Sunday, November 30, 2014

Some Queen

Because I haven't posted music links in a dogs age and why not.

So. The New Star Wars Trailer?

I'll keep this one short.

It looks fine and will be reasonably entertaining. I might go see it in the theater  assuming I don't have something better to spend $10 + snacks on. I will probably see it on NetFlix or DVR   with family if I don't  but again I haven't seen the Hobbit yet so who knows

I will say did get a little of the old excitement when I saw the Millennium Falcon however and I like the looks of the props.

To sum up in the words of the late great Freddy Mercury

"Jaws was never my scene  and I don't like Star Wars." or well I haven't cared for much it since the 1980's but his way sounds better.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Keeping it simple today,

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers who celebrate the holiday.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Huh, a lot of Yandex traffic.

Yandex is the Russian Google and for some reasons sends a lot of traffic my way. All I can say to that is  Добро пожаловать Друзья!

 Welcome Friends if Google got it correct

What are the three best campaigns you've played in ?

Interestingly for me these are actually fairly recent.

Not in order here

#1  The all too short Sword and Planet game . Pathfinder

Marl the Half Orc merc and his friends adventure in a Pathfinder homebrew. B, my GM did a great job on this with an interesting world and plenty of things going on, doubly so since he had run very little before. Various group related things  kind of axed that game but it was really fun and I had a blast playing Marl.

#2 Swords Against Greyhawk Deviltry. Rolemaster Standard System

I'm riffing the title from Fritz Leiber of course but it was hack and slash Rolemaster set in Greyhawk with a quest to stop Tharuzdin, the Cthulhu of that setting from rising.  The game was fun for a very simple reason, everyone was well adjusted, busy adults "going somewhere"  with their lives and the all around maturity helped the game flow. Its what we need, when we needed it and the first truly adult group, not in texture but in focus I'd played with.

#3 Jeeves, Wooster and the Inquisition.

One of those Dark heresy Games I mentioned . I played a young but sensible "Chav" version of Jeeves against my friend B's younger Wooster  with great humor and effect. My character loved the Emperor  and the dice loved him. I've never rolled better in any game with 3 extremely difficult rolls against my lowest state that added up to a moment of awesome,. Everyone seemed to get in some of these moments and E who loves the material did a great jobs GMing

What are the three best campaigns you've run ?

This one is a bit subjective but I'm curious as to what campaigns you've run that you are your players thought rocked the hardest ?

My list, not in order

#1 Thieves Night Out . AD&D 2nd edition.

All players are thieves or thief multi-classes with humans aloud to multi-class with thief for this game. Basically it was a caper game kind of  Guy Ritchie, before Guy Ritchie meets D&D. There were 3 regular players plus up to 12 (far too many BTW)  at one point and simply it worked. The players had motivation, verve and at one point were so immersed in the roleplaying one broke out in sweat.

#2 Midrea Unglued.   AD&D 2nd edition.

The party was  two barbarians Hans and Franz  cribbed from Saturday Night Live , Rambo the awakened squirrel , Hayabusa the mute coroner, Inga, Hans and Franz's minder and a Satyr whose name I long forgot. It was played semi-straight but for laughs and given the inherent zaniness of D&D it was incredibly fun.

#3 Santa Carla Chronicles. Buffy RPG

This is three games actually . Buffy meets Blade meets Lost Boys with a tiny smidgen of Great Teacher Onizuka , Duke Nukem and Elvira  . This ran into 2 spin off campaigns, one  with the characters  on the run in Colorado and another 60 years into the future. All of the games had harrowing moments, Whedonesque humor , great roleplaying and charm. Truly a wonderful gaming memory over a couple of years

What are your favorite game systems?

I'm kind of curious as to what my readers like. I'll post mine

My favorite systems are in order

1 -Eden Studios Unisystem, both Cinematic and Classic


4- everything else

I suppose folks are probably saying WTF? right about now. Well simply, these are the rules and books I like the most not necessarily the ones I play the most.

That's why while I often post D&D in its various flavors, it gets a lot of play and design time the others do not.

How about you?

A Game System I'd like to try : Gumshoe

My group runs a fair amount of police procedural games, mostly Dark Heresy which is derived from the Grim-Dark Warhammer 40,000 universe.

We've also done a couple of horror procedurals and a few modern ones using free form rules.

I'd very much like to use GUMSHOE at some time in the future though, the way the  game is laid out the rules and guidelines would improve the structure and flow of the  game.

I'd also like to try a traditional fantasy version using those rules  I am aware of Lorefinder  the Gumshoe, Pathfinder crossover game and its quite well done but  it comes with too much Pathfinder  baggage.

I'd like to see a pure fantasy version.

if you are curious there is an SRD of sorts here.  It will give you a very rough understanding of the rules though as they say, unlike the Pathfinder SRD, its not meant to be playable.

Frankly we are somewhat lucky to have this much as Pelgrane Presss really didn't want to do this at all. They agreed to do it as part of a kickstarter for a story game called Hillfok  and kept their word so that's good enough for me.

