Saturday, June 16, 2012

If you can't make it to a game store for free stuff today...

... on this, June 16, 2012, the much-anticipated Free RPG Day, here's something that might lift your spirits:

Through Midnight (Pacific Time) today, you can download a free copy of "Jeff Grubb's Dyvil" and/or "Steve Miller's 30-Minute Roleplaying Game" and/or "ROLF!: The Rollplaying Game of Big, Dumb Fighters."

(Well... for the duration of 6/15/2012 anyway.)
All three games are great for pick-sessions in between your scheduled events at conventions this summer, ROLF! in particular. It even comes with an ever-expanding array of combat scenarios and pre-generated characters so you can start playing immediately. (Those are not free... we need to feed the cats and keep Steve Miller's car gassed up. Click here to see listings.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

The passing of Robert E. Howard and what he left behind

On June 11, 1936, writer Robert E. Howard took his own life in a fit of despair. He was 36.

The preceding story was by Roy Thomas and Sandy Plunkett and it originally appeareed in "Epic Illustrated" #34. The scans were posted by Joe Bloke on his excellent Grantbridge Street & Other Misadventures blog, from where I grabbed them without so much as a "how do you do?".

Robert E. Howard has been one of my favorite writers since the early 1990s, when I first discovered his "King Kull" stories. I had been a fan of the "Conan the Barbarian" comic book from Marvel for years before that, and I'd tried reading some of the Conan paperbacks--where De Camp or Carter or someone revised and rewrote his stories but found I preferred the comics over the fiction. (Interestingly, the reverse was true when it came to King Kull.)

But the Kull stories, I loved. I later added "Solomon Kane" to that list and as the web came into its own, I soon discovered that Howard was not only more than Conan, he was more than fantasy fiction... he wrote lots of horror stories, adventure stories, and wild comedy stories.

Steve Costigan. Black Vulmea. Skull-Face. El Borak. Steve Harrison. Breckinridge Elkins. Cormac FitzGeoffrey. Bran Mak Morn. Red Sonya. And dozens more crusader knights, pirates, and hard-bitten men of action--fighting, and sometimes losing, against impossible odds. If you like action, you should like Robert E. Howard, because his stories are crammed with it from beginning to end.

Since reviving NUELOW Games last year, I have been putting together little anthologies of Howard's fiction, focusing on his mostly forgotten works... including some that he counted among his personal favorites. It's my small attempt to call more attention to his many non-Conan writings. It's also my way of sharing my love for the body of work he left behind when he chose to leave this world so early in his life.

At the moment, NUELOW Games' anthologies are available at (as well as and where the entire NUELOW Games line of products can be had) and only in PDF format. This format works on just about any laptop or desktop computer, as well as most Kindle models, iPads, and iPod Touch.

For a broad sampling of what Howard's non-Conan work is like, check out "Oriental Stories, Vol. 2." The book contains a sample of just about everything he wrote, except the playful first person style used in the Steve Costigan and Breckin Ridge Elkins stories.

If you like low fantasy or historical fiction, "The Deadly Sword of Cormac" and "Oriental Stories" is for you.

If you're in the mood for straight-on, Yellow Peril-style pulp fiction, "Skull-Face" is a novelette you'll enjoy.

If you like hardboiled detective tales (with a touch of horror), check out "Names in the Black Book".

If you want horror with a Southwestern flavor, "Shadows Over Texas" is the book for you.

If you like werewolves, "White Fell and Other Stories" is a must-read.

And if it's comedy or stories about boxing you want, "Fists of Foolishness" and "Shanghaied Mitts" are were you should look. (These books also include a roleplaying game and a solo adventure, respectively. The publisher is NUELOW Games after all.)

When reading the stories in "Shanghaied Mitts", "Shadows Over Texas", "Oriental Stories" and "Oriental Stories, Vol. 2", I can't help but mourn for what might have been. Howard too his life just as he was on the verge of leaving commericial hackery like Conan the Cimmerian behind and pursue his true literary passions. In the final five years of his life, which amounts to the second half of his professional career, Howard not only kept improving as a writer, but he discovered the types of stories he was most comfortable writing--stories of action and adventure that were grounded in this world and real history rather than made up universes.

I have four more Howard anthologies planned (El Borak and Breckinridge Elkins haven't gotten the NUELOW treatment yet, for starters), with an additional three taking shape in the back of my mind. I hope you'll consider checking out one or more of them.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Doctor Horrible ala ROLF!

The latest ROLF! supplement--"Mad Scientists Gone Wild"--introduces a new Trait to the game that lets you make characters who wield death ray guns! It comes with six pre-generated mad scientists and six battle scenarios so you can start playing almost instantly. Visit for more details and a preview.

But, before you do, here's a seventh mad scientist... the infamous Doctor Horrible!

Doctor Horrible (Male)
Brawn 14, Body 17, Brains 8
Traits: Irrepressible Optimist, Mad Scientist.
Combat Maneuvers: Basic Attack, Disarm, Dodge, Strategic Bleeding, Strike Pose, Yodel.
Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: White lab smock (clothes), Safety Gloves (Armor, absorbs 1 point of damage). Safety Goggles (Armor, absorbs 1 point of damage). Death Ray Gun (Medium-sized Ranged Weapon, deals 1 point of damage, plus paralysis for 2d6 rounds ["freeze ray"]. The time distortion reduces target's Body ATT by 3 points, but when it wears off, he or she regains up to 4 points of Body ATT, to his or her original maximum). Laser Gun (Small-sized Ranged Weapon, deals 2 points of damage that ignores armor).

Doctor Horrible, Mad Scientist

If you haven't seen the "Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" short-form musical (starring Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day), it's well worth checking out. For your convenience...

By way of a preview, here's the closing song from Act One... when superhero Captain Hammer seems to steal Dr. Horrible's secret crush, Penny.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

NUELOW Games: On the cutting edge of gay superheroes!

There's been buzz these past few days about DC Comics ret-conning the Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott, into a gay character.

Sandman, about to relate his first meeting with Green Lantern?

"Big deal," said the NUELOW Games staff (after we got done saying "Alan Scott has always had a weakness for wood" and "Now we know how Green Lantern's sidekick Dickie got his nickname"), "we've been there, done that."

In Feb. of 2012, we released "Black Kitten vs. June Collyer", in which we ret-conned TWO Golden Age heroes into being gay! And our game even has the Same Sex Preference trait... can that be said about the DC Adventures Roleplaying Game? We think not!

If you like your Golden Age heroes with ret-conned sexuality, you need to play ROLF!: The Rollplaying Game of Big Dumb Fighters. Between the core rulebook and "Bullets to the Head", you'll have everything you need to make queer superheroes and have a gay time of it!

For your complete Golden Age "It's Queer but They're So Gay!" NUELOW Games experience, check out these fine gaming products:

ROLF!: The Rollplaying Game of Big Dumb Fighters (By L.L. Hundal and Steve Miller, artwork by Larry Elmore)

"Bullets to the Head" (By L.L Hundal & Steve Miller, artwork by Darrel Miller)

"Black Kitten vs. June Collyer" (By L.L. Hundal & Steve Miller, artwork by Darrel Miller and Karl M.)

"George Washington Carver and the Nuts of Doom" (By L.L. Hundal & Steve Miller, artwork by Darrel Miller, Jeff Preston, and Karl M.)

Science Sleuths 1-5 (By Al Camy & Friends)

And there may be more to come! Maybe next time, we'll make a big deal out of it... because so far, we've made the mistake of actually having a reason for our creative choices beyond drumming up publicity.