Saturday, July 2, 2011

Saturday Afternoon DVD Mini Review - Solomon Kane

Let me be clear... I do not know much about Solomon Kane with the exception of what I read in the Savage Worlds Solomon Kane RPG.  Oh, and I really need to re-read the RPG, as I forgot pretty much all of his background except for the funny Pilgrim hat.

As a movie, it was pretty good.  Acting wasn't bad, script wasn't too hooky, ending was (like in most movies of it's type) lacking.  Still, it was pretty good.

Good enough to get my fiancée off the couch she was dozing on and get her sitting on the floor in front of the TV.  She was enjoying the fight scenes as much as I was.  Solomon is pretty kick ass.

As best I can tell, the film's story isn't based on any of the Solomon Kane stories the Robert E. Howard wrote, but it tells of Kane's origin.  It's an interesting take on redemption.

It has gotten me to further consider running a game using Savage Worlds, and the Solomon Kane RPG to boot.  Need to dig it out of the storage closet I think.

Of Savage Worlds and Solomon Kane

Last night before going to sleep (more accurately, early this morning) I picked up the PDF of the Savage Worlds Deluxe rules and promptly transferred it to my iPad for reading. I'll try to post some first impressions later today, but I like what I see so far (playing with the system last week sure didn't hurt in understanding the system either - thank you White Haired Man).

Earlier this week I read that Solomon Kane was never released here in the States, not even on DVD. I tracked down a DVD of it on Ebay that SHOULD play on my US Zoned DVD player. I'll find out later today and hopefully have a review.
edit: the DVD plays fine!

Oh, and thanks to the Trollish Delver's blog, I've realized I've missed a few more free RPGs. I'll post them later.

Time willing, I'll also start the capsule reviews of the Free RPG list...

Friday, July 1, 2011

YOU Make the Call...

Although I have a crapload of stuff I need to review already (I'm going to count LotFP Weird Fantasy and Vornheim as complete unless I am suddenly inspired) I am considering picking up the Savage Worlds Deluxe ruleset in PDF  to give it a real review.  What say you all?

As for the Free RPG lists I've put together, I'm thinking of adding a page to the blog that lists them all, with a three or four sentence description of each (and links to any reviews I may have done).  The links will remain on the main page, but the new page would give the reader a fairly quick summary of each to help decide if the DL is worth it to them.  A bit of work, so I'd do it piecemeal.  Again, any thoughts?

Actually, come to think of it, I should probably do a short blog post / mini-review on each in order.  Then include a link to that post on my Free RPG page.  Greg would finally stop hounding me to get around to reviewing Errant (he's hounding me for good reason - I'm easily distracted and it's long overdue ;)  This would take some time, but would it have value to the community?

Please, leave your thoughts after the beep... BEEEEEPPPPPP!

Here's Some More Free RPG Day Goodies!

Pinnacle put up their Savage Worlds 2011 Free RPG Day The Wild Hunt up for free in PDF on their site.  You can grab the free Savage Worlds Testdrive Rules while you are at it.

Stone Table Games has posted their Aspect starter rules and adventure Here There Be Demons.  You'll need to register for their forums to download.

The Tunnels & Trolls 2011 Free RPG Day release Rescue Mission is not yet available in PDF, but the printed copy is available for $2 for Flying Buffalo.  While you are at it, grab the 2008 Free RPG Day release from them.  With shipping (in the states) the 2 will cost you $7 shipped.

Found Some More Free Mapping Resources

Somehow, someway I stumbled across the blog grandexperiement over at LiveJournal.  I must have read the link on someone else's blog, clicked it, left it on my iPad and restumbled across it this morning.  Therein I found links to two nice mapping applications, the first tile based.

Pymapper looks to be an easy to learn, tile based mapper.  I don't ask for much, but this looks like it might deliver.

The other is ditzie.  It is web hosted, so your choice of OS shouldn't matter.  This seems ideal for PbP games, as the map can be updated online.  Pretty cool.

Adding the above to the map resources on the left...

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.
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