Saturday, January 31, 2015

Gods and Monsters RPG a Cool and Free Retro-Clone You've Probably Never Heard Of

Gods and Monsters. is a  unique game somewhere between modern, retro and rebuild with a  smattering of later editions thrown in.

I haven't had a chance to play it but its has a lot of novel and interesting features and quite a bit of support. You can even get a print copy on Lulu is so inclined.

I think it deserves as look and you can check it out  here.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Four Free Games You've Probably Never Heard Of

These games are absolutely free and legal  to download and  all come highly recommended.

#1 Danse Macabre

This is Dark Medieval Europe, magical. lyrical and well thought out. It covers some of the same ground as Ars  Magica but is far more approachable and more historical without losing its sense of magic and wonder.

#2 Wayfarers Song

Norse Fantasy with one of the coolest magic systems I've seen. Its similar to Danse Macabre  mechanically which aid learning but is a distinct system of its own.

Both of these can be had at Mythopoetic Games along with a few others I haven't tried.

#3 Lost Souls.

This was a fully supported, published game of playing a ghost. I think its far better and more interesting than Wraith which less backstabbing, less angst and more hope

#4 Legendary Lives

A late 80's early 90's Fantasy game  with lots of adventures for it. another published games given generously for free. Its very fae focused, a tiny bit twee but not enough to be distracting. Both these systems use a similar mechanic too so the learning curve is low.

These two can be had at Haunted Attic Games 

So I'm looking at Retro-Clones again

I know, I know I said that mine as killed in favor of 5e but I just can't help myself.

My current interest seems to be focused around  a mutated hybrid  of Castles and Crusades  mixed with bits of Swords and Witchery and seasoned with Adventurer Conqueror King,  Basic Fantasy and Beyond the Wall.

I'll let y'all know if anything comes of it.  

Blog Roll Update

I dropped  any  blogs that haven't been updated for 3 or more months like Cyclopetron and Dreams of Mystic Fantasy and added the Troll Dens instead

I've taken a liking to Castle and Crusades and the promo blog there is relaxing and fun. Hope you enjoy it too.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A trio of things I didn't like about 5th Edition D&D

Every rose has it thorns I guess and 5e has a few too

#1 Bounded Accuracy and skills. I love the rule but it doesn't cover proficiency they way I'd like it too. I'd like a system more akin to Adventurer Conqueror King where you can have Apprentice, Journeyman and Master and maybe Grandmaster   levels skills  that uncouple from your level based proficiency bonus a bit. I think in some respects the Epic 6 skills reflect human realities a bit better but again its D&D and regardless, it works.

#2 Hit point escalation. I kind of like bounded hit points instead of 20 hit die juggernauts . That said, the bounded accuracy still means that the ultra high level types can be hit and attrited  down but its just time consuming and they hit hard.

#3 Wizards have a lot of magic, way more power than I am used too. I played the starter set elf wizard and  with rests basically had unlimited magic in terms of ritual spells and cantrips and rarely ran low on spells. And while we were well above average in craftiness and the GM a bit of a novice though skilled  I  never even felt the need to use my 2nd level spells . Now this extra magic  isn't game breaking and unlimited flame bolt cantrip  really isn't more powerful than a bow  but its a bit  off putting.

However none of these make the game unplayable, its still rock solid and I will be playing more. ,

Some things I love about 5th Edition D&D

We recently finished the 5th Edition Mines of Phandelver adventure.

Its not a terribly exciting adventure but its a solid starter and even with a group that was slightly meh on the whole thing, it went well. I will say it was good enough that we extended the game from our usual 4 sessions to whoever long it took in order  to finish it.

All in all 5e is a pretty good D&D and as s we played there were  quite a few things I found I really liked about 5th edition

#1 It doesn't assume you need magic items and the game plays fine without them

#2 Bounded accuracy. High level type give and take much more damage and have more options but they aren't vastly more accurate and skilled than regular folk.  Now its not perfect  but this is the only edition of D&D outside of the Epic 6 hack that gave me any sense  that 20th level types could be in the same world with 1st level types.

#3 The magic items themselves are generally pretty good. There were a few potions and a few minor ones of course but the major items we found, the ones that required attainment were solid. The item I found for example was something I could see keeping my entire career and while I'd upgrade if I could, if i never did, I wouldn't find it useless at any point.

#4 Attument is a great rule. Simply, you can have no more than three cool items at any time, it doesn't matter the type. three rings, two rings and boots, sword, staff and ring whatever, Pick three . This is just the right amount to be interesting and to keep the game sound.

Charisma is not a dump stat

This is derived from a post on the RPGsite in case anyone comes over here from there.

Charisma is not a dump stat and in fact its just the opposite.

From my reading,  older D&D  (OD&D and AD&D with elements in 2nd edition  here) assumed the characters had a retinue of henchmen and hirelings and would care for and equip them like Housecarls . Its why so many of the old modules had extra magic items. Its a gift economy. 

Some  of them you'd keep for yourself , a few you'd trade or sell and some you'd gift to your henchmen . of course some  some you'd never find at all. 

In those terms, the number of items was well suited to the party size which instead of  the 4- 5 A-Team we assume now band was a War Band, 5-8 PC's   with  their own henchmen. hirelings and sometimes war animals.

At "name" level this situation  was formalized with an actual War Band with numbers  the hundreds for fighters and dozens for others. 

The thing is as I understand it anyway  those leaders were in addition to henchmen as they were attracted to the characters in world power and prestige.

This meant 9th level Lords (Fighters) say were serious power players able to field several men capable individually of killing an ogre and a small army of men at arms as well. 

As such the  higher the charisma, the better people reacted to you and the better you did in the end game

Now, yes  later classes that weren't endgame focused did come, The Paladin and Ranger to a degree being the big examples  about but remember the original 3 (Fighter, MU, Cleric) all had followers and the later add on Thief did as well.  

Lastly, D&D has always had a social option and reaction rolls and unless the characters are all murderous vagabonds, at least a few people in the party need the charisma and social skills to talk to people 

As such, Charisma was not a dump stat.