I TL:DR'd myself and apologies

Apologies to all my readers. I really should have split that last post into more manageable pieces . Its excessively long and difficult to read. I'm  too lazy to do this right now though so I'm going to bury it under a flood of content. So how's that for an apology eh?

TL; DR indeed.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Games to Run Someday List

Thought y'all might get a kick out of this list of  games I want to run someday.

Man Mech and Magic:
Clockpunk Vision of Escaflowne mixed in with standard gamer fantasy environment. I ran one session of this with GURPS rules but I have a hunch D20 might be better.

Cannon Dreams:
The Age of Pyrates Version of the above.

Eldritch Hours:
Call of Cuthulu with the names and serial number filled off. New names, new faces and new horrors.

Wing Zero:Senego Dreams
Anime inspired. 6 ancient experimental ships and a rag tag commercial fleet against an alien invasion.

Ketster Dawn:
Invasion of the Samurai Lizard Chicken People and their Anthro Mechs. Fighting them, Earthforce, The various national armies (circa 2020) and a few experimental Human mechs. And no its not silly....

Under a Broken Sky:
Thundaar inspired post apocalypse super science an magic fusion using with D20 D&D and Gamma World. . Who cares if its not logical, its fun.

This Far and No Farther:
 A GURPS game set in a stagnant near future. the place? Quasi Libertarian Facist (yes thats compatible) New technologies include Longevity Serum, Immune Amplification and Smart Drugs. The hitch, After a  Biogenic War hard science research is severely limited and controlled by a global police force.
The PC's would be local police investigators on the trail of a homicide. Along the way they will discover all sorts of mad scientists illegal science labs and illegal micro fab computer chip plants.

Revolution Rock:
Also set in the same Universe. A band of teen age friends try to get into the rock concert of the century.

They Who Were Chosen:
 Modern fantasy. The PC's discover All Hell is Breaking Loose and its there job to stop it. Sort of like an all Slayer Buffy game without the background stuff

Ground Zero:
 This is an old comic universe my best friend and I built way back in 1990.
Supers with logically powers and continuity. GURPS would work pretty well but so would Beyond Human

Simply Marvelous:
 A return to my modified marvel universe using Beyond Human.

Lost Colony:
 Muskets, Magic and Indians in an world somewhat like colonial America. The campaign starts twenty years after the Old World was destroyed by dragons.
Now without trade or new immigrants the colonies are on their own.
Sytems, GURPS, or 3e

Faerie Triumphant:
 The Elves have destroyed European civilization. But recently there has been a sliver of hope and the Fae sighting have diminished. Is it the new beginning or just a lull in the end of the world. This will use D&D, GURPS Or maybe Uniystem

Destiny of Swords:
Someone has shattered the Jewel of the Stars. Each of the pieces will grant great power to anyone or anything THING that finds one. The characters are Jewel Hunters on the track of shards for good or ill. THis is basically Inuyasha with a Euro bent. D&D or BESM

I an this one with GURPS actually. It was pretty fun.

Down Below:
 There are few ways of the projects, money, connections or a military scholarship. Without those there is only the Rangers. The characters are the memeber of the Ranger corp (not necesarily the class)  chartered to protect Polis from Down Below or sometimes itself. D&D with very very high magic

Younger Sons:
 One hundred years ago a magical cataclysm killed every human in Amachis. Now the curse has ended and the rush has began. The party are all younger sons of Amachian expatriates with little prospects sent back to the motherland to make their way

Children of Damnation: The party members are all children of Azgoth, Demon Prince of Defilement. You may be half a fiend but you have free will, what will you do with your gifts now that Father has taken an interest in you

You have a myriad of Universes to choose from. With you Slip walking talent you can traverse any of them with one two little flaws, there are OTHERS out there and you don't know how to control the Slip. This is based of Sliders and GURPS Alternate Earth

I also ran a version of this in a kind of system-less thing and it was pretty fun as well.

Ruin Raiders:
two generations after the Empire was destroyed by the Far Realms the majority of the Folk (human, elf, cat people, xeph etc) still huddle behind the Cerulean Wall -- the great barrier thats keeps the Far Realms Abberations at bay. Certain Folk (aka the PC's) have the nerves of steel to brave the unspeakable horrors in search of Loot or just to help the refugees that linger
System: Blog Standard D&D WOTC Books only and minimal house rules

Starlight, Iron and the End of Days:
This is DeLint style Faerie tales set in a 2050 where the demographic prediction of Phillip Longman et all are true. Less Men means the Fae have crept slowly back into the world. Normal people, poinant empty cities and greening
System -- suggestions? Unisystem Angel/Ghosts of Albion is my current mix

I've run this setting a couple of times. Its one of my favorites.

