Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tenkar's Minor Tidbits - Kael's Knife of Filleting

Kael's Knife of Filleting - This fishbone handled knife offers no bonus to hit in combat and does a standard 1D3 damage, with a slight catch. If a natural "3" is rolled on damage, the 1D3 is rolled again and added to the previous damage roll. This continues until the wielder no longer rolls a natural "3". Strength and other damage bonuses are added to the final sum total of the die roll(s).

When used to fillet fish, the results are as if the most talented fish monger had done the work - add 50% to the value of the filleted fish.

Background - Kael was a piss poor Fish Monger before he decided to risk it all on a life of adventure. More accurately, he decided to leave his business behind after the tavern he supplied fish to had an outbreak of food poisoning that was linked to his fish. On his first and only adventure, Kael and 15 others entered a portal that promised riches beyond their wildest dreams. Two hours later, Kael and 2 others ran for their lives and emerged from the portal back in their own lands. The sole treasure recovered by Kael was a fishbone handled knife.

Realizing that adventuring was not to him, Kael returned to his fish monger business, where he was promptly killed by an angry crowd of vomiting and liquid defecating villagers (but not before he used his new found knife to fillet the first villager that attempted to grab him). Kael's knife was passed on to the new fish monger, who promptly lost it in a game of "5 Card Shunty".

Flavored for the DCC RPG, Kael's Knife of Filleting is suitable for most OSR styled games.

(let's see if I can keep this up on a weekly basis ;)

(edit - to truly flavor this for the DCC RPG, increase the die used by one step for every maximum roll. So, a roll of a 3 on a D3 adds the result of a D4. If a 4 is rolled on the D4, proceed to roll a D5 - and so on)

Would Rifts By Any Other System Smell as Sweet?

Mix a little Stars Without Numbers: Core with some Labyrinth Lord. Stir in a bit of Other Dust. Use a future, alternate Earth for the setting. Season to taste.

What do you get? Hopefully a balanced, comprehendible alternative to Rifts.

This is going to be a side project of sorts, more for my own amusement than anything else, so Kevin and his Glitterboy hit team have nothing to worry about, even though I will be posting much of the results on this blog as I get to them.

It's more of a borrowing of the core concept than any of the story lines and such. Which makes sense, as I haven't bought a Rifts book in over 15 years ;)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Amazing Response to the Post a 0-Level Occupation for the DCC RPG Contest!

I am humbled by the response to the Post a 0-Level Occupation for the DCC RPG Contest. Over 40 contest related posts and easily over 60 0-Level Occupations posted - and it's only Friday night. The contest has been live for about 24 hours and will be open until the end of the day on Tuesday, July 31st.

I think we will easily hit over 100 professions posted before the contest is over.

I was optimistically hoping for 25 to 30 entries before the end of the contest. You folks are awesome! Goodman Games certainly planted great community seeds when it released the DCC RPG.

I will see if there is anything else I can add to the prize pool for the most awesome DCC RPG fans...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Win Some DCC RPG Swag! Post a 0-Level Occupation

Alright, here we go. The 2nd Monthly Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG Contest. This month's contest topic is: 0-Level Occupations.

Here's what you need to do to enter:

1 - Add a comment to this post using the following example's format:

Occupation: Town Guardsman
Trained Weapon: Short sword
                              Trade Goods: Set of Manacles

2 - Add a description if you would like, but it's not needed.

3 - You're done!

The current prize list is as follows:

   1 Copy Each of Crawl! Issue #1 AND Issue #2 - which will go to the winner of my choice. This is where creativity will take precedence.  Dak Ultimak will mail them (read this as "physical copies") to the winner, so I'll be asking the winner for their snail mail address. (courtesy of Dak)

  2 Copies of Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk (courtesy of Purple Sorcerer Games) in PDF to random entrants

  1 Copy of Perils of the Sunken City (again, courtesy of Purple Sorcerer Games in PDF to a random entrant

  1 Copy of Attack of the Frawgs! (courtesy of Thick Skull Adventures)

  1 Copy of Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror (courtesy of Purple Duck Games)

adding more prizes to the pool!

   5 winners (who, in my judgement, have an entry that makes me laugh, giggle, say "holy shit!" or simply "Wow!") will win their choice of one of the first 16 releases from the Toys For the Sandbox series AND their choice of either TFTSB #23 Pirate Island or #24 The Lost Colony. The first part of this prize selection is from me and the second part is courtesy of Quinn Conklin, the writer of the Toys For the Sandbox series. How f'n cool is that?

