Monday, March 31, 2014

A to Z: Strange New Worlds

Tomorrow starts the A to Z Challenge. I wanted to give a basic primer on the format of my posts. For the next month all of my posts (except on Sundays) will look kind of like this.

System Name: This will be the common name of the system, and the name the primary planet will be known by.

Sector: This numerical address corresponds to the system’s location on the map I drew for the sector.

Star Number & Type: Stars will be classified using the Morgan–Keenan system which should look familiar

Planet Number & Type: Planets will be orbiting the primary star (first listed) unless otherwise noted. Planets will be typed according to the S&S class descriptions:
A,B,C: young, newly formed planets
D: Lifeless, might have atmosphere
E: Primitive, single celled life
F: Desert World
G: Water World
H: Habitable, Star Trek M or Minshara class
I: Superworld
J, K, L, M: Jovians, small to large
N: Rogue
O, P, Q: Wild planets (think the Genesis planet)
R: Restricted, classified by the Federation (the planet of the Guardian of Forever)
S: Rocky worlds with silicon based life
T: Ice worlds
U: Former class H worlds that are inhospitable due to environmental destruction (gamma worlds)
V: Weird, out of phase/time etc.
W: Planetoids
X: Hell worlds
Y, Z - Special (for the DM to determine)

Inhabitants: Name and description of the dominant sentient lifeform. Will often use the bumpy foreheads from S&S2e.

Description: Description of the primary place of interest

Adventure Seeds: Things to do to your players

I hope that you enjoy it!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Virtual Table Tops

I feel a little bad only just getting to this months RPG Blog Carnival hosted by Gaming Ballistic, but it's a good topic, and one definitely worth addressing - Virtual Table Tops.

While I've done a fair bit of gaming over G+, I've only recently begun to use a VTT. Everything prior was just the table top of the imagination, as things were described, rather than shown. It's just a step removed from being at the table, really. The hardest part can be figuring out everyone's voice, and showing things on the camera if you have a map or a picture. The virtual table top kind of addresses that last issue...

So what about that? I haven't run a game with a VTT, but as a player I've used Fantasy Grounds 2. Getting to see the battle map, with the monster and player tokens, getting to see the images that the DM has picked out to illustrate the various NPCs, the world map, all of it is just the biggest advantage to using a VTT over just using skype or G+.

On the other hand, if everyone isn't really comfortable with the program it can slow things down. I've definitely noticed that, being a novice with the program. The other thing that I've noticed is that with the chat feature, when other PCs are whispering with the DM, it's easy to get distracted, and since typing takes longer than talking, what might take a moment in person, takes much longer. So when the DM and a player are whispering everyone else is just sitting on their own computers, waiting.

Overall, I think with VTT's can bring a lot to playing online, and I'd recommend that DM's running online games check it out.

Sunday Inspirational Image: Neo-Kathmandu

By Sarel Theron

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I'm an OSR Superstar!

Tenkar announced the entries that made the first round cut, and I'm on the list!

Sort of. I'm listed as "Davis Brawley - The Jester Laugh" when it should be "David Brawley - The Jester's Laugh"

Ehh, close enough. But now I have to think up a monster for Swords & Wizardry... and I've been completely focused on getting my Strange New Worlds A to Z challenge posts written. I'm so not in the fantasy mindset right now. I've been watching some DS9, Farscape, and Outcasts to help get me in the right mood, and it's been working. I've already finished through K.

Anyway, here are the two items I wrote that didn't make it.

This enchanted 2 handed hammer causes 2d4+2 damage, and gives a +1 to hit. It will always force open a stuck door, and has a 4/6 chance of opening locked doors. Using it on a door will result in a random encounter roll (as appropriate).

Enchanted Thread
This spool of embroidery thread can be used to create a variety of magical items. Each spool is enchanted to a certain power level, corresponding to a level of wizard spell. A wizard may use the threat to create a scroll of any spell he knows (1 day/level) of the correct level. Clothing may be embroidered to provide various magical protections (AC bonus, resist heat/cold, etc.). In rare cases, wizards have embroidered the skin of a living being (themselves included) as a form of temporary body enchantment.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Neptune's Pride 2: Triton

Neptune's Pride 2: Triton is a space strategy game that plays at something much closer to real time than most games, spanning weeks instead of hours.

