Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

It is my hope that the new year treat you and yours well. May this be the year you finally defeat the Great Goblin of Gormest!

















Thursday, December 30, 2010

Advanced Fighting Fantasy Thread

For those of you interested in the new Advanced Fighting Fantasy here is a thread from RPG.net with some discussions and details.

Here are some new details from the publisher's website:

* All new Hero generation system, including Talents
* Revised combat system including Armour
* Wizardry, Sorcery and Minor Magic spells
* A brand new reworking of Priests
* and a whole lot more.....

I'm rather excited about this.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Christmas Eve Eve

I hope the next couple of days are good ones for everyone. That family and friends are well and you get a chance to relax.

Oh, I hope you get good loot too!




Battle Cry

We are big fans of the board game Memoir '44 in the Narmer household. For those of you unfamiliar with this game it is a World War II game that uses figures to represent infantry, tanks and artillery. It doesn't attempt to be a strict simulation of WWII combat but intends to capture the flavor. It uses cards to determine what units can act. This is to try to capture the "fog of war" aspect of battle. It is part of the Commands and Colors series of games created by Richard Borg. I also own the Ancients version of the game but haven't had the opportunity to play it yet.

So, I was pleased to see that Avalon Hill (well, WoC) reissued the original game of the series, Battle Cry. Battle Cry is the Civil War version of the game. It went out of print be
fore I was away it existed. The current version is billed as the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War edition. I don't think there have been any major changes but am excited to acquire it. I found out about it to late to get it on to my Christmas list though.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rare Exports

First, let me state that I haven't seen this movie. Second, I do not like horror movies. But this movie sounds intriguing both as a movie and from a gaming perspective.

The movie, made in Finland, draws on old legends of a pre-Christian Santa Claus. And he ain't a nice guy. In the movie, Santa was buried in the ice and was recently dug up. Then the children started disappearing. According to reviews the film has a dark humor all its own.

When I read the review I immediately thought of this as a scenario for Barbarians of Lemuria. It fits the sword and sorcery genre perfectly. An ancient evil is uncovered and begins preying on the people of the area. The heroes have to track it down and face its unfathomable horror.

I wonder if I can pull this off.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

New Advanced Fighting Fantasy

Its been all over the internet but, apparently, someone is going to bring out a new edition of Advanced Fighting Fantasy. Details are scarce but here is the announcement.

I think this is rather cool. Although I haven't actually had the opportunity to play this system I am rather fond of it. I would buy the new edition to replace/supplement my used copies.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Literary Inspiration


Two of my favorite novels are Goat Song and The Walled Orchard by Tom Holt. These two books are set in ancient Athens during the Peloponnesian War. The novels follow the life and adventures of Eupolis, a historical comic playwright. The first-person viewpoint entertainingly highlights Eupolis' cynical personality. What I enjoy the most however is how the author brings Classical Athens to life. Holt shows the lives and quirks of both historical characters and the city itself. One memorable scene illustrates the intensity of the rivalry between the playwrights as they competed for prizes at the various festivals. One contestant attempted to mine his way through the wall of Eupolis' house in order to sabotage his preparations.

So if you like historical fiction that both entertains and informs give these two books a try. The photo is actually of the omnibus edition that includes both novels.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Perdition Character

I love me some Firefly. I thought it was really cool when I read Mini-Six and discovered they included a serial-number free setting called Perdition. I've been thinking about trying to persuade my gaming group to give Mini-Six a try. Probably the using the Imperium in Revolt setting because my boy would go for that first.

So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce:

Conrad Bane
Bounty Hunter

Might 3D
Brawling 4D
Stamina 3D+1

Agility 3D
Dodge 4D+1
Pilot 3D+1
Stealth 4D
Pistol 5D

Wit 2D+2
Tracking 3D+1

Charm 3D+1
Persuasion 3D+2

Dodge 13
Block 12
Parry 9
Soak 9

Gear
Pistol
Handcuffs

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas List 2010

You know, I really don't have much of a game related Christmas list. I've been on such a buying spree this last year that, at the moment, I don't have any/many gaming wants.

Here's what I have so far.

RPGs:
Jaws of the Six Serpents

Board Games:
Small World

That's it so far. I'll add more if I think of more.
Edit: I wouldn't mind having Hellas.

I'm always open to suggestions...

Friday, December 10, 2010

There Can Be Only One


One of my favorite movies from the days of yore.














Is there anyone as pure badass as the Kurgan? Now there is a foe I would not want to face in an RPG. Or anywhere else for that matter.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Strange Stones

I ran across a blog today that, somehow, I haven't seen before. It is called Strange Stones and covers BoL/BotA, Traveller, and Labyrinth Lord amongst others. One cool feature is a Barbarians of Lemuria Meso-American type setting with bestiary. Take a look.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Inspiration


I've always loved a good time-travel/alternate history story and Lest Darkness Falls by L. Sprague de Camp is one of my favorites.

It is the story of American archaeologist Martin Padway who's visit to Rome is interrupted by a bolt of lightning. This somehow sends him back to 6th century Rome. He procedes to use his knowledge to introduce anachronistic technology into the ancient world and changes history.

I've always wanted to play in an RPG with a similar theme. I don't know what system could do this. I imagine many could. In the alternative settings chapter in Dogs of W*A*R, the author suggests transporting modern soldier and special ops types into the world of Barbarians of Lemuria. Not quite the same but loads of potential fun.

Has anyone played in a game like this?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Deals Galore

Tommy over at The Most Unread Blog on the Internet. Ever., (although I read it frequently) has posted about some excellent deals from RPGNow here. I picked up the entire line of Icons. For $1 apiece. A buck!

Has anyone else heard about any great deals?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Winter Wonderland

So, Western Washington is covered in a gentle blanket of snow. It has been drifting down all day. Although my drive to work this morning was easy with roads clear and traffic light, I'd been hearing of horrific traffic snarls all through the day. This was also the day I needed to drive even further after work to pick up my new suit. For my interview at 9 am tomorrow. I could possibly get a promotion. I left work and made to the store in good time. No slipping, no sliding. Everyone driving safely and sanely. The suit looks good. I started driving home. Once again I avoided the worst of the snarls. I was feeling good, driving slow. I got within a few blocks of home. I've got it made, I thought. I then, quite promptly, slid in a curb at an angle. At a minimum I screwed up my alignment because it drove wobbly the rest of the way home. At worst....?

And I still need to make it down the big hill to get to my interview tomorrow morning.

This does bring to mind the novel The Sixth Winter by Douglas Orgill which was published in
the '70's. There is/was a theory that a new ice age could start in as little as six winters if all the conditions are right. This is a fictionalized account of just such an event. It has been years since I have read it but I do remember I very much enjoyed it. One image that stuck with me was of a group of Soviet soldiers being attacked by a large pack of wolves. Including the unfortunate fellow in an APC who gets his head chewed on while it is sticking out of a hatch. According to the story, with the coming of the ice age, the wolves instinctively gather in larger packs and become more aggressive. This is one of the reasons humans have such a deep-seated fear of wolves.

This would make a fun RPG scenario, either a one shot with the characters trying to survive and make it to a warmer climate or as a small campaign. Maybe for Barbarians of the Aftermath. I may have to think on this more.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday Inspiration




This inspiration post is inspired by a post on campaign settings over at B/X Blackrazor. One of his campaign ideas is a Bronze Age based game.








