Saturday, March 2, 2013

An Early Kickstarter - Adventures Dark and Deep Players Manual - PDF In Hand!

Less than an hour ago I got my redemption code for the Adventures Dark and Deep Players Manual RPGNow for supporting the Kickstarter - due in June of 2013, the PDF is now in the wild and books could be shipping in a few weeks. This might be another record being set.

I've only read through parts of the races and classes, but they feel more 1e plus UA plus "something" than they feel 2e as we know it.

Which is a good thing, especially if you are trying to base this 2e "What If?" ruleset off of 1e.

More as I dig deeper, but impressed with what I see so far. Not saying I wouldn't houserule the shit out of it, but I do that with all of the OSR rulesets ;)

From the blurb:

What if Gary Gygax had not left TSR in 1985, and had been allowed to continue developing the world’s most famous fantasy role-playing game?

Adventures Dark and Deep attempts to answer that question.

We will, unfortunately, never know exactly what it would have looked like, because Gary Gygax did leave TSR in that year, and others took over the job of designing the second (and subsequent) versions of the game. After that unfortunate episode, he was understandably reluctant to give any advice on how he would have carried the game forward.

However, he did leave behind hints as to the direction he would have taken the game. New character classes. Streamlined combat. New spells and magic items. Consolidated and re-worked monsters. We don’t have many specifics, but we do have a fair number of “big picture” ideas. All of these have been taken as inspiration for Adventures Dark and Deep™.

Bear in mind that we have no special insight into Gygax’s mind on this subject other than what he himself wrote publicly, and certainly the game should not be taken as having any sort of official stamp, either from his estate or the corporations that have taken the game in new directions. All that has been done is to collect the hints he did leave, use them as inspiration, and take off in a wholly different direction than that which happened “officially”.

Adventures Dark and Deep™ is not a “retro-clone”. It does not set out to re-create a particular set of rules from decades past, as do some other games (not that there’s anything wrong with doing so!). Rather, it is a new creation, unique unto itself, and does not attempt to recreate any set of rules that has gone before.

The Players Manual is the first of three core rulebooks, including the Game Masters Toolkit and Bestiary. It contains all the rules you need to create and run a character. Those who are looking to run a game should also get the other two core rulebooks.

The rules are designed to be completely modular; take what you like, leave what you don't. Want mountebanks and savants but not the new combat system? No problem.

Slowing Down of the Postings - To About Two a Day

This week will have my lowest number of posts since early 2012 - approximately 13 months. It's not something planned, it's just how things have gone. Oh, and probably more comments in a week than the previous two months combined - so the unintentionally pared down posting has worked fine.

I never really set out for any specific average number of posts. They happen as they happen.

That being said, I'm open for ideas.

I've already compared the Three White Boxes, and going beyond the first books and basic rules would have been looking at truly minuscule differences - I think the main ones were covered well.

I do need to write up some more impressions of Empire of the Petal Throne (yet another "White Box") but this is a game that I can't just speed read through the fluff. It is like walking to school, uphill both ways in 2 feet of snow - you need to take your time with it. Even doing that, I expect to epically fail ;)

There should be an Overdue Kickstarter post up in a day or so - gotta keep them honest. It's also a new month, so there may be some additions to the list as games come due.

Alright, time for dinner and game prep for tonight.

Tell Us About Your First Player Character

Generally speaking, your first Player Character should have been in the first RPG session you played, but maybe not if you were a GM right from the start. Than again, DM PCs were fairly common in my early days of gaming.

My first PC was a Human Fighter named Cyrus. At 13 / 14 (not 100% sure) Cyrus sounded like an exotic name. Dont ask me why, I have no idea.

In any case, Cyrus only played in the 1 session, but still managed to level up over the years as I naturally increased his level to keep par with my later main PCs. Ah, to be a teen again. He was nothing special as rolled, but as he aged, his stats increased too ;)

So, tell us about you first PC.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Some Dwimmermount Rewards Are Shipping - Labyrinth Lord HCs and ACKS

Labyrinth Lord rulebooks (both Core and AEC) as well as the Adventurer Conqueror King System rulebook were offered as rewards during the Dwimmermount Kickstarter. The publishers of these products have taken it upon themselves to ship these out now, and not wait on the unknown progress of the rest of the Kickstarter, which I think is an excellent way to provide customer service.

