RPG REVIEW

Issue #41, December 2018

ISSN   2206-4907 (Online)


Solo Play Special Issue

Tunnels & Trolls … Fighting Fantasy … Papers & Paychecks ... HeartQuest … D&D 5e Solo Game Interview … Avengers Movie Review and more!

Table of Contents

ADMINISTRIVIA 2

EDITORIAL AND COOPERATIVE NEWS 2

THE RECOLLECTIONS OF DELECTI 10

TUNNELS & TROLLS SOLO PLAY BESTIARY 13

INTERVIEW WITH PAUL BILMER 18

DESIGNER’S NOTES FOR MAGELLINICIA 24

SOLO PLAY REVIEWS 27

RPGaDAY 34

THE OTHER SOLO PLAY 47

ESCAPE FROM CAMP 22 50

MOVIE REVIEW: AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR 61

ADMINISTRIVIA

RPG Review is a quarterly online magazine which is available in print version every so often. All material remains copyright to the authors except for the reprinting as noted in the first sentence. Contact the author for the relevant license that they wish to apply. Various trademarks and images have been used in this magazine of review and criticism. Use of trademarks etc are for fair use and review purposes and are not a challenge to trademarks or copyrights. Tunnels & Trolls is published by Flying Buffalo. Fighting Fantasy by Puffin Books. HeartQuest by TSR. Papers & Paychecks by the RPG Review Cooperative. Cover art, “Shamutani Hills” by Alan Brown. Avengers: Infinity War distributed by Disney. Ducks in RuneQuest comparison with D&D cartoon in Issue 40 by Bilharzia Aeetes. Wilderness image by Snežana Trifunović

EDITORIAL AND COOPERATIVE NEWS

Letters

A Successful HeroQuest




At the close of RQ Con Down Under III this weekend, we were delighted to present Lev Lafayette with the inaugural Greg Stafford Memorial Award for Gloranthan Fandom.



This is a new award, established in memory of Greg Stafford and with the blessing of his family, that Chaosium will occasionally and irregularly give out to recognise a *significant* and *exceptional* contribution to Gloranthan Fandom in a current year.



Why did Lev receive this award? As our Australia - Asia/Pacific convention coordinator Andrew said when we presented it to Lev: "You went on a heroquest and brought RQ Con Down Under back from the otherworld. Greg would be proud." The previous RQ Con DUs were in the last century (1996 and 1998). Lev was the driving force successfully bringing RQ Con Down Under back.



The event was a great success, and sufficient funds and interest were raised to want to stage it again next year.

#WeAreAllUs



From: Chaosium, Inc.

November, 11, 2018



Eclipse Phase Man Pages



In the most recent newsletter Lev intimated that I've been working on converting the Eclipse Phase 4th edition rules into Linux "manpage" (i.e. manual page) format.



I'm happy to announce that the first round of tidying up is now complete, after starting with a mess of loosely formatted plain text several months ago.



This was a process of going through about one chapter per week or so, doing a mix of manual and semi-automated clean-up, and some superficial editing (in Vim! ?)



I've only tested the appearance of the pages in Arch Linux. I expect they should look okay to anyone using any Linux and any BSD (including Macs). It might also be possible to view them using the Linux Subsystem For Windows available in Windows 10, or Cygwin.



I don't think they are complete. I have no doubt there are still typos, formatting errors and incongruent/inconsistent stylistic choices. If you spot any areas for improvement, please go to the issues tab at the Eclipse Phase repository on GitHub and start a discussion about it:


https://github.com/rpgreview/eclipse-phase-manpages



Tim Rice



In Praise of Ducks



Hi Lev,



I was just reading through issue 40 of your RPG magazine, I noticed on p.51 you used my cartoon!



I made this a few years ago in a rpg.net forum thread about Glorantha, it was a reflexive commentary on complaints from posters who didn't like the idea of Ducks, all these gripes were from people posting in the thread itself, which I put into the mouths of the most ridiculous D&D creatures I could find at the time, being watched silently by Dan Barker's Duck.



Unfortunately I've noticed this being used elsewhere online with entirely the opposite meaning that I intended, I thought it spoke for itself but clearly I should have framed it better.



Bilharzia Aeetes



Hi Bilharzia,



Thank you for the letter. Having encountered in a few places online, it is truly a great pleasure to find the original author and you will be credited in Issue 41 as such.



I'm confused on how people could give the opposite meaning however. I felt that it spoke very clearly for itself as well. I guess some people really hate Ducks!



Best wishes,



Lev

Editorial and Cooperative News



Whilst the roleplaying game hobby is largely a social activity, indeed perhaps one of the most social forms of entertainment available, there is an interesting tangent of solo play. The reasons may be varied; perhaps a game simply isn't available, or a player lives remotely, or they're travelling, or maybe they just want to read something that is a bit more than a novel.



Solo gamebooks has been with us since the the earliest days, dating from the transition from wargames to RPGs, with Tunnels & Trolls being the first system to publish solo fantasy gamebooks - preceding Fighting Fantasy by several years. There is around thirty Tunnels & Trolls solo gamebooks available, with Buffalo Castle from 1976 being the first, and it is thoroughly appropriate that Karl Brown has contributed a "Tunnels & Trolls Bestiary Solo Play PC Special" for this issue.



There was a bit of a hey-day for solo gamebooks from the mid 1980s to the early 1990s, when the hobby had more younger people playing and when computers weren't cheap and portable enough for using on mass transit (single-person computer games really did take the role in many cases). For a while there was a mass of such games, and most major RPG systems were producing at least some semblance of solo play for at the least an introduction to the game system. Even Paranoia had one - and who can forget the opening scenario in Mentzer's Basic Dungeons & Dragons with the poorly-fated Aleena at the hands of the bandit-wizard Bargle? As a special item there is also a solo adventure from the recent Papers & Paychecks supplement, Cow-Orkers in the Scary Devil Monastery, entitled 'Camp 22'.



There has to be reviews of course, and myself and Karl are pretty productive in that sense. There's a review of the classic The Warlock of Firetop Mountain by yours truly, along with Death Trap Dungeon also from the Fighting Fantasy Range by Karl Brown. I've also contributed with TSR's attempt to get teenaged girls playing with Ring of the Ruby Dragon. Karl has also provided a review of a more contemporary publication, Elminster’s Guide to Solo Adventuring.



Solo adventures aren't all over yet. Chaosium has made a few solo publications in recent times, and we have an interview with Paul Bilmer who has made a bit of a splash with D&D 5th edition solo games. There is also another version of play, with a solo PC and GM. I've written a few notes on running such games and the differences they have compared to larger group play.



