Saturday, September 18, 2010

Picking Nits in the 4e Essentials Starter Box

First, it is what it is. It's not a basic set like old, but a starter set with limited options and theoretically a shorter learning curve. I'll try that learning curve out on my girlfriend at a later point.

Let's see...

Tokens. Not bad, surprisingly enough. Fairly thick, decent art... They will be reusable by the owner as / if they continue gaming.

Cards. Used to describe powers, magic items and such, the paper they are printed on is not going to withstand any amount of actual gaming. Reusability is next to nothing. Still, they are thicker then the covers of the rules booklets.

Dice. Full set of gaming dice, but they could have used an extra d10 for percentiles. They have come a long way since the "rounding with play" set from my First Edition of Gamma World. Nothing special but they are keepers. Black is a dull color for dice in my opinion.

Character sheets. Nothing special. Better then not being included.

Battlemaps. I hate them in general principle. A reusable battle MAT is my preference. I haven't even bothered to u fold it.

Coupon. Free downloadable adventure. I guess I should check it out at some point, not that I'll ever use more then the included solo tutorial, and even that is a big maybe.

Player's and DM's booklets. The covers suck, at they are paper thin and the same quality as the rest of the booklets' pages. I know the starter set isn't meant to get much reuse, but it might have been a nice gesture to quality to give them a little sturdiness.

Might try to give the solo a crack later tonight. I'd run a Tunnels & Trolls solo instead, but I don't have enough D6 in the Poconos.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Aftermath of the Big KABOOM!

So, the storm that crashed thru the New York City area last night left a decent swath of destruction where the "not a tornado" passed.  I took some pics about a mile from my house, at Juniper Valley Park.
Here we have an Ent, arms outstretched to the vengeful god of nature.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

An uninvited guest.

Off with his head!

Beyond words, I'm still amazed only one person was killed in this storm.

Nature is the opponent you can't ever defeat, only survive.

Back to gaming stuff this weekend...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Update to the Big BABOOM!

Well, I tried to drive in to Manhattan to pick the kid up... wasn't happening.  Roads are effectively shut down in my part of Queens County.  I actually parked my car a half mile from my house and walked the rest of the way, or else I would still be making my way home.

The kid is taking the subway... hopefully that works out okay.  In the meantime I'm being serenaded by numerous car horns.  Joy.  This better clear up by morning or I'll be pissy ;)


NYC got hit with a nice line of thundershowers, and we even had a Tornado Warning in my neighborhood.  That wasn't the excitement.  Lightning striking the telephone pole at the corner as I stepped out on the front porch to see if I needed to blanket my car from the hail was the excitement.  Sparks and flames and downed electrical wires, oh my!

If I can get around to writing a quick review of the new Cubicle Seven release for Runequest 2 I will, but it might have to wait as my internet is spotty at the moment.  Gotta love Mother Nature.  At least my kitty has come out from under the bed now ;)

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Soon to Roll the (Virtual) Dice Again

It looks like the Castles & Crusades game I play in, that has been on hiatus for the summer months, will be resuming on October 2nd. With the exception of rolling up a few characters with my group of players I can never seem to get together on the same day and time, I haven't done any playing in months. I've done a crap load of reading tho'. That should count for something ;)

Allergies have been knocking me for a loop the past week or so, and I've been more dopey then usual. Not that anyone noticed but myself. At least, I don't think they noticed.

I'd like to try and herd my cats... er, players for some regular gaming, but the moment I herd 3 or more, one squirms away :)

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Gifting the Reimaged Past

Today was my brother in law's birthday.  He was a gamer thru college, and still proudly displays his AD&D 2e (and earlier), Traveller, GURPS and other gaming stuff on his shelves in his home office.  He hasn't played in years, but he still reads the stuff to relax and unwind.

In the past I've given him the 4e set of rules, the Mongoose Traveller Pocket Rules, some Mayfair Games classic items I've found on sale amonst other stuff.  Tonight, in addition to the traditional Amazon Gift Certificate, I game him a copy of the D&D 4e Essentials Starter Boxed Set.  Needless to say he recognized the artwork.

Is this going to get him back to active gaming?  I doubt it.  He barely has free time now, and with a baby on the way in December he'll have even less.  Still, I suspect he'll enjoy running the included solo.

Just think hom much cash WotC could make with Limited Edition Classic Reprints of some of the old boxed sets.  Number them with a certificate of authenticity.  My bro in law would snatch that up in a heartbeat.