Note: Entries to this contest may be used in a forthcoming issue of Crawl! Your commenting on this post means you acknowledge and accept that your entry may be placed in the hands of future readers of Crawl!, the DCC Fanzine and / or used in a free iOS or Android App or webpage by Purple Sorcerer Games.

Entries must be in by midnite, july 31st, 2012 EST - Enter as often as you may like, but only one entry will count towards the random prize pool. One prize per winner. End edit ;)

Mini Review - Stars Without Number: Core Edition

I have to make a confession - When stars Without Numbers was first released, it didn't excite me. Not because it wasn't a good system, but because I really wasn't yearning for a good sci-fi game. So I gave it a quick look and it went back to sit on my virtual bookshelf.

Why then am I currently reading Stars Without Numbers: Core Edition when the free edition is sitting on my hard drive? It isn't just the cover (which is striking).

I'm interested in the society generation tables. (well, and the mech and robot stuff - with a little work SWN:Core and Labyrinth Lord would make for a coherent and balanced alternative to Rifts).

I was expecting something along the lines of the classic Traveller system generation. What I got was more like Microscope. I think I like the system in SWN: CE better than either of these choices. Given a few minutes, you could get some unique world backstory for just about any game system. Heck, I'd borrow this for my next fantasy campaign. Maybe the publishers could publish this section on its own - it is that good.

There really is enough here to cover all the world and government types your might want in your game, with tables that cover just about every aspect of the societies.  If you were to crib this for a fantasy campaign building session, each "world" would be a country, and you'd have to smooth out some of the inconsistencies between countries in the same geographical area, but with the world building tool you are given really could build a world.

As for SWN in general - I really like the class system. Comfortable enough for me as an AD&D grognard to feel right at home while still keeping the system fresh and effectively gear to sci-fi. I do so want to make a Rifts like mashup tho' ;)

If you haven't checked out Stars Without Numbers yet, you can grab the free version and give it a test drive.

Tonight We Will Occupy the Tavern!

Sharpen your pencils. Tonight I'll be officially announcing this month's DCC RPG Contest: New DCC Occupations. We'll be awarding fabulous prizes!
It should be fun, too.

The format for entries will be simple. Here's an example:

Occupation: Town Guardsman

Trained Weapon: Short Sword

Trade Goods: Set of Manacles

See? Simple ;)

Check back tonight...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bits & Pieces - Mythweaver: Legacy - Marvel Heroic - Next Tavern Contest

This is going to be one of those meandering posts, so lets begin the meandering, shall we?

Mythweaver: Legacy was just released on RPGNow (as I post this it is trending 11 in the sales numbers). It's by Splintered Realm Publishing, a small press whose work I've been following for the last 2 years or so. Legacy is a fantasy RPG that starts not with presenting you with character generation, but with world background. I haven't finished reading it yet (damn plate is getting pretty full) but it's already been moved to my Google Nexus for bedtime reading ;) Just a Buck (yes, you read that right) at RPGNow.

I grabbed a print copy of Marvel Heroic Roleplaying on Monday when I was at the Complete Strategist  in Manhattan. I'm not a huge supers fan at all, never have been. I try tho', really I do. I didn't grab a review copy because I wasn't sure I'd be able to put my prejudice aside to do a proper review even with ll the nice press its been getting. $20 for a dead tree version made the decision easier. There will be a review coming in the next week or so. Currently $7.49 in PDF.

Expect me to announce the Tavern's Second Dungeon Crawl Classicd RPG contest tomorrow. Hint: Think "Occupations". We should have a handful of prizes available (Crawl! Fanzine and some DCC RPG adventures from some very generous friends of the Tavern). I'll probably announce it on the Goodman Forums too when the contest goes live.

Work is still a bit hectic, but I'm on vacation next week so screw that!

Game on!

AD&D Reprints - Will It Lead to an AD&D Revival?

On Monday I picked up the AD&D Player's Handbook reprint, completing my collection of the core 3 AD&D books. Damn they are purty!

My original AD&D books have taken a beating. During summer time we would play almost 7 days a week. To be young again, free of responsibilities with unlimited time game.

So, with the release of the AD&D reprints (which I'm willing to guess have been a sales success) do you think there is going to be a resurgence of AD&D gaming going on? I'm not expecting it to come close to the numbers that the latest flavors of D&D / Pathfinder are hitting, but I suspect it could find itself in a very large niche inside the OSR and without.

