Thursday, July 4, 2019

Grain Into Gold is actually Gold

Board Enterprises is thrilled to announce that our flagship economy book Grain Into Gold has been certified as a Best GOLD Seller by Drive Thru RPG.  This would not have happened without the support of all of you!  We thank you for your continued support and promise we will continue to produce the products that you’re looking for!

If you haven’t gotten into Grain Into Gold yet, maybe it’s time you checked out what everyone else has been loving.  It is a fully built economy for a fantasy world, but it is more than that.  Rather than just be an economy constructed for one world or campaign, it walks through the building of economies, from the most basic bread and then everything else.  This way you can adjust anything to make it work just the way you want for your game world and campaign.

This is NOT a scholarly text, but clear, common sense advice on how you can construct everything from how much the NPCs are earning per day to what it’s going to cost for weapons, armor and gear.  Not only does it work, but it makes sense.  That makes it a whole lot easier to use!

We’re thrilled to have received this support from our distributor and all of you.  Thank you again, and hope to see you picking up our other products as well!


Sunday, June 23, 2019

Everybody's a Merchant

A companion piece to our Cartage edition

Funny thing about caravans - Everybody on the caravan thinks he’s a merchant.  Some teamster arrives in a foreign city and sees a silver dagger for sale.  It only costs 25sc, when he saw a similar one back home that was going for 50sc.  He scratches together his pay and buys the thing, hiding it away in his gear.

Now, when he returns home, he will try to sell it.  This is probably when he starts to understand that merchants deal entirely on mark-up.  Does a store owner want to pay him more than 25sc for the dagger?  Does the store owner believe it is real silver?  Is it?  What exactly can the teamster get?  Let’s assume he gets 32sc and the store owner says bring me more.  Does the caravan master care?

The answer to all of these questions is the standard one:  It depends!  Does the caravan master care?  No, not if we’re talking about one to three daggers.  That gets lost in the teamster’s gear.  If the teamster is trying to bring a large crate of something back, a crate that will take up space on the wagon, now the caravan master cares.  How much does he care?  Probably enough to tell the teamster to walk the rest of the way.  The caravan master is desperately trying to balance the logistics of a cross-country trek including space, weight, feed, etc. and this moron thinks he can just throw a huge crate on one of the wagons - for free?  Yeah, no.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t try.  In fact, they all try.  What can the caravaneers buy in foreign lands and bring home that they can then sell.  Sure gemstones would work nicely, but teamsters don’t have the kind of money necessary to buy gemstones.  Spices?  Maybe, but will they keep?  Are they properly packaged for long transport?  And honestly, what does a teamster know about gems and spices?  They could be giving him colored glass and saying it’s an emerald.  He has no idea.  So the teamsters are all smart enough not to get conned in foreign lands!  Yeah, again, no.

Everybody wants to hit the lottery, but you have to play to win.  Many of these guys are willing to risk most (or all) of their pay in hopes of making more money back home.  But the guys selling to the teamsters aren’t the only dishonest ones.  Back at home, the merchants are likely going to try and cheat them too.  They are absolutely caught in a dangerous loop - a circle that can make them broke.

Most of these guys learn while they are young.  They get caught a couple of times and learn their lessons - hopefully before they have a wife and children counting on them not to get conned.  At that point, they might still buy things for themselves that they can find cheaper in foreign lands.  That way if it looks like an emerald but isn’t, maybe their wife won’t know either.  Even if they do get conned, they can be happy in their ignorance.  Then again, there are those guys who are constantly chasing that dream of riches.  Might even be the player characters.


This post was written as part of the recently released The Miscellaneous Anniversary Edition aka All About Everything Else, the latest in our Small Bites editions.  Every other Small Bites book looks deeply at one subject, a character archetype, a race/monster, a style of questing, or some other role-playing/world building subject.  This one is showcasing small items that didn’t make it into earlier editions, mainly due to size.
We hope we’re getting you interested.  If you want to see the World Walker edition for FREE!! click the link here.  If we’ve hooked you and you want to get the full 60 pages of content in the Game Masters’ edition, click here.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Policing Teams

A companion piece to our Policing edition

To be clear, we watch a lot of police shows on TV.  I don’t just mean as a society, I mean specifically at my house.  Now, not all the shows have realistic action, but some of the true crime shows do.

One of the things they do when multiple officers arrive on a scene is that they call out to each other.  What do I mean?  For example, they might arrive on the scene, and as they all start moving in on the house they are going to enter, they start calling out things like:  “I have non-lethal”, “I’m on lethal”, “You hit the door”, “on three” (and they don’t need to argue about whether they go on three or they count to three and then go).

