Tuesday, June 7, 2011

WotC To Support Older Editions? It Will Cost a DDI Sub To Find Out

According to this thread on ENWorld, an article in the latest Dungeon Magazine (loose definition of magazine, but whatever) talks about adapting a 3E adventure, "The Lich Queen's Beloved" not just to 4E, but to AD&D 1E and 2E.

Much as I'd like to think this will be an ongoing theme, I doubt it.  I can't vouch for the article itself, as I have no intention of paying 10 bucks for the privilege of reading the single article I might be interested in.

Still, I find it interesting that they would even consider publishing an article dealing with anything other then the rule system they are currently publishing.  Would have made more sense to have this article available to non-paying subscribers, to bring those that might not normally check out the whole DDI thing to the WotC site.

Eh, time will tell.

In Case You Missed It: Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG Beta Available June 8th

I'm sure you've seen it announced already, but Goodman Games' DCC RPG Beta will be available for download at the Goodman Games website tomorrow.

I already ordered my set of funky dice.

Although I certainly don't NEED another set of Old School style RPG rules, I enjoy them none the less. Looking forward to reading them tomorrow ;)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Creative Mountain Games is Having a $1 Sale - Time to Get Your 3.5 SRD For a Buck!

Even at full price, CMG's 3.5 SRD Bundle is a great deal, but for a buck it's a no brainer.  Seriously, I've owned it for years.  It was one of my earlier RPGNow purchases.  Get your's today.  Or tomorrow.  Or however long Mark is having his sale for ;)

Oh, he has other stuff on sale too!

Description

This huge Bundle includes the PDF Icon-Interface Index, the SRD 3.5 Revised Basics, Spells, and Magic Items PDF, the SRD 3.5 Revised Monsters PDF, the SRD 3.5 Revised Creature Stat Blocks PDF, the 3.5 Revised Divine PDF, the 3.5 Revised EPIC PDF, the 3.5 Revised Psionics PDF, AND the 10 SRD 3.5 Revised Spellbooks (Adept, Assassin, Blackguard, Bard, Cleric, Domain Spells, Druid, Paladin, Ranger, Sorcerer/Wizard)!

Over 3,500 PDF pages in sixteen cross-linked, heavily-bookmarked documents!

Things To Do, Places To Be

My spring craziness is finally winding down. This coming Saturday is the semi-yearly Gathering of Fools. Yep, my old gaming group will be hanging out, drinking beer, playing video games, telling war stories from our old campaigns - the usual shit. I've been asked to run a game of Parsely (think gaming table Zork type fun). I figure with a few beers in everyone it should be a blast. I also have a bunch of Tunnels & Trolls stuff to give away - I'm like the RPG Santa Claus at these events ;)

I also need to get back into the swing of things with the renovations at the house. The clock is a ticking. A hair less then 5 months to get everything done. Then I can think of actually running a game on a regular basis. Tunnels & Trolls or Swords & Wizardry Complete (especially if my Bard class makes the cut).

Not even going to mention work. Busy busy ;)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mini Review - Resolute: The Splintered Realm (RPG)


Resolute: The Splintered Realm is one of those nifty systems that relies solely on D6, which means you can find the dice you need by raiding just about any board game.  Gotta love that.

The author squarely places his inspiration on the back of D&D "red box" - the first one.  The inspiration shows, even if it looks nothing like a D&D game, it's Old School roots are there.

Success is decided by 2D6 plus modifiers compared against a Difficulty Rating (DR).  For every 5 points your beat the DR, you get a bonus success.  That's the core of it.  There are other things that can modify the roll and such, but the core is fairly simple.  It should be, as the rules wrap up in 20 pages.

We get four core classes (sound familiar?): Disciple, Fighter, Magician and Scout.  Each class - I mean Archetype, has a special ability which helps define it and make it unique.  Or you could avoid taking an archetype all together.

Magic spells have their own chapter.  Magicians aren't the only ones with access to spells, but the other classes need to purchase each spell ability individually.  Nice way to make your character unique, or to model him on some of the other D&D-like classes.

There is a small section on beasts and such and even a one page dungeon included in the mix.  Fair deal for a $3 investment (although there is a Book of Beasts available for a buck).

The PDF is scaled for widescreen monitor and tablets, although there is a printer friendly version also included.

Tech Review - Samsung Galaxy Tab - Sprint Version

As many of you already know, i'm a big fan of tech toys, especialy when I can use them with my gaming and game related activities. My first such toy was the Amazon Kindle DX, the first portable device besides a netbook that I had to read PDFs. I retired that device last spring when I got my iPad.

My iPad has been my go to device for just about anything related to reading, blogging or blog reading. its an amazing way to read all my PDFs in a form I can take with me or read in bed.