Quiet Years:
A cop show set in the same Universe as above, though without any supernatural elements at all
System: Unisystem Medium or GURPS

Green Sails:
Flintlocks Pirates and Fae abound as the players sail the Sea of Green aboard the pirate vessel Queen of Winter
System: Unisystem or Savage Worlds

Tombs and Troubles:
Plain old dungeon crawling, adventuring, wenching (or its female equivalent) and woods running. This is classic style D&D with the players simply being Adventurers. There is a city, a few towns, villages, caves and dungeons. Simple archetypes
System: Savage Worlds with loads of minis. GURPS is also possible

All the World is Trees:
Inspired by a recent thread -- No oceans, no plains -- just trees.Tribal style adventuring with Anglo Saxon, Australian Aborigine and Native American flavor
System: D&D varient, GURPS ,Unisystem or Savage Worlds

Fire Base Echo
Weird Wars Vietnam. The Horrors of war just got more horrible. I'd run it without supernatural stuff but the players would want it so.. The PC's are draftees thrust into the war. The game covers before and after all the way to the 80's. Highlights include a kickass soundtrack
System: Savage Worlds (Tour of Darkness) Unisytem (Witchcraft/AFMBE) or GURPS

PsiCoGens -- Scannerque modern intrigue in the vein of Firestarter, the 24th letter and X Men. The PC's are powerful psi fugitives on the trail of the mysterious "Haven" a place where psis can live in piece. Pursuing thFire Base Echo
Weird Wars Vietnam. The Horrors of war just got more horrible. I'd run it without supernatural stuff but the players would want it so.. The PC's are draftees thrust into the war. The game covers before and after all the way to the 80's. Highlights include a kickass soundtrack
System: Savage Worlds (Tour of Darkness) Unisytem (Witchcraft/AFMBE) or GURPS  em is "The Shop" and "The Company"  both of them who want to control this powerful asset

The Thin Line -- A mixture of police drama and para normal. The game follows a group friends united by exposure to the supernatural through their lives as together they struggle to understand and cope with the supernatural that drew them together. Played in 3 raptures the game combines Modern Fantasy and Horror with Psychological Drama and cop show plot

Our Friends the Whatleys -- Oh the Mythos is dangerous all right but what if they were the good guys?  This Cuthulu in reverse where the players have to stop misguided  investigators, insane cultists and Oblivion itself  while trying to stay sane and avoid being eaten. Call of Cuthulu with dark humor

S.O.L -- Soldiers of Lucifer. This is Gnostic reality with Lucifer as  a good guy. Think the irreverence of Dogma, l  mixed with Gnostism and a hint of the 9th Gate style camp, oh and don't forget the Rock and Roll.  Can you help Lucifer protect individuality and free will or will mankind be "redeemed" like a bottle deposit

 Dungeon Maker. This time you are the monsters, in this case Monsters who have learned to cooperate for once. Can you get the dungeon built, fend of the Paladins and your rivals and kick but? Who knows but you can try darn near anything to get there. This is based on Dungeon Keeper mixed with more standard D&D played only semi seriously

Midrea Unglued -- D&D played for laughs. Hanz and Franz, Talking Squirels, Flumph Paladins and more goofiness played with the rules as written (well mostly)

Ran a long 2e game with this,  It wa sone of the most fun games I've ever had the privilege of running

Something Wicca This Way Comes-- The players  end up running a magical trouble-shooting service out of their downtown bookshop. Think a cross between Hellblazer and Practical Magic.

Welcome to Santa Carla: Buffy/Angel set in the eponymous town from Lost Boys

Broken Faith: Now in the service of the Watchers Council the P.C.'s must contend with growing horror as well as rehabilitate a very damaged Faith the Slayer. Its Buffy/Angel with more psychodrama. Faith, or whats left of her,  has returned from prison.  Tormented body, mind and soul  by the sadistic Warden, the Slayer is but a shell of herself. With darkness on the rise  the world needs Champions. So until the new potential can be found its up to the PC's to hold the line and if possible help a young girl back to health. System: Angel/Buffy

Ran this one a couple of times, Hasn't quite worked as well as I'd like.

Rolling--- Driving a big rig is no job for sissy's or scardy cats. But the family, a band of independent truckers can handle it, no matter weird things get. Convoy meets Supernatural

Keep Her Flying-- A ship and a crew is a family. Sometimes a dysfunctional one. The players are a crew of Free Traders in the Verse, after the events of Serenity.

Dragons . The players are members of an elite Unit of trouble shooters in a fantasy world. Standard fantasy stuff with structure.

Badge of Iron: Police Procedural with faeries, lots of faeries

Stand with the Nine Killer  and save your kingdom from all threats within and without. While you are at it find the King a wife, the Princess a suitable husband, manage the factions and keep the assassins at bay. Quite a task, even for a Kingsman.

Path of Swords.
The kingdoms war has been good for mercenaries. So come of Fourgate, spend some gold between jobs. help out your buddies,solve mysteries and raise some hell. Its a merc's life.

See Ya Space Cowboy: Cowboy Bebeop in the Verse

Special Crimes Unit
Law and Order +CSI +Weird

Ride of Live Live to Ride
Outlaw bikers meet the Supernatural in a combination of Angel and Sons of Anarchy.

