The final week of an amazing 2019, and we are still loaded with Goodman Goodies for you! This week we offer up a trio of articles looking back at the year that was 2019. On top of that, we also give you some deep cuts on Robert E. Howard, an Adventure in Fiction with Fritz Leiber, and introduce a Roadworthy Retailer out of Florida!

For newsletter subscribers, we've also got a few exclusives you can check out: A review of Tales From The Magician's Skull #3, a YouTube video about the effect DCC RPG can have on gamers, articles from the archives celebrating Fritz Leiber, and another look at what we're reading right now!

Let's get to it!
by Harley Stroh
2019 saw the passing of G+, the short-lived social media network that, paired with the now ubiquitous Google docs, was a boon to DIY RPG creators in general, and  Dungeon Crawl Classics  fans in specific.

Shepherded by Claytonian JP, the  DCC RPG  group was first and foremost a fan endeavor. It was not a company bullhorn announcing latest releases – though we had plenty of those – but instead, a gaming collective, where 0-level gamers could rub shoulders with the likes of Doug Kovacs, Mike Curtis, Harley Stroh, Dak Ultimak, and the crew from Spellburn. Got a dream and the ability to type? This was your chance to create and share with the  DCC  community in real-time, receiving feedback, commendations, and critiques.

In a short time, the  DCC G+ community gave rise to the Gongfarmer’s Almanac; the original death stamps; the zero-level funnel tournament; and scores of zines. Offshoots participated in the first spell duel tournaments (precursor to the  Enter the Dagon  tournament – all hail champion Bob Brinkman), plotted and pitched ideas for early  DougKons DCC Lankhmar , Gen Con, and the Road Crew...
by Brendan LaSalle
Goodman Games went on the road early and stayed out late in 2019, with our extended family hitting more shows than ever before. We visited more than 20 conventions and collectively ran hundreds of games.

I personally ran 95 games for a total of 596 players. That’s my new record, and I celebrated by sitting very still for a long time not thinking about gaming.

I had so many fantastic moments this year. I got to meet with the RPG club from my alma mater, Spring Woods High School in Houston, Texas, and talk to them about FRPGs as a profession. I got to play a rabbit in Forrest Aguirre’s Bunnies and Burrows pickup the Wednesday before Gamehole (“Send me in . . . as a decoy!”). I fulfilled a lifetime dream, running Palace of the Silver Princess in Lake Geneva – my first time ever running a TSR adventure at  Gary Con . I gathered with the tribe at the award ceremony at this year’s  Gen Con  and looked out on so many faces of folks I had gamed with, folks I had so many memories with...
by Harley Stroh
Like most gamers of a certain age, I began daydreaming about Gen Con as a child.
Back then the logo was usually some sort of compass rose, printed in black and white, close to the end of a rule book. Growing up in rural Colorado, where the nearest gaming store was a sewing shop, I didn’t know what a gaming convention was, but I knew I had to get to this thing called  Gen Con . The kid that had never been more than 60 miles off the ranch grew up fantasizing about loading up the car with his brother and some high school buddies and driving out to Milwaukee.

Twenty-odd years later, Gen Con retains that same magic. For all the challenges – the crush of crowds, the annual scramble for housing, the dubious meals, and inevitable con crud – when I step off the plane and look down the escalator to the massive Gen Con logo, I’m that kid fresh off the ranch again, coming home to 70,000 friends I’ve never met before.

At Gen Con, even the most jaded grognard can be a fan again, awash in a sea of gaming wonder...
newsletter exclusive!
As you surely know, DCC RPG is inspired by Appendix N, and Fritz Leiber is a key part of that—we even published DCC Lankhmar—and this week was the birthday of Fritz Leiber, which we profiled in this Adventures in Fiction article. Did you know we have a wealth of additional material on Fritz Leiber in our archives? Here are some other articles on the Goodman Games website that may interest fans of Lankhmar and Fritz Leiber! 
by James Maliszewski
In the May 1961 issue of the fantasy fanzine  Amra , future stalwart of Appendix N, Michael Moorcock, wrote a letter to the editor in which he proposed the term “epic fantasy” for the literary genre pioneered by Robert E. Howard in his stories of Conan the Cimmerian. In the July issue of that same year, however, Fritz Leiber offered another term in reply, writing, “I feel more certain than ever that this field should be called the sword-and-sorcery story.” Leiber elaborates a bit on his coinage, adding that this term “accurately describes the points of culture-level and supernatural element,” as well as being useful in distinguishing these stories from other popular pulp genres.