From Dan Proctor, writer / publisher of LL:

"For those interested, I just want to confirm that all hard cover copies of Labyrinth Lord and the Advanced Edition Companion that were ordered through the Dwimmermount Kickstarter shipped today. The PDFs were delivered several months ago. I also want to make sure people know that James Maliszewski did in fact pay me for all of the orders. I asked him to deliver the money for this long back, well before his personal difficulties arose, because I wanted to ensure that I would be able to deliver the books in case anything unforeseen happened. At the time it seemed unlikely there would be any snags, but I was sort of looking ahead in a paranoid fashion I guess, and we now know that snags did in fact arise. Although I have every confidence James will eventually complete and deliver Dwimmermount, it is now clear that Dwimmermount may not be fulfilled for some time. In light of this, I want to take care of my supporters and customers by fulfilling this one component of the Kickstarter that I have control over. I did take some hit due to unforeseen shipping expenses associated with this, but I did not take an overall loss. That's why even though some customers very generously offered to pay for the additional shipping, I have declined those offers. As a supporter of Dwimmermount myself I know many people already have a lot of money invested in the project."(I did the bolding to point out what a stand up guy Dan is)

As for ACKS, from Tavis' update on 2/22 on Dwimmermount:

A number of backers added to their Dwimmermount pledges to receive copies of the two rules systems the mega-dungeon is written for, Labyrinth Lord (and its Advanced Edition Companion) and the Adventurer Conqueror King System (and its ACKS Player's Companion). Those who pledged for the PDF versions of these books should already have received their copies. Email support@autarch.co if you didn't receive them and I'll help resolve it for you.

Our original plan was to combine shipping on the print copies with the Dwimmermount hardcovers, but Dan Proctor at Goblinoid Games and us at Autarch have decided to go ahead and send our books separately at no additional charge to the backers. I believe everyone who pledged for the print copies has now been sent an email confirming their shipping address, and that the LL books are on their way. I sent Game Salute the addresses for the ACKS books earlier this week but haven't gotten confirmation that they are in the mail; I'll reply to the individual email threads as soon as I have more information.

(Update from 3/1 via G+ from Tavis Allison)

I don't have confirmation yet from Game Salute that the ACKS books have shipped - their warehouse guy has been out sick - but we're doing the same thing (and taking the same hit).

Friday Night Matinee - ARGO (Complete With "Gaming Thoughts")

So, my wife and I just finished watching ARGO on DVD. She has wanted to see it since the trailers were first playing on TV during it's theater run. Me? I wanted to see it from the perspective of a History Major, but I wasn't all that excited, even with it winning the Academy Award for Best Picture. Half the time "Best Picture" seems to mean "Artsy Movie Most People Never Saw".

I admit, I was wrong. This was a damn good flick.

Actually, it wasn't just a "damn good flick", it was also inspirational for a spy-thriller type RPG session. Heck, it could easily play out as an extended story arc. No guns. No violence (well, there is violence in the movie, but it's part of the setting and atmosphere). It's all out smarting you opponent and beating the clock.

Yes, I could see running a Top Secret / 007 game without all of the killing and shooting that used to happen during my Top Secret games. Well, that and I'm about 30 years more mature, so maybe I could actually pull it off. Well, not actually using the Top Secret rules, as I recall they were not very intuitive. Never actually played the 007 RPG - was that Victory Games?

In any case, as much as I enjoy the Jason Bourne movies and 007 franchise, this is the first "spy" movie that really hooked me from a gaming perspective. Somehow my Top Secret games always had body counts that would do James Bond proud ;)

What Game Was Your Introduction to Roleplaying

I think the answer to this question is going to revolve around when one started playing RPGs.