It is rare to find an issue of RPG Review that is dedicated only to the major topic for each issue and this one is no exception. In addition to all this solo fun, we have a wonderful contribution to Australian gaming with designer's notes for Magellinica, a roleplaying game set in Fantasy Australia for Pathfinder, by Craig McKenzie. There is also the annual RPGaDay commentary by myself, Karl, and Michael Cole. Finally, regular contributor Andrew Moshos gives the movie industry a regular stabbing with his review of Avengers: Infinity War.



Finally, as this is our end of year issue, we have a large amount of Cooperative News, including the financial statement which will give our readers some indication of how small this voluntary venture is. Still, there is one bigger item among all this, and that's the RuneQuest Glorantha Con Down Under which the Cooperative organised. True, the entire last issue issue dedicated to the matter, but there's some updates, plus a wonderful short story from Darius West explaining a journey of subterfuge by Delecti within the Satarite homeland.



See you all in the new year!

Lev Lafayette, still editor,
lev@rpgreview.net

Cooperative News



The biggest event of since RPG Review 40 has been, of course, the RuneQuest Glorantha Down Under III Convention where that 10th anniversary issue was distributed, in print form no less. Much of that event is discussed in the annual committee report, but the opportunity is taken here for a big “thank you” to the staff of Kryall Castle and the GMs for the day, Pete Tracy, Mark Morrison, Justin Akkerman, Martin Dick, Hugh McVicker, Garry Fay, panelists Dave Cake, Darius West, and of course Michael O’Brien and the Chaosium team for all their help.



One of the big outcomes of the convention was that we raised sufficient funds to hold more conventions in the future. Cooperative president, Lev Lafayette, donated a first edition, first print, of White Bear and Red Moon. Only 800 copies of this publication which founded Chaosium, and each was hand-stapled by Greg Stafford. A very generous bid was received by Phil Hibbs in the UK and that book is now on the way to him. He has rejected any suggestion that the Trust Fund be named after him, but he’ll have to put up with being recognised in this publication. Thank you Phil!



Mark Baldwin also contributed to the Trust Fund by donating the original Tales of the Reaching Moon cover art for Issue 8 in 1992 which had some controversy attached and wasn’t used in the US issue of the publication. What was wrong with it? Well, if you look carefully apparently there is just the hint of a … penis! I mean by all means have images of fire, sword, and bloody massacres, but no seriously no dicks. Children might see it.



Apart from the Con and our usual events and activities, the next big item has been the Diversity Survey, put together by Karl, our Diversity Officer. It’s basically designed to compare and contrast our membership and readership with the figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It takes only a few minutes to complete and is available at the following URL.



http://rpgreview.net/diversitysurvey



Finally, we have just started putting items up on our new online store. The same rules apply; members of the Cooperative can sell games to unsuspecting members of the public.



http://rpgreview.net/shop



Finally, the joys of being an incorporated association mean that we are required to provide a committee report for our January 2019 AGM. Here it goes.

Committee Report 2018



The RPG Review Cooperative held its founding meeting in December, 2015, and was subsequently incorporated by the State of Victoria on January 7th, 2016. The following is a review of our second year of activities. All activities have been in strict accordance to our objectives. The committee members for 2018 were Lev Lafayette (President), Michael Cole (Vice-President), Andrew Daborn (Secretary), Liz Bowman (Treasurer), and Andrei Nikulinsky, Andrew McPherson and Karl Brown (ordinary members), with Karl taking up the role of Diversity Officer.



In the past year we have published four copies of the RPG Review journal (Issues 37-40, inclusive - the December edition is invariably late), constituting some 256 pages of material. Guest interviews included Terry K. Amthor, Lee Gold, and Paul Bilmer, plus we had a special print edition of RPG Review 40 for the 10th anniversary of the 'zine, which coincided with RuneQuest Glorantha Con Down Under III, which we hosted. Copies of this print edition are available to all members of the Cooperative, gratis. All copies of the ISSN-registered RPG Review journal have been submitted to the National Library of Australia. The RPG Review website received 50,284 unique visitors in 2018, an decrease of 7%, with RPG Review issues 6 once again receiving over 1000 downloads, with RPG Reviews 17 and 35 receiving 874 and 696, respectively.



The Cooperative has also published a monthly newsletter for members and potential members, 'Crux Australi'. This newsletter has outlined the various RPG campaigns being run by members, which increased to 27 this year, including 6 life members. There is 173 subscribers to Crux Australi. Continuing with our existing services, the Cooperative has also organised about visits to the Astor Cinema as a regular non-gaming social event. In addition, the Cooperative offers an online store for members to sell their second-hand or new games to the public. This was operated through Quicksales, but that service closed down this year and we have just started a new system hosted by ourselves. We also provide various IT support mechanisms (github, mailman mailing lists etc) with hosting donated from one of our members. Without a doubt the most important contributions in this area has been Tim Rice's 'Eclipse Phase manpages'.



Following the establishment of an RPG library for members in April 2016 we reached some 350 items by the end of that year. Now, with the library entirely stored in Coburg, Victoria. A substantial donation was made via Paul Smith this year of some 35 items, bringing us to a total of 723 items, up from a final count of 679 last year. For would-be game publishers, we also offer discount ISBNs which we gain an advantage from bulk purchasing. This year the Cooperative also published "The Tinker's Toolkit Race Design", with the first supplement for "Papers & Paychecks", "Cow-Orkers in the Scary Devil Monastery" nearing completion.



Our Diversity Officer has produced two items very worthy of note this year, the first being the Code of Conduct. For any organisation if you don't have one of these sooner you will have problems later, so it is good that even our small group can manage one of these. In addition, following metrics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, is a "diversity survey" which compares various social metrics of those associated with RPG Review and our readers.



The single most important event for the Cooperative in 2018 however, had to be our organisation of RuneQuest Glorantha Con Down Under III, held at Kryall Castle near Ballarat. The first such event in some twenty years, with some fantastic badges produced by Daniel Tosello, the long day saw over fifty people in attendance. With sponsorship of prizes and donations by Chaosium, there was game sessions of RuneQuest, Pendragon, and Glorantha 13th Age, Khan of Khans, a two-round auction (with extraordinarily generous bids from Phil Hibbs and Brett Easterbrook), panels, a free-form ("All The King's Ale") in which Andrew Bean and Brian P., provided outstanding assistance, Trollball, the usual events that the Castle itself runs, and glorious quality and quantity of food. One very sad aspect of the event was that in the midst of organising, the man who was first discovered by Glorantha, Greg Stafford, passed away. The committee is most insistent however that it is recorded that the Cooperative's president, Lev Lafayette, received the inaugural Greg Stafford Memorial Award for Gloranthan Fandom, from Chaosium and the Stafford family.



