Saturday, July 30, 2011

Found "Emergency!" on Netflix on Demand

I grew up watching Emergency! on a 9" B&W TV.

Can't believe all 122 episodes are available on Netflix.

There has to be a RPG campaign that could be built around this and maybe Adam 12 ;)

My Birthday Gift! My... Precious...

Well, it isn't REALLY my birthday gift, but the timing of it couldn't be better.

Greg, from Dark Horse Game Design, (click for a full sized copy) has put together a one page graphical explanation of what an RPG is.  Kudos!

How frickin' awesome is that?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Trollin' For Trolls

I'm beginning to realize I haven't played any T&T lately.  When Scott from Huge Ruined Pile was running it every other week, I kinda got my T&T fix in (even if there were sessions that not a single die was rolled - still damn fun).

We've moved on to a house ruled OD&D game, which i expect will be just as much fun, if not more, but I do feel the lack of T&T in my (sparse) gaming diet.  I may need to break out a solo or two over the weekend.

The TrollGod has made reference in passing to HeWhOwIlLnOtBeNamed (now to be known as HWWNBN) in emails in the past few months.  It seems that much of the initial anger is gone.  HWWNBN still puts out 2 Tunnels & Trolls fanzines which are a good value for your T&T dollar if you can track them down.  They are no longer on the Verbotten list it seems.

Oh, this seems to be a "coulda woulda shoulda might been" cover for a true Tunnels & Trolls 6e rulebook.  I really like this piece of art.

edit:  Dan has pointed out that apparently issues with HWWNBN have reverted to the old ways of taking folks stuff and publishing it  w/o permission.  Ken speaks of it on the Trollhalla Walla, but I missed it as the Walla is a really unintuitive and awkward way to impart information if you don't read it constantly. 

More Work, More Play!

This weekend should be a busy one. I'll be installing the flooring in the second room Sunday and Monday. Why not tomorrow? 'Cause its my birthday, silly! heh

Tomorrow will be a day of reading (I have a crapload of really good stuff I want to read and review and I'm hoping tomorrow is my chance to do so) as my son (with his newly minted license) will be doing any driving related duties.

I need to give the Google+ video hookup a try. Not sure I would use it for gaming, as I am well aware of the VTT choices out there, both free and paid, but I wouldn't mind taking it for a spin. Zak is going whole hog with ConstantCon, the Google+ powered pick up game online con of sorts. I'll be following this closely to see how well it works out. It will be interesting to see if users more up to some of the VTTs out there or even use them in conjunction with Google+.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mini Review - Oubliette Issue #6 (OSR Magazine)

It's been a while between issues 5 and 6 of Oubliette, but it's been worth the wait.  47 pages of OSR (Labyrinth Lord flavored) goodness for the amazing price of free.  Nada.  Zip.  For a liited time, so get your free copy now!

K, enough of the hype.  What do you get for your hard earned cash (did i mention its free)?

Lets see, in the "Monster Category, we are presented with the Skeleton Lord.  Nice tweak on a common adversary.

The Petty Gods preview is worth the price of admission.  We get 3 petty gods as a quick peek.  I'm all it.  Definitely looking forward to this being released.

We get a 4 page sandboxie fantasy campaign setting, Newland and a 9 page adventure set in the new setting.  Not bad.  I'm going to have to read these closer later.

Random tables for wandering dungeon monsters for the first 3 levels.

Some cartoon strips, some review, some other articles, fiction, business card sized LL character sheets...

Holy crap!  There's business sized LL character sheets!  Great for the overworked and poorly organized DM.  Awesome!

To wrap up;  get it!  It's damn good and it's free!

From the blurb:

FREE! For a Limited Time Only
47 jam-packed pages!
Written for Labyrinth Lord, but also ideal for use with any Basic/Expert/Advanced original or clone, with little or no adjustment required.
Full Contents:
• Tales from Hell - Kobold Skool
• Monster Club #9 - Animate Dead Special: Skeleton Lord
• Petty Gods Preview - A Sneak Peek at this Exciting OSR Community Publication
• Newland - A Fantasy Campaign Setting
• Shame of the Shaman - A Labyrinth Lord Adventure for 3rd to 4th Level Characters
• Whips in Labyrinth Lord
• Monster Club #10 - Dungeon Random Encounter Tables: Levels 1-3
• Goblin Quest
• Found Familiar - The Raven
• What's in the Oubliette? - Reviews of Alestorm, Quickshade, Game of Thrones and Ironwood Gorge
• Mouse Watch - The Raven Ryder
• The Song of Sithakk - Part 6 of our Serialized Story
• Plus Bonus Material: Business Card-sized Labyrinth Lord Character Sheets and Customizable Dungeon Encounter Tables
In the small preview below, some tables and artwork don't display at the reduced size. In the full-size PDF they are all displayed correctly.
Warning! Oubliette may contain content that is suitable for adult audiences only. Persons 18+ only.

