Monday, February 28, 2005
Later after everyone went home I got onto Amazon. My brother-in-law's birthday is this coming weekend, so I ordered him a book off of his wishlist. And while I was doing that I got Elizabeth a Teen Titans DVD. She's really gotten into that show. We spent a fair amount of time on Saturday looking for a copy locally. And my needed another travel guide to Disneyworld. Reading those and planning the perfect Disney vacation are her hobby. And I got myself the official Mutants & Masterminds GM's screen and Goodman Game's Dungeon Crawl Classic #11: The Dragonfiend Pact. I bought a module. That's what getting C&C will do to you. I need another dungeon module like a need a whole in my head. But I love 'em. I spent a good portion of the weekend downloading a bunch of free adventure modules from Wizards.
Random campaign idea: a trio of sci-fi 'novels'. The first novel is set in the solar system, in a near future sort of thing ripped in large part from the Spacer's Guide for Jovian Chronicles. Book 2 is set in Alpha Centauri, a la Centauri Knights from Guardians of Order. The final novel of the trilogy would feature a first contact story set in the second solar system ever to be visited by humans: Volturnus of Star Frontiers fame. I imagine running the whole thing with Savage Worlds or d20 Future.
Saturday, February 26, 2005
Friday, February 25, 2005
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
In addition to a basic build for each PC, I made a quick and dirty list of possible future power point purchases for each PC. These lists are based upon my own guesses as to what directions the PCs can grow. For the Dingo, I'm basically assuming an early Superman style character, leaping tall buildings in a single bound rather than flying over them. Cyborg has several different directions he could go, but more speedster or more energy projection look like the winners to me. Radarman strikes me as basically a Spiderman power suite, combining Str, Dex, and super-senses. A Jill Montgomery, Agent of SHIELD, is your basic super-spy hot ninja chick, but that has at least 3 or 4 good build options available: kung-fu, gunbunny, gadget girl, and scary Charisma-based bad girl.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
One of the reasons I'm so into C&C right now is the prospect of being able to run lotsa different dungeon modules under a flexible, simple system. Here's a list of the sources for dungeons that all look good to me:
Old D&D modules from TSR
Similarly hoary modules from Judge's Guild
AEG's Adventure Keep line of pamphlet modulesHackMaster modules (I don't need the 'Hacked' versions of the old modules, but their original stuff, such as Slaughterhouse Indigo, looks good.)
Dungeon Crawl Classics from Goodman Games
The World's Largest Dungeon (it has its flaws, but it's still got that Mt. Everest appeal)
Random Generated Dungeons, like from the appendix to the 1st edition DMG
My Own Crazy Homebrew Stuff
Take a combination of any or all of the above, pepper the dungeons on some outdoor map and you've got the kind of campaign that I love both running and playing. It's unsophisticated, maybe even dumb, but that's the way I like my swords & sorcery gaming.
Yesterday I went over to Leisure Time Pet & Hobbies. A fellow RPGnetter had informed me that they had in stock a copy of the Castles & Crusades Player's Handbook. After a brief flip through I finally bought the damn thing. Don was right about one thing: this ain't no stripped-down d20 Fantasy Lite. There's too much old school silliness put back in for C&C to work for that. But he was wrong about my reaction to C&C. I think I can run this game. I think it might be the game I wanted back when I investigated HackMaster. I can take it in multiple different directions. This looks so good the idea of running an ongoing campaign bubbled to the surface of my thoughts. That's how bad I got it right now. I gotta run a testdrive of this game, and soon.
I got an email from one of the editors of chessvariants.org regarding prizes for the 44 Squares Contest. Prizes! They're sending me a copy of Pritchard's Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, a nigh-unobtainable tome of unparalleled value to the chess variant enthusiast. This was the book that my local library could only obtain for me via an interlibrary loan from friggin' Arizona. It's the only chess variant book that's been on my Amazon wishlist for years.
Last night the Monday group played Traders of Genoa. This was my second time playing Genoa, and I'm kinda starting to get the hang of it. I'm hoping to get the guys to play it again next week. One more go may be enough for me to achieve basic competency. This puppy is a "gamer's game" as my brother-in-law Jim likes to put it. On any given turn their are multiple equally valid things you can do and multiple equally valid ways of achieving your goals. Puerto Rico is another good example of this type of game.
