This week we are bidding farewell (and good riddance) to 2020 with a trio of retrospective looks at how the unexpected difficulties of lockdown have lead to innovations in virtual tabletop gaming -- everything from lessons learned running a webcam campaign to how to use 3D terrain in your virtual games.

We're also pleased to look back on Dungeon Crawl Classics over the years, sharing not only our Favorite Review Ever (and a whole slew of equally as terrific ones) but exploring the many printings, editions, and unique covers of the DCC Core Rulebook over the years in our Reprint Registry article. Don't miss it.

You'll also find articles on the fiction that inspires so much of our gaming, from an in depth dive into Clark Ashton Smith, an introduction to Robert E. Howard, and a look at a story collection from contemporary sword-and-sorcery great, Charles Saunders.

Oh, and did we mention the Happy New Year 20% Off Coupon? Keep on reading to find out more.

Happy New Year 2021 from Goodman Games!

The Long Night Has Passed
The Sun Rises on a New Tomorrow
Happy New Year from all of us at Goodman Games!

2020 has been a long year. We are SO GLAD it’s over! We are so excited to start 2021. In fact, we’re so excited that we’d like to share the excitement with you!

Use code HAPPYNEWYEAR2021 to save 20% on your entire purchase at the Goodman Games web site. This code is only usable for a limited time so act now!

Most of you likely know about the series of Twitch-casts that Goodman Games runs on a weekly basis. We try to put a little bit of everything in the mix, from live gaming to retro-gaming discussion to movies that can influence your games.

But is it enough?

That’s what we want to know, and we want your help. So we’ve put together a short, simple survey to let you give some feedback on what you like and what we can do to make our Twitch shows the best possible.

If you aren’t familiar with our Twitch shows, you can check out the regular lineup and tune in to watch them as they happen. Or you can get caught up on them over at the Goodman Games YouTube channel.

And once you’re familiar, please take a minute to fill out the Goodman Games Twitch Survey. We want to make our shows the best on the interwaves, and your time can help make that a reality.
As 2020 comes to a close, it causes us to look back in reflection on what has come before. Our favorite moments. Our favorite days. And our favorite review. It’s been years since this review first debuted, but we still have to say that one particular remains our favorite. We remember it like it dropped just the other day.
Welcome to the Reprint Registry! This occasional feature documents the reprints of Goodman Games products. Collectors often ask us for detailed printing specs on our many reprinted titles, especially the DCC line. Over the years, some of our out-of-print titles have commanded impressive sums on the secondary market. We’ve been told it is helpful for collectors to have some background on the titles they are collecting or selling.

Some dedicated fans collect all the various printings of their favorite adventures. With each new printing of a book, we typically do a fresh editorial review to catch any remaining typographical errors. We often add new content or interior art of some kind. And we occasionally commission entirely new cover art.
by Bill Ward
Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) was a giant and a father to giants, his literary creations so potent that they have informed popular culture and permeated mass consciousness down to the present day. But their very ubiquity can obscure and deceive – if two people strike up a conversation about Conan, are they actually talking about the same Conan? What’s going on with all of these other writers penning stories of Howard’s heroes, and do they need to be read in order? Out of the dozens of reprints and collections over the years, just where do you actually start?
by Chris Doyle
Let’s face it, 2020 has presented us with many challenges. From a tabletop gaming standpoint, social distancing has forced many of us to pivot to online tabletop platforms to get our fix for role playing games. There are many great platforms out there, such as Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds, or you could just go with the tried-and-true Theater of the Mind approach and utilize one of many video or voice chat options. I admit, I’ve done more tabletop role playing in 2020 than I have in decades, but I’ve heard the complaints that at times it feels too much like a video game. So, can we do better?
by Harley Stroh
For tabletop gamers, 2020 was a grim foe. This was doubly true for Goodman Games, where public games – hosted by the wild-eyed reavers calling themselves the Road Crew– are an integral part of DCC’s success. 

The cascading series of con cancellations heralded a darkening storm. The end to in-person gaming was a source of real grief, compounding the pressure of lost work and the constant specter of sickness.