Lack of PDFs might hold things back a bit (is WotC the only major publisher of RPGs that is afraid that PDFs might lead to cooties and the raping and pillaging of WotC trademarks and copyrights?). I might be an old timer, but i like a PDF to go along with my dead tree books.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Christmas in July at RPGNow (Selection of 25% Off)

RPGNow is running a 25% off sale with MOST of it's publishers joining in. It isn't all, but it certainly is the right time to get things that you might have been holding off on for a bit.

Like what you ask?

Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG - 25% off

RuneQuest 6th Edition - 25% off

Toys For The Sandox (each and every one? yep!) - 25% off

A crap load of other goodies at 25% off? Yep

Just in time for my birthday too! ;)

Dangerous Journeys: The Anubis Murders (EGG)

I found this little gem yesterday while I was raiding The Strand Book Store in NYC with Joe the Lawyer. The sci-fi shelves were packed with what I can only assume were remainders from the closing of the Borders Book Store chain, which is a shame. I used to leave The Strand with an armful of previously read (and early edition) paperbacks on a monthly basis years past.

Gary Gygax's The Anubis Murders is a book I never picked up the first time around (and when Paizo re-released it, I didn't give it much thought, as it was off my radar). Grabbing a copy of the first print run for 5 bucks? Priceless.

I'm on vacation next week, so hopefully I'll get a chance to give this a read.

I Don't Want To Be a Gong Farmer No More! (DCC RPG Adds to My Vocabulary)

The Pipe is Used in Removal of Night Soil
Two of the 12 PCs that started last night's DCC RPG Funnel were "Gong Farmers". I had no idea what that was until my players pointed me to the Wikipedia entry:

Gong farmer (also known as a gongfermor, gongfermour, gong-fayer, gong-fower or gong scourer), was a term that entered use in Tudor England to describe someone who dug out and removed human excrement from privies and cesspits; the word "gong" was used for both a privy and its contents. Gong farmers were only allowed to work at night, hence they were sometimes known as nightmen. The waste they collected, known as night soil, had to be taken outside the city or town boundary or to official dumps for disposal, from where it might be taken to be spread as fertiliser on fields or market gardens.

I have to give credit Joseph Goodman for adding a word to my vocabulary I would never have come across in any other way.  Just like my AD&D 1E books made me look up words when I was a young teen new to RPGs, Joseph is making me look up words over 30 years later.

Well done!

(The Gong Farmers came with their own Night Soil - now that's entertainment!)

Some Further DCC RPG Observations in Actual Play

Last night I ran my second DCC RPG Funnel (third funnel overall if your include last weekend's ACKS Henchman Funnel). More precisely, I ran approximately the first half of The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk by Purple Sorcerer Games.

Ooze Pits is less dungeon crawl, more roleplay / wilderness in nature. Despite this change, 7 casualties out of 12 (16 if you count replacements) of the zero level PC peasants. So far it's been more lethal than The Portal Under the Stars (from the DCC Rulebook).

1D4 Damage vs 1D4 HP PCs is like putting 1D10 Two-Handed Swords in AD&D against 1D10 HP 1st level Fighters. Scaled it's the same.

Managing the number of NPC / Monster adversaries that can engage the party is a delicate balance, especially with the varying numbers of PCs in the newbie swarms. I need to adjust a bit better on the fly. It is an art more that it is a science.

Saves / Checks that are failed even 1 time in 3 that are save or die (even with a 50% luck chance reducing that to 1 in 6) will kill that fraction of the party on average if everyone is forced to make that check. In our case, 2 PCs bought the bullet on that one (exactly 1 in 6). I'm not a fan of forcing a party into a save or die situation - it should be by PCs decision making, good or bad. Did it play out to a fun effect? Yes. Still not a fan of it. Not a specific criticism of the Ooze Pits - I've come across this repeatedly over the years.

Surprisingly, despite (or perhaps because of) the high mortality rate in the adventure so far, my players are having a blast. As am I.

