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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Maintaining Radio Silence...

Alright, getting married in 3 hours.  It will be at least 24 hrs before I log back in,and probably later in the day tomorrow before I start awarding prizes from this post.

You can still enter through sometime sunday.  As it stands with the number of current entries, I'll be awarding a copy of Maidens Of Moordoth to everyone that doesn't win one of the other prizes.  Unless, of course, I have dozens more entries before tomorrow ;)

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Favorite Pre-Written RPG Adventure - Haunted Halls of Eveningstar

I can't let y'all have all the fun!  heh

My favorite adventure to run (favorite to read is probably Paranoia's Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues) has to be Haunted Halls of Eveningstar.  I must have started four or five campaigns with this module, and I'm sure those included some of the same players.

It was great, as it had an adventure, a nice amount of hooks and a sandboxie location for the players to start their explorations in.  After the first time through, I don't think I used the core adventure as is, but there was so much to play with, it was easy use it as a campaign starter.  Back in the day, if it was time to start a new campaign and I was relatively unprepared, tis was my go-to adventure.  I knew it well enough to run it with minimal referencing.

Something else I need to dig out when renovations are complete.

Remember to let me know about your Favorite Pre-Written RPG Adventure and you could win some free stuff.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Time is a Variable Thing

(free swag - post a comment to this thread by sometime in the morning of November 6, 2011)

The months leading up to my wedding on this coming Saturday seemed to take forever, but the days of this week so far have blown past me, and today has gone by in the wink of an eye it seems.

All this, of course, is the exact opposite of the typical RPG campaign.  There, days, weeks, months... sometimes years go by with a few words from the GM.  Then you hit combat, and 5 minutes of game time can take an hour or two of real time to complete.

I've been reading some more of Designers & Dragons in my spare time,  It's an amazing read, but I doubt I'd be reading it if I hadn't received it as a reviewer's comp.  Content wise it is a home run and a half, but I can't help but compare it to the Castles & Crusades Castle Keeper's Guide - great piece of work, but the pricing is a bit high.  Maybe it will come down in price, maybe it will sell at it's current price.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Time to Give Out Some Free Wedding Favors!

Yep, time to give some shit...er, gaming material, away.  I may as well, it is YOUR money I'll be using, or rather the small commission that gets added to my OneBookShelf account when someone makes a purchase from one of the RPGNow / DriveThruRPG links on this blog.  I'm getting married this weekend, and in the spirit of the joy and excitement I'm feeling, I'd like to give back to the readers of this blog.

So, here's what we're doing.  Add a comment to this blog post and I'll be giving out goodies to some random readers that do so and follow the instruction in the next sentence.  The topic for the comments is: "My favorite pre-written adventure (any game system) of all time".  Hey, it could be worse.  I could make you suffer through some of those god awful songs they play at EVERY wedding reception (not ours tho - we have an actual living, breathing Irish Folk singer.  No damn "duck" song, no conga line, just good music).

Here's the list of goodies:

Knockspell #6 (my first and only published article lies within)

Oubliette #6 (cause it rocks)

Maidens Of Moordoth - (cause it's cool and at 50 cents a pop i can give out 5 copies ;)

6-Pack Adventures: Kiss of the Frog God - (you need something weird, and this is a LotFP WF compatible module)

Elder Tunnels:  Fall 2011 (i have to include something for Tunnels & Trolls on the list)

Resolute: The Splintered Realm (neat little system rolled into 20 pages)

1 of each, except for Maidens of Moordoth, of which I'll be giving out 5 copies.  So, 10 prizes in total.

Entries can be entered up until whatever time I wake up and stumble to my computer Sunday morning.  Prizes will be given out sometime thereafter, depending on internet connection and wife agro ;)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Things to Post, Places to Be, Vows to Exchange

I'm working on the OSR by complexity / simplicity list behind the scenes, just way too many distractions at the moment.

You know, the Pathfinder Beginner Box, some of the free Halloween stuff that I grabbed on OneBookShelf over the weekend and crunch time for my wedding this coming Saturday.  Four days.  Holy crap!  heh

Crazy busy but exciting times.  I'm sure the lass is gonna love my blog posting on the mini-moon (honeymoon will wait until the spring).

The thing is, when this calms down I should be able to get my gaming in again.  Woot!

Can D20 / OGL / OSR Be Used for an Effective Horror Campaign?

I know its the day after Halloween - so shoot me!

The thing is, I was thinking of effective horror gaming and it occurred to me that is hard to accomplish using most of the D20 / OGL / OSR rules.

Here's my reasoning: D20 is based on level. Skills and Hit Points increase with each level. Higher level characters by nature of the rules have less to fear. That is why Ravenloft never really satisfied my taste for "Horror Gaming". It felt almost campy. My players were never really afraid, at least not more so than in any other level appropriate adventure. Annoyed maybe that they were yoked to the Demi-Plane of dread, but scared? Nope.

Call of Cthulhu and such are skill based. There's no bucket of Hit Points to save your ass. A more skilled investigator may have a few tricks to pull out of his hat, but it's still very easy to die within the framework of the rules. Also, CoC is less geared to campaign play, which assumes some character survival to move the plot along.

D20 / OGL may be able to do effective horror at low levels, but even in a game like LotFP Weird Fantasy, higher levels will by nature of the rules be less scary.