If you are interested in some literary inspiration you might try First Heroes, short stories about the Bronze age edited by Harry Turtledove.

rpgKids

I've been pretty successful in my quest to find rpgs to play with my kids. At least for my 10 year old. We've played one or more sessions of Supers!, B/X D&D, Labyrinth Lord, and Barbarians of Lemuria. The problem is my 6 year old. He's played with us but loses interest after a while and wanders off. But I have found the solution for this. I was browsing the Newbie DM website and ran across rpgKids. This is a little $3 PDF that is intended for kids aged 4-7 and their parents. It is a very simple game. There are four types of characters to play, the Sword Fighter, Healer, Archer and Wizard. Each has there own special ability and there is a very simple skill system. Character creation is simply choosing the character type, writing down the skills, picking a name and drawing a picture of the character. Most conflicts are resolved opposed d12 rolls. There are three damage levels and nobody dies. They get knocked out.



There is a nifty adventure included and hand drawn playing pieces and maps. Colored in crayon. I printed them out on our color printer and my wife and sons thought I had colored them. We played through the adventure and my son loved it! We played through the entire adventure and he was riveted. Moving the pieces on the map and the simple combat system really hit the spot for him.

The maps are simple one inch grid papers and a blank one is included for further adventure. I am going to break out the crayons and make an adventure for him this weekend.

I would heartily recommend this for parents of young children as an introductory rpg.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The 700 Thespians

There is one thing I can say for certain about the Spartans: They always had good PR. Even today their reputation is continually enhanced in documentaries and popular culture. There was a documentary on History Channel International about the Battle of Thermopylae. As usual the Spartans get the lion's share of the credit. The brave 300 making their last stand against the innumerable Persian hordes. Granted, Leonidas was the leader of the loyalist Greek forces at the pass but the Spartans were in the minority. There were some 7000 infantry in total from the contributing cities. Even when the Greeks' flank was turned and Leonidas had the other contingents bug out, the Spartans weren't alone. Nor were they the majority of rearguard. The hoplites from Thespiae stayed. All 700 of them. I'm sure they fought as fiercely as the Spartans and made the Persians pay with blood for every inch of ground the invaders gained. Two things are more significant: First, the Thespians did not have to stay. They elected to stay. Second, the 700 hoplites were apparently the entire levy that Thespiae could muster. The loss of 300 hoplites was a significant blow to Sparta. Thespiae's loss of their entire Hoplite force would've been catastrophic. But who gets the credit? The Spartans. To whom does Simonides write his epitaph? The Spartans. The Thespians did not get a monument until 1997! Yep, the Spartans knew how to enhance their reputation.

So, here is to the unnamed 700 Thespians. May their memory live long.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Inspiration




I find these photos spark my imagination. Imagine running into creatures like these.




Many of you may have seen the crocaparrot.









Now meet the peacrock!







Thursday, October 28, 2010

Simon Washbourne

If you've read this blog you know I like Simon Washbourne's games. Barbarians of Lemuria and Supers! get a lot of play in my household. I don't know Mr. Washbourne personally except for encounters on forums. However, he has earned a significant amount of respect from me after I read this post over at RPG.net. You can read the entire thread here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Variable Weapon Damage

I've always been an adherent of variable weapon damage for D&D. However, JB of B/X Blackrazor has written a very interesting post about d6 damage for all weapons. I've been a fan of his blog for quite awhile and this is a good example of why.

Read it here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

15 Games

Several bloggers have listed there top 15 most influential games for you. Or as some put it, the games that stick with you the most. The posts were originally called 15 games in 15 minutes. However, I read the posts but couldn't reply immediately so I had more than 15 minutes to contemplate it. Also, I couldn't come up with 15 games. Here is my list anyway:

  1. Melee/Wizard
  2. D&D (Holmes/AD&D/now Moldvay/Labyrinth Lord)
  3. Traveller (as Tim Brannon said: it opened up new worlds for me)
  4. Gamma World (I have fond memories of the Hanford Memorial Radioactive Zone)
  5. Top Secret
  6. Dungeon
  7. Drakon
  8. Barbarians of Lemuria
  9. Supers!
  10. Divine Right


That's all I have for now. If I think of more I'll add them.

You can see some other lists here, here, here and here.

The Star Wars Sourcebook

I mentioned in my last post that I picked up The Star Wars Sourcebook during my last trip to Gary's. This is a supplement to West End Games 1st edition Star Wars RPG. It is in really good shape for being printed in 1987.

It has some really cool information in it. It has lists of various starfighters and other starships. It has info on droids, aliens, lightsabers and other various Star Wars goodies. My favorite part, however, is the stats for many of the main characters of the original trilogy. It was only on my second read through of the character section that I realized something:

Yoda does not have the lightsaber skill.

I didn't notice it the first time but it jumped out at me the second time. He's got the melee skill and the melee parry skill but not lightsaber. Obi-Wan has the lightsaber skill. Vader has a slightly better lightsaber skill. Even Luke, who's skills are listed as of the Battle of Yavin, has the lightsaber skill at 4D+1. But Yoda doesn't have it listed. At first I thought it might be a typo or an oversight. But it is my understanding that WEG's material had to pass muster with Lucas' folks. I don't think they would've missed it. So I discarded that idea.

Now, I've been reading various "what-if" threads about the history of the Star Wars universe based only on the original Star Wars film or the first trilogy. An examples is here. So, if Yoda doesn't have the lightsaber skill, at least a portion of the prequels don't make sense (big surprise, some may say) and the original conception of the characters was much different.

I know, I know, this isn't a canon source or anything but it is very interesting to me.

Friday, October 15, 2010

B/X Companion

I made the trip to Seattle today to visit Gary's Games. I picked up a copy of JB's B/X Companion. It's his local game store so I though it appropriate. I haven't had a chance to read it yet but I'm looking forward to it.

I also picked up WEG's Star Wars Sourcebook to go with the Star Wars RPG that I have never played. I wish I had had more time. And money. There were several things I would've purchased. Like Icons. But it was $30.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Veteran?

I was looking at the level progression table in Moldvay Basic. I've never payed much attention to this before. Why is the first level fighter called a Veteran and the second level called a Warrior? This seems backwards to me. Shouldn't a Warrior become a Veteran with experience?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Why I'm a Closet Gamer

JB over at B/X Blackrazor wrote a post entitled Embracing My Inner Nerd. It got me thinking about my origins as a gamer and I posted a quick response to it. I want to expand on my thoughts here.

I have always felt a certain amount shame about being a role-player. The first feedback I received about D&D (I started with Holmes Basic) was from my older brother. I was 11, he was in high school and I looked up to him as younger brothers are wont to do. His reaction, and I remember it verbatim, was this:

"Only fags play D&D"

I didn't respond the first time he said it. I was 11, it was 1979 and I only had the vaguest idea of what this really meant. What I did know was that it was a bad thing. Living in conservative towns, in a semi-conservative family I had only heard this term used in a negative way. He made me feel as if I were doing something wrong.

Later when he repeated it I pointed out that I wasn't gay an thus his generalization was invalid. He did stop saying it but the damage was done. He had made me feel shame about playing a game. Not enough to stop me from playing but enough that I essentially became a closet gamer. In junior high and high school I only played with a select few and didn't discuss it to others. When I went to university I didn't play at all. I actually didn't see much of a gaming presence on campus though. This was mid-to-late '80s so I don't know if it was the times or the campus. My wife didn't know about my role-playing for a long time. She knew I liked computer games and board games but not RPGs. It wasn't until about 2000 that I became interested again when GURPS caught my attention. A couple of years ago my son became old enough to play and we do so when we can. However, I still don't talk about it with others. And feel embarrassed when the subject comes up. My brother's ignorant statement effected damaged my psyche in a long term manner.