Lack of equipment leads to players thinking out of the box. This has happened in all three funnels I've run. If you aren't comfortable going with the flow and improvising rules to accommodate your players pushing the envelope (and then some), running a "funnel" probably isnt for you.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Rob Conley Has Added An Exclusive to the LotFP Summer Indiegogo Campaigns

This is going to be short and sweet. I had an afternoon of burgers and beers with Joe the Lawyer in Manhattan this afternoon and need to recover in time to run tonight's DCC RPG Funnel. Forgive any typos. They are the results of 5 (6?) pints of Blue Point Blueberry Ale and two shots of whatever the fuck Joe was having them make. Thank the Lord my kid does pick ups at the pubs ;)

Here's the latest from the LotFP Summer Indiegogo Campaigns (I've had to hold this under my hat for the last day and a half):

New Perk: All $30+ contributors on funded projects will get a 16 page sandbox by Robert S. Conley (Majestic Wilderlands, Points of Light 1 & 2, etc.) in print + pdf format. This is exclusive to this campaign and will not be available in any format afterwards.

Rob does some great stuff. Heck, I'm using Blackmarsh in my ACKS Campaign as we speak.

Fun With Funnels - My New Campaign Starter

Let me begin this by saying I am not starting a new campaign in the immediate future, or even the not so immediate future. I have enough on my plate with my ongoing ACKS campaign (and possible side campaign therein) and my DCC RPG quasi campaign that will be run in Arcs. That being said, Saturday Night's games session reinforced the idea that newbie funnels are fun and build a true bond with players and their surviving PCs.

What was meant as a quasi-goof: running a funnel in ACKS with characters that would would become the regular PCs' henchman went better than expected. The survivors had value. The players were invested in them. The characters now have a bit of a back story and history.

They will not be one dimensional at first level (not that my players make one dimensional PCs - my group is fairly deep in the roleplaying). This is a side effect of the funnel that I hadn't expected, but having run a DCC funnel and an ACKS funnel, I plan on starting my next "D&D" style campaign with a funnel.

Of course, depending on how my current games go, that could be months or years in the future.

Remember, "Fun" is short for "Funnel" ;)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Putting a Little Magic Back in the Tavern

Way back in the beginning of this blog I was attempting to post a new magic item once a week or so - Tenkar's Magical Tidbits or some such nonsense. It didn't last. I was trying to find a voice for the blog and I was going in just about every direction at once to do so.

I think the blog has it's own voice now. It's constantly evolving, even without me putting conscious thought into the matter. Tonight I am putting some conscious thought into the matter.

Once a week, sometime over the weekend (starting next weekend, as the 30th is my bday and also the start of a week of vacation) I plan on offering up a bit of magic to my blog readers. A new magic item once a week for your campaign. It may be for DCC RPG one week, ACKS another week, RQ6 on the third - whatever strikes my creative fancy. Hell, I might get real creative and whip something up for MERP ;)

Just like this blog makes me work my writing muscles multiple times a day, i want it to work my creative gaming muscles too. 

RuneQuest 6 - Review - Part the Fourth - Working on Skills and Rolls

RuneQuest 6 is a game built on skills. That shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that has heard about RuneQuest, Stormbringer, Call of Cthulhu, Basic RolePlaying, Legend, Elfquest, OpenQuest and I'm sure a slew of games that are a variation of the above. They all have their roots in the first release of RuneQuest.

There are some basic things to note about skill use in RQ, especially for those coming from the D&D side of the table - it's percentile based and you want to roll low.

Going back to D&D and it's many offspring. In D&D, you usually want to roll high, a natural 20 always hits and a natural 1 always misses. That is D&D combat broken down to it's simplest core.

In Runequest (and it's related siblings and offspring) you pretty much want to roll low. A roll of 01-05 is always a success and a roll of 96-00 is always a failure. Equal to, or less than your skill value on your D100 roll means you succeeded and rolling greater than your skill value means you failed. That is RQ skill resolution at it's simplest core.

D&D variations sometimes have criticals and failures. Generally a natural 20 is a crit (sometimes there is a range, say 18-20, but it is always a natural roll that you are looking at, not adjusted by bonuses) and if there are fumbles, they occur on a natural 1.

In RuneQuest 6 criticals happen when the roll is 1/10th the skill value (adjusted after modifiers - this shit I remember from older editions of the rules). This applies both in combat and with non-combat skill use. Fumbles occur on a roll of 99 or 00 (2% chance, compared to D&D's 5% when applicable).

RQ6 includes grades of difficulties from Automatic (no need to roll), Very Easy (double your effective skill value) all the way through Herculean (skill effectively reduced to 1/10 value) and Hopeless (no chance, no tries, no can do). There is also an alternative chart if multiplication slows you down too much.

