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Saturday, October 1, 2011

More Treasures Uncovered - Role-Playing Mastery and The Complete Guide to Role-Playing Games



I never even realized that I owned Role-Playing Mastery by EGG himself and the Complete Guide to Role-Playing Games by Rick Swan.  TCGTRPGs was apparently bought at Odd-Job for 88 cents.

They were packed away for at least 10 years.  It feels like I've discovered OSR Gold.  I'm actually more excited about finding The Complete Guide to RPGs then RP Mastery.  I need to find which of these out of print games are worth while tracking down ;)


The Unnamed Dragon FINALLY Reviews The Tome of Horrors Complete for Swords & Wizardry

Well, the Unnamed (as of yet) Dragon finally got around to reviewing The Tome of Horrors Complete for Swords & Wizardry.  He didn't have an easy time with it (as you can see in the bloopers at the end of the clip) and I think he refers to it as The Tome of Horrors for Swords & Wizardry Complete, but what do you want, he's just a dumb dragon!  heh



You still have time to enter the Name the Dragon Contest.  Entries close around 6pm NYC time tomorrow, October 2, 2011.  Enter as many names as you would like, but only one will be entered into the poll to decide the winner(s).

Defining the Kindreds in Tunnels & Trolls - The Basics - Fairies

I'm half tempted to try and find my Hackmaster rule book to see how they handle fairies, but that is boxed and stacked in some random storage box and it will be at least a month before I can pick through them.  Still, I'm fairly sure the guys at Kenzer had the Tunnels & Trolls Fairy in mind when they added the class to Hackmaster.

The T&T 7e rules have nothing to say about fairies with the exception of the Attribute Modifiers.  The T&T 5e rules mention that fairies can fly, but become too overburdened to fly if carrying over half heir weight capacity.  Armor shouldn't be an issue in weighing them down, as they are 1/10th the height of humans and 1/1000th.  So if we say that specially crafted fairy armor is about 1/10 the weight of human armor, it shouldn't hold them back much in the armor department.  Still, a fairly forced to walk does so at a speed of 1/4 compared to the standard races... they just can't keep up with their extremely short legs.

Weapons are an issue.  Coming in around 6" in height, a 3" blade would be a challenge to wield effectively.  Again, customized weapons would be needed for the fairly to arm themselves.  The damage from these weapons would be piss poor.  Let's say 1d6-3 for the low end weapons and 1d6 or 1d6+1 for a two handed weapon.

Pricing of the above is the same as standard sized armor and weapons.  Just because it's smaller doesn't make it easier to create, and the demand isn't there for most smiths to keep these items in stock.

There is no restriction on making a Warrior or Rogue fairy, but survival would be an issue in the early levels.  In T&T 7.5e, the low STR and CON have an opportunity to increase fast, so the low initial starting attributes won't be much of a hinderance IF you can survive the first few gaming sessions.  Certainly NOT a viable choice for any of the Tunnels & Trolls solos I can think of.  Squish factor is too damn high ;)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Win a $10 Gift Certificate to OneBookShelf - Just Name My Dragon to Enter

Just a reminder that yesterday's contest is going on through Sunday evening, at which point entries will be closed and then poll will be posted.  The winner of the poll gets the $10 gift certificate, and the name they entered for the dragon in the video attaches to him permanently.  I might add another prize or two for the runner ups.

Isn't he just cute?  :)


Tweaking the Tunnels & Trolls Kindreds - The Elf

What can I say about the elf? If you've seen the LotR movie trilogy, you have an idea what they look like. In Tunnels and Trolls, I'm surprised that they don't get a positive modifier to Dexterity. They are just as agile, and a bit less hardy then humans. They do make up for it with positive modifiers to Int, Luck, Wiz and Cha.

Hmmmm.... I would say they make an excellent choice for a Wizzie or a Rogue. Go figure. A spell casting elf.

What kind of tweaks do the elves get? Well, lets give them cat's eyes. Not only do their eyes resemble those of cats, but they also work like those of cats, enabling elves to see nearly as well by starlight as they do by daylight. Additionally, elves are skilled at moving silently and stealthily through forests and the like. Allow them to get within 20 yards of others who aren't actively looking for them in a forest setting without requiring any SRs. Closer then 20 yards, or against foes that are actively looking for them, require the elf to make a SR against Luck. The standard SR is level 2, but depending on the counter measures and type of forest (lots of dead leaves on the forest floors, few trees to hide behind, etc) the GM should increase the SR to the appropriate level.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dragons and Cats Oh My!

Alright, technically one dragon hand puppet and one cat.  My intention was to do a short review of The Tome of Horrors Complete for Swords & Wizardry, but my cat was hogging up the stage.  So, I improvised.

In any case, the dragon needs a name (the cat already has one).