Can D20 / OGL do an effective Horror Campaign? I'm leaning heavily on the side that the game is built against it, but maybe some of you can or have prove(d) me wrong.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Review - Pathfinder Beginner Box - Part 2 - Continuing With the Hero's Handbook

Yep, one last pass through the Hero's Handbook before I move on the the Gamemaster side of things.

Where was i?  Ah, Feats.  I love them and I hate them.  They flesh out characters, can help make them unique and can really screw with balance as time goes on.  Some of them need multiple paragraphs to detail and my eyes go screwy tying to read the reams available in the Core Rulebook.

There are only 4 pages of feats in the Hero's Handbook.  Most take only two or three lines.  Short, concise and sweet.  The only way to learn.

Skills take up 6 pages.  They're a bit more detailed then feats, because in general they are a bit more flexible in use.

What can I say?  I love the presentation.  I'm actually enjoying my read through of the rules.  They feel less like a text book and more like a hands on learning experience.  Not sure how that works actually.  It's not like anything has really been "dumb downed" (like the 4e Red Box was) but rather the presentation has been simplified without talking down to you.

So, who has a guide to removing the extra crunch from the Core Pathfinder Rules to make them nearly as easy to understand as the Beginner Box is?  heh

On to the Gamemaster stuff next.

Dowsing For Dummies

It Halloween. Nice way to top off an already spooky October with the number of individuals that just don't give a F' about doing things the right way.

The latest was the guy who decided to put epub and mobi conversions up on RPGNow of the Swords & Wizardry Core Rules and the Pathfinder Rules. without either publisher's authorization. Before I could finish a mini-review of the S&W conversion, it was already pulled. The Pathfinder version was pulled shortly thereafter. Neither was free (I think they were going for $2.99 each) so that famous excuse won't apply here.

What is with the currently free for all with the intellectual property of others?
Is it just in this corner of the hobby, or is there some movement I don't know about? Are these guys fools, or willful idiots? Playing stupid only goes so far, and I would think with the publicity the previous acts generated, the latest azz would have dotted his "i's" and crossed his "t's" before trying the latest blunder.

I keep stumbling into this shit like a professional water dowser steps in puddles. Problem is I keep finding sewer water. ;)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mini Review - Maidens of Moordoth - (Labyrinth Lord Adventure)

1-Sheet.  An adventure that can be printed on one sheet of paper, often using both sides.

Maidens of Moordoth is a 1-Sheet Adventure for beginning Labyrinth Lord characters, but suitable for use with any of the Old School rulesets (did you really need me to tell you that?).  It actually uses 3 sides of a sheet of paper, but the third side is for the OGL - you can omit that when you print at home.

It has 13 labeled locations on the crypt map and it includes some undead.  Do you really need more for Halloween?  How about it's only 50 cents?  Yep, halfway between a buck and free. ;)

From the blurb:


Maidens of Moordoth is a low-level 1-sheet adventure designed for Labyrinth LordTM but easily usable in any old school fantasy role-playing game.  It provides all you'll need for a full night or two of play.
The elders of the village of Moordoth are the keepers of a grim secret.  They vowed to take it to their graves, but a pack of ghouls and the wailing haunts of six lost maidens seem to command otherwise.  The characters are hired by the town elders to put a stop to this madness.  The characters will soon learn that all is not what it seems as they unravel the secret of the Maidens of Moordoth.


Mini Review - Spellcraft & Swordplay (Revised and Expanded)

Ever have one of those situations, where something seems very familiar yet strange at the same time?  Spellcraft & Swordplay is one of those situations for me.

It starts up like one of your usual OSR games, usual stats, 3-18, familiar classes... and then it takes me for a side trip when I realize everything is resolved using D6s.  It's almost like melding Tunnels & Trolls with Original Dungeons & Dragons.  Well, not quite, but you get the idea.

The main change (there are others, but to me this is the biggest switch) is that, for the most part, an increase in combat ability comes from an increase in the number of attacks, not in an increase in chance to hit.  The number you need to hit is dependent upon the weapon wielded and the armor worn, level has little to do with it.  A strength bonus to hit is a mighty bonus in this game.

All in all it's a well written, well presented game.  I found some small editing gaffs (at one point in the rules, it refers to 2 "elite paths", but the third path, Ranger, is in the book) but nothing major.

Looking for a D&D / OSR like game that can be played with the dice in your Risk or Monopoly box and little else?  Spellcraft & Swordplay is what you are looking for.

From the blurb:

Join the new class of old school!
Hordes of slavering orcs close in.  You're tired, battered and bruised, but far from beaten.  You grip your heavy sword tightly, and blink at the sweat in yoru eyes.  You're all that stands between the goodly folk of the village, and a curtain of eternal night.  And going quietly isn't your style.
Between these covers lies everything you need to begin grand adventures of dark and gritty fantasy, high epic fantasy, or even fairy tale fantasy.  All you need is some imagination and a few friends, and you're off!  Inspired by the very earliest days of the hobby, Spellcraft & Swordplay uses a rules-light system that allows play in a fast, loose and cinematic style.  It evokes the spirit of the old school, while providing some character customization not always present in other old school games.
Explore ancient ruins, rescue captive princesses, slay dragons, and build your own legacy of adventure and excitement with SPELLCRAFT & SWORDPLAY!