Swords & Wizardry Light - Forum

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mini Review - Battlelords of the 23rd Century

I mentioned in a previous post that Battlelords of the 23rd Century was a game I played in but never ran.  My memories of the game are full of exciting gunplay... big guns, big gunplay... and edge of the seat gaming.

My original copy of the rules was a 1st or 2nd edition, packed away in a place that it's impossible for me to get to at this point, so a PDF copy of the 6th edition of the rules is a great way to play catch-up.

I don't recall the huge selection of races that is present in 6e, but I do recall I played an Orion Rogue, and we had a Ram Python in the party.  Everyone seems to have a role in the party, and no race seemed like a poor choice (unlike RIFTS and it's many SDC classed in an MDC world).

It's a pleasure to be flipping thru the latest edition.  I just need to find my old character sheet and see how it matches up.  Heck, I'll need to break out my original dead tree copy, just to see the changes.

I wonder if I can get Dave to GM another session 15+ years later?

Contest: Post Your WTF Were They Thinking!?!

The Glory Hole Dwarven Mine post got me thinking that there must be other misnamed, mispresented or otherwise damn awkward to look at now, products that have been released over the 35+ years that this hobby of ours has been in existence.

So, add your picks to the comment section of this post (and tell us why its a winner).  In a few days, I'll put those picks into a survey at the top of this page, and you, the readers, will decide the winner.  If we get enough entires (edit - if we hit at least 5 entries, I'll add a second prize package) we'll add a prize package or two.

The winner (or winners) will get the following package curtesy of RPGNow / OneBookShelf:

One Night StandThe Warren of the Death Spider (Pathfinder) [Otherworld Creations]
Script Crypt Volume 2: Four Damned Scripts [Crucifiction Games]
Volunder (Mega Dungeon; D&D/OGL) [Stainless Steel Dragon]
QUEST CARDS Game Set 3 [Fuller Flippers]
Incorporated Volume 1 [Brutal Games]
Deadlands: Reloaded Player's Guide [Pinnacle Entertainment]

edit:  I'll be adding the entires here as a reference

from mikemonaco - Book of Erotic Fantasy

from Jim -  Of Skulls and Scrapfaggot Green

from Ze Bulette - Starsilver Trek

Friday, January 28, 2011

Two Minutes to Midnight

At the moment I have the Iron Maiden song mentioned above going thru my head.  I know I'm 43, and too old for metal, but when Maiden was hot, I was the right age for metal... I'm grandfathered in.

In any case, the kid is doing his auxiliary duty until midnight tonight.  The funny thing is, my worrying doesn't start until he gets off and has to come home.  Must be the years I've spent on "the job" myself has desensitized me to its danger, but the thought of my son on a NYC subway at midnight will keep me up... or wake me up, as I am ready to pass out now.

I can just see this in the fine World of Greyhawk:

"Maaaaahhh!  I'll be fine.  I've made the trip to Verbobonc so many times I could do it in my sleep."

"Ach!, But what about the highwaymen?  You could be laid on by highwaymen!"

"Maa!  I'll be Oh-Kay!  Remember how me and my party laid waste to Iuz and all his evil?"

"Yes, but you had that nice elf and the sour dwarf with you.  Fine men.  I trusted them to keep you safe."

"I think you mean 'dour' dwarf ma."

"Nope, he always smelled of soured beer that lad.  Musta been his beard.  Still, they kept you safe."

"Ma, I'm level 17 now!  I can hold my own against a small army.  I'll be fine."

"So says you!  Maybe I'll go with you.  I'd never let one of them highway men lay a hand on my little boy..."

If I sleep now, I have three hours before I have to start worrying ;)

Always the Bridesmaid, Never the Bride

I was almost always the DM, rarely a player when we gamed back in high school and college.  With the exception of one short lived AD&D campaign that went down in flames (literally), I never had the opportunity to play in a D&D or AD&D campaign back in the days.

There were two campaigns that I was a player in.  One was Battlelords, an insane game of big guns and huge damage.  I couldn't tell you off-hand the type of character I played, but it wasn't a tank and I'm fairly sure I was a pain in the ass... heh.

The other game I played in was an on again, off again RIFTS campaign.  I had gotten my book at GenCon the year it was releases, Kevin Siembedia and Kevin Long both signed it, it read damn cool but I just couldn't figure out how to run it.  So it sat on a shelf for a bit until my friend Dave grabbed a copy.  It spoke to him I guess (as did Battlelords - he just dug unbalanced games).

One day I'll have to post about that RIFTS campaign.  It was a blast, even with the Glitterboy sized holes in the rules.

