Saturday, November 30, 2013

In Memory of Al Plastino

On November 25, 2013,  the artist who gave us the first look at Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes passed way. At 91, Al Plastino was, according to Mark Evanier, the last remaining living artist to have drawn Superman stories in the 1950s. He was also one of the few remaining writers and artists alive who helped lay the foundations for the comic book industry in the 1940s.

NUELOW Games observes Plastino's passing and honors his memory with a small collection of his earliest known comic book creations -- Al Plastino Early Work: 1940 -41. In fact, it features the very first comic book story he is known to have illustrated, as well as the earliest characters he is known to have co-created, or perhaps even created solo; records regarding who did what were rare among Golden Age publishers and virtually unheard of at the Harry "A" Chesler studio for whom Plastino drew these stories.

As it our habit, the book also features original roleplaying game content inspired by the comics -- in this case it's a brief description of Dynamic Man's first foes and a talent tree for use with OGL d20 Modern -- but it is Plastino's creations that are front and center this time. More-so than any other of our releases.

We hope you'll join us in remembering this fine and influential artist by taking a look at his roots -- and the very roots of comic book storytelling.

For previews or to get your own copy of Al Plastino Early Work: 1940 - 41, click here. Comments on the book, or just thoughts about Al Plastino's work in general, are welcomed in the comments section here or at the listing on the website.

Friday, November 29, 2013

In the Interest of Public Safety....

Dear Friends,

We hope this message reaches you in time,

This morning, we have seen news reports of shootings and stabbings and beatings at Black Friday sales across the nation. Please don't become a victim. We don't want any of our fans (or any gamers, really)  to get hurt.

In the interest of public welfare, we urge ALL gamers to instead gather their groups and hunker down with dice and paper and pencils and roleplay or rollplay until this crisis has past. Trust us: You will sill find cheap TVs when their are less crazy people off their meds in the stores.

In the meantime, as a public service, to encourage you to stay at home safely, we have marked 15 percent off on all of our comics/rpg hybrid products, all of our fiction anthologies (including the complete Robert E. Howard Collection), core rulebooks, OGL Modern supplements, and anything else that usually sells for more than $0.50. Yes--even the Stock Art Collections, so if you're a small publisher of e-books, maybe now is a time to take a look at them!

The special prices will last through this coming Monday. So let's stay safe IN there.

Click here to check out the NUELOW Games catalog of books and RPG stuff.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Two new comics/RPG hybrids available now

The latest ebooks from NUELOW Games continue our ongoing efforts to bring great Golden Age comics to modern readers while simultaneously presenting fun new game material.

First up, we have ROLF!: Hawaiian Manhunt. It features a classic Sally the Sleuth episode by Adolphe Barreuax, a trio of outrageous battle scenarios that form a sort-of sequel by ROLF! co-creator L.L. Hundal, and pre-generated characters and two all-new Spellings --"Change Trait" and "Oh, No You Didn't!" (This marks Sally's third appearance in ROLF!, with Turkey Shoot and Recipe for Evil being the previous two.)

Then, just released this past weekend, we offer a look at a certified classic--Dick Briefer's New Adventures of Frankenstein. After reading the first two installments of Briefer's legendary series, you can pit Frankenstein's Monster against another horror legend--Herbert West, the Re-Animator, in a new battle scenario for ROLF!: The Rollplaying Game.

ROLF! co-creators L.L. Hundal and Steve Miller traded roles between the two books,  switching from editor to game designer respectively. We're both eager to hear what you think of these latest products, especially since Hundal has another Sally idea for the upcoming Christmas Special--for which we are still taking submissions.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A ROLF! John F. Kennedy Memorial Special

Like the attack on Pearl Harbor and the destruction of the World Trade Center Towers, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was a shock to the American system and psyche, It's not surprising that the past couple weeks have seen lots of Kennedy coverage and retrospectives.

Never ones to misuse a moment/trend, we at NUELOW Games hereby offers one as well. On this very day,  November 22, fifty years ago President Kennedy was assassinated by a pathetic little monkey named Lee Harvey Oswald. Oswald was himself assassinated two days later, bringing about the events we relate below.

Design: Steve Miller - Editing: L.L Hundal
Copyright Steve Miller 2013
(permission granted to copy for personal gaming use)

This is a simple battle scenario for two players that uses the Houseboat on the River Styx and The Associated Shades of Hades setting as its starting point. (Well, the deaths of President Kennedy and his assassin are the starting points, but the world of Houseboat is what lets them meet.

