Print and Play Gamer

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PnPG Update: DTRPG Halloween, Move Update & Site Re-organization

In this update, I share hints for finding the hidden free Halloween treats at DriveThruTPG, talk about the status of family’s move and the establishment of my dedicated game grotto, and tell you about upcoming changes to the PnPG blog itself.

Halloween Celebration at DriveThruRPG

Jack-o-lantern from DTRPGOneBookShelf’s annual Halloween celebration and sale began yesterday, October 18, and runs through the morning of November 1. The celebration covers my go-to online RPG source, DriveThruRPG, as well as its sister sites, DriveThruCards, DriveThruComics, DriveThruFiction, and RPGNow. During the event, thousands of horror-themed products on all the sites are discounted 31% (see what they did there?), and they define “horror” very loosely. For example, Cthulhu- and Ravenloft-related titles are discounted, as you might expect, but so are less obvious but vaguely horror-adjacent products including excellent Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea and several of fantastic  OkumArts’ figure sets.

DTRPG's friendly ghostThe most exciting part of the Halloween celebration for many of us is the Trick-or-Treat scavenger hunt that ranges across each of the DriveThru sites as well as RPGNow. Scattered across eight pages on each site are Halloween icons that, when clicked, add free PDF goodies to your cart. You’re looking for a Jack-o-lantern, a ghost, a bat and full moon, a witch’s hat, and a candy. Here are the pages where they appear on each site. You’ll have to find them and click on them to see  what they give, but I assure you, many of the prizes are genuine treats!

  • Halloween bat from DTRPGHome page
  • Halloween Sale
  • Genre > Horror
  • My Library
  • About Us
  • Witchy hat from DTRPGAccount > Notifications > Change newsletters…
  • Account > Account > Change my address
  • Account > My Library > All titles awaiting review

Candy treat from DTRPGInterestingly, OBS’s Wizards-of-the-Coast-sanctioned D&D download store, DMs Guild, is offering discounts on Halloween sale items, but isn’t participating in the Trick or Treat event. And it seems that historical gamers don’t believe in vampires and ghosts, since Wargame Vault has given the entire Halloween celebration a miss.

The Continuing Saga of the Game Grotto

First game of X-Wing
My daughter raises her lifetime X-Wing record to 1 and 0.

As you’ve no doubt grown bored of hearing, my family’s move proceeds slowly apace. We’re in the new home, and I’ve started moving almost forty years of gaming detritus into my dedicated basement game bunker. The place is still more boxes than bookshelves, but I’ve salvaged a sturdy dining table to act as an interim gaming table. I’ve also set up a temporary but workable desk and crafting station.

In fact, I managed to talk my sixth-grade daughter into sitting across the table for the new venue’s inaugural game: a learn-to-play game of Star Wars X-Wing. She easily proved her T-65 X-wing far superior to my pair of entry-level TIE fighters. It was not only her first game of X-Wing, but her first “hobby” tabletop game of any sort. I was amazed—and proud—at how quickly she picked up on the movement and attack strategy of the game. She’ll be the first to tell you that Math is her favorite subject, though, and those geometry and number skills really showed.

Tonight We’re Gonna Play Like It’s 1979

Early Holmes edition of D&DBut back to the “forty years of gaming detritus…” Moving into the basement game room has given me an excuse to break open boxes of games and books that I hadn’t cracked in literally decades. I felt like an archeologist breaking open a time capsule from the early eighties, as I rediscovered my early editions of games like of Runequest, The Fantasy Trip, Tunnels & Trolls and Traveller. OSR D&D fans will be excited to know I found my original white box D&D booklets, though the box is sadly long gone, along with the rulebook from my blue Holmes D&D beginner’s set, the original Judges’ Guild City State of the Invincible Overlord, and several other early adventure modules. I found a huge quantity of early Champions material, including the first and second editions of the core rulebook, as well as the original version of Fantasy Hero. I even turned up what I’m pretty sure is a first-printing copy of the original Metamorphosis Alpha! From time to time in the weeks and months to come, I’ll post about my more interesting finds.

Improvements to PnPG

A couple of months of moving boxes and painting walls gives a man a chance to think about things, and this blog is one of the things I’ve thought most about. More specifically, I’ve been considering how to improve PnPG’s content and organization while making it less burdensome for me to add and update content.

I really believe that the blog needs “evergreen” content–articles which remain useful for years to come–to grow and survive. The bigger features, like the step-by-step tutorials and in-depth product features, are evergreen content, or at least I hope they are. However, the requirement that every post needs to be a full-length feature article with several photos and illustrations imposes a really high barrier to posting, both in terms of time and gravitas, for lack of a better term. Sometimes, I have a simple thought, an experience, or a bit of news I want to share with the print-and-play gaming community. But most of these topics don’t require a thousand words, or merit a dozen hours of my time to write and illustrate. As a result, I post less often, about fewer things, and often view writing for the blog a chore rather than a pleasure. This is a problem, because I’ve got lots I want to talk about, but I often haven’t had a good way to talk about them.

Bringing You A Better PnPG

To change that, I’m going to reorganize the site a bit. Going forward, the Blog section will be what blogs were meant to be—an ongoing series of timely information, ideas, and anecdotes, appearing whenever I have the impulse to share. I’ll no longer feel the need to apologize when a blog post isn’t a major release. I’ll be able to immediately share a couple hundred words about a new adventure I’ve discovered, an interesting rumor I’ve heard, or a handful of pics of cool craft projects I’m working on. Hopefully, this will happen a few times a week, now that I’ve lowered the bar for posting. When I do have something particularly important and time-sensitive to announce—like the Halloween sale at DTRPG!—I’ll tweet a link to be sure you don’t miss it, so it pays to follow me on Twitter.