Now I'm solely a player.  I played in a Warhammer Dark Heresy campaign via Fantasy Grounds for about a year, and the Castles & Crusades game I've been in for the last 2 years via FG is still going strong.  Heck, I even play in a Tunnels & Trolls message board game these days.

Still, I'm getting the itch to GM again.  Really.  It even looks like it wont be D&D or one of its clones, but T&T.

Go figure.

Just need to get all the pieces in place for now.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What Were They Thinking!?!

Talk about Weird Fantasy...

But of course I had to snag a copy on Ebay.

I'll convert this to Tunnels & Trolls and never let the party know the actual name of the adventure until the end ;P

The Distracted State

All this white stuff that fell on NYC (19" in Central Park) was left me very distracted.  The kid in me wants to build snow forts and have snow ball fights, the adult in me dreads having to dig out the car and the gamer in me is remembering the random weather tables from an old issue of Dragon Magazine (many of the entries would make these 19" seem like a dusting).

So, what's my solution to all this?  I'm taking tomorrow off from work so I can shovel and do some game related reading at my leisure.  Well, that and the sergeant I share responsibilities with is going to be off the next two weeks.  I'll be doing the work of two.  May as well rest up now ;)

I do have some game related ideas bouncing around my head, but they are hard to lock down.  Unless, of course, my head is on the pillow and I'm trying to sleep.  Then the overdrive kicks in.  One day I'll actually write the stuff down.  Heh

NYC Winter Wonderland

Manhattan is all white this morning. It will be grey by afternoon ;)

- Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Trollish Taproom - House Ruling Tunnels & Trolls - Vamping the Warrior

I've had a chance to read thru The Tunnels & Trolls 6th Edition (unauthorized) and there are bits I'd like to steal in whole, and other bits I'd rather balance out.

I never really liked the doubling of armor for warriors, as it wasn't level based, and I felt it should be.  6e makes it a straight +2 armor points per level instead of the doubling, which is a major powering down, especially at low levels.

At the same time, 6e ramps up the combat adds for warriors at an immense rate.  It adds the new level to the previous level as combat adds.  So the progression is +1 / +3 / +6 / +10 / +15 for the first five levels.  +21 / +28 / +36 / +45 and finally +55 at level 10.  It get's even more unbalanced at higher levels.  In 7e, the combat bonus at level 10 would be +10, as a ground zero reference point.

What I would like to propose for my house rule would be to use the same progression for both armor points and combat adds.  It would be +2 per level for the first 5 levels, +3 per level for levels 6 thru 10, +4 per level for levels 11 thru 15 and so on.

This gives us a progression of +2 / +4 / +6 / +8 / +10 for both armor and adds for the first five levels, +13, +16, +19, +22, +25 for levels 6 thru 10

Overall it balances out the curve of the combat adds progression, while advancing the curve of the armor  points slightly.

The Games I Own, But Have Never Played - The Original D&D Basic Set

I didn't even buy a D&D Basic Set until I had been playing AD&D for a few years. To me, at the time, D&D was "a kid's game" and AD&D was for the adults. Lets be real, I was in High School - neither was being played by any of the adults I knew.

I was dragged to some discount store with my mother, and lo and behold, there was a table full of D&D Basic Sets, with a small rectangular hole punched thru the front and side of the boxes. In retrospect, I think its a good bet that the D&D Red Box was hitting the market, and these were remainders. All I knew at the time was there was a D&D boxed set on sale for 2 bucks. Bought it, thought it was crap compared to AD&D (but was happy to get a copy of Keep on the Borderlands, which I shoehorned into AD&D) and promptly put it in the closet.

I still haven't played it, but now I can appreciate it for it's place in the hobby's history. Heck, I'd gladly play it now, even with the hole punched in the box. I no longer think it's crap BTW ;)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm Damn Proud

Got to see my son graduate as an Auxiliary Police Officer tonight. He gets to volunteer his time to help our community, and I get to stay up to midnite on the nites he volunteers, 'cause that's what parents do.

Nothing game related here, just pride. Well, I guess the late nites will be game related, as I will probably either be reading game blogs or gaming material ;)

Mini Review - Resolute, Adventurer & Genius

If the title bring thoughts of Warrior, Rogue and Mage - it should.  It's built on the same basic system and it's from the same folks.  Resolute, Adventurer & Genius brings the rules to the Age of Pulp - basically the years right before WWI to the years right before WWII (at least that's how I codify it).

How well does it do it?  Pretty well for a book that is just 36 pages long.  The original system is tweaked a bit, but it is still largely compatible.