Leiber began corresponding with Lovecraft in November 1936 and immediately impressed the older writer. Lovecraft described Leiber, in a letter to R.H. Barlow, as “a genuine find” and took a great interest in both Leiber’s poetry and fiction. Lovecraft read Adept’s Gambit and wrote a long letter to Leiber in which he praised the tale and commented on it extensively. Among Lovecraft’s criticisms were numerous historical errors and anachronisms. No doubt long time fans of the stories of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser must be wondering what sort of errors and anachronisms HPL could possibly have found in a story set in Lankhmar, a wholly fantastical city. The fascinating truth is that the story was  not  set in Lankhmar at all but in the city of Tyre during the time of the Seleucid dynasty...
by Michael Curtis
In January 2018, Michael Curtis traveled to Houston to research  The Fritz Leiber Papers  at the University of Houston. This amazing trip was funded by our Kickstarter for the DCC Lankhmar  project.  The Fritz Leiber Papers  is comprised of correspondence, writings, original manuscripts, photographs, and even the author’s sword collection, all of which were donated to The University of Houston Libraries by Fritz and Justin Leiber during a period between 1984 to 1997, and spans 30 linear feet of shelf space. The collection documents Leiber’s life and works from the years 1930 to 1996. As far as we are aware, Goodman Games is the only Lankhmar publisher to incorporate this material into their works. Here is Michael’s first report back from the library.

After five days of fantastic research in the University of Houston Special Collections, I have returned to the not-so-warm climes of the northeast. I’m still in the midst of processing all that I learned from this rare opportunity to explore Leiber’s private life and creative process. While I’ve been a fan of his fiction for many years, the  DCC Lankhmar  project transformed me into a Leiber scholar. The opportunity to see and read firsthand his works and get a grasp of Leiber the man was the final step in this transformation process and I’m indebted to all the Kickstarter backers whose money and support made it possible...
newsletter exclusive!
What did the folks over at Black Gate think of Tales From The Magician's Skull #3 ? Well, why don't we start with this excerpt from their review...

The print quality is great again (the artwork, editing, illustrations, tan-cardstock pulp-feel … the magazine is just fun to hold). The last item in the Table of Contents (below) should be the first to discuss since it is iconic: The Appendix. What a great design idea! To drive home the RPG elements of the stories, Terry Olson once again created items and  Dungeon Crawl Classic RPG rules related to each story. This is really cool. Read the stories…then go re-live/play them. I enjoy reading this section each time just to re-imagine the stories.

The six featured Sword & Sorcery stories are all enjoyable, and there is plenty of bonus content like flash fiction, author and illustrator notes, and the appendix of RPG-items. Most stories have some mystery or police-procedural flare; several are serials from the previous  Tales from the Magician’s Skull  installments; others have characters appearing in other venues. For me, since I am a huge fan of Clark Ashton Smith and poetic/weird adventure (Dunsany), the last story by Sarah Newton was a true highlight.

For the full review, follow the link below!
newsletter exclusive!
Recently, the folks over at RPG Alliance took to YouTube and gave their review of Dungeon Crawl Classics. And they loved it.