Please don't take this as an anti-gay screed. As I grew, matured and experienced the world a bit, my viewpoint changed. Now I would react to a jibe like that by shaking my head and telling the person he is intolerant and bigoted. However, in my youth, my brother's statement wounded me and changed my view of rpgs. In a way I still feel a bit embarrassed by role-playing in a knee-jerk type of way. And I am still a closet gamer. i hope not to pass my scars onto my son.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Impulse Purchase

Late, late the other night I ordered a copy of Moldvay Basic and a copy of Cook Expert and a copy of the Keep on the Borderland. Why? Just 'cause. Actually Keep on the Borderland was my first module. It came with the Holmes Basic set I bought all those years ago. It has long since disappeared and I guess I was feeling nostalgic.

All three are on their way and I'm excited.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Clerics: B/X or LL?

Our old-school-type game of choice is Labyrinth Lord. In LL, clerics get a spell at first level. B/X D&D makes clerics wait until the second level before they get their first spell.

What is your preference? Comments are welcome but I've also put a poll up in the side-bar.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Humanistic Fantasy

I ran across the term "humanistic fantasy" while I was reading the primer for Rogue Games' Shadow, Sword & Spell. Here is their definition:
Humanistic fantasy is fantasy in which humans take the center stage. It is fantasy largely without the races familiar to fantasy today - elves, dwarves and the like.
This is the type of fantasy and fantasy role-playing game I prefer. It is one of the reasons I like Barbarians of Lemuria so much. Now I have a term for it.

So, why do I like humanistic fantasy so much? Good question. I'm glad you asked. I've been thinking about it since I read the primer. The only conclusion I have come to is that it is more about feeling than logic. It just doesn't feel right to me to have humanoids be a common occurrence. They should be rare and mysterious. Not something you see hanging out at the corner pub. So uncommon that, perhaps, they are endangered or even one of the last examples of their race. Just as I feel magic should be rare and dangerous, not something you use every morning to heat your tea. And, hey, these are characteristics of the sword and sorcery genre.

Oh, and my copy arrived today.

(As a side note, I googled the phrase and discovered that it is used frequently by religious folk to describe the world view of non-believers. But that's another story.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Nefarious Plan - Failed

A while back I wrote a post about using BASH so have my son practice multiplication. Well, it turns out that, for some reason, BASH didn't strike a chord with either of us. Don't know why but it didn't. Maybe it's because we like the simplicity of Supers! but that's what we're going to stick with. We'll try BASH again in a few months.

An Interesting Article

Some of you may know Robert Fisher has a blog where he talks about RPGs amongst other things. I ran across this archived piece he wrote about Classic D&D (i.e. B/X) and found it interesting. If you haven't read it, you may find it interesting too.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

D&D in My Imagination

This is my response to Grognardia's post. Unlike many people I don't think of the lovely boxes the Basic games came in. My first D&D game was the Holmes Basic edition. I didn't remember that the box was color. What I remember is the blue rule-book cover and until recently I thought it was the box cover. So, this is what I think of when I think of D&D.

Labyrinth Lord and a World Building Exercise

So, my son's interest has wandered back to Labyrinth Lord, which is where we started our RPG journey.

He told me he wanted to play a dwarf. I had him roll six times and apply the results as he wished. This way he was assured a dwarf. A bit latter he told me he wanted the dwarf to be a prince and wield a bone long sword. He was worried about rust monsters, he explained. I could see making his character a prince but I had reservations about the bone sword. I thought that in order to be a sturdy sword the bone sword, or 'Bone Sword' as I started thinking of it, should be a magic sword. And I wasn't going to give a starting character a magic sword. So I decided he needed to go on a quest for it. But why? I determined that I would have to work it into the background of the campaign world somehow. Then I realized that I needed to create a campaign world, which I haven't done in 30 years.

And here is the result:

From the Granite Shield Mountains in the East to the Greycap Ocean in the West, the land of Kalonin was peaceful and happy. The Three People lived in harmony ruled by the Council of Three Kings, a dwarf, an elf and a human. They reigned with the assistance and advice of the Gathering, an assembly comprised of representatives of each of the Three People. The land was prosperous and few knew want. But this golden age was fated to end. Dark forces began to gather in the wastelands beyond the Granite Shield Mountains. A Necromancer of enormous power began to weld the fractious Orcs, Goblins and other vile creatures into a powerful army. To prepare his way, the Necromancer sent twisted humans, dark elves and greedy dwarves into Kalonin to spread the tendrils of Chaos. The agents did their job well. Soon dissension and distrust began to split the peoples and the Kingdom. The evil ones preyed on the weak and greedy of all the races. The land was on the verge of civil war when the Necromancer struck. The hordes of Chaos poured through the mountains and into Kalonin. The battles swept across the verdant land leaving destruction, ruin and anarchy in their wake. The armies of the Three Peoples fought valiantly but, because of the dissension, separately. The lack of unity hampered the defence efforts and prolonged the war. Both the Dwarf king and the king of the Humans fell in battle. The Elf king also fell fighting the Necromancer but with his dying breath he unleashed a powerful sorcery which allow him to vanquish the evil entity with the Bone Sword. Without the Necromancer's leadership, the remainder of the forces of Chaos were destroyed or dispersed.

Kalonin was devastated. The end of the war saw none of the breaches between the Three Peoples heal. Each group shunned the others. The Elves disappeared into the Great Northern Forest and the Dwarves withdrew into the valleys and tunnels of the Granite Shield Mountains. The Humans had been the most populous and had suffered the greatest loses. To this day they have not been able to refill the land and many abandoned towns and other ruins dot the countryside. There is still a Human king but his power is much diminished. He controls nothing beyond his shrunken capitol. The rest of the land is ruled by local lords and other strongmen. The Dwarf king still rules but the Elves did not replace their fallen leader and live in independent bands in their forest fastness.

And this is the background for my son's character, who as yet is unnamed. The character's father is the son of the Dwarf king's youngest son. Thus he is a prince but not a powerful one. His father has been charged with running an isolated iron mine. The work is important but not glamorous. A large band of orcs attack the mine, a prelude to a larger invasion. The Dwarves fight valiantly, but in the end, futility. Just before leading the remaining warriors in a final stand, the character's father tasks him with taking the news to the Dwarf king. He also states that he believes the Necromancer is somehow behind the attack. It is a harrowing journey but the character makes it and delivers the message. His grandfather, the king, is greatly troubled. He tells his grandson the story of the Bone Sword and that the sword disappeared after the final battle and no one knows its location. Then he sends him on a quest to find the sword.

I have a map of the kingdom in mind and will post it if I can create decent rendition of it.

What do you think?




Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Kick-Ass

I saw this movie the other night. My opinion can summed by the title.

Other than the superhero aspect, this really isn't my type of movie. I don't usually watch movies with over-the-top, gratuitous violence. But, for some reason, I found a twelve-year old girl who can cut through a crew of drug dealers like a scythe through wheat very endearing. And then there's the goofy lead. And Nicholas Cage.

It just pushed all the right buttons for me.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Centennial Post

Well, this is my 100th post. Time flies when you're having fun.

