Dec 032012

  • RSS What’s Up With The Magic Pig

    • Come out and Meet The Authors
      Come out on Saturday to the Leander Public Library (between 2 and 4 PM) and meet the folks of the Leander Writers Guild. We’ll be there with cookbooks. Stop by say “Hi”, chat about food or whatever geeky goodness comes to mind. View Larger Map
    • OK, We’re going to make it even easier for you.
      Never let it be said that we don’t listen to fans. Things are going well but we’re going to make it even easier on you for you to win a copy of Crunchy Bits. All you have to do is either comment here, hit us up on the contact form, or just drop us an […]
  • RSS They Might Be Gazebos! My OSR Blog

    • Talislanta & Star Frontiers
      Yes, I know this is old news but I figured I’d spread the word again. Free Games! I played Star Frontiers once when it came out. I don’t remember much about it but my interest is renewed in old school that aren’t based the “World’s Most Popular Fantasy Game” plus I’ve space opera stuff bouncing […]
    • Race As Class?
      Yeah, I may be opening up an age old debate here but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about. Race As Class. Love it or hate it? I can see both sides of this debate. Not using Race as Class, let’s players have more freedom to play whatever they want. But Race as Class, definitely, […]

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I powered up the DVR and watched it so you don’t have to. I probably deserve at least some extra karma for that.
So in a nutshell, let’s take a one of the coolest comics in history and make a TV series from it. OK, sounds like a good plan. Let’s do half episodes that stand alone stories. Hell, it worked for Twilight Zone. Speaking of Twilight Zone, let’s throw in a little twist at the end. Now, let’s do this on low budget with mediocre scripts and bad acting. Ew, that’s not very good.
OK, yes. I did only watch the first two episodes. That’s all that has aired so far in the US. But overall it’s pretty lame. It’s a real pity that it stinks so bad. Heck, I still go back (and still quote the first movie). Yes, I admit that the second wasn’t that good but it’s better than the TV series.
But, hey, when TV gives you lemons, why not make lemonade? Chances are I might record a whole gaggle of episodes and then sit down and let my brain go to sleep. Heck, even bad might give me inspiration. I dunno.
So if you’re expecting something cool, drink heavily first and don’t pay too attention.

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While I was busy doing Spring Cleaning this last weekend my mind started wandering and it ended up wandering into strange territory. Namely, gonzo space opera.
My first thoughts went to Machinations of the Space Princess, Hulks & Horrors, Star Without Number, Bandits & Battle Cruisers and X-Plorers but it continued to wander. With Savage Worlds Sci-Fi Companion coming up there’s always that and it would be good to play around with Savage Worlds again. I thought about d6 Space as possible game to use. I have fond memories of running the original Star Wars game. I thought about Star Frontiers and even FATE. All have their own benefits, play styles, and baggage.
Then I thought you can always grind something out on your own. I want really crazy and like I said Gonzo. Machinations of Space Princess is close but it just doesn’t quite hit that sweet spot.
I know there systems that I missed out there. I don’t want hard Sci-Fi. I want borderline fantasy and over the top but still a bit gritty. Relatively rules lite. That’s one of the reasons that I thought a lot about the retro-clones. Also, there’s a ton of stuff out there that can just slightly tweaked and become a wild and crazy adventure in space. Hmm.
So it looks like I’m stuck with crazy idea that will be in my head until I get some interesting notes. And another project to work on. Probably mostly at lunch. Hmm. Busy times ahead. Excuse me but I have to get back to the day job and finishing up all the other stuff that I need to get done. Don’t worry more about this will get posted later.