Reviewing the aims for 2018 in our last Committee Report, the Cooperative has completed most of the tasks that we set before us. Our membership has improved slightly, we brought out a new publication and are very close to the next, plus we have substantial cash and stock balance. Overall we have achieved a great deal for a small volunteer organisation that is only three years in existence. Looking forward to the 2019 year, the Committee will be looking at the following:



* Involvement in Arcanacon and other Conventions

* Completing our second Kickstarter publication, selling and promoting 'Papers & Paychecks'.

* Organising another RuneQuest Con DownUnder in association with Chaosium (c.f., https://www.facebook.com/groups/158376971443228/)

* Releasing between four and five issues of the RPG Review journal.

* Acting on the results of our Diversity Survey

* Maintaining our existing membership services, including library, discount ISBNs, store, and IT services.

* Investigating on whether the library can become a Deductible Gift Beneficiary and increasing its size.

* Improving our financial management and categorisation.


As per the requirements of incorporated associations, a summary of our finances and future budget is also provided:



2018 Profit and Loss Statement

Account

Income

Expenses

Notes

Membership

780


Includes 6 life members

Donations

53



Library


349

Chiefly shelving costs

POBox


42

Shared cost

Postage

142

184

Mainly P&P postage costs

General Stationery


50


AGM Event


112


Association Registration


57


Stock Sales (physical)

644

391

Mainly RQ Dice

Online Store


30

Quicksales, now defunct

RQG Con Registrations

5470



RQG Chaosium Support

480



RQG Auction Support

3767



RQG Castle Hire


4703

Kryal Castle

RQG General


181

Stationery and Props

RQG Printing


699

RPG Review 40 Conference Issue

RQG Bus


120






Totals

11346

6888




2018 Balance Sheet

Account

Assets

Liabilities

Notes

Cash on Hand c/f

2249



Cash on Hand new

444



RQG Trust

4014


For future RQG conventions

DriveThruRPG

74


From Papers & Paychecks

RQ Dice

40


2 RQ Dice

Library

7400


Estimation at $10 per item.

Papers & Paychecks

2000


Estimation at 200 spare copies at $10 each.

RPG Review 40

400


Estimation at 40 spare copies at $10 each.

Kickstarter Printing


2350

For Cow-Orkers supplement.





Capital

7611





2019 Budget




Account

Income

Expenses

Notes

Membership

500


Includes 3 life members

Ass. Registation

60


Consumer Affairs

POBox


40

Shared cost

Kickstarter


2350

Pledges, Printing Costs & Fees

Stock Sales

300



Postage

500

500

Mainly for Papers & Paychecks

RQG Con

5000

5000

Expect to break-even

Stationery


200






Total

6300

8150


THE RECOLLECTIONS OF DELECTI

by Darius West


Forgive that the Delecti is no good with the names, hundreds of years has made the names hard to remember, perhaps the Delecti is a little deaf now. At the time I had words and memory of zombie boy, and spoke as any Satyrite local, but it all fades now into hundreds of years. Here is what the Delecti recalls of those events. Everything went by so fast for the old Delecti…

The Delecti is in the zombified body of the Cashed-in Longbroo, nephew and heir to the Pornos Longbroo who is Chief of the Greyfrogs Clan of Is-mouldy Tribe. The Delecti’s aim? To collapse the clan of course, as it produces the Intro-dummies Cult, who are flea bitten Humonkey death worshipers who think that dismembering the Delecti’s zombies is a fun sport. Well, be fair, dismembering can be fun, but the Delecti digress. Bah, these Satyrites with their bad roads and their crummy cities, Bald-dome, Swinestown, All-the-Chairs, they think they are so great, when Delecti could train even baboon to make better ones. Lamentably parochial. The Delecti remembers back in the day when Delecti’s mansion stood in the EWF capital, and Delecti’s Zoo was the popular tourist attraction. Now the poor Delecti has to put up with rude bumpkins raiding Marsh and their ancestor “heroes” like the Intro-par Greyfrog being reborn in the bodies of his kin to cut at the poor Delecti with their dirty knives. Intro-par has cheek to spirit possess own sentient and corporeal descendants like some Doggy Foul Shaman and somehow that is A-okay. When the Delecti does something like that and the fools call the Delecti an evil necromancer, even though the Delecti is using this dead body with no spirit dwelling within. Hypocrisy! All the Delecti want is to liberate the people from the cycle of life and death, and make them immortal; to provide them with limitless pleasure more profound than any mere bonking like animal can produce, but they disdain the Delecti’s gifts and attack the Delecti’s supporters at every turn. Never mind. The Delecti has all eternity to play, while they are finite little things who worship the death that will take everything away from them. If the Delecti manages to remove Greyfrog Clan, the Delecti can extend Marsh quite a bit. If the Delecti learned anything from the EWF it is that real estate is where the money is.


All that trouble to set up the Dragonkill, and what redevelopment plans the Delecti had for Dragon Pass! Then all the Poo Horse and their Filthy whore’s Queen and Hen-drinking squatters show up. Bah!

This recent misadventure began in chambers with the Delecti’s “dear Uncle” (remember, the cunning Delecti is pretending to be Cashed-in Longbroo). Now the Delecti has been studying the clan for some time, and the Delecti’s sabotage attempt had gone well. The chief is diseased, and looking forwards to handing off the responsibilities of rule to Cashed-in who is the Delecti. Wonderful. All is well. On the other hand, the Mallia priestess who diseased the chief only had partial success in diseasing the crops, as they up and vanished. Vanished is not destroyed, and that meant that starvation wasn’t inevitable. Then there was the whole issue that if the Delecti’s lesser vehicle didn’t look as if it was eating food, that it might compromise the Delecti’s cover, but The Delecti will get to that. Who is this Cashed-in? Some idiot boy. So the Delecti must play the part, and consider, the more Gre
yfrog the Delecti is, the better the foolish living ones will like the Delecti.