"Wait... what happened?"
   Lee Harvey Oswald, Soviet Dupe (although he himself considered himself a soldier in the international army of partisans fighting for the freedom of the oppressed and downtrodden), looked around, confused. One moment, he had been with police and other running dog capitalist lackeys, the next he was laying in the bottom of a gently rocking small boat, There was a little water in it, and his ass was wet.
   "You're crossing the River Styx, my good man," 
   Oswald sat up and looked at the hooded figure at the boat;s stern. It was a small man in a hooded cloak, operating an outboard motor that put-putted far more softly than he would have expected. The man's face couldn't quite be made out in the deep shadows of the hood, but his eyes glittered and his teeth shone as he smiled and told Lee, "There's someone on the shore who really wants to meet you."
   "I don't know what's going on, but you need to get me to a payphone." Harvey looked around. The boat was moving across inky black water that was as smooth as glass. The craft was bound tightly by a fog so heavy that the boat's wake could barely be seen and no land was visible in any direction.
   "Not one for reading, eh?" the boatman said with a hint of condemnation in his voice. "If you were, you'd know what the River Styx was. Pick up that manual on the seat there. I'll give you your bearings."
   Oswald's gaze turned to the point indicated by the old man's bony finger and saw a booklet with what appeared to be Adam and Eve on the cover titled So You're Dead--Now What?: A Newcomer's Guide to Hades.
   "What the hell are you playing at?" Oswald shouted, getting to his feet.
   "It's personalized service," the boatman replied. "Mostly because bloody Captain Ahab thought he saw the White Whale and ran the usual ferry aground trying to chase it, but also because John wanted to make sure he knew exactly where you'd arrive so he could get to know you."
   "Turn his boat around, or I'll kill you." Harvey growled.
   "All-ashore who're going ashore," the boatman replied. The sudden jolt of the boat running aground toppled Harvey and sent him tumbling through the air. He landed hard in the tall grass on the riverbank. "Mr. Kennedy, meet Mr. Oswald."
   Oswald's head was spinning from the impact and as he looked up, he saw an impossible figure looming over him--the broad-shouldered shape of John F. Kennedy--the man he had assassinated two days prior.
   "So you're the coward who shot me," Kennedy grumbled, pulling Oswald to his feet. "Let's see how tough you are face-to-face."
   "No. Wait. This can't be happening!"
   And that's when Oswald noticed that Kennedy had a big knife and a machine gun slung over his shoulder.
  "But it is," Kennedy replied. "On behalf of the Associated Shades of Hades, let me welcome you to the Afterlife with a richly deserved ass-kicking.

These characters are made using a few Traits and Battle Maneuvers not found in the main ROLF! bookbook. They are in the ROLF!: Dead Presidents supplement. (If this had been an actual product, we would have provided them along with the characters.)

Brawn: 28; Body: 18; Brains: 8
    Traits: Egomaniac, Limousine Liberal
    Combat Maneuvers: Basic Attack, Disarm, Debate Philosophy, Knock Out, Seduction, Strike Pose,
Run Away!, Walk and Chew Gum
    Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: Combat Knife (Small Melee Weapon. Deals 2 points of dmg). Machine Gun (Medium Ranged Weapon. Deals 3 points of dmg. Ignores Armor.).

LEE HARVEY OSWALD (Male... sort of)
Brawn is 19; Body 10; Brains 4.
    Traits: Coldhearted, Dead-Eye, Dumb
    Combat Maneuvers: Basic Attack, Disarm, Dodge, Run Away!.
    Important Stuff Worn/Wielded:, Bayonet (Small Melee Weapon. 2 points of dmg.). Sniper Rifle
(Medium Ranged Weapon. 3 points of dmg. Ignores Armor.)

Kennedy and Oswald fight until one or the other is defeated. Then they can fight again the next day.

An Index of Houseboat on the River Styx ROLF! products:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Want to contribute to the 2013 NUELOW Christmas Special?

It's the time of year when we turn our minds to our annual Christmas product. L.L. Hundal is working on a ROLF! battle scenario titled "Revenge of Santos" (or maybe "Return of Santos"... she's debating), but other than that we have no idea yet what else we're doing this year.

And this is where YOU have a chance to become a published writer or RPG designer (which is half a step above self-published).