Trevor Russ speaks on the video of discovering DCC RPG and how it inspired him to get back into gaming and running a campaign of his own. It's a great watch for fans, and a wonderful thing to point towards anyone who has considered giving DCC a try!
newsletter exclusive!
By Leonard Carpenter, TOR, 1986
by Joseph Goodman

Let me lead off by stating that Conan the Raider is a good Conan novel. It is unfortunate that so many bad Conan novels exist. More broadly, it is unfortunate that so many Conan novels exist at all. Robert E. Howard wrote Conan short stories, not novels (with one debatable exception), and the glory of his writing is diluted through successive generations of over-long and generally over-written Conan third-gen fiction. If REH could bring Conan alive in the shortness of a story like Tower of the Elephant, why can’t modern authors? As a publisher I recognize that publishers encourage the novel format due to its more marketable place on today’s retail shelves, and through projects like Tales From The Magician’s Skull I hope to create a place where modern authors can write in the short story format that made Conan famous. What I review today is a novel most certainly not written in the format that made Conan famous. Nonetheless, Conan the Raider delivers in the way a Conan fan (and REH fan) will enjoy.

At Gen Con 2019, I was lamenting the number of bad Conan novels that exist. My friend Howard Andrew Jones (who has read all of them, or nearly all of them), corrected me by identifying four that I had for sale in my spinner racks which are, he claimed, quite good. You can find his complete selection of good Conan pastiche in a recent Goodman Games post ( The Best of the Conan Pastiches). Of the four he picked out for me, I’ve now read all four, and Conan the Raider is indeed quite good.

Why is Conan the Raider good? First, the novel opens with Conan near death in a desert wasteland, where he still chooses to finish off his enemy rather than seeking water. What a great way to start a novel (and a DCC adventure, I must note). Second, we have Conan diving into tombs to find lost treasures. Third, the secondary characters. I have to admit that in many of these Conan novels, I frequently lose track of the secondary characters. Conan, his love interest, and the villain are usually well developed. The rest of them? They blend together, then die fast, and after a couple pages I can’t tell Isiaib from Asrafel. But by the end of Conan the Raider, the secondary characters have come alive (even though they’re mostly dead). Fourth, the magic. Robert E. Howard’s Conan magic came from infernal powers, lengthy rituals, and dead places. It has a distinctive, non- D&D feel. (Jack Vance, Tolkien, and de Camp and Pratt’s Harold Shea came later!) The magic of Conan the Raider feels authentic to REH’s original style.

And finally, the dénouement. The novel’s final scene stretches over several chapters, and it’s colossal. ( Warning: spoilers ahead.) Conan is entombed with the princess. He defeats the necromancer. The tomb doors close as Conan barely escapes. The legions of corpses in the pyramid’s catacombs are revived and attack the city. The city leaders divide into rebellious factions. Conan leads the defense on behalf of the people. The city is flooded. A secondary character dies gloriously (and I remember his name! May your deeds live forever, Otsgar!). And then just when you think it’s all over, the princess’s half-brother attacks with a poisoned dagger for the encore. The plot threads tie together well, it’s a powerful, rousing, can’t-put-it-down ending that is well executed, and I walked away very satisfied with this Conan novel. Even though it’s a novel.
by Bob and Jen Brinkman
The backbone of any gaming community is its friendly local game store (FLGS). In Southwest Florida, that store is Dungeon Games. Established Oct 3, 2014, Dungeon Games is owned by the husband and wife team of Josh and Amy Petrik. While other stores in the area have come and gone, Dungeon Games continues to grow, prosper, and host members of the  DCC RPG Road Crew . Long-time judge “Big Troy Tucker,” as well as  Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar  contributor Bob Brinkman, and Goodman Games editor Jen Brinkman have all hosted sessions here. The store has also been home to the “Dungeon Games Crew,” the campaign playtesters of  DCC Lankhmar  and over a dozen  Dungeon Crawl Classics  and  Mutant Crawl Classics  adventures.

Free RPG Day at Dungeon Games is always a big deal and has included  Dungeon Crawl Classics , Mutant Crawl Classics , Pyramid Crawl Classics , Skull & Crossbones Classics , Transylvanian Adventures , and even 3D versions of  MCC  as well as the Michael Curtis Fifth Edition Fantasy adventure Glitterdoom .