I've given it some long and hard thought, and I've decided I'm going to have to give Dave a pass on this new Wednesday night game. I don't mean any offense. It's a tough decision. It comes down to the simple fact that I am having a good time every Monday with Bruce, Jim, Al, and Carl. I just can't give it up lightly. I'm having way too much fun with these guys and I don't see most of them in any other venue other than Winter War.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
Anyway, the basic concept of the campaign is X-Files style supernatural investigation combined with A-Team action hero silliness. The first session was an adaptation of the old Call of Cthulhu adventure "The Brockford House'". I replaced the Deep Ones with Locathath and Sahuagin and pretty much ran it as-is. I shooting for a completely episodic format with a level-up between each adventure, max number of sessions = 20. Next session will feature dinosaurs.
Friday, February 18, 2005
I guess two variables come into play that would help me decide what to do. First off, what does Pat want to do? (Though that could quickly degenerate into a game of "I will if you will".) And secondly, what kind of game? I'm usually not too much in the "I won't play system X" camp but I'm looking for something to help me make up my mind here. Other than Feng Shui most of my interest lately have been in d20 material: Castles & Crusades, BESM d20, Mutants & Masterminds, or playing (not running) D&D. Odd, isn't it? There's also Savage Worlds but apparently Charles doesn't dig on that, so it's out. We also don't have a GM yet. Either Dave or I could run, but we're already committed. If I ran it'd have to be braindead dungeoncandy using C&C or an earlier incarnation of D&D or else something extremely short-term, like one to three sessions. It would be cool if Pat or Loren took a shift wearing the viking hat. Both of them are chock full o' clever ideas that I think could be well articulated from behind the screen. Maybe the solution is that we could take turns running some stuff. I dunno. I obviously like the idea of more RPGing on Wednesdays, I think maybe we just need to have a plan of some sort before I really committ myself. I hope that doesn't make me a game-tease.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Also available from the same site*: Shaolin Cowboy.
This blog entry clearly wins the prize for most shameless title.
*Burlyman Entertainment? With a name like that, I'm surprised the filter here at work isn't blocking the whole damn site on general principle.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
- We've got a tentative date (2/25) for the next session of my Home Team campaign, using the slick new Mutants & Masterminds version of the PCs that I've been working on. I decided to use the optional rule from the errate that reduces the cost of skills to 1/3 of a power point. That allows me to make Jill Montgomery, Agent of SHIELD, for only 5 points more than the rest of the party.
- I got dice from my Valentine! A tube of marbly green polyhedrals (the kind with 4d6 and a tensplace die) and a set of white jumbo dice. Size isn't everything, but I like the idea of the whole damn table being able to read the dieroll.
- Speaking of my wife, I floated by her the idea of daytripping to Spring Offensive and Flatcon and she didn't flinch. Excellent!
- I think this Saturday will the first session of my new d20 Modern campaign for my nephews. They may be bringing a friend or two along for the ride. And it looks like Don & Sue's son will be joining the party in session two. My plan for this campaign, titled Ultraforce Omega, is to adapt, adopt, and outright steal whatever material I can find. Anything from old TV shows/movies/comics (stuff from before the kid's were born) to using the free d20M adventures from Wizards to modifying stuff from other games. Session One will feature an adaptation of "The Brockford House", a classic Call of Cthulhu adventure that I first ran for Goph and Dave almost twenty years ago. Substitute some D&D Locathath for Deep Ones and I'm pretty much good to go.
- It turns out that Hank, a fellow I have gamed with at Winter War more than once, actually lives in CU. He's now on my short list of people to try to get at the table for my next one-shot. My short list is getting pretty long!
- Familiars way too familiar You used to need to cast an elaborate spell to get a familiar. Now every man jack wizard can have one. And where's the imps, quasits, and pseudo-dragons? Today's familiars are more common and more lame.
- New initiave system What was wrong with the AD&D 2 initiative system? Someone please tell me, cause I don't know. Anyone else miss weapon speeds? Or rolling initiative every round?
- Map-based combat Attacks of Opportunity and 5' Steps drive me crazy. Crazy, I tell ya! Crazy!
- Too many damn spellcasters Rangers, paladins, and bards I can maybe take. But assassins? Assassins?
