Dec 312014

Playing It Wrong
Well 2015 is almost over. It should have been a really good year but no. I mean for geeks there were some really cool things that happened.
Let’s see. Guardians of the Galaxy rocked ass. I mean really. Like I said before, I haven’t felt like that since the first time I saw Star Wars for the very first time. It was child like glee.
Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition hit the shelves. And it’s been very well received. Heck what could go wrong?
The final Hobbit movie is in theaters. Way cool.
Unfortunately, there’s a sect of the Internet who just want whine, bitch, and troll. It makes pretty terrible place. Witch hunts, doxxing, threats, whine, twitter storms, Gategates, whataver. And 99% (NOTE: not a real stat but just a number I pulled out of my ass.) of the whines are about bull shit. Little insignificant things. Much drama about nothing. There are real problems in the world. Real dangers and real threats. Arguing about games, movies, and books for days, weeks, or even months is just fucking stupid.
In 2015, let’s have fun with our entertainment. And maybe take a few minutes out of your day being outraged, do something nice for a complete stranger. Do some action that really just might make the world a better place not a bitter place.
Chances are that I’ve already offended somebody. So there’s the door. Good Bye! You’re not part of the solution. You’re part of the problem. And the rest of you “Happy New Year!”

 Posted by at 10:07 am
Dec 222014
Dungeon Masters Guide

The Fifth Edition DMG is out and the trilogy of core books is on the street. To be pretty honest, Fifth Edition is looking pretty darned good. Now A lot of folks who are a whole lot wiser than me have dissected this book in detail so I won’t bother to do that plus I just ain’t that kind of guy.
I had some real misgivings about finally ordering it. Lot’s of folks were talking about all the random charts for a DM to use in the book. Heck, if you’ve been hanging out in the DIY OSR gang then you’ve got more random tables than you could ever use. But the opportunity was there so I grabbed up the book and I’m pretty pleased. (Yes, I did have the wavy pages that so many others have encountered.)
The DMG gives a good look at the nuts and bolts and design philosophies behind Fifth Edition. If you’re an old hat at this DM thing then you’ll probably sit there and nod or mutter to yourself, “Oh ,I get it.” If you’re new then you might feel a little overwhelmed by the amount of options and information. Just take your time and digest it.
Now that doesn’t mean there aren’t some hiccups here and there. OK, there’s some really cool and pretty maps in the back. Why? Inspiration for newbies, That’s OK. But unless you plan on hacking apart your book then they’re pretty useless. A freebie PDF would be more useful (and heck there’s plenty of cool maps on Drivethrurpg and the web). There’s a nice index of monsters by terrain and CR. Such an index for magic items would have been nice. Yes, I know they can’t include everything. The DMG has great guidelines on crafting the game for whatever your style of play happens to be. That’s good. But for some new DM’s there might be some analysis paralysis. Just so many options. Old hat’s just play around with ideas and talk to your players. For the new folks, try running it as is before you really start tweaking with stuff.
With all three core books in grubby little grognard fingers, I feel it’s safe to say that Fifth Edition is damned cool. They really did pull the best parts together to make something that’s easily playable and tweakable. So looks like one of my plans for 2015 is going to get some sort of 5E game off the ground. Cool beans.

Dec 152014

If you been around the RPG table you should know what Appendix N is. For those not so lucky, that’s the appendix in the original Dungeon Master’s Guide that list inspirational reading material. And know it’s sort of a thing. But I’ve been thinking about some campaign ideas and with the new year coming up, I might as well do some brainstorming.
You might be saying saying to yourself, why just three items? Well, I’ve been done this road before. You start throwing in too many inspirations and you really start to dilute the value each. So I thought just pick three and run with it and see far how it goes.
As you know Space Opera has bounced around my head for while, here’s my three:

  • Farscape
  • Flash Gordon
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Another thing that’s been inside the old brain pan, is an OSR post apocalyptic fantasy game:

  • Wizards
  • He-Man
  • Thundarr the Barbarian
  • There might be some 5E in my future, I dunno but I’ll burn that bridge as it comes up. But then it’ll probably be pretty standard. So not much need to think too far out of the box.
    So here I go, what’s your three item Appendix N? Fun little exercise while everyone is rushing around with the holidays and such.