It's a fairly standard setup. You start with 6 stars, and 7 opponents. There are a host of uninhabited stars of various quality that you can capture and develop. Each star is given a base rank, which you can improve through developing your terraforming skill. On top of that you can improve the 3 stats of a star - Economy, Industry, and Science.

Economy gives you money every 24 hours
Industry builds your warships
Science gives you science points every hour to develop various skills: Banking, Manufacturing, Weapons, Range, Scanners, etc.

Improving good stars is cheaper than bad ones, but in the end its total number of stars that will win the game. However, if you have lots of good stars that you've improved, you'll be better off than your opponents if they developed their lesser stars.

Diplomacy and tech trading are very important aspects of the game. Alliances are usually temporary at best, and at worst a ruse to lure you into a sense of complacency from which you will be attacked.

Because of the time it takes to get from star to star (hours) nothing happens in the game quickly. Generally you really only need to check in for a couple of minutes once or twice a day. So while a game may take weeks to play out, it doesn't really rule your live.

Below are pictures from my current game.The first is an overview zoomed out of the whole game. I'm Orange. Purple, Blue, and Yellow have already quit the game, but will be run as non-aggressive AIs for the remained of play.The stars with white centers are ones that are in my scanning range. The ones without color are unclaimed.

And this picture shows where the action is is taking place, at least in my part of the galaxy.

The purple player has quit the game, and I'm mopping up the last of his stars. I'm allied with Red against Green, but he wasn't supposed to attack till Friday morning. At least this should distract green until I go for it tomorrow. That ship in the lower left side with 159 attack ships is 28 hours our of Rastaban, the orange star in the upper middle of the picture.

Things can take an excruciatingly long time to happen.

There are a number of really funny play reports about how the game ruined friendships. This one in particular about the first version of the game made me really want to play. You'll be laughing, I promise!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


I really appreciate the subtle intensity that The Rock has chosen for this role.

Also, this is going to be a fantastic D&D movie! Dire Boar, Dire Lion, Hydra, Cerberus... Snake-men!

I am a little sad that Kevin Sorbo didn't get even a cameo.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Ten Favorite RPG Products of All Time

A couple of weeks ago Dyvers posted a list of his top 10 RPG products, and he also wanted to hear what his reader's lists were. I'm a little behind in my blog feed, and I only just read his post, but I still wanted to get in on this one. These are my top 10, in no particular order.

10. Star*Drive Campaign Setting for Alternity - I love this setting. It's a semi-explored, semi-colonized area of space with everything you could ask for - mystery, political intrigue, military conflict, strange new works, precursor artifacts... I've stolen liberally from it for numerous games, especially Star Wars. It was a shame when TSR got the rights to Star Wars, and killed the Alternity line.

9. Star Wars 2nd Edition - Before the prequels, before the expanded universe, West End Games published over 140 adventures, supplements, and journals expanding Star Wars in all sorts of interesting ways, all the while keeping true to the feel of the universe and keeping the rules set remarkably unencumbered with unnecessary bloat.

8. Stonehell by Michael Curtis - Stonehell was one of the first, if not the first, OSR product I ever bought. Michael Curtis' megadungeon encapsulates what is to me the essence of what a megadungeon should be. While the Castle of the Mad Archmage might be closer to Gary's style of megadungeon, and Barrowmaze has fantastic theme and mood, and ASE captures the gonzo, Stonehell is closer to what I want to play and to run, and I can't wait for the second half...

7. Birthright Campaign Setting - While it isn't perfect, Birthright manages to do a lot of really interesting things, and not just with domain management. Realm spells handles "10th level" type magic really well, bloodlines and the abominations are amazingly interesting and flavorful, and playing in a land that isn't points of light or on the frontier was a nice change of pace... if only I could have gotten more players to want to play....

6. Creature Catalog - I've written about it before, but this is the best collection of monsters out there. Sure, there are some stinkers and overlap, but there are so many great beasts that make up for it.

5. Nobilis - It's a work of art as much as a game.

4. Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue - I can't tell you how many hours I spent I flipping through this D&D version of the Sears Catalog. It's just got such wonderfully setting appropriate and flavorful items and descriptions.

3. OGL - I have to praise the Open Gaming License. While it isn't exactly a product by itself, so much of the OSR wouldn't exist without it. Plus I got a lot of good mileage out of 3.x.