Add your thoughts in the comments below.  I'll then take the suggestions and put them in a poll at the end of the weekend.  The name that wins the poll at the end of next week is the dragon's new name AND the original poster gets a $10 gift certificate to OneBookShelf / RPGNow / DriveThruRPG.  How's that for fun?

You can enter more then one suggestion, but only one will make the poll (my choice).

Mini Review - ST1: Temple of the Horned Goddess (Labyrinth Lord)

Sometimes you want to eat gourmet.  Sometimes you want fast food.  Temple of the Horned Goddess is decent fast food at an excellent price.

What does one get for their 2 bucks?  24 pages (plus front and back covers) of adventure for a Labyrinth Lord party around 4th or 5th level.  You get a town map, a surrounding area map and 2 small dungeon locations.  You also get some pre-rolled PCs, making this a decent choice for a Game Day or Con game, or just use them to add to your stable of NPCs.  Oh, and 2 new monsters for your Monster Catalogue, or whatever the youngsters are calling it these days.  Not a bad deal for an evening's entertainment.

From the blurb:


The mining village of Hardin's Point is in desperate need of some help. They have been constantly harassed by strange creatures from the jungle. Several adventure and mercenary parties have journeyed into the jungle to take on the threats but have yet to return. Mining operations and trade have almost come to a standstill. Do you have what it takes to find the source of the attacks and end the threat.?
Temple of the Horned Goddess is a Labyrinth Lord/AEC adventure. Designed for 4-5th level characters, the adventure can be placed in any generic fantasy setting. Created by Knightvision Games

This Module includes:
  • Over 25 pages spanning overland and dungeon encounters 
  • Map for the Village of Hardin's Point 
  • Overland maps of the surrounding jungle and the Skinks lair. 
  • Detailed maps of the Temple of the Horned Goddess
  • New monsters to challenge the PCs
  • New magical items and weapons

It's All in the Way You Say It

As a GM, do you use accents and unique voices for your NPCs?

Back in the days of weekly (or more often) gaming, I would try to instill certain NPCs with unique voices. I felt it made them more memorable, and judging from my player's reactions, it did.

I used it mostly with shopkeepers and such that I knew they would deal with repeatedly. Yeah, the stereotypical Scottish brogue for the Dwarven Armorer, a kid's voice for the Halfling Thieves Guildmaster, a German accent for the Bartender of their favorite tavern... stuff like that.

Needless to say, there were times I got my voices crossed, and they would always call me out on it when it happened ;)

Still, it was fun and effective. Then again, I have a bad habit of talking in accents ;)


Scheduling the Re-scheduled Renovations

Renovations should be back on track shortly. We rescheduled the contractor to come in and give us an estimate for this coming Monday (the future Mrs. Tenkar has increased her mobility, but is far from fully mobile). Which means I need to get back to cleaning and throwing stuff out. Fun ;)

I need to start cleaning out my son's old room (previously mine, and still lots of RPG stuff in the top of the closet). There still might be a few gems to re-find this weekend.

If all goes well, I'll have my X-plorers Boxed Set waiting for me when I get home from work on Tuesday. Fun stuff.

Oh, and Monday MAY be my first day in my new office at work. Or it may not. I find personnel moves take their own sweet time at my job, with little rhyme or reason as to their timeliness. When it happens, it will be a good move. I'll be inheriting a very competent staff, which solves 90% of any possible issues right off the bat. ;)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gaming With Hand Puppets - Is It a Sign of the Coming Apocalypse?

I had a conversation with a coworker yesterday and the subject of hand puppets came up.  Alright, it came up because we were discussing video blog posts, so it didn't just "pop up".  The thing is, as interesting as I find the use of hand puppets in a video blog post (you have been warned) it got me thinking about the use of them in a standard table top RPG session.  Mostly by the DM for the occasional NPC.

I found knights and dragons, and with an average price less then 20 bucks a pop it's actually affordable.  The question is, has anyone tried this before?  Is anyone willing to admit that they tried this before? ;)

It's may be kinda silly, but I think it could work with the right group (and correct game system)

The Power of Words

Ever since the NYPD's Police Commissioner made his statement on 60 Minutes about the NYPD's ability to take down an aircraft, the news media has been abuzz.

What weapons will they use? Does the NYPD have surface to air missiles? Armed aircraft? Who gave them the authority to shoot down aircraft?

Commissioner Kelly never stated the NYPD could shoot down an airliner, just that the department has the means to take down an aircraft. A lucky shot from a .50 caliber rifle could do it. Maybe you could force down a 2 seater prop plane with a helicopter, but there is no way the NYPD is taking down a highjacked jetliner. That's a simple fact.

Still, the media filled in the blanks, even if they filled them in wrong. I'm sure your gaming group would do the same.