     Posted by at 10:05 am
    Dec 092014

    Here we go, another gem by Zak S. When I think of Zak, I think of the winding streets of Vornheim, snakes as books, crazy imaginative tweaks to old school rules, and a mind like a steel trap. Red and Pleasant continues this trend with another mind blowing product.
    So just what is Red and Pleasant Land? At the very basic level, it’s an adventure/setting that’s a crazy mash up between Alice in Wonderland and Dracula. Yeah, you heard that right. It’s a strange place with warped realities and a battle ground for a few very powerful vampires. It’s a whole area where you could base an entire campaign, it’s a place that you could put into your own world, or even add it as an odd pocket dimension. You got lots of options.
    I like RPG products that are more than just use it once and then put them aside. I know most adventures are like that but not this one. There’s plenty of little rules, charts, monsters, and a new old school class (The Alice) to keep you coming back to this. Did I mention charts. Plenty of handy random charts you can use again and again. So it’s not just an adventure you run and then put aside. That’s one of the primary reasons I really like Zak’s stuff. He not only writes stuff that gets your imagination going, he makes amazingly creative tools for DM’s to use.
    Zak does have one major advantage over the rest of us who scribble down various gaming projects. He’s his own artist and a damn good one too. The words and pictures on the page come from the same brain. Like Vornheim, the artwork isn’t just something to give a visual representation to the reader. It is part of the product. Not only functionally but it blends with the words to create a consistent and unique vision.
    Red and Pleasant land is designed for Lamentations of the Flame Princess but can easily be converted over to whatever you old school game of choice would happen to be. Heck, with a little more work you could translate it over to 5th Edition if that was to your liking. There’s already one write up of the Alice class for 5th Edition.
    You can pickup Red and Pleasant Land at Drivethrurpg or at the Lamentations of the Flame Princess web store. And don’t be frighten on the price tag. It’s worth every penny.

     Posted by at 10:16 am  Tagged with:
    Dec 042014
    Magic Pig Media

    How long has it been since I wrote anything crunchy about Savage Worlds? Too damn long! If you’ve been following along on my other blog, the idea of a space opera campaign has been bouncing around inside my head and I just can’t get it out. Of course, thinking about this had to mean that I had to consider Savage Worlds. But I wanted to a little tweak to the ranged combat. I wanted things a little more cinematic and have some reason for some characters to use melee combat instead.
    There’s been dozens of discussions on the Pinnacle Forums and other places about this. Lot’s of ideas have bounced around and there’s a very good chance that my google fu is weak and somebody has already proposed the same thing. So if they have let me know and I shall sing praises unto them. And no onto the crunchy bits:
    Dodge: This works sort like a Soak roll. Attacker shoots and hits. Target spends a Bennie and rolls Agility. Just use the Agility roll as the new TN for the shooter. In case that Agility roll is botch, then that’s what more Bennies are for and if you don’t have any then you just made things worse for yourself.
    Evasive Maneuvers: Works sort of like Wild Swing. Character declares they are taking “Evasive Maneuvers”. Ranged attackers are a -2 to hit (melee attackers take no penalty). The evading character is at -2 to attack and skill rolls. This lasts until the character’s next turn.
    So there you go. Fast. Furious. Fun. And simple. As usual, I welcome suggestions. And yes, I’m really rusty at writing about Savage Worlds.

     Posted by at 10:40 am
    Dec 032014

    Harry Harrison is one of my favorite authors. When I was growing up, I read just about anything by him I could get into my little hands. I really loved his humorous books. I’m a huge Stainless Steel Rat fan and loved The Technicolor Time Machine. And we should never forget The Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers. He’s probably mostly well-know for Make Room! Make Room! which the movie Soylent Green is based. But this little blurb is about Bill The Galactic Hero. Yes, it’s a low budget student film. But hey it is a start. We all know that geeky stuff is hitting the mainstream. My hope is that some the great stuff from the days of yore makes it to the big (or small) screen and hopefully done well. But any way sit back and watch the little trailer.

     Posted by at 10:24 am