Simon Washbourne has a forum where people can discuss his games. On one of his threads the posted a challenge. The challenge was to create four characters for Supers! that incorporate one of the following into the character's name: Blood, Song, Sphere or Volcano. His challenge is in post 34 of this thread. Here is my first entry.

Colin Savage effectively became an orphan at the age of 5 when his father went to prison for life and his mother fell into an abyss of drugs and alcohol. Bounced between uncaring relatives and foster homes, he grew up a petty thief and a thug. One night he cornered a young woman in a dark alley. But things didn't go as expected. He was saved from a grotesque death by Commander Power, who happened to be patrolling in the area. The woman escaped when Commander Power realized how near death Colin was and rushed him to the nearest hospital instead of pursuing the her. Colin made a near-miraculous recovery from his wounds in a very short time. Slowly, over the next several week his powers, and the thirst, manifested themselves. Now called Blood Fiend, Colin is gathering minions in a bid to make himself the dark lord of Supersville's criminal underworld.

Blood Fiend

Resistances
Composure 2D
Fortitude 3D
Reaction 2D
Will 3D

Aptitudes
Intrusion 3D
Streetwise 2D
All the Rest 1D

Powers
Vampiric Powers 4D
Mind Control 4D
Flight 1D
Super Senses
-Heightened Scent 1d
-Night Sight 1D
Super Strength 2D

Ads
Charismatic

Disads
Addiction - Blood

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I Have a Local Game Store!

I just discovered that I have a local game store now. A game shop that I visited infrequently that was located about 20 miles away has moved to about three miles down the road. I need to visit and see if they still have the same selection.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I Love this Picture


My two favorite graphic novels are Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns. Thus I love this picture.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Merlyn's

Dragonflight, the Seattle gaming con, was this last weekend. I didn't get to go. I was in Spokane visiting in-laws. (Truthfully, I probably wouldn't have been able to go anyway but it makes a better story this way.) All was not lost however. I managed to sneak away for awhile and hit Merlyn's, a local game shop. I'm glad I did. It was much larger than I expected. It carries a selection of both new and used rpgs, board games and comic books. It has a small selection of science fiction books and a gaming area that took up a third or more of the floorspace. The staff was helpful, asking if I was finding everything but leaving me alone most of the time. When I did have questions about a game or a comic book issue the clerk was knowledgeable and helpful. Overall I really liked the store. I bought a copy of Foundation Transmissions, a supplement for Thousand Suns, a game I own in pdf form but haven't had the chance to read yet.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Nefarious Plan



We love Supers! at our house. If you follow this blog you probably know it is our most played game followed by Barbarians of Lemuria. Both of my boys are good at mathematics for their age. My oldest son, however much he grasps the concepts of math and the beginnings of algebra, he does not like rote memorization. Thus he at times has trouble with the upper multiplication tables. I can completely understand this because I went through the same thing.


So, my plan:


Supers! relies on addition. You roll a handful of dice and add them up. This is good practice for my six-year old. He's getting good at glancing at a group of dice and knowing the total. Now since the superhero genre is so popular amongst the younger generation here I am planning to order the new addition of BASH (the old edition didn't do anything for me but reviews have good things to say about the improvements and expansions to the new edition.) BASH relies on multiplication for dice results. Roll two d6s and multiply by attribute or skill. This will be perfect for my older son. He will be practicing his multiplication skill under the guise of defeating villains. (And this is actually one of the stated goals the author of the game had for the original edition.) I told my wife about this and she was enthused. So, instead of buying just the pdf I am buying the hardcopy too.


An enjoyable game, educational benefits and spousal approval. I love it when a plan comes together.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Disappointment

I was disappointed to read this post by J.B. over at B/X Blackrazor. I feel even worse because I live about 45 minutes or so away. Perhaps I'll be able to make it down for a little gaming one weekend. The problem is I work every other weekend (I worked the day he's talking about) and family obligations keep me close to home on my days off.

GM or Player?

I asked my 10 year old which he liked better, being the player or the gm. Without hesitation he answered gm. I asked him why? He replied that as gm he was the ruler of the world. I'm glad I can contribute to his budding megalomania.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Mini-Six


AntiPaladin Games has revised their Mini-Six rules and posted it to their website. Mini-Six is a cool little generic D6 derived game that seems simple and flexible. You can find it at their website here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hylas Jones and the Cup of Heracles

My son and I have played two sessions of our Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief based Supers! game. My son has read all five books in the series and movie is currently his favorite movie of all time. I've read half of the first book in the series (so far) and have seen the movie. So I'm winging it a bit as the GM. For those of you not familiar with the series, Percy Jackson is a half-blood. His father is the Greek god Poseidon and his mom is a mortal. The Greek myths are true and fantastical creatures exist. Oh, and the Greek gods migrate with the center of the Western World. So the current Mount Olympus is located on the 600th floor of the Empire State Building.

Here's the set up:
Hylas Jones is twelve years old and his best friend is named Mac. (I gave my son a list of ancient Greek names and Hylas is what he picked. I picked Jones because he couldn't think of a last name.) Hylas doesn't know it but his father is the god Zeus.

The call to action (literally):
Hylas receives a phone call at school from his mom. She orders Hylas home immediately and tells him he needs to bring Mac. Mac (also twelve) recognizes the urgency of the message, gets a motorcycle and drives them to Hylas' apartment. The place has been ransacked. The boys find a note from Hylas' mother. It says that "the Cup" has been stolen and she has gone to recover it. Hylas doesn't know about any cup but Mac tells him it is an important gift from his father. Neither Hylas nor Mac have any idea where she has gone. Mac, however, says he knows someone who can tell them. They need to go to Delphi, Ohio to talk to a fortune-teller.

The journey:
Hylas doesn't know how they will get there but Mac says he'll drive. He comes back a short time later with a car. After gathering supplies they drive off. They drive all day and stop late in the evening. They sleep in the car. Hylas wakes to the sound of Mac leaving the car. He says he needs to use the bushes. While Mac is gone a van pulls up and five men in long black coats get out and surround the car. When Hylas gets out they try to grab him. Hylas fights back as best he could. Mac comes out of the bushes and yells for Hylas to run. Hylas hightails it out of there. After he hits the forest and hides, he hears a bellow from behind him. He eventually hears footsteps coming toward him. It's Mac. Mac says the men are gone. He tells Hylas that he threatened to call 911 and the men left. After hours of driving they finally reach Delphi. They find the fortune teller's shop and enter. She seems to know them and refers to Mac as Maceros. It is smoke filled and the lady, Mac keeps calling her Pythia, sits them down and asks them their business. Hylas explains that they are looking for his mom. Pythia goes into a trance and says that she sees his mom in an underground city in his home town (Seattle). But they will need the key to get her. When they leave Mac gives her some odd coins.

Mac tells Hylas he knows where to get the key. It is at the national mint in Denver. They travel for awhile but then Mac pulls over into an isolated field and says that they need to talk. He tells Hylas he is not a normal kid. He is the son of Zeus and he has special powers. Hylas doesn't really believe him until Mac flattens his rather voluminous hair and show Hylas small bull horns. Mac tells Hylas that he is his protector and that he's not really twelve. The cup they are looking for is the Cup of Heracles. The cup was a gift from Zeus to Hylas' mother. The cup protected Hylas from supernatural beings. He then teaches Hylas how to use his powers. Being the son of Zeus the powers are electricity bases. After a little practice they drive on. Several hours later they stop so Mac can use the bushes. Suddenly 16 men in black coats appear. They state that they are the Myrmidons. They take off their coats and are wearing bronze armor, have shields, spears and bronze helmets. They attack. Hylas uses his control of electricity to blast away at the men. He defends himself with his fighting ability. Suddenly a bull burst forth from the foliage and attacks the men. Between the two they defeat the men.

