older versions of the game, because, due to the class feature of creating inventions, it can get quite fiddly, which is antithetical to the more rules-light approach of older style games. I've spent the past few weeks working on a variety of different ways to approach the rules for creating inventions for B/X style games, and I have two different options below that are both quite different, even though the rules engine behind both LotFP and Old School Essentials isn't really all that different between the two games. The reason for the differences below is partly due to the aesthetics of the different games; LotFP seems to be, if anything, even more rules-light than OSE, and I'm a bit more familiar with the rules of OSE in practice than I am with LotFP, so I felt a bit more comfortable adding some more detail to the OSE inventor. I also wanted to offer a couple of options to get readers' thoughts on which one works better.

I also discovered a bunch of new blogs while looking for ideas and inspirations for how to translate the creation of inventions to an old-school game. I had the 1st Edition AD&D Dragonlance Adventures hard-cover, with its rules for gnome Tinker class, and the 2E Complete Sha'ir's Handbook, with its rules for Clockwork Mages (Mechanicians),but both of those were far too detailed and fiddly for what I was going for. I was fond of a Tinker class for B/X I found at the Against the Wicked City Blog (definitely check that blog out if you're interested in B/X Steampunk style games), and I also reviewed a Mechanician class from a series of new custom classes posted on Thoul's Paradise blog. In the end, I mainly took the idea of the "scrap pile" as resources for building inventions from Against the Wicked City's Tinker class, and decided to have the Inventor focus mainly on replicating arcane spells with his inventions. This makes it less different and unique, but also much more rules-light, rather than creating a whole new sub-system for inventions, which I was trying to avoid.

As always, I'm interested to hear your thoughts, suggestions, and even critiques of the class and how it could be improved.

I have an Invention Creation System I made for the 3.5 version of the game, complete with feats and examples of inventions that I'll post later.

For other posts in this series, see:

Lamentations of the Flame Princess Inventor
Use the Specialist class as a base. As with the Alchemist Apprentice presented in Part 1, you’ll need to add a new Craft skill to the game; I suggested using one from the blog Blood, Death, Satan & Metal, as it was created specifically for LotFP. Using this system, your Inventor specialist would add “Craft” to his available skill options and would then select Craft (inventions) for making his various inventions. As with the rules for Crafting per the post linked to above, characters do not automatically have a 1 in 6 to make a successful craft skill check; they would need to allocate specialist skill points to the skill to be able to make a check.

Other skills that make sense for the LotFP inventor include Architecture, Search, and Tinker.

Ideas for inventions include clockwork versions of animals; items to increase a character’s vision, hearing, or other senses; vehicles or other transport devices; and items objects that replicate spell effects, just to name a few. The referee makes the final determination of whether an invention is allowed, and how long it lasts before breaking down. Unless the referee determines otherwise, inventions are complicated enough that only the inventor can operate them safely.

When making an invention, the Craft (inventions) check is modified as follows:

Ø  Simple, small items impose no penalty to the check
Ø  Medium-sized, slightly complicated items impose a -1 in 6 chance
Ø  Larger-sized, complicated items impose a -2 in 6 chance
Ø  Huge-sized, complex items impose a -3 in 6 chance
o   Even with a 6 in 6 chance to craft an item, inventing a Huge, complex item would still fail on a roll of 4+ 

The referee may impose other penalties or bonuses to the checks depending on the level of technology in the campaign. The time to make an invention is 1 day per size (1 day for a small/simple item, 2 days for a medium-sized/slightly complicated item, 3 days for a larger-sized/complicated item, and 4 days for a huge-sized/complex item). As always, the referee may indicate that increased or decreased time is required. The inventor is assumed to be using various pieces of scrap metal and other found materials to make his inventions, which impacts the stability of the items and their ability to be sold. Inventions are crafted quickly for a specific purpose rather than for long-term use.

Inventions only work for the inventor that created them; the intricacies are unique to each individual inventor and are too complicated for non-inventors to operate effectively.

Replicating Spell Effects
Inventions that replicate spell effects last for one use only before breaking down, using up their power source, or in another way being unable to function.

Adding a spell effect to an invention follows similar rules to Creating a Potion and Creating a Staff or Wand, on page 81 of the LotFP Player Core Book: Rules & Magic, except the inventor does not need to be able to cast the spell, and does not need to cast Permanency spell on the invention afterward. Only one spell effect may be replicated per invention. The referee may also wish to apply the Cost portion of the table on Page 82 of the Rules & Magic book as a guide rather than letting the inventor use scrap materials to create his inventions.

An inventor may not include a spell effect in his invention that is based on a spell level that is higher than one the inventor could replicate. Use the Cleric “Spells Per Level” table on the Cleric level progression table as a guide for what level spells the inventor may replicate in his inventions; for example, a 4th level inventor could replicate a spell effect of 2nd level or lower. The referee determines whether the spell effect could reasonably be added to the invention, and whether multiple checks with different types of Craft skills are necessary; for example, the referee may determine that replicating the spell Stinking Cloud in an invention requires a separate Craft (alchemy) check in addition to the Craft (invention) check.

