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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Counting Time on a Tombstone

I spent some time earlier today walking through an old cemetery - or at least old for the States as I know our European friends have a different timetable as to what is old ;)

I wasn't just surprised at how weathered the stones looked, but how they tilted and fell over during the course of 200 years or less. Not from abuse, but from wind, rain and the settling of the soil. I found it to be quite amazing (I filmed some and hope to get that posted over the weekend). It got me thinking about how the window dressing that we usually see in our adventures leaves out such effects of time.

I think there is a random table or two hiding there. I need to get to work and unearth them...

Recharging My Batteries

I made this weekend a four day weekend.  It's a chance to recharge my batteries before a busy fall.

I'll be keeping my vid cam handy just in case the moment strikes me.  We'll see if I find anything.

Padre linked some really good Johnny Cash stuff.  I think I'll need to add some to my digital song collection.


Friday, September 2, 2011

How Many LotR RPGs Do I Own?

Upon finding Middle Earth Roleplaying 2e (otherwise known as MERP) under my bed, I got to thinking about the different versions of Lord of the Rings based RPGs that I own.

The first was the MERP boxed set from Iron Crown Enterprises.  I played the shit out of this game.  Rolemaster rules that the average gaming group could actually master.  Very sandboxie in nature, as there were tons of setting books released, not much in the way of adventures.

Then we had The Lord of the Rings Adventure Game.  I'm not even sure if I still own it.  From what I can recall, very dumbed down.

MERP 2e was next.  Somewhere between MERP 1e and Rolemaster in complexity, I don't recall if we ever played with the 2e rules.

The Lord of the Rings RPG from Decipher was licensed from the movie if I recall correctly.  Tons and tons of shots from the movies were included.  Not much if any real art.  I bought the core book, left it as bathroom reading for 6 months and never got past skimming it.

The One Ring - this is the latest and it landed at Gencon.  I only have this in PDF so far.  I need to spend some more time with it.  At first glance it seems fairly faithful to its source material.

That doesn't include games like Midnight, which is essentially LotR with the evil, alternate director's cut ending.  Well done but a depressing setting to play in.

Oh, and ICE published some endless quest style books using the LotR license.

Did I miss anything?


The Treasures Under the Bed

Where I reveal some of the gaming gems I found under the, now moved, bed.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Look at the 6D6 Core RPG

I hesitate to call this a review, as it is less review and more "first view" of the 6D6 RPG, at least with my eyes viewing it.

Now, if you want the one minute summary you can view the video on youtube.  It's stop motion and brought back memories of Gumby for me, but it's also a better summary of how the game is played  then I could explain in a thousand words.  See, a (moving) picture IS worth a thousand words.

Did you watch it?  Good.  I didn't produce it it, the 6D6 guys did.  Just over a minute it length, it hits the post perfectly.  Much longer and it would have lost my interest.  Amazing what a one minute video can get across to someone.

Okie, here the next link. The 6D6 Ultra-Lite rules.  It's a free download.  It's billed as a 30 second introduction to the 6D6 rules.  I'd say it's closer to two minutes myself ;)

Alright, now that we are up to speed, more or less, I'll give some of my impressions of the 6D6 Core rules:


The use of cards, and in some instances actions similar to "tapping" actions from card games like Magic the Gathering and the like, may help make this a crossover game for those whose gaming experience is limited to or centered on such games.  Note:  The cards are not collectible.  You are printing them out yourself.  They are practical, not pretty, which is fine by me.

Less crunch, still crunchy - by this I mean the game is not written to be a realistic simulation.  Modifiers are generally 1D6 (plus adjustments) for each card you can play.  Its the play that becomes a bit crunchy, at least if you've been playing the standard types of RPG for the last 30 years (like I have).  The card system IS a different system, and it does take some getting used to.  I had a hard time grokking it myself until I found the youtube video I linked above.  It's not overly complicated - it's just different.

Its surprisingly flexible.  I thought the cards would result in the limiting of choices, but with the number of combinations that can be played (as long as the player can weave a plausible explanation for the situation in question) it covers a lot of possibilities.  Hey, and you can create new cards!

