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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Latest Rant - The Crusader Issue 22

I'm sorry. I really enjoy the vast majority of the products the Trolls put out, and Castles & Crusades is my current game of choice, but their House Rag known as the Crusader really annoyed me this month.

Let me preface this by stating the following: "House Rags" are used by publishers to drive sales of their games. Mongoose does this with Signs & Portents, a free PDF magazine published monthly with articles useful in their many games. Dragon and Dungeon are kinda weird, as the sale of D&D is there to drive the sub numbers, at least that's how I see it. In any case, both these publishers put out professional "House Rags"

The Crusader is a print product. It competes with Kobold Quarterly, Fight On!, and Knockspell on that field (I'm leaving out Dragon Roots as who knows when the next issue is, and Level Up as that is pure 4e)

The Crusader is the only one that is trying to go monthly. It costs $4 for 36 pages. It is ad light, so removing ads and the OGL leaves us with 32 pages. Not too bad. One or two quality articles would make that a decent price to quality ratio. Key word: would

I have been reading the Crusader since the first issue. It was poorly edited and reading cover to cover took me 20 minutes, but I enjoyed those minutes. It reminded me of the Dragon Magazines of my youth in some ways. Heck, I actually found articles I thought I could use.

Jump ahead to the latest issue, number 22. In it, Managing Editor James Ward (yes, the same as in the old TSR days) bemoans the lack of subscribers. He actually suggests that every reader of Crusader buy a sub for a friend. Then we are told we should "start talking the magazine up" on the Trolls forums. We are expected to shill on the company's own forums to our fellow gamers? Oh, and then a second plea to buy a sub for a friend.

I'm sorry, but quality sells. There just isnt enough quality in these almost monthly, rushed issues for me to justify renewing, let alone buy for a friend. I feel there is more filler then crunch or fluff combined.

Lets see. Which articles are useless filler, used to fill the 36 pages in question.

1 - Upon the Blacktooth Ridge: 3 pages about how the "A" series came to be

2 - The Book of Familiars Finds a path: 2 pages on how the old D20 book is moving to C&C - its a fricken ad

3 - Troll Lord Freebies: 2 page spread with 2 totally worthless maps. Seriously, they are worthless. Part of some future product with labels such as "see future maps for details"

4 - The Aihrdian Newsletter: 6 pages on some fake parchment background, thereby making it annoying and painful to read. Its game world fiction, I think. Double spaced with large margins. More filler.

5 - Tales of the Brass Rings: 2 more pages of fiction. I regarded fiction as filler in the Dragon mags of the 80s and 90s, and that was of a higher writing quality.

Wow, 15 pages of filler, add 1 page for the table of contents and one page for the plea for subs, giving us 17 pages of blah. 4 pages for the ads and ogl. 21 filler pages out of 36.

Interestingly enough, there is a two page article on the C&C Society. Most interesting part? The end of the Doomsday Book, a fan created free magazine for C&C. Much more cruch heavy and useful then Crusader has ever been.

So there's my rambling rant. If you want subscribers you need to earn them. Give them a product that they can use in their actual games. Make it interesting. Make it presentable. Work out the proofreading issues... its been a weight around the neck of the Troll for years... showcasing it monthly doesn't help.

As a side note, Towers of Adventure by James Ward for use in C&C: worst waste of my money on a gaming product in years. Am I saying Mr. Ward is a bad designer and editor? No. But he needs to find out what his readers want if he is going to grow those subscriber numbers. This reader certainly hasn't been getting what he wants.

The covers are cool tho ;)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Eclipse Phase - A Taste of the Dark for Free

Eclipse Phase is an RPG published by Catalyst Game Labs under the Creative Commons License. It is available for free in a QuickStart (40 pages) edition or for $15 bucks at RPGNow (400 pages) for the full package.

So, why am I posting about it? Could it be the five 5* reviews it received at RPGNow since its August release? Perhaps. I've seen fudged reviews on RPGNow, but this doesn't seem to be one of them.

Borrowing the blurb from RPGNow:

Eclipse Phase is a post-apocalyptic game of conspiracy and horror. Humanity is enhanced and improved, but also battered and bitterly divided. Technology allows the re-shaping of bodies and minds, but also creates opportunities for oppression and puts the capability for mass destruction in the hands of everyone. And other threats lurk in the devastated habitats of the Fall, dangers both familiar and alien. In this harsh setting, the players participate in a cross-faction conspiracy called Firewall that seeks to protect transhumanity from threats both internal and external. Along the way, they may find themselves hunting for prized technology in a gutted habitat falling from orbit, risking the hellish landscapes of a ruined earth, or following the trail of a terrorist through militarized stations and isolationist habitats. Players may even find themselves stepping through a Pandora Gate, a wormhole to distant stars and the alien secrets beyond.

All that and your can try the system, get your teeth into the background, and have a starter adventure for free.

Course, I already bought the damn PDF. It looked so damn purty ;)

(late edit: there appears to be a Lite version of the rules for free... no frills, white box, plain label, artless... yada yada


Beware, I think my next posting (or the one after) will be a rant. Shame too, because I like the Trolls and C&C.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

More Beer! More Games... Tastes Great, Less Filling

Actually, I don't know if the beer tastes great yet but one can hope. Mr. Beer suggests one week to brew, one week to carbonate, and possibly one week to condition. All of the forums I've read push 2-2-2 as the cycle, so next weekend for the bottling / carbonation stage. At the moment the Irish Read has some nice activity with a healthy foam on top of the brew, the Oktoberfest less of a head.

RPG Blog II has a link to a way to get Iron Crown Enterprises Rolemaster Express in PDF for free. They did this offer last year and I snagged a copy (also bought like 6 dead tree copies at 5 bucks a piece last year when they had a promotion). It's a great write up of the Rolemaster Rules without the overwhelming pages and tables from the full set. Almost reminds me of the MERP rules of old.

The Gathering of Fools took place yesterday, and our host succumbed to the dangers of 12 year old Scotch by 4pm... we didn't realize until nearly 5, and didn't wrap things up until nearly 7. Another fun time was had by all. Er, almost all.

Palladium Books has extended their Grab Bag offer until January 15th. Basically, for 37 bucks (plus handling, shipping and possibly tax) you get 80 or 90 bucks worth of gaming goodies. I received 6 signed prints (one signed and numbered), one unsigned print, 14 blister packs of Rifts minies, The latest Rifter (signed by Kevin and the rest), a Palladium Fantasy sourcebook (also signed) and last but certainly not least, a signed copy of the Palladium Fantasy Rulebook with a scetch signed and dated by Kevin. That was a double order (2 x 37). I need to pick up some frames to display the art :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snow, Beer, and RPGs - My Kinda Weekend

We got about 11" of the white stuff here in t6he6 NYC area overnite Saturday into Sunday. This led to a few things:

1 - The girlfriend and her dog got to stay the nite as we were a bit snowed in. My kitty Ashley did her avoidance deal, which is basically to sleep under the futon that my g/f and her dog were napping on and watching TV from, thereby driving the damn dog crazy as SHE knew the kitty was near.

2 - Being in yesterday afternoon meant I got to do something I had put off for a bit - home brewing. Nothing fancy-schmancy, just 2 2-gallon mini kegs of Mr Beer brewing. One is an Irish Red, the other is an Oktoberfest. When I bottle in two weeks I may go for something a bit different for the next batches for the mini-kegs.

3 - RPGs. Andugus from White Haired Man Games mentioned the idea of giving my some review copies of their latest products. When that happens I'll be putting the reviews on here. I've liked what I've seen of their stuff so far and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on more.

4 - Fantasy Grounds 2 now has an ULTIMATE version of their VTT software. For $150 you get a full version of the license and unlimted floating license connections. Good deal if you are doing demo or pick up games, or need to convince your circle of the viability of successful roleplaying on a virtual table top platform. In truth this can only help other platforms, assuming that the market doesn't balk at the price tag.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Warhammer FRG - 3rd Edition - AKA The Heavy Box Game

Yesterday I came home to find my newly delivered Warhammer FRP 3rd edition waiting for me on my doorstep. The box is damn heavy and stuffed with a huge amount of gaming material. Way too much stuff. Gaming sensory overload level of stuff.

Interestingly enough there was an extra set of 10-sided Warhammer dice (the dice are uniquely stamped with images). According to the enclosed note the original 10-sided dice weren't up to snuff (basically you now have some extra dice).

I'm trying to make my way thru the 4 enclosed books without going too fast. I want to get a chance to understand the system, which looks nothing like the previous two editions. The presentation does look very much like the 2nd edition when it comes to the page layout, which is nice.

Did I mention I still need to make my way thru the Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader RPG book too? Whee!

More when I've devoured some of the material.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Grinding Gear - Not Your Mamma's Tomb of Horrors - Micro Review

The Grinding Gear from Lamentations of the Flame Princess (aka James Edward Raggi IV) is, in simplest terms, the Classic Tomb of Horrors adventure turned down from !! to about 8 on the lethality scale. Yes, your players have a chance, even tho small, to not only survive, but acquire some loot too. It's just not very likely ;)

This well written (and extremely well laid out if you want to read it on the Kindle DX) adventure is available from RPGNow in PDF format. Dead tree product is available from the author / publisher and I believe some distributors.

I'm not going to give an indepth review; Grognardia 's review did a good enough job to sell me.

I'm not big into "hose the party adventurers", and this, by nature, has the that capabilty, but it is well written and nicely presented.

4 of 5 for the adventure itself. 5 of 5 on the DX-ability scale

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dragon Age RPG - I Have the PDF!

I just preordered Vol 1 of the Dragon Age RPG. The preorder includes a download of the PDFs that comprise the rules. I've already started working my way thru the Player's booklet. Things look good and inspiring so fa.

I also got my Rogue Trader Core Rulebook delivered today. Much reading awaits this weekend.