Consider poor old Pornos. He knows he is dying. He knows his clan is in mortal danger. What he doesn’t know is that his wife has cuckolded him with his own bastard son. The Delecti found out later. Very humorous. Of course Pornos must live for the Delecti’s plan to work, and we discussed strategy. We agreed that the food was very important, and the Delecti told the old Pornos that for the food to vanish, and the Pus Clan to raid, then the Lunar slop kitchen shows up with the Tax Collecter, just when the clan needs its hops to make Beer was all too convenient. The Cashed-in Delecti then says very practical advice, that when there are too many mouths and not enough food, but many swords, it is time for war. The Delecti loves war, more bodies, so of course the Delecti counsels for war. Pornos cannot refute the argument but will not agree, for he is old now, and sick (but not as old as the Delecti). So the Delecti spoke next to Carnard Deathduck (strange name for a human), and he loved the council of war. The Delecti spoke to other weapon thanes, and rattled the sword in its sheath, so to speak, but I could see they were suspicious. And so they should be, for they were my competitors, and all of us carrion birds around the golden torc of old Chief Pornos, pecking for the meat of Greydog. That one, bah, what was his name? Boredom Greatsnore. What an arrogant blustering imbecile! And then there was the sleazy one, Youngbum Baby, whose mummy is called Hit Ignoring, a witch, the poor Youngbum, for he suckled on the cold titty. Then there is the Corvid the Black person (not Agimori, very misleading). This Corvid is worst night watchman ever. The Delecti found out he is called “the Black” because he lost his wits and has the blackouts. Very humorous, so The Delecti tells everyone and they laugh.


It is good to be the funny man, and they laugh and laugh, and they love their funny Delecti. So we of the weaponthanes all agree that to war we must go. The Delecti goes raiding with the Weaponthanes a couple of times to help win their hearts, but all it does is litter the land with dead bodies, and the weapon thanes all hate the Cashed-in Longbroo Delecti still; dirty bumpkins, back in the Jrustelan Empire we would think nothing of flash frying their whole village in burning ice, but those days are behind the Delecti; no ice-fire for him. How I reminisce with dear young Pavis about those days.

So the Delecti is having trouble, as there are not many sheep and old Pornos Chief keeps asking for more food. So Delecti remembers that his beautiful Daughters of Darkness have been getting sheep for him from Starfire Ridge. So the Delecti gets some more sheep, and tells Pornos that he needs the sheep to catch the thing that kills them, and Pornos accepts that. All the same, with everyone eating all the sheep, the poor Delecti is struggle to find enough to make the Greydogs into zombies with ritual of “If Delecti kill this sheep and take blood, then Greydog become Zombie”. The Delecti put the whammy on the Ovumstore the Trodden, and on Boredom Greatsnore but try a couple more. Hard to find time to do the rituals in the Delecti’s busy schedule, and lazy Daughters of Darkness must be micromanaged or they just sit around comparing nails all night and talk about the boys they want to drink.

Then the Delecti remembers his Duck. Finkfiend it is called. The Delecti saw through the silly disguise of the Duck, for it had beak, and it walked like Duck, but tried hard not to quack like duck. The Delecti would not be fooled. So, the Delecti could blackmail the Duck, but you catch more flies with corpses than by swatting, so instead the Delecti is all sympathy for the poor poor Duck who is victim of racist Lunar’s Duck Hunt. So very cruel, so the Cashed-in Longbroo must help the Duck, and others who “cannot pay their bill”. Duck took to that like worms in a bog. It is good magic trick to make Duck sing like the little bird, no?

After that I meet trollop (not being rude, that is what girl troll is called) the Ugly Has-Cash, who says the Cashed-in Longbroo is stinky. The Delecti is ever polite and say that perhaps she smell the Mostali iron sword of Cashed-in, but she say we should separate the sword and me, so she could smell better. The Delecti say no, as don’t give sword to troll is just smart. The Delecti smiles and stays polite to Ugly Has-Cash, while he looks for big stick. Is diplomacy, no?

Soon the Delecti is talk to the Lunar foreign aid worker called “Gnat-in-a-mucus-pool”, very Dragonewt name, reminds the Delecti of EWF, so the Delecti like her. She talks to the Delecti about how the Lunars have schools to mind control the young, and aqua-dogs that carry water, and how she is here to make people into good Lunar stool pigeons like her.  But the Delecti is a good spy and so the Delecti make wise arguments about how Greyfrogs don’t need these things. Then the Delecti tell her that the clan is onto her, and that first the crop is stolen, then the Chief is sick, then  the Pus raid, then the Lunar shows up with food. Is no coincidence. She did not like that. So as noble Cashed-In, the Delecti swear to protect when the clan comes for her. Good Jrusteli chivalry, no?


Finkfiend is good agent for the Delecti, and knows it not, the poor poor Finkfiend. Yes, the Finkfiend makes the Delecti to meet with the Lonny the Beer-head, who is boss of Orlanthi rebels and is head of the Hobo-son Bloodline. And oh what a great fool that one was. The Delecti tell him that the Cashed-in is “unofficial liaison” with Chief who has great sympathy with rebels, and there is much talking about how war will be waged. Yes, thinks the Delecti, we can call down the Lunars onto Greyfrog. Very good. The Delecti plans to wipe out whole clan, but maybe not just yet…

Then up comes Foreigngelding the Hopeless, and Corvid Blackout, and they ask the Delecti if he is  vampire. Of course the Delecti is no vampire! The Delecti is spirit of a necromancer in the body of zombie if you must know, but cunning Delecti says nothing, but is all shocked. But you see the Foreigngelding has the Humakt magic for seeing lies, and he thinks Delecti is a vampire, poor foolish Foreigngelding. Of course his magics fail, for the Delecti is not vampire, only the Daughters of Darkness are vampire, the Delecti is so much more! Then the Blackout says he has been dreaming of Cashed-in, and the Cashed-in says “Have you been attracted to me this whole time?” All very embarrassing for the Blackout, and inside the Delecti is laugh and laugh.  The Cashed-in Delecti promise to investigate what is all about and to speak with the Trickster Pigprice who is also in dreams.

The Delecti is just talk to the Pigprice, and find out that it is he who stole the grain, for he knows where it is, but cannot get it. This is good thinks the Delecti, for trickster can be killed and blamed as thief of the food, and the clan gets no more. But no!


Then the election for Chief is starting. This is not good, for the Delecti still has too much work to do. Still not good when the Boredom Greatsnore is ahead in vote, then the Delecti has the zombies change their vote, and it is the Delecti who has won! Oh the poor Delecti, is like the girl chosen for Bride of Spring, and is all smiles and sparkles in sunlight like Edward Cullen, and waves at the crowd. The Delecti is think “Yesss! YESSS! The Delecti will boil this clan Greyfrog slowly! They will not notice their decline.” Then cruel GM wrecks everything, for the Delecti is proclaimed , after all the work of hiding in the Cashed-in Longbroo, and so the Delecti has to fight the Blackout. At first everything is neck on neck, then the Delecti realize that if the Delecti is revealed, there is no point, and so he lose the fight, and wake up on favorite bier in home in Marsh again and the Delecti’s Cashed-in zombie and plan are ruined. Ah well, such is unlife. Try again next Sacred Time, no?