My first taste of roleplaying was via AD&D - all my friend had was the DMG and we had to call another friend to see if I had leveled. Cyrus the Fighter made 2nd level in that first solo adventure - I'm fairly sure we didn't accurately count the expo, but that didn't matter. The experience was magical and I was hooked for life.

So, what game brought you into the hobby?

Thursday, February 28, 2013

What is the Worst RPG Product You Ever Bought?

This may be a tough one, or maybe not if you bought some FFE products during the D20 glut of games. I bought my FFE products as part of an eBay package deal at like 3 bucks on the book - so the stinkers stank less due to the cheap buy in.

No, my all time winner of "Worst RPG Product I Ever Bought" is also the only one I ever returned and demanded a cash refund on - Monster Coliseum for Avalon Hill's RuneQuest 3 game. Oh my fucking God - this turd was expensive back in 85/86, when all my income came from a $8 a day off the books job. What can I say? I was 18 and in college ;)

The great thing is, I got my money back (although it may have been store credit) and I saw that box remain on the store's shelves until it moved locations a few years later.

I don't recall what I was hoping to find when I opened the box, but it obviously wasn't what I expected. There was nothing to use in it for my novice RQ3 campaign.

So, what's your worst RPG purchase?

Which Rule Was Your "Most Misunderstood Rule" in Your Early Days of Roleplaying?

For me, the most misunderstood rule in my early days of roleplaying was Hit Dice or HD in AD&D. Here's why:

When my parents got me my AD&D books for my birthday way back when, I was given the Player's Handbook, the Dungeon Master's Guide and a set of dice. Notice something missing? Yep, the Monster Manual.

Not having the Monster Manual wasn't that big a deal - you had monster sumaries in the back of the DMG. Everything was listed, including HD. Not knowing what HD actually was, I assumed it meant Hit Points for Denizens or something. So, Orcs had 1 HD or 1 Hit Point. Ogres had 4+1, which was a silly way to saw 5 Hit Points, but who was I to argue.

Yes, those early days had monsters that were quite the pushover.

So, what rule or rules were your most misunderstood rules back in your early days of gaming?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Which RPG Do You Wish You Owned But Never Have?

We've discussed the 2nd RPG you've ever owned and the RPG you own but have never played (and truly wish you did) and now we have the next question: Which RPG do you wish you owned but never have?

For me, that's Space Opera (it would have been tied with Empire of the Petal Throne, but I snagged a copy on eBay recently).

See, back in my early days of gaming, complicated systems never upset me (I avoid them like the plague these days tho'). I always wanted to get and play Space Opera. Heck, I'm not even sure why - it just seemed to be that really great game (based upon reviews from people in my extended gaming circle in my High School and College days) that I haven't even physically held, let alone played a session of. Just heard the stories, and they were awesome.

I see it's available in RPGNow in PDF, but apparently the scans are really poor.

Damn, now that I've thought on it, I may have to troll eBay for a copy at some point.

Felicia Day Announces International Table Top Day for March 30, 2013!

March 30th is International Table Top Day.

So it is written, so it shall be done.

Kinda cool, actually. I'll need to get a new board game ready for the family.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Grab Those Dragons While You Can...

Expect them, and I assume Polyhedron and Ares to go "Poof!" sooner than later.

I listen to the birdies when they talk, and the current word is that they will soon be gone from archive.org.

Maybe WotC will upload them to DnD Classics... or not. If they do, they should use the scans that are currently up, as they are sharp and clean. Hell, the work is already done on them.

Which Game Have You Owned and Most Wanted to Play, But Never Did?"

I owe this question to +Ted Collins : "Which game have you owned and most wanted to play, but never did?"

For me, the answer is easy enough: Call of Cthulhu. The reasons, however, are multiple.

My groups always wanted to play in a campaign style game - CoC always seemed most suited to one shots and short story arcs.

PCs are pretty much domed from the start. I don't mind that kind of play, but my High School and College groups wanted to kick ass or die trying. CoC kinda kills you if you try - always.

I never felt confident in my ability to pull off the feeling of dread and horror that CoC requires, and no one else was game to try.