Rarely, if ever, give them a defined threat to work against. Leave it vague enough that they can make their own assumptions. Most of those assumptions will be wrong. Many of them will make the threat seem more fearsome them it really is.

Isn't that the whole point anyway? If the players are to believe the "cardboard tiger" it's always best to let them construct it themselves. They know it is real, as they built it ;)

It Ain't Heavy, It's My Tome of Horrors

I'm still in awe of the hardcover version of the Tome of Horrors. The sucker is huge and heavy. It compares very favorably to a nice sized single volume encyclopedia is size and weight.

According to an email I received last night, my X-plorers boxed set should be shipping shortly. Sweet!

The fiancee was nice enough to ask me where I'll be storing all the new goodies I've ordered. I reminded her I already bought the shelving ;)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Defining the Kindreds in Tunnels and Trolls - The Basics - Dwarves

Our next Kin to take a look at is Dwarves.  When we get to the Dwarves, we get a race that is decent at a combat role, but little else about them is defined at all.  Lets remedy that just a bit.

Our Dwarves our going to conform the the fantasy standard.  Grim and dour, loyal companions and dangerous enemies.  Dwarves have taught them self a sense of sonar detection for traveling in the dark underworld.  By clicking their tongues or tapping their hammers to stone, they can get a fairly accurate 3D image of their surroundings.  Tongue clicks are good for about 20' in distance, hammer tapping is good for about 40 yards, but the noise can attract unwanted attention.

Dwarves have mortal enemies in most, if not all, of the Trollish races.  They often share the same habitat and have little use for the other.  Dwarves are no match for trolls one on one, so the dwarves have taken on the tactic of swarming their foe.  For the stout folk, numbers make all the difference.  When fighting trolls, for every dwarf that outnumbers the trollish enemy, add 1D6 to the dwarf side's combat adds.

For example - 10 dwarves are fighting 2 trolls - the dwarves get to add 8 dice to their combat adds for their side (not each).  Dwarves are not above luring lone trolls to a quick death under the weight of their numbers.

Elves are the next to be tweaked...

I Got My Tome of Horrors Complete Today!

Yep, The Tome of Horrors Complete (Swords & Wizardry) was waiting for me when I arrived home today.  About the only gaming book I can attempt to compare it to is Ptolus.

It is a massive book.  I am eager to start thumbing thru it.  Expect a video blog starring the ToHC in the next day or two.



Tweaking the Tunnels & Trolls Kindreds - The Methods to My Madness

Captain Obvious made a good point in the comments section of the previous post. Why not ditch the multiplier to the Kindred stats and just increase the dice rolled and take the best three?

I did think of doing something similar, but at the core of this exercise is a desire to minimize change. The tweaks I'll be suggesting can be overlaid on the existing rules. If you don't like my suggestions, or just like some and not others, use what you want and ditch the rest. It won't break anything, or at least it shouldn't.

I'm not looking to rewrite the Kindreds. Well, actually, I couldn't, as except for the ability modifiers there is little if anything to rewrite. So I'm keeping the modifiers as is and working from there.

I hope that makes sense.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Defining the Kindreds in Tunnels and Trolls - The Basics - Humans

Why would anyone want to be a human in Tunnels & Trolls?  Every other kindred will average higher attributes due to multipliers.  Now, I know it isn't all about "min-maxing", but the inequality is pretty ridiculous if you ask me.  It's even more noticeable with the 7.5e rules, where level is based on highest attribute divided by 10.

My house rule for Humans?  Roll 2 dice before you start rolling your attributes and put them aside.  These  2 dice can be used to replace any 2 individual dice you may roll generating your stats.  Once they are used they are disposed off.  In the 7.5e rules, they can be used to create a TARO result (Triples Are Rolled Over and added).

The extra dice are due to the inherent adaptability of humans.  Humans can be found in the coldest steppes, the hottest jungles and nearly every climate in-between.  From city dwellers to farmers, soldiers to  wizards, if there is a role to fill, a job to be done, a human has probably done it.

Tomorrow, we tweak the Dwarves...

Victim of Real Life Thieving Skills

I didn't sleep well last nite. The dog was having some bathroom issues, and i had to let her out three times over nite so she could take care of business. And she still had a small problem in the room which I found when I woke up. So, needless to say, I wasn't in an awesome mood when I left the house to go to work.

My mood got worse when I reached my car. Some low life piece of sh!t broke into my car! Now, they didn't break a window or damage a lock. They had skills (or a master key). They apparently didn't let the car alarm phase them (as I had the AC on last nite, I never heard it). Well, "they" is a probably a singular "he" and safe bet they are a habitual drug user. He moved quickly, emptying the glove compartment, center console, passenger side door map storage area and the damn change holder on the driver's side.

Net loss? A three year old GPS and maybe 10 bucks in change.