And my son is looking forward to session three.


Hylas Jones
Son of Zeus

Resistances
Composure 2D
Fortitude 3D
Reaction 2D
Will 2D

Aptitudes
Animal Handling 3D (Birds 4D)
Fighting 2D
All the Rest 1D

Powers
Energy Control - Electricity 5D
Energy Form - Electricity 1D

Disad
Enemy(s)

Competency Pool 8D

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Recent Purchases

I've been on a bit of a spending spree lately. I have acquired Agon and Og Unearthed Edition in hard copy and Cartoon Action Hour and Thousand Suns in pdf. I've only had the chance to read a bit of Agon so far. It is about what I expected which is a positive thing in this case. I really like the list of Greek names in the back of the book.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Supers! and Percy Jackson

I was discussing Supers! with my son yesterday before our gaming session and I mentioned that Conan had been statted up for Supers! over at Vargold. First I had to explain who Conan was and then I had to tell him that I would usually create Conan for a game like Barbarians of Lemuria. Then I casually mentioned we could probably run Percy Jackson, his current obsession (along with Supers!), with Supers! Well, that was that. He Gm'd the second session of our Supers! campaign and then charged me with creating a Percy Jackson campaign. I think it will be pretty simple. I just need to translate the various powers displayed into the superhero powers and I'm set. He's already created an original character so the game isn't going to include Percy directly. I'll run it in that style but make it our own.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dogs of W*A*R

I don't think I mentioned that I picked up the PDF of Dogs of W*A*R by Simon Washbourne about a month ago. It is his men's adventure adaptation of BoL. I read it through and it is about what you would expect from such an adaptation. Aimed at the Mack Bolan/A-Team type vibe. It meets this goal. There are tweaks to the professions' system and it covers firearms and such. I think this could be a fun game if you are in the mood for this type of action. Problem is I'm not in the mood for it. I really don't know why. I read it and it left me cold. At one time I would've eaten a game like this up. Maybe my tastes will drift back toward it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Concrete

My son decided he wanted to GM of Supers! for me. Here is the character I created for his game.

Jesse Peters grew up poor and alone in the Burnside area of Supercity. His single mother worked long hours to support the two of them and being small for his age the other kids picked on him mercilessly. One day he discovered a hidden cave in a hillside near his home. Although the cave was damp it became Jesse's refuge from the world. He began to spend more and more time there. He explored it's deeper recesses and attempted to make it more comfortable. What he didn't know was that the ground water was contaminated with toxic waste from the nearby power plant. Prolonged exposure effected Jesse's skin and metabolism. One day he woke up with a severe rash. He hid it from his mother as long as he could because he knew she would spend what little money they had on medicine to comfort him. Soon he began to change. His skin turned rough and grey. He grew stronger and healed from injuries quicker. It turned out that the toxic waste combined with the dirt and concrete from the hillside above changed Jesse into a concrete monster. Ashamed he disappeared. The few people who saw him thought he was a monster. Jesse retreated to him cave and lived a solitary life there. He only emerged at night when he was less likely to be seen. One night he saw an elderly man being attacked by a gang of thugs. With barely a thought Jesse leaped into action and drove the thugs away. After this he decided to turn his misfortune into a positive force. He became Concrete.

Concrete
Name: Jesse Peters

Resistances
Composure 3D
Fortitude 4D
Reaction 2D
Will 2D

Aptitudes
Fighting 3D
Streetwise 2D
All the Rest 1D

Powers
Armor 4D
Elemental Control - Earth 3D
Regeneration 1D
Super-Strength 5D

Ads
Hideout

Disads
Disreputable (Looks like a monster)
Poor
Strange Looking

I can't wait to play.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Barbarians of Mycenae


I was reading through my copy of Gurps Greece the other day when it struck me. Heroic/Homeric/Bronze Age/Mycenaean Greece would be a great setting for Barbarians of Lemuria. Think about it. The heroes of the time were larger than life, kick butt types. Think of Hercules or Achilles. Or they could be extremely wily as Odysseus was. Most of them did not use magic directly though some used magic-type items. The items the gods lent Perseus fall into this category.

Also you could scale the level of fantastic to suit your tastes. You could play it almost strictly "historical" by having inter-kingdom conflict, trade and social interplay be the main focus of the game. You could include realistic depictions of the sources of the myths. The origin of the centaur myth comes to mind. Or you could take it up a notch to include some of the real creatures faced by various heroes. I'm thinking of the Nemean lion, the various boars and bulls, the terrible birds, etc. Real creatures made particularly fierce or nasty. Or you could take it up another level by including the non-realistic creatures such as the Minotaur or the hydra. And finally you could have a full blown fantasy world including meddling gods, an array of monsters, and weird demi-humans. Or you could mix-and-match to taste.

Has anybody thought of this in connection with Barbarians of Lemuria? Has anybody created stats for Greek heroes? How would you stat up Hercules, for example? Any thoughts, comments or suggestions?

I also posted this on Rpg.net here.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Supers! Sourcebook and Session Report

I like the Supers! Sourcebook. It contains a few optional rules, four new powers and a boatload of NPCs. My son grabbed it, read it and immediately wanted to make a new character that incorporated one of the new powers. And thus we started our Supers! campaign afresh.
He named his character Ken. Ken is an 18 year old who does not remember his past. He wakes up in a dumpster in an alley. A woman is being robbed by a band of thugs. Ken rushes to her aid and gets into a fight with the five guys. During the fight Ken discovers he has superpowers. He has super-strength and can mimic/become any substance he touches. (My son is a big fan of Ben Ten.) He turns to concrete and puts the thump to the bad guys, knocking three out and driving the other two off. He is making sure the woman is OK when the two that ran away come back with a big dude. Another fight ensues and Ken is victorious. In the meantime the woman called the police and they arrive just as Ken defeats the big guy. The police take the woman's story and take Ken and the bad guys to the station. The large, muscular but kindly Detective Kenyon talks to Ken in a room with a softly glowing green light. After being unable to determine Ken's identity the detective refers Ken to the home of a Mrs. Smith. Mrs. Smith takes in boys who are having problems, housing and feeding them until they get back on their feet. End of session one.

Ken

Resistances
Composure 2
Fortitude 2
Reaction 2
Will 2

Aptitudes
Fighting 2
Streetwise 2
Shooting 2
All the Rest 1

Powers
Mimic Substance 6
Super-Strength 6

Ads
Tolerance

Disads
Poor

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Frostbite


Thomas Ebersol was a young graduate student studying cryogenics at the University of Superville when he was assigned to an internship at the Burnbright Nuclear Power Plant. Dr. Herbert Hammond (aka Ubermind) did not like this as he did not want outsiders in his lair. Ebersol's criticism of the plant's cooling system only exacerbated the situation. Although he made great strides in modernizing the cooling system, Dr. Hammond arranged for an "accident". Dr. Hammond secretly disabled the safety mechanism on the vat of supercooled liquid that Ebersol was working on. Late one night a nozzle burst knocking Ebersol into the liquid. His body was never found. Hammond assumed his body froze solid instantly and shattered at the molecular level. He created a cover story about Ebersol quiting to avert suspicion. In actuality Thomas survived through sheer luck though he was changed. His skin, hair and eyes were transformed to a sickly shade of pale blue-white. He became able to create and manipulate ice. He could throw ice balls and shoot powerful streams of ice as well as create thick shields of ice to protect himself. He could also paralyse others by simply touching them. But he could no longer stand heat. Any temperature above freezing became uncomfortable for him. He became...