I'd say the largest omission is the lack of a sample adventure, no matter how short.  The vast majority of roleplayers cut their teeth on fantasy and sci-fi, and have probably played other fantasy RPGs before finding the indi press stuff, but the same can't be said for the pulp genre.

Still, I'm complaining about a very well written and free RPG game not including something that is generally thought of as being optional, so I'll stop.  Besides, if you want pulp source materials for your RPG, Adamant Publishing has everything it sells for 1.99 a pop, and it's well stocked on pulp. 

Back to School - Sorta

So, I'm sitting in my car, as snow that I don't recall as being in the forecast falls around me, waiting as my son takes an assessment exam for a college he is looking to attend.

I don't recall taking an assessment exam when I went to college. I must have, as they told me to take calculus as a freshmen. Need I say that didn't go all that well? Heh

College for me greatly expanded my gaming opportunities. The game club had about a dozen and a half members, with a small overlap with my regular weekend gaming group. I played more then I had any right to game (as I cut classes and work fairly often to do so). I'm still amazed at times that I actually got my BA.

My son doesn't game, at least not like I used to. MMORPGs and Multiplayer Shooters are his cup of tea. Hopefully they don't prove be a distraction of a similar scope as my gaming was, or he'll have a long 8 1/2 years of undergrad ahead of him ;)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Realms of Crawling Chaos - First Look

There is no way I could fully review Realms of Crawling Chaos at this point.  There is just too much to absorb, and plowing thru it would defeat the purpose.  Instead, I'm flipping thru the virtual pages and stopping here and there to read a bit more in depth.

First things first: Dan Proctor and Mike Curtis have put together a really nice looking piece of work.  The art by Sean Aaberg and Mark Allen are damn close to perfect for the feel of the book.

Dan and Mike give us an interesting perspective on Lovcraftian Dark Fantasy.  It's a different take than LotFP Weird Fantasy, which works on the idea of the weird and evil being unique.  With Realms of Crawling Chaos, we are shown the Labyrinth Lord rules skewed by the touch of Cthulhu and the rest of the old ones.

We are given four new races, that can either be played as race=class, or the standard AD&D method of race+class.  The new races are Sea Blood (race as class is a Cleric / Fighter combo), Subhuman, White Ape and White Ape Hybrid (race as class is a Thief / Fighter hybrid).  These could be added to non-Lovcrafitan campaigns with little problem, even if just for NPC use.  Heck, I'm already thinking of borrowing some of this for Tunnels & Trolls.

There are new spells, which I'll admit I  didn't give more then a quick once over at this point.  The same with the new monsters section, which appears to be extensive.  I'll get back to these with a later blog post.

Hey, Cthulhu only has 350 HP!  I need to put his trophy next to Asmodeous when I kill him ;)

Psionics are included for use by the badies, not the PCs.  Which makes sense, I guess.  It wouldn't be very Lovcraftian to give the PCs powers beyond the norm.

As I said earlier, this is just a first look.  Way too much to absorb in a single sitting.  That being said, I did catch an editing gaffe on page 14.  In one sentence, it mentions that in some campaigns there are no "true gods" and no traditional magic in the fantasy sense,  which eliminates clerics, magic users and their sub classes.  The next sentence then states that in this type of campaign, the only appropriate classes from the LL rules would be the fighter, thief and - magic user.  Either he belongs, or he doesn't.  I'll assume if there is no magic in the world, there are no magic users.  They might want to revise this before going to print.

Still, this is a small quibble.  I've gotten my money's worth and I've barely scratched the surface.  All that and I want to crib stuff for T&T.  Props to Dan and Mike :)

From the blurb:

In R'lyeh, Cthulhu Stirs...
Evil cultists consummate their union with Shub-Niggurath in dark woods no other mortals dare go. Alien terrors lurk in the underworld; their vast riches wait, or their incomprehensible powers could leave you broken, dead, or worse. Adventure in underworlds filled with horrible entities, or the ruins of alien beings that enslaved the ape-like ancestors of mankind. Seek hidden secrets from the arctic wastes to dark, briny seas. But as you approach the ocean, what are those strange longings you feel?
Realms of Crawling Chaos is a Lovecraftian Dark Fantasy campaign supplement for Labyrinth Lord and the Advanced Edition Companion.
In this book you will find:
  • New player races, including white apes, white ape hybrids, sea blood, and subhumans.
  • New spells
  • New monsters
  • New artifacts and a system for designing unique artifacts
  • Rules for psionics, compatible with Mutant future

The Trollish Taproom - House Ruling Tunnels & Trolls

One of the nice things about Tunnels & Trolls is how easy it is to house rule the system without breaking it. When you look at T&T 1e, right thru to 5e, its the same system with new rules built on top of it. 5.5e, and 7e / 7.5 mix things up a bit, but it is still all cross compatible. A character built with one edition of the rules can coexist with a character from a different edition. All this is probably why I plan to steal from multiple editions when I get my game up an running.