So, here I am, nearly 30 years later, and I still haven't played a session. Got as far as making characters - twice even!

So, "Which game have you owned and most wanted to play, but never did?"

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ever Make Your Adventuring Party a "Franchise"?

I'm not even sure where this came from, but the idea of an adventuring party being a "franchise" of a larger group / adventuring company / corporation just occurred to me.

There would be backing from the parent company, but the franchise would have to follow certain rules, especially dealing with image. A certain percentage of earnings would have to be kicked back to the parent company.

Hmmm, a "no torturing or indiscriminate burning of adversaries" clause would do wonders with my gaming group, but somehow I expect they would lose their franchise license fairly quickly with that clause alone ;)

Anyone ever use something similar to a "franchise license" with their adventuring parties in their campaign?

Mini Review - AFS Magazine Issue #2

Not that I ever got around to reviewing AFS #1(my bad) which was nice, but AFS #2 ($6.00) shows a maturing of the format. Gone are the single sided pages - now we have double sided pages. The page count jumps from 38 (I think - not numbered) to 44 (numbered). Also, the front and back covers are now printed on heavier paper - you can feel the difference (and it should be able to survive normal reading abuse now).

There's an article by Rob Kuntz to start things off. Interesting article on some early gaming history. Still, another "Old School Cred" article, and I've already read one by Rob in Gygax recently (and other places prior). Enjoyable none the less.

The next piece is a short story. Didn't read it. I'm not much of a reader of short fiction. Hey, at least I'm honest ;)  BTW, different typset from the previous article, so you get a real feeling of an 70s / 80s print only zine.

Cliff Warrens of the Corvid Bird Men - and adventure for characters level 2-4.complete with hand drawn map - not a work of art but serviceable. It's a short adventure, more of an extended encounter in length. If nothing else, it introduces a new monster, but if you only have 2 hours or so to play, this may very well fill your needs.

This is followed by 2 new monsters: The Zombastadon and Leiber Ghuls.

Next up is The Big Table of Semi-mundane Items (100) - I love me some random tables. The font here is small - small enough that my now aging eyes find it slightly hard to read. Well worth the effort to read and use tho'.

We get a new class for AS&SH, the Cryomancer written by Jeff Talanian himself. Complete with it's own spell list, this sizable article is probably considered semi-official for AS&SH. Pretty damn cool. I may need to pull AS&SH off my shelf and give it a fuller reading. So much to read, so little time to do so.

Another article from Rob Kuntz, this time a Mythos Monster from the Lake Geneva Original Campaign. See, this is how you establish your old school cred, by giving us old school stuff to game with ;)

The Big Table of Minor Magic Items is thankfully at a readable font size. Did I already mention I love random tables?

The Templar Class is next in line. I'm guessing it's for B/X . Possibly a very powerful class, but with a 1 in 20 chance of nearly self destructing whenever using it's divine intervention power. I don't think I'd use the class as written.

Overall, a very satisfying issue. I'm looking forward to Issue #3 of AFS already.

What is the SECOND RPG You Owned?

Most of us started with D&D / AD&D in one of it's various flavors, although I have seen a significant number that started with other RPGs, which is pretty cool.

This is not a question asking about the RPG that was your gateway into the hobby.

Instead, it's a question about the game that you were drawn to AFTER being introduced to the hobby.

For me, that game was Gamma World. It's not the second RPG that I played (that might have been Gangbusters), but it was the second RPG that I owned and the first one that I bought with my own money. It was also my introduction to the World of TSR "Waxy Dice". What memories. ;)

So, what is the second RPG that you owned?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Classic Dragon, Polyhedron, Ares Magazines (Others) Available for Free Download

Now, I have no idea about the legality of the uploaded works at the following link, but I do know about the quality of the articles in these out of print - alright, defunct - periodicals. Overall, extremely high quality. Get them here. (I assume the legality is a "gray" area on many of these titles)

Hey, look, Omni Magazine is there too. As is Cracked! Awesome!

