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 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


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.