Frostbite

Resistances
Composure 4D
Fortitude 2D
Reaction 2D
Will 2D

Aptitudes
Academia 2D
Technology 3D
All the Rest 1D

Powers
Elemental Control - Ice 5D
Armor 3D
Paralysis (Touch Attack) 4D

Ad
Dumb Luck

Disad
Vulnerability - Heat

Thomas is ashamed of his condition and wants to find a way to change himself back. He is poor, however, and funds his researches through theft. He lives and works in a large, abandoned ice-cream factory freezer. He is not inherently evil but his obsession with becoming "normal" and his superhuman composure caused his transformation makes him dangerous.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Gaming with Kids - A Cautionary Tale

I enjoy playing RPGs with my children. They are my gaming group.

But...

My oldest is a sensitive child. When we first started with RPGs we talked about winning and losing and the fun of just playing. He gets that. But the other day we played a practice scenario of Supers! in order to familiarize him and his younger brother with the combat system. He played his shape-shifting character, Phoenix, and his younger brother played Phoenix's companion, a dog that can shape-shift into a teenager. The scenario was a simple case of a group of six mooks robbing a bank. The boys went in (my youngest used his character's super stength to literally burst through the wall) and cleaned the mooks up in a round and a half of combat. I then sent in the Centurion character that I posted in my mini-review. Centurion was being mind controlled by an unknown villain and attacked the pair. So we all rolled our reaction and the sequence became my oldest son, me as GM, then my youngest. Centurion has 6D in armor. This is strong armor. So my oldest would attack, Centurion would defend with his armor and fend off the attack. Then Centurion would do his thing and then my youngest would attack. Centurion would defend with his armor again but at a reduced 5D. My youngest scored a hit or two as a result.

Before we could finish the combat it was time for bed. Well, my oldest became upset because he wanted to finish and was very frustrated that he could not hit Centurion. I tried to explain to him that he and his brother were working as a team and that his attacks distracted and weakened Centurion allowing his brother to hit. This did not mollify him. He became more worked up and began talking about not winning the game. Once again I reiterated that the fun was in the playing, not winning or losing. No dice. He swore off RPGs forever.

Sigh...

Of course a half hour later he apologized and asked if we could play the following night with the caveat that I use a different character to fight with.

Well, what lessons can I draw from this? Emphasize the fun of playing not the winning or losing more often. Perhaps adjust the power level of the opponents (though this was the first combat we ran so I wasn't completely aware of how it would play out.) Children, like adults, can invest to much emotion into games and thus lose some of the enjoyment.

I know I'll think of more but that is all for now.


Oh, and Centurion is a Badass.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Old Man's War

I do not get to read as much as I would like. I don't get to read at work (ironically) and when I get home I have parental and spousal duties which leave me with little free time. And then I'm usually to tired for serious reading. So the reading I do get around to is often articles, blogs or forum threads. All reading that I enjoy but I don't read the novels or non-fiction books I want to read.

So I am very happy that I ran across Old Man's War by John Scalzi. The tag line is:

"John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army."

I haven't finished the novel (to top everything off, I am a slow reader) but I am very much enjoying it. If you like military science-fiction along the lines of the novels Starship Troopers or The Forever War I think you would enjoy this book. It borrows a bit from each but is definitely its own book.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Magnet Boy

Carlos Thomas was a typical nine year old boy. He enjoyed playing video games, messing with his computer and riding his dirt bike. One day his 4th grade class took a field trip to the Superville hydroelectric plant located in the nearby Superville dam (the nuclear power plant being notoriously unreliable, the city needs an alternative source of power.) It was that day that the notorious villain Shocker invaded the dam in order to high-jack the power plant and absorb all of the electrical energy. Mega Man arrived to foil the plan but Shocker escaped by overloading the electromagnets. Though Mega Man managed to avert a major disaster, there was a massive electromagnetic flux which changed Carlos' life forever. Carlos had lingered behind and when the flux hit Carlos absorbed the majority of the energy.

Thus, Magnet Boy was born!

Once Carlos recovered and adjusted to his new powers he decided to fight crime and make sure that no other child would ever be harmed by a super-villain again. But his main goal is to bring Shocker to justice.

Magnet Boy

Resistances
Composure 1D
Fortitude 2D
Reaction 3D
Will 1D

Aptitudes
Technology 2D
Vehicles 2D
All the Rest 1D

Powers
Energy Form - Magnetism 4D
Energy Control - Magnetism 5D
Flight 4D

Competency Pool
3D

The cool thing to me is that Magnet Boy came from the mind of my 5 year old. He was watching a video on magnetism and, after hearing my older son and me talking about Supers!, decided that he wanted a character with the power of magnets. So we worked together and created Magnet Boy.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

J Eric Holmes

I just read on some other blogs that John Eric Holmes, writer of the Blue Book Basic edition of D&D, has passed away. For some reason this bothers me more than the passing of any of the other icons of D&D. Maybe it is because his book was my introduction to the game. I still have fond memories of it though the book itself disappeared years ago.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Supers!

Supers! is a new rules-lite superhero role-playing game from the pen (or keyboard) of Simon Washbourne the creator of the much esteemed Barbarians of Lemuria. The book comes in at about 70 pages and contains more or less everything you need to run a superhero campaign. This game is not based on the BoL engine though, it is a dice-pool type game.

The first half of the book consists of character creation rules. A character consists of three types of stats - Resistances, Aptitudes, and Powers. Each of these are rated in terms of six-sided dice. This is the only type of dice that are used in the game.

There are four Resistances - Composure, Fortitude, Reaction, and Will. These are traits that are used to resist attacks and where damage is applied if the character is injured. If one of a character's resistances is reduced to 0 then the character is knocked out of the battle. Each resistance starts a 1D and the player has five dice to distribute among them. The starting maximum for a resistance is 3D. This is also the normal human maximum. Resistances can be increased later in the character creation process if the character has superpowers. A normal character given as an example in the book has a resistance higher than 3 but it is not spelled out explicitly in the text that this is appropriate. A forum discussion in response to a question of mine on this point seems to indicate that the answer isn't clear. The responses included input from Mr. Washbourne himself.

Next a player distributes 3D amongst the character's aptitudes. Aptitudes are broadly defined skill sets. For example, two of the aptitudes are fighting and shooting. Each aptitude starts at 1D. The starting cap for an aptitude is 3D, although these can be raised later beyond 3D. But if you do this you must pick a specialization for the aptitude. So, if you added an extra die to your 3D fighting you would have to pick something like swords or martial arts. When using a sword you would roll four dice and choose the best three as your result. The highest you can roll is 18. There is one exception to this which I will mention later.

When finished with aptitudes, powers are selected. 12D are distributed amongst the powers with an upper limit of 5D. This can be raised higher if a complication is taken with the power. A complication is a limitation to the power. For example, if a character has the super strength power and decides that the power is fueled by sunlight and thus doesn't work at night or in darkness. There is a large but by no means exhaustive list of powers for a player to choose from. The list covers all of the expected powers and players are encouraged to create their own.

