Anthologies are a great smorgasbord of being able to get a wide breadth of stories that you might not have normally been exposed to. In addition, there may be an author or two whose story grabs the reader in a way that they want to seek other writings from them. For me, I just like a good short story. Something that can be consumed entirely in one sitting. Something that can ask a question or look at an event in a different way than a novel ever could. With novels, you have time. The writer can spin four or five different storylines and double that many characters over the course of three hundred pages. Short stories aren’t allowed those luxuries. You have to really focus in and cut through the noise.
I’m honored that my short story, “Anonymous”, has found a home in the Tales from Vigilante City Short Fiction Collection (which you can find here).
Vigilante City is the main city of the “gritty, street-level, superhero game set in the near future”, Survive This!! Vigilante City from Bloat Games. If it wasn’t apparent by the name, this is more on your Batman style of crime-fighter and less of the Green Lantern types (although the game allows you to tailor it to whatever style you want).
For my short story, I knew I wanted to submit something, but I didn’t have anything in the hopper that really fit into this genre. Weird that as much as I love comics, I tend not to write them in a prose format. And I was stumped with what to write. Was there a hero doing… something? Could I maybe write about a speedster? I love the Flash, but even that didn’t go anywhere.
Sometimes, though, you just need to let your subconscious mind work things out for you.
I’m not exactly sure why I started thinking less about the hero and more about the villains… but I do remember that I effectively wrote the story in the twenty-minute commute I had, literally speaking it out to an empty car in the hopes that I wouldn’t forget my idea before I could write it down. I wrote the first draft that night and finished it up only a couple of days later.
This is what I came up with: what if I wrote about a henchman instead of the big bad villain. What if this henchman has been doing this gig for long enough that he’s finally got that “one big score”? How would his story end?
“In Vigilante City, there are opportunities to be found whether you are on the right side of the law or the wrong side. However, the glitz and glamour of being the villain captured on the evening news isn’t all it is cracked up to be. And for one anonymous henchman, he has a plan to get his last score.”
In addition, I’m joined by some talented writers in the collection:
Bloat Games is excited to announce Tales From Vigilante City!
Tales From Vigilante City is an all new street level super hero short fiction anthology which is to be a companion piece to Bloat Games recent successful Kickstarter SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City which is an RPG heavily influenced by the 90s cartoons Batman: The Animated Series, X-Men, Spider-man and TMNT.
Tales From Vigilante City will be compiled and edited by Eric Bloat (from Bloat Games, Creator of the SURVIVE THIS!! Game Series & Vigilante City) and by ENnie and Origin Award winning author James M. Spahn (from Barrel Rider Games, Creator of The Hero’s Journey & White Star RPGs).
Bloat Games is currently accepting super hero short fiction in the genres of Action, Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Mystery, Horror, Sci-Fi & Young Adult. We are chiefly interested in stories that feature “normal” human vigilantes but also are accepting stories about Anthropomorphs (think TMNT), Mutants (think X-Men), or low power level metahumans, mystics, psions, etc.
· Accepting 2.5K-16K word count.
· Pay is $0.01 per word
· Payment made via Paypal only.
· Payment grants Bloat Games Non-exclusive rights to publish the story. Writer retains all other rights and Intellectual IP and can resell the story to other publishers.
· All submissions and inquiries should be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: TFVC Submissions.
· Deadline will be announced later, based on response.
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Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links.
OSRs [Old School Revival/Renaissance], they’re fun and, sometimes, controversial. Playing SURVIVE THIS!! Zombies! at Origins, and my last OSR article, put me in a mood to visit some new OSR Kickstarters. What follows is old school madness.
“An immersive dungeon sandbox designed for the Adventurer Conqueror King System and other D20 OSR RPGs.
For three thousand years, the secrets of the Nethercity have been hidden. Now the delving of man has breached the ruins, and the lore and treasures of the ancients wait in the darkness below for those bold enough to seize them. But an inhuman evil slumbers in that darkness, and the time of the Awakening is at hand….
We’re excited to announce Autarch’s eighth Kickstarter project: The Secrets of the Nethercity™, an immersive dungeon for the Adventurer Conqueror King System™ and other D20 fantasy role-playing games.