Given that inventions may replicate some spell effects (with referee approval), the XP requirements for the Specialist class should increase by at least +33% (closer to the Fighter XP progression).

B/X – Old School Essentials Inventor
Inventors are adventurers who use their skills to create mechanical devices. They are able to create a variety of different inventions that may be handy during an adventure, but their devices are loud and bulky, and prone to falling apart.

Inventors create devices that sometimes have the effects of arcane magic. See Magic in Core Rules for full details on arcane magic.

Inventions: The inventor has the ability to design and build mechanical inventions, such as clockwork devices, sensory gadgets, transports, and other automated wonders. A successful check allows the inventor to create one invention using the guidelines below. Using the inventions skill requires an ability check against the inventor’s INT score (roll a d20 and compare to INT; if the result is equal to or less than the inventor’s INT score, the inventions check succeeds). Each different use of inventions requires a separate check, and the referee may require multiple checks for complex items. A result of 20 on an inventions check means something horrible has gone wrong, and the invention bursts apart, doing 1d6 points of damage per every two equivalent spell levels within a range of 10’ per every two equivalent spell levels. For example, a failure while making an invention that replicates a 4th level spell does 2d6 points of damage in a 20’ radius. A successful save versus Spells will halve the amount of damage.

The level progression table shows the equivalent spell level the inventor may replicate in his inventions. For example, a 7th level inventor may replicate spells of up to 4th level in his inventions. Each invention may only replicate a single spell.

 Inventions are bulky items that weigh 10 times the equivalent spell level in coins, and the inventor creates them using pieces of scrap metal, cloth, and other materials he can scrounge. Scrounging for scrap materials takes one turn (10 minutes) per invention, and the Referee makes the final determination whether the inventor could reasonably find the necessary scrap materials in his current environment.

Inventions last for one day per level of the spell they are replicating before falling apart, or after three uses if they replicate a spell that causes damage (e.g., Fire Ball, Lightning Bolt). Inventions require one hour per equivalent spell level to make. By increasing this time, the inventor may make the invention last longer; for example, by taking twice as long to make an invention, the invention will last twice as long.

The inventor’s creations are crude, clumsy, and not built to last. In addition to falling apart at the end of their indicated time as noted above, an invention will fall apart if it does maximum damage. For example, an invention created by a 5th level inventor that replicates the effects of a Lightning Bolt spell does 5d6 points of damage (1d6 per level of the inventor). If the invention causes the maximum of 30 points of damage, it breaks and cannot be used again.

Inventions only work for the inventor that created them; the intricacies are unique to each individual inventor and are too complicated for non-inventors to operate effectively.

Improvised Devices: The inventor can build items that replicate existing equipment or weapons but is limited to items that can be used more than once. For example, the inventor could create improvised thieves’ tools or a grappling hook but couldn’t improvise explosives because explosives are a one-use item. Improvised items last for one hour per level or until the end of the encounter in which they are used. It takes one turn to make an improvised device, which includes the time for finding the necessary scrap materials.  Improvised weapons due -1 damage.

Improvised Armor: The inventor may scrounge up scrap materials to patch together a suit of improvised armor. It takes a minimum of one turn to make improvised armor, which includes the time for finding the necessary scrap materials and provides +1 to Armor Class. It takes double the amount of time for each additional point of AC; +2 takes two turns, +3 takes four turns, +4 takes eight turns, and +5 takes 16 turns. The inventor cannot improvise armor with an Armor Class higher than +5. Improvised armor falls apart after one hour per level of the inventor. Improvised armor is bulky and always counts as heavy armor for purposes of encumbrance, regardless of the Armor Class it provides.

Mechanically Inclined
An inventor may open locks and find and remove treasure traps at the rate of success as a thief of the same level.

Inventors may use bows, daggers, and impact weapons, and are also skilled in the use of catapults. They may wear leather armor but cannot use shields.

The inventor’s constructions are bulky and loud. When traveling with his inventions, the inventor’s party may not surprise the other side during an encounter.

After Reaching 9th Level
The inventor may build either a laboratory or a warehouse to design or store new inventions. 1d3 apprentices of levels 1-3 will then arrive to study under the inventor, and 1d6 0-level men-at-arms will arrive to acts as guards.  

Invention Ideas
The referee makes the final determination on what types of inventions may be created. A few ideas might include:

Ø  Gadgets such as clocks, compasses, grappling guns, sun goggles, telescopes
Ø  Sensory devices that improve the sense of smell, hearing, or sight
Ø  Vehicles such as gliders, ornithopters, or mechanical carts
Ø  Ranged weapons that replicate the effects of Magic Missile, Fire Ball, or Lightning Bolt or Web spells
Ø  Defensive devices that provide Protection from Normal Missiles

Hanging: Home office and at one of my local pubs a few times while my daughter was at her ballet lesson (both times on my laptop)
Drinking: While at the pub I drank a Claremont Craft Ales "City of Trees" Double IPA, and a Beachwood Brewing Company "Simcoast to Coast" American IPA. 
Listening: "Ghetto Walkin'" by Miles Davis, Robert Glasper, and Bilal, from the album "Everything's Beautiful"

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