Might not grow the hobby much, but I am damn sure the market it there.

Just look at the 4e Essentials box...

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Just How Essential is the New D&D Starter Set?

By now I'm sure you've already read a good half dozen reviews of the new D&D Red Box. If you've read what I've read, much of that is lamenting how much in fails in comparison to the D&D Red Box of old. Some folks are missing the obvious.

The old Red Box was a Basic Set... enough rules to get you going and playing for as long as you want within the range of levels 1-3. When you were ready, an Expert Set was awaiting you.

The new Red Box is a Starter Set. It is there to show you what a roleplaying game is (in this case, D&D 4e). It spoon feeds you the rules and concepts as if you were a neophyte, which is fine. As others have pointed out, it is not there for you to run campaigns out of the box. For that you need to go beyond the Starter Set.

4e is not my bag, but I can see the use of the solo / tutorial included to bring new people into the hobby. The fact that you can run it solo, before you even find a group is great... maybe WotC will see some value in further solo adventures.

Taking the New Red Box for what it is, and not what we as old timers expect it to be, is the key. Well, that and I got it for less then 14 bucks on Amazon. It's not going to turn me into a 4e player, but it might serve as a nice introduction to roleplaying for my girlfriend, and I really can't ask for much more then that.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mini Review: Castles & Crusades Adventure - The Rising Knight

First things first.  I'm a big Castles & Crusades fan.  It brought me back to the Old School way of thinking.  Despite the typos and editing problems of the initial releases (okay, and later releases) I've found the system to be alot of fun, with an AD&D 1st edition feel without actually being AD&D.

Castles & Crusades A0: The Rising Knight is an introductory adventure for C&C.  It introduces the local setting that will be used further in the rest of the A series, which can be placed in either the default C&C world (Aihrde) or fairly easily into the setting of your own choosing.

I thought I recognized it, and I do: it is included in the C&C boxed collector's set, and it is also included in the Fantasy Grounds C&C Module, so an aspiring DM can get running pretty much from the start.  That being said, it is not a tutorial for a new DM.  Instead, it is a good starter adventure for a new C&C campaign. 

As with most of the Old School products out there, it is usuable without to much effort with any of the OSR rules out there.

From the publisher's blurb:
This is an introductory adventure for those playing Castles & Crusades. The module has been designed to allow for the players and Castle Keeper alike to begin using the Castle & Crusades rules in a fairly non-demanding game setting. The goal is to familiarize the Castle Keeper and players with the basic rules and their applications while undertaking an exciting adventure.

The adventure is also designed for modularity and expansion. Many of the encounters, monsters, settings and non-player characters can be removed from the context of this adventure and placed within those of your own making. We here at Troll Lord Games encourage all gamers to do so as this is the quickest route to ever more fulfilling game-play. As with the Castles & Crusades rules, this module is a tool to use as you will. Please do so.

Further, should the players or Castle Keeper care to continue with the adventure and follow its thematic development, the follow-on module, Assault on Blacktooth Ridge and The Slag Heap is now available. Several references and avenues for continuing the adventure are mentioned within the text, but the Castle Keeper must devise the most meaningful manner in which to carry this out.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Mini Review - The Lonely Coast

The Lonely Coast is a Campaign setting from Raging Swan.  I first covered it back in July here,  If you want more of a (short) review, hit the previous link. They have recently added it to their offerings at RPGNow.
My opinion on it remains the same.  It's a great value (free) and although written for 3e / Pathfinder it should be an easy conversion to any Old School set of rules.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lazy Man's Weekend

I've been fairly low key this weekend, at least posting-wise.  Said what I needed to say yesterday, and figured I'd leave it up in it's primary place.

Of course, the kid had a different idea for yesterday.  He wasn't about to leave me stewing in my own thoughts... then again, neither was my girlfriend.  So they dragged me out to see Machete... if being the one who drove to the theatre can actually be counted as being dragged.

Over the top blod and guts... which had me laughing my ass off, which is good, as I suspect that was the intended reaction.  Probably would have mae a decent session of Macho Women with Guns or the like.

Today I bought myself a new digital camera, mostly using a gift certificated from my birthday in July.  If I can find more sights like the one I did last week, I'd like to be using something better then my iPhone.  It's New York City - there has to be TONS of stuff I can find to take pics of that could be game related ;)

Back with more reviews and other assorted thoughts tomorrow...

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