I grabbed a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7" Screen on Woot! last week, and it arrived hours before I had to leave for my engagement party. I must say, I'm pretty impressed.

With half the screen real estate then an Ipad, its not going to replace my iPad when it comes to blogging or even surfing the web while I'm at work (my iSpot 4G hub from Clear doesn't work with the Galaxy Tab, which shouldn't be a surprise, as it isn't supposed to, but it is the first device I've tried that hasn't) but as a PDF reading device, it is excellent.

The Galaxy Tab can be held with one hand, the iPad requires two. It reads PDFs in their native format using Adobe Reader, and I can use Dropbox to move them to the GT.

My GT is a Sprint refurb, but it looks brand new and was about a 1/3 of the price that I paid for my iPad last year (or about 1/2 of what a top of the line 1st gen iPad will cost you now). My refurb is contract free, and works well on my home wireless. Have't tried the 3G and have no need of it, so I doubt I'll be reviewing that aspect down the line. At less then $275, it was a steal, especially if you want to take your PDFs with you. Excellent touchscreen, on par with the iPad. I'd recommend it, especially if you are looking for something a little smaller then the iPad.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Review - Weird Fantasy Grindhouse Edition Boxed Set (LotFP) - Part The Third


Yep, back to the long ass review of Weird Fantasy - Grindhouse Edition (I never know if Gindhouse is one word or two... ah well).

On the Magic part of the rules, and magical it is.  If what James did to many of the classes irks me (and it does), what he did with the spells and magic excites me.

Let me start with my one pet peeve on this section, just so I can get it out of the way - the frickin' header art is annoying, repetitious and a waste of about a quarter of each page.  There, I've said it.  I feel much better now that that is off my chest.

As for the spell lists themselves, they are trimmed and tweaked.  D&D mainstays are removed (Fireball, Lightning Bolt, Raise Dead, Resurrect, Wish - etc) which certainly lowers the power level to some extent (and in no way prevents the GM from placing such spells and powers in the hands of NPC adversaries) and makes magic a bit more subtle then in other OSR style games, but it is the tweaks James places in other spells that really sets the tone.

I'm going to use Animate Dead as an example of what James has done with the flavor text and spell descriptions:       This spell energizes the faint memories of life that cling to the bodies and skeletons of people, allowing them to move and act in a gross mockery of their former existence. Because the entities inhabiting these bodies are chosen by the caster, these undead are under his total control. However, the faint memories of life retained by the bodies struggle with the invaders, and this conflict makes them destructive. They will always interpret any instructions in the most violent and destructive manner possible. They will also prefer to attack those they knew in life, no matter their former relationship with the person in question.

The bodies remain animated until they are destroyed. One hit die worth of undead per level of the caster may be created per casting. The caster assigns one or two Hit Dice per undead as desired. Each special ability desired for the undead by the caster increases the Hit Dice “cost” of undead by one (except energy drain, which increases it by two) without increasing their actual Hit Dice. Only mindless undead are created by this spell, and they must be commanded verbally.

That description is many types of awesome, both from flavor and the rule tweaking perspective.  If you take nothing else from the WF ruleset, please liberally steal from the spell section.  It has many hidden gems.

The Summon spell must be mentioned on it's own.  This lowly 1st level Magic-User spell takes up nearly 10 pages.  Not so lowly after all, is it?  Remember, Weird Fantasy doesn't have a Monster Manual or listing, so the Summons sell gives you a series of charts to find out what manner of creature the PC has summonsed from beyond.  Heck, you even need to see if the caster survives that casting.  Excellent work up of this spell.  My hat's off to James.

Next up - The Referee Book

Friday, June 3, 2011

I Ain't a Young Pup Anymore

Spent a 12+ hr day in full patrol uniform for the first time in over 7 years. There is a certain simplicity to not having to work out the day's wardrobe ;)

That being said, 12 hrs is a long day in full battle regalia (as my captain is fond of calling it). My feet and hips are long out of practice.

I'm 15 years away from the last time I GM'ed. I'm hoping the next game I run is less painful...


- Posted from my iPhone

Blogger Has Become a Serious PITA These Days

I like Blogger, really I do. It's much easier for the novice to use then Wordpress IMHO, but that strength is also its weakness these days.

Last weekend I had to use my google-fu to find HTML code that Blogger had apparently dropped willie-nillie from my blog, thereby preventing me from commenting on my own blog posts.

Last nite I was informed by Greg (he of the Errant RPG, Synapse and many others) that no one was able to comment on my latest posts. Blogger was at it again. Now I have my comments set to pop out, which seems to be working for now, but it is far from my ideal solution.