As you can probably see, RQ6 is much more granular than D&D, which is where I am firmly based. It's funny, but reading through the RQ6 rules makes me want to break out my copy of Basic Roleplaying and whip up some cross-genre game, with fantasy elements taken from RQ6 and stealing ideas from Rifts. I do think BRP or RQ6 could handle such a setting better than Rifts current buggered beyond redemption rules, but I have suddenly veered off on one hell of a tangent!

Where was I? Oh yeah, RQ6 skills. The rest of the chapter describes the skills that you assigned points to in the previous chapter. It includes examples of what may happen on a crit, a success, a failure or a fumble. The examples are pretty much good enough for a GM to extrapolate what he needs for his unique situation.

There is a section on Skill Rules for Different Circumstances and Situations at the end of the chapter. I'm just going to list the different rules, as some are fairly obvious what they deal with based on their title, and in any case, I'm not trying to repeat the book, but show what it has inside.

So, that being said, here we go - Reattempting Skills, Augmenting Skills, Capping Skills, Contested Rolls (always a biggie) and Group Rolls. Some of these are broken down further (Contested and Group Rolls for example) but that should be enough to get an idea.

Raggi's No Risk Deal - Horror Among Thieves: If You Contribute and it Doesn't Fund, You Get It FREE

I was kind of surprised by this myself. Last week Kelvin Green announced that if you supported his project Horror Among Thieves and it didn't fund, he'd put it out in PDF for those that attempted to support his project. For free. Damn cool. It's just gotten cooler.

Now James Raggi has come out and said if you support the project and it doesn't fund, he's still print it and ship it to you - for free!

Here's the skinny:

Kelvin Green’s gone nuts and he’s infected LotFP Central!

If Horror Among Thieves does NOT fund, LotFP will still be publishing the adventure. It won’t necessarily be on the same timetable as if it were to fund, but we’ll put it out.

Anyone contributing $10+ to the campaign will get the adventure PDF, WHETHER OR NOT THE CAMPAIGN FUNDS.

Anyone contributing $20+ to the campaign will get the physical book, WHETHER OR NOT THE CAMPAIGN FUNDS.

That’s right, if the campaign doesn’t fund, you get your contributed money back at the close of the campaign, and you will get the stuff anyway when it’s published. (Note that if it doesn’t fund with this campaign, books will be shipped 2nd class and it does not include any of the campaign extras.)

Spread the word. Now there really is no excuse not to fund this thing.

Additionally, Raggi will be announcing another incentive for supporters of the July Adventures. James told me what it is, and I think it may be enough to jump start a few of these projects. It involves someone whose work is very respected among the OSR community. The new sweet point will be $30 bucks. Details tomorrow after James lets the cat out of the bag ;)

ACKS + DCC Funnel = Loads of Fun!

Last night my ACKS group switched over to the "Henchman Mini-Campaign Within the Campaign" for the time being. The group of five has been down to three with vacations and other distractions, so the idea was to play their future henchmen. That idea than morphed into "lets do a DCC RPG Funnel for the ACKS henchmen!" See, thinking is a dangerous thing.

The group used the Purple Sorcerer Character Generator to make their cannon fodder. The stats were fairly easy to convert to ACKS - the only stretch was Luck which morphed into Wisdom, but it worked fine.

I used The Portal Under the Stars from the DCC RPG rulebook for the funnel. I've used it before for DCC, and it runs well and fairly quick - about two hours. I don't want tot give away too much of the adventure, as it is a fun one, and those that haven't had a chance to play it should still be able to enjoy the surprises.

The party went in with 12 PCs (4 for each player) and came out with 7 PCs. Everyone had at least one survivor.

Here's some observations:

In the short period of time, people became attached to their characters - well, at least the survivors. Even my players marveled at how the process actually worked in play. To paraphrase my group: "they've been trying to figure out 0-level characters in play for 30 years and Goodman finally did it right!"

My players think out of the box. Far out of the box. As in: "Take the Box, Cut Doors and Portals in the Sides, Top and Bottom - Then Step Out of the Box and Give It a Big Kick In the 'Nads From the Outside" type of thinking. Constantly forcing me to think out of the box. Challenging me as the DM - not my authority, but to keep up with them and be willing to go far beyond the text of the adventure. I had as much fun last night as I've ever had as a GM in any game, including games with the same players. They were literally hitting it out of the ballpark. F'n amazing!

DCC is as much D&D as ACKS is. and they are all a blast to play ;)
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