This stuff should make sense to you.  Whether you have seen it with the police, or perhaps a military unit, or you do it with your friends or family, where you don’t have to speak in complete sentences in order to be understood.  This would be common for any group of people who get into hot action and other dangerous settings, even if those settings are only moving heavy objects.  This would likely apply to adventuring parties too and is why I allow conversations that are longer than combat turns around the gaming table.

But this is most important for policing units, especially when they are all carrying the same equipment, but may have to do different jobs.  We suggested having multiple people working in concert, such as when three nets are used to secure a single target.  In a situation like that, the multiple police need to coordinate, without having a major conversation.  Calling out things like, “I’m on weapon”, “I’m on legs”, and “I’m clean-up” would allow these three to first secure the weapon hand, then the legs to immobilize, and then the last guy to net the entire person.  This would also be vital if one were using a man-catcher or other form of securing while others were attacking.  Knowing what the other guys on your side are planning to use is required.

But if the enemy understands what you’re saying, they can react and defend better.  In modern times, these calls for lethal or non-lethal and some of the other things are often done as they approach, which prevents the enemy from being in the middle of the conversation, but often times in our fantasy era, melee means that the enemy is right there.  So, what to do?

It’s simple; do what they do for the police dogs.  Many police and military dogs are trained in Germany and are therefore trained in the German language.  This prevents enemies from confusing the animal by hollering out commands that the animal might attempt to follow.  Assuming the team knows a different language, they might be able to use it during battle, but it might also be confusing if the characters barely know the language.  The whole point is to call out and react quickly, not stop and think what the word for “legs” is.

Does any of this matter?  Of course, it does!  During your next encounter with humanoids, have one of them call out, “Go for the head” and then have one of the enemies fall back only to try and flank the PC and go for a head shot / knock out.  See what the party does after that, especially if they do it a second time, or the next group of them the party encounters attempts the same thing.  This would give the party a chance to avoid some of the enemies’ tactics and possibly even their special abilities.  Then next week, have the enemies start calling out similar things, but in a different language.  They could be ordering lunch, but it is going to freak out your party.


This post was written as part of the recently released The Miscellaneous Anniversary Edition aka All About Everything Else, the latest in our Small Bites editions.  Every other Small Bites book looks deeply at one subject, a character archetype, a race/monster, a style of questing, or some other role-playing/world building subject.  This one is showcasing small items that didn’t make it into earlier editions, mainly due to size.
We hope we’re getting you interested.  If you want to see the World Walker edition for FREE!! click the link here.  If we’ve hooked you and you want to get the full 60 pages of content in the Game Masters’ edition, click here.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Crowding the Pantheon

A companion piece to our Fantasy Entertainments edition

The cosmopolitan nature of Forsbury has caused some “outside” gods to be included in the Dinsthain pantheon in Forsbury.  This often causes issues when clergy trained in Parnania try to come to Forsbury.  They see the Forsbury practices as heresy because of the inclusion of additional gods.  Forsbury citizens sent to study in Parnania soon learn to keep their mouths closed while in Parnania.  They believe the Parnanian schools are too mired in tradition to accept things that have been “learned” over the last couple of centuries.  They believe that their religious scholars have made new discoveries and have surpassed the Parnanian schools, but to admit that would be a quick ticket out of the seminary.

While these heresies have not caused any open clashes between the two Velesan cities, the priesthoods know they are on shaky ground.  At issue is the fact that many of these other gods do exist, even if they belong to “foreign” pantheons.  For the Parnania churches to deny their existence risks the wrath of these gods, yet to include them risks angering their own gods.  Meanwhile, in Forsbury, the acceptance of these gods dilutes the worship of the local gods, which will never be met with favor.

This also shows how the Forsbury religious folks tend to be a bit more practical than their Parnanian neighbors.  In Forsbury, priests may make small offerings to rival gods - going along to get along.  Meanwhile the worshippers and clergy in Parnania are more inflexible, refusing to break with their traditions, even if it means angering a god or three.  As can be seen, both these attitudes come with their risks.


This post was written as part of the recently released The Miscellaneous Anniversary Edition aka All About Everything Else, the latest in our Small Bites editions.  Every other Small Bites book looks deeply at one subject, a character archetype, a race/monster, a style of questing, or some other role-playing/world building subject.  This one is showcasing small items that didn’t make it into earlier editions, mainly due to size.
We hope we’re getting you interested.  If you want to see the World Walker edition for FREE!! click the link here.  If we’ve hooked you and you want to get the full 60 pages of content in the Game Masters’ edition, click here.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Dungeon Designs


I have been looking at my own mission writing in a critical way lately.  As you might have seen, we are re-releasing the Endless Dungeon series and if it does well, we’ll be finishing it as well.  But I take far too practical an approach to dungeons.