Under the new plan, I’ll present longer articles—tutorials and product-line features, for example—as permanent pages rather than posts. In the next few days, you’ll see a real navigation bar appear at the top of the page. It will lead to pages for Tutorials, Downloads, and Recommended products, as well as About and Contact pages. As the content of the site continues to grow, the categories may expand. But once I’ve implemented that change to the site’s structure, I’ll try to get on a regular schedule of posting big features either weekly or bi-weekly. I’ve already got the first tutorial, on creating printable minis from found images, prepared and ready to post. Now I just need to prepare the place to post it!

I’ve got a bit more backstage work to do to implement this change, but I’m really excited about it. I am convinced that it will allow me to increase the variety, frequency and quality of the content on the site, and make PnPG more worth your time to visit.

Stuff I Plan to Talk About

Finally, let me share an incomplete list of topics I’m itching to write about soon:

  • The Fantasy Trip Kickstarter proceeds apace, and SJ Games has delivered PDFs for all files to backers.
  • The second edition of The Black Hack, another Kickstarter I backed, has just dropped, and I’m reading through it now.
  • I’ve been building Dave Graffam’s Babylon system of modular cardstock sci-fi terrain, and it’s amazing!
  • I played my first game of Blood Bowl a couple of weeks ago, and I’m hooked. I even created a team of cardstock players to fill in until I get my plastic figures painted.
  • I’ve found my copies of Rogue’s Gallery, the late-eighties Hero System APAzine compiled by legendary Champions guru and Star Wars EU author, Aaron Allston.
  • The Cardboard Warriors forum awarded its Papercut Awards for 2018, honoring many fantastic papercraft artists and game projects.
  • X-Wing 2.0 has arrived, and it’s great. It’s even got an official list-building app that outputs PDFs of your lists, so it’s a tiny bit print-and-play. I swear.
  •  I’m still making plans for an old-school fantasy campaign, but now I can’t decide to run it with TFT, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Swords and Wizardry, or even—shudder—D&D 5e!
  • An aspiring printable mini artist recently wrote asking me my advice on starting a Patreon featuring cardstock figures. To my amazement, I actually had some useful information to share with him!

I have no idea in which order I’ll address these topics, or what else might pop into my head before I get through the list. But now that I’ve freed myself to write shorter posts, you should get more of this kind of stuff. Whether you want it or not.

In the meantime, as always, keep on printing, and keep on playing!

10 thoughts on “PnPG Update: DTRPG Halloween, Move Update & Site Re-organization”

    1. Those bases are made by Litko Game Accessories, a company specializing in acrylic game aids which I assume are cut with lasers or something similarly high-tech. In any case, they are by far my favorite basing solution for cardstock miniatures. You can find the common sizes on Amazon (many of them are available with free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime), or shop a much wider selection at Litko’s own site.

  1. Hey Jeff! I have a question for you. I’ve been watching some youtubers make paper miniatures, and I’m curious how you do it. What type of paper do you use? One person I watched puts packing tape on top of the mini before cutting out, to kinda laminate it. So I guess my question deals with what you do after printing them out.

    Also I just want to thank you for making this blog. Your tutorials with manipulating minis in Gimp has helped me a lot, and I found so many cool minis because of you!

    1. 99% of my cardstock minis and terrain pieces are printed on a pretty basic 110 lb. white cardstock using an Epson inkjet printer. I’ve experimented with many different paper stocks, including matte and glossy photo papers, but the results have been disappointing. (A good topic for a blog post, actually…) I’ve also tried coating them with various sealers, but these days, I don’t bother. I find glossy coatings (including the packing-tape lamination trick) distractingly shiny. The matte sealers don’t really improve the appearance, in my opinion, but they do add a tedious step to the assembly process, for minimal improvement in durability. In the end, all I do with my minis is print them, fold them over and glue them, and then trim them out. If one actually got damaged on the table by a spilled Coke or Dorito dust, I’d just make another, but so far, it’s never really happened. It’s print and play, not print and laminated or spray-coat and play after all.

      Thanks for your kind words about the blog. I’m glad you’re enjoying it and finding it useful. I’ve never had the time to post as often as I’d like, but I do appreciate everyone who reads what I can get posted, and especially those who share their own comments!

  2. I am really impressed with your writing skills as
    well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it
    yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to
    see a great blog like this one today.

    1. Thanks for the kind words. The blog is built using the free version of the Astra theme, which allows considerable freedom of choice regarding colors, fonts, and layouts. The more involved pages were laid out using the free version of the Elementor page builder plug-in, but most were built in WordPress’s Classic Editor. I also use the free versions of Yoast SEO and Monster Insights for SEO and analytics, along with the resources Google provides web creators. I think that reveals most of my toolkit, for anyone interested in the backstage stuff.

  3. Long time supporter, and thought I’d drop a comment.

    Your wordpress site is very sleek – hope you don’t mind me asking what theme you’re using?
    (and don’t mind if I steal it? :P)

    I just launched my site –also built in wordpress like yours– but
    the theme slows (!) the site down quite a bit.

    In case you have a minute, you can find it by searching for “royal cbd” on Google (would appreciate any
    feedback) – it’s still in the works.

    Keep up the good work– and hope you all take care of
    yourself during the coronavirus scare!

    1. Justin, this site is built using the Astra theme, which is both quick and amazingly flexible. I’ve been very happy with it, though I’ve been on an extended sabbatical from my site for other reasons. I’m not sure I have much advice to give you about your own site, though. Yours is an online store, which is a format with which I have no experience. I believe Astra has several templates that might work for you, but I have never used them. Good luck with your site!

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