One thing I want to house rule is "Spite Damage". It's an excellent addition to the rules (although maybe not so much while soloing, as healing is often few and far between in the solos), but a bit hurtful if your opponent is rolling many dice, as those 6s can and will kill you.

What I'm thinking of is giving damage from Spite a Saving Roll vs Luck to halve the damage (round up), to a minimum of 1 point. The saving roll will have a base level of 1, and increase a level for each 1 point of Spite Damage after the first. The save is based upon pre-split damage, so splitting 6 points of spite damage 3 ways would require the 3 characters to make level 6 S/Rs vs Luck, not level 1. Warriors would add their level to their S/R.

Large amounts of Spite Damage would be hard to save against, but with DARO there would always be a chance. I like to give suckers a chance ;)

And So it Goes...

The Jets lost to the Steelers last nite. Thankfully I was at a children's birthday party until midway thru the 3rd quarter, so at least I got to watch from the time the Jets decided to actually play some football.

I've seen this happen in game sessions too. It sometimes take a while the group, or members of the group, to warm up and actually actively participate in the game. Then again, none of us are paid to play our recreational activity.

I received my latest Trollgod Auction Loot over the weekend. I'll try to put a pic or two up later. Another piece of T&T history.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Trollish Taproom - Mini Review - Deep Delving (T&T Solo)

The title of this new Tunnels & Trolls solo immediately brought to mind Brave Halfling's 0e forthcoming clone.  Of course, all they have is similar titles, and adventuring has been referred to as "delving" in the T&T rules since... forever.

Deep Delving is a T&T Solo Adventure by the evil mind of Ken St. Andre himself.  The man has 35 years of practice writing adventures for T&T, and the experience shows.  The best compliment I can say is, when your character dies, you'll be looking to grab another so you can give it a second go... or a third.

This adventure is written for Trolls using the T&T 7.5e rules, but if you use one of the pre-gen trolls included, you can probably get away with 5e/5.5e, or even the 5e free abridged rules that I have linked above and to the left.  The pre-gens have between 147 and 319 combat adds, so if you are brining in one of your own, you have an idea of the range that may be needed.  Then again, combat adds aren't everything, but they certainly help ;)

The Trollish Taproom - Looking Forward to a Tunnels & Trolls Campaign

Last nite's game of Castles and Crusades via Fantasy Grounds has reinforced my desire to get a Tunnels & Trolls campaign running via a VTT.  At this point, my preference would be to use Fantasy Grounds, but there currently are no character sheets nor ruleset for T&T on the FG platform.  Doesn't mean I won't used FG, as I do have access to a generic character sheet, but it does lose much of the advantage of using Fantasy Grounds.

Not all that crazy about Klooge and iTabletop isnt where I want it to be.  I may give Maptools and Battlegrounds RPG second looks.  I'm due to take a closer look at my VTT options in any case.

The system is going to be a hodgepodge of 5.5e, 6e, 7.5e and possibly some of the fan based 4e reboot.  In any case, familiarity will any edition of the Tunnels & Trolls rules will suffice, even the free abridged 5e.  The aim will be twice a month, day and time to be determined, with sessions run fairly independent of the previous one, allowing players to drop in an out if needed.  I'm not recruiting yet, just kinda working the generics out in my head by putting thoughts on the screen.

Time to do a little research...

Post Game Wrap Up

Last nite we added a new player to our Castles & Crusades via Fantasy Grounds group.  Our DM is an American living in Spain, I'm in New York, another is in Michigan, one in LA, the newest is an Aussie I do believe.  Damn, left one out I think.  You couldn't get a group like that together around the dining room table if you wanted to ;)

In the four hours we played, we made a few Siege Checks but not a single combat roll.  Role Playing and puzzle solving were the main course.  In retrospect, that's kind of amazing, especially as I didn't even realize we had no combat until we wrapped up after midnite.  Another great job by Rob, our DM.

We did change one thing... we are no longer voting on Roleplay Bonus expo for the other players.  We decided that the group roleplays pretty well already, and we don't need the carrot.  If there is a bonus to be given out, its back in Rob's hands.

Next session is in about 4 weeks.  Should be another blast.