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Conanandsonja
There’s a reason I ranted about Lankhmar last week. It was a cool and still handy supplement. So I figured I’d another one the old licensed modules. Well, actually three: Conan Unchained, Conan Against Darkness, and Red Sonja Unconquered. I’m putting them together because well they’re pretty the same.
Unlike Lankhmar where there was wealth of information to run games in The City of Thieves, this trilogy gives a couple pages of extra rules and some pretty bland advise. Basically, just a Fear system, Luck/Hero Points and some alternate rules for healing a little quicker. The rest is just minor advice. Also, what hits these square in shorts is that it’s really expected that run the per-generated title characters. Yeah, sure. Everybody wants to be Conan or Batman. But it’s nice to your kind of Conan. The setting material and rules is pretty scarce. I’ll admit that it would have been considered much better in the pre-Internet days but still, there’s not much there to be inspired by. It’s kind of sad really. Robert E. Howard’s tales are there in Appendix N. I’m sure there was probably some crazy licensing deal or whatever.
Back to my comparison to Lankhmar. While Lankhmar is setting material, this is three adventures. And pretty bad ones. There’s some interesting monsters and encounters that good DM’s can tweak and insert into a Sword & Sorcery campaign. But the actual adventures are railroads. Sigh. It would have been nice to have something better.

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batman-medieval
I was thinking the other day about how your standard D&D party is like a bunch of superheroes. Even low level party out powers your average guard or villager. Heck, the standard starter adventure is “Help us, Batman! There are goblins in the woods.” THe party heads out and deals with bad guys. Even look at a mid-range party. They have the power to level a small village. Throw a lightning bolt, a couple of fireballs and a cloud kill then send in the fighter to clean up the rest. A player characters skills quickly and easily outstrip those of the common mortals. As the part goes up in level, so do their adversaries. The bosses that most party would face are super villains with plans of either world destruction or domination.
Now, I know there ways to explain and balance this out with various rulings, house rules, and setting tweaks. I’ve been around the block. But this little idea just bounced around in my head.
So yeah. Guess D&D is sort of a superhero RPG.

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tabletopday2014_300x250
It’s International Table Top Day. So what are you doing on the Internet? Go out and play some games with strangers or drag one of your loved ones into some sort of game. Have fun. It’s the weekend. Meet people and be sociable.

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Lankhma
OK, yes. I know. This really isn’t a dungeon. It’s a setting supplement but this one that really has influenced my tastes as far as running campaigns.
First, I am a big Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser fan. I devoured those long before I trudged my through Lord of the Rings. That’s one of the reasons I like this little worn book. There’s a nice little fan boy section covering highlights from the series. But let’s about the gaming goodness.
There isn’t a dungeon or even an adventure here. It’s a city and setting. In the matter of race, it’s just human player characters (although the possibility of Newhon ghouls might have been interesting). Classes. Well, that pretty much the same for the non-spell casters. There are paladins and rangers but they don’t get spells. Then the spell casters. That changes quite a bit. Ditch the old classes and add the Black Wizard and White Wizard. Black Wizards get to use all of the Magic-User and Illusionist spells. Remember this is for AD&D. And are slowly warped by the evil magic becoming evil themselves. The White Wizards get all of the Cleric and Druid spells. But that’s not where it ends. Casting times are greatly increased. And there is no 8 hour adventuring day. It takes a week to recover a spell. That’s pretty nasty but keeps to the low magic Sword & Sorcery feel. There’s a few other things about reduced access to heavy armor and magic items. Pretty much what you would expect.
Where this book really shines is inspiration for cities. I lost the nice color poster map long ago. The heart of the book is a big catalog on NPC’s that serve as great inspiration. Plus some handy random NPC and city encounter charts. Plenty of things on society, crime, social status, guilds, cults, and festivals. Now there’s also some nice maps of each of the districts of the city. These are really handy. There’s a nice place for notes and blank spaces for GM’s to insert whatever they want.
I have a holy trinity of books for running adventurers through cities. Obviously, one of them is Lankhmar, then there Cities Book by Chaosium and most recently Vornheim. If you don’t have the last two then grab them up!
And, oh yeah, there’s a really cool bestiary in Lankhmar too. Can’t go wrong with more monsters.

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