(Edit: Also The General and The Space Gamer!)

A Kickstarter With 2 Hrs to Go - Realm Works: Streamlined RPG Campaign Tools

I tried The Keep back in the day, but it never seemed to reach it's potential. Realm Works seems to know it's potential.

The stretch goals are interesting - at $165k it includes The Razor Coast (amongst previous stretch goals that have been met).

I'm in on this one.

From the blurb:

Realm Works takes campaign management for tabletop RPGs to the next level, making it faster and easier to prepare for games, and greatly enhancing the actual game experience. You can use Realm Works with any RPGs you play — it’s “game system neutral” and can be used no matter what type of campaign you run.  GMs can create, manage, and share their world using a single tool, rather than trying to cobble things together with multiple, disconnected applications.  Realm Works was built by GMs and players for GMs and players.

What Makes Realm Works Unique

Unlike many software Kickstarters, initial Realm Works development is nearly complete. We've been evolving Realm Works for over three years and will be releasing it in July, 2013. Numerous features are already in place, as we demonstrate in the video, but there are many more we want to include in the initial release.  Your support of this Kickstarter will allow us to accelerate our current development efforts so we can pack more features into the product in time for its public release.

Our mission with Realm Works is to streamline and improve the tabletop role-playing experience for both GMs and players by empowering GMs to create, manage, and share any world they can imagine. We're doing this in four ways:

First, provide tools for GMs to efficiently create and assemble materials for their games in a way that's simple to manage, organize, and search.

Second, let GMs reveal content to players as it's uncovered during play, without introducing extra work for the GM.

Third, enable GMs to share their creations and smoothly integrate the work of others into their own material, weaving it all together into their campaign.

Finally, provide a community repository where additional material can be obtained and easily integrated with any other content you have, including the GM's own creations, letting GMs build their games from whatever sources they find compelling or interesting.

Finally Got to Use Roll20 Last Night...

Yep, after a 3 week delay, we finally got around to playing our first session using the Roll20 interface. It went amazingly well, all things considered.

What, pray tell, are those things to be considered?

Mainly my internet dropping. I wondered why everyone was so suddenly quite, and it took a good 10 to15 seconds of me yapping away to realize "shit! I stil have a wireless connection, but no internet connection - WTF?".

Things I learned.

Hangout via phone works surprisingly well, but not if you are the one that is going to be running the game. Oh, and motion sickness is a problem for those watching you run around the house as you look to get your 4g wireless hub hooked up.

The 4g wireless hub allowed for connecting my home computer to the internet, but wouldn't allow me to use voice, which kinda makes running a Hangout game impossible. Although it was pointed out to me that the message saying my mic was turned off by default could have been over ridden.

At which point I went back to using the phone and was about 30 seconds from calling the game when suddenly my desktop had an internet connection again.

All in all I think we lost about a half an hour of game time from my internet fiasco. I am so switching over to Fios in the next month or two.

Oh yeah - Roll20. Fog of War worked great, the dice roller was aces and the ability to show players a handout was awesome (not that I think that they appreciated my handout showing a tavern patron). Once we get some more macros set up for everyone, I expect gameplay will smooth out even more.

Do You Own Those Funky DCC RPG Dice?

It's kinda funny. When it was revealed that the (then) upcoming DCC RPG used these funky sided dice - d3, d5, d7, d14, d16, d24 and d30 I got all bent out of shape. Why should some new fangled game require me to buy dice that I did not have? I had hundreds of dice, and they were all of the standard weirdness, or so I thought.

When I went through the bulk of my old dice collection, I found I apparently had a set of dice that included all but the d7 (the d7 is an ugly piece of dice poo, and I've yet to see it as part of a dice set). This is in addition to the set I bought when the DCC RPG was released.

So, even though I was initially resistant to the extra dice used by the DCC RPG, I actually owned a set of "weird" polyhedrons before it was in vogue.

Go figure.

Do you own a set (or more) of "DCC RPG Dice"? Did you own them before or after the game was announced? How deep does you dice collecting habit go anyway?
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