They Who Were Chosen:
Modern fantasy. The PC's discover All Hell is Breaking Loose and its there job to stop it. Sort of like an all Slayer Buffy game without the background stuff

The Elf Killer Way
The mortals of Anar will no longer be pawns of the Elves. Its time for war. Men, Orcs, Dwarves and Halfling vs the Evil fae.

Classic modules  using 3x D&D with light rule changes

Little Wishes.
Petty magic only D&D using only cantrips and osirons.

I'm working on this one now but probably won't run it do to lack of interest in D&D at the moment.

Metahuman Armed Response Squads. Its time to take down those costumed crazies so that sane people have a chance. Powered Armor vs. Supers

These guys have shown up enough in my supers games to get the occasional groan of familiarity from my players but I haven't run it as a campaign as yet

They say power corrupts. In the case of Metapowers its literally true. The stronger the super the madder they are. As one of the Unimanifest you have the ability to defend yourself against powers in ways that no normal human can. Can you stop the costumed crazies before you become one?

Adventures in a modified version of the movie and TV X Men Universes. No powers but mutant powers

Once in a while an apocolypse can be a very good thing. The ancient and terrible magics that were used to nearly destroy the world are no more. However many of the magic items remain. As a wielder of one of the ancient items you belong to an elite group. However belonging can be dangerous
System: D&D crossed with True 20 and AGOT D20

Transhuman Blue : Blue Planet mixed with Transhuman Space. Nuff said

Probably won't run this but it seemed like a cool idea at the time I thought of it.

Dark Streets: Dark Fantasy possibly with NWOD rules

Inherit. Back in the 1980's they started freezing Felons. A hundred years later you defrosted convicts and your slowly failing computer system are the last of mankind. Can you restart the species while avoiding all the behaviors that got you forzen in the 1st place. Basically Morrow Project meets Fallout meets Oz.

Odd enough I actually ran this system-less, It was a fluster-cluck

 U.N.A.P.F.O.R. United Nations Anti Pirate Task Force
In a post global warming world the U.N. patrols the seas to check the pirates that prey on reconstruction efforts and trade. It is a little of the good parts of GURPS Terradyne, Blue Planet and Seaquest DSV.

All Along the Watchtowers -- You were hard cases, throw away kids on the road to nowhere, till he took you in. The old man with his limitless patience. Now he has passed and is honor you have gathered to read once more from the Book of the Watchtowers, just as you did as children. Time for your Awakening. Mage the Awakening

Falling Free-- The alien machines fell from the sky one day, no one can remember and life has never been the same since. Sprockets meets Big O ....

Dirty White Boys
Low Prospect young adults (probably White Hats or Investigators in Buffy/Angel) stumble into the Supernatural

The name is a play on the rules sets (R-Tal's Interlock) . Basically this is Cyberpunk 2020 Earth vs an invasion of Mecha. It also gives men an excuse to play with Mechton Maximum Metal and every other cheeseball thing I have for these games.

A Highlander the Gathering meets Wu-Xia knockoff where the PC's are Immortals. The key differences are that there is no rule that "There can be only one" and while Power can be stolen there is no "End of Days" or "Prize" Also as the intro might suggest "Boost" powers are quite possible and even encouraged.

Welcome to Argo house, your home, your prison, your life. P.C.'s are agoraphobics who live together in an enormous mansion created years ago by someone with the same problem. Essentially its a kind of social and mystery dungeon crawl with very detailed environments. Its highly possible I'll set this in the same universe as Ramble in which case the technology is quite a bit lower and there are no cellphones or Internet..

Among the Mighty
Yesterday you were a regular Joe or Jane . Last night you watched as a new comet "The Trailing Sword" roared overhead. Today, you are Among the Mighty. D20 modern meets D&D where the players who were regular folks suddenly become 15th level Gestalt D&D characters with all the trimmings (even the magic items!) What will you do with your newfound power? The other version of this is Sparks where  PC's are people in the modern world who suddenly are transformed into high level D&D characters. What will you do with 15 levels and tons of magic?

A tabletop RPG designed explicitly as a soap opera rather than an adventure game. There will be some action but its mostly drama drama drama in the vein of Melrose Place and the OC

The Mighty
Another soap game, this time more along the lines of Dallas, Falcon Crest and Dynasty

These games might use Smallville (which is designed for soaps) or amusingly GURPS which has  a very detailed social engineering supplement.

Survival of the Fittest
After a cosmic event only the top 1/10 the human race survives. This is a post-apocalypse campaign of rebuilding and discovery not shooting and fast cars .

Utopia Secret Police
Its 20 years after a mostly benevolent super being has secretly taken over the planet. All large scale war has stopped and most oppression has stopped. However as the super being does not wish to be everywhere all the time for fear of going wacko, its your jobs to stop organized crime, terrorism and all the other transnational, anti Utopian nastiness. You are the Utopia Secret police, a carefully selected, multinational force of experts because some people just can't deal with a decent world.