TUNNELS & TROLLS SOLO PLAY BESTIARY

by Karl Brown

This is yet another article in a series of materials for the classic T&T 5th edition. Previous articles appeared in issues: 12, 15, 18, 19, 20, 22, and 31. Though written for edition 5.5, this series of articles is largely compatible with the 7th edition. This selection of monsters are ones I might consider as PCs and would be suitable for use with the solo adventures published for T&T. The solo adventure City of Terrors by Michael Stackpole in particular takes place in a city where orcs and worse freely roam the streets and contained rules for troll PCs. As a guideline add up all the attribute modifiers (yes negative CHR subtracts) and if under 8 the kin may be suitable for use as a player character. An average IQ of at least 5 is also recommended unless you want to play a beast. Guidelines for role-playing monsters appeared in issue 15.



Firbolg

MR 14 Dice 2 Adds 7

Natural Weapons: two attacks in a round these can be punches, kicks or head butts all doing 1d each

Natural Armour 0

Special Attacks nil Special Defences nil

ST 22 (x2) IQ 10 (x1) LK 7 (x0.5) CON 14 (x1.5) DEX 8 (x1) CHR 7 (x0.5) SP 12 (x1)

Height x1.5 Weight x3.5 Starting Age: 3d+40 Old at: 180


Large, rough-looking people who dress much like the ancient Celts. Firbolgs (pronounced Fear-Bolg) ruled much of the land before the coming of the dwarves and the elves, and they are still bitter about the lands stolen from them centuries ago. Firbolgs now generally live in wild areas near the edges of civilisation. They are not evil, but uncooth and a little wild. Firbolg often help humans, especially if doing so aids their long standing grudges. Firbolg culture also has a long magical tradition like leprechauns (using the same rules), but unlike leprechauns not all are wizards. Firbolg wizards are not members of the WizardsÕ Guild (which was established by elves and dwarves), but may use spells like a wizard, begin with all first level spells, but must purchase more spells as if a rogue, and are prohibited from using large weapons by Firbolg tradition. Unlike true wizards, Firbolg wizards pay for spells with STR not CON. Some referees may allow firbolg player characters, especially since they are an option for larger-than-human characters that donÕt have a negative charisma.


Gnome

MR 9 Dice 1 Adds 4

Natural Weapons: unarmed attacks 1d Natural Armour 0

Special Attacks nil Special Defences nil

ST 7 (x0.5) IQ 17 (x1.5) LK 12 (x1.25) CON 10 (x1) DEX 16 (x1.5) CHR 12 (x1.25) SP 12 (x1)

Height x1/3 Weight x1/4 Starting Age: 3d+50 Old at: 200


Short, stocky, but not as portly as hobbits, these people of the earth and soil are sometimes mistaken for under-grown dwarfs. However where dwarves are sturdy, stolid and stern, gnomes are nimble, bright and cheerful.

While similar to dwarfs, gnome aptitudes tend to be on a smaller scale. Dwarves built huge stone halls and excavate cities within mountains, gnomes dig cosy warrens. Dwarves construct trebuchet and aqueducts, gnomes design intricate locks and telescopes. Dwarves forge steel into armour and axes, gnomes produce excellent jewellers. Gnomes are more amicable than dwarfs, and with their mathematical aptitude this combination can produce shrewd merchants. Gnomes enjoy practical jokes, preferring to outwit their enemies and generally get along with each other and other good kin. Gnome culture produces few warriors. Most gnomes have an aptitude for magic, there are many gnome rogues and some wizards.


Gnomes maintain that they were once genomus, a type of elemental that petitioned the gods to become mortal after becoming intrigued by beasts and plants. Whatever the truth of this, gnomes still have affinities for both the Earth and living things. Gnomes share the dwarf abilities of doubled digging rate, the ability to determine the value of jewels and gems, and to sniff out large concentrations of gold if they get close enough. Although earth dwellers, gnomes are concerned not just with rock but also with soil; they delight both in wild forests and gardens where the earth produces life but abhor the dull monotony of fields of wheat and other crops. Gnome gardeners are sought after by those who can afford servants. Many gnomes choose to learn one or more of the low tongues of animals; the rodent tongue is particularly popular.


Goblin

MR 10 Dice 2 Adds 5

Natural Weapons: two claws 1d Natural Armour 0

Special Attacks nil Special Defences nil

ST 7 (x0.5) IQ 12 (x1) LK 15 (x1.5) CON 10 (x1) DEX 14 (x1.5) CHR -3 (x-0.5) SP 15 (x1.5)

Height x0.5 Weight x0.125 Starting Age: 3d+5 Old at: 30


Goblins are cruel faeries who are short and ugly but otherwise are so varied as to defy accurate description. Pointed ears, dog ears, pointed noses, ape-life snouts, skin of green, grey or purple, warts, cat eyes, black soulless orbs or eyes like red sparks; their magical and wicked nature makes no two alike. As faeries they have aptitudes for trickery and magic, some become rogues or even wizards. Some referees may allow goblin player characters.


Knockers

MR 10 Dice 2 Adds 5

Natural Weapons: two claws 1d Natural Armour 0

Special Attacks nil Special Defences nil

ST 6 (x0.5) IQ 12 (x1) LK 15 (x1.5) CON 10 (x1) DEX 15 (x1.5) CHR 3 (x0.5) SP 15 (x1.5)

Height x0.5 Weight x0.125 Starting Age: 3d+5 Old at: 30


Knockers are faeries related to goblins but unlike goblins these secretive folk often aid human miners in exchange for privacy, food and a little ore. They can be distinguished from goblins by their habits and their homely rather than ugly appearance. Knockers avoid being seen by other kin and value privacy. The surest way to drive these helpers out of a mine is to try to observe them as they work at night or seek out the concealed entrances to their dwellings within the mine. Some knockers become rogues or, more rarely, even wizards. Some refereeÕs may allow knocker player characters. Such knockers will probably be less private than usual and will have to put up with occasionally being mistaken for a goblin.


