Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
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
Monday, December 20, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
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.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
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 using the "Imperium in Revolt" setting because my boy would go for that first.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
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.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Has anyone else heard about any great deals?
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
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.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
So, here is to the unnamed 700 Thespians. May their memory live long.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
- D&D (Holmes/AD&D/now Moldvay/Labyrinth Lord)
- Traveller (as Tim Brannon said: it opened up new worlds for me)
- Gamma World (I have fond memories of the Hanford Memorial Radioactive Zone)
- Top Secret
- Barbarians of Lemuria
- Divine Right
That's all I have for now. If I think of more I'll add them.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
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
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
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.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
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.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
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.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
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.
Name: Jesse Peters
All the Rest 1D
Elemental Control - Earth 3D
Disreputable (Looks like a monster)
I can't wait to play.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
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.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
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...
Monday, May 17, 2010
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.
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
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
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.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
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:
Composure 2D Fortitude 2D
All the Rest 1D
Power Suit (All powers built into suit)
Energy Control - Laser 4D
Super Strength 4D
Super Senses (2D)
Radar Sense 2D
Ultra Hearing 2D
Companion - Legionary
I haven't created his sidekick Legionary yet but I will post him when I do.
Monday, April 26, 2010
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.
Hero Points 5
Sunday, April 18, 2010
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
Hero Points 5
Weapons - Knife (for sharpening writing utensils)
Languages - Literate
Lemurian, Ygddari, Sorceric
I had come up with a bit of fiction to accompany this character. I decided to spare you though.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
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.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
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
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I think it is pure-strain awesome!
It's the bomb!
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
Thursday, March 25, 2010
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.
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
Monday, March 15, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Sunday, March 7, 2010
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.
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.
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.)
Young farm boy destined for fame
Water Farmer 1
Droid Mechanic 1
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!