What Google+ Means (and Doesn't Mean) To the OSR Community

I am thoroughly enjoying Google+ so far. It is the "New Shiny", and the new shiny is always a pretty bauble to behold. I've given out invites to those that ask, and still will if you ask. Google+ is not the Rosetta Stone of internet communication, but it does a lot of things, and it does most of what it does very well. Let's look at some of it's features that are useful to our corner of the gaming hobby.

1 - Group Video - Zak is using this with success for pick up games. Many layers of awesome here. Greg is using it to get immediate feedback on some of his gaming designs. Effective use of group video. It's easy to get a group chat going. Of course, the same features are available in the Free Pandoren / iTabletop VTT, which also includes maps, tokens, dice rollers, shared PDFs and more - but Google+ is easier to set up and has a much smaller learning curve. If they ever add a whiteboard and a random number generator, you'll have an awesome basic Virtual Table Top.

2 - Immediate feedback - As Greg pointed out, he's getting more comments on his Google+ threads then he is on his blog posts. I'll call that the "Facebook Effect". If I post "I hate commuting in traffic - aargh!" on Facebook, I'll get 6 replies in an hour. If I make a deep post on my blog, I may get 3 posts in 24 hours. Google+ is a more interactive method of communication. That being said, it's "noise to signal" ratio is much worse then a blog. I need to prune my circle tree, because at it currently is it is totally unmanageable and unreadable for me. I prefer reading and commenting on blogs at the moment

3 - Growth - everyone is jumping on the Google+ bus it seems. Those that might not read blogs may be reached by Google+. Effective use of both mediums may do well in growing the community.

Some things that Google+ is not good at (at least, not yet) -

1 - Search Engines - your blog posts may show on a web search, but your best Google+ post will not.

2 - Archives - blog posts are archived and generally easy to find. I haven't found such a feature on Google+ yet.

3 - Google+ plugin for Blogger - this is a no brainer - where is it Google? We want it, and we want it now!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Remembering Gary

My earliest memories of EGG were from Dragon magazine. Back then, when the man laid down the law, he LAID DOWN THE LAW ;) He had opinions and they were strong.

When he left TSR I didn't know the politics behind it, but I saw he was putting out Cyborg Commando, so I ordered it sight unseen. Ouch! I quickly learned the man was not perfect ;)

A few years later I picked up Dangerous Journeys at the one and only Gen Con I attended. It was good, but heavy in the Gary way, and without anyone to teach it to me, I was overwhelmed. It's still packed away some where.

Years later I found he was a regular poster on ENWorld. He was a gentleman, and upon finding out my profession, he suggested Coppers & Crullers as my tag line, which I still use there to this day. He also gave me an open invite to join a game on his porch which I was never able to attend. Damn shame. It would have been an awesome memory, but as he is a part of many of my most awesome memories, directly or indirectly, I'm okay with it.

Rest well Gary, you deserve it :)

What is Your Sweet Spot Level Range?

We all have it. The levels that it is most fun for you to DM or play in. For me as a DM, its the levels 3-7 range. The players have a decent amount of spell access w//o it being overpowering, hit points are high enough to prevent "one-shotting" without the HP tree being so tall as to be unwieldy and the PCs are still coming into their own - they are still growing.

Level 1 is fun, but usually more lethal in nature then the others. The higher levels are harder to balance an adventure for and nearly impossible to buy one off the rack without an extensive need to rework and rewrite for your party's quirks. It's also harder to avoid the "didn't we already do an adventure just like this already" syndrome.

As a player, I enjoy up to about "name" level, usually 9 or 10. At that point, the game (from my play experience) turns into the DM throwing bigger and badder things at you to whittle your spells and HP down. Repetition sets in as it turns into a game of guaranteed success or guaranteed failure, depending on how the DM balanced the encounters.

Yep, I'm into the high end of low to the low end of high game play it seems.

Where's your sweet spot?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Spending More Time With Adventurer Conqueror King

It looks like Adventurer Conqueror King will be hitting it's second goal, which will give every patron a PDF copy of Domains of War when it's released.  Not sure if they will be aiming for a third goal or not, but it's nice to see the interest in the system.

Anyhow, it's nice to see a system that addresses high level play.  Actually, that's not the right way to put it.  It's a system that allows for the progression from adventurer, to land owner (taker) to ruler.  These are the rules I had to make up on the fly.  Later on, Birthright held that potential, but it was unwieldily to play and didn't resonate with my group.  Still, everyone wanted to become more then a spell slinger pr a sword swinger.

That is the definitive difference between ACK and the rest of the D&D clones - high level play includes additional responsibilities.  It's definitely something you could borrow or steal for other OSR games with little trouble (I just love mixing my rulesets... heh).

Not that the rest of the rules aren't tweaked... they are.  I like the tweaks for the most part - I have less of an urge to tweak these rules then other OSR rules I've read.  I like the addition of proficiencies, as they allow characters to be class based yet fairly unique in their individual makeup.