With Secrets of the Nethercity you get:
An epic “kilodungeon” with 240 location entries spread across 20 different dungeon sub-regions that can be explored in a nonlinear fashion over the course of your campaign
12 new monsters, including the chryselephantine statue, faewyrd, hydropian, and terror of death
30 new magic items, including the bag of faerie seeds, the funerary barge of the cults, horn of the eagles, scepter of sacred power, and shadowcowl robe
4 new character classes, including the elven cultist, hierophant, and warlord
A special appendix providing step-by-step worksheets to adapt the Nethercity to your favorite campaign setting
A home base (the city of Cyfaraun) for use by your adventurers in between dungeon delves. The city is presented in summary format in the adventure itself, and the city and the sewers below it are presented in more detail in a supplement called Capital of the Borderlands (available at $20 and above pledge level). With every bonus goal, we’ll expand the city and sewer levels!
The Nethercity, the city, and the sewer level in between are all beautifully mapped by the incredible cartography of Dyson Logos and Simon Forster. You get maps of the city, sewers, and Nethercity, as well as zoomed-in sectional maps of each major area. With every bonus goal we hit, we’ll add more maps.
We’ve tapped artist Michael Syrigos to create rich, gorgeous full-color art for the adventure. Not every image will be full color at the base level, but all of the backer-supported art will be.
Full color, you ask? Yes! This will also be our first product developed for and printed in full-color. We’re working with layout artist Todd Crapper to update our house style for full-color presentation. Below is a sample full-color layout he prepared as a demo for Heroic Fantasy Handbook. (The final layout for Nethercity is, of course, still being developed – partly through this Kickstarter!)
What do you mean by kilodungeon?
The Nethercity is bigger than an ordinary dungeon (like Sinister Stone of Sakkara) but not as big as a megadungeon (like Dwimmmermount). Get it? Kilo instead of mega… Let’s just read on.
What levels is the adventure for?
Secrets of the Nethercity is designed for a party of experienced mid-level adventurers and is stocked with sufficient monsters and treasure to advance them by four to six levels. As such it serves as a mid-level environment in which the adventurers can acquire the wealth and power they need to advance into high-level play.
Where is the adventure set?
The adventure takes place in the Auran Empire campaign setting, the default setting for ACKS. The eponymous Nethercity lies below the city of Cyfaraun, just fifty miles northwest of Türos Tem, making it a perfect sequel to our introductory adventure The Sinister Stone of Sakkara. But if you don’t play in the Auran Empire, don’t worry – a special appendix in the book offers advice on how to adapt the adventure for use with our Kanahu setting or with your own favorite campaign world. The Nethercity can be placed under any long-inhabited urban settlement that’s changed hands between law and chaos over the centuries.
How much detail is offered on the city of Cyfaraun?
In the tradition of classic TSR adventure scenarios such as The Keep on the Borderlands and The Village of Hommlet, Secrets of the Nethercity gives you the information you need to use Cyfaraun as a home base for adventurers in your campaign. The level of detail in the city itself will be similar to that provided for the city of Harat in our Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu supplement. But as we unlock Bonus Goals, Cyfaraun will get even more detailed, with the sewer level below the city transformed into a whole additional play area.
What are the Bonus Goals?
If we raise more than our target, we’ll expand the amount of information we provide on the city of Cyfaraun and flesh out the extensive sewers and ruins directly beneath it.
Are regular dungeons too small? Are megadungeons too big? Is your party looking for a size that’s just right? Well, Goldi, welcome to the kilodungeon of Nethercity! The map of the sewer level above, that’s a nice map, and its detail makes me want to try these old school challenges!
You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPGhere.
“The legendary locations of Grimtooth’s Traps revealed! A DCC supplement that lets you confront Grimtooth himself in his own lair!
Listen up, puny humans! Grimtooth the Troll here. You sorry souls have been dying from my traps for decades. And in all that time, not one of you miniscule mortals has attacked me in my lair! Well, I’ve decided to take pity on you. For the first time ever, I’m going to show you my realm. You’ll finally get to see – Trapsylvania!
Updated June 24: We just cleared our first stretch goal! Trapsylvania will include fancy custom-printed endsheets!
This Kickstarter supports the publication of Grimtooth’s Trapsylvania, a 144-page campaign setting and sourcebook! It will be available in print (softcover or hardcover) and electronic (PDF) format. It is fully illustrated, with color cover and B/W interior art. The publisher is Goodman Games, under license from Flying Buffalo. The book is written in a systems-neutral style like all Grimtooth books, with DCC RPG stats compiled in an appendix at the back.
