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 :)
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