Alright, so I'm super stoked to announce that GVS2: Quake Alley Mayhem is finally out! The module was a blast to work on and I cannot thank Mike Evans at DIY RPG Productions enough for being patient with me and supporting my work through thick and thin. Mike recruited the speedy, hard working, and talented Matt Hildebrand to handle layout, and Matt just nailed it to the wall with tightness and little design flourishes that really make the book pop.
You can find GVS2: Quake Alley Mayhem here!
Okay, so what's in the module?
GVS2 is a tournament module with pre-gens. It's a classic 'Get the MacGuffin,' only it's not. Sure, retrieving the ancient artifact known as Vaclav's Holy Driver is the mission objective of the Purple Rockets gang played by the players, but the real mission becomes clear as soon as players enter the enemy base: beat the clock!
For every 20 minutes of table time, another earthquake occurs, invoking particular physical effects within the dungeon and sapping the PCs of crucial resources along the way, but these effects become more deleterious over time. This puts the pressure on players to solve the traps and puzzles of the dungeon as quickly as possible, as it becomes clear that the longer they wait, the closer to death they come. Finally, the dungeon is a high-density puzzle-and-trap dungeon which means that players will have to apply their wits at top speed without rest in order to survive and retrieve the Holy Driver!
Why did you make a tournament module?
One practical and one design reason each inspired the decision to make a tournament module.
Practically, I needed a module I could take anywhere and run for total strangers to highlight the fun and deadliness of Gathox. I've been fortunate to run Quake Alley Mayhem at cons, out of state at friends' homes, for distant acquaintances and strangers by invitation, and for a number of local gaming groups. The Quake Table and time limits in the game allow those sessions to be action packed, concise, and constrained without being too short - all the fun of haste and hustle without the stress of sessions dragging out through indecision.
In terms of design (puts on designer's cap), over the years I've come to view retroclone games like Swords & Wizardry as a bit of a team sport, like football. I know, I know, this is a roleplaying game, but it's also tactical, conflict oriented, and requires cooperation amongst players whilst promoting varying degrees of competition within the group. To me that seems fun as hell.
What if I don't want to run a tournament?
You're in luck! There's an entire section in the module devoted to adapting Quake Alley Mayhem to campaign play, with alternative mission parameters and appropriate Reputation Points rewards. There's even a 'Tower Defense' version where you get to defend the Holy Driver from waves of gangsters pouring in to retrieve it! There's also a rumor table for roaming about The Kettle neighborhood, containing hints as to the deeper history of the Driver and linking out to potential new contacts, as well as random encounters to make that fact-finding mission more challenging.
If you're not convinced of the sheer radness of Quake Alley Mayhem, watch the sweet animation I made for the launch of the book:
So, it's been a minute or two since I last posted on this blog. Rest assured, I'll be posting here regularly again. This last year was gnarly, to say the least, in part because I lived in a camper in the woods with little to no internet through the long winter. I still live in my camper with my pupper, but I've finally made my way back to Missoula, MT, where I can have nice things like access to internet and gaming and playtest groups.
I'm just wrapping up my first draft of the Lamentations book I've been commissioned, and will be creating art for it once it's been submitted (which should be very soon). Additionally, I'm running two competing groups of players through my Gathox megadungeon, The Ruins of Ce-C'el, and will regularly post session recaps of those. You may find them interesting both for the sheer fictional joy of them as well as for their use in running multiple groups of players. I'll be doing my best to tease out larger design thoughts and strategies for that as I go. They're only a week in, so we'll see how it goes!
Finally, thank you so much for your support and interest in the things I make and do. I'd love to hear your thoughts and see your creations as well - tell me about how you use Gathox! If you make cool stuff, I'll be happy to promote it. Cheers!