This Kickstarter also offers a rare collectible treasure: the “lost 8th Grimtooth book.” Flying Buffalo published a total of 7 Grimtooth books. At the Origins Game Convention in 1983, an independent publisher released their own unauthorized bootleg adventure called Grimtooth’s Lair. Today, only a single copy of this adventure is known to exist. Thanks to collector Bill Meinhardt, we have been able to scan the adventure for publication. It is being offered as an add-on for this Kickstarter (see below).
At last – the legendary locations of Grimtooth’s Traps revealed!
For over 30 years, Grimtooth’s numerous Traps books have horrified players and inspired game masters with hundreds of dangerous devices, deadly deathtraps and hilarious hijinx! Now Grimtooth (with a little help from kid sister Grimtina) will take you on a personally guided tour of his realm and the central hub of his vast Traps empire.
Run your own Grimtooth campaign, or pick and choose locations you can use in your own adventures. Explore Grimtooth’s caverns, visit his Inner Sanctum, escape the Deathmaze Testing Center, attend Warthog’s School for Trolls, take a ride on Grimtooth’s Airship, tour Grimtina’s Petting Zoo or get lost in many more gigantic places of doom, like the Infinite Corridor of Hallways. Each of these infamous locations includes maps, descriptions, non-player character details, scenarios, and lots of art. Plus there are more traps (of course) and plenty of things with which to endanger your characters.
Like all Grimtooth books, Grimtooth’s Trapsylvania is written in a systems-neutral format, and published in a way that it is fully compatible with the Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game (DCC RPG). A series of appendices at the back provide quick and easy stats for DCC RPG games, covering all the creatures, characters and items described in the book. It’s very easy to fill a graveyard with the corpses of your DCC player characters! (Because once you enter Trapsylvania – you won’t leave! Suckers.)
Trapsylvania is written and illustrated by S. S. Crompton, the legendary “voice of Grimtooth” who has been working on Grimtooth products for Flying Buffalo for more than 30 years. We’ve rounded up the entire roster of historical Grimtooth contributors to illustrate the book, so you’ll find art not just by S. S. Crompton, but also by Liz Danforth, Micheal Von Glahn, Scott Jackson Phil Longmeier, and Jeff Dee – all the artists who have contributed to Grimtooth products over the years! The new traps are written by Grimtooth alumni S. S. Crompton, Ken St. Andre, Bear Peters, Rick Loomis, Paul O’Connor and Debora Kerr. The DCC stats are provided by Terry Olson, with editing by Jen Brinkman.
Trapsylvania is chock full of useful gaming material! How much is there? Well, here’s the exact count!
1 whole country! (Grimtooth’s, that is!)
15 large locations, all described and mapped
48 scenario ideas
60 traps or trapped items
86 creatures (with DCC stats in the Appendix)
26 NPCs (with DCC stats in the Appendix)
23 items (with DCC stats in the Appendix)
And loads of laughs!
What is Grimtooth’s Traps?
Originally published by Flying Buffalo, Grimtooth’s Traps is one of the most popular RPG accessories ever produced, with more than 250,000 copies in print since 1981. Flying Buffalo published seven Grimtooth’s books, all of them usable with any RPG. In 2015, Goodman Games compiled all of these into a massive hardcover compilation, and also published two additional DCC-compatible Grimtooth adventures. Grimtooth remains an eternally relevant character and his popularity has only grown since then.
The hallmarks of Grimtooth-style traps are wacky humor combined with deadly danger, plus, of course, extremely useful material that can be integrated into any dungeon-crawling RPG!”
I interviewed the trapmeister himself, Grimtooth, over at the Open Gaming Network. It was one of the most fun interviews I’ve ever done. Don’t waste your time here, go read it here!
You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPGhere or at the OpenGamingStorehere.
“SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City is an RPG heavily influenced by the 90s cartoons Batman: The Animated Series, X-Men, Spider-man and TMNT!
At Origins Game Fair 2018, I played SURVIVE THIS!! Zombies! with Eric Bloat. After the game, Eric shared a preview of this Kickstarter and talked about what he hopes to accomplish with it – a street level superhero game using a system that you already know. He has plans to cover every type of grim and gritty comic book superhero archetype and I can’t wait to try it out. Add to that, one of the contributors is Alan Bahr of Tiny d6 fame (among others) who I got to interview some time back, and this is a lock!
You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPGhere.