2. D&D 4e Core Books - Yes, a bit of a cheat with this, but 4e does a lot right. I know there are many in the OSR (and many outside of it too) who think it isn't worth the paper it's printed on, but I am still impressed, especially coming to it after the bloat of 3.5. 4e let me run games with minimal prep, without having to have a massive statblock that took hours to prepare for high level monsters that my players would kill in minutes.

1. The Rules Cyclopedia - This had to come in at #1. It's my desert island RPG.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Bits and Bobs XXI

There aren't enough alien minis out there that aren't: obvious fantasy races in space (orcs, elves, dwarves, ratmen etc.), xenomorph/nids, or direct media tie-ins. To help rectify that, there is an Alien Shocktrooper Squad indigogo campaign that's wrapping up in a few days, and it could use a few more dollars/euros/gold pressed latinum strips to reach it's goal.

Here's a 100+ random complications that you can add to Keep on the Boarderlands. There are some really good ones like:
38. An arrogant, high ranking cleric comes to the keep and "fires" the chaplain for alleged sloppy observance of obsure rites. He then installs the evil priest (7b) as the new chaplain, having been fooled by flattery and gifts.
63: The Corporal of the Watch (Keep #3) is a spy for the Chaotic raiders in the forest (Wilderness #3). The Corporal is a good man, and is only betraying the Keep because the raiders have his daughter. He believes the girl to an abducted, innocent hostage, but in fact she is with the raiders willingly and is the Leader's lover.

Dreams in the Lich House has a post about the Dungeon as Estuary. It fits in really well with both the idea of evil locations from ACKS and the dungeon as mythic underworld.

Elfmaids and Octopi has 100 shonky deals in shadelport and 100 big shonky deals in shadelport.

That colony of roaches with the weird markings on it's back? It's a spell book. Seriously, check out this post on Goblin Punch. You won't be sorry. You might go insane, but you won't be sorry.

Spirit Magic for Labyrinth Lord from Brett Slocum at The Eye of Joyful Sitting Amongst Friends is a happy accident that resulted from a misunderstanding about the OSR Superstar Competition.

You might have missed it, but there was a bunch of talk about megadungeons recently. This post over at the Greyhawk Grognard captures most of it.

Speaking of, dungeons tend to be foul places full of bad air, unless of course they include some vents, like these from Fame & Fortune by satyre.

Potion side effects! from The Dragon's Flagon, because magic is weird and dangerous.

I know it's still a week away, but I'm really looking forward to this year's A to Z Challenge. I've got some stuff written up that i can't wait to share!

Strange New Worlds, here I come!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Tedankhamen's March Madness 31 day Obscure Game Blogging Challenge (4/4)

22 What is the most gonzo kitchen sink RPG you ever played? How was it?

Probably Tales from the Floating Vagabond. It’s pretty permissive of just about everything, yet it all works, just so long as you keep it gonzo.

23 What is the most broken game that you tried and were unable to play?

Not an RPG, but a card game about evil babies in an orphanage. Great concept, fun art, all but unplayable. It just didn’t work.

24 What is the most broken game that you tried and loved to play, warts and all?

Another card game - We Didn’t Playtest This.

25 Which game has the sleekest, most modern engine?

Star Wars Edge of Empire is pretty slick. I don’t know if it’s the most modern, but it’s the slickest I’ve played.

26 What IP (=Intellectual Property, be it book, movie or comic) that doesn’t have an RPG
deserves it? Why?

I’m having a hard time coming up with a movie or TV show that needs an RPG, but there are plenty of books that could use it: Myke Cole’s Shadow Ops series, The Kris Longknife series, The Vorkosigan Saga… all of which deserve at least a setting book, if not a full RPG.

27 What RPG based on an IP did you enjoy most? Give details.

I have to say Star Wars, any version. It’s just such a great setting.

28 What free RPG did you enjoy most? Give details.

Labyrinth Lord has gotten the most use as a rosetta stone of sorts, but the one that really caught my attention was Microlite20. For non-D&D RPGs, I’m going with Open D6

29 What OSR product have you enjoyed most? Explain how.

Stonehell and Vornheim. Stonehell because it showed me how a megadungeon could be handled on both sides of the DM’s screen. Plus it has a lot of fun bits in it. Vornheim because it’s so short yet still so inspiring.