Still leaves me pissed off.

I will take my blessings as I can. No damage to the car or locks. He was professional, as only a thief can be.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Defining the Kindreds in Tunnels & Trolls - Finding the Start Button

I've been talking a lot of crap this past weekend about the need for a setting for the Tunnels & Trolls RPG.  The thing is, before you can even get to the world at large, you need to know what actually resides there.  In the T&T rules, no matter the edition, the different kindreds (or races) are no more then a list of attribute modifiers.  It is assumed that you know enough about the different kindreds to make the proper choice for your roleplaying and gaming needs.  That doesn't work for me.  

Grabbing from the list in the 7.5e rules the following is the list of "Common" Kindreds:

Human - easy enough to identify with, it could still use a grounding in the fictional setting it will be used in.  Aren't even listed in the chart

Dwarf - again, easy enough to get a handle of, but could use tweaks beyond just attribute adjustments.  We do know he stands about 4' tall

Elf - there are many kinds of elves.  we could assume a "standard" High Elf from D&D type

Fairy - about 7" tall and can fly... or so the drawing shows

Hobb - think Hobbit or Halfling.  3' tall

Leprechauns - uhm, I think we would have to pass on the classic green outfit and hat.  They do get access to a Wink-Wing spell that they can do w/o magical training, but it also says they are all Wizards.  Go figure.

So, of the above, the Leprechauns have 2 sentences devoted to them.  The rest?  Nada.  And those are just the common kindred.

I need to define the kindreds before I can even think of designing any part the world.  I think I just stepped into a project...



The Free OSR List Mini Review - Mazes & Minotaurs

Do you member the classic Marvel Comic's series What If?  What If Spiderman had joined the X-Men type of story.  Well, Mazes & Minotaurs is an RPG What If.

What if the first RPG didn't dray it's mythology from Tolkien, King Arthur and other fantasy sources but instead drew upon Greek mythology.  The result is Mazes & Minotaurs.

It helps if buy into the "alternate timeline" when you go to the website ;)

It is a well done, alternative style RPG.  I can see bits of D&D, Tunnels & Trolls and Runequest in the rules we are given.  (Not to mention the cover to the M&M Companions is ripped from Avalon Hill RQ... but it's a fun rip).

From the blurb:

As most of you probably remember, the year 1972 saw the release of MAZES & MINOTAURS, the first ever-published fantasy roleplaying game, opening a new era of heroic adventure and mythic odysseys…

Fifteen years later, in 1987Legendary Games Studio published a fully revised, streamlined and expanded version of M&M (which became known as Revised Mazes & Minotaurs or RM&M for short) in the form of three core books (the Players Manual, the Maze Masters Guide and the massive Creature Compendium) and a fourth optional book (the M&M Companion), all with full-color covers and quality B&W interior art.

In 2007, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this mythic event, the resurrected Legendary Games Studio is happy to bring you Revised Mazes & Minotaurs in PDF format (yes, the whole four books !)… FOR FREE. 

Football or Blogging - What is a Man to Do?

The Jets - Raiders game has been pretty exciting so far.  I'm hoping the Jets can pull this one off but time will tell.

I'm having way too many Tunnels & Trolls thoughts at the moment.  Crap is distracting me from football damn it!  Good thoughts tho'.  I'll see if they lead anywhere.

Maybe What Tunnels & Trolls Needs Is a Setting

You need to forgive me, but Tunnels & Trolls is burning it's way through my blood these past few days and I'm still on the T&T kick.

So, here's the latest thought:  Would T&T be best served if there was an actual "setting" for the game?  By this, I'm looking at The World of Greyhawk and The Forgotten Realms over on the D&D side of the equation.  During the course of most of D&D's history, one setting or the other has been the default setting for the vast majority of RPG campaigns that have been in existance.  What does Tunnels & Trolls have to offer?

TrollWorld.

There isn't really much you can do with TrollWorld as written to place a campaign in that setting, as there is very little there.  The Fragmentary History of TrollWorld isn't much of a help either.  So there really isn't a default setting to use with T&T, unless one wishes to port one over from D&D.  Which is fine, except that you would need to cut out a majority of the available races for T&T.  Not much of a loss, as most of them just exist on the Racial Adjustment Chart for Stat Multipliers - there is no write up for most of them.

Which leads to yet another thought.  Do we need all of the racial options for character generation that Tunnels & Trolls gives us or can we pare the list?  Or should we flesh out the list with actual descriptions, habitat and the likes for the creatures listed?

If we design a setting for Tunnels & Trolls, how far should one step away from the old default of the standard D&D type world?  Or should it be like Glorantha, very much it's unique self?

T&T adventures tend to have more "silly" elements then other types of fantasy RPGs do.  Is that because of the setting that is inferred, or the system?  Or "just because"?