Royal Archaeological Delvers
Dungeon crawls and ruin raiding with a twist. Instead of freelance looters, you are a team of professional archaeologists in the employ of a King, Sandor the Wise. Instead of smash and grab it catalog, preserve, fight off monsters and Delvers , speak with monsters, uncover secrets and sometimes protect the Kingdom.

Arm of Decision
Its 2030 a new cold war, a war of limited resources in a world with NBC weapon proliferation and a ruined orbit. As near future special ops, you are the arms of decision. Your team of specialists protects national security and does all the nations dirty work, for the people. Probably.

I had to advertise this a bit as its an idea suitable for any D&D edition.

From Hell's Heart
In the setting, the PC's were seriously wronged by the ruling class, cast out, tortured, lost families, come up with whatever truly awful tragedy you like as per the background, just make it bad.
 Being nearly broken by this only one thing keeps them alive and sane ,faith and hope. Faith in each other and  Hope of vengeance.
All PC's must be of evil alignment have a basic loyalty to other party members  and be interested in vengeance at any cost.
Its D&D on the dark-side where you can be the one drowning the world or consorting with witches and werewolves. Learn to hate and come from Hell' Heart.Needless to say this is for select mature players who can handle it.

Ride of Live Live to Ride

Outlaw bikers meet the Supernatural in a combination of Angel and Sons of Anarchy.

Royal Army Intelligence Division.
Gear Up! We have a dead marine. Its TV's NCIS in a D&D world. The PC's are tasked with investigating crimes caused by or against members of the King's Forces.  Investigate crime, espionage, terror and ordinary dirty deeds while trying to avoid disappointing  from The Gnomish  Duchess of Deception (or the L.J. Tibbs)

This is a light hearted universe with somewhat lower technology (70's or so), mysteries and excitement and bit of Sunday comics like Garfield

High Born
For once you are the evil elves of Midrea. the High Born schemers all. Game of Thrones meets Pratchet Elves

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Missing Pathfinder Wanting GURPS

On a personal not  its something of a a let down to go from a cool 6th level character on original adventures   in an interesting game world to a canned character on a canned adventure in a canned world.

The GM is the same , yet , with more actual experience for some reason its a struggle for me to care about the 5e game whereas our sword and planet themed Pathfinder was really fun.

When I rarely missed the PF game I was eager for the next whereas with 5e I don't care and in fact  I am near to quitting the game for a while.

 It may be a lack of personal investment in my character . Heck I can't remember his name without looking it up or it may be the mechanics or maybe I just don't enjoy playing an Elf  Wizard (Marl, my Pathfinder character was a Half Orc Rogue/Barbarian) I have no idea.

Regardless while I greatly respect 5e on the design front I wish I enjoyed playing it more and am looking forward to something else.

Right now I've gota yen for some GURPS I think so when time rolls around or if I decide to put together a different group, I might try that,

If not I may roll back to Pathfinder. Regardless, my initial  enthusiasm for 5e is fading a bit so don't be surprised if you see posts for other games. Looks like I posted too soon. Ah well live and learn and as always Good  Gaming

B/X Didn't click

We played quite a bit of B/X D&D before we switched to 5e and I am glad we did. I'd never played that edition and was curious as to how it would play.

1st, It was deadly as expected. Lost the Elf  to a random arrow the 2nd session and nearly lost several in the 1st . The other guys didn't grok marginally disposable characters but it did keep them cautious and smart.

2nd The Metnzer addition re-balance for 36 levels and suck thief skills  in general  kept anyone from using the thief class which kind of limited the character types.

3rd Every game has it moments of awesome, my character nearly being killed  by a Carrion Crawler , several harrowing fights. The cool is as always with the group.

4th. With work, a better skills system for the thief  and a few tweaks here and there, it could be a very good game. It it was though, the group was quite meh about it , people became unreliable and did not show up and we were all glad to switch to 5e or something else.

Now the question is "Would I play B/X" again?

Maybe with the older Holmes edition, with some rules tweaks and maybe some ACKS thrown in.

Otherwise B/X didn't click for us or me.

Flashback City

No that's not my new game idea, its the odd feeling I get sometimes with my current gaming group.

There are times even though its 2014 it still feels like 1984 at the table. Only the occasional conversation or sight of a tablet or cell phone  jars me back to the present.

Its kind of eerie to be honest though its a tribute to the guys (alright guys and a girl or two)  that if I were to hustle them onto a TARDIS, take them to 1984 and drop them off at a game, so long as they shut up about My Little Pony they'd fit right in.

And no I'm not bagging on any Brony readers, as the Roman's famously said De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum

Some thoughts on 5e

I've missed the last few sessions of 5e with my gaming group. Its a shame but as always real life intervenes at times.

Regardless I've played enough to have a few opinions on 5e. In case anyone is wondering I'm playing the Pre-Gen Elf Wizard from the starter box.

1st, Its a  very good system. Well thought out, scales well, plays well and is indeed an excellent D&D.