30 Which non-D&D supplemental product should everyone know about? Give details.

I'm taking supplemental to mean not core, and not D&D to include anything from the OSR. That really limits my suggestions since I'm so D&D-centric.I'm actually going to pick a book that isn't an RPG book at all, but I think would be of interest to anyone that runs a game: The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. It's a great book that looks at what the world would be like if humans suddenly, and instantly disappeared from the face of the Earth. Here's a spoiler, it doesn't take long for most of our civilization's infrastructure to disappear completely. Definitely worth the read.

31 What out-of-print RPG would you most like to see back in publication? Why?

Tales from the Floating Vagabond. It’s available as a PDF, but it really needs to be back in print!

Big thanks to Tedankhamen for a good set of questions. Made me realize I need to expand my horizons a little, RPG-wise.

Friday, March 21, 2014

A to Z Theme Reveal: Strange New Worlds

Whether you're running Stars Without Number, Starships and Spacemen, X-Plorers, or any other space opera game, it never hurts to have some planets in your back pocket for those situations when your players decide to head toward that second star on the right.

I've already gotten started on write ups. No finished posts, which is unfortunate. I'd hoped to have the first week done already, but I changed themes, and had to start over. To top it off, I'm doing a sector map, so that you could, in theory, play a small sandbox game using just the 26 posts from this years challenge.

Now, the perspective I'm going to take with my posts will be more of a Starships and Spacemen angle, but I'll work it so that even if you're running something that looks more like Firefly, you'll still be able to make use of my posts pretty easily. It's going to be stat free (mostly anyway), so easy to port into any system.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

New magic Item: Summoner's Candles

Summoner's Candles

Summoners use rituals to bring outsiders to them. These pillar candles are used in place of the ritual, allowing anyone to call forth beings from beyond. The summoned creatures are not controlled by the candles, but are contained to within the summoning circle these candles form the anchoring points of. A minimum of 3 candles is necessary to form a circle. For every candle beyond the initial 3 used, a +1 bonus is applied to the summoning result.

If the summoner (the user of the candles) knows the name of a specific being, the summoning roll is still made, and if it achieves a high enough result, the named creature is summoned. If no specific being is named, the summoner can attempt to summon either an demon/devil, nature spirit, dead spirit, or an angelic being.

When the candles are lit, roll 2d6 and apply any modifiers.

2* - Oh, shit, roll again, but whatever shows up isn't contained in the circle
3-5 - Nothing answers your summons
6-8 - A 1d4HD creature answers your summons
8-10 - A 2d4HD creature answers your summons
11-12 - A 2d6HD creature answers your summons
13-14 - A 2d8HD creature answers your summons
15-17 - A 3d8HD creature answers your summons
18+ - A 4d8HD creature answers your summons

Make a reaction roll for any summoned creature, with a base -2 to the roll.

*A natural roll of 2 always has this result, no matter how many candles are used. If rolled twice, a dimensional rift is opened. Good luck with that...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Review: Blue Rose RPG - part 1

This is going to be a multipart review, cause I just couldn't do it all in one sitting...

Blue Rose RPG in some ways is a very typical d20 clone built around a style of romantic fantasy fiction exemplified by writers such as Mercedes Lackey, Diane Duane, Tamora Pierce, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Tanya Huff, just to name a few. Their works usually have a plucky but downtrodden protagonist with an untapped magical potential, an animal/spirit/magical companion, some true friends, and usually (by the end) love. When well done, it can make for great reading, especially when you’re 14 years old. I’m personally a big fan of Lackey’s earlier books like the The Last Herald-Mage trilogy, By The Sword, and the Mage Wars trilogy, though it’s been well over a decade since I read any of them, and the last Valdemar book I read… well, it just wasn’t good.

If you’ve ever played a d20 game, just about everything mechanically should feel pretty familiar. Apparently this was Green Ronin’s initial True20 product. What probably will feel very different from most other d20 games is the level to which the campaign setting is the star of the show. This isn’t something I’ve encountered very often, except in core books for licensed games like B5, Star Trek, or Star Wars. In Blue Rose, it’s not only the main focus, it steals the show.

When you have something as well written as B5, Firefly, or other finely crafted media this usually works out pretty well. You want your game to feel like the source material. That's the whole point. Plus by the time the game’s been written, there’s already a base level of knowledge about the setting that anyone who’s picking up the game probably already has.