The NUELOW Christmas Special needs YOUR submission of new ROLF! rules, characters, and battle scenarios, OGL d20 or OpenD6 material, comic strips, poems... so long as it's Christmas-y and a bit weird or funny, we're interested in it. Submissions are open until Monday, December 9.

Send us your contribution! Be an object of admiration for the dozens upon dozens of NUELOW Games fans out there.

Here are the official submissions guidelines:

1. Send your original creations as attachments or in the body of emails to Text submissions must be a maximum 500 words in length. Cartoons and other graphics must be in jpg format. NUELOW Games is willing to review brief proposals to see if we like the idea before you execute it. NUELOW Games reserves the right to reject your completed submission even if we approved a proposal. By agreeing to review proposals and submissions, NUELOW Games is not establishing or implying any obligation between the submitter and itself.

2. All accepted submissions will be published under the Open Game License, except for elements that NUELOW Games chooses to define as Product Identity, and material for the ROLF! game. When your submission is accepted, you assign the copyright of your creation to NUELOW Games in exchange for a byline, a free copy of "Christmas Extravaganza," and a free copy of one other NUELOW Games product of your choice. (If any part of your creation is revised and used in future releases, you will also receive a byline.)

3. Payment will be made upon the release of "Christmas Special" depending on whether you have notified NUELOW Games as to your choice of free product.

4. All decisions by NUELOW Games staff are final.

(We hope to get submissions... it would be nice to get some new blood in our products!)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

d20 Supers (Part One)

I have an idea for superpower mechanics for use with OGL Modern and other d20 OGL systems. It uses the feats and skill tree system. Here's the starting point... characters who possess one or more of these feats each representing the weakest manifestation of traditional comic book superpowers, will then be able to pick "Superpower Talent Trees" (perhaps not the best name... but they're talent trees that give access to increasimgly strong powers),

The Superpower Talent Trees will follow in a bit.

Feel free to sound off on the feats and the idea in general. That's what the comments section is for after all. (These feats are published under the Open Game License and may be reproduced according to the terms described here. Copyright 2013 Steve Miller.)

(Part One)


Minor Power: Flight

You are able to “leap tall buildings in a single bound.”
   Benefit: You can fly (Perfect) up to 250 feet vertically, or 100 feet in horizontally. If you plummet after reaching your maximum altitude vertically, you will suffer falling damage.
   Special: This feat is a prerequisite for the Superpowers Talent Trees.

Minor Power: Invulnerability
Sticks and stones DON'T break your bones.
   Benefit: Damage from blunt, piercing, and slashing weapons is reduced by 2 points. You gain a +4 bonus to rolls made to resist or reduce damage from acid, cold, electricity, heat, and falling.
   Special: This feat is a prerequisite for the Superpowers Talent Trees.

Minor Power: Speed
You move quicker than normal people.
   Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to all initiative rolls. The character can also move up to 60 ft. in a round without suffering penalties to Move Silently or Hide skill checks.
   Special: This feat is a prerequisite for the Superpowers Talent Trees

Minor Power: Strength
You are a physical powerhouse.
   Benefit: The character’s Strength and Constitution attributes increase by 3 when this feat is chosen.
   Special: This feat is a prerequisite for the Superpower Talent Trees.       

'Science Sleuths #4' brings four different series under one cover

The fourth issue of Science Sleuths is our most varied yet. It brings four different strips from the Golden Age of comics, with regular features "Jill Trent, Science Sleuth" and "Rocketman" being joined by the cross-time adventures of Ace Buckley and paranormal expert Armand Broussard, the Werewolf Hunter. And it's all behind a killer cover by Gus Ricca.

In addition to the comics, which are brimming with roleplaying game scenario ideas, Science Sleuths #4 contains matieral for use with OGL Modern (or any d20 System game that could benefit from a handful of gadget, and NUELOW's flagship game, ROLF!

Click here to see previews or to get your own copy of this great anthology.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

NUELOW Heroes & Villains: Ace Buckley and Toni Stark

In Science Sleuths #4 (releasing later this week), another science-minded couple joins the line-up--Ace Buckley and Toni Stark, time-travelers. They will also appear in Science Sleuths #5, and they may or may not be the stars of a Thanksgiving-themed ROLF! supplement. I have an idea for what I think is a cute short story that I hopefully will get done in time; if not, it will show in Science Sleuths #5.

Ace and Toni visit Queen Bess's England. More in Science Sleuths #4.