Any dice not allocated during character creation are placed in the character's competency pool. Any dice in this pool may be used once per adventure to boost a roll. Say the superhero is worried about that heat blast coming his way. He can add a die to his defensive roll to hopefully beat the attack roll. These can be added to aptitude rolls also. This is the one case when aptitude roll results can exceed 18.

The remainder of the book contains the rules of play, guidelines for NPCs, disasters, a brief guide to Supercity, the default setting, and several example characters.

The task and combat resolution system is simple. Unopposed tasks must equal or exceed a target number. For opposed tasks, including combat, the characters compare the roll of their dice pools and highest roll wins. In combat use choose a power, aptitude or a resistance for attack or defence. You can only use each once per round (with the exception of armor.)

Supers! does not pretend to be a the be-all end-all of superhero games. Mr. Washbourne stated in one forum or another (I'm sorry I can't remember which right now) that he created Supers! to entertain himself and his gaming group. Even with some ambiguity in the rules, Supers! seems like it will be a fun game to play. It is rules-lite, flexible and seems easy to play. Just like I like them. My son has created a character already and we hope to give the game a go soon.

Here is a standard build character I created using the rules:

Centurion

Resistances
Composure 2D Fortitude 2D
Reaction 2D
Will 2D

Aptitudes
Fighting 3D
Shooting 2D
Athleticism 2D
All the Rest 1D

Powers
Power Suit (All powers built into suit)
Armor 6D
Energy Control - Laser 4D
Super Strength 4D
Super Senses (2D)
Radar Sense 2D
Ultra Hearing 2D

Ads
Companion - Legionary

Disads
Enemy

I haven't created his sidekick Legionary yet but I will post him when I do.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Arak-Aree the Talon of God

"Never again." The vow of Arak-Aree

Arak-Aree saw her parents killed by the flatlanders. The Haklaton could not defend themselves effectively. The Wingless raided her aerie, killing the adults and taking the children as slaves. Arak-Aree was sold to a rich merchant from Oomis as a novelty and he gave her to his spoiled daughter as a pet. A first she was just a pet but soon became the constant companion, then friend of the girl. Arak-Aree found life nearly bearable until the girl's older brother began showing an "interest" in her. Wanting to protect her friend, the girl tried to convince her father to free Arak-Aree. The father, a merchant to his very soul, refused to give up such a valuable acquisition. The girl would not relent and found a way to smuggle Arak-Aree out of the city. She made her way to the Axos mountains but with her aerie destroyed she was at a loss. But a fire burned in her heart. She made her way to the mountain top temple of "He of the Rending Talons" and dedicated herself to Him. It was then she took her vow, "Never again." She trained in the ways of war and soon like-minded youth began to gather. She formed the Aerie of the Talons, a society of warriors dedicated to protecting the Haklaton from the depredations of the Wingless.

Arak-Aree
Haklaton

Attributes
Strength 0
Agility 4
Mind 1
Appeal 0

Combat
Brawl 0
Melee 1
Ranged 2
Defence 1

Careers
Slave 0
Priest 2
Warrior 2
Scholar 0

Lifeblood 10
Hero Points 5

Weapons
Bow
Sword

Languages
Haklaton
Lemurian

Boons
Haklaton Agility

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Martos the Scholar

Martos is the the fifth son born to a noble family of Satarla. In a place where primogeniture was the law, this meant that Martos would have to find or create his own place in the world. This usually meant the sword or the cowl. Martos, however, had discovered early in life that he was a coward. He had received training in the sword as any child of nobility would in a duel-mad society. He was fine in training but once swords were drawn in earnest, well, it was a different story. It only reinforced what he knew in his heart: Physical danger unmanned him. He also knew he wasn't a very devout fellow and so the priesthood was not for him. The gods did not look kindly on hypocrites. Fortunately he found a home at the great university in Satarla. Most scions of nobility spent at least some time there and Martos found the intellectual duels much more to his taste. He not only fit in, he excelled. He was a student, then an assistant and is currently a lecturer. He hopes that once he has finished his history of Ancient Qeb he will receive a coveted professorship.

But then the Lord Chancellor gave him a mission. One that could help him achieve his intellectual and professional goals but also one that will force him to face his darkest fears.

Martos the Scholar

Attributes
Strength 0
Agility 0
Mind 3
Appeal 1

Combat
Brawl 0
Melee 1
Ranged 0
Dodge 3

Careers
Noble 1
Scholar 3
Healer 0
Alchemist 0

Lifeblood 10
Hero Points 5

Weapons - Knife (for sharpening writing utensils)

Languages - Literate
Lemurian, Ygddari, Sorceric

Boons
Etiquette
Learned

Flaw
Combat Paralysis


I had come up with a bit of fiction to accompany this character. I decided to spare you though.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dark Claw


Paladin in Citadel, in response to my Batman post, mentioned that Wolverine was his favorite superhero character. Which makes sense. Wasn't Wolverine originally from Canada? Gotta root for the home team.

Well, in the interest of international harmony, I present Dark Claw. Dark Claw is the product of the Amalgam Universe DC/Marvel crossover, in which the greatest heroes of each universe combined by some strange occurrence that I can't remember. So, Superman and Captain America combined and became Super Soldier. There was also Iron Lantern, Amazon, Spider-Boy and many others. Dark Claw is the combination of Batman and Wolverine. How badass is that?!?

You can find a history of the Amalgam Universe here.

Batman Unmasked

I'm watching a documentary on the History Channel called Batman Unmasked. It analyses the psychology of Batman. Interesting stuff. Particularly since he is my favorite superhero.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Supers!


So Mr. Washbourne has been at it again. The creator of the my beloved Barbarians of Lemuria has sent another game to market without me noticing. The game is Supers! This game is another rules-lite offering but is not based on the BoL system. The stats for the characters are rated in dice. There is a thread over at rpg.net which discusses the game and has several sample characters.

Now, the problem is: Which do I buy first? Dogs of War or Supers! Decisions, decisions. And then pdf or hard copy? This will be a delightful problem to solve.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Bruce Wayne

According to some sources, this is Bruce Wayne's birthday.

I, for one, will lift a glass of ginger ale to him!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Barbarians of the Aftermath


It is time I expand on my previous post about Barbarians of the Aftermath:

I think it is pure-strain awesome!
Or:
It's the bomb!
Or:
Earth destroying goodness.

OK, enough with the bad puns.

Barbarians of the Aftermath expands the rule-set presented in Barbarians of Lemuria to include the post-apocalypse genre. It is a toolkit, not a standealone game. The rules for Barbarians of Lemuria are required.

As a toolkit BotA allows you to create nearly any sort of apocalypse you can imagine. And also some you perhaps didn't. This book is full of random tables. The book (I have the pdf version) starts out with a set of table to create a random world that has gone through some sort of catastrophic change. This ranges from natural disasters to man-made catastrophes to alien invasion to divine wrath. I grew up rolling up random worlds and characters with Traveller. I spent hours doing this. I loved it. And I really like this. These tables will set the nature, time frame, types of available characters and tech level for your destroyed world. Truthfully, I like to use a semi-guided method of world creation. So, for example, I dislike and have no interest in playing in or running a world destroyed by supernatural powers. So if I roll that as a result, I simply re-roll. But it is great fun. And this is just the first chapter.

The second chapter covers character creation. It has new or modified careers and character types. By character I mean mutants, aliens and various types of humans.