2nd -- Wizards are quite powerful in this addition, more than 1,2,3 or 3.5/PF. I can't speak for 4e (never played it) but my wizard is magically mighty even at L1 and decent with a sword, not that I've used one,  do to his racial abilities.

3rd -- I like the magic item system a whole lot. It even scales well in that Ican see my characters best  loot thus far A Staff of Defense having value well into late game.

Now there  are some  things I just don't like.

1st- The bounded skill system is just fine but I'd really have preferred a little more complexity. Adventurer Conqueror King offers a three tiered system, roughly Apprentice, Journeyman, Master for non combat , non adventuring skills . I'd have preferred something like this for 5e as I think it would have added to that aspect of play . I might try and adopt ACKS's system , the cost of stuff is quite similar so wages should work out fine but its tricky with "bounded" skills

2nd - There really isn't a good "fight defensively" rules . I'd like a more versatile system than "give  up your attacks to impose disadvantage" which I don't think anyone would use  I might adopt my own system lightly changed though and  it should work out fine

3rd -  Maybe I've played far too much D&D, maybe its the Mines of Phandelver adventure or maybe its the newish DM (I don't think so, his homebrew Pathfinder rocked) but 5e isn't  terribly exciting in actual play. Its stolid and  it feels like D&D, its just not especially exciting for some reason. Substance is great, the sparkle is lacking.

That said I can recommend 5e and when  I can I will return to the game.

Monday, August 18, 2014

5e killed my retro clone and I am glad and a blog change

Like a lot of bloggers in the OSR community I've had the notion of rolling my own clone game.

I've done this before as a kid adapting AD&D to various genres and so somewhere deep inside my inner 12 year old is the silly idea that I can do it Better!

Well to be honest, while I could write Yet Another Retro Clone, there is nothing in my idiosyncratic edition that would be meaningfully better than anything out there.

In fact most of what I might want to do in my game, backgrounds, no magic items by  default, simpler char gen and so on have been nicely covered by 5th edition.  What little I lack is a paragraph or two of house rules. That's it.

Having gone through all the fantastic retro clones, Swords and Wizardry. Labyrinth Lord, Fantastic Heroes of Swords and Witchery , Grey 6 and many other great games  I haven't mentioned  and don't mean to denigrate  or ignore  I realized that the most current edition, #5  works well for me.

 Therefore it makes sense for me to not make another game and to instead support and existing one and as  such I'll support 5e on the occasion I write posts

Old stuff (like OS2 Warped) and Pathfinder stuff will stay up and of course GURPS stuff and other non D&D games won't be effected but until further notice 5e is my default with generic OSR stats where appropriate .

Hope you'll stay with me and good gaming.

A minor change and a major one

I've removed Grognardia from the list. It was a fantastic blog but alas the operative word is "was"

I've instead added Hack&Slash which has groovy 5e and OSR content.

Also expect to see some 5e things in lieu of or perhaps in addition to old school and Pathfinder stuff. 5e is looking to meet both my old school and new school needs in one package and as such it seems like the game to support.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

On transgender inclusiveness in 5e and Pathfinder

I don't like politics or edition bashing on my gaming blog so I'll keep this short, I don't care.

OK, a better explanation 

I actually think the Pathfinder Iconic Shaman being TG is kind of cool . Its fits the archetype well and is actually interesting and somewhat historical 

5e defaults to the Forgotten  Realms which is a pretty sexed up , diverse and tolerant place too. so the "sexual preference advice" in char gen its fits there decently as  well. In both cases it was handled in an inoffensive way and if catering a bit to the current progressive shibboleth helps sales, so be it.  

After all  doesn't hurt the game, make my game any less Conservative (gaming is fundamentally Conservative which is a topic for another post) or hurt the hobby, so what the heck. What'evs, lets roll some dice. 

5e! Wow!

I don't write gush posts very often but having looked through 5e basic, the free Wrath of the Dragons stuff and of course the playtest files I am almost jittery with anticipation for 5e.

It seems to hit all my OSR buttons and most of my modern game buttons as well and it looks like it could replace 2e as my favorite D&D.

Now its not perfect, I think I slightly prefer the assumed base numbers of Pathfinder low level skills (5 is basically a journeyman) and I  can see a few bits a bobs I'd like to tweak ,very few which is a testament to game design .

Still there is nothing in there I can't live with, very little to fix and a lot to love (scaling spells Woot!)

So yay 5e!, Basic set and PH you will soon be mine!

A few thoughts on GURPS

This one is simple.

In my not so humble opinion  GURPS is never the wrong choice but its not always the right choice.

Its very good at any game that demands verisimilitude or some  grades of cinematic play but its not great for supers or for relationship driven story games. It can do either of those to some degree but often not as well as a dedicated game would.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Whats up with 5 Stone

Just a short personal note.

My current gaming calendar is pretty busy. I am running Buffy (well Angel more or less) Fridays   having finished 2 sessions (1 episode really) I will either run 2 more or run something else.

I am also doing some OSR playtesting . Right now I am helping playtest  a new supplement for  Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures. I am on the QT about this one but I can tell you its excellent and aficionados of that game will love it.

