Tuesday, December 18, 2018

For Your Consideration...

Sorry it has been so crazy long since I have written anything.  I have been THINKING plenty of things, sometimes when I am lying in bed, the radiator cold and malfunctioning, the portable heater whirring in the darkness, my wife's soft, comforting snoring a few inches behind my back, my right nostril plugged up, my mouth open for wheezing, my parched lips begging for Chapstick.

I have been doing a major overhaul and expansion of The Lost Lush: Extracting a Carousing Fool Before He Obliterates Peace, Prosperity, and Basic Human Dignity.  I will send people who already bought the old version on DriveThruRPG/RPG Now a free upgraded copy.  I will eliminate the old version to replace it with THE LOST LUSH: RELOADED.

When I finish, if anybody wants to give even a cursory look-through and critique, please feel free to email me for a free copy (and "Consultant" credit on the final version, if you want it).

Some things I worry about lying in bed with one nostril plugged:

1. Is this adventure fun to play?

2. Is this adventure fun to run for the DM?

3. Are the mechanics too kludgy and awkward at the table?

4. Is the tone OK?  I've got humor, buried literary allusions, historical references, folklore, and horror mixed together.
5. The actual history I am referring to is tragic (but A LOT of countries have very sad histories as well).  The actual people (Czechs) who deal with the consequences of this history often do so with black humor and sardonic wit.   Did I handle this history and these sardonic jokes appropriately in my stuff?

6. Is the German vs. Czech ("Schwab" vs. "Krajan") theme handled fairly enough so that a German could have fun playing and not think: "Well, verdammt! THAT sure was racist against my folk..." I'm trying to get the over-the-top satiric tone of Theater Jara Cimrman in Prague, which doesn't rankle or inspire violence against actual Germans.

7. Alcoholism - The main premise of the adventure is the PCs being hired to quietly find a loose drunk before he breaks the fragile peace prevailing over a conquered population.  I don't want to be a facile edgelord who creates material that is stupid, tasteless, and mean.  People say that one 1970s Dudley Moore movie - Arthur- in which he played a rich drunk, isn't funny anymore and is painful to people who have close experience with alcoholics.  I hope I handled this right in my adventure.  My wife, who grew up with people she loved suffering from alcoholism, read my adventure and said it was fine.  Maybe just the title of the adventure is warning enough for people.

I also really need some playtesters who don't know me well and can give a more objective idea of how The Lost Lush runs as written.

For here, for now, I want to post some ideas for the cover.  Please feel free to comment, give thumbs down or thumbs up, or give any advice.

The aesthetic I'm trying to go for is something different, something classy, but also maybe slightly humorous.  I don't want to ape the old TSR module livery.  I don't want to have anime or manga or other modern cartoon styles.  I'm looking for a slightly bawdy, humorous late medieval woodcut feeling.  Or, barring that, a 1960s Czech look like Adolf Born. I bet Arlin Ortiz could do something amazing that would fit well.

Which one is the best cover?  Please click to embiggen the lot.

Contestant #1


#3 - Kind of a subtle Robin Hood feeling somehow

#4 Fossil fish background

#5 Woven mat background

#6 Granite

#7 Plain Jane Grey
#8 Cardinal Red? Candy Apple Red? Cherry Red?
                                                         Thank you for reading. I hope you sleep better than I do.


  1. Black, green, or red. Looks intriguing.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Glenn. Email me if you're interested in skimming through the 40+ draft. I'd be grateful for even 3 sentences of reaction such as: "The ____ didn't strike the write note..." "The ____ was confusing..." "The _____ seemed to work well for _____" I've had my nose to this particular grindstone too long for proper perspective. If you want to playtest it with your group, that would be great, too.