Saturday, June 6, 2009

Gathering of Fools - Update

A grand time was had by all. Much food and drink was consumed and lots of goofing around. We never found time to get down and roll dice, but I did hand out some copies of Swords & Wizardry to wet the appetite. I also got to show them the iTabletop and Fantasy Grounds websites. Time will tell :)

Gathering of Fools

Today at noon I will be attending my old gaming group's annual Gathering of Fools. We hold it once a year in the memory of the friend we lost on 9-11. We have been doing this for years, and it entails food, snacks, drinks, YouTube, video conferencing, logging into the latest MMORPG, stupidity, laughter, Dave's hairy ass, movies, more drinking... you get the idea.

This year I am hoping to run a small Labyrinth Lord adventure: The Tomb of Sigyfel. Its free. The adventure, less the cover and the OGL statement, is about a page and a half. I'm hoping it entices one or two to want to do some pen and paper RPGing more often, possibly using Fantasy Grounds 2. This would be the first time DMing for me in over 10 years (and probably just as long since any of them gamed in the classic manner)

Wish me luck ;)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

iTabletop - The waiting is the hardest part

iTabletop looks to be an amazing piece of gaming software when it is completed. What? Its not completed? But they have software to download and a monthly subscription fee. How can it not be completed?

The old iTabletop software is downloadable and usable. It integrates webcams and voip and a VTT that seems more tacked on then a part of the main application. Why is that? Because the developers had a really well designed Virtual Meeting software package they had already designed and added the VTT features to the original package. In my opinion, it had alot of potential, but it wasn't worth a monthly fee.

The NEW version of iTabletop is being worked on now. It will be based on Silvertable, a cross platform developers system. More importantly, it will be based on large part on the input of the lifetime subscribers (18 so far, 12 to go) that invest in this as yet unfinished product. It is an investment, and not a small one. $200 gets you a lifetime membership and 10 floating licenses... up to 10 players can log into your game session and not have to pay.

Yes, I gambled my $200 bucks... I was one of the first five to do so. It isn't much of a gamble if this new version of iTabletop can do even half of the things I want in a VTT (and it looks like it is coming close to 100% of what I need).

Integrated webcam and VOIP are what I will need to convert my old gaming / current Warhammer Online group to old style pen and paper via VTT gaming. I can'y wait until the finished product gets released. In the meantime, I might try to warm them up with Fantasy Grounds 2.

Random Thought of the Day

So, I was listening to the Opie and Anthony show today on XM-Sirius Satellite radio and they were discussing Kiss Meet the Phantom of the Park. Oh My God! This has to be one of the greatest cheesiest movies ever. I'm watching it on YouTube and visualizing this as over the edge RPG session. Go to YouTube and give it a watching. It hurts to watch, but its like rubbernecking while driving... everyone needs to see the wreck.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kindle DX - Countdown

The Kindle DX ships in a week. Yes, I pre-ordered. I'm enjoying having disposable income at the moment... something tells me it won't last forever, but toys purchased previously get grandfathered in ;)

9.7" Diagonal Screen should allow me to get the most use out of my extremely large RPG PDF library. I can hope, can't I? The Jetbook and the Sony 505 both read PDFs natively, but the small size of the screen makes it a chore to read any RPG book that has more then one column of text on the screen (zooming to enlarge the text requires one to go back and forth on the now split page in order to read it). And as I've said before, don't even think of reading an RPG PDF on the Kindle or Kindle 2. Read every other book, blog, newspaper or magazine... but not PDFs.

Then there's the bigger problem... do I get the girlfriend a Kindle 2 or a DX for her birthday? ;)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Castles & Crusades Ruleset for Fantasy Grounds 2: Review

Fantasy Grounds 2 is one of the Big Boys in the Virtual Table Top arena these days. Its a fairly easy to use program with a relatively low learning curve for GMs that use prepackaged rule sets and adventure modules.

Castles & Crusades (C&C) is a licensed rule set for use with the Fantasy Grounds 2 VTT. If you've played D&D 3.X or earlier you should be fairly comfortable with the rules, which realy heavily on AD&D 1st edition for their feel and nostalgia. The original game rules are by the Troll Lords and are currently on my list of favorite games.

How well done is the conversion to an FG2 rule set? Very well done indeed. The VTT background artwork comes from the C&C Player's Handbook and fits the game well.

Pretty much every rule (if not every single rule) from the C&C Player's Handbook and Monsters and Treasures can be found clicking links under the book headings in the program. The character sheet plays well and I've yet to find a glitch in it after over six months of using it from the player's end (I'm playing in a weekly game).

Probably the best praise I can give for it is this: I tend to even forget it is there. It plays fluidly, both the rules and the rule set.

You can find the rules in PDF format as well as the rule set and modules at

Castles and Crusades for FG2

Looks like there will be some more C&C adventures for sale at RPGNow.com. I'll review then after I get to check them out.

Another plus for the Kindle

The ability to get constant AP News updates throughout the day. Who needs a newspaper?

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, June 1, 2009

Amazon Kindle 2

Why is the first gadget I post one that has little to do with RPGs? Because it is quite possibly the best e-book reader out there. Yes, there are many choices, and Sony has a nice contender, but no other reader offers instant gratification. Download the latest novel in the never ending fantasy series you've been following - you can buy it wirelessly from your Kindle. Go to the Baen website and download free (and legal) SciFi and Fantasy novels in Kindle (and other formats). Its truly an amazing device.

What doesn't it do? It doesn't do cheap. $359 (no cover - add 40 bucks or so for one of those)

It doesn't do PDFs - at least not in a manner that serves the purpose of gamers. To use a PDF on the Kindle or Kindle 2 you need to have Amazon convert it. Tables don't survive the conversion process, making nearly every RPG PDF horribly crippled.

Still, the Kindle is an amazing device despite its short comings.

(The Kindle DX promises to do PDFs natively and has a 9.7" screen, compared to the 6" on the earlier Kindles - approximately 2 1/2 times the viewing surface - not cheap at $489 plus the cover)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Taking Aim

What I would like to do (no idea if I will come close to accomplishing it) is give ideas for the classic rpg gamer who either had little space for gaming (and storing games) and / or has seen his old face to face gaming group disperse in the winds of change (life, family, jobs, moving, etc).

I will be touching on Virtual Table Top gaming, PDF gaming material (one heck of a space saver), e-book readers (for reading those PDFs on the go) and anything else that comes to mind.

Let the games begin!
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