I've uploaded Dragon Age to my Kindle DX, so we will see how that goes.

More to follow :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Iridia - A Great (FREE) RPG Resource

If you don't know about Iridia, you really should. It's an RPG-zine... not quite a magazine, but usually more then a newsletter. It's a product of love and devotion by Christian Walker.

To be fair, I've been reading Christian's stuff for a while now. He put out Scrollworks back in the early part of this decade which was purely a printed / snail mailed e-zine.

These days he puts out Iridia on a fairly regular basis... regular when it's not replaced by the Newsletter of the Lincoln Middle School Dungeons & Dragons Club. Fun stuff :)

In any case, you can get nearly all of his stuff for free (donations appreciated) from the above linked website. I'm looking at my printed / snail mailed copy of issue 87 as we speak, which is a 20 page, digest sized, city supplement for Labyrinth Lord from this past February. You can find it for free on the site.

Enjoy the goodies and tell Christian I sent ya! ;)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Samsung SPF-87H 8-Inch Digital Picture Frame

Okay, why the heck am I mentioning a digital picture frame on a blog about RPG games and related gadgets? Quite simply because this is no ordinary digital picture frame. Not because it comes with 1 GB of memory build in, so you can upload your pics without the need of an SD card or such (although it takes those too). Nope, it is here for one reason and one reason only: it doubles as a second monitor.

Yep, it serves dual duty, and for a gamer that uses VTTs this 8" screen is a godsend, Have Fantasy Grounds II, iTabletop or whatever your favorite VTT occupying your valuable;e desktop space? You can drag your web browser or PDF reader to the 8" picture frame for rule look ups or distracted web browsing when the game is going slow.

Tigerdirect had this at 89.99 but I found it last week on Amazon for 69.99, which is a steal if you ask me. Hmmm... i need to hook my slingbox back up and see how it handles video ;)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rant Time - Outsourcing Sucks Day Old Meat Patties

My rant has very little to do with RPGs, roleplaying, VTTs, e-book readers, computer games, video games and all that other shite. Nope, my rant has everything to do with the most evil of business practices: outsourcing.

I really don't care much how outsourcing affects our economy, moves jobs overseas, and all that other hooey that has to do with economics. No, my rant is much more personal.

I am fed up to HERE ^ with customer service that is outsourced to other countries. Why, as an American (or any other -ican you can think of) should I have to deal with "Faux-Americans" when I call a major bank's customer service?

My first call got me "Cheryl", who, with the ever so strong hint of an Indian accent, repeatedly asked me "What is your password? I can give hint. 'B", as in basey-ball". AArghhhh! She transferred me to "Lenard", who also asked me my password with the same inflection. I explained that 20 years ago when I opened this account there were no damn passwords. He told me all was fine in the world, and my transaction would be processed.

Two days later I'm still waiting on authorization. I call and get "Roland", who... guess what... asks me again for my ever luvin' fig eatin' password. He passes me on to "Kate", who seems annoyed with my call, but doesn't ask for my password. Kate apologizes via "The Script", tells me all is right with the world and sends me on my way. A quick call to say "give it a go" and I sit back finally relax. It is done. But no, apparently it isn't, because I'm told again, for the second time AFTER dealing with customer service, that all is STILL NOT right in the world.

So, I call back again. I can see their computer screens are telling them I'm a repeat caller, and now I'm pissin' vinegar, so "Noel" (sounding more like a "Patel", but no matter) realizes "The Script" will not solve this problem and I'm not going away. She makes the decision to contact someone "Who can help you better".

Two minutes later I'm talking with "Linda", who, with her cute Texas drawl, proceeds to update my account, verify my information and notices that 19 years ago someone keyed my mother's maiden name in with the first letter off by a neighboring key. She takes my work number and calls me back in 10 minutes after doing the voodoo that she do so well... and finally, after 3 calls and 6 contacts my ever-lovin' purchase is approved.

Remember the Alamo... it might be the last bastion of effective customer service we have left, assuming you can escape the script that the outsourced customer service is limited to work with.

Signs & Portents - Issue 75

Signs and Portents Issue 75 hit RPGNow today. Highlights are discussion of the forthcoming Runequest 2 and some more Babylon 5 stuff. Did I mention its free, and that this barely scratches the surface of what's inside?

Grab it. I'll wait...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dragon Age: Origins - Seeing Double

Alright, I bought Dragon Age for the XBox 360 initially. I figured I needed to get more use out of my 360, and it would be awesome playing a game like this on a 42" screen. And it is, or was. One a scale of 1 to 5, I give the game nearly a 4.5 after playing thru about 15% of the game. That being said, it is almost impossible to run tactical combat with the 360 interface in this game. Just doesnt lend itself to it.

So naturally I broke down and bought it for the PC. Hey, at lest it was at a 30% discount from the EA store as a download. I've barely started the PC version, but already I prefer the interface. Then again, I am primarily a PC gamer. Assuming the rest of the gameplay is like the 360, I expect a very solid 5 out of 5 on the pc version.

Course, I have Borderlands standing by to be played on the 360 next, but that is a RPG / Shooter hybrid... it may just work ;)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Another Great Free Gaming Resource

Jeff's Gameblog mentioned a site I hadn't known of yet... The UncleBear Blog

The above link takes you directly to his download page, where you can find such goodies as a cloned version of Avalon Hill's classic licensed (to kill) espionage game among others.

Go and be free.

Alpha Omega Core Rulebook (Sample)

The Alpha Omega Core Rulebook (Sample) is a beautiful sample of a gorgeous rulebook. No, I don't know how the rules play. Heck, I haven't even read the PDF that I ordered and downloaded. I peeked at the sample and I was sold (for the print/pdf combo at Indie Press Revolution). Hook, line and sinker.

Longtime readers of my Blog know I like free. The combo purchase was far from free. It's also probably the most attractive gamebook I've laid my eyes on in my 25+ years of gaming... and I'm saying that while still awaiting the print version.

Download the sample. I already lifted the painting on page 7 of the sample as my new desktop background, but there were many top notch choices. The sample is free. The worst that can happen to you is you get hooked.

Friday, November 27, 2009

I'm a Kindle Blogger! Sorta...

So, this blog is now available on the Kindle. Originally priced at $1.99 a month, it is now 99 cents a month. Don't ask me how Amazon decides how to price the blogs they sell through their site... they set the price and the authors just follow along. I'm happy to see it priced at 99 cents... I'f priceit for free on Amazon but that isn't an option.

Oh, and I hope turkey day went well for everyone. Today is Black Friday... I'll be shopping from the comfort of my desk ;)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

ADAMANT ENTERTAINMENT - Dollar Sale at RPGNow

Adamant Entertainment has put just about all of its PDFs on sale for a buck each. My picks are below. Each has an original price ranging from about 12 bucks to 35. So for 7 bucks you can score over a two hundred dollars worth of gaming goodness. Even if you don't use the systems in question you can simply steal ideas ;)

Tome of Secrets

MARS: Savage Worlds Edition


The Imperial Age: True20 Edition


MARS: The Roleplaying Game of Planetary Romance

THRILLING TALES: Omnibus Edition

Thrilling Tales 2nd Edition (Savage Worlds)

Terminal Identity: Uplink 1.0

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Amazon Updates Kindle Firmware... PDFs are Native to Kindle 2 Now

Yep, Amazon finally did a no brainer and updated the firmware on the Kindle 2 to read PDFs in their native format. What does this mean to gamers like us? It a real convenient way to read gaming material on your downtime... you know, in the waiting room, on the bus or train or even plane, all without having to reveal to the unclean masses that you are a gamer.

Well, that and it can hold oodles of gaming material.

So, after updating the firmware on my Kindle 2 (for some reason it didn't update automatically via Whispersync), I rebooted the puppy, connected my Kindle 2 with it's USB cable to my computer and dumped the first edition of the Labrynth Lord rules onto it.

The results? Can't really read it in its regular orientation (print is way too small), but it is very readable in the horizontal position. I still will prefer using my DX for reading PDFs I think, but the option to use the Kindle 2 is very much appreciated.

Oh, and the update promises a greatly increased battery time between charges.

The DX also got an update. The main thing there is that PDFs, when viewed in the horizontal position, will automatically have the white space borders cropped, thereby increasing the viewable size of the PDF on screen. Haven't seen it in action yet but I will give it a try soon.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What's Old is new... again.

I'm a big follower of the retro game movement. I loved my 1st edition AD&D games, and anything that can harken back to those days while using modern production values is pure awesomeness.

OSRIC is the 1st Edition AD&D rules reimaged, neatened up and generally rewritten.

Labrynth Lord is a rewrite of BCMI D&D rules and is a pleasure to read. I'll be running this soon, I hope

Swords & Wizardry is a reworking of OD&D. There is even a quickstart version of the rules available.

These are all professionally produced rule sets that are available for FREE in PDF format. The all look nice on the Kindle DX (tho OSRIC version 2 is a bit large and unwieldy on the DX). Give them a look. The only cost is your time.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

D6? Free6!

Damn. I have no idea how I missed this earlier. West End Games (of the original Star Wars RPG fame) has put out many of their core books in PDF format for free. I like free. I also liked the old Star Wars RPG much more then the WotC version.

Here's the list of which books are free on RPGNow from WEG:

D6 Adventure
D6 Fantasy
D6 Space
D6 Space Ships
D6 Adventure Locations
D6 Fantasy Creatures
D6 Fantasy Locations

Thats a lot of material right there. I'll need to load them up on my DX and give them a shake.

Signs & Portents - Free Loot!

Say what you will about Mongoose Publishing (and many of you will) but their Signs & Portents Magazine is an excellent piece of work, even if you don't play with their products. The fact that it is free? Utterly amazing.

In this month's issue; (cribbed directly from the RPGNow page)

Signs & Portents
A number of upcoming releases are sneakily unveiled. . .