The cards themselves are like skills, or feats, or equipment, or mental and physical abilities - but they are used in different ways.  Not all can be available at once.  There is strategy involved in what you play and what you have prepared to play.

Monsters and adversaries are defined by cards too.  This part seems like it can get a bit confusing if you are running more then a small handful of monsters at a time.  Well, that's true in most RPGs, but keeping the cards in order for multiple foes seems to consume both time and table space.  There has to be a way to streamline it

Well, as I said in the beginning, this is less a review then a "view".

I need to print out a set of cards and try some mock encounters and generate a character or two.  I'll post the results when I get it done.

I Love Rosie The Robot (Where I Talk About My iRobot Vacuum)

Recently I found a deal on a Roomba iRobot robotic vacuum cleaner.  I've been reading about them for years it seems, but this time I finally stepped up and got one of the basic models.  I'm in love.

Actually, my fiancee loves it too, as do my parents, who ask if they can borrow it constantly (I know what will be on their Christmas list).

Charge it up and let it roam.  It does a very decent job at vacuuming (not perfect, but who is?).  It handles all floors but shag - and shag is so yesterday anyway.

Right now I have it vacuuming around me as I work on some reviews for later.  I like the future.  Still waiting on my flying car though ;)

Old is New - Digging Through The Games

You know what the best thing about renovating / digging through crap that you haven't looked at in years is? Old becomes new again ;)

I've already spoken about rediscovering my AD&D 2e collection, or at least most of it, as some of it is mixed it with my general RPGs that are now boxed up (for the most part). Still, I've been digging out a few gems, like the D&D Cyclopedia, The MERP Softcover book (I have the earlier boxed set buried somewhere), Pendragon, GURPs Discworld, and some more GURPs sourcebooks (GURPs was THE universal system before Savage Worlds' simpler system took much of that corner of the hobby).

So, not only am I far behind in the new games that I need to review, but now I have the urge to reread some of the old games that I haven't touched in 15 years or more. I'll try and get a review up later tonight of one of the newer games. Then I want to spend some time with MERP and maybe compare it to the newly released LotR RPG.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Free Time... What Free Time?

As am sitting at my desk at work, digging myself out of paperwork, it suddenly full dawned on me - I don't have much in the way of free time until after my wedding. How the hell did that happen?

Two nights a week I shuttle my son back and forth to EMT class. In between the shuttling I also have to drop the fiancée at her apt in The Bronx. So, those two nights are shot. Weekends always revolve around renovations, so they are shot. Tuesday and Thursday nights. I think I have majority ownership of them ;)

After November my son's classes are over, renovations will be done, trips to The Bronx will no longer be needed - I think the New Year will bring some fairly regular gaming back into my life.

Oh, wait - football season starts soon. Okay, Sunday's will still be shot for a while... heh


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Those Damn AD&D 2e Complete Handbooks

Earlier today I posted a bit about the AD&D 2e Handbooks.  You know, the books that took AD&D into the never ending, unbalanced world of "splat books".  Moving stuff (like my bed) earlier tonight uncovered my collection of 2e Complete Handbooks.  (As an aside, the binding on my 2e Player's Handbook is shot to shit).

I'm not even sure if I have a complete collection of the "Completes" - I'll list what I have in no particular order:

Complete Psionics Handbook
The Complete Ranger's Handbook
The Complete Book of Humanoids
The Complete Book of Elves (an evil, unbalanced addition if any are)
The Complete Paladin's Handbook
Complete Thief's Handbook
Complete Fighter's Handbook
The Complete Book of Dwarves
The Complete Bard's Handbook
The Complete Barbarian's Handbook
The Complete Druid's Handbook

Somewhere the Halfling and Gnome book is hiding.  I know I have it, but those buggers are sneaky ;)

The Code of the Harpers kinda fits the overall definition of "kits" too.

Were they f'n insane?  I must have been insane, as I bought the suckers (tho' as I stated earlier, the Mail Order Hobby Shop was nice enough to fill in some gaps).