Nymph

MR 8 Dice 1 Adds 4

Natural Weapons: Normal unarmed combat Natural Armour 0

Special Attacks nil Special Defences nil

ST 9 (x1) IQ 12 (x1) LK 16 (x1.5) CON 8 (x1) DEX 12 (x1) CHR 12 or 30 (x1 or x3) use second number when dealing those attracted to females. SP 12 (x1)

Height x9/10 Weight x2/3 but never overweight or skinny Starting Age: 3d+50 Old at: 200

Also known as korrigan and lamignac, nymphs are the yin to the satyr yang. All nymphs are female their natural mates are satyrs. Male offspring are born satyrs and female offspring are nymphs. Just as satyrs seem to be over-masculine, nymphs are brimming over with female essence. As young maids they are more adventurous and are most often seen by outsiders in their youth. As mature women they are caring and charismatic, as elders they offer wisdom and leadership. They look exactly like well proportioned and beautiful human females. It may not be apparent to others that they are dealing with a nymph and not an attractive human female. Nymphs often take lovers from the other good kin any offspring of such unions are full nymphs if female and attractive but sterile half breeds if male. Nymphs are fairy kindred and have a high aptitude for magic. Some refereeÕs may allow nymph player characters. Nymph culture distains violence and warfare and so produces no warriors. All nymphs are wizards or rogues.


Orc

MR 25 Dice 3 Adds 12

Natural Weapons: bite 1d, two claws 1d each. Natural Armour 0

Special Attacks nil Special Defences nil

ST 20 (x2) IQ 9 (x1) LK 16 (x1.5) CON 25 (x2.5) DEX 10 (x1) CHR -10 (x-1) SP 10 (x1)

Height x1 Weight x1.25 Starting Age: 3d+5 Old at: 35


Orcs are brutish and ape-like so therefore are stronger and more agile than humans but not greatly so. Some referees may allow orc player characters


Pixie

MR 9 Dice 1 Adds 5

Natural Weapons: unarmed 1d Natural Armour 0

Special Attacks nil Special Defences nil

ST 4 (x0.5) IQ 13 (x1.5) LK 17 (x1.5) CON 9 (x1) DEX 17 (x1.5) CHR 12 (x1) SP 12 (x1)

Size x1/3 Weight x3.5% Starting Age: 3d+40 Old at: 180


By virtue of a bitter civil war centuries ago the rebellious pixies had their own country before the coming of the dwarves. They still expect the old treaties to be respected and no elves or winged fairies to enter the land the pixies once owned outright. (see Briggs). Pixies are often rogues but rarely wizards since the Guild is viewed as an elf institution. Pixie wizards are outcasts among their own kind. Traditionally pixies wear green as camouflage in woods and verdant country but if out socially they consider it polite to wear a bright red hat. They are red headed with pointy ears and noses. Pixies are nocturnal and can see twice as far as humans from any source of light. They squint in sunlight but are otherwise unaffected. Pixies are experts at magical guerrilla warfare and typical pixie rogue tactics is to employ mirage and conceal to way-lay enemies and ambush them. Since these spells are so common in pixie society a pixie rogue in her homeland can buy these as if a wizard.


Satyr

MR 12 Dice 2 Adds 6

Natural Weapons: normal unarmed attack 1d and a butt for 1d Natural Armour 0

Special Attacks nil Special Defences nil

ST 15 (x1.5) IQ 9 (x1) LK 15 (x1.5) CON 12 (x1) DEX 10 (x1) CHR 8 (x1) SP 12 (x1)

Height x2/3 Weight x1/3 Starting Age: 3d+8 Old at: 40


Also known as korreds and fawns, satyrs are the natural mates of nymphs. The offspring of such unions are nymphs if female and satyrs if male. All satyrs are male. Satyrs often take lovers from the other good kin any offspring of such unions are full satyrs if male and sterile half breeds if female. Satyrs may be used as player characters in some campaigns. Satyrs lack the necessary discipline for serious magical studies in the crucial years of youth and so may not be wizards. Satyrs may be rogues or warriors.


Therianthrope

MR 10 Dice 2 Adds 5

Natural Weapons: bite/peck/etc. 2d. In an action a therianthrope can make regular unarmed attacks as a human (1d) or use a weapon instead of a bite. Natural Armour: Nil

Special Attacks: Nil Special Defences: Nil

ST 10* (x1) IQ 10 (x1) LK 10* (x1) CON 10 (x1) DEX 8 (x 8/10) CHR 10 (x1) SP 10 (x1)

Height x1 Weight x1 Starting Age: 3d+5 Old at: 50
* Either ST or LK is 18 (x2) pick one based on the physical characteristics of the animal whose head the therianthrope has. Alternatively, both ST and LK could be 15 (x1.5). Therianthropes are as diverse as humans major NPCs should be detailed with attributes reminiscent of the animal whose head they have.

Therianthropes are presented in some detail because they would make an excellent player character kin in most non-European settings. A therianthrope is a human with the head and neck of an animal. Such beings have been depicted the world over since humans painted the earliest rock art, though they seemed to have vanished from Europe in ancient times. In my campaign world therianthropes are rare in most parts of the world, extinct in the ÔWestÕ and fairly common in the South (Africa). The animal head and neck is always as large as a human head and neck combined, so an ibis therianthrope has a larger head than an actual ibis i.e. a child sized head and a proportional ibis neck. An elephant therianthrope has a smaller head than an elephant and hardly any neck. The head of a therianthrope provides a compromise between animal and human senses including colour vision and perhaps a single acute sense. The body of the therianthrope while totally human has a build and appearance reminiscent of the animal, an elephant therianthrope will be large and heavy set while a cat therianthrope will be smaller, lithe and graceful. However, the capabilities of their bodies and limbs are always within the human range, non-human abilities are limited to those few provided by the head. Therianthrope diets contain a mix of human and animal foods. Despite bestial heads flexible tongues and larynxes allow them to speak human languages but with a accent. In personality such creatures are basically human but tend to have personality traits reminiscent of the animal whose head they have. So human are they in personality that they fit in well in human societies accustomed to their odd looks and they are attracted to humans (when a human and therianthrope, or two therianthropes of different heads, or a therianthrope and a were, breed the offspring has an even chance of being either kin). Therianthropes generally get on well with weres of the same animal, sometimes forming mixed communities. As magical creatures therianthropes are often rogues or wizards and have their fair share of warrior-wizards also. However, there partially animal nature has less aptitude for tools and weapons so few are pure warriors or artisan civilians (though no character type is actually banned). The standard rules to prevent a therianthrope from making a bite and a weapon attack together in one action it is noted here again for clarity.

Each breed of therianthrope also has one minor special ability determined by the head. Typical abilities include:

* Smell/taste saves at one level lower.

* Vision saves at one level lower.

* Hearing saves at one level lower.

* Night vision like a cat, able to see double usual distance in dim light but still blinded by total darkness.

* Poisonous bite, the venom adds 1d damage if the attack hits and gets past armour.

* Elephant’s trunk, treat as an arm of DX x1/2, ST x1/3.