Games Fest & Halloween at Mongoose Hall
Our on the spot reporter Katrina brings you news of the latest gaming events.

Spycraft
Unleash your inner criminal mastermind.

Earthdawn
Buried Truths, a complete adventure!

Traveller
Two patrons, ready to be slotted into your campaign.

Victory at Sea
Featuring the biggest ship we have EVER put in this game!

Traveller
A Heavy Systems Defence Boat, dedicated to keeping your shipping lanes clear of piracy and those pesky Vargr!

Lone Wolf
The village of Eshnar uncovered. . .

Conan
Cimmerian Moons, a complete adventure for your favourite barbarians.

Traveller/Babylon 5
The end is hoving into view for the massive Legacy of War epic.

Go to RPGNow and pick the latest issue up for free in PDF... then go back and get the previous 73 issues. You won't be sorry. Is it a house organ? Unabashedly. It's also quality and costs nothing. Steal what you can from it. I plan to.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2012 - RPG-able?

I saw 2012 with my 16 y/o son last night. Quick and dirty review: Hollywood blockbuster, amazing special effects, shallow and one trick characters, iffy science, way too long at over 2 1/2 hrs and needs a good editor to cut out some of those amazing special effects. Really. I know you wasted millions of dollars on those 90 seconds of the earth being destroyed, but those 90 seconds need to go... there is still 90 minutes of special effects of the earth being destroyed to fill in the gaps.

Now, as for RPG-ability. Without spoiling too much for those that haven't yet seen the latest special effects thrill ride, all of the real roleplaying source material is in the last 10 minutes of the movie. That is all. But you could work a really fine campaign off those last 10 minutes.

Yep, if you can sneak a peek at the last 10 minutes of this flick you'd have the seeds of a fine game setting ;)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It's Been Ages...

I know I haven't posted in like 10 days. God himself knows how hectic life can get, and boy, did it! ;)

Not all bad, but something had to take a back seat, and this was it. Anyhow...

Torchlight, a nice, little, inexpensive ($18-20) Diablo 2 clone-like game for the PC is addictive. Better then Titan Quest, and much more affordable. It's a decent game priced as shovel-ware. Do yourself a favor and pick it up.

Dragon Age - holy mother of pearl! This game rocks. Currently playing on the Xbox 360 (for the 43" HD experience) but I think the PC version would be even better. Its clocked about 2 days worth of my life (treating a day as an 8 hrs workday). Get it, enjoy it, live it.

iTabletop. Click the link to the right. Go to the forums (join if you arent a member - its free). General Forum - Go to the contest (favorite NPC) and enter. There's a 10 dollar RPGNow gift cert riding on this one. You KNOW you want it :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

DDO - Back to Swinging

So, I'm back in the swing of things in DDO... even to the point of subscribing again. It's just fun.

Now, I just got Dragon Age for the Xbox 360 delivered today and I'm dying to play it, but tonight is DDO nite with a friend or two, and you just can't pass up on gaming with friends.

Yes, I still need to get around to reviewing some PDFs... this wekend just me, the kid, a house in the country and my new macbook... reviews will get done. I promise.

Now, for those that might want $10 bucks to spend on some of those way cool PDFs, I will be running a contest in the iTabletop.com forums. The prize, a $10 RPGNow gift cert. Still waiting on ideas for the contest tho ;) Head over to the forums and help me out!

Monday, October 26, 2009

An Apple a Day...

Okie, so I finally did it. I bought a Mac. Don't kill me, it took alot of thought, but once a new Macbook fell to $799 at Microcenter, I was sold.

The deed was completed on Saturday afternoon. It is very... pretty. In a totallly alright with me sort of way. Seriously, in looks very slim and sleek, very much the complete opposite of me. Cat hairs show up very quickly on the white casing tho.

I'm still playing with it, but so far it seems like a very convenient alternative to my netbook for surfing in bed, or on the sofa, or at the kitchen table.

I'll be loading it with a bunch of gaming PDFs to see how they look.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

iTabletop - The New Moderate Moderator

I am honored to be able to state that I am one of 2 volunteer forum moderators at the iTabletop site. I'm very excited about the potential of this new VTT.

Having met the dev team / owners via video conference earlier today I have to say they appear to be on the right track with the Silvertable Project. I'm sure things won't move as fast as I (or they) would like to see, but when does software design ever follow a set timetable? Features breed new features which break old features requiring tweeks... but I am looking forward to the Beta release that is being placed into the hands of Lifetime Members later this month.

My expectations are high, but as it is a beta, I expect many bugs and limitations. I will be testing the crap outa it myself ;)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Kobold Quarterly 11 is in my Mailbox

Actually, I found it in my email last night, and in my snail mail for the hard copy when I got home from work. Haven't had much time to peruse it yet. Maybe I'll read it as I lull myself to sleep tonight.

I have to get to work tomorrow extra early if I want any chance to find parking (movie filming just removed 12+ blocks of parking near my job tomorrow). So, I'll aim to get in by 6 / 615. I'd have so much more time for reading if I would just take the train to work ;)

Barnes and Noble is releasing its own E-Book reader. Specs look very favorable matched up to the Kindle 2, and reads PDFs nativly. I'll wait for some user reviews on this one, but again, the "Nook" looks promising.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Moderate This!

So, it looks like I will be one of two volunteer moderators on the iTabletop website... which is damn cool as I am really excited about the forthcoming Silvertable (iTabletop2.0).

What makes me a good choice for the job? Damned if I know, but I sure as hell plan to do what I can to make the forums a place to post as opposed to a place for ghost posts (my Halloween theme... heh).

Just upgrade today to a 25" monitor... I'll need the extra desktop for the live video feeds from my players :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

About that Splurge...

So anyhow, I escaped to the mountains for the holiday weekend, and lo and behold, what do I do? I log into RPGNow and and other RPG sites and buy more PDFs.

FantasyCraft - Straight 5s at RPGNow in its reviews so I'm not going to even try to review that yet. I'm going to see if I can make heads or tails of it myself. Countdown to iTabletop Beta is 18 days and I need a game system I can DM :)

Mouseguard looks to be extremely well written and alot of fun. Not to sure how happy folks will be to play mice tho.

A Time of War - The BattleTech RPG - Oh boy. This may rock or suck, but at 10 bucks and a future free upgrade I bit the bullet.

The Shotgun Diaries - Zombie horror... may be a good Halloween theme.

Houses of the Blooded - 4 bucks for over 400 pages from the outer of 7 Seas and Legend of the 5 Rings. I mean, 4 lousy bucks man!

I'll DX these in the next few days and see how they all shake out.

Oh, and if you are like me and were too lazy to file taxes back on April 15th and did the automatic 6 month extension... October 15th is the end of the extension... get to it!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Return of the Reviews.. Soonish I Hope

Its been a while since I've reviewed any PDFs, let alone checked DX-ability on anything. It's not that I don't have products to review, I just dont seem to get around to reviewing them. Go figure.

It appears that Necromancer games has put out some new 3.5 PDFs. Always quality stuff from Necro. I might have to make a purchase this weekend.

C&C via FG2 this Saturday nite. Should be a fun time. Hopefully I'll remember what to do ;)

Four EA Sports Wii Activet sessions down. Still working the sweat, tho less pain now. Think the muscles are adjusting :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Aion - Suprisingly Refreshing MMORPG

Warhammer: Age of Reckoning seems to have imploded. It started huge and has turned to a whimper a year later.

Aion is my current game of choice online. I tried Champions in its closed beta and it... just... didnt do anything for me. So I popped for a Aion preorder and I've been having a blast with it.

Its a rehash of most standard fantasy based MMORPGs but with a nice twist away from standard races and an evolving backstory. I'm hooked so far.

Gotta run. Time to DDO with my son ;)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Live long and prosper

Yesterday I attended the funeral of a 43 year old cop that I worked with for the first 4 years of my career. He died of a blood clot, that led to a stroke, brain damage and finally a heart attack. The whole process took less then 48 hrs to go from apparently healthy to deceased.

What does this have to do with gaming? Gaming is about spending quality time with friends and family, something impossible to do while lying 6 feet under.

See a doc. Get a checkup. Game until you're 100 and decrepid.

That is all. We now return to your regularly scedualed blog.


-- Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, September 27, 2009

iTabletop has a Second Programmer - 2.0 Beta Oct 31st

Just over a month before the release of the iTabletop 2.0 Beta. With the help of a second programmer I am very hopeful they will hit their release date.

I was going to drag my gaming group into FG2, but with iTabletop's 2.0 release closing in I'd like to use the live video / voice that is integrated into the software. I know the lads love these types of features, and the all in one gaming package of iTabletop 2.0 should be a very good fit.

On a side note, the C&C FG2 game i was in is on track for am October 10th resurrection, but it looks like we've lost half the group at least. It might be a lost cause, but I'll give it a shot in two weeks.

DDO - The semi-free MMORPG

I know they bill DDO as free these days, but its only really free until 4th level, or unless you get extremely lucky or are willing to grind alot. Still, the old group got together for a session last tuesday and we had a blast. They lightened up the quests / adventures for the newbs and made it a much more enjoyable experience in general. I hope this new model of income generation works for Turbine, as the new life in a stale game has done wonders for DDO gameplay.

Spent a few hours playing with my son today... still wish I could convince hime to roleplay in the traditional sense, but for now this is fun as is ;)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Geek Dating - Scarier then You Thought

If you've been anywhere near the enworld.org website over the last couple of weeks, one of the biggest advertisers has been a geek dating site - http://www.gk2gk.com/

I always thought it would have been cool to have dated a fellow geek / gaming type girl when I was younger. Having looked through the site I am very glad the girls I dated had no idea how big a geek I was. Holy crap but there are some scary sites on that site.