This is plenty to keep me busy I can tell you but I will manage a few blog posts too so no  worries and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

GURPS House Rules

I don't get to play much GURPS as only one player in my group likes the system as much as me but over time I have accumulated a few house rules. I'm excluding variant rules from 4e books with one exception. Just for fun here  they are.

#1 No Points for disads. This was an option back in  3e I think but I've used it in 4e with good success. Basically get campaign points (typically amount +50) and take whatever disads you want to play. If I were to run Supers games I'd modify this a bit and give points for Super disads to be spentonly on powers however.

#2 T-Bones Graze Rules  here

#3 T-Bones DECIDE rules here

#4 Edge Protection (from Low Tech)

Under consideration

#4 T-Bones Duck rules here

#5 T-Bones Whats a Miss here

and various other unlisted rules for Alternate Damage (by Doug Cole, grossly lower ST damage) and Wealth variants from the Pyramid boards

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Few Thoughts on my hypothetical retro-clone Part 1 Char Gen a Missed Rule

I forgot a rule I have found quite helpful in my OSRgaming. It also works if you want to use a DCC style funnel or run L0 adventures.

Simply L0 Stacks

A L0 character has no class but they roll stats, an origin and get hit points equal to 1/2 Con modified by origin (+1 or -1 HP)

All this is retained at L1

At the GM's  L0  player characters may  roll their Gift and may have items appropriate to background added to the gear list.

My Buffy/Angel House Rules

It lks like next week I am be running the  Buffy RPG using the Unisystem rules.

I've done this quite a bit and in general the system works super well for me. better than almost anything I've run to be honest.

Like anything though I do have house rules.

Here are mine. Used in all games

#1 Subtractive Defense.

This is actually an optional rule (written by the systems creator) from Witchcraft. Basically all defense successes subtract from attack successes. This slightly improves survivability without altering game balance.

#2 Theme Song.

I admit this rule is a bit quirky and kind of Meta but I like and my players have enjoyed it too.  Once per game when appropriate (typically during a boss fight or the like)  a player may trigger his or her theme song. This costs 2 drama points and requires the theme song actually be played at the table. The effects are serious butt kicking and are treated like Righteous Fury

Used in this game

#1 Ghost of Albion Magic.

I'll be using this system instead of the Magic Box. I prefer it slightly as its better balanced and more refined.

#2 Teenage Blues

When characters are Teens (with the 2 point flaw) the following rules apply.
Wealth is the parents level of wealth and characters only have access to what a minor would. Also they may take bad parents as enemies (1 or 2 points) or good parents as allies if desired.

A Few Thoughts on my hypothetical retro-clone part 3 Equipment

I don't foresee that many changes to the standard equipment lists, maybe a bit of tweaking of the armor and weapon tables a large list of day to day items (bowl, spoon, towel) and a large alchemy list in only because I like alchemy items.

Buckler will be changed to its historical counterpart not the 3e wrist shield. This makes it a weapon actually probably doing 1d3 damage and giving +1 to AC if fighting defensively (bucklers are small) . A magic buckler would use its bonuses for both I don't know yet. Its biggest strength is that like the Main Gauche does not require any special ability to fight off hand with

Also since I figure since day to day equipment wasn't hugely different from 1040 to 1740 (save guns of course) my lists would encompass the entire spectrum allowing Arthur to Brotherhood of the Wolf type gear.

Last I'd very much like to include an optional flavorful personal equipment rule ala Beyond the Wall.

I love the idea of gear like "a drape of the stars" or a "charred staff once owned by your mentor" in some games.

Since I won't be using a life-path system making up a class specific chart will be the way to go.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Few Thoughts on my hypothetical retro-clone Part 2 Combat and Saves

 I generally think D&D combat is just fine but a few minor tweaks are not amiss

Level Based AC bonus
This is really my big change, no one has one and its sorely needed especially for low magic games

I use this rule in all my current D&D games and it works at least at low levels in both old and new. Basically each round declare a stance and take the following changes.

Neutral (no penalties or bonuses) this is the default stance

Reckless -4 T0 AC +2 to Hit

Aggressive -2 to AC +1 to Hit

Defensive +2 to AC -4 to Hit

Cautious +1 to AC -2 to Hit

Full Defense +4 to AC No Attacks  

4 Save system , 3 of them are ala 3e (the older system is too cumbersome for my taste) and an additional perception save. I will also use passives saves ala 4e or the SRD variant.

Heroic feats/Called Shots 
I want a good system to handle this and everyone should be able to do them with the caveat that Fighters should be generally better .Rogues and Rangers might also be good at a few tricks I am not sure.

20 F/X

Instead of a critical hit, a roll of a natural 20 would result in some kind of  cool extra effect based on the weapon or monster. 