* Echolocation like a bat. You use sound to “see” even in total darkness (treat as colour blind) but enough of the squeaks or clicks you need to make to “see” in this way are audible by humans and others to give your own location away, sneaking saves are impossible in quiet areas and two levels harder if there is background noise.

* Sense of direction like a migratory bird. An internal “compass” so you always know which way is north and never get “turned around”. This is useful in mazes but does not allow a character to automatically retrace their steps.


Troll, Young

MR 36 Dice 4 Adds 18

Natural Weapons: Tough clawed hands 1d each, bite 2d Natural Armour 0

Special Attacks nil Special Defences nil

ST 30 (x3) IQ 10 (x1) LK 10 (x1) CON 30 (x3) DEX 10 (x1) CHR -20 (x-2) SP 10 (x1)

Height x2 Weight x4 Starting Age: 3d+50 Old at: 200


Trolls are tall but long limbed so mass less than other creatures of the same height. Some referees may allow troll PCs. Trolls grow sporadically throughout their lives in response to stress. Larger trolls can have much higher MRÕs and most of the additional Adds are devoted to STR. Trolls are a highly variable kin and the extra dice from higher MRÕs can be added to any of the natural weapons, one may have enormous tusks and other massive fists etc. Height of older trolls will be at least inches equal to square root of STR times 25, and mass at least ST squared divided by two.

INTERVIEW WITH PAUL BILMER

with Paul Bilmer


Paul Bimler is the author of solo adventures for D&D 5e. He publishes as a small label ‘5e Solo Gamebooks’ on the DMs’ Guild. His first adventure created a bit of splash and went on to become a ‘Mithral Best-seller’ on the DM’s Guild.



RPG Review: Let’s start with a variation on our standard first question for these interviews. When did you play your first game book and what about your first RPG?



Paul: The first gamebook I read was The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, as I'm sure it was for many others, and I came across that in 1984, which was also the first year I got into Dungeons & Dragons, at the age of 11 years old. From there I collected the whole series of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, as well as Lone Wolf, Way of the Tiger, Demonspawn, Grail Quest and many others. They've been a huge influence on me in terms of gaming and adventure writing.



RPG: Review: Can you briefly tell us about how you came to write your first solo adventure for D&D 5e?



Paul: I've always been a fan of solo adventures, even within D&D. The day I decided to write a solo adventure was the day I found Dungeon Master's Guild. I went on there and did a search for solo adventures, and quickly

discovered that none had been written for Fifth Edition (that's since changed). So, I got straight to work writing! And in the process of doing that, I shared the creation of the book, developing the style as I went. It was actually a really fun and engaging process.



RPG Review: You only recently began publishing your writing. How did you learn to write and polish your craft?



Paul: I've been writing fiction for many years, unpublished. I have had plenty of time to practice writing, which I think is the best way to polish your craft, and I've always been engaged in writing of some sort, since I was very young. It's always been a major passion of mine. With the appearance of DM's Guild, the opportunity to self-publish came up, and I'm glad that I've done it. I've been making submissions of my work (fantasy fiction) to various agents and publishing companies for a long time, getting the occasional response but never able to secure a deal of any sort. But having self-published, and having seen some success as a result, I'm re-evaluating the merits of pursuing the 'traditional path' of publishing. A lot of what publishing companies are looking for is based on fashions within book selling, and I'm not sure my work really conforms to any of that! In terms of learning to write, I read a lot within the fantasy genre, which I think is essential for any writer. Be familiar with your chosen genre and the big names who write within it. I also have a small circle of friends who are writers too, and we are always reviewing each others' work and giving each other pointers. It's been very valuable getting that feedback. Sometimes, you need it spelt out for you, where you're going wrong. If I was to recommend a book on writing, there's a series called "Write Great Fiction" which I've gotten a lot of good pointers from. Those books will point you in the right (write?) direction when it comes to honing your craft!



RPG Review: Your books are quite professional how did you go about recruiting artists, cartographers and others with the skills needed?



Paul: 95% of the maps are done by myself. I've been a Dungeon Master for many many years, and have always made maps, so cartography is something that comes with the terrain (pun intended) of being a dungeon master, in my opinion. Regarding the art, when you make material for DM's Guild, you get access to a whole lot of art packs that you are able to use within your product. I'm also always on the hunt for great public domain and Creative Commons art, and I keep note of where to find all that stuff. So as it turns out, I haven't actually had to recruit any artists so far - although that has changed with the most recent book (not yet published). I did get three different artists to help me out with some of the images in there. But largely it's either public domain stuff or made by me.



RPG Review: D&D 5e was not designed for solo play can you briefly tell us how your first book “The Death Knight’s Squire” allowed solo play with the D&D rules?



Paul: In the most basic terms, it operates like a gamebook. Think Fighting Fantasy or Lone Wolf gamebooks. If you're not familiar with either of those series, here's a brief description: narrative entries replace DM narration, and at the end of each entry, you are presented with choices So, for example, here's an example from the book I'm working on currently, entitled The Tortured Land.



A sound from ahead makes you freeze. You hear a low muttering, a guttural voice cursing and debating with itself. Quickly you duck down and begin to make your way stealthily forward, using rocks and tussock as cover. Not an

easy job, as this highland terrain is fairly bare.



Make a stealth check, DC 14.

If successful, go to entry 392.

If unsuccessful, go to 47.



From this point you will make the skill check, click on the appropriate option (all of them are hyperlinked within the text), and be taken to the next entry where you will see the outcome! So it is a gamebook, but it uses 5e D&D mechanics.



RPG Review: as an New Zealand designer you are far removed from the centres of the industry in the USA and UK. Do you think the reduced chances to meet big designers, to show your work at the big conventions, and other effects of distance are a significant obstacle for Australian designers?



Paul:  I'll say that yes, the fact that there are not that many RPG conferences and the like down here in the Southern Hemisphere is something that bothers me sometimes. But the Internet has provided a lot of opportunities when it comes to meeting some of the "big names" in the industry. I can't speak for the larger gaming industry but I've met some big names within the D&D world online, and I'm always looking to network. I think it's more of a challenge for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, but I don't think it needs to be viewed as a "significant obstacle" as you put it there. I suppose it depends what you're aiming to achieve. In terms of getting my products to people, I think I'm achieving that pretty well just through my online presence and I'm not sure how much being in the US or the UK would improve that.



RPG ReviewWhy did you decide to publish on the DM’s Guild and what advice do you have for others considering publishing on the DM’s Guild?