Chapter Three covers the new rules added to BoL by this supplement. Amongst the other things it introduces firearms. This is a very important addition for a post-apocalypse world and it does it in a way that is both simple but adds a necessary bit of complexity. Instead of having the players count every round of ammo, it has an integrated dice mechanism. It is random so you are never quite sure when you will run out. Hope you have some reloads. I like this. It minimizes record keeping, which is in the spirit of BoL, but still makes ammo an important resource. There are also rules for mutations and a nifty vehicle creation section. Road Warrior, here I come. Or Toxic Avenger. Whatever floats you boat.

Chapter Four is equipment. The aforementioned firearms, energy weapons, and various and sundry other gear.

The fifth chapter is entitled "Flora, Fauna and Other Foes." This is pretty self-explanatory. Once again, there can be a random element if the GM wishes.

And chapter Six. Chapter six contains a random adventure generator for those who need an adventure quickly or lack inspiration. I'm usually a victim of both so this is a great help.

The last portion of the book is a Game Master's kit. It contains many of the tables and charts used throughout the book. A very handy tool indeed.

I realize that this has been a rather sketchy review but this resource is filled with such an abundance of material it is hard for me to do justice to it. Suffice it to say that if you like Barbarians of Lemuria and have any interest in post-apocalyptic game play, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

-As a sidelight I discovered a book that is both inspirational and amusing. This is Field Guide to the Apocalypse by Meghann Marco. It is subtitled Movie Survival Skills for the End of the World.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Blogs I'm Grooving On

Here are a couple of new blogs that focus on Barbarians of Lemuria. Both have some cool write-ups of characters and such.

Vargold

My mother's a Hobgoblin

Enjoy!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Reviews and Overviews – a Disclaimer

Many of the blog authors that I admire and read regularly have the ability to not only review an RPG product thoroughly but to also place the item into a larger, gaming-related context. They can discuss the game’s philosophical place in the gaming world, its history, influences and impact. I, unfortunately, seem to be unable to do this. So my reviews will be focused on what I find useful, fun and attractive about a product. This, of course, is highly subjective.

Take, for example, my endlessly professed love of Barbarians of Lemuria. It is a rules-lite sword & sorcery game with the flexibility to be bent and twisted to other genres. It seems perfect for my situation. Working full-time, having a family and being a homeowner greatly diminishes my free time. The only place to gain that free time is to cut back on sleep (which I do too often). BoL allows me to swiftly create adventures that can be run quickly and are filled with excitement. In my long gone, misspent youth I had the leisure to role-play for hours on end, have epic campaigns and delve into the minutia of a game. And believe you me; I would agonize over which weapon to arm my character with or what armor he should wear. So back then I may not have like BoL as much as I do now.


Having said all that it is my hope that you will still find my ramblings useful.

Barbarians of the Aftermath - A One Word Review

Awesome!!!

You know how in movies and on television there is often a character who will say that word in a sing-song tone to emphasis the awesomeness? Well, consider it said in such a manner. I will write an expanded overview as I get the opportunity.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Real Life and Other Annoyances

I haven't had the time or energy to read/play/contemplate/write lately. This real life thing can certainly get in the way what's important. Damn it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Barbarians of the Aftermath

I broke down and purchased Barbarians of the Aftermath at the suggestion of others to help with my Star Wars ruminations. I've printed out the PDF but haven't had a chance to read it yet.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

BoL and Star Wars Again

If anyone is interested, I posted my previous blog entry on BoL and Star Wars on RPG.net. There are some interesting replies.

http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=503430

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Barbarians of Lemuria and Star Wars

As I have mentioned before my son wants to role-play in the Star Wars universe. So I got my hands on West End Games D6 Star Wars 2nd Edition Rpg. And it left me cold. After reading various posts on RPG.net, I determined that in my ignorance I had purchased the wrong edition of the game and sought out a copy of the 1st Edition. Ahhhh, much better. Easy, straightforward and even the perceived shortcomings of the game that I had read about didn’t bother me.

But…

As easy as the game is I kind of wanted something a bit simpler. So I cast about (immediately discarding any thought of using WotC’s Star Wars Saga Edition for this purpose) and hit upon Mini-Six. Wow, all the goodness of D6 distilled to its essence. Nice. I would have to throw together rules for dealing with the Force but that shouldn’t be a problem.

But…

I contemplate Barbarians of Lemuria a lot. It is probably the game I think about the most. And not just because of some of the illustrations. I mean, it is such a simple game. So very straightforward, easy to grasp and very flexible. So flexible in fact that there have been a couple of spinoffs for it. The similar but more traditional sword & sorcery setting found in Legends of Steel. The apocalyptic glories of Barbarians of the Aftermath. And the full automatic firepower of Dogs of War. I don’t have BotA or Dogs of War yet but plan on purchasing them soon. Yes, the BoL engine is very flexible.

Hey, wait!

Could I, perhaps, cobble together a Star Wars variant of BoL?

I actually think this would be very easy. It may have been done already but I’m too lazy to search around and find out right now.

How easy? Let’s try to stat up Luke as a beginning character as we are introduced to him in the first movie. (No, not episode 1. The first movie. The real Star Wars.)

Luke Skywalker
Young farm boy destined for fame

Attributes
Strength 0
Agility 2
Mind 1
Appeal 1

Combat Abilities
Brawl 0
Melee 0
Ranged 2
Defense 2

Careers
Water Farmer 1
Droid Mechanic 1
Pilot 2

Boons
Force Sensitive

Now, you can quibble with the details. I just whipped this up as an example to show how it can be done. He was already a pilot of some skill. I mean, you don’t just jump into an X-Wing and fly off. I didn’t really know what to do for combat abilities so I just threw some numbers down. If someone has a better example of Luke at this age, I’d be interested in seeing it.

Now, at the end of Star Wars he would’ve gained a level in melee combat and gained Jedi 0 as a career because of his training with old Ben. He is just starting to get in touch with his Jedi-ness but is still very much a neophyte. He has just enough power to help guide his shot into the Death Star (along with his piloting skill) and to use Force telekinesis to get his lightsaber at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. He can use it but it is still a strain.

I’d have to create a list of boons and flaws. Two obvious ones would be Force Sensitive and Turned to the Dark Side. The Force Sensitive boon would be a prerequisite for the Jedi career. And I think I would probably steal WEG's idea of Dark Side Points. Although many would think it fun to be a Sith and wreck havoc throughout the space-lanes I think that, for my son, showing that there are consequences for evil actions would be a good thing. If you turn to the Dark Side as a result of your Dark Side points you lose control of your character. The character becomes an NPC. And as he commented about Dark Side points in WEG’s Star Wars, “I think only Jedi should gain Dark Side points.” I have a tendency to agree so I think I would use that as a rule.

One aspect of this idea that I really like, and shows the strength of BoL’s career system, is Force powers. You don’t need to have a long list of Force powers. The player can simply propose an action, the GM decides whether it is appropriate or not, and determines a difficulty for it. The weakness in WEG’s Star Wars of having to roll multiple times for certain Force powers would be nicely circumvented.

Lightsaber combat would be easy too. I’d give Jedi character the option to substitute their Jedi career number in place of their melee number. The same with dodging/deflecting blaster bolts.

I’m actually rather excited about these ideas and may develop them further.


Edit: Hey! I just remembered. WotC is giving up the Star Wars license. Maybe Mr. Washbourne could acquire it and produce a Star Wars version of BoL!