Meanwhile, here are Ace and Toni ala ROLF! (created with input from L.L. Hundal) along with a time-travel oriented, never-before-seen Combat Maneuver. Other Traits or Combat Maneuvers not in the basic ROLF! rule book can be found in Science Sleuths #4, or ROLF! Christmas Special III.

Brawn 17, Body 15, Brains 8
   Traits: Dead-Eye, Driver, Improv Master, Too Sexy for My Shirt
   Combat Maneuvers: Basic Attack, Debate Philosophy, Disarm, Dodge, Driver, Murderous Mitts, Sure Shot, Time Traveler
   Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: Type of Armor appropriate to time period he has traveled to (absorbs 1-3 points of damage); Medium-sized Melee or Ranged weapon, appropriate to the time period he has traveled to (deals 3 points of damage).
   Origin Story: Ace Buckley was an engineer and scientist who worked for the Stark Machine and Manufacturing Company. Einstein's Theory of Relativity fired his imagination, and he eventually designed what he was sure was a working time machine. Toni Stark, the daughter of Ace's boss, help fund the construction of an actual working machine... and then joined Ace on his travels through time to witness (and sometimes interfere with) historically important events. 

Brawn 14, Body 15, Brains 7
   Traits: Busty, Nimble
   Combat Maneuvers: Basic Attack, Bitch Slap, Dance Move, Dodge, Seduce, The Walk, Time Traveler
   Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: Clothes appropriate for time period she has traveled to. Small Melee Weapon appropriate to the time she has traveled to (deals 2 points of damage).
   Origin Story: Although every bit as brilliant and scientifically minded as her brother Howard, their parents wanted nothing for Antonia "Toni" Stark but for her to find a socially suitable husband. Toni had different ideas, though, and she began befriending fringe scientists and researchers in the hopes of finding an outlet for her intellect and scientific curiosity. When she heard that an employee of her father's firm was pursuing time-travel technology in his spare time, she knew that she had to be part of that effort. She helped fund Ace Buckley's construction of a working time machine and became his traveling companion through the ages.

New Combat Maneuver
Time Traveler: The character has access to a time machine or some other method to travel through time. If a fight that is ended through the successful use of the Run Away Combat Maneuver, or similar game effect, the character uses his or her time travel machine to restart the fight. All characters return to their original starting position.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Madden's Boys Meet the Heartbreaker
A NUELOW Heroes & Villains Battle Scenario

A ROLF! Battle Scenario by L.L. Hundal
Artwork by Bill Madden
Copyright 2013 NUELOW Games & Steve Miller. All Rights Reserved/
(Permission granted to copy for personal use.)

As the NUELOW Games staff (all two of us) work on the next collection of Bill Madden comics--tentatively titled Madden's Boys--Steve Miller has been up to his usual tricks of poking fun at the stuff we're planning to publish. This panel caught his eye in one of the Yankee Boy stories, and he just HAD to put it on Facebook as part of his irregular series of Out of Context Theater posts.

 Well, this triggered an idea--a classic ROLF! battle scenario along the lines of our mid-1990s offerings that caused Frank Mentzer to quip: "The download is guaranteed virus free, but I can't be sure about the characters."

Here are the characters featured in the Battle Scenario. They were created using rules from the core ROLF! game, as well as ROLF!: Something About Superheroes and ROLF!: Christmas Special II. (If this was an actual release, we'd repeat all the Combat Maneuvers and Traits not included in the core game here.)

Dynamic Boy (AKA Kent Banning, Male)
Brawn 16, Body 14, Brains 6
   Traits: Improv Master, Superpower (Super Strenth [Personal], Flight [Personal], Bonus: +2 Brawn ATT [Permanent]
   Combat Maneuvers: Basic Attack, Pimp Slap
Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: Superhero Outfit (Armor, absorbs up to 2 points of damage).
    Origin Story: Dynamic Boy almost died while saving the life of Dr. Brown's daughter. The good doctor then proceeded to save him by feeding him an unknown substance he had secured from cultists high atop the Himalyan mountains. 