I'm a geek, but I'm also a cop, a father, a boyfriend... gainfully employed for over 20 years. Maybe my sights are set a bit higher at this point in my life, but the only reason to work that site is... eh, if I have to spell it out I'm as bad as those that would.

Troll Barnes and Noble or Borders Books. Go to eHarmony or Match.com. For the love of all that's holy, please, don't geek date via a geek site ;)

The Return of Semi-Regular Gaming

Looks Like D&D Online will be returning to my weekly gaming habits tomorrow with the start of weekly DDO gaming sessions.

Then we get the very irregular C&C game returning to the occasional saturday nite in October. We will see how many of the old group return to the game that's been on hiatus since the end of May.

I also announced to my "crew" of mmorpg'ers / old face to face rpg group my intention to run a game using the yet to be released iTabletop 2 software in November.

Woot! ;)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Old School Sampler PDF Bundle

Yes, I'm lifting this from Lamentations of the Flame Princess. I doubt Jim minds all that much ;)

Brave Halfling Publishing's OSRIC adventure People of the Pit by Alphonso Warden
Expeditious Retreat Press' OSRIC adventure The Lost Keys of Solitude by Joseph Browning and Suzi Yee
Goblinoid Games' Labyrinth Lord adventure Idol of the Orcs by James Boney
LotFP's adventure for oldschool system in particular Death Frost Doom by... Jim

Listen up. Its good, quality gaming at a discounted price. It's hard to go wrong.

Here's the RPGNow link: Old School Sampler PDF Bundle

Saturday, September 12, 2009

In Between Games... Gaming Purgatory

Still not participating in a regular FG2 game. The recently canceled C&C game may be resurrected as a once a month campaign, but I'm not sure how much of the old group will make the transition.

Looks like Aion is the new MMORPG of choice for my gaming group. Will probably take the plunge for 2 subs for the kid and I. It not easy being the father of a fellow gamer... and it aint cheap either ;)

I've been reading the latest issue of Fight On! (issue 6 I believe) on my DX and it reads really well, both visually on the DX and in the quality of the articles. They announced a fiction contest which I MIGHT decide to participate in. I am brainstorming in my spare time to come up with a concept. I have until the end of October but need to get myself in gear if I want to have any kind of a shot.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Astak Pocket Pro - In Hand and Testing

My Astak Pocket Pro arrived bright and early at 915 in the morning yesterday. Its a good thing I over slept and adjusted my plans, or I would have missed the delivery.

First things first, you get alot for your $199... E-Reader, case, headphones, wrist strap, USB cord, AC adapter for USB cord, even a screw driver to open the battery compartment if you want to swap batteries.

As for how well it works as a book reader: I've tried different formats and so far so good, although there are some formats where I wish the font size change was more gradual.

PDFs work better then I expected for a 5" screen (I haven't looked at many yet). The PDF reflow isn't as bad as I expected, but it saves itself from messing up charts by not reflowing pages with charts on them. This can mean a page with a chart is displayed in such a small pitch size as to be nearly unreadable. I'll r need to give this a real workout.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Astak Pocket Pro has Shipped

My Astak Pocket Pro has shipped, but FedEx is supposed to make a Saturday delivery, but I won't be home most of the day, damn it!

At best it looks like I won't see it until Tuesday. I'm anxious to see how well it handles my RPG PDFs. I'd never give up my Kindle DX, but for portability the Astak Pocket Pro looks like it will have a real edge.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Rolemaster Classic Ruleset for FG2 is Released

Here's the post from the FantasyGrounds.com website:

Rolemaster Classic Ruleset Now For Sale!

Digital Adventures, LLC and Iron Crown Enterprises present the Rolemaster Ruleset for Fantasy Grounds II! Nearly two years in the making, this ruleset features some of the most innovative Fantasy Grounds programming to date, giving both Game Masters and Players all the tools they need to enjoy this classic RPG online. In addition to including the full text for the Character Law, Arms Law, Spell Law, and Creatures & Treasures remakes of the original game, the Rolemaster Class Ruleset for Fantasy Grounds II features fully automated combat and spell effects resolution! This automation allows for quick play online, or around your local gaming table.

The CEO of Iron Crown, Bruce Neidlinger has been a driving force in seeing this project come to fruition. "ICE is delighted with this electronic conversion of Rolemaster Classic to be played online using Fantasy Grounds II. This abmitious project brings the full Rolemaster experience to the Internet, with its automated combat allowing for speedy play with your friends all around the world! This is exactly the product we have been waiting for!"

The following is included in the Rolemaster Classic Ruleset:

• The complete text of the core Rolemaster Classic rules: Arms Law; Spell Law; Character Law; and Creatures and Treasures.

• Fully automated look-up for combat and spell rolls: resolve attacks and spell results in just a few clicks.

• Resolve critical strikes and spell effects, plus fumbles and spell failures with ease.

• Includes 30 individual weapon attack tables, seven spell attack tables, and dozens of criticals and fumbles.

• Includes more than 2,000 spell descriptions, across 162 spell lists, and three realms of power.

• Rules for 20 character professions, including 15 spell-casting professions, and over five dozen skills from which to choose.

• Descriptions and stats for hundreds of monsters, animals and fantasy races, including Dragons, Demons, Elementals and Giants.

• Hordes of treasure, both sparkling and magical, with guidelines for generating the treasures to go with your monsters.

• Supports optional rules to add depth and flavor to your RoleMaster campaign.

• Drag and drop weapons, skills and spells directly onto your character sheet from the core rule books.

• Automate the combat sequence, with a fully-featured combat tracker linked to graphical battle maps.

• Play this much-loved role-playing game with remote friends all over the world, old and new.

The Rolemaster Classic Ruleset for Fantasy Grounds II will be available available at Digital Adventures Online Store (http://www.digitaladventures.net/catalog/), the Fantasy Grounds Store https://www.fantasygrounds.com/store/), and any One Book Shelf affiliate for the price of $20.00. ::end quote::

I'll be picking this up before the week is out, even if its just to play with the tables. Screw C&C... I want to get into a RoleMaster game now! heh

The Call of Cthulhu rulest rocked. If nothing else I'll run a oneshot with my MMORPG/ Old Face to Face group around Halloween.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

And so it goes... or doesn't, as the case may be

Lets see. The Dark Heresy weekly Fantasy Grounds 2 game lasted about a year before tanking mid spring. It was fun while it last, but the core was down to 2 originals plus the GM, and when the other original (not me) announced he was taking a break from gaming altogether... long, slow gaming death. Think it took 3 weekly sessions of non-gaming to realize we weren't going to be gaming. That frees up Tuesday nites.

Then the weekly, Saturday nite, FG2, Castles and Crusades game was cruising along until the end of May. Hiatus until the first week of August due to vacations, school, trips and such. Fine and dandy, but what happens to your favorite TV show when they announce it is going on hiatus? Yup, it never comes back. That's the current situation. Our GM, Sak, started a new business with his wife over the break and was also suffering from GM burnout. Which is a damn shame, as Tenkar, my Dwarven Cleric, had just hit 3rd level and I was so looking forward to my new second level spells.

So, If any read this and have an opening in their VTT game (I have Fantasy Grounds 2. Maptools, Klooge, Screenmonkey, Battleground and iTabletop... holy crap that alot of VTTs) just drop a post here on my blog. I'm in EST and Friday evenings and Sundays are basically spoken for (the g/f is understanding, but no need to needlessly piss her off ;)

Pathfinder Confessions

I'm a PDF junkie as most will have realized from reading my posts on this blog. That being said I've been subscribing to the Pathfinder Adventure Path since the first issue, and get some other Pathfinder products as they interest me. In print direct from Paizo (give me a PDF copy for free... Woot!)

I did not pre-order the new Paizo Core rulebook. I figured I had the beta book in print and the PDF was just going to be 10 bucks... why waste 50 on a game i'd probably just read and never run?

Then I downloaded the Core rules, saw the shiny, sweet, holy mystery there is a higher being... simply amazing artwork. Beautiful layout. I finally succumbed and ordered the book thru Amazon for 32 or so plus shipping earlier this morning. I had to. No choice in the matter. Besides, it's probably too frickin' huge to read comfortably on the DX ;)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The World of Onn: Supplement 1 for Swords & Wizardry

Look at me. I'm actually getting around to doing yet another short and dirty RPG review. Swords & Wizardry has been getting lots of love recently, what with the excellent quickstart rules earlier this summer and now a fully loaded supplement.

The World of Onn: Supplement 1 (hereafter referred to as Sup 1) gives a lot of meat for its 5 buck price take in PDF format on Lulu. 145 pages of mix and match rules, new classes, new spells, new monsters, new treasure and even some maps and info on the world of Onn.

Hell, I'm still waiting to put a S&W or LL game together and just flipping thru the pages of Sup 1 has me even more hungry to do so. Use what you want and leave behind the rest.

Personally, I like adding classes, and the ones brought to the table: Ranger, Divine Champion, Illusionist, Bard, Druid and Shao Disciple bring back some of AD&D's options without all the complexity (but still more complexity them S&W unadulterated). Count me as pleased, as I was toying with doing some of this myself.

5 outa 5 for quality and value. DX-ability is also a 5. Looks very nice and extremely readable on the DX.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Midnight the Movie - the Review

Short and sweet: not bad at all! Much better then either of the two Dungeons & Dragons movies that were released. It's a real shame that it was intended as the intro to a TV series that just never panned out.

It really has gotten me to want to dig out my Midnight source books from the bottom of the closet, but since I ordered the movie with the extra PDFs for an extra 5 bucks I can probably add it to my DX for convenient reading.