But any community can suffer loss. In retrospect, it is far more telling to see how a community responds
by Brandon LaSalle
Once it was clear that the Covid-19 quarantine meant a complete shutdown of the normal 2020 convention season, the Goodman Games Twitch channel became our new outlet for gaming. Goodman Games is famously staffed with a host of gaming old-timers who were a bit on the luddite side, so we had to learn about new gaming platforms fast. Zoom, Twitch, OBS…there was a steep learning curve and we did our best to gain proficiency as quickly as we could. 
by Bill Ward
In Nyumbani Tales (MV Media 2017), sword-and-sorcery great Charles Saunders collects 13 short stories spanning his early career, work that had previously appeared in a variety of publications, from small press ‘zines like Weirdbook and Black Lite, to mass market anthologies such as Beyond the Fields We Know and Hecate’s CauldronFans of Saunders’ Imaro series will already be somewhat familiar with his short fiction, since the earliest parts of that epic were built upon the classic early Imaro shorts that first won the character his reputation. And, while many of the stories within Nyumbani Tales aren’t strictly speaking sword-and-sorcery, there are not only familiar faces here for Imaro fans, but a great deal of familiar ground as well.
by Michael Curtis
Gamers often point to Appendix N and decry the absence of a particular author (or three, or seven, or…), declaring Gygax’s omission of them to be a literary crime of some sort. Putting aside the unbelievable idea that gamers may complain about things for the moment, we must realize that Appendix N is not a list one can argue with. It is a catalogue of all the literary influences Gygax chose to recognize as wellsprings from which Dungeons & Dragons flowed. Since it is representative of one man’s work, we can’t claim he made the error of excluding a particular author, even if we believe we can see their influence in the final product. Game design, like art, is a subjective process and one tends to see what one is inclined to see.

While we cannot fault Gygax for not including certain names, we can, however, dig deeper into the authors he does list and examine where they drew their influences from. In the process, we discover that some of the names that people grumble about over their absence, are in fact representative in the works of those that are present. One of these influencers of the influencers is the third name from “the big three of Weird Tales”—Clark Ashton Smith.

A trio of great new releases today. For fans of James Ward’s classic Metamorphosis Alpha RPG comes Doom on the Warden, an all new adventure full of twists and secrets that threatens to turn everything on its head. Available in hardback or a deluxe, foil cover edition hardback.

And once you’ve holstered that ray gun, go ahead and snatch up a broadsword and wade into Tales From the Magician’s Skull Number 5, the sword-and-sorcery magazine that brings old school adventure to new life. Packed with six all-new tales from today’s leading-edge authors, and bursting with art that celebrates the genre’s long heritage, Tales From the Magician’s Skull is the cannot-be-missed source for modern sword-and-sorcery.

Strange things are afoot on the starship Warden. Ominous happenings that will have an impact that lasts…forever.

Legendary game designer James M. Ward brings you Doom on the Warden, a Metamorphosis Alpha adventure of horror in space. The adventure includes pre-generated characters and is playable as part of a campaign or as stand-alone play. Doom on the Warden is a new frontier for Metamorphosis Alpha, in both style and substance, and for the first time, the pre-generated characters include wolfoids
Doom on the Warden is packed with the answers to the starship Warden’s biggest mysteries!
  • The Adventure: James M. Ward’s most devious adventure ever! Part hex crawl, part deadly delve. Forty-four years after the original release of Metamorphosis Alpha, the story of the second half of the voyage is finally being told.
  • Campaign-Style Play: Drop this adventure into your ongoing campaign to turn everything on its head. Complacent denizens of the starship Warden will find themselves racing to uncover the deepest of the Warden’s secrets, and to restore its course.
  • Convention-Style Play: Three teams of pre-generated characters, each with their own individual reasons for undertaking this deadly quest, are ready to populate your table as the adventure was originally run.
  • The Maps: A map of the mysterious “Level 0” and the military command dome found within.

The same great content as the regular Metamorphosis Alpha hardcover, but with a classy leatherette and gold foil cover design!
Experience the sword and sorcery adventure that is Tales From The Magician’s Skull #5!

Behold! I have fashioned a magazine like those from fabled days of yore. It overflows with thrilling adventures. There are swords, and there is sorcery. There are dark deeds and daring rescues. There are lands where heroes fear to tread. Dare you imagine it? Picture this as well — maps to wondrous and terrible places. Electrifying art for every tale. Guides to bring the terrors within to your own game table. All I lack are a few paltry shekels. Grant them to me, and I shall fling open a new portal to a world of ancient wonders! Join me, mortal dogs! Together we shall storm the gates of Valhalla!

Tales From The Magician’s Skull is a magazine of all-new swords & sorcery fiction. Issue #5 features cover art by Sanjulian, and stories by Adrian Cole, James Enge, John C. Hocking, Violette Malan, Adrian Simmons, and C.L. Werner. The magazine is edited by Howard Andrew Jones and published by Joseph Goodman of Goodman Games. Each story is lovingly illustrated by industry stalwarts, and issue #5 features art by Chris Arneson, Randy Broecker, Samuel Dillon, Jennell Jaquays, Doug Kovacs, Peter Mullen, and Russ Nicholson.

Finally, issue #5 includes a short appendix presenting DCC RPG stats for all the new material contained inside!