- Cantrips, cantrips, cantrips These were more fun back in the original Unearthed Arcana. And I don't like 1st level casters starting play with so many spells. Will someone please think of the children?
- Magic items as commodity I know this started with the original DMG, but it is entirely out of control now. Looking at the chart that shows how many GPs of magic items an average PC should own just makes me ill. Can someone tell me the GP value of Excalibur? How about Stormbringer? How much would the Eye of Agamotto fetch on eBay?
- Magic Item Creation is Hozzored Hey kids, start making magic items at much earlier levels than grandpa! It'll just cost you your precious, precious experience points!
- Why can't I play a 1st level half-orc assassin, dammit?
- CR/EL/XP Just put an xp rating in the monster entry. I hate those stupid charts.
- Monsters and NPCs are a pain This is the big one for me. Managing critters and people with levels in PC classes is a huge pain. The chargen rules as written allow for a lot of nifty PC customization. As a DM those same rules feel like a millstone around my neck.
This list isn't exhaustive, by the way. It's just the first 10 things that came to mind.
Monday, February 14, 2005
Sunday, February 13, 2005
Did you notice that I managed to produce a PDF file with images? I believe Ted Hampton of Bear Productions clued me in on how to do it while we were chatting at Winter War.
Saturday, February 12, 2005
*Thought I must disagree with the author's assessment of Moondragon's costume. I dig the whole bald-psionic-chick-in-skimpy-costume-with-big-cape look. But I also liked the bald psionic chick Star Trek: The Motion Picture, so what do I know?
**And punk Storm? Smokin' hot. Anyone who says otherwise just can't remember back to the days when punk was actually cool.
Friday, February 11, 2005
Thursday, February 10, 2005
- Star Fleet Battles (I would host & organize the game, but John Pedigo would provide the rules savvy. I'm thinking a little destroyer/frigate level engagement. Nothing too complex.)
- Illuminati (I've long wanted to try the last supplement.)
- Dawn Patrol
- Chainmail (the original version)
It occurred to me that some of these one-shots (and the RPG ideas on the list below) could be run at either Spring Offensive in April or Flatcon in September. Now that we've got a second car I'll feel less guilty daytripping to a con, since I wouldn't be leaving Amy & Elizabeth without transportation. And agreeing to GM something means I can't just get the blahs a few days before the con and blow off going.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Between this development and DriveThruRPG switching over to digital watermarking, I'm starting to actually believe that you can accomplish some things simply by bitching on the internet.
(Hey! I just noticed that Games Designers' Workshop has been added to the watermarking list! Hot damn! Pocket Empires will be mine! And while we're on the subject of cool new stuff, two new cool items have been added over at RPGnow: The full version of Blue Rose and the Johnny Nexus Compilation, a collection of articles from the editor of Critical Miss.)
- Castles & Crusades test-run
- There Is No Spoon
- Some sort of Risus comedy game (maybe set in Uresia)
- A sentai game of some sort (BESM d20? Mekton? Feng Shui?)
- Various action movie ideas done as Feng Shui one-shots
- A micro-campaign for Savage Worlds based upon the old Star Frontiers module Dramune Run
Anybody got any strong opinions on any of these? Any other suggestions?
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
On a good note, I'm still congratulating myself on that Puerto Rico win. I win some games at the Monday night group now and again, but usually a good deal of the credit for my victories has to go to lucky card draws or dice rolls. This time it was pure gamemanship, baby. I made some damn good plays, if I do say so myself.
The next post I make to this blog will be more humble. I promise.
So it looks like I've now got two campaigns. Don, Sue, Paul & John want to get my Home Team game up and running again, so I need to finish converting their characters over to Mutants & Masterminds. Our first session back in the saddle will probably be a small potatoes run with a handful of minor supervillains, but then I want to get into some big heroic adventures: Saving New York from destruction. Rescuing the President of the United States. (Are they bad enough dudes?) Thwarting alien invasions. That kind of stuff. The other campaign I am going to be running is that d20 Modern kid's game I have mentioned before. Ian and Alex have obtained parental permission and proposed a schedule of every other Saturday afternoon. With these two longer term projects on the table anything else I run in the meantime will have to be one-shots or micro-campaigns using quick-and-dirty types