I recall one of the famous trap books published decades ago had a corridor that was actually hinged, and as the party walked down it, it would tilt and become vertical instead of horizontal.  OK, at the age of 13, I absolutely would have used that trap, but I’m a bit older and more cynical today.  Why would someone create a building that looked like a corridor and then excavate enough room for it to be hinged and actually tilt.  Think about the dungeon excavation required for such a task.  It just doesn’t make sense to me.

You see, that’s the eye that I use when crafting dungeons.  Yes, when I was a tween, I drew out elaborate dungeons where elves, orcs, ogres, green slimes, traps and tricks all were contained in tight little boxes.  But I don’t any more.  I have a habit now (and I guess I did back in the 90s if you look at some of the Endless Dungeon missions) of keeping like with like.  Since it doesn’t make sense to me to have truly random monsters wandering around the same place, missions tend to have a limited number of monster or racial types.

Take Blood in the Slave Pits for example:  There are only goblins here.  Admittedly, there are two factions of goblins and one of them has dogs and a huge wolf, but really there are only goblins here.  That’s my style of mission writing.  One type of monster makes it vastly easier for the GM to concentrate on what these guys can actually do, as opposed to trying to remember the bonuses for elves and orcs and goblins and trolls and dragons and slimes, you get the picture.

This isn’t laziness, it’s practicality.  The players get to concentrate on their one guy and use him to his best abilities.  The GM is juggling multiple enemy characters.  If you want to both GM them correctly (as in without making blatant rules errors) as well as effectively, using their best abilities, you can’t be distracted by what type of creature they are.

So, while I do think about drawing out those crazy mixed up dungeons we use to play when we were kids, it isn’t going to happen.  There are ways to do it - if you give yourself enough room to play with - but it isn’t easy.  But I do think that this is OK too.  Not only do you as the GM get to focus your strategic thinking on one race, so too do the players get to focus on defeating this one type of enemy.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Matriarchs Among the Yugsalanti

A companion piece to our Fortune Tellers edition

Yugsalanti families are not all matriarchal, but some are.  Culturally only the women become fortune tellers, because the men can make money in other ways.  Typically, it is the uglier girls who are taught fortune telling; they are told this is because they are smart, but more honestly it is because they cannot earn as much as “dancers”.

For a male to be taught any magical arts, he would have to show that he was gifted in magic before anyone would “waste” the time to train him.  The assumption by outsiders is that fortune tellers are women, so few customers will want to visit a male fortune teller.  This doesn’t mean that they are useless to the family.  More often, they can teach a somewhat clever girl to become a fortune teller, but if they find such a talented young man, they will have someone teach him a more robust style of magic, such as necromancy or one of the other schools of magic.

For those families that are run by their women, the number of fortune tellers is often quite high.  Because the women are the main earners, these families tend to congregate in the major cities.  Outsiders may never know how many of the fortune tellers in their home towns belong to the same family, as it doesn’t help the women to allow their customers to know when secrets might be shared with other fortune tellers.

In these families, the men are quite often guardians and protectors of the women.  After all, these women are learning the past, present and futures of their customers; blackmail is almost certain to follow.  Though not every matriarchal fortune telling family practices these con games and extortions, most of them do.


This post was written as part of the upcoming The Miscellaneous Anniversary Edition aka All About Everything Else, the latest in our Small Bites editions.  Every other Small Bites book looks deeply at one subject, a character archetype, a race/monster, a style of questing, or some other role-playing/world building subject.  This one is showcasing small items that didn’t make it into earlier editions, mainly due to size.
We hope we’re getting you interested.  If you want to see the World Walker edition for FREE!! stay tuned to this blog.  If we’ve hooked you and you want to get the full Game Masters’ edition, click here.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Why not create hundreds of vampires?

A companion piece to our Creatures of the Night edition

When we talked about vampires, we often mentioned that there were very few vampires in the Noble Vampire’s court.  But why?  It is a simple matter of logistics.  The Noble Vampire concept works because a large number of “peasants” can maintain a small number of vampires.  Once the number of vampires increases, you need to have a huge number of peasants.

This makes it more difficult to administer, and it allows powerful subordinates who believe they should advance to the top of the heap.  You are putting a greater strain (demand) on your food supply, as well as building up your own base of enemies.

By keeping things small, the dark lords should be able to not only control their people, but also their cattle.  Besides, the neighbors become nervous living near a couple of vampires.  They become positively paranoid about a couple dozen.  No need to give them motivation to come attack you.



This post was written as part of the upcoming The Miscellaneous Anniversary Edition aka All About Everything Else, the latest in our Small Bites editions.  Every other Small Bites book looks deeply at one subject, a character archetype, a race/monster, a style of questing, or some other role-playing/world building subject.  This one is showcasing small items that didn’t make it into earlier editions, mainly due to size.

We hope we’re getting you interested.  If you want to see the World Walker edition for FREE!! stay tuned to this blog.  If we’ve hooked you and you want to get the full Game Masters’ edition, click here.