Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow - Failing That, Maybe Monday

They are saying that the NYC subway system may not be back up for Monday morning. It should be a fun commute.

So far it's just been a lot of rain here in NYC and I'll probably sleep thru the worst of the winds overnight.

I haven't gotten the reading in that I had hoped for, as the family is glued to storm coverage on the TV, myself included. Every loves to watch natural disasters ;)

Then again, the weather is now causing havoc with the satellite signal - reading may be in my grasp ;)

Psst! You Wanna Buy Sum "Conspiracy"?

Well, I've probably spent most of my day so far watching paint dry - I mean, watching Hurricane Irene coverage on TV, which apparently happens at the same time frame as paint drying.  Waiting isnt the hardest part - so far its the only part.

I've seen FEMA mentioned a few times so far today for their role in digging us out of the aftermath of "Hurrigedon!" or whatever the news will wind up calling it, and I thought back to the conspiracy research I did in the years after 9-11.  I felt a need to know what the fringe believed, because it's much easier to make your point when you know where others are coming from.  So I delved into the world of Jesse Ventura and his ilk, a world of thermite paint, remote controlled airliners, contrails, FEMA death camps, UN world domination, shadow governments and the like (this was years before his TV show, which I've yet to see).

Does anyone know of a game or gaming supplement that starts from the baseline that ALL the recent conspiracies are true?  It would be a bit over the top, but would make an excellent alternative modern setting IMHO.

Waiting is the Hardest Part

It's 0120 in the morning and I'm still wide awake (if not wholly sober - 2 Blackberry beers from Sam Adams and I'm done -  damn lightweight) trying to track the storm.  It's not like I'll be able  to change it's course or anything.

I remember using weather tables from one of the Dragon Magazine issues (somewhere in the 80's or 90's issue wise) and rolling campaign ending weather on my players - something like a 4 day blizzard with 5 1/2 feet of snow.  Sorry, but that's once in a milleneium weather event.  That's the Ice Age.

Weather in a RPG should be adjusted to fit the story - need a blizzard or a hurricane?  Add it to the story.  It's really that simple.

I love random tables and hate them at the same time, as some GMs allow themselves to be ruled by "the random".  If the results don't fit, you must adjust.  Or change gloves- wait, that's O.J.

On that note, I think I'm no longer as wide awake ;)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Castles & Crusades on Sale!

The Trolls are running a sale on the C&C Core books.  You can get the C&C Player's Handbook, Monsters & Treasure and the module Shadows of the Halfling Hall for 20 bucks in print (plus shipping) or for 15 bucks in PDF.  It's a damn good deal.

The Player's Handbook is the new edition.  Well, both of the core books are the new edition with the green banded covers, but the PH has some updates fro the earlier editions.

I just got my 2 sets of the print copies in the mail today.  It's a good day ;)

I think I collect C&C editions like i do Tunnels & Trolls.

The City That Never Sleeps Prepares to Shut Down

Last year it was the Blizzard of the Century.

Earlier this week, we had the once in a lifetime earthquake on the East Coast.

Now NYC faces it's worst hurricane in nearly 125 years. Mass transit shuts down at noon tomorrow. Bridges in the city (which consists of The Bronx on the mainland and Manhattan and Staten Islands, and Brooklyn and Queens counties on Long Island) will be closing when sustained winds hit 60 MPH. Parts of the city are under mandatory evacuation orders. We are looking at 8"+ or rain and huge storm surges.

If this was a RPG scenario, we would be talking End of Days type of stuff. Actually, I'd love to use this in a RPG scenario - it's a great set up.

In any case, I may be posting a lot this weekend, or nothing at all. It certainly wont be boring. My sister, her husband and my little niece may be staying the weekend. They aren't in an evac zone, but they have lots of nearby water soaked trees that are liable to come down causing loss of power or damage to their house.

Two Is Better Then One

So, I'm using a Sony Bloggie Duo mini video camera for the short videos I've been putting up. The advantage to the Duo is that is a LCD screen on both sides of the camera, which makes it easier to see what the camera is seeing when I'm in front of the camera. I'm pretty happy with it so far.

I'm trying to keep the vids at around a minute in length each. If I find something strong enough to go significantly longer then a minute I'll make a note in the accompanying blog.