Blue Rose’s technique wasn’t to draw on a single source, like the Valdemar series or the Song of the Lioness series, but to make the most generic pastiche of every romantic fantasy series ever written...

I could even forgive the generic... Looking at a lot of other RPGs out there, they’re pretty generic too. D&D for example. GURPS, by definition is generic. Rifts is kind of bat-shit insane with the kitchen sink, but still fairly generic until you really start tinkering under the hood. Drop jedi, and Star Wars becomes really generic too.

The main problem with the generic world building that Blue Rose decided to use? It’s sooooo boring. Boring is a bad descriptor though so what do I mean by it? There isn't any aspect of the setting that I would be inclined to include in my own home game. For example, the main action of the game takes place in Aldus, a noble land, ruled by the good Queen Jaellin with assistance from her advisory councils. The realm is protected by the Sovereign's Finest (police), the Sovereign's Guard (small army), the Knights of the Blue Rose (elite army), and the Spirit Dancers (arcane). The game strongly suggests that PCs be members of an established organization, and these groups are recommended. That's all fine, a bit boring but fine. Sounds a lot like Cormyr from the Forgotten Realms. It's been done.

The main threats to Aldis are Unscrupulous Merchants, Fallen Nobles, Bandits and Pirates, The Silence (mob), Shadow Cults, Shadow Dancers (corrupted arcane), The Unending Circle (cultists), Arcane Relics, Shadowgates, and Sorcery. This list is in the order it's presented in the book, and yes, Unscrupulous Merchants really are listed first. As someone with an accounting/auditing background, I can certainly see how those with financial power could threaten a nation, but does that really make for a good RPG? Bankers and Robber Barons the RPG anyone?

A note about Nobles - anyone can be a noble, as long as the ruler uses her magical Blue Rose scepter to determine that the person who wants to be noble detects as Good. Also, anyone can be the ruler. When the current king/queen dies, a magical stag picks the next one. Makes strange women lying on their backs in ponds handing out swords seem a little more normal, doesn't it?

The other thing about the setting that bugs me is the heavy handed egalitarianism of it.

"The Kingdom of the Blue Rose makes certain all children receive a basic education"

"Aldins accept marriages between two or more legal adults, regardless of the sexes involved. Many Aldins expect everyone to marry. Once they figure out the types of people their single friends are attracted to, they become thoughtful, polite, but exceedingly determined matchmakers."

"Aldis's justice system is primarily concerned with restoring the social harmony a crime disrupts, not punishing the guilty."

"Murderers and other violent criminals are usually confined while they undergo counseling. They are only released when they have subdued their violent urges."
This is an amazingly enlightened society, given that it's neighboring states are a patriarchal theocracy, an evil sorcerer lich, and various clans of (noble) barbarians. It can probably be explained, in part, due to the prevalence of  magic in the kingdom. However, it still comes off as Kevin Sorbo's Hercules level of politically correct utopianism.

One of the things that makes RPGs (and stories, movies, books, etc.) interesting is conflict. Even better when it's interesting conflict. The kingdom of the Blue Rose seems spectacularly designed to prevent any such conflict from actually happening. It feels really odd for a game based on Dungeons and Dragons.

Beyond the world building, I found Blue Rose to have a writing and organizational problem. The prose is overly verbose and details are kept hidden. As an example, there is no timeline, just 10 pages of world history that you have to read through to get even a basic understanding. While I understand that the authors want you to really get their setting, it makes it harder to just pick up the book and run a game with it.

Information isn't necessarily well organized either. For example, the arcana effects for the cursed swamp is near the beginning of the book in the setting section, rather than in the arcana chapter. Since it's a sidebar anyway, wouldn't it make more sense to have the mechanical stuff (crunch) in the chapter with the other related crunch, rather then in the fluff?

I feel a little bad criticizing the fiction writing included, since I do the same thing on a lot of my blog posts. The thing is, it isn't any better than my writing, and it should be.

Next post will focus on the races of the Blue Rose RPG and looks at how it could have been done better, using Valdemar as an example.

Monday, March 17, 2014

New Monster: Fear Gorta

The dusty streets of the town were littered with the detritus of abandonment. Rathgar pulled the hood of his cloak up to shield his head from the brutal rays of the sun.

