Dec 032012

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    • 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 […]
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    • Making Dragonborn a little more interesting
      Yes, I like dragons but the Dragonborn always just kind of felt “meh” to me. Sort of dragons but not quite. And some overall feeling that they were just tacked on to D&D as a fanboy service. They just didn’t seem interesting. So instead of telling you what to do. I got some inspiration from […]
    • 2.5 Dungeon and The $20 Dungeon Meet
      One of the cool things going around is the 2.5 Dungeon. Just go check out the DM’s Craft Channel on Youtube. And if you remember from a long time ago I did my own little $20 Dungeon Project. So I figured I’d combine the two. If you remember I just recently did the dungeon tiles […]

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DFDcvr
Yeah, there’s a new revised edition of Death Frost Doom out. Some might say that isn’t a “Classic Dungeon” and I know when I ranted other times about classic dungeons it was always something from the ancient days of gaming. But Death Frost Doom is special.
This is adventure that launched a 1,000 screams. Not only from the unfortunate characters who foolishly entered its unholy halls but also from the Internet. Let’s see Death Frost Doom became the iconic Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventure and when the rule book for it came there were screams. I remember that? OMG! Boobies and gore! People argued and flamed. Blah. Blah. Also, Death Frost Doom played a big part in Zak S’s Vornheim campaign. (Which if you don’t have Vornheim get it.) But in certain corners of the Internet, if you say like Zak and his stuff. Well, that’s a lynching offense. So yeah. Death Frost Doom. It launched probably more than a thousand screams. And probably a thousand more just because Zak revised it.
The revised Death Frost Doom has some totally awesome and creepy new art from brilliant Jez Gordon. I don’t often comment on art in RPG books. But this stuff is has style that leaps out of the page at you.
As far as the adventure itself. (Don’t expect any spoilers.) The new format is much easier for this aged grognard to read. There’s more options and details than the original. The general plot is pretty straight forward. Big mountain. Lost temple. Bad things happen. Really bad things happen. I mean world changing bad things happen. This is still a challenging and very dangerous dungeon. If you have a bunch of players who expect perfectly balanced encounters and a happy ending then they’re in the wrong dungeon crawl. There’s a very good chance that not every character will make it out alive and maybe the dead one’s are the lucky ones. And bonus points for the Evil Dead reference. (OK, that’s as close to a spoiler as I’m getting.)
Death Frost Doom was already a great adventure. This revision takes it up to 11. Really, it goes to 11.

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So I just blew my Kickstarter already for the month and my gaming budget is pretty much in the same boat. Thanks for releasing a great new edition of D&D. And just maybe Pathfinder has jumped that shark on a couple of occasions. That doesn’t matter. I still play although I were to run a game it’d be 5E or something old-school (or perhaps a bizarre combination of those two). None of those thing will stop me from ranting about what looks like a pretty fun idea for Pathfinder. Maybe late next month? Because, crap. Bet I could use this for something else. Hehe.
There’s plenty of powerful character types so why not a something fun and common and all that powerful. So here go kids. Check out The Adequate Commoner for Pathfinder.


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Let’s face it gamers don’t like change. We get into ruts whether its our favorite rules system or genre. So it’s nice to mix things up every once in a while. That’s one of the reasons I’m looking at HardNova ][.
hardnovacover
As you may already know I’ve been on a Space Opera kick as off late. I’m working on my own little OSR hack called Blasters & Blackholes, and I picked up and am looking seriously at Slipstream for Savage Worlds. And paged through my old D6 Star Wars games and d6 Space. While I was kicking around ideas I heard many good things about HardNova. You see I’ve had this long quest to find a SciFi RPG that didn’t suck. So let me look at HardNova first through that lens.
Too many SciFi RPG’s get tied too heavily to their own setting and it’s a pain to try to convert them to something original. This problem is even worse with licensed games. HardNova comes with a setting and it’s pretty cool but not quite exactly what I had in mind. The good news is that it is incredibly easy to morph into whatever setting you want. Big time bonus points there.
Ship-To-Ship Combat. Now this is where so many SciFi RPG’s fall flat on their faces. Either the system for ship combat is so detailed that it actually becomes a totally separate game (and in many cases a war game) or it’s so abstract that it’s almost hand waved. Good news again. HardNova’s Ship-To-Ship combat works just about like character combat. It doesn’t add too many extra bits, only what you need for the space battles. And of course you could also easily use it for vehicle combat.
That’s all great. Now let me get to the nitty gritty of the system. HardNova uses the updated Genre Diversion system and it’s pretty easy. In a nutshell, roll 2d6 less than Attribute+Skill. Of course, there’s other little modifiers here there but that’s the basics. When I think about this I know it’s a bell curve but kind of short one with a range of only 2 to 12. But hey, that’s something that’s completely cool. But I do have a couple of concerns. That is about damage.
Characters (and ships) have Wound Levels. I’m OK with that. Heck, I love Savage Worlds and have did my time in the World Darkness. But what I do have some concerns on is that weapons do static damage. I just like that bit of randomness when something gets hit. Also, the damage is pretty hefty making the core game really gritty i.e. don’t get too attached to your character. But good news there a couple of options in the book to make characters more hardy so one whack with a plasma saber (wink) doesn’t kill them. I’m still brain storming on how exactly I’d do it but the system is light enough and tweaking friendly.
Back to the positives. Gimmicks are cool. Characters have them and even ships have them. These are little abilities and so forth to add a little more depth and variation to them. This is also how you go about building various alien species. It’s simple and easy. Bonus points, there.
So how does HardNova stack up against the other SciFi games I’m considering? Well, pretty good. Both Savage Worlds and OSR stuff have familiar rules but the learning curve for HardNova is not that steep. Now there’s tons of source material for OSR games. Yes, I know it’s mostly fantasy but it’s really easy to reskin and adjust something. But familiarity can also lead to boring routines as well.
So if I happen to end up running a Space Opera game in the future, HardNova is still solidly in the the running. Yes, I’ll do some tweaks to the rules. Probably around damage and I want to have a little bit of the Heavy Metal Swords & Blasters feel too. And that’s tweaking just about any system you use.
So if you’re looking for fun, easy, and complete Space Opera game pick HardNova. Oh, I did mention that it comes with adventures too? You can pick it up at DriveThruRPG.

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According to the Tolkien Fanboys today is Hobbit Day. So have yourself some breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper. Even if that means taking a little nibble from the rest of the party.
darksunhalf1
Don’t think good old JRR never thought that a crazy bunch of nerds would take the pleasant little hobbits and turn them into a gang of cannibalistic savages. Oh, thank you, Dark Sun. You just don’t get as much respect as you deserve.

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Narcosa-coverj
This is product that epitomizes all that is cool and good about the whole DIY OSR gang. A simple thread on Google+ that leads to collaboration, creativity and just down right crazy goodness. So what is it? Mix Ambrose Pierce with Hunter S. Thompson, add a pinch of William S. Burroughs and Timothy Leary for good measure and you get a gonzo psychedelic trip of fantasy supplement for any old-school game. So really, you have nothing lose because it’s free.
So go check it on Drivethrurpg.

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It’s talk like Pyrite Day. I don’t what a rock could day so that’s kind of silly. Wait what? Oh, Talk Like A Pirate Day. Now that makes a little more sense. Any way here’s the Pirate Alphabet.

Oh and if you’ve never watch Elephant Parts. You should do so immediately.

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