A Few Thoughts on my hypothetical retro-clone Part 1 Char Gen

I am not making a retro-clone at least at this time but just to make up for the last couple of unpleasant posts here a a few bits on what you might see in a 5 Stones retro-clone

6 Classes, 1 for each stat
Fighter (STR)
Wizard (INT)
White Mage ( WIS replacing cleric)
Rogue (DEX, I like Rogue vs thief it covers more types of characters)
Ranger (CON, this is a little weird but it seems to fit, Rangers would be all about heartiness)
Bard (CHA. This is the face-man class, not a spell using jack of trades

I like the way Next and Iron Kingdoms do this. Basically is a package that anyone can take. Want a roguish mage? Take Wizard class and add Thief Background. This would also cover subclasses

Secondary Skills ala 1e or Occupations ala Dungeon Crawl Classics

Adventuring  Abilities
These would be things D&D calls thief skills. Anyone can do them to a degree, Rogues would just do them better

Nothing special here. Humans get a bump though.

Stop around 10-14 or so.

A random cool ability that helps  make each PC a special snowflake.

Play or GTFO or the New No Passive Aggressive Character Concepts Rule

This is a bit more angry than my usual post.

Starting now I am imposing a new rule, any time I am the GM or DM all characters must met the campaign needs and be something you are willing to play .

If the game does not interest you or you are not willing to play, say so. If  you choose a stupid, inappropriate , bland or disruptive  character concept a a passive aggressive protest to the game instead of acting like an adult and telling me you don't like the game I won't want to game with you.

As we  are adults and a polite "That doesn't sound fun." and I'll offer my second choice or "can someone else GM" will suffice.

Just say your piece and if you can't or we can't agree than  we both need a new gaming group.

Now this next bit is specific to rotational groups configured like my current group "Note as we are on a rotation this means everyone will have to play a lot of games of only marginal interest if this group is to work . Deal."

Too many Cooks, Not enough Diners

One big change I've noticed in recent gaming is the fact that there are a lot more GM's and a lot fewer Players than in the past.

if I may grog a bit, in the past most gaming groups had 1 or two person who wanted to GM or DM. This was an unwanted chore basically.

Over time, we did get a few more GM's but the usual problem was too many different games and a good chunk of the group didn't want to play someone else's favorite.  A personal example, I've loved GURPS since Man to Man but it was nearly impossible where I lived to bring non GURPS specific groups into playing.

We had the same issue with Rolemaster (though I could often find RM specific groups) Harn, Traveller and many other  games. In the end we compromised on something no one loved but no  one hated either. AD&D 2e. Fine. This rarely lead to long term games but sometimes it did and in general we had a decent enough time.

Als as I had a huge gaming circle to choose from (20+ players) it was easier to find players.

Now we have a different problem, everyone (me included) wants to DM each a  different system no less) and no one wants to play very much. Me excluded if we do D&D long term.

We ended up with a highly unsatisfactory compromise, 4 sessions one game , 1 boardgame night (I do like this) and than onto another game. This basically means nothing but extended one shots  and very little in the way of getting into a game.

This sucks but short of getting a new group (and we had a good player leave to do just that just prior to our compromise)  I don't have a solution.  The gaming is good its just not great.

Friday, February 28, 2014

My Santcore contribution is up

Head on over to Metal vs Skin and click on Santicore to get it and the others.

Its a huge collection and a titanic amount of work so thanks to everyone involved.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Great Free OSR stuff ,some by yours truly!

There a couple of new new OSR freebies out you might want to know about

1st up is Secret Santicore 2013

This is a 3 parter, part one having appeared yesterday.

While Santi did not bring this good little gamer what he wanted (a kickass rune system) I have no compliants. Its totally cool and totally free.

As an added bonus, I have an article in Part 2 which will appear at the end of next month.

You can get it at Metal vs. Skin.

 Oh yeah and in case you've wandered over here, thanks to Joel , Scrap Princess and everybody involved in this project.I'd have thanked y'all on M.vs.S. but it uses G+ to comment  which , well no.It was great working with ya and if you want to try that again, let me know.

Anyway. The other  one is the 3rd issue of Gorgonmilk's fantastic OSR zine Underworld Lore.

Its set in the Hyperborean age (aka Conan's time) and it and its two older sibs are both free and awesome.

You can get them at the Gorgonmilk Blog.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Magic is not that magic

Over the years I've heard people complain that D&D magical isn't very well magical or mystical and it seems awfully prosaic and pragmatic.

That is true but its pretty historical in its used as well.

Not much of that  historical magic survives but what we have  from Rome and other periods were used for rather pragmatic things, increasing the food supply, healing, protection from disease or foes  getting sex and at times  as a weapon.

It really wasn't very mystical at all and D&D magic in any  edition especially any  that had overt real world physical effects would end up used for perfectly mundane  purposes.

 To my way of thinking, this is how it should be. YMMV of course.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Worthy New Years Cause

If you have a dollar or two to spare after the holidays may I suggest a worthy cause. Its not tax deductible but it does help a member of our OSR community.

Our friends over at RetroRoleplaying ,creators of the Microlight 81 RPG ,  are in pretty dire economic straits do to family illness and a few bucks might be the difference between keeping their  house and losing it.