Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A New Ages Dawns

This cover, my friends, marks the beginning of a new age -- the return of Judges Guild!

There's a lot to be excited about here. Firstly, unless I am mistaken, this product, along with two others, Lost Man's Trail and City State of the Sea King (presumably focused on Rallu), are entirely new products rather than rehashes of older ones. Excellent though the Necromancer and Goodman Games JG products were -- and I still consider Necromancer's Wilderlands of High Fantasy boxed set to be one of the finest, if not the finest product of the D20 era -- they mostly trod on ground already well covered in the past.

Now, "newness" is, in and of itself, worthy of neither praise nor disdain. Indeed, I'm on record of having little patience for those who prefer Thursday to Wednesday simply because it is Thursday, but, that said, it's nice to see a resurgent Judges Guild do more than simply update and re-publish the same products I saw when I first entered the hobby three decades ago.

Secondly, if Tegel Manor II is any indication, Judges Guild is in good hands, possessing both an appreciation for the past and a willingness not to take itself too seriously. "Night of the Living Rumps" is a terrific subtitle and a fun Easter egg for those of us who look back fondly on the original module.

No word yet on the release dates, formats, or prices of these products. When I know more, I'll be sure to post it here.

19 comments:

  1. Man, anything about Tegal manor, even a tiny blurb, is enough to set me off on some great memories of the original. Cheap bastard that I am, I will buy anything by JG that has the word Tegal on it.

    The only thing I ever hated about Tegal Manor (and I can find a bit of hate in anything) was the name "Rump." I know, Tegal is a bit of a funhouse (and I even had Green Martians with radium rifles show up in the grand ballroom once), but I always felt "Rump" for the family name was a dumb joke.

    Smallest change I ever made to a module. I just changed The Rump Family to The Tegal Family and I was good to go.

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  2. How about that 'Glory Hole' module? It's gonna take a lot of self control for me to keep from sniggering if they re-issue that one without changing the name... but I suppose it was originally published in a more innocent time...

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  3. This has made what has been a very crappy day, a very good day.

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  4. But what system will it use? D20? Pathfinder? 4E? OSIRIC? GURPS? Will there be a conversion guide?


    Sigh, these tantalizing teasers are horrible for the imagination. Whatever system it uses I'll end up moving it to PF/D20 and pray they let us post conversions online.

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  5. JD,

    If you look on the cover, you'll see a "Universal" logo, which, I believe, refers to the old Judges Guild Universal System -- basically OD&D/AD&D with the serial numebers filed off (HTK, Defense Class, etc.)

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  6. I always thought that was a placeholder or a logo. Why wouldn't they move to a more modern system (something published this century).

    I hope it's not that difficult to convert stuff over. I know JG is "old school" content and that it appeals to that audience. There are those of us who would like to see other systems supported.

    Bah, it's all speculation and theory till more info is shown.

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  7. "I always thought that was a placeholder or a logo. Why wouldn't they move to a more modern system (something published this century)."

    I believe OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, S&W, C&C, and Hackmaster were all published this century. If JG uses the same "Universal system" they did back in the day, all should be perfectly compatible.

    "I hope it's not that difficult to convert stuff over."

    To what? 4e? I haven't the slightest idea how hard converting from O/AD&D-ish products to 4e is.

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  8. >>I believe OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, S&W, C&C, and Hackmaster were all published this century. If JG uses the same "Universal system" they did back in the day, all should be perfectly compatible.<<

    Any of those above are fine, see my earlier post.

    >>To what? 4e? I haven't the slightest idea how hard converting from O/AD&D-ish products to 4e is.<<

    No, god no. Heaven help us no. It'd be a nightmare of epic proportion.

    D20 based system would be very acceptable, that's all I'm really looking for. One can dream can't he?

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  9. Being a direct sequel, this is not exactly new, not as new as the other two titles you mentioned, but it is a nice thing to see once and for all. All the retro-cloning and rehashing is getting well...old...it is about time we saw something fresh and wonderful and off the wall, and that Judges Guild should be leading the way once again is like history repeating itself in a most fantastic and wonderful way.