Now, if I could figure a way to do a PDF review via video. Hmmm, I need to actually do some real reviews via video, which may require me actually writing stuff down before blabbing.

Hey, maybe I can set up on my front porch and do some hurricane videos on sunday! Er, if I can do it safely ;)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Adventurer Conqueror King System - Shown in High Definition!

Yep, got my printed copy of the Adventurer Conqueror King System Gen Con Limited Edition in the mail today - simply awesome.

So I put a short together a short vid to show it.  Go figure ;)

Experimenting with the HD upload option, but if it makes viewing harder due to increased bandwidth I'll forgo that in the future.

Why Do Dwarves Get (S)hafted in AD&D?

Compared to other demihumans, Dwarves get the short end of the stick in AD&D.

Elves get +1 to hit with bows and swords, resist sleep and charm, move softly, etc

Halflings get a bonus with bows, or slings or thrown weapons depending on your source (Monster Manual or Player's Handbook).

Gnomes - no one plays them, so why bother.

Dwarves - +1 to hit some cheap and cheesy evil races and an AC adjustment when fighting giants and such and some good saves vs poison and magic. Oh, and stonework knowledge.

Why no weapon combat bonuses, such as with weapons that are often associated with them, like battle axes and war hammers? Heck, why would then even use an axe or a hammer, when a long sword works much better against large creature - d12 is much better the a d8 or less for the war hammer.

Aren't Dwarves a bit more militaristic then elves and halflings?

30 years later and questions like this can still keep me up at night ;)

Rock You Like a Hurricane!

Yep, shortly after the east coast of the US got shaken by what our west coast brethren would consider a "very mild quake" we are now bracing for a fairly major hurricane. The one blessing is that it is going to hit over the weekend, which means I'll be off the roads and at home, ready to deal with any flooding.

I figure if we lose power, I might actually be able to get my son to play a pen and paper rpg session. Not that I'm hoping for a blackout or anything, but I do have my hand cranked flashlight / radio all ready to go. My mother is actually talking about buying a generator, so yes, the fear mongers are doing a great job on TV.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Remembering The Twilight Mercs of The Price of Recon

Remember The Price of Freedom RPG? It was basically the movie Red Dawn with the numbers filed off. How about Twilight: 2000?

The 1980's were a great time for Cold War style RPGs. Heck, thats when Merc and Recon also hit the bookshelves, allowing you to be a mercenary in Cold War Hotspots like South America and Africa, or fight in the jungles of Vietnam.

I don't see similar games being produced these days. When I say similar, I mean working off the current events of the past decade. No "Let's play some Navy SEALS and take out Osama" and such. Maybe the lines are too blurred these days. Perhaps the Cold War, while always in the back of your mind, was more fantasy then terrorists using jetliners as bombs and the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I do remember playing Twilight: 2000 back in my high school and college years. A squad of Americans left behind enemy lines, fighting for survival. Eh, it didn't play out all that well either. It's probably a good thing we don't have a Navy SEALS game. You can only kill Osama / Orcus so many times ;)

Successful Trial

Looking back on yesterday's video blog post, I think it went fairly well for a first time, getting one's feet wet, how the f' do I use this sort of thing.

I've got an idea for a dice related video blog post as I never posted my dice pics when it was all the rage earlier this month. I need to make up for that omission.

Christian mentioned having my cat Ashley pick an RPG from a selection of books that I place on the floor. The main problem with that is about 80-90% of the new stuff I have is in PDF only. Limiting to some extent, but I might have enough to start.

Tunnels & Trolls 7.5e is made for a video review, with its lay flat spiral binding. We all know I love me some T&T.

I'm also falling behind on some game reviews. The Secret Fire has been burning my britches for a while now. Time to pat out the flames for a bit and move on.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Time to Assail Your Senses

Here it is - the first "Beta VidBlog Post".

First, I breath like a dying horse.  Allergies don't help, but sheesh!  I need to control that.

Need to learn more about the camera itself, and the iMovie software, but I can only learn by doing.

At least Ashley smiled for the camera ;)

Things would probably work better outdoors as far as lighting goes.

You! Shook Me All Night Long!