Maybe Google should get their shit together before rolling out updates to Blogger that are all buggered up, or is that just too much to ask?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

LotFP's Weird Fantasy - Why I'll Never Run It

I'll get back to the review of Weird Fantasy,either tonight or over the weekend, but the thought has occurred to me more then once that I would never DM / GM / CK / ABC / 123 - I would never run a game of Weird Fantasy, except MAYBE as a one off at a convention or something.

It's not that it isn't well written. It's not that it isn't evocative. It's not that certain parts aren't pretty damn awesome - I think the Specialist Rocks!, I love many of the changes to the spell disruptions, the Referee book deserves a review post of it's very own - My issue is this is not the type of game I'd enjoy running as is. Heck, I'm not sure if I'd enjoy playing it, as is. Which is a shame, as it's pretty darn good as a total package.

I'd want my players to strive to be heroes. I'd expect Dwarves, Elves, Clerics and Specialists to improve in combat ability (maybe not as fast as the older rules, but advance none the less). I'd want combat to be exciting, without risking a TPK each time the players jump in a fray. For me, it strays to far from it's roots for me to feel completely comfortable.

That doesn't mean it won't work for you. I actually think it would work best for a group that doesn't have itself rooted in the OSR and all the baggage that it brings. Keeping things simple makes this a good choice to introduce new players to roleplaying, or to bring a group over to the D&D corner that has played RPGs with non-TSR rooted rules.

I read on another blog (which I can't seem to find at the moment) that Weird Fantasy might work better if played as a Call of Chtulhu game, where combat is avoided and knowledge is deadly. It makes sense, but I don't think it would lead to campaign play. More likely one shots and the like.

Just some less then random thoughts on the matter.

And Here I Thought "Detect Lie" Was Just a D&D Spell

I consider myself very luck to be on a mailing list of a retired NYPD Sergeant that forwards police and law enforcement related articles on a daily basis.  This arrived yesterday, but I didn't get a chance to read it until today.  Notice the chance of success - maybe a similar ratio should be applied to the Detect Lie D&D spell ;)


Homeland security deploys mind-reading hardwareNail the perp while he thinks of the crime
By Nick Farrell — Tuesday, May 31st, 2011; 6:24 pm ‘Tech Eye.Net’

COMMENT:  This is not a joke.  There are at least four articles written on this Homeland Security program that have been posted on the internet. – Mike


The US Department of Homeland Security has begun field testing new technology which it thinks can identify people who intend tocommit a terrorist act, just by looking at them.

According to the magazine Nature, which we get for the spot the Schroedinger's cat competition, the US spooks have been conducting tests ofFuture Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) in the past few months at an undisclosed location in the northeast of the US.

The gear apparently uses remote sensors to measure physiological properties, such as heart rate and eye movement.

It has been in development since 2008 and it apparently can tell your intent to cause harm.

It is all based on a form of witchdoctor psychology called behavioral science. These boffins have the cunning theory that someone with mal intent may act strangely, show mannerisms out of the norm, or experience extreme physiological reactions based on the extent, time, and consequences of the event.

Homeland Security's FAST technology design so that coppers can basically arrest anyone who looks them funny. So no change there then.

The DHS claimed the machine was accurate 70 percent of the time the other 30 percent will probably get out of Guantanamo Bay in a couple of years.

However some boffins think the gear will give shedloads of false positives.

Tom Ormerod, a psychologist in the Investigative Expertise Unit at Lancaster University, told Nature that even having an iris scan or fingerprint read at immigration is enough to raise the heart rate of most legitimate travelers.

In short, coming into Los Angeles Airport would turn Mother Theresa into a screaming psychopath, it does not mean that you are going to act on your impulses.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dungeons & Dragons - Daggerdale Computer Game in Hand

Yep, spent 15 bucks absolutely nothing for Amazon to send me a copy of the Daggerdale PC game. I must have had some unknown promotion running to get it for free.

I've read it is buggy as hell but that the multiplayer (max 4 peeps) was fun. I'll know more tomorrow when I install the sucker. Early work day tomorrow so I'm posting this from bed ;)

The Trollish Taproom - Latest Tunnels & Trolls Acquisitions

I received my latest Ebay purchase in the mail yesterday. It was the Corgi Editions of the T&T 5e Rules and the double adventure of Gamesmen of Kasar and Mistywood. The rulebook is in mint condition and the double adventure is slightly used. I had them both already, but my copy of the Corgi rulebook was water damaged but useable.

I like the Corgi Edition of the rules one heck of a lot. The size is perfect for bedtime reading or tossing in a bag. The double adventures have a stripped down version of the T&T rules, but as they cover characters up to level 10, one could easily run a GM game or other solos just using the rules in one of the double adventures.

We didn't have the weekly online T&T game last night, which is probably just as well... this past weekend was busy as heck. Next week I'll an an update.