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  10. Rumps? What the ... ?
    I don't know how to feel.

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  11. "I hope it's not that difficult to convert stuff over."


    Back in the day, I just cracked open my Monster Manual during gameplay for more info on the ghosts, spectres, wraiths, hill giants, etc. that populated the mansion. No biggie. JG was always easy to use, at least for my OD&D and 1st ed. goodness.

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  12. Rumps? RUMPS? RUMPS?

    It sounds like really bad porn.

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  13. ...speaking of which...

    JD's comments baffle me a little.

    defense:
    ad&d Ac counts down from ten, D20 counts up from ten.


    offense:
    monsters get +1 to hit per Hit Die.

    There--I've converted it to D20.

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  14. RE: Conversion

    My comments were mostly for the sake of them staying with something close to D&D rules instead of going out and say converting to GURPS, RoleMaster, Exalted, etc etc.

    Keeping it somewhere in the D&D family of rules makes life "simple", that's all I was worried about. Sounds like they will keep on with that system so all is well in the Castle of Zagyg.

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  15. *g* Well, no votes for the subtitle here with regards to hooking in new interest (which I'd've hoped was at least part of the idea), but excellent news of course.
    That would be a "fingers crossed" on your "beginning of a new age" comment, James, given the number of false re-starts thus far.

    Still wouldn't mind seeing Bill Owen's 1975 short fiction/write-up as a lead-in to this in the text (would work just as well with a follow-up, IIRC) to add yet another historical tie-in snippet as seems to be in favor these days.

    verification: movin (we are...)

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  16. "To what? 4e? I haven't the slightest idea how hard converting from O/AD&D-ish products to 4e is."

    No, god no. Heaven help us no. It'd be a nightmare of epic proportion.


    There's nothing too complicated about 4e conversions. Pick a rough (threat-)level for the creature; that gives level-appropriate expectations for damage, attack bonuses, defenses, HP, etc. Modify in a flavourful way. Assign a couple of attacks based on the creature's expected behaviour in combat and your jones of the moment. Non-combat descriptive text and behaviours remain the same if you like.

    It is, in short, exactly like converting to an old-fashioned D&D-like system, only the 4e system gives you a clearer, more consistent sense of 'average' monster behaviour.

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  17. Wally, I'd disagree just a little there. If you're converting from, say, AD&D to Labyrinth Lord, you don't have to do too much, as hit dice, attacks, and so on mean more or less the same thing across the different games. You may have to re-calculate experience points based on the expectations of the game, but that's probably it. Even D&D3 can be converted quite easily, as that structure of hit dice is still there; I had very little trouble converting the statistics from a Pathfinder module to Labyrinth Lord.

    D&D4 chucks out the hit dice, and thus makes conversion much harder. What's a 2HD monster in 4e terms? There are no mechanical similarities to use as touching points, so you've got to go with a guess. Once you've decided, all the neat little tweaks you describe work well, but it's that initial hurdle which is the biggie. Some GMs will have no trouble with that, but it's far from easy.

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  18. A 2hd monster in 4e terms is a 2nd level (standard) monster. So conversion is pretty easy. Best approach is to use the book stats for a similar monster of similar level. Most 4e monsters have similar levels to their incarnations in earlier editions. There are a few cases of inflation - eg giants inflated from 1e to 2e, 3e & 4e kept the 2e version. Gnolls stayed the same 1e-2e-3e then inflated with 4e.

    When using gnolls in a conversion from say 1e (2hd) to 4e (5th-6th level) you can either use de-levelled 4e gnolls, half the 4e gnolls' hit points, reduce the number of gnolls, or accept it'll be a harder encounter.

    One nice thing about converting 1e/2e et al to 4e is that the power increase by level (4 levels = x2 power) more closely resembles 1e-2e's scaling after the first few levels, whereas 3e used 2 levels = x2 power so things got crazy after a while.

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  19. Fair enough. I only know that I attempted to convert "The Licheway" to 4e, and it was a horrible mess; if you've found it easy, you're cleverer than I!

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