Heartbreaker (AKA Katie Felmann, Female)
Brawn 14, Body 16, Brains 6
   Traits: Coldhearted, Nimble, Stone Cold Killer
   Combat Maneuvers: Basic Attack, Bitch Slap, Castrate, Double Strike, Seduce, Strike Pose
   Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: Leather Vest (Armor, absorbs 2 points of damage), Thigh-high Boots, (Armor AND Leggings, absorbs 1 point of damage). Dagger (Small Melee Weapon, deals 1 point of damage). Pistol (Small Ranged Weapon, deals 2 points of damage that ignore armor).
   Origin Story: Heartbreaker was a CIA operative who relied on "womanly wiles" to achieve siccess in her intelligence gathering missions. When her identity was exposed by a publicity-seeking U.S. senator, she barely escaped from her last assignment with her life. In revenge, she assassinated the senator, and she has been working as a high-priced, freelance hit woman ever since.

Yankee Boy (AKA Phil Martin, Male)
Brawn 14, Body 13, Brains 6
   Traits: Irrepressible Optimist, Nimble
   Combat Maneuvers: Basic Attack, Bitch Slap, Deflect, Dodge, Murderous Mitts, Strike Pose
   Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: Superhero Outfit (Armor, absorbs up to 2 points of damage).
   Origin Story: Phil Martin woke up one day, frustrated with the growing anti-American attitude he detected in the people around him. So, he made himself a superhero outfit and started kicking ass in the name of life, liberty, and the American Way.

This scenario is for two or three players, depending on how you want it to unfold. Each player controls one of the characters from above.

3.1: What Has Come Before
Heartbreaker has been hired by the Great Question to destroy Dynamic Boy and Yakeeboy. Deciding to use the youthful superheroes to take each other out, she has been posing online as a teen girl and has been flirting with them via their "social media" accounts and :"sexting"-type activities. Earlier today, she set up a meeting in a secluded spot, telling each of the boys that she wanted to take their relationship to the "physical level." Just before they are to arrive, she sends each of them a text message, apparently in a panic. "Yankee Boy is jealous of our love--he has vowed to kill me!" to Dynamic Boy, and "Dynamic Boy is jealous of our love--he has vowed to kill me!" to Yankee Boy. She now lurks nearby, waiting to see which of the boy heroes wins the fight, and then.intends to leap out and finish off the one still standing..

3.2: The Battle, Part One
The fight starts at Ranged Distance. Dynamic Boy and Yankee Boy both agrily demand that the  other leave Katie alone. They then attack each other. The fight
   Special Game Note: If Yankee Boy successfully uses his Strike Pose Combat Maneuver to halt Dynamic Boy's attack, the player of Yankee Boy can choose to either continue the fight, or he can say that Yankee Boy tries to talk to Dynamic Boy and figure out why he's suddenly turned into a psycho-stalker targeting his girl. Dynamic Boy's player rolls 2d6, and if the result is equal to or less than 6, the two teens stop fighting.

3.3: The Battle, Part Two
Once either Dynamic Boy or Yankee Boy are defeated, Heartbreaker breaker attacks the remaining hero, controlled by the player of the defeated character. If the fight between the heroes ends as described under the Special Game Note above, the player who controlled Dynamic Boy now controls Hearbreaker, while the other player controls the two heroes. (If there players are playing, each of them controls one of the characters.)
   The fight continues until Heartbreaker or her targets are defeated.

Dynamic Boy and Yankee Boy were characters that appeared in issues of Dynamic Comics and Yankee Comics respectively, published in 1941 and produced by Harry "A" Chesler's art studio. Heartbreaker is an original creation.
   Dynamic Boy and Yankee Boy were teenage characters modeled after the superheroes from which the anthology titles drew their names (Dynamic Man and Yankee Doodle Jones) but otherwise had no connection to the adult superhero in question. Curiously (although typical for a Chesler-produced strip), Dynamic Man did end up with a sidekick by the name of Dynamic Boy, but it was a completely different character than the one this battle scenario was inspired by. Yankee Doodle Jones also had a kid sidekick, cleverly named Dandy.
    Bill Madden drew both published Dynamic Boy stories, the first three Yankee Boy tales, and he may have penciled the fourth with someone else finishing the art. I think Madden's art deserves more attention than it's gotten over the years, and that's why I'm happy to be part of NUELOW Game's forthcoming Madden's Boys book--which will feature the entire run of the Dynamic Boy series, as well as the first three Yankee Boy episodes. We also may or may not include the Rocket Boy series; we're working on determining whether Madden had a hand in that one or not. I hope you'll join us for them.
   Meanwhile, check out Madden's artwork in The Unholy 3 and OGL Trickery or Mother Hubbard.