I played a lot of 2e back in the day, but my fondest memories are of 1e.  Without the bloat,  Without the kits.  Without the later Player's Option: Combat & Tactics.  Still, there's a years worth of posts in those books, I am sure... heh

The Red Headed Step-Child of TSR - The Mail Order Hobby Shop

You have to have been a gamer for a bit to remember the Mail Order Hobby Shop. Before you had stores with a virtual presence on the 'net, you had stores with a physical presence on a street. Such it was with the Mail Order Hobby Shop, TSR's storefront in Lake Geneva.

There were ads in Dragon magazine, which makes sense, as Dragon was mostly a house organ and the Mail Order Hobby Shop was part of that house. I don't know how many of you dealt with the MOHS to make your purchases, but I did - once. I ordered a poster and one of the Complete Handbooks for AD&D 2e.

What I received was nearly a dozen different Complete Handbooks and no poster. Apparently, they sorted their orders by first name and sent my book with some other "Erik's" books, and the poor guy got my poster. I set it all aside when I realized the mistake and called them. Someone answered, had no answer for me, took my name and number and promised I would be called back.

The did. I was told to ship it back at my expense. After they verified the books were all accounted for and not used, I would be issued a credit for my shipping. I told them I wanted them to pay the shipping up front or a check to refund the shipping cost, not store credit. It was their mistake, not mine, and I was willing to do the footwork to return it, but I wasn't settling on store credit. I was a college student with little cash on hand. Credit wasn't going to pay my bus fare to school.

They insisted on store credit. I refused to pay for their mistake. I was called a thief. I reminded them I was willing to fix their mistake, but I wasn't going to pay for their mistake. The call ended. They never contacted me again.

I wasn't surprised to see TSR have major financial problems a few years later. My one interaction with their retail end was full of numerous failures.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Frog God Freebies!

Frog God, the purveyor of many books for Swords & Wizardry, has released some things for free.  Foremost is the compilation of Lairs from the Tome of Horrors Complete: Swords & Wizardry version.

It's a great way to get a good peek at some of the work put into that awesome book.  I'm still waiting on my hard cover copy (love the PDF... so I'm not complaining TOO much ;)

Oh, and theres some other stuff for free too.  I'm just too busy looking at the Lair write ups, which is silly, as I have them in the ToHC: SW PDF.  It's just that they are such a nice neat package here.

Who Cares About 5e? I Want My 8e!

Having survived the weekend, I must say I'm disappointed that I didn't any real RPG reading in (let alone gaming in) although we did get to play a game of Ticket to Ride. Yes, I squashed my competition underfoot! (heh... my mother and my fiancee - yes, I show no mercy).

As I've stated before, I am WAY behind on reviews. It doesn't help that I'm easily distracted by the new shinnies ;) I'm going to try and get to 3 or 4 a week for the next few weeks - lets see if I come anywhere near the pace.

Did you see the announcement for Tunnels & Trolls 8e over the weekend? The Trollgod himself sent out an email that it wasn't happening anytime soon, if ever. Still, it got me thinking... What would I want to see "fixed" or "added" to the next version of T&T? For me, the answer is -

I want to see a unification of the 5x and 7x rules. I want something that fixes 5x level advancement (and the ability increases). I want something that fixes 5x ability increases (and level advancement attached to abilities). Is that too much to ask? Probably, but I'm asking anyway ;)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene, We Hardly Knew Ya!

Well, you cant have a Hurricane visit without spending some personal time with her, so the family and I headed out to Rockaway Beach to meet her.  She was still causing havoc at the water's edge as you can see below:




Additionally, you can go to the MTA's own Flicker Album to see the problems in store for those seeking to commute into and within NYC over the coming days.  Flooding is the word of the week.

About to play a game of Ticket to Ride with my lady and my mother.  Mom's been going thru withdrawals over the summer months it seems ;)

Hurricane Irene Wasn't the Biatch I Thought She Was ;)

I'm still here ;)

The rain was the worst of it.  The basement got damp but didn't flood.  I did get a leak in the roof which sucks, as it came thru the ceiling in one of the rooms I just renovated.  Still, we have power and the worst seems to be over.

Didn't get recalled for the weekend, so I guess I'll find out how bad things are at work when I return tomorrow morning.