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.


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 ;)
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lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

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