Damn, its been a while since I've done a DX-ability review of anything. Time for me to get off my ass ;)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pathfinder RPG PDF Non-Review ;)

This is a quicky: The Pathfinder RPG PDF is a beauty to behold. I haven't done much more then look at the pretty pictures on my computer screen and think "wow, I wish I I had ordered the printed book!" Heh

I'm sure it will work fine of the kindle dx, as you have the option to DL it as either one big file or by chapters. Still, that will need to wait for when I have the time to dig into that RPG 10 course dinner ;)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Midnight the Movie is released on RPGNow

Midnight, the straight to download on RPGNow movie has been released (link is to the trailer). Twenty minutes into the full movie and it is already better then the first Dungeons and Draons movie by leaps and bounds... not that that feat is all that hard.

Midnight is a setting where the Dark Lord defeated the forces of good, and has enslaved the world for the past 100 years. This is the Lord of the Rings gone bad, story wise that is. Production quality is on par with some of SciFi Channels mid to lower end made for tv movies. Still, the first 20 minutes have been enjoyable so far ;)

As a RPG setting it is one I have wanted to play or DM for a while. Assuming the other players don't mind a world where things are hopeless and success in the long run is damn near impossible. Kinda like Warhammer in that regard I guess... heh

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Korgoth Of BARBARIA!!!!!!

Oh My Freakin' God! How did I ever miss this? Korgoth Of BARBARIA!!!!!! Best frickin cartoon evah! Heh, shame its just a pilot and was never picked up by Adult Swim.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Astak 5” EZ Reader Pocket PRO to Ship at the end of August

Yeah, I know I seem to have ebook readers on my mind recently... well, ore so then usual. It just seems that there are more new releases then usual ;)

Here's the skinny on the Pocket Pro: 8 shades of greyscale, PDF reflow (may or may not be a selling point... was spotty on my sony), uses SD cards up to 16 gb, text to speech (and at 100 bucks cheaper then the Kindle 2), and reads a crapload of formats: ADE (Adobe Digital Editions), PDF, TXT, PDB, DOC, HTML, FB2, LIT, MP3, EPUB, PRC and some others.

I'm not going to call this a Kindle killer, but PDF use and text to speech for less then 200 bucks is damn attractive and tempting. Hmmm, if it could read PDFs to me I could go to sleep with an RPG lullaby...

So, before you ask, yes I placed a preorder on a black one... I have Lit files that I just can't read on my Kindle ;)

Friday, August 7, 2009

New E-Bok Readers Coming From Sony

The Sony 300 will hit at a price point of $199. It will read PDFs via reflow, which has been spotty at best when used with RPG products (I have current Sony reader qith reflow and generally have not been pleased with the results). It does not appear to have any expansion memory like an SD card and it is indicated that it will hold 350 books - I doubt that is 360 books in PDF format.

The Sony 600 has SD and Memory Stick Duo slots for expansion, a touch screen, a stylus and the ability to take notes. It will have a price point of $299 (same as the kindle2). While it might be a real competition to Amazon as an ebook reader, as a PDF reader the DX will probable still be the better choice, especially for gamers.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

EnWorld - Its Up, Its Down - Part II

EnWorld is getting to be a waste of time to even attempt to visit. Damn shame. It's still too damn slow!

I'm thinking of not checking it again for a month or so, but I expect it will still suck to load even then.

Ah well, there are other places to play on the net.

A Week Later... Where Did it Go?

I just realized its been a week since I added anything of use to this thing we call the "internet".  Its been a busy week, what with birthdays, work, vacation, health scares... that thing we call life is a real biatch.

So now I'm stuck staring out a crap load of PDFs I'm waiting to read and thanks to the fine posters over at Dragonsfoot I stumble across this truely bizarre and highly entertaining review of RIFTS.  RIFTS and I go way back:  The first and only GenCon I ever attended was the year RIFTS was released, and I got my copy of the rules signed by the two Kevins.  RIFTS holds a special place in my gaming heart despite the failings of the system iteslf... the fluff was simply amazing.

I'll see if I can do something productive tomorrow... don't hold your breath ;)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kobold Quarterly 10 - Capsule Review

Well, I have a print and PDF subscription of Kobold Quarterly and just received the print copy in the mail today and it is a beauty to behold. 3.5e and 4e in the same package. Only problem was when I started flipping thru the magazine... I realized I read most of it already... in PDF on my DX. I downloaded my copy on sunday ;)

I give the mag a steady 5 for quality... you can pick up any issue and be sure that it will be top notch. DX-abiity is a solid 5.

On a side note, EnWorld is loading... slow as frozen molasses flowing uphill, but loading none the less.

Monday, July 27, 2009

EnWorld - Its Up, Its Down

I happen to enjoy the EnWorld site. I enjoy it enough to be a community supporter (I'm actually a paying customer). So, what have I been getting recently? This wonderful message:

Traffic is through the roof at the moment. The effect should die down in a day or so, but we've had to temporarily cap the number of users online to 3000 or so in order to keep the site running at all. Once traffic drops down to below 3000 or so users, we'll remove the cap. Apologies for the inconvenience!

So, let me get this straight... when traffic drops below 3000, they'll remove the restriction of the traffic exceeding 3000. Sure, that makes LOTS of sense.

I haven't been able to get into the site for the past few days, and there have been days this summer where I haven't gotten anything but a web page that times out.

All I want for my yearly donation is to actually be able to access the site I've been donating too. Is that too much to ask? Maybe priority login for Community Supporters, or maybe even adding some bandwidth.

Hmmm, is it even technically a donation or more like an optional user fee for additional privileges?

I'm ranting because I can. I'm ranting here because I can't rant on a site I can't even log in to.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Castles & Crusades: Season 2 starts August 8th

Yes, the Company of Delvers weekly Saturday night session will return on August 8th. By that point it wil have been nearly 2 months since our last C&C Fantasy Grounds 2 game (we've been on a summer hiatus).

Tenkar, my Dwarven Cleric (who'da guessed? heh) just hit 3rd level at the end of last session. This opens up a whole lot of possibilities for Tenkar now... or if not a whole lot, then a wee bit more then being the secondary tank / healbot. Not that he didn't fill those roles well, but sometime a third dimension (in this case 2nd level spells) should add a little to my so far usualy strategy of "knock heads, heal tanks... rinse, repeat".

I find that C&C plays very close to AD&D in practice. As my younger gaming years were mostly AD&D, it has made the transition to using a VTT nearly painless. Then again, it didn't hurt that I had been playing in a almost weekly Dark Heresy game using FG2.

I am (hopefully) close to running an online gaming session or two myself. I am waiting on iTabletop to see if its all that it appears it will be. Fantasy Grounds I am comfortable as a player, but not as confident in my abilities to actually run a game session.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's a Circus I Tell Ya!

I never imagined I'd be able to enjoy a podcast. I like to read and listening to people talk amongst themselves is what talk radio is for. So imagine my surprise when I saw that The Free RPG Blog was highlighting RPG podcasts this week.

I was intrigued, and decided to listen to RPG Circus. It was actually entertaining. Yes, mark me surprised. I doubt my girlfriend would want to listen, so headphones are advised to protect your family from the game speak you will find yourself being enthralled by. I listened to episode 3 tonight (the latest as I write this) and it kept me to the end. At over an hour that's pretty damn good. Then again, I'm a multitasker, so I was surfing other blogs at the same time. If you are like me and suffer from GADD (Gamer's Attention Deficit Disorder) DOWNLOAD the podcast and play it back using your favorite media player, otherwise you'll find yourself clicking links on the blog page that relate to the podcast and you'll loss the podcast.

I haven't checked out the other podcasts listed in the article but I'll be listening to them soon for sure. 5 out of 5 on the entertainment scale.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Plethora of PDFs - Upcoming Reviews

Lets see... recently I've picked up the Ultimate Toolbox, HeroQuest, The Day After Ragnarok, took a second look at some PDQ games I have, still need to download the latest Dragon and Dungeon mags I subscribe to... I have a full plate and then some of items to review and upload to my Kindle DX to test DX-ability.

Time to get off my ass and get to work on these reviews it seems.

Did I mention that iTabletop is offering 5 year memberships with 5 floating player licenses for 99 bucks? Not sure if that is good or bad in the long run, but in the here and now the price can't be beat.

Tenkar's Minor Tidbits - Thocar's Excessive Automatic Cannon

Thocar's Excessive Automatic Cannon was designed by a dwarven engineer with obvious gnomish influence. This magical item takes on the appearance of 4 inch cubed metal box with dwarven runes etched into the sides.

Upon activation with the command word the box transforms into a miniature cannon that stands approximately 2 feet high. Using the command word a second time will cause the cannon to fire at any enemy the user designates within 200 feet. The cannons projectiles inflict minimal damage (1 to 2 points), however it can unerringly strikes its target every combat turn. A third use of the command word deactivates the cannon and return it to its minimal cube size. However there is a 5% chance that they can will not deactivate and will continue firing at its previous opponent even if said opponent is no longer in the area or his now deceased. If this is the case the cannon will continue to fire for 10 to 30 minutes before deactivating.

A side effect of the cannon's projectile firing is the loud boom that accompanies each round. This loud boom is extremely distracting and causes a -1 adjustment to the combat abilities of all creatures within 50 feet of the cannon.

Thocar's Excessive Automatic Cannon was designed as a way to keep interlopers, rodents, and the random goblin away from Thocar when resting on the roadside during his travels. The side effect of the constant BOOMS drew the attention of local highwaymen, who promptly relieved Thocar of both his cannon and his life.

Swords and Wizardry - Quick Start Rules - Capsule Review

Some might have noticed I spend a good amount of time reviewing retro clones.  There is a simple reason for that.  Most have their rules for free in PDF format, and I just loves me some free PDFs for my Kindle DX ;)

Anyhow, on to the quick and dirty review of the S&W Quick Start rules - Holy condensation Batman!  An amazing job was done in turning already concise rules into an even easier, more concise format.  Heck, over half of the 30 some odd pages are taken up by the module / adventure (which includes GM advise).  You'll need the full ruleset to level past 1st level, but that not the point.  This little PDF is an excellent introduction to roleplaying.