I hope everyone is okay on the rest of the East Coast. I felt the quake up here in NYC. Pretty weird feeling.

I'm sure Christian is an old hat at this ;)

HP Touchpad Tablet Dump Pricing!

HP is dumping their WebOS Tablet device for dirt cheap prices. They are going in out out of stock at the HP Business Website.

16 gb was $499, now $99

32 gb was $599, now $149

you can hit the following website for status updates and other vendors where t may become available.


I don't know much about it, but the price is right for those that may have been on thew tablet fence.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Badges? Badges! We Don't Need No Steenkin' Badges!

Well, we don't.  But it is a good concept, and I'm all for it, even if they don't look like my usual badge -  (note: not my shield number - knowing it will NOT get you out of a ticket ;)

That being said, there are a few badges that Stuart was nice enough to share with us that would apply to games that I have run in the past (and by extension, game that I may yet run in the future).

 I will Mirror back player ideas I think are interesting in the game

 My games rely on a lot of Improvisation rather than pre scripted content 

 My games are more of the Social, Fun and "Beer & Pretzels" style

 The GM is In Charge in my games and "rule-zero" is in effect

 My games focuses on Exploration & Mystery

The Red Headed Step-Children of AD&D - Unearthed Arcana - Races

When I was a teenager, I thought the Unearthed Arcana was the best thing ever for AD&D. New classes, new spells, new races - new everything. Even better, everything now went up to "Eleven" (Alert! Spinal Tap reference).

It takes a little aging to realize the mistakes of my youth.

Lets look at the Drow. Innate spell ability? Check. Penalties in sunlight? Check. 90% of all adventures were underground at the time? Check!

Wild Elves always made me think of slightly taller dwarves without beards and with long hair.

Svirfnenlin - I still have no idea how to pronounce it. More innate spell abilities.

Duergar - evil dwarves that aren't so dwarfish.

Hmm, all these races are antisocial, xenophobic types. Perfect for the average party of AD&D adventurers.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

More Free Mapping Resources

Just added these to the links on the left:

Dungeonographer (Free) - Requires you to be online and a few other limitations, but the price is right and the maps it makes are nice.

Random Dungeon Generator - perfect when you are at a loss of ideas for a dungeon.  All u need to do is fill in the rooms ;)

Random City Generator - sometimes the players actually want to walk around the town you never bothered to map.

Random Village Generator - the villages it creates look so nice I want to stat one out right now.

A Step Closer to Assailing Your Senses

Yep, ordered a tripod from Amazon earlier tonight.  If I could come anywhere near the quality of the Freezer Burns (really good stuff BTW) guy I'd be ecstatic, but no worries, I intend to start small.

All of which means I really need to work on the "Man Cave Corner" so it's ready for filming.

As an aside, but certainly more important then my tripod purchase, White Haired Man has just released Seal The Rift for Fantasy Grounds 2 with PDF.  I play tested this via FG2 and had a great time!  It got me excited about the Savage Worlds System and it's the reason I picked up the latest version of the rules.  I'll need to review this at a later date, but as someone that played in it, I can say it's definitely good stuff.

If you just want the PDF, you can grab it here.

Out of the Frying Pan, Into The Secret Fire!

It's been DAYS since I've postured a horribly titled The Secret Fire RPG post, so here's the latest.

Today, I want to talk about the spell levels. In a typical D&D style OSR game, the spell lists advance every "Odd Level". This is a general statement as I know certain classes frequently buck that trend (clerics and druids are often the examples). In The Secret Fire, spell rank / levels advance along with character level through level 5. Which means at level 5 a spell caster has access to his / her most powerful magics.

Now, these powerful magics aren't necessarily being cast at their greatest strength - that still comes with level advancement. It does mean that by level 5, the spell casters have pretty much peaked.

Now, on my initial, haphazard, read-thru of the rules, I was still thinking about the traditional advancement in the back of my mind, even tho I read the new advancement and knew it was there. So it didn't full "click". Now that it is clicking, I need to go back and see if the casters (and classes that take a caster class as a talent) run away from the other classes in terms of power. Not that an absolute balance is required to enjoy a game, but you don't want your players feeling that they made a lame choice compared to others.

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