Paul: I'd say that if you're considering it, just do it. Your product might be received really well. However, having said that, I think that it would be unrealistic to release something, not do any marketing or other promotion, and expect it to do well. You need to build an audience organically online, either by starting a blog, creating engaging posts, or whatever other method you think best suits your product. The other piece of advice I would have is a pretty common one from a business perspective: look for gaps in the market. Go onto DM's Guild and start searching for things that you think would be great but aren't currently there. What are some needs that DMs or players might have that aren't currently being filled? That's a surefire way to identify a product you could create that others might find useful.



RPG Review: Among the thousands of PDFs for D&D 5e on the DM’s Guild and on the internet generally your book managed to gain a lot of attention. What do you think was the big break that  got your book noticed in the first place



Paul: Do you know, I'm not entirely sure! One thing that may have helped was that I shared the whole process of creation, as I was writing the book, and I think that piqued people's interest. That way, when it went live, people had been waiting for it and it went straight to number 1 on the bestseller's list, where it stayed for quite a few months. Getting a spot on that list ensures that sales will continue. But yeah, I put a fair bit of effort into generating interest in it before I actually released it, and I think that helped quite a bit.



RPG Review: Your adventures are set in WOTC’s “Forgotten Realms” world. Why did you choose to use that property and not set your books in a generic fantasy world or a world of your own creation? What are the pros and cons of working with a property.



Paul: The thing is, when you release on Dungeon Master's Guild, you have to set your product within either the Forgotten Realms, Eberron, Ravnica… you get the idea. So to gain access to that audience, there are certain guidelines you have to abide by, and the setting is one of those. I actually initially wrote the book set in my own homebrew world of the Voldrelm, but when I was about 50% done I realized I needed to change it, so I did. The cons of working with a property are that you need to conform to the lore and rules of that world... but I kind of view this as a pro. I like working within constraints and seeing how far you can exercise your imagination within those boundaries. What new innovations you can bring to that existing world. I like the Forgotten Realms, too. Possibly my favourite ever setting for D&D.



RPG Review: After Death Knight’s Squire you wrote a couple of sequels. The second book “The Tyrant of Zhentil” keep is written to include a degree of sandbox style play rather than presenting a clear quest from the start. I’m a fan of sandbox play but it is a style that usually uses a lot of back and forth between the players and the DM often writing between sessions to accommodate the players choices. Can you talk about the challenges of bringing exploratory play to the solo format?



Paul: I didn't actually set out to write it as such. It was when I was part-way through the writing process that I looked at what I'd done and thought, wait a minute. I've created a little sandbox here. The main way I took it to being a solo sandbox was by the use of locations and sidequests. So, there is a map of Zhentil Keep in the book where entry numbers are attached to locations. You look at the map and say, "I want to go there", and you proceed to the entry number that is displayed, like clicking on a map in a video game. But you only get a limited time, so you can only visit a set number of locations, and only a set number of sites within that location. That's managed via the use of a mechanic I created called Progress Points. It ensures replayability also. The other thing that I think gives it a sandbox feel is the inclusion of sidequests, usually triggered by a codeword. There are a number of quests in the book that are auxilliary to the main quest, and this gives the player a feel of open exploration. You're right, a sandbox in a DM-led game is much freer. But I think that by including the above-mentioned features, I've given a little taste of that within a solo setting. I hope so, anyway.



RPG Review: Your next project was a very different method for solo play the “Tables of Doom”. In some ways random tables for solo play are a hoary old tradition in RPG going at least as far back as the AD&D 1e DNG. What are some of the features of Tables of Doom that differentiate from other random adventure generation tables?



Paul: I didn't really set out to make the random generation tables different to tables that had come before. I just wanted to make a solo adventure that included tables, to increase the amount of possible adventures that could be had. Also, I love tables. You mentioned AD&D 1e. That's the edition I started with, and the tables in the 1e DMG are still a huge source of inspiration for me, and definitely partly inspired the tables in that product. I think just the combination of solo adventure, random tables, and standard gamebook entries was something that hadn't really been done before. I expand hugely on that concept with The Solo Adventurer's Toolbox. The next Tables of Doom, which is out soon (Tables of Doom 2: Crypt of the Deceiver) also contains a card-drawing mechanic. You draw cards from a standard deck to trigger encounters, traps, monsters, items etc. That's something that hasn't been done before within the concept of a solo D&D adventure, and I'm really looking forward to sharing that one.



RPG Review: After this you produced notes for converting a couple of adventures for earlier editions to solo play with the D&D 5e rules. Here at RPG Review we cover RPG material old and new so these projects of yours piqued our interest. Why did you decide to convert old adventures and these two in particular.



Paul: The selection of those particular adventures was more or less random (one is an old 2e module and the other a 4e one from Dungeon magazine), but they both happened between gamebooks. I wanted to bash out a product fairly quickly that would give people some solo gaming time, but wouldn't take too much effort on my part. As it turns out, it doesn't take too long to convert an existing module for solo play. And after I'd just finished writing a solo adventure product of 50k words (about the same length as a short novel) I was keen to work on something that wasn't so labour intensive! They were a lot of fun and I will do more conversions in future.



RPG Review: What were some of the challenges of ‘double conversion’ to D&D 5e and to solo play and how did you overcome them?



Paul: I didn't really view it as double conversion... when I'm working on anything, I am 100% focused on the *story* of the adventure, above everything else, and that forms the centre of my work. So I just work on the core of the story, and keeping those elements true to form, and working from that point. Then I just replace the existing edition's elements with 5e elements. Conversion of an existing module for solo play is a pretty simple process really.


RPG Review: The “Death Knight’s Squire” was the first is a series of adventures, can you give us a teaser for what to expect next from you?



Paul: Yes, well I've got five gamebook style adventures out now, two solo conversions and The Solo Adventurer's Toolbox which is a set of rules for freeform solo play within D&D (which has been doing really well). So, what's next? Well, I'm working on Tables of Doom 2: Crypt of the Deceiver at the moment, and that should be out soon. After that, I'm planning on completing three more gamebooks, back to back, without interruption. The next one is called The Tortured Land and will be released some time in January 2019. At some stage next year, I'm going to release The Solo Adventurer's Toolbox Part 2, and I also have a long-term project, a campaign guide (non-solo) in the works too. That's for the Beastlands region of Faerun. So I've got plenty to keep me busy! But I'm eager to keep the solo adventure series going, especially for those players who have completed the first three books and want to continue the series. I want to reward their loyalty by writing and releasing three more solo adventures in quick succession. Then I'll work on something else, then release some more gamebooks. Going to take this series all the way to Level 20. After that... well, maybe I'll do a 1-20 in a different setting!



RPG Review: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us and good luck with the next book.



Thanks for having me!

DESIGNER’S NOTES FOR MAGELLINICIA

By Craig McKenzie