Having just completed their move to their new, larger location, we managed to catch up with Josh and Amy recently to talk about the store...
by Howard Andrew Jones
Robert E. Howard is justly famous for creating Conan of Cimmeria, probably the best known of all sword-and-sorcery characters. But the best of Robert E. Howard doesn’t begin or end with the world’s most famous barbarian, because there’s an astonishing amount of excellent fiction that the talented Texan created over the course of a few short years.

Here’s a quick look at some excellent yarns he wrote featuring other characters. These should by no means be taken as the only other good REH to be read. Consider these starting points. If you try these Solomon Kane adventures and like them, there are more, and so on.

If you’re looking for sources, your simplest and the best source is the current line of Del Rey books. Although many of these stories have been collected multiple times, the Del Reys have the definitive, unedited texts. Unless otherwise noted, the Del Rey volume in which the tales appear is named after the Robert E. Howard character...
by Michael Curtis
We’ve talked a lot about Fritz Leiber, whose birthday we’re celebrating today, over the last few years. Leiber, born December 24th, 1910, is most widely known among gamers as the man responsible for the fantastic Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories. In the years running up to  DCC Lankhmar , a lot of ink has been spilled discussing Leiber’s most famous creation. Today, however, we’re going to examine some of Leiber’s other work and see how we can apply it to our games—especially  DCC Lankhmar .

In addition to writing science fiction and fantasy, Leiber also penned a number of short stories and novels that fall into the categories we now call “urban fantasy” and “urban horror.” These tales occur against the backdrop of the modern world, examining what happens when the supernatural intrudes on the everyday. The stories helped pave the way for the explosion we’re now witnessing in these genres, and much like  Dungeon Crawl Classics  itself, we see that going back to the beginning of the genre pays us great dividends...
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We’re coming down to the wire. The year will be over in less than three weeks, and that means you are up against the deadline to get your games in to qualify for custom Judge Pin!

As always, you’ve been fabulous ambassadors for the  Dungeon Crawl Classics  and  Mutant Crawl Classics  lines. We salute your passion for our games and the way that you help to spread the gospel in positive ways.

If you aren’t familiar with the Road Crew, a quick reminder that we support the folks who will step out and run  DCC RPG  or any of our products in a public forum—whether it be at conventions, stores, or even online—with swag and other rewards for your time and effort. If you aren’t signed up, it is so easy! Click on over to our  Road Crew page  to get all of the details.

And for those of you who are already a part of the team, this is your final notice to get in your thirteen events and qualifying for a custom Judge Pin! You have until the end of the year to get to thirteen games and finish out the season in style. You need to schedule your events as soon as possible, so we can get everything in place and get your games on our  Events Page .
And with the holiday season upon us, there will be gatherings aplenty allowing you to run a special holiday adventure. And to that end, we’ve got an entire page of our Holiday Adventures to give you some inspiration. Including this year’s release,  DCC Lankhmar #10: Unholy Nights in Lankhmar !

The year will be over before you know it! Get that 13th event scheduled and run so you can show your success right there on your lapel with a custom Judge’s Pin!
We've put them in one place to make them easy to find!
Are you looking for the perfect gift for your dungeon master or the perfect module to play with your gaming group over the holiday season? Well, we have the solution for that! Here at Goodman Games, we have a whole page dedicated to  Holiday modules .

We have everything from the brand new DCC Lankhmar #10: Unholy Nights in Lankhmar Mutant Crawl Classics  ( Home for the Holideath ),  X-Crawl  ( New Year’s Evil ),  DCC  ( Advent of the Avalanche Lords  &  Trials of the Toy Makers ), and the third-party release  World-Quest of the Winter Calendar .

So whatever  horrible tortures  glorious gifts you would like to lay upon your players we have you covered.
Looking for a great game this weekend? Always remember to check out our Events Page! Below is an excerpt of what is available in the next few days, but for the full schedule click on the image!