"Alms, please sir, alms" the emaciated man begged, his voice dry and cracking. Rathgar looked down upon the wretch, barely clad in rags that hung as loose upon his gaunt frame as his skin. Within his cracked clay bowl rattled a single copper drot.

With barely a thought Rathgar opened his coin pouch and reached in. Glancing back at the beggar he caught a dark gleam in his pale eyes that sent a shiver down Rathgar's spine. He swallowed his rising gorge and dropped a mixed handful of coins into the bowl, the gleam of platinum, gold, and silver sparkled up at him.

"Bless you" the beggar croaked.

As Rathgar moved along he heard the beggar call out to the few other passers by.

A short time later, after Rathgar had passed out of sight, and the coins long gone from the bowl, a merchant kicked at the beggar as he passed. "Get your filth off my street. There is nothing for you here."

The hungry man smiled a cadaverous grin, and the merchant's chest convulsed with pain.

Fear Gorta
Armour Class: 8
Hit Dice: 8
Move: 90' (30')
Attacks: Gaze or 2 Claws
Damage: 2d4 and curse or 1d6 + Special
No. Appearing: 1
Save As: C8
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: P
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 1100

The Fear Gorta is a spirit of famine that appears as a nearly cadaverous man or woman. While chaotic, it rarely attacks indiscriminately, and will give it's targets a chance to avoid it's wrath. Anyone who appeases the spirit will have a +1 bonus to any roll, once per day. Anyone who refuses to give alms and is struck by the creature's gaze will suffer a -2 to all attack rolls, AC, and physical skill checks/ability checks. If physically attacked the Fear Gorta will respond with it's own claws, for 1d6 points of damage, and 1 point of Constitution score damage. Each point of Constitution damage can only be healed by a remove cures spell.

I offer the Fear Gorta, a spirit from Irish myth for you on St. Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Tedankhamen's March Madness 31 day Obscure Game Blogging Challenge (3/4)

15 What pseudo or alternate history RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

Vampire, set during the Renaissance in Italy. It wasn't a very alternate history, but in our game the Pope was a ghoul.

16 Which RPG besides D&D has the best magic system? Give details.

As much as I prefer more structured games, more free form games like Fate can handle magic really well. The flexibility really lets it shine.

17 Which RPG has the best high tech rules? Why?

I'm still a big fan of how Alternity handled it.

18 What is the crunchiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?

It was a beta test game, kind of Steampunk/Deadlands. I don't remember what it was called. It was ok, but clear why it was never published.

19 What is the fluffiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?

FATE. It was fun.

20 Which setting have you enjoyed most? Why?

For volume of play, the Forgotten Realms. For inventiveness, Star*Drive for Alternity.

21 What is the narrowest genre RPG you have ever played? How was it?

I don't think I've ever really played a game that maintained a really narrow genre. Some started out that way, but they never remained so for very long.

Tedankhamen's March Madness 31 day Obscure Game Blogging Challenge

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

So this happened...

I don't know about you, but daylight savings time is kicking my ass this year.

Not helping is the fact that I have to get up extra early for training all this week.

On the other hand, remember that map contest that Dyson was doing? The Dungeon of Lost Coppers? It turns out I'm lucky #32!

This of course means I need to stock my Dungeon of Lost Coppers... Look for it soon!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Tedankhamen's March Madness 31 day Obscure Game Blogging Challenge (2/4)

8 What spy RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.

The only spy RPG I’ve played was a d20 Modern GI Joe style game. Honestly, it wasn’t that fun, and in this case I think it was more the lack of experience the DM had and the lack of familiarity with the genre of the players that is what made it fail.

9 What superhero RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

I’ve never played a superhero RPG.

10 What science fiction RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.

Star Wars, and mostly when it doesn’t involve anything from the major plotlines of the movies/books/comics.

11 What post-apocalyptic RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

Dungeons and Dragons. Ok, so maybe thats a cop-out answer, but it's still true. For all the quasi-medieval trappings of the game, it's pretty clear that things in most D&D settings are after the fall of some pretty powerful civilizations.

12 What humorous RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.

Tales from the Floating Vagabond was great. It’s got crazy art, Definitely the sort of game you want to play with an irreverent group.

13 What horror RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

I’ve never been a fan of horror as a genre either in movies, books, or in games. However, Betrayal at House on the Hill is a fantastic board game!