5 for the amazing product, and a 5 for DX-ability.  Damn good piece of work!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Spewing My Worthless Opinion...

Re: Mishlers ranting about of the state of the gaming industry and my various responses on various blogs and EnWorld have taken time from my own blogging.

Coming up soon: my review of the Quickstart rules for S&W and the latest with iTabletop.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hackmaster 5e Basic - First Inpressions

The cover is awesome. Erol Otis did an amazing job.

Build Points are hard to follow. They aren't explained well and the rules for them are spread out.

Hit Points - the kicker is smaller and classes only get a new HD every other level. Constitution no longer adds a HP bonus per level. Combat looks deadlier.

Spells - spread out with spell levels advancing with character level. Need to look closer.

Haven't finished flipping thru it yet. I think it's more likely I'll steal bits and pieces from Hackmaster Basic then run it whole. I'll know more when I read more.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New and Improved - Same Crappy Posts

Looks like I found my template. Cool. Now on to bigger and better things, like reviews, rants, and general mischief... heh.

Wanted - iPhone App to organize my game planning

Is there any such beast? I'm not looking for a Mind Mapping app but something more along the lines of The Keep by NBOS Software. Any ideas just add a comment.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tenkar's Minor Tidbits - Daev's Healing Draught

Daev's Healing Draught has the look and taste of a normal healing potion, although the astute drinker may notice the after taste is reminiscent of cherry wheat.

Game effects are much like the normal healing potion according to your game rules, at least as far as the character is concerned. Wounds are apparently healed, bleeding stops, bruises seem to fade, pain lessens, etc. In truth these are but illusionary gains... the character suffers no ill effects from his current wounds until he takes damage equal to the amount "healed", at which point all damage is again in effect for the character. This could lead to a warrior still fighting when he should be unconscious or dead. The illusionary healing fades in 24 hrs, again returning the character to his correctly wounded state.

Daev's Healing Draught was conceived as a way for unscrupulous mercenary leaders to get the most fight out of their men while at the same time ensuring there will be less survivors left to collect their pay. The cost of Daev's Healing Draught is generally half of that of a normal healing potion, although some charlatans attempt to pass off Daev's Healing Draught as "the real thing".

(Tenkar's Minor Tidbits will be an irregularly recurring topic. Sometimes the thought strikes you, sometimes its as elusive as a vorpal blade)

VTTs and Me - Part 1

The first VTT I played with was klooge. Boy, was I syched. I purchased a full license and 5 floaters for players... and used the program all of once. That one time was to playtest a Rolemaster ruleset for klooge.

Klooge might be one of the first, but it has a steep learning curve and I have yet to find the will and desire to learn how to use it in any serious manner. Damn shame too, it. It has potential but it's community is fairly small.

edit: Hmm, looks like it was updated earlier this year and apparently has 3.5 and 4e settings built in. Alright, I'll have to give it another look. It's a java program, so it doesn't look as pretty as the new kids on the block.

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, July 12, 2009

iTabletop - The waiting is the hardest part - Part Two

Silverlight 3 has been officially released by Microsoft. What does this mean for iTabletop?

we've been waiting for this patiently. We did not want to develop against Silverlight 3 during its beta, but rather desired to wait until an official release so that we could be sure 3 was out before SilverTable was ready for prime time.

So now - the project will be updated to Silverlight 3, and we can use some of the great new features.

Silverlight is proving to be a perfect choice for this application and a pleasure to work with.

James

Will iTabletop Silverlight 3 update make a summer 2009 release? I don't know. I do know I am really eager to see what James and the rest of his staff come up with. What little I've seen looks really good, and that is at least a month old in developement.

New Look, Same Old Taste

I've been playing with the settings of this blog over the weekend, hoping to get a look that I like. This one seems to be clean without the waste of space the old template had. Not saying this is my final choice, but for now I'll run with it.

Intro to Dragon Warriors - Capsule Review

First things first, it's available as a free download from RPGNow. I like free. I also like ice cream, but I digress.

What does the reader get for his downloading time?

Two of the seven classes from the full rules. The rules of the game. A section detailing the setting. A sampling of monsters. A short adventure.

You get alot for very little.

I'm gonna give it a 5 for value and a 5 for DX-ability. It looks damn fine on my DX.

(full disclosure - I bought the full rules from RPGNow.com last nite and will be giving them a full read thru)

-- Post From My iPhone

Nevermet Press - a new way to breath life into the old?

I find this concept very interesting, enough to copy the intro to their site and make it a blog entry. Hell, I might even participate.

Nevermet Press offers system independent content for use with any tabletop roleplaying game. Our content is community driven and supported. Once you find content you want to use, look for links to blogs participating in our Distributed Workshop program for system specific support of your preferred roleplaying game.

Time will tell. I'll be keeping an eye on this.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dragon Warriors - I took the plunge

Bought the PDF at RPGNow for 22 bucks or so. Yes, I was that impressed by the Free Intro PDF that I read and the overwhelmingly positive thread on EnWorld. If the rest reads as well I might have my game system set for latter this summer. Now if they will only get around to finishing the next version of iTabletop...

Bits n' Pieces

Here I am, back in NY after spending the last 6 days in the Pocono Mountains of north eastern PA, and I have way too much to blog about. Which really means I have very little to blog about until I decided which of these great thoughts running thru my head deserve their own entry:

1 - More about VTTs - Its summer and I decided I will run at least one session this summer. Which VTT? Which game system? Which adventure?

2 - Dragon Warriors - The free intro PDF looks good, the reviews on RPGNow are stellar, and there has been some good talk on EnWorld. Do I take the plunge?

3 - The Day After Ragnorak - Conan meets post war America, mystical devastation and general mayhem in the 1950's. A great read, but it uses the Savage Worlds rules. Not sure if it would be my bag, or that of my players

4 - More converted pics - it sure is fun

5 - More PDF / DX reviews - my well seems endless here

All that and more, when I sort out some kind of order ;)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cheap Trick - Hat Trick



I think I do prefer the pencil effect myself, especially for use in gaming. Cropping and photoshopping prior to conversion gives one lots of possibilities. Here's my feline daughter and the pencil conversion. Imagine her sitting at a height of 6' and asking the party a riddle...

Cheap Trick - Part 2 - Pencil Me In




Pencil effects of a pic I took last fall. One with some color, one without.

Cheap Trick - How to turn Pictures into Imagery for Your Game





Ever want to show your players what they see and not just describe it to them? How about while playing using a VTT? Doesn't that just scream visual aids?

Using real life photographs can be a real shortcut, but I find that using a photograph limits the players' imaginations and distracts one from the escapism. Here's my solution: photosketcher (did i mention it's free?)

It turns my photos into faux paintings that I can tweak for effect.

Here's an example using one of the sample pics supplied with Windows Vista.

I'll post more before and after pics later.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ruins & Ronin... Not Quite Free

Another really short post: Ruins and Ronin is available for a buck at Lulu. Think D&D meets japanese samurai movies and you are on the right track.

This isn’t a game of tea ceremonies, haiku, or accurate historical
depictions of medieval Japan; it’s a game where the fictional world of the samurai movie becomes the basis for swords & sorcery adventure in a mythical, medieval culture that’s almost like Japan.

That is a snipit from the intro. For a buck can you really go wrong?

Spellcraft & Swordplay PDF Free July 8 - 10

From the Elf Lair Games Blog:

No strings, no catches: Wednesday, July 8 through Friday, July 10, head over to the Lulu store, and download the Deluxe edition of S&S for free!

Now, I haven't checked out the ruleset yet myself, but free is a price that can't be beat. I'll be adding this to my DX tomorrow.

Monday, July 6, 2009

What's Old is New that was Old... Sorta

July 4th was a gathering of my old gaming group for a holiday bar-b-cue. As I try to do at all of our gathering over the last few years, I distributed a gaming book to the other four. This time it was paperback copies of OSRIC. Earlier this year it was copies of Swords and Wizardry. Before that, Labyrinth Lord. Dice. Rolemaster Express. Castles and Crusades Player's Handbooks. I give memories packaged in new wrapping but recalling our earlier experiences.

We are married, have kids, stressful jobs, busy lives. We are no longer the high school and college students that could game 7 days a week during the summers. Heck, if it weren't for online games like Warhammer, these guys wouldn't be gaming together at all these days.

So I give re-imagings of our past so we don't forget the games that put us where we are in out lives today. I learned as much in those game sessions as I ever learned in school.

Besides, sooner or later I'll suck them into a VTT game... and then their souls will be MINE!!! heh

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Secret of Ronan Skerry - Capsule Review

I haven't been able to update the blog in the last few days... life has been good but hectic. That being said, I received my dead tree copy of The Secret of Ronan Skerry, a Castles and Crusades adventure from Brave Halfling Publishing. No, I can't tell you how well it plays, because I have GM'ed it. I don't want to give a detailed description because its a module, not a source book or ruleset. What to do?

Physically, it is a professional looking piece of gaming material. It is digest sized (think the old White Box or the C&C Collector's edition for size). It runs at 32 pages, but that is probably closer to 16-20 if it was a full sized module. It adds four new critters to the C&C monster collection. It appears at first read to be a competently written adventure with a small twist.

Price vs quality ratio puts it at a solid 4, $6.99 give you both the dead tree and PDF versions.

DXability is a solid 5, as the digest sized pages reproduce sharply on the DX.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Someone listened...

I had this whole, big assed post planned about the direction iTabletop's developers wanted to take the product and it's all moot as they listen to their lifetime members posts. Not over the course of days, but hours.

Wouldn't it be nice if WotC or other publishers listened to well reasoned thoughts of their customer base?

This was the exception that proves the rule.