“City of Brass: A Legendary Adventure for 5e and Swords and Wizardry! Based on the 2006 Necromancer Games classic!
From his gleaming palace, the Sultan of Efreet turns his cruel gaze upon the Lost Lands …
Good folk have vanished. Those who were once disparaged and forgotten now wield power unlike anything seen before. Rulers and sages turn a blind eye to the disturbing events unfolding around them. In every corner of the Lost Lands, the Cult of the Veiled One spreads unchecked.
Prophesizing a cleansing jihad of flames and the coming of the Burning One, the cult has erected its brazen spires in every land. What follows depends on the wit and courage of mighty heroes who must rise to the occasion and take the fight to the enemy in its very stronghold. Will they succeed, or will they succumb to the temptations of the Veiled One’s court and join in the conquest of their home world? A fabled city of wishes on the edge of an eternal flame. The City of Brass is a rich combination of sand-box style role playing adventure, planar exploration, and twisted dungeons designed to test even the most seasoned adventurers.
Beginning with low-level challenges in the familiar confines of the Lost Lands, the adventure leads characters on a thrilling journey through multiple planes of existence culminating in the exploration of the City of Brass itself. The gleaming towers and floating platforms of the city hold terrors and wonders such as the Great Repository and the Minaret of Screams. Characters may choose to take a turn in the Circus of Pain, raid the floating Pyramid of Set, or join the resistance to the Sultan’s oppressive rule and lead an assault on the palace itself! A phoenix rises fully formed from the ashes of the past. The City of Brass is re-imagined for the new renaissance of fantasy role playing games, brought to you in the epic style of old school fantasy campaigns of yesteryear.
From the design team that brought you Bard’s Gate and Sword of Air, the City of Brass is an adventure unlike any other. With full color art and maps, new content and new organization, the City of Brass returns bigger and better than ever! An Adventure Sourcebook for characters level 1-20. New versions for Swords & Wizardry and the Fifth Edition of the world’s most popular role-playing game.
City of Brass 2018
So what’s new in this release compared to the original Necromancer Games Boxed Set?
This new release of The City of Brass includes all new color maps by Alyssa Faden and Robert Altbauer. Plus amazing new color art by Colin Chan, Adrian Landeros, Terry Pavlet, Michael Syrigos, C. J. Allan Marsh, and Artem Shukaev.
The original City of Brass was divided into 3 books and has been revised and reorganized throughout with 150,000 new words of adventures and material.
Section1: Cult of the Burning One – Now includes the following adventures:
Lornedain the Secret Flame: An introductory adventure for characters Levels 1-3.
Freegate: the Brazen Spire (For Levels 4-6), giving new details to the Lost Lands city of Freegate as the characters investigate the arrival of a new cult and its magical tower.
The Sea of Baal: (For levels 5-8). Adventures in the Titian Isles, the Elemental Plane of Air and Beyond as they travel across the Sea of Baal to the continent of Lybinos!
Numeda a Caliphate in Flames: (For levels 6-9). Arriving in Lybinos the characters discover that the city of Cirtius in the Caliphate of Numeda is over-run by the forces of the Sultan of Efreet. Help free the survivors or join the Sultan in his conquest of the Lost Lands!
The Path of the Prophet: (For Levels 8-10). Rewritten from the original with new content.
Section 2: The City of Brass is now newly organized with details on factions, new locations in the Plane of Molten Skies.
Section 3: Tales of Brass
New Adventure Locations including:
Ard’s Sanctuary: An adventure location for 11-14th level characters.
Freeman’s Tower: An ultra-dimensional apartment complex and home base located in the lower city. Conquer the tower and live rent free under the Sultan’s nose! For 11th-14th level characters.
The Apartment of Ra Po Jejh!: An old enemy makes a surprise return. Find his phylactery and finish him off once and for all! For 16th-18th level characters!
Cathedral of the Lightbringer: The cathedral of the Lord of Infurnace’s minions serving as his consulate in the City of Brass. Steal the Sword of the Lightbringer if you Dare!”
That said, let’s look at the game. The book itself will be of a spin-busting size (hence it’ll be put together using “library binding“) with tons of amazing art and interesting ideas. The fact that you can get it for 5e or FGG’s OSR, Swords and Wizardry, makes this a versatile project that offers some options for your gaming table. The book will be nice without a doubt.
You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPGhere or the Open Gaming Storehere.
Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by a variety of companies: