Thursday, June 30, 2011

When Google Goes Bad...

Every once in a while, someone posts the "would you believe the search phrase that someone used to find my blog?" type of post.  It's kinda like the Hot Elf Chick deal a few months back, but that was an attempt to make it work for us.

Today, I found not only a truly bizarre term was used to find this blog, but the term actually put my blog in 5th place on the 1st page of the search.  I just feel bad for the guy (I assume it's a guy) who landed here with the search phrase: "bluemen masturbation images" and got a blog post about Sorcery & Super Science's The House of Blue Men ;)

The Overlooked Blogs Collection - @Padre's

It's been a long time since I've done an overlooked blog post, and it's way overdue.  In any case, this overlooked blog post is for @Padre's.  You might remember Padre from the blog Grievous Injury, which I inadvertently help implode (well, Blogger's paid service for domain names imploded it, but I led Padre to the path ;)

Padre is an old school gamer in the true sense - the man plays DragonQuest.  Now, my personal experience with DragonQuest is limited - I own a copy of the second edition that I traded WEG's Junta for, and promptly filled it away with a bunch load of other RPG's from the era that I never got around to playing.  Still, Old School Gaming is similar in flavor no matter the system one uses.

Padre is not a shyte stirrer.  He actually thinks before he posts, go figure... heh.  I have a few things I can learn from the man myself it seems.

@Padre's is a new blog, but it's own old blog in truth.

Tell Padre I said hello :)

Sometimes it Just Doesn't Fit

In the current state of renovations at Tenkar's Residence (not the Tavern, which has had its own renovations recently), I've been looking to "get rid of stuff".  My sister and her husband had stored some stuff here before I had the need for "more space".

In recent days my son and I  delivered their grandfather clock and her wedding dress that was hanging in the closet I shall soon be demolishing.  Today, we had planned on bringing her her highboy.  Down a tight flight of stairs, out the stairs in front of the house, and into the back of my Hyundai Elantra hatchback (its a real cruising car).  As Maxwell Smart would say: "Chief, we missed it by 'this much'".  Needed another inch and a half of trunk space.  My son measured, but he didn't take into account the need for wiggle room.

What does this have to do with gaming?  The best (in my book anyway) RPGs leave the GM and the players some 'wiggle room' - rules that can bend without breaking.  The early editions (and clones) of D&D are this way, although I think 3e and 4e have much less space for wiggle.

"Wiggle room' allows the game system to adapt in minor ways to the needs of the users as opposed to forcing the users to full adapt to it.

In my case, lack of 'wiggle room' means my brother-in-law needs to cash in a favor and borrow a van from someone.  It better be soon too.  I'm going to be putting to flooring in those two rooms and I dont need to be moving his sucker back and forth damn it! ;)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I've Got About 5 Months To Plan an Online Campaign - Open For Suggestions

I figure I'm looking at the end of November, beginning of December for the start of my online game. Which of course means I will have 5 months worth of second guessing, changing, gamer's ADD and all other sorts of distractions between now and then. Why 5 months? Cause I'm getting married in just over 4 months. heh ;)

In any case, I need to decide on a system. While Savage Worlds was lots of fun last weekend, I don't see myself as having enough system knowledge to run it properly. Besides, they just came out with a new edition of the rulebook, just as I started to learn the old.

Tunnels & Trolls is a strong candidate, but with Fantasy Grounds lacking even a community written character sheet, I would probably find myself falling back on GameTable as the VTT. I really would like to get some value out of my Fantasy Grounds Ultimate license at some point.

Swords & Wizardry Complete is also a very strong choice. I could probably run it using the Labyrinth Lord ruleset for FG2. Wouldn't mind seeing the Bard class I wrote in action.

If you had asked me last year, I would have said Castles & Crusades, but the campaign I was playing in shows little sign of being revived. It's been revived once already, at the cost of most of the original players. I don't think Sak will be as successful a second time. C&C is a good system, with lots of support via Fantasy Grounds rules and modules. I just don't see it as my classic "go to" old school game anymore.

I could run LL, but from my perspective, S&W has it beat by a hair when it comes to how I'd want to run an OSR style game. Then again, there is the LL ruleset for FG2 ready and waiting.

As much as I like the FATE system, I've never actually played the FATE system, so what looks good on paper may not play out as well in real time gaming.

I think I'll need to work on some map creation skills on top of all of this. I know CC3 and Dunjinni are a bit beyond my skills (believe me, I've tried). I think I need to visit the Map Links to the left side and start playing with them a bit. That, and I'd like to find one that is OSX friendly. After switching to a Mac Mini for most of my computing last year, I really dread booting up the old Win 7 box.

Any ideas? Thoughts? Systems that I might have missed? I'm open to listening.

Productive Working Vacation So Far - Posted From Work

This week I'm on vacation - except for today. Tonight I have a retirement party to attend, and rather then drive into Manhattan tonight on my own time, I figured I'd just go to work for the day and hop a ride downtown to the party later. Needless to say, I dropped myself into a large pile of poo. Poo cleaning is almost done ;)

I've been painting and wallpapering for a few hours each day so far. Tomorrow morning may finish the wallpapering (if i'm lucky). I have some carpentry work I need to do on some archway molding, need to dismantle an ancient and insufficient closet, order new flooring and then instal the above.

I've also been trying to get some RPG reading in, and I'm hoping to catch Green Lantern tomorrow or Friday.

At least I can't say I've been wasting my time like usual ;)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nine Years Ago Today...

Nine years ago today, I was promoted to the supervisory ranks of the NYPD.  I quickly realized it was more important to play the role of a boss that knew what he was doing then be a boss that was pretty unsure of himself and nervous as all heck out of fear of screwing things up.

Years of role playing, mostly from the DM's chair, sure came in handy in those early days.  It wasn't that I hadn't used those skill previously, on the streets as a cop in the South Bronx, but I hadn't tried using those skills on my fellow officers.  Those years of rolling dice have done me some great service over the years.

Of course, if I were growing up now, I'd be more likely to be honing my skills in MMORPGS or first person shooters.  I'm sure I'd find some use for those skills, but for me, I prefer the skill-set that D&D gave me.

Go figure.  D&D helped qualify me for life ;)

Mini Review - Tavern By The Sea (Tunnels & Trolls)

It's been a while since I've had the opportunity to look at a new Tunnels & Trolls solo (I'm waiting on my 2011 Free RPG Day T&T Solo to arrive in the mail).  Today, we give you Tavern By The Sea, by Ken St. Andre and Andy Holmes.

Here's the interesting thing about Tavern By The Sea - there's a Mini-Adventure snuggled in the back of it. I love the T&T solo, but adventures for use by a party are few and far between.  Frargg--The Pirate Nest isn't huge (its about 6 pages long), but with the exception of Outlaw Press products, this is the first GM Adventure for T&T I can recall being released in... 20 years?  more?  The last was Isle of Darksmoke as far as I can remember.

Oh, apparently part of the 2011 Free Game Day release is a GM adventure.  Damn cool!  Seriously, if you want to put Tunnels & Trolls into the hands of more gamers, you have to give them a game they can play with others.  Want to add more solo players?  Bring in more players in general.

Where was I?

Ah, yes, Tavern By The Sea.  The solo by the same name is 20 pages of the total 32 pages (6 for the GM adventure, cover, ads, art are the rest).  For T&T 7.5e, and characters of 3rd level or lower.  You can use it with earlier editions of T&T, but from my experience the power curve in 7.5 is noticeably higher the 5.5 or earlier.  Don't say I didn't warn ya.

You can start a new character, and there is a twist in that you can roll a die to give your character a little background history.  Oh, and a house rule allowing the roll of 4d6, dropping the lowest (with TARO, dropping the lowest might not always be the best choice).

If I told you the solo doesn't take itself, or you, too seriously, would you be surprised?  I wasn't either.  Fun T&T soloing to be had.

Now if Ken and Rick could just get this stuff out even quicker ;)

Supreme Court Strikes Down California Violent Video Game Ban

The First Amendment of the US Constitution is an amazing little piece of law.  It now covers (or always covered, but now covers by ruling) video games.  I'd hate have seen Dragon Age or Fallout or even Fable restricted by some NC-17 rating, because in many ways they are just as violent as Call of Duty and GTA.  RPGs, by their roots and nature, are violent little beasts ;)

From the majority opinion:

Like the protected books, plays, and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas—and even social messages—through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world). That suffices to confer First Amendment protection. Under our Constitution, “esthetic and moral judgments about art and literature . . . are for the individual to make, not for the Government to decree, even with the mandate or approval of a majority.” 

Monday, June 27, 2011

A List is a List is a List - Tweaking in Progress

Well, I think I'm going with:

Free OSR RPGs (derived from D20 / earlier versions of D&D)

Free Classic RPGs (GURPS / Traveller / Runequest / Gore / Lost Souls and the Like)

Free Modern RPGs (Risus / FATE / PDQ and the like)

When I get the chance I'll try and group within each list by genre.

Once this damn list building is done, I can get back to reviews, the next RPG "porn" release, funky dice and all the other stuff that seems to stir the shite on the interwebs ;)

Need to Divide the Free RPG List - Any Thoughts?

The Free RPG List I've been putting together has grown in leaps and bounds, and is set to grow even more with the suggestions I've received so far today (let alone further suggestions and games I stumble upon).  I'm not just throwing any game into the list, but I think the list needs to be broken down further.

I'm thinking:

Free OSR Games (for the D&D clones, sims, variants, etc)

Free Old School RPGs (anything from the mid 90's and before - T&T, Gore, West End Games D6, Lost Souls, OpenQuest, etc)

Free RPGs - General (Risus, PDQ, stuff from Greg at Dark Horse Games, Stuff from the Free RPG Blog, etc)

Free RPG Day Quickstarts (for this year, last year and possibly 2009) - this list would probably be the last one done

Any thoughts, suggestions, changes?

How Many Freely Available RPGs Are There?

Well, it isnt infinite, but the list on the left of this post just keeps growing.  It seems I'm constantly having those "how the hell did I forget THAT one?"

Added, in no particular order of preference to the List of Free RPG Rules:

Bill Coffin's Septimus and the D6 core Bundle from West End Games.  The same engine that powered Star Wars back in the day.

FUDGE, cause, like, its  been around forever (and is a pretty cool ruleset)

Old School Hack - hey, people play it and like it.  It's Old School and New School.  It's a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup!

The System - Old School crunch heavy.  Missed it the first time around, which isnt a surprise.

Pars Fortuna - a Swords & Wizardry variant - 'nuff said!

Lost Souls (i own a 1st printing), Legendary Lives (another 1st printing), Khaotic (never owned) and Crimes People Play (never released back in the day) original published by Marquee Press and released to the masses for free in PDF by the author, Joe Williams.  Good stuff from the early 90's.

Oh, and Mapping Resources is now its own list.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Busy Day - And Another Free RPG Day PDF is Released

Went to Home Depot to grab some laminate flooring samples, as I'll be using laminate for the flooring in the bedroom / office area.  I think we settled on an oak laminate.  Also put up another wall worth of wallpaper, which should leave me about a wall and a half to go.  Only have one day of work this week (Wednesday), so if I can get the wallpaper done and the flooring ordered and the archway molding rebuilt (which may be tomorrow's project) I'll be thrilled.

The Black Crusade Free RPG Day freebie has been released in PDF.  It comes in hi-res and lo-res versions:  (thanks again to Walking dad's thread on ENWorld)
 Broken Chains (high res pdf, 41.7 MB)
Broken Chains (low res pdf, 2.9 MB)
Broken Chains Bonus Characters (high res pdf, 15.7 MB)
Broken Chains Bonus Characters (low res pdf, 888 KB)

At this rate I'll need a link list of the Free RPG Day PDF releases.

edit:  and added Old School Hack to the Free Games List

Adding Dave's Mapper to the Resources List

Rob Lang's Free RPG Blog is a treasure trove of RPG goodies.  Last week he highlighted Dave's Mapper, which uses geomorphs to make some gorgeous rpg maps.  This looks like a blast to use, let alone use the results.

Also, to the RPG list, I'm adding adding Dragonquest, the old SPI fantasy RPG.  As long as a game is played, it lives, and this game is still being played.  Thanks Padre.

I'm beginning to things Maps and Tokens need their own list.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Adding Star Frontiers and Talislanta (and ZEFRS) to the Free RPG List

I'm surprised I forgot these two.

Star Frontiers is alive and well at Starfrontiers.org.  Then we have Starfrontiersman being added to the Resources list.

I also forgot Talislanta.  No friggin elves!

Edit: I also forgot ZEFRS - the engine behind the old Marvel Superheroes Game, Conan and Gamma World 3rd Ed, all by TSR.

I Got Savaged in Kith’takharos!

Yep, I spent the afternoon play testing an upcoming adventure from the guys at White Haired Man. I was the only party death, but it was a heroic stand!

I've owned the Savage Worlds rules for years, even prior to the Explorer Edition and had yet to play in a session until now. Amazing, I know, but I was never able to wrap my head around the system until today. Play certainly helps the learning process.

As for the play test itself? Probably the most fun I've had gaming in a long time. The combination of in game chat and voice using Ventrillo worked very well, and it didn't hurt that we had a good group playing. The adventure was a challenge, but a group used to working together would have had an easier time with it. It took some time for us to learn the other characters strengths.

From my estimate, based upon what we were able to accomplish in 5 hrs (with a 5 minute potty break), this adventure should be good for 3 to 4 sessions easily. Online does tend to slow thing down a tad, so 2 to 3 sessions if it were played face to face. Extremely good value on your dollar.

What's the name? When is it being released? Is the cover art really that awesome? (yes) That's for the White Haired Men (Man) to reveal, tho I'll post an update when they post theirs.

I do want to thank Viz for inviting me, and the rest for putting up with my lack of system knowledge (tho i learned a lot, and forgot much of it already, i am sure).

Really makes me hunger for a steady FG2 again. Maybe I should get off my ass and run one myself. After this coming November that is. Life should calm down a bit after November 5th ;)

Playtesting an Adventure For White Haired Man This Afternoon

I forgot how much fun Fantasy Grounds 2 is with a good GM and a fun party.  It's been a couple of months since I've used the software, and it's great as always.  Just wish I had the confidence to run a game with it.

Well, that and I'm waiting on a Swords & Wizardry ruleset for it.  Oh, and Tunnels & Trolls too.

More after the session wraps...

Friday, June 24, 2011

I've Spent WAY Too Much on Virtual Table Tops Over the Years

I was lying in bed last nite, suffering from a mild sneezing attack, when it dawned on me... I've spent a crap load of cash over the years on a bunch of virtual table tops I never use.

Klooge was my first purchase. I had high hopes for it, and bought a gm license and 5 floating licenses. It was, and still, an ugly piece of work. Java based if I recall correctly, i used it once while play testing a Rolemaster ruleset for it. Ah well.

Next up was Fantasy Grounds (later upgraded to Fantasy Grounds 2). I bought many a license to gift to members of my old group (this was back when even a novice could make money on the net). Heck, I have myself a copy of the Ultimate license these days. I've played in years worth of gaming sessions (haven't run one myself yet). Great product.

Battlegrounds RPG was also bought around this time with a couple of floaters. I really need to sit down and give this a better look. Heruca has been issuing some board game conversions for it.

iTabletop / Pandora - holy crap, I think I sunk about 400 bucks into this. I still have high hopes for it. It's free now. Go figure. Maybe it will be all that is can be.

Screenmonkey - Eh. That's it. Eh

Maptools - free. lots of features. i can't wrap my head around it.

GMail Chat - it's how the current Tunnels & Trolls game is running. Works extremely well, just no maps or dice roller. Guess its as good as the GM. Ours rocks.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mini Review - Nuclear Sunset (Mutant Future)

Wow. It's been a couple of weeks since I've done a "mini review". Time for me to catch up.

Nuclear Sunset: The Southwest, is a sandbox style campaign setting for Mutant Future. Mutant Future is the OSR movements re-imaging of Gamma World and other Old School post apocalypse games using the OGL as it's core. There is a link to a free download of Mutant Future on the Free RPG List on the left. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy. Don't worry. I'll wait.

OK, now that you have your rules, we can discuss the setting and what a setting it is. Think Post Apocalypse with classic western overtones, then dial it up.

The combination works better then I would have expected, but then the Firefly TV series showed that sci-fi with strong western overtones can work very well. I give Vigilance Press major props for finding a strong setting concept for Mutant Future that isn't an obvious one, until you read it. It's that good.

Salt Lake, Vegas, Phoenix and other well known locations make the transition to Mutant Future with enough highlights that you'll recognize them, but so much changed that they are totally new.

We are given location write ups, the major factions (and their relation to the different locals), but even more importantly an abundance of adventure hooks. You could easily run a campaign for years using the Nuclear Sunset setting and the adventure hooks supplied. That's a true compliment for a product that is 20 1/2 pages long.

My one complaint is that it is not printer friendly. The nuclear watermark and background art on the text pages will kill your ink. It's not a huge complaint, as I don't plan on printing out a copy (I love my tablets for PDF reading), but I know some of you do like to print your own so I felt this should be pointed out.

Nuclear Sunset is an excellent value at 99 cents. If it's half as much fun to run as it is to read, it's one of the bigger RPG values available.

Dungeon Crawl Classics - Free RPG Day Starter - Quick Look

Let me warn you right away. I'm looking at the PDF version (still have my issue with 5 bucks for a PDF that was free in physical form last Saturday) and I have yet to give it a proper read thru. I've just done a virtual flip-thru.

The PDF is 18 pages. Taking off the front cover and rear ad from the total, we are at 16 pages. How do those 16 pages break down? Glad you asked.

The intro is a page long.

Flavor text is two pages long. One of those pages is a handful of words, white text on a black background. Skip this page if printing at home, its an ink killer.

Art takes up three full pages, which isn't a lot, but when you only have 16 pages to present 2 adventures, it's a sizable portion of your space.

Reviewing the basic mechanics of DCC takes another page. To use the enclosed adventures, you'll absolutely need the free DCC Beta.

The first adventure for the character swarm of newbies, takes up 5 pages - 4 text and 1 for the map. The map is gorgeous. It isn't your classic, grid style map but a piece of art unto itself.

The second adventure, for level 5 characters (high level play according to the blurb) is 4 pages - 3 text and 1 for the map. Do I need to say it again? This map is also amazing.

The maps alone are nearly worth the price of admission.

Alright, I'll give this a read thru over lunch and give my thoughts on the actual adventures later.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Looking At Some Late Loot

When I woke up Saturday, i completely forgot is was Free RPG Day.  When i finally remembered, I logged into Noble Knight Games to try and grab some loot (1 freebie per $15 spent).  I was too late for the DCC Starter, but I did manage to grab:

Black Crusade: Broken Chains (Warhammer 40k line of RPGs) -32 Pages including covers

Dragon Age Quickstart - 32 pages plus cardboard cover.  It's real purty ;)

A Nightmare at Hill Manor - 64 pages, it wins on weight alone

D&D 4e - Domain of Dread: Histaven - eh, I thought it was gonna be a quickstart.  16 pages.

More once I look thru them.

Oh, and the PDF for Eden Studios Free RPG Day Waking Dead has been released.

DCC RPG Free RPG Day Adventure Starter PDF Released - For $4.95

Goodman Games has released their DCC RPG Free RPG Day Adventure Starter for $4.95 as a watermarked PDF from their website.

5 bucks isn't a huge price, but for 16 pages it certainly isnt cheap. Then again, they did release the DCC Beta for free, but that free beta is also a huge free marketing gimmick for the final product.

I'm buying a copy of the DCC RPG Free RPG Day Adventure Starter PDF because I really want to see what the mob of peasants are expected to overcome.

Still, if GG knew they were going to be charging $4.95 for the PDF, they could have told us ahead of time.  If they did, I certainly missed the announcement.

Free Feeding Frenzy

Last nite, when I posted about the Free RPG Day PDFs that were released, there was a bit of a downloading frenzy, not just of Free RPG Day stuff, but also from the now expanded Free RPG list on the Left Sidebar.  Pretty damn cool!

I've added a Free RPG Resources list.  It's far from complete, as I know of stuff that needs to be added and I'm sure there is stuff I've completely overlooked, but it does include settings, stats, mags, Virtual Table Tops, Mappers, an RPG Soundboard, a map collection, geomorphs, counters... phew!

As always, add your suggestions and I'll see to adding them to the list.

BTW, the RPG list is alphabetical.  The Resource list I'm trying to group by type, although if it grows enough, I'll probably break it down into separate lists.

As for the free adventures list - it's forth coming.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Free RPG Day PDFs Are Starting to Show Up

I stole this list from ENWorld.  When I find more, I'll post them.

Paizo Publishing
Pathfinder Module: We Be Goblins! (PFRPG)

White Wolf
Nightmare on Hill Manor

Green Ronin
Dragon Age RPG Quickstart Guide

The Wild Hunt

Update to the (latest) Minor Renovations at the Tavern and the Residence

I'm still trying to tweak the columns thing on this here blog.  I'm keeping the colors.  I kinda like them.

Not sure if I should be scared or pleased that my thoughts on getting lists of free gaming stuff together were on a similar wavelength / timing with Zak's.  Not that I'm a Puritan or anything, it's just I suspect we would tend to disagree on more topics then not.

Took tomorrow off from work for multiple reasons:

     1 - The weekly T&T chat game is tonight.  Now I can game to the very end w/o worrying about loss of sleep waking up early for work.

     2 - Need to update my service uniform for nearing the 15 year mark.  Especially since I never updated it for hitting the 10 year mark.  Will be spending some time at the tailor tomorrow (and yes, I already had it taken out for the years of "expansion" I have suffered ;)

     3 - Wallpapering date with my mother tomorrow.  She's great at wallpapering, I need to wallpaper two rooms I am renovating.  The day works for both of us.

     4 - Maybe I'll catch up on some reviews...

     5 - Work on the free stuff link lists

Caution! Man Working

Tweaking the blog layout and working on the "free stuff" lists. Zak's free adventure post listing from last nite should be a good resource. I'd link to it, but I'm typing this on my iPhone.

In the meantime, keep the comments coming. It's apparent I've missed a good chunk of stuff.

- Posted from my iPhone

Monday, June 20, 2011

The List of Free Stuff Needs to Grow

I'm fairly sure I'm missing some excellent free OSR resources with the list I have on the left side of this page. If you can think of more goodies to be grabbed, add it here and I'll expand the list. Heck, if we get enough stuff, I'll make multiple lists.

Don't limit yourself to purely OSR stuff either. If its good and free, I'm sure someone will figure out a way to convert it for use.

edit: Great feedback so far. I think I'll be breaking the list into 3 parts: Rules, Adventures and Supplemental Resources, unless someone has another idea on how to do it.

Hmm, might go to a left / right sidebar format too.

K, keep adding to the list folks!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Story of Cats & a Dog

Once upon a time, two kittens were brought to their new home.  It had two floors and a basement, and the domain was theirs.  Fritzy, the brother, quickly learned that sucking on his sister Heidi's neck kept her submissive (and he enjoyed it in a sexual sense, even as a eunuch cat).  Still, they loved each other, played like young cats play and all was good in their world.

A few years later, another kitten would visit.  When she stayed, the upper level of their domain was closed off (as in truth, the humans had two separate apartments, but the cats cared not for such limitations), and the visitor enjoyed her privacy.  The visitor rarely stayed longer then a week, and the two sides never met during the visits.

Then, one day, the visitor's human companion passed before her time, and Ashley moved in permanently.  Fritzy and Heidi relinquished the upstairs to Ashley, but the transition was not smooth.  Ashley was young and untrained in the world of feline manners, and many a disagreement took turns for the worse.  Only once did it come to blows, but many words were exchanged, and Ashley excelled at shadow boxing.

Finally, a pecking order was established, but like many things in the world of cats, it makes little sense to humans.  Fritzy trumped his sister, yet his sister intimidated Ashley, just as Ashley now dominated Fritzy.  An ongoing game of Rock, Paper, Scissors thus ensued.

So it was until the dog appeared.  Chloe, a long haired dachshund, appeared one day in the company Ashley's human companion's significant other.  Chloe, not understanding what a cat was, and the cats, fairly sure they did not want to know what a dog was, could not come to any sort of terms.  Chloe would bark, the cats would hide, Chloe would leave and the cats would return.

Ashley made  the first attempt at learning what a "dog" was.  Waiting for the dog to fall asleep, she decided to smell the dog, as Ashley was a cat that smelled things before doing anything.  So she smelled the dog, then sneezed, waking the dog, causing some excitement.  At which point, Ashley calmly but surely, hid beneath the bed again.

Heidi first used avoidance, then ignorance, deciding that if the dog didn't exist, it wouldn't be there at all.  So she pretended it wasn't there.

Fritzy saw himself as the only one that could make a stand, and thus decided, after months of observing and hissing from a distance, to charge the dog.  The dog did flee upon the charge, finding itself cornered by a cat that stopped 2 feet away and sat on his haunches, watching the dog try to climb a wall and yelp. Sensing his new found power, he chased the dog again, who, finding herself cornered, cried for her human companion as Fritzy "Shadow Boxed" her from 2 feet away.

Still, the dog was not all tail between her legs, as when Heidi the cat decided to cross her path and look down, Chloe saw the chase was on, and did chase the cat until the cat did jump on a table to escape.

Thus, the game of Rock, Paper, Scissors has new complications and dynamics. In the end, a new pecking order will be established.  Feelings will be hurt, adrenaline will flow, but each will know their place.  Until they don't.  At which point, all will start anew.

Reaction From Outside the Blogosphere - Action Castle is "Just Good Fun"

Well, last Saturday at the Gathering of Fools, we did more then just give out RPGs, watch movies, play Guitar Hero and Rock Band, eat Mexican Food and snacks... and of course, drink beer.  It was requested by our host, Wall Street Wizard, that I bring Action Castle.  Yep, the one local group member that actually reads my blog wanted me to bring something he read about on my blog.  It felt good ;)

We didn't get to it until nearly the end of the gathering. WSW was busy cleaning and neatening up the place before the wife and urchins returned from visiting the WSW's sister-in-law when I realized we hadn't yet played Action Castle - so I whipped it out (for some reason I am thinking about Blazing Saddles at the moment, but I digress).  I printed out the rule page twice (yep, all the rules fit on one page) and made Bri the official rule reader for the group.

As he read the rules, I summarized them to the group as live action Zork.  Well, live in that I  was playing the computer's roll and they were jointly playing the computer user's roll.  Then we were off.

I read the first location's description and decided I would indicate items that they could interact with by using my fingers to open and close quotations as I said the word.  So, the line - There is a rose bush in front of the cottage became -  There is a "Rose Bush" in front of the cottage.  It helped them with the usable items.

Much of the fun and humor inherent is due to the fact that you are making people think in a "parser game" or Zork-like manner.  Answering them with "I do not know how to 'what the fuck' a rosebush" just adds to the fun.  ;)

It did make them think, and as they started to figure out what was needed to be done you could feel the energy build up.  It was a blast and played out in about 20 minutes or so with 4 players and a GM.  It would probably had taken a little longer if we weren't in a time crunch - I allowed fast travel between known locations (I no longer asked for "North", "North", "Down" if they had already travelled between points "A" and "B").

This sucker is a steal for 99 cents.  There's a bunch more in the series, and I plan onbringing one or two more to the next gathering.  Actually, it was requested :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The D30 - Best Cat Toy Ever Invented

So, earlier today I had to determine the winners of the 1000 post giveaway.  30 commenters, so I broke out my 30 sided die that I recently ordered for use with the Dungeon Crawl Classics Beta.

Man, I thought D20s liked to roll for a long time... the D30 thinks it's nearly round.  Sucker goes nearly forever with a good roll.  Which is something my cat learned very quickly.

Ashely watched me roll it a few times before taking a few tentative taps to make it move a bit, then she swatted it off my desk and the chase was on.

It's too big for her to eat and rolls just far enough to really excite her without rolling forever like a ball.  She thinks I bought it for her.  I may need to get a second just for myself ;)

And The Winners Are...

Thirty commenters, so I get to use my new D30 (yes, a few opted out, so I'll just reroll if they come up.  If someones number get rolled a second time, it gets rerolled.  1 prize per person.

We have 2 prize packages of Dark Heresy: Inquisitor's Handbook and the Hero's Handbook: Dragonborn in PDF courtesy of OneBookShelf.  The winners are:

Joseph Browning (code sent)

Congrats!  Email me at erikATtrubluniteDOTnet so I can send your codes.

Next up we have 3 PDF copies of Resolute: The Splintered Realm.  I'm buying these copies as gifts, so you need to send me an email address you have that you use at RPGNow.com / DriveThruRPG.com.

The winners of Resolute: The Splintered Realm are:

ze bulette  Spawn of Endra (as ze opted out) (sent)
Jagatai  C'nor (Outermost Toe) (as Jagatai opted out)


Lastly, we have 6 PDF copies of Action Castle.  I'm buying these copies as gifts, so you need to send me an email address you have that you use at RPGNow.com / DriveThruRPG.com.

The winners of Action Castle are:

Lecker ThAC0! (sent)
Dyson Logos (sent)
JDJarvis (sent)
Pere Ubu (sent)
A Paladin in Citadel (rpgnow is having problems with the address - email me at the above addy)
Tim Shorts (sent)

Congrats again!

I'll need the winners to email AND post in this thread (kinda like a double confirmation).  I'll get the prizes out as quickly as I  can,  but it is Father's Day weekend ;)

Congrats to the winners and a HUGE thank you to everyone that reads this blog!

Friday, June 17, 2011

1000th Post Contest Closes... Whenever I Wake Up In the Morning and Log In :)

Which means you still have a few hours to add your comment to this post (as in the link, not this actual post) and possibly come away with some free loot.

As a side note, did my LotFP's Weird Fantasy is Porn post really stir up this much crap?  The main point I was making is that for people less involved in the hobby (not bloggers / designers / forum and blog readers, etc but definitely gamers) going from say, Swords & Wizardry to Weird Fantasy is a HUGE leap in the type of content and style.  Art tends to stick out, as it's easier to notice then the written word on a quick flip thru.  So yes, they called it "porn".  It might not fit your definition of such, may or may not fit mine, but it fit someone's last saturday.

Besides, it's was a blog title that wrote itself the moment I heard it.

In any case, bloggers (including myself) tend to have huge opinions, but few if any of us are experts on anything.  Unless you subscribe to the theory that all TV and Radio Talk Show hosts are experts, in which case... I'm an expert too, cause a blog is a media outlet, so there!  Na-na-na-na!  :)

A Professional Hobby or a Hobby Run Professionally?

The way I see it, there are basically 2 types of successful RPG publishers once you get past the Industry giants.

You have the Professional Hobbyists - these are the ones that truly are attempting (or maybe even succeeding) with making a living off of RPG writing and publishing. LotFP, Troll Lord Games, Goodman are some examples.

Then you have the Hobbyists That Make Professional Games - professional releases for free or close to cost. Creativity before profit. Goblinoid Games, Mythmere, Dark Horse are some examples.

There are other tiers, but this are the main types you see in out little corner we call the OSR.

Both approaches are valid, although those attempting to make a living off of this hobby is by far the tougher path.

Still, it reminds me of my early days as a cop in the South Bronx. On weekends, my unit would come in early to do "Ho Roundups". If that sounds like herding cattle, there were some similarities. In any case, there are different "social classes" of prostitutes, even in the South Bronx. The "locals" that lived in the area and considered this a somewhat legitimate occupation, would literally get into fist fights with the girls that were from out of town, or in many cases, drug addicts. The fights were over a simple issue - the out of towners would do the same sex acts for about half the amount the locals charged. Even worse, they were happy with the amounts they made. The locals felt they were ruining the local economy (that's what they referred to it as. I remember the arguments that took place in the prisoner wagons). The 2 sides had to co-exist, but they didn't like it much, and the disputes often got nasty.

I most certainly am not likening the writers and publishers in the OSR to South Bronx Prostitutes, although the imagery is pretty funny. It's just that I see some similarities in the different attitudes and approaches from those that are looking to make a living off this hobby and those that treat it as a hobby.
No fist fights, no hair pulling - it seems to be more politics then anything else.

As far as I'm concerned, I'm just a "John". Whoever puts out the best product for the lowest price is where I'll be. I'll try not to feel too dirty ;)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Reviews in the Hopper

I've got a few reviews I want to get to over the next few days.  See, this is about me being organized... or at least trying to be organzied.

In no particular order:

LotFP Weird Fantasy: Grindhouse Edition (I need to finish this multi-part review)

Errant and Cascade Failure (yes Greg - way over due)

Simple Scenario Bundle and The Dreamers Awaken for Fantasy Grounds 2 from White Haired Man (OGL versions, and yes Viz, way overdue too)

Tavern By the Sea by Ken St. Andre (new Tunnels & Trolls solo)

Nuclear Sunset: The Southwest for Mutant Future (really enjoying what I've read so far)

Vornheim (I think I need to finish this review)

Blackmarsh from Bat in the Attic Games (free, professional sandboxie setting - its linked to the left)

Edit:  Forgot Dungeon Crawl Classics - add that to the list (thanks to JasonZavoda for the reminder)

Holy crap that's a list and a half!  I'm sure I missed something or two.  Time to get a crackin'.

Disorganized Thoughts

If any of you ever saw my desk, either at work or home, you would be amazed that I could find anything. Heck, I amaze myself at times. Organization is not my strong point.

It affects my blogging too. I start looking to do one thing, get sidetracked, and then shit falls to the side, only to rediscovered weeks or months later.

I'm going to try to keep a list of what I am working on, what i should be working on, what i want to work on. Basically, I'm attempting to organize myself.

Wish me luck ;)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Looking Back

I'm looking back at the past 1000 posts, and I do find it amazing that I've gotten to this point. In fact, I had such a hard time deciding on what to blog about at first, that nearly a year passed between the first and second posts.

It takes a lot of trial and error to not only find your blogging voice but also your writer's voice. This blog most certainly isn't now what it was 3 years, 2 years, 1 year, 6 months or even 3 months ago. Blogs evolve and change. They can take a life of their own. I embrace that concept myself. Sometime my blog surprises even me.

Getting readers to your new blog is mostly getting yourself out there. Posting insightful and interesting comments on other blogs is a good way to get your blog noticed. The simple fact is, for many bloggers (myself included) building your reader base is a slow process. For months, I was lucky to get 20 views a day (and i suspect about half of those were me checking out the page myself). My first big surge was my review of LotFP's The Grinding Gear. Raggi's mentioning of my review tripled my traffic that day.

I literally had no idea how to do a review early on. I'm not saying I know how to do one now, but I was really lost in the beginning. I tend not to review things that I have overly negative feelings about. Negative reviews are generally not fun to write.

Something that I used to do (and Gothridge Manor does) is spotlight new blogs that I find interesting. Adding them to the blogroll is nice, but posting about why a blog is worth reading has true value. I need to get back to that.

Hmmm, I need to post about Sex, Drugs and Dice Rolling... I'm sure that would drive lots of traffic ;)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

To Infinity and Beyond - 1001, A Post Odyssey

I don't want to clutter up the comments section of the thousandth post, so let me say some things here.

First - Thank You!  Thanks to all for their well wishes and congratulations.  They make me feel all giddy inside :)

Oh, and Gaptooth - Way frikkin' cool!

Next - The copies of Action Castle and Resolute: The Splintered Realm really do belong to you, the readers of this blog.  When you buy from RPGNow / DriveThruRPG from the links to the left, or a mini review or such, that small commission I get is used for gifts like this.  It's my chance to thank you.  As I type this, the 1000th post thread has 20 comments... one more comment and the pot grows to 6 copies of Action Castle and 3 copies Resolute: The Splintered Realm.  Keep it growing lads and ladies!

Now, for my next thousand posts:
      -I really need to start writing some Tales of the Blue Knight again.  I'll do my best to get another entry posted by the end of the month.
      -Obviously, more reviews.  
      -More thoughts on Tunnels & Trolls.
      -Maybe some work on another class missing from Swords & Wizardry - the Illusionist (This may be tricky, and probably wouldn't hue too close to the original, but I'd want to keep the flavor intact)
     -Assuming my Bard submission for Knock Spell gets published, I have a few ideas for spells and bardic items that I'll add via the blog.  Or if it doesn't make the cut, the bard will appear here.
     -It's time for me to start work on the campaign I wish to run, probably via Fantasy Grounds 2 (although other VTTs are in the running).  The blog is where the details will get worked out.  The call for players will be on here too, but don't hold your breath.  I have lots of work to get to that point, and less free time to get there then I have been recently accustomed to.
     -Other assorted stuff as it occurs to me.  What a surprise ;)

Thanks for the company!

1000th Post Contest - Get Yourself Some Free Loot!

Yep, this is the mystical, magical 1000th post at the Tavern. Holy Crap!

In any case, I'm giving away some free loot.

Courtesy of OneBookShelf/RPGNow, 2 fine folk that add their comments to this post will each receive copies of (in PDF format) Dark Heresy: Inquisitor's Handbook and the Hero's Handbook: Dragonborn.

But wait! There's more! Add your comment now and you'll be entered for a chance to win a copy of Action Castle! or Resolute: The Splintered Realm. Here's how the second part works: for every ten people (or fraction thereof) that add a comment to this post I'll be adding two copies of Action Castle! and one copy of Resolute: The Splintered Realm to the pot. So, if 10 people add themselves to the comment thread - 2 copies of Action Castle! and one copy of Resolute: The Splintered Realm are up for grabs. 21 people add themselves to the comment thread, 6 copies of Action Castle! and 3 copies of Resolute: The Splintered Realm are in the pot!

I think I'll set the max at 20 and 10 copies respectively to give away, but that would require 91 different commenters to hit that number ;)

If you don't want to be considered for a certain item, say so in your comment.

I'll leave this open at least thru the end of the day on Friday, June 17, 2011.

I'll add hyperlinks and any pictures tonight when i get home from work.  (edit - or maybe tomorrow - I'm beat and ready from bed...zzzz)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sneaking Up on a Thousand Posts

I never would have guessed if I hadn't seen it myself.  So, next post will list two freebies that I will be giving away to TWO lucky readers that add their comments to that post.  Yes, you need to be in it to win it.

So, what are the freebies gonna be?

Dunno, but I've got 20% off codes for:

Dark Heresy: Inquisitor's Handbook


Hero's Handbook: Dragonborn

use: HotJuneDrive2011 for either / or

hmmm... could that be a hint as to what is being given away tomorrow?     ;)

At What Point Do YOU Tap Out?




Drug Use.

What is your "Tap Out" point in a RPG? As Padre stated in a comment to my earlier post, one can talk about rape and pillaging in a general sense without much response in most cases, but when it starts getting detailed - when it starts to become more "real" - many folks feel uncomfortable, and justifiably so.

With my old group, we hit that moment when they were torturing some humanoid to get the location of the rest of the clan. The PCs were trying to save a village, the orc (or whatnot) wouldn't talk, and they started cutting off his fingers one by one. It was all fine and dandy until the DM included the details of the torture, the blood, the screams - the shit became real, and we felt ill.

In RPGs, some details are best left behind the scenes. At least, that is my humble opinion.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Reaction From Outside the Blogosphere - LotFP's Weird Fantasy is "D&D Porn"

Yesterday, at the Gathering of Fools, one of the gaming items I brought to give away was the extra copy of LotFP's Weird Fantasy Rules & Magic book.  I got the extra copy as I preordered the Grindhouse Edition Boxed set.

The Tunnels & Trolls 7.5e Boxed set lasted mere seconds after hitting the table.  Damn, but that was grabbed fast.  Weird Fantasy was the second thing that grabbed attention.  The questions started with "Why is there a Pilgrim on the cover of a D&D book?" but quickly turned to "Holy shit dude!  Where did you get D&D porn?  And why?"

That was the reaction of my old gaming group to the full page art plates in Weird Fantasy.  Over the years, I've given out copies of C&C Player's Handbooks, Osric, Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry, Dark Dungeons and even had them fight it out as generic 1st level fighters for a copy of the Swords & Wizardry White Box.  The above is a main listing, I've given away other odds and ends.  One of my friends calls the collection that he has gained one of the coolest things he owns.

Never before has any one accused - maybe "accused" is too strong a term - let's say "voiced the opinion" that I brought over D&D Porn.

Heck, it's not that they were offended.  Mildly disturbed perhaps, but none of us are prudes.  Most of us are parents tho', and it never really occurred to me before that there might be products in my gaming collection that would be best stored out of the reach of children.  I've been too close to the whole blogging / insiders view of our hobby that I failed to see the forest for the trees.

Now, the nudity that was in the earlier Deluxe Edition of Weird Fantasy was more "artsy" then "porn" in my opinion, as I sit here and compare the two.  I think it is the erect penises and obvious sex act that puts the Grindhouse Edition over the edge.  Well, at least that's what got the initial reaction from the guys yesterday.  I found myself trying to defend the rules, not the art, but I shouldn't have had the need to do either.

In the end, it found itself a new home.  Wall Street Wizard should find a lot of cool gaming ideas held within that book.  He will need to keep it out of the reach of his curious young ones, which is a shame, as the book itself does not read of sex acts or anything else of the sort.  A picture says a thousand words, so perhaps James felt the less actually said, the better.  All i know is, if me and my fiancee decide to have children, I don't have all that much I will need to keep out of their hands, except the Weird Fantasy Grindhouse Edition Boxed Set, which is a shame.  It didn't need to be that way, and as written it is a good system to introduce new gamers to the hobby.  Just don't pass the rules on to any under the age of 18 ;)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gathering of Fools - June 11, 2011 - Recap

Today was the Annual Gathering of Fools that my old gaming group does every year around this time.   We chose late May / early June so that we can remember the member of our circle that we lost on 9-11.  His birthday was in late May.  We miss ya Paul.  You are with us in spirit.

As for the Gathering itself, it was a blast as always.  We spent a good amount of time playing Rock Band and Guitar Hero on the Wii.  As I am the only member of our group that never learned how to play an instrument, I stuck with singing.  Belting out Rammstein's Du Hast was fun, but didn't leave me much vocal strength for a good Ramone's song.  Yes, I'm a Punk / Metal / Rock / Techno geek when it comes to my musical tastes.

Mexican food was on the menu for lunch - our host, Wall Street Wizard made an excellent choice.  Any more food and they would have had to carry me back to the car.

We watched Zombieland, which was much more enjoyable watching with a bunch of goofball friends then it was when I watched it on my own.  Heck, we usual watch Army of Darkness, and this hit many of the same sweet spots.

Movie time was followed by a game of Action Castle, a game that seeks to reproduce a Zork-like gaming atmosphere as a party / family game.  Once they got the hang of it, they had a blast.  It was Wall Street Wizard's idea for me to bring it along, so he was on a roll today ;)

Gave out some gaming loot to the guys.  Highlights were a copy of the Tunnel's & Trolls 7.5e boxed set (Davey grabbed that), and extra copy of LotFP Weird Fantasy Rulebook for the Grindhouse Edition (Wall Street Wizard), 2 copies of the T&T Corgi edition of the 5e rulebook, 1 T&T Corgi double solo, 2 Monsters! Monsters! reprints and some extra copies of the Sorcerer's Scroll that I picked up on Ebay.  Not a bad haul for the 4 of them to split.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Coming Off the DCC High

Now that I've had a chance to read thru most of the Dungeon Crawl Classics Beta RPG Release, I find it is neither as as great as I had hoped, nor as bad as I feared.

I still have issues with the 0-Level mob of starter characters, as it reminds me of the Paranoia (1st Ed) RPG's use of disposable clones. But, as I read later, there are rules for starting characters at level 1, or even higher (up to level 3). Clone-mob may be fun once or twice, but after that, the novelty (and the joke) will wear off.

I like the use of skills based upon previous (pre adventuring) training. We used something vaguely similar back when I ran AD&D 1e games.

Spells. I'd have to see this in play, although some high roll spell effects are great, they won't come into play much with certain spells, as the hight roll benefits will only benefit if you cast the spell assuming you'd get that benefit. Okay, that was confusing. In any case, some of the spell charts could default to one basic spell chart, which would lessen the need to constantly look crap up.

Criticals. Is it just me, or did others have a RoleMaster flashback? Personally, I've seen criticals do more harm then good, as sooner or later a crit is going to take PC out.

Dice. I have 'em. I foolishly ordered a set in the same color. The d24 and d20 look damn close, as do the d14, d16 and the d10s. Sigh.

I'll play a game or two of DCC (I better, I preordered), but I haven't fallen in love with it. It may be good for a one nite stand. Heck, it may even look better with beer goggles ;)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

How to NOT Kill Things and STILL Take Their Stuff!

One aspect of roleplaying game that I feel is frequently overlooked in most rule books is the game outside the charts, tables, lists and rolls.  To some extent, 3e did us a disservice, as it went too far into defining a character, their abilities, feats, skills, etc.  It took much of the magic and imagination that the PC / Player shared and turned it into a multi-page character sheet.

A Basic D&D or even AD&D 1e character had depth beyond the sheet.  He HAD to, as there was so much left to be defined that wasn't covered by a rule or written on the sheet.  Heck, back then, you could have written your character on an index card with little problem - I know I did.

See, rules in our RPGs tend to be written to cover success and failure in events that can't be role played.  The thing is, with 3e (and even more so in 4e) events that were once role played were now played and decided with the roll of a die.

Still, there is an advantage to the mechanics, especially with the older systems - play them enough, the rules are learned to the point that they fall into the background - role play begins to trump roll play.

The OSR games that stick the closest to their sources seem to be the most successful at bringing out the "role play" in people, but I think that is more because our gaming muscles still remember the rules as we knew them.  Our gaming instincts are less distracted by rules.

From what I've read so far, it seems that Dungeon Crawl Classics, much like Hackmaster before it, adds too many complications to rules that most of us are already familiar with - to the point that gaming the rules will take precedence over ruling the game.

Or, to put it most simply - familiarity with the rules facilitates role play.  Learning and constantly referring to the rules (such as the numerous charts required for spell casting in DCC) will promote roll play.

When you know the rules you no longer need them (to take stuff from Things), when you don't know the rules you need them (to kill things and take their stuff)

X-Plorers Boxed Set Coming From Brave Halfling

I need to thank Ze Bulette for bringing to my attention Brave Halfling's latest release: X-Plorers Boxed Set.  I do love me some boxed RPG sets.  I'm already in for 2 sets - at $25 a piece it's a hard price to beat.

Maybe I'll finally have the SciFi RPG rules I want to use...

Dungeon Crawl Classics Beta - More First Impressions

Goodman Games must be enjoying the hell outa all the hype they are getting on the DCC Beta release. Personally, I LOVE the art. There, I've said it. No, I don't know of any High School friends that could have done better back in the day. Art can set the tone, and this art does.

Is DCC aimed at the RPG newbie? I doubt it. I think they would be both overwhelmed and not get many of the "Old School" references that the game includes. This seems to be more like a reinvisioned Hackmaster then anything else. Not that it's Hackmaster, but it seems to be aimed at a similar audience.

Race as class. Not my preferred method, but I can deal with it. My issue - from my reading of the previous professions table, the only way to have an Elf, Dwarf or Halfling is to have rolled it on the profession table (Dwarven armorer or Halfling gypsy and such). I don't like the idea of taking that much choice out of the players' hands.

Zero level characters. I ran them in AD&D once or twice (was it Under Ilfarn or something like that?) and while fun or novel as a change of pace, I'd hate to use it more then once. The novelty wears off fast, and how does a zero level peasant turn into a 1st level magic-user over nite? Doesn't make sense.

Zero level swarm parties. 15 zero level characters thru attrition become a 5 character 1st level party. Why are these untrained adventurers adventuring? Why, if 2 outa 3 are going to die, are they stepping into the unknown? This seems more like Paranoia then D&D. I might swallow it better if Goodman Games can supply the right backstory, but I doubt that is going to happen. Instead, it seems like a piss poor game mechanic. It really pushes my suspension of disbelief that is necessary to immerse myself in a RPG.

Wacky Dice. I'm mixed on this. I suspect when the Original D&D Boxed Set was released, folks were damn annoyed and confused by the "wacky dice". I've ordered my set of "wacky dice". I'm willing to give it a shot. The D7 that I found doesn't match any other dice in color or markings. What a PITA.

That's all for now. Back to the grindstone

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dungeon Crawl Classics Beta - Its All the Rage!

The frickin' thing is hotter then hot cakes!  Every blogger and their younger brother has something to say about the Dungeon Crawl Classics Beta that was released today - some good, some bad, some bad / good, some good / bad.  The simple fact is people are talking about it, more-so then any recent RPG release that I can recall.  Heck, I preordered sight unseen when it was first announced, and ordered my funky dice this past weekend.

I'm sure that  everyone is waiting with baited breath for my thoughts on it, but that will have to wait.  My initial impression, having virtually thumbed thru my digital copy is that the art rocks and the game definitely has multiple roots - Dungeons and Dragons, Tunnels & Trolls and Rolemaster immediately come to mind, but there might be more.

My thoughts come later ;)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

WotC To Support Older Editions? It Will Cost a DDI Sub To Find Out

According to this thread on ENWorld, an article in the latest Dungeon Magazine (loose definition of magazine, but whatever) talks about adapting a 3E adventure, "The Lich Queen's Beloved" not just to 4E, but to AD&D 1E and 2E.

Much as I'd like to think this will be an ongoing theme, I doubt it.  I can't vouch for the article itself, as I have no intention of paying 10 bucks for the privilege of reading the single article I might be interested in.

Still, I find it interesting that they would even consider publishing an article dealing with anything other then the rule system they are currently publishing.  Would have made more sense to have this article available to non-paying subscribers, to bring those that might not normally check out the whole DDI thing to the WotC site.

Eh, time will tell.

In Case You Missed It: Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG Beta Available June 8th

I'm sure you've seen it announced already, but Goodman Games' DCC RPG Beta will be available for download at the Goodman Games website tomorrow.

I already ordered my set of funky dice.

Although I certainly don't NEED another set of Old School style RPG rules, I enjoy them none the less. Looking forward to reading them tomorrow ;)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Creative Mountain Games is Having a $1 Sale - Time to Get Your 3.5 SRD For a Buck!

Even at full price, CMG's 3.5 SRD Bundle is a great deal, but for a buck it's a no brainer.  Seriously, I've owned it for years.  It was one of my earlier RPGNow purchases.  Get your's today.  Or tomorrow.  Or however long Mark is having his sale for ;)

Oh, he has other stuff on sale too!


This huge Bundle includes the PDF Icon-Interface Index, the SRD 3.5 Revised Basics, Spells, and Magic Items PDF, the SRD 3.5 Revised Monsters PDF, the SRD 3.5 Revised Creature Stat Blocks PDF, the 3.5 Revised Divine PDF, the 3.5 Revised EPIC PDF, the 3.5 Revised Psionics PDF, AND the 10 SRD 3.5 Revised Spellbooks (Adept, Assassin, Blackguard, Bard, Cleric, Domain Spells, Druid, Paladin, Ranger, Sorcerer/Wizard)!

Over 3,500 PDF pages in sixteen cross-linked, heavily-bookmarked documents!

Things To Do, Places To Be

My spring craziness is finally winding down. This coming Saturday is the semi-yearly Gathering of Fools. Yep, my old gaming group will be hanging out, drinking beer, playing video games, telling war stories from our old campaigns - the usual shit. I've been asked to run a game of Parsely (think gaming table Zork type fun). I figure with a few beers in everyone it should be a blast. I also have a bunch of Tunnels & Trolls stuff to give away - I'm like the RPG Santa Claus at these events ;)

I also need to get back into the swing of things with the renovations at the house. The clock is a ticking. A hair less then 5 months to get everything done. Then I can think of actually running a game on a regular basis. Tunnels & Trolls or Swords & Wizardry Complete (especially if my Bard class makes the cut).

Not even going to mention work. Busy busy ;)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mini Review - Resolute: The Splintered Realm (RPG)

Resolute: The Splintered Realm is one of those nifty systems that relies solely on D6, which means you can find the dice you need by raiding just about any board game.  Gotta love that.

The author squarely places his inspiration on the back of D&D "red box" - the first one.  The inspiration shows, even if it looks nothing like a D&D game, it's Old School roots are there.

Success is decided by 2D6 plus modifiers compared against a Difficulty Rating (DR).  For every 5 points your beat the DR, you get a bonus success.  That's the core of it.  There are other things that can modify the roll and such, but the core is fairly simple.  It should be, as the rules wrap up in 20 pages.

We get four core classes (sound familiar?): Disciple, Fighter, Magician and Scout.  Each class - I mean Archetype, has a special ability which helps define it and make it unique.  Or you could avoid taking an archetype all together.

Magic spells have their own chapter.  Magicians aren't the only ones with access to spells, but the other classes need to purchase each spell ability individually.  Nice way to make your character unique, or to model him on some of the other D&D-like classes.

There is a small section on beasts and such and even a one page dungeon included in the mix.  Fair deal for a $3 investment (although there is a Book of Beasts available for a buck).

The PDF is scaled for widescreen monitor and tablets, although there is a printer friendly version also included.

Tech Review - Samsung Galaxy Tab - Sprint Version

As many of you already know, i'm a big fan of tech toys, especialy when I can use them with my gaming and game related activities. My first such toy was the Amazon Kindle DX, the first portable device besides a netbook that I had to read PDFs. I retired that device last spring when I got my iPad.

My iPad has been my go to device for just about anything related to reading, blogging or blog reading. its an amazing way to read all my PDFs in a form I can take with me or read in bed.

I grabbed a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7" Screen on Woot! last week, and it arrived hours before I had to leave for my engagement party. I must say, I'm pretty impressed.

With half the screen real estate then an Ipad, its not going to replace my iPad when it comes to blogging or even surfing the web while I'm at work (my iSpot 4G hub from Clear doesn't work with the Galaxy Tab, which shouldn't be a surprise, as it isn't supposed to, but it is the first device I've tried that hasn't) but as a PDF reading device, it is excellent.

The Galaxy Tab can be held with one hand, the iPad requires two. It reads PDFs in their native format using Adobe Reader, and I can use Dropbox to move them to the GT.

My GT is a Sprint refurb, but it looks brand new and was about a 1/3 of the price that I paid for my iPad last year (or about 1/2 of what a top of the line 1st gen iPad will cost you now). My refurb is contract free, and works well on my home wireless. Have't tried the 3G and have no need of it, so I doubt I'll be reviewing that aspect down the line. At less then $275, it was a steal, especially if you want to take your PDFs with you. Excellent touchscreen, on par with the iPad. I'd recommend it, especially if you are looking for something a little smaller then the iPad.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Review - Weird Fantasy Grindhouse Edition Boxed Set (LotFP) - Part The Third

Yep, back to the long ass review of Weird Fantasy - Grindhouse Edition (I never know if Gindhouse is one word or two... ah well).