BTW, Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) and Virtual Table Top gaming don't seem like a good mix. I could be wrong, and often I am, but call it a hunch, this is one weird combo. (my rant was sooo much longer before)

Paying a commission on referrals isn't a bad thought tho ;)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Doomsday Book - Issue #4 - Capsule Review

Another post reviewing yet another PDF magazine - What's up with that? Its real simple. Once you know how a certain issue of a magazine looks on the DX you have a reasonable expectation of how other issues of the same magazine will look. It helps the reader make an informed decision with his gaming dollars. Well, that and the Doomsday Book is available free from the Dragonsfoot website. I'll be aiming to review at least one piece of free gaming material each weekend. Today its the Doomsday Book.

The Doomsday Book was initially conceived as a Castles and Crusades Society fanzine, but it has also embraced system agnostic articles. The latest issue includes reviews, creating secret languages, weather for the world builder, a C&C character generator, some new C&C classes, new monsters, a full miniature sci-fi game with counters... its very full of gaming goodness and its free.

For C&C gamers I'd give it a 5, for other retro-clone players I'd rate it a 4.

DX-ability is a solid 5. It looks really sweet on the Kindle DX

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dragon Roots Issue #3 - Capsule Review

Dragon Roots is an independent RPG magazine that is published quarterly in both print and PDF format.

I'd like to take some credit for the subscription option for the PDF version - Rocco, the CEO, Publisher, Editor and all around decent chap wanted a print magazine format. He saw the PDF version as a way for people to sample, but wanted folks to go with a physical copy they could hold, smell, touch and do all sorts of sundries to it. I communicated the desire of some folks (like myself) that prefer PDFs in most circumstances as over 25 years of gaming has really cramped my ability to store more stuff. He listened and has offered PDF subs ever since.

The magazine itself has articles that are for 3.5e, 4e and game system agnostic. Heck, most of the articles in the 4 issues out so far could be plugged into any fantasy system if desired with little to moderate tweaking.

Rocco has finally started sharing the load (although he still carries most it) of putting together the magazine and it shows. The first 2 issues were labors of love that were infested with typos (that comes with editing one's own work) but filled with mostly good gaming articles. The latest issue, issue #3, is the 4th issue (counting started with 0) is a much tighter production, and the effort shows. I esitate to say issue #3 is a professional production, because all the issues have been, but i think it hits its stride with the third issue. I give it a high 4 for quality and gaming goodness.

DX-ability is a 3 - typset is a bit small on the kindle and there is some minor shadowing that looks great in print but less so on the DX.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Magpie Quick Play Rules. Capsule Review

Magpie is a 3e variant rules set under the OGL. The quick play rules for Magpie are more like a sampler of the full rules system, one that seems to stray fairly far from the 3e rules they are based on.

Skills and feats are replaced by 5 Feats that are linked to the 6 base stats. These 6 feats are bonuses to saving throw. There are a total of 8 saving throws - 5 feats, attack, defense and magic. Need to pick a lock? Cast a spell? Smack the gobbie with your mace? Roll the appropriate save. The target number you need to roll runs from 5 to 30, but the degrees of difficulty run from 0 to 5, with a difficulty of 0 needing a 5 or better and a difficulty of 5 needing a 30 or better. Wouldn't it have been been easier to name the degrees of difficulty after the target number you need to roll?

Combat requires one to roll a 10 or better to hit, adjusted my your target's defensive bonus. Armor class is subtracted from your weapons damage, it does not effect your chance to hit.

Character power advancement appears to be slower then core 3e as a level gain allows the player to add +1 to a single save. Hit points are higher, with fighters having a d12 and barbarians having a d12 +4 for HP per level (as examples). Almost every class gets some sort of spell list and class balance may be an issue to some (the core 4 classes are to be used by beginners, the subclasses are more specialized and more powerful).

I appreciate the authors releasing the quick play rules so that prospective players can see if the rules are for them or not. They are not for me. The attempt to simplify game play by the removal of 3e's feats is admirable, but a think the "Siege Engine" mechanic used in Castles & Crusades is a smoother solution over all. Then again, it did take me a while to really understand just how flexible the "Siege Engine" is thru weekly game play. No play test of the Magpie rules, just a read thru and my impressions.

I'm going to give the Magpie system, as much as I've seen in the Quick Play rules, a 3 out of 5. They aren't my choice of rules, and I don't quite agree with the direction they went in, but I'd be surprised if there aren't others that will like what they see. For free it's harmless to check it out

DX-ability rating - The typeset is fairly small and there is an annoying shading to the pages that really makes this difficult to read on the kindle without turning it sideways - 2

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Problem With RPG Reviews - Where's the Gameplay?

Most reviews of RPG material are based upon read-thru only. What looks good on paper (or e-paper) might not play well at the game table. The inherit problem is that to review a game in actual play you need a group of players to participte.

Movies. One person to watch
Books. One person to read.
Music. One person to listen.
Video games. One person to play.
RPGs. One GM and a group of players.

I'll be doing some short game reviews based upon read-thru only. If I have play experience with the game in question I'll state as such.

Kindle DX suitabilty reviews generally don't adress the quality of the product in question, just how it reads on the DX. The game may be a dog but look beautful on the DX. Go figure.

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Free RPG Day Everyday!

So, yesterday was Free RPG Day. If you had a decent brick-and-mortar store near you that was participating you could get a free module or quick-start rules set to one of about a dozen games from just as many publishers. Free is always better then not-free, and I am sure lots of these goodies will show up as free PDFs down the line. But what if you missed out on FREE and are sitting in a dark room stewing about how the universe hates you? Have no fear, 'cause FREE RPG DAY is EVERYDAY!

Really. No BS. All you need to do is look. Is it all good? Hell no! But if its free and the cost to download was nothing but your time, the delete key is just a finger tap away.

1 - RPGNow - Lots of free games to be found here, from quick start rules to 400 page monstrosities of sci-fi rules and more. Just hit the FREE button on the left side of the home page. I did, and must have downloaded two dozen as I thought about how I wasn't getting my free swag yesterday from a nearby store.

2 The Free RPG Blog - Run, don't walk to this blog! My god man, do you have any free time? Rob Lang reviews one free RPG a week. Lots of goodies. I spent some time there last nite after recovering from my RPGNow hunting expedition. I have about 3 dozen PDFs sitting on my netbook just waiting to migrate to my DX.

3 The Free RPG Compendium - A HUGE list of links to free RPGs, some great and most not so great. Time to pick thru the coal to find some diamonds.

Enjoy. I may do some capsule reviews on some of these free finds in addition to the usual feedback on their Kindle DX suitability.




Friday, June 19, 2009

RPG Books on the DX: How well does it handle PDFs? Part 3

This is going to be quick and fairly short. I was asked how WotC products look on the kindle DX. As WotC pulled their PDF products from the market place, and as they were priced fairly high compared to other PDF products, I never got to make a purchase.

Recently WotC posted the D&D Quick Start Rules and H1: Keep on the Shadowfell for free on their website. I've grabbed them and here's my impressions.

D&D 4e Quick Start Rules - Coming in at 27 pages and minimal artwork these pages refresh quickly. The formating and the font are very DX friendly, and are easily read without resorting to the horizonatal orientation. This rates a 5 for readabily and ease of use.

H1: Keep on Shadowfell - The formatting and the font are the same as the Quick Start Rules (as best I can tell). Text is clear and very readable. The problem comes with the maps: they appear mostly murky and suffer from the greyscale conversion (as does the cover, but who cares about covers?). Text alone would rate a 5, but with the maps suffering as they do I give it a 4 over all.

More when I can get to them. I think I need to stray from the DX for a post or two ;)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

RPG Books on the DX: How well does it handle PDFs? Part 2

K, time to see how some other titles look on the DX:

Spirit of the Century - I thought the landscape would look great on the DX in landscape mode. It looks good, but a page is just slightly too big for the screen, so you start getting part of page 6 heading up most of page 7 (as an example). Overall I give it a 3

Basic Fantasy - Another PDF that looks like it was designed for the DX. Sharp, clean and easily read pages without even resorting to landscape mode. 5

Knockspell Magazine - Uncluttered pages that are easy to read on the DX. Simply a 5

The Barbarians of Lemuria - Wow. I mean really, WOW. I've decided that a 5 would not be high enough. The font is just a tad larger then most, the pages are clean and well laid out. 5+

DDI - Dungeon Magazine 156 - Not very impressive. Can't be read in the vertical orientation as the print becomes way to small. Horizontally the print is servicable in size, but background colors are shades of gray and make reading less then pleasant. 2

Going away for a few days after work tomorrow, but I've tried to load the DX up with RPG PDFs to read and rate. Think I'll be reading The Barbarians of Lemuria for pure pleasure shortly.

Monday, June 15, 2009

RPG Books on the DX: How well does it handle PDFs?

I've dumped a bazzilion PDFs on my Kindle DX at this point. Ok, maybe closer to 2 dozen, but have a bazzilion on my hard drive that have yet to make the transition. So, how do they look so far? Here's my totally nonscientific opinions on a scale of 1 to 5.