14 What historical or cultural RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.

Again, I haven't played any historical RPGs, though in high school there was a brief 1 or 2 session viking game using the green covered historical setting D&D campaign book. I don't remember too much about it, just that we raided some French coastal church.

Tedankhamen's March Madness 31 day Obscure Game Blogging Challenge

Friday, March 7, 2014

New Spell: Ennui

I haven’t much been in a blogging mood lately. Or painting. Or reading. Not sure why exactly, just feeling rather drained, uncreative, and disinterested in much beyond watching silly movies and TV. I’ve seen the Lego Movie (it was AWESOME!), Captain America, Avengers, Iron Man 3, House of Cards season 2, Brooklyn 99, and The Daily Show.

Ok, so maybe House of Cards isn’t all that silly, as compared to the rest. And it is one of the best political dramas ever to appear on screen. Seriously, if you’ve ever wanted to do a political intrigue based game, this is the place to start.

But getting back to my main point - drained. Not writing, not creating, not mapping…

Why? I’m sure it’s a lot of factors all together, and for the most part, it doesn’t really matter. What matters (to me) is that the less I create, the less I’m creative, the worse I feel. Some of it is guilt. I feel like I need to post, because there are people that read my blog. A few people are actually interested in what I write! But that’s really just a tiny part of it.

Much of it is that I hate what I’m doing now; just typing up some words to post. It’s not clean, well thought out, edited, and while you can certainly claim that’s true of most of my posts I do try to produce quality content. Posts like this generally aren’t.

So why am I writing/posting this? In part because I need to. Because I need to do SOMETHING to get going again. Is this a crappy start? Yup, but it’s a start, and if I keep worrying about getting it “perfect” or “right” it’s going to be a long time till I post again, as the 20+ posts i’ve got sitting in draft format show.

And to pay my Joesky Tax, here’s a spell:

3rd level magic user & cleric spell
Range: 30’
Duration: 1 day/caster level/failed save
Effect: Curses one living creature

Victims of the Ennui spell will feel listless, unmotivated, and uninspired. They will suffer a -10% penalty to any XP earned adventuring, and will earn only half the XP normally acquired through carousing. Spell casters will be unable to create any new magical items or research new spells.

The victim of the spell may make a save vs spells to avoid the curse. Elves and halflings suffer a -2 penalty to their save. Those that fail their saving throw may make another at the end of the duration, or continue to suffer the effects of the curse. A Remove Curse spell will allow for an immediate saving throw, while a Dispel Evil will end the curse immediately.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Tedankhamen's March Madness 31 day Obscure Game Blogging Challenge (1/4)

This is the first set of posts from Tedankhamen's March Madness 31 day Obscure Game Blogging Challenge. As with last month's 40th anniversary questions, I'm opting not to do a question a day.

1 What was the first roleplaying game other than D&D you played? Was it before or after you had played D&D?

My first non-D&D RPG was West End Games’ Star Wars. And it was several years after I started playing D&D.

2 In what system was the first character you played in an RPG other than D&D? How was playing it different from playing a D&D character?

My first character was a Han Solo type smuggler with a modified YT-1300. Original hua? It was different from anything I’d ever played in D&D, because at that point I was almost exclusively playing elven wizards.

3 Which game had the least or most enjoyable character generation?

Decipher’s Star Trek RPG was the most frustrating system to make a character in. The books were so terribly organized that you needed a flowchart with page numbers (that I found online from someone else who was equally frustrated) to make sure you got everything.

4 What other roleplaying author besides Gygax impressed you with their writing?

I’ve only recently become impressed with Gygax, honestly. Aside from that I’ve never been really impressed by RPG writing, except maybe for Nobilis. There are some bloggers who've impressed and inspired me, but more for the content than their style.

5 What other old school game should have become as big as D&D but didn’t? Why do you think so?

D&D made it because it was first. By no stretch of the imagination is it the “best” game out there, except that it has become the universal language of RPGs. Which game should have? I honestly have no idea.

6 What non-D&D monster do you think is as iconic as D&D ones like hook horrors or flumphs, and why do you think so?

I’m not sure there is one that doesn’t come from a licensed property. If we include them I’d say various aliens from Star Wars. Given that just about everything has been turned into a D&D monster...

7 What fantasy RPG other than D&D have you enjoyed most? Why?

I haven’t played any fantasy RPGs that aren’t D&D/D20 derived.