On the Magic part of the rules, and magical it is.  If what James did to many of the classes irks me (and it does), what he did with the spells and magic excites me.

Let me start with my one pet peeve on this section, just so I can get it out of the way - the frickin' header art is annoying, repetitious and a waste of about a quarter of each page.  There, I've said it.  I feel much better now that that is off my chest.

As for the spell lists themselves, they are trimmed and tweaked.  D&D mainstays are removed (Fireball, Lightning Bolt, Raise Dead, Resurrect, Wish - etc) which certainly lowers the power level to some extent (and in no way prevents the GM from placing such spells and powers in the hands of NPC adversaries) and makes magic a bit more subtle then in other OSR style games, but it is the tweaks James places in other spells that really sets the tone.

I'm going to use Animate Dead as an example of what James has done with the flavor text and spell descriptions:       This spell energizes the faint memories of life that cling to the bodies and skeletons of people, allowing them to move and act in a gross mockery of their former existence. Because the entities inhabiting these bodies are chosen by the caster, these undead are under his total control. However, the faint memories of life retained by the bodies struggle with the invaders, and this conflict makes them destructive. They will always interpret any instructions in the most violent and destructive manner possible. They will also prefer to attack those they knew in life, no matter their former relationship with the person in question.

The bodies remain animated until they are destroyed. One hit die worth of undead per level of the caster may be created per casting. The caster assigns one or two Hit Dice per undead as desired. Each special ability desired for the undead by the caster increases the Hit Dice “cost” of undead by one (except energy drain, which increases it by two) without increasing their actual Hit Dice. Only mindless undead are created by this spell, and they must be commanded verbally.

That description is many types of awesome, both from flavor and the rule tweaking perspective.  If you take nothing else from the WF ruleset, please liberally steal from the spell section.  It has many hidden gems.

The Summon spell must be mentioned on it's own.  This lowly 1st level Magic-User spell takes up nearly 10 pages.  Not so lowly after all, is it?  Remember, Weird Fantasy doesn't have a Monster Manual or listing, so the Summons sell gives you a series of charts to find out what manner of creature the PC has summonsed from beyond.  Heck, you even need to see if the caster survives that casting.  Excellent work up of this spell.  My hat's off to James.

Next up - The Referee Book

Friday, June 3, 2011

I Ain't a Young Pup Anymore

Spent a 12+ hr day in full patrol uniform for the first time in over 7 years. There is a certain simplicity to not having to work out the day's wardrobe ;)

That being said, 12 hrs is a long day in full battle regalia (as my captain is fond of calling it). My feet and hips are long out of practice.

I'm 15 years away from the last time I GM'ed. I'm hoping the next game I run is less painful...

- Posted from my iPhone

Blogger Has Become a Serious PITA These Days

I like Blogger, really I do. It's much easier for the novice to use then Wordpress IMHO, but that strength is also its weakness these days.

Last weekend I had to use my google-fu to find HTML code that Blogger had apparently dropped willie-nillie from my blog, thereby preventing me from commenting on my own blog posts.

Last nite I was informed by Greg (he of the Errant RPG, Synapse and many others) that no one was able to comment on my latest posts. Blogger was at it again. Now I have my comments set to pop out, which seems to be working for now, but it is far from my ideal solution.

Maybe Google should get their shit together before rolling out updates to Blogger that are all buggered up, or is that just too much to ask?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

LotFP's Weird Fantasy - Why I'll Never Run It

I'll get back to the review of Weird Fantasy,either tonight or over the weekend, but the thought has occurred to me more then once that I would never DM / GM / CK / ABC / 123 - I would never run a game of Weird Fantasy, except MAYBE as a one off at a convention or something.

It's not that it isn't well written. It's not that it isn't evocative. It's not that certain parts aren't pretty damn awesome - I think the Specialist Rocks!, I love many of the changes to the spell disruptions, the Referee book deserves a review post of it's very own - My issue is this is not the type of game I'd enjoy running as is. Heck, I'm not sure if I'd enjoy playing it, as is. Which is a shame, as it's pretty darn good as a total package.

I'd want my players to strive to be heroes. I'd expect Dwarves, Elves, Clerics and Specialists to improve in combat ability (maybe not as fast as the older rules, but advance none the less). I'd want combat to be exciting, without risking a TPK each time the players jump in a fray. For me, it strays to far from it's roots for me to feel completely comfortable.

That doesn't mean it won't work for you. I actually think it would work best for a group that doesn't have itself rooted in the OSR and all the baggage that it brings. Keeping things simple makes this a good choice to introduce new players to roleplaying, or to bring a group over to the D&D corner that has played RPGs with non-TSR rooted rules.

I read on another blog (which I can't seem to find at the moment) that Weird Fantasy might work better if played as a Call of Chtulhu game, where combat is avoided and knowledge is deadly. It makes sense, but I don't think it would lead to campaign play. More likely one shots and the like.

Just some less then random thoughts on the matter.

And Here I Thought "Detect Lie" Was Just a D&D Spell

I consider myself very luck to be on a mailing list of a retired NYPD Sergeant that forwards police and law enforcement related articles on a daily basis.  This arrived yesterday, but I didn't get a chance to read it until today.  Notice the chance of success - maybe a similar ratio should be applied to the Detect Lie D&D spell ;)

Homeland security deploys mind-reading hardwareNail the perp while he thinks of the crime
By Nick Farrell — Tuesday, May 31st, 2011; 6:24 pm ‘Tech Eye.Net’

COMMENT:  This is not a joke.  There are at least four articles written on this Homeland Security program that have been posted on the internet. – Mike

The US Department of Homeland Security has begun field testing new technology which it thinks can identify people who intend tocommit a terrorist act, just by looking at them.

According to the magazine Nature, which we get for the spot the Schroedinger's cat competition, the US spooks have been conducting tests ofFuture Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) in the past few months at an undisclosed location in the northeast of the US.

The gear apparently uses remote sensors to measure physiological properties, such as heart rate and eye movement.

It has been in development since 2008 and it apparently can tell your intent to cause harm.

It is all based on a form of witchdoctor psychology called behavioral science. These boffins have the cunning theory that someone with mal intent may act strangely, show mannerisms out of the norm, or experience extreme physiological reactions based on the extent, time, and consequences of the event.

Homeland Security's FAST technology design so that coppers can basically arrest anyone who looks them funny. So no change there then.

The DHS claimed the machine was accurate 70 percent of the time the other 30 percent will probably get out of Guantanamo Bay in a couple of years.

However some boffins think the gear will give shedloads of false positives.

Tom Ormerod, a psychologist in the Investigative Expertise Unit at Lancaster University, told Nature that even having an iris scan or fingerprint read at immigration is enough to raise the heart rate of most legitimate travelers.

In short, coming into Los Angeles Airport would turn Mother Theresa into a screaming psychopath, it does not mean that you are going to act on your impulses.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dungeons & Dragons - Daggerdale Computer Game in Hand

Yep, spent 15 bucks absolutely nothing for Amazon to send me a copy of the Daggerdale PC game. I must have had some unknown promotion running to get it for free.

I've read it is buggy as hell but that the multiplayer (max 4 peeps) was fun. I'll know more tomorrow when I install the sucker. Early work day tomorrow so I'm posting this from bed ;)

The Trollish Taproom - Latest Tunnels & Trolls Acquisitions

I received my latest Ebay purchase in the mail yesterday. It was the Corgi Editions of the T&T 5e Rules and the double adventure of Gamesmen of Kasar and Mistywood. The rulebook is in mint condition and the double adventure is slightly used. I had them both already, but my copy of the Corgi rulebook was water damaged but useable.

I like the Corgi Edition of the rules one heck of a lot. The size is perfect for bedtime reading or tossing in a bag. The double adventures have a stripped down version of the T&T rules, but as they cover characters up to level 10, one could easily run a GM game or other solos just using the rules in one of the double adventures.

We didn't have the weekly online T&T game last night, which is probably just as well... this past weekend was busy as heck. Next week I'll an an update.
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