Elric - Runequest/Mongoose Edition - While readable, the font is small (even horizontally)and and the background clutter isn't helpful. 2

OSRIC 2.0 - Clear, uncluttered pages. This is what a PDF should look like on the Kindle DX. I can read it without turning it horizontally. Could have been made for the DX. 5

HARP Lite - Clear pages with no distracting background behind the letters. Artwork in the margins converts well. This and its sibling Rolemaster are table intensive and they look perfect. 5

True20 Quick Start Rules - Clean and uncluttered. Font seems a bit smaller then others, but looks very nice when viewed horizontally. 4

Kobold Quarterly #8 - This PDF converts exceptionally well. I may no longer need to subscribe to both print and PDF anymore ;) 5

Points of Light Campaign Setting - Goodman Games - I'm not sure if its the light watermark art behind each page or if the font is smaller or both, but it isnt as easy to read as it could be. Held horizontal it looks much nicer. 3


I'll add to this list later. Remember, I'm just rating these PDFs on their suitability to be read on the Kindle DX. I'm not rating their value or worth as gaming products. That being said OSRIC is an amazing value and available for the unheard of price of FREE! Kobold Quarterly is what Dragon was back in the day with modern typsetting, making it a valauble addition to any gamers library.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Quick Kindle DX Pic



Here's a quick pic of the Kindle DX displaying the letters page from Kobold Quarterly #8. Of course the pic was taken with my iPhone under bad lighting, but the formatting is perfect and size of the print is doable, but many would probably prefer to rotate it to a landscape display for larger print.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Kindle DX - First Impressions

Wow. I'm actually holding the Kindle DX. It is significantly larger then the kindle but about 1 1/2 inches shorter and 2 1/2 inches narrower then the Castles & Crusades leatherette Players Handbook. It's about as thick as the C&C Players Handbook without the case. With the standard black leather kindle case it is a bit thicker then the C&C Players Handbook but not by much.

First thing I did after plugging it into my PC to charge was to copy over the Labyrinth Lord and OSRIC PDFs. Both look very clear and very readable although the print is relatively small. However, if you turn the Kindle DX in a horizontal orientation, the DX recognizes the change and the PDF displays in landscape, making the print even more readable (it does split the page into top and bottom tho.)

I'm not sure how portable the DX is over all... as in will I use it to go to work with me on a daily basis or will it be used mostly for an at home, in the yard or on vacation method to read PDFs in their native format.

Overall, I am VERY impressed and VERY happy with my purchase.

We have delivery!

The package arrived at 1258. First impressions of the Amazon Kindle DX after I get home and have a chance to play with it.


-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kindle DX Countdown - shipping today

Amazon still indicated a June 11th delivery date, but I have yet to receive notification that it shipped. Hopefully I'll be posting first impressions tomorrow nite.

edit: just was notified it shipped, delivery date is 6/11. woot!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Free Sci-Fi and Fantasy Ebooks

I wanted to post this before I forgot. Baen Publishing has released a large number of ebooks from their library for free.

Baen.com/library/

I'll add this to the links when I get a chance. Enjoy the free reads (except bri, he needs to pay). Heh.

-- Post From My iPhone

Who is Tenkar?

Tenkar is my alternate identity, my game face if you will. In the D&D campaign I ran during college he was the party's main henchman - a kick ass dwarven fighter with attitude and an abundence of party loyalty.

Flash forward to the early years of Everquest and he becomes a dwarven paladin. Stubby little legs pumping away on my computer screen after one too many corpse runs.

These days he is a dwarven cleric in a weekly Castles & Crusades game I play in. He has a tendency to fight on the front lines as often as the fighters in the party. He swings a pretty nasty mace. He just hit 3rd level before the game's summer break took effect.

So who is Tenkar? He's a dwarf that kicks Ass! You've been warned ;)


-- Post From My iPhone


Monday, June 8, 2009

A Plethora of PDFs

I truly have a plethora of PDFs. If I printed all of them out, not only would I kill multiple printers I'd probably get fined for being a fire hazard. I have them on my hard drive, my back up external drive, a portable external drive, on flash drives, on SD cards, on my Sony 505 e-book reader, my Nokia 810 internet device, my iPhone... I'm sure I'm missing a thing or two on that list.

What does all that mean? It means I can rarely find the PDF I want when I want it.

Why? Because 9 out of 10 publishers of PDFs don't give it a descriptive title (something that Windows from XP on handles very well). Nope, instead of calling the file "Killer Dungeon for 3e ver a" they use "kd010" if you are lucky. Many times it seems its just a random selection of letters and numbers that leave you scratching your head as you open multiple PDFs in the hopes of finding the one that you've been hankering to read for the last 2 nites.

I know, I should be downloading in an orderly fashion to sorted folders just for that reason. It is not in human nature to do so... the vast majority of us dump our downloaded documents in the "Document Folder" and then curse our inability to navigate the sea of seemingly randomly named files.

I think I'll need to spend some time on my vacation sorting this mess out.

Then again, I'm the same guy who has hardly sorted out his bookmarks in Firefox. That's my own mess tho'. The PDF mess is not mine alone.

Kindle DX Countdown - 2 days to shipping

The plan is to have some pics and a review up by mid day Saturday, tho I might have first impressions posted Thursday evening.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dice - Why do we find them so much fun?

Seriously, why do we? As gamers they are a tool to determine success or failure. You really only need one set. So why do I have hundreds of dice of all shapes, sizes, colors and makings? Heck, I haven't played a face to face game of D&D, or any other RPG in over a decade, yet every year or so I buy more dice? Why?

All the major VTTs have random number generators. Fantasy Grounds wrapped theirs in a nifty visual virtual dice rolling feature. Maybe that is part of the key to their success. Heck, last year when WotC was showing off their pre-alpha of their 3d VTT they borrowed their dice pic from Fantasy Grounds.

There you have it, I have more dice then I can ever use (and I'm not currently using) and the dice I do use regularly are virtual dice in Fantasy Grounds. Heck, I even have a couple of dice apps on my iPhone.

Guess I'm some form of a "dice" addict. ;)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Gathering of Fools - Update

A grand time was had by all. Much food and drink was consumed and lots of goofing around. We never found time to get down and roll dice, but I did hand out some copies of Swords & Wizardry to wet the appetite. I also got to show them the iTabletop and Fantasy Grounds websites. Time will tell :)

Gathering of Fools

Today at noon I will be attending my old gaming group's annual Gathering of Fools. We hold it once a year in the memory of the friend we lost on 9-11. We have been doing this for years, and it entails food, snacks, drinks, YouTube, video conferencing, logging into the latest MMORPG, stupidity, laughter, Dave's hairy ass, movies, more drinking... you get the idea.

This year I am hoping to run a small Labyrinth Lord adventure: The Tomb of Sigyfel. Its free. The adventure, less the cover and the OGL statement, is about a page and a half. I'm hoping it entices one or two to want to do some pen and paper RPGing more often, possibly using Fantasy Grounds 2. This would be the first time DMing for me in over 10 years (and probably just as long since any of them gamed in the classic manner)

Wish me luck ;)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

iTabletop - The waiting is the hardest part

iTabletop looks to be an amazing piece of gaming software when it is completed. What? Its not completed? But they have software to download and a monthly subscription fee. How can it not be completed?

The old iTabletop software is downloadable and usable. It integrates webcams and voip and a VTT that seems more tacked on then a part of the main application. Why is that? Because the developers had a really well designed Virtual Meeting software package they had already designed and added the VTT features to the original package. In my opinion, it had alot of potential, but it wasn't worth a monthly fee.

The NEW version of iTabletop is being worked on now. It will be based on Silvertable, a cross platform developers system. More importantly, it will be based on large part on the input of the lifetime subscribers (18 so far, 12 to go) that invest in this as yet unfinished product. It is an investment, and not a small one. $200 gets you a lifetime membership and 10 floating licenses... up to 10 players can log into your game session and not have to pay.

Yes, I gambled my $200 bucks... I was one of the first five to do so. It isn't much of a gamble if this new version of iTabletop can do even half of the things I want in a VTT (and it looks like it is coming close to 100% of what I need).

Integrated webcam and VOIP are what I will need to convert my old gaming / current Warhammer Online group to old style pen and paper via VTT gaming. I can'y wait until the finished product gets released. In the meantime, I might try to warm them up with Fantasy Grounds 2.

Random Thought of the Day

So, I was listening to the Opie and Anthony show today on XM-Sirius Satellite radio and they were discussing Kiss Meet the Phantom of the Park. Oh My God! This has to be one of the greatest cheesiest movies ever. I'm watching it on YouTube and visualizing this as over the edge RPG session. Go to YouTube and give it a watching. It hurts to watch, but its like rubbernecking while driving... everyone needs to see the wreck.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kindle DX - Countdown

The Kindle DX ships in a week. Yes, I pre-ordered. I'm enjoying having disposable income at the moment... something tells me it won't last forever, but toys purchased previously get grandfathered in ;)

9.7" Diagonal Screen should allow me to get the most use out of my extremely large RPG PDF library. I can hope, can't I? The Jetbook and the Sony 505 both read PDFs natively, but the small size of the screen makes it a chore to read any RPG book that has more then one column of text on the screen (zooming to enlarge the text requires one to go back and forth on the now split page in order to read it). And as I've said before, don't even think of reading an RPG PDF on the Kindle or Kindle 2. Read every other book, blog, newspaper or magazine... but not PDFs.

Then there's the bigger problem... do I get the girlfriend a Kindle 2 or a DX for her birthday? ;)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Castles & Crusades Ruleset for Fantasy Grounds 2: Review

Fantasy Grounds 2 is one of the Big Boys in the Virtual Table Top arena these days. Its a fairly easy to use program with a relatively low learning curve for GMs that use prepackaged rule sets and adventure modules.

Castles & Crusades (C&C) is a licensed rule set for use with the Fantasy Grounds 2 VTT. If you've played D&D 3.X or earlier you should be fairly comfortable with the rules, which realy heavily on AD&D 1st edition for their feel and nostalgia. The original game rules are by the Troll Lords and are currently on my list of favorite games.

How well done is the conversion to an FG2 rule set? Very well done indeed. The VTT background artwork comes from the C&C Player's Handbook and fits the game well.

Pretty much every rule (if not every single rule) from the C&C Player's Handbook and Monsters and Treasures can be found clicking links under the book headings in the program. The character sheet plays well and I've yet to find a glitch in it after over six months of using it from the player's end (I'm playing in a weekly game).

Probably the best praise I can give for it is this: I tend to even forget it is there. It plays fluidly, both the rules and the rule set.

You can find the rules in PDF format as well as the rule set and modules at
RPGNow