Did I mention the world economy is logically thought out?  Not that I overly concerned myself with such in my earlier gaming days, but knowing how much land will support how many people (with fairly accurate historical data used to reach those number) does mean there is one less suspension  of disbelief one must accomplish.

Alright, back to reading, then an early night to bed.

The Free OSR List Mini Review - Labyrinth Lord

Time to take a look at Labyrinth Lord.  I'm sure most of you are familiar with it, it's basically a re-imaging of B/X Dungeons & Dragons rules.  Add in the Advanced Edition Characters supplement (1st Edition AD&D) and you can run the D&D game of your flavor from the late 70's to the mid 80's.

The free versions are the "Art Free Editions" - nothing is missing but the art.  You can buy the version with art to support Goblinoid Games if you would like (currently one sale for Christmas in July), but as I said, except for the art, its the same text.

If you use the Fantasy Grounds 2 Virtual table Top, there is a free LL plug in for it.  The Advanced Edition Characters isn't directly supported, but there shouldn't be an issue if you wanted to use those rules instead.

Definitely an excellent choice of D&D flavored rules.

Looking for Post Solomon Kane Reading

I'm slowly making my way through The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane and I'm looking for some "next read" suggestions. Back when I would / could read a novel in a handful of nights I didn't much like short stories. These days, I'm really appreciating the reoccurring lead character in a series of short stories. It fits well with my current reading habits.

So, any suggestions? I'll be reading on my iPad, but I find between the Kindle app and other formats I can read about 98% of what I want without killing trees or requiring more storage space ;)

The Weekend Workout

Before reattaching the molding.

After molding (which still needs touchup paint job).

Need to install transition piece.

Second room to be done this weekend.

Game tonight. Some OD&D. Woot!

- Posted from my iPhone

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mini Review - Loviatar Issue #1 (Zine)

There is something about getting SOMETHING in the mail that isn't a bill or a credit card application.  I've been big on "e-formats" for my reading for a while, but I do appreciate getting a hard copy at my door.

Loviatar is just such a thing.  It's a RPG "Zine".  There's no "ezine" format available yet (although I will make the suggestion, as I'm sure it would add to accessiblity for those overseas).  It's available fr 3 bucks an issue, or a 6 month sub for $12.

What do you get?  A quality zine from a man who has been producing zines for as long as I've been reading them.  This issue gives us the starting area / homes for a new party of Pathfinder players set in the Forgotten Realms.  20 pages sized approximately like the OD&D booklets of yore.  It really is a fun way to get your game reading fix in, and doesn't take up too much space in the throne room ;)

I'm glad to see Christian is back at doing what he loves and does best.  Keep up the good work lad :)

Man Cave Corner

We often joke about the "Man Cave", but we (meaning men) like to have one. Why? Because usually the rest of the house in controlled by the woman. The German mirrored beer shields and cavalry sword are NOT being displayed in most living rooms. Thus, the need for a man cave.

I'll be getting the better part of a room as my office / workout / man cave. Which is cool. I'll have a place to display my beer memorabilia, a small selection of my games, my miniatures, my signed art prints and other assorted stuff. The rest of the house will have dolphins, seashells and an assortment of nicknacks. The lady gets to decorate everything but my man corner, and that's OK.

I'm just glad I secured my little corner ;)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Picking Nits in My Own Work

When I do a project (in this close putting new flooring in a room) I want perfection, or damn close to it.  I'm still quite annoyed that one box of flooring was too damaged for use (it will probably work fine in the second room, in the space where I am building the closet).  The thing is, I still found a few imperfections... peaking in two spots (one which will be under the bed) and some slightly chipped laminate where i had to work too close to a wall - they will be covered by an armoire and a bookshelf, but still, I know they are  there.

I suspect the same happens in publishing, especially when you serve as your own proofreader.  I know it happens with my blogging - and I correct it as I see it.  Thankfully, online posts and PDFs can be corrected and update.  Print copies can only be corrected by a new printing (an errata sheet doesn't really corrects the mistakes).

Tomorrow I do the finishing touches (reattach moldings, stain some other pieces, touch up paint where needed) and then prep the other room for its new flooring.  That also means I can put more time into reading an reviewing.  I really want to talk more about Adventurer Conqueror King.  I'm really digging it.

Free Quickstarts - The Wild Hunt (Savage Worlds Quickstart)

Yep, this is the same freebie that was available on Free RPG Day and in PDF from the Pinnacle website.  I'm adding it to the Free Quickstarts Tag (at some point, the Free RPGs and the Free Quickstarts will get their own pages).

Anyhow, this free Savage Worlds Quickstart is a great way to get a taste of the Savage Worlds system.  Give it a peek... it is free ;)

From the blurb:

This absolutely free version of the Savage Worlds Test Drive rules includes everything you need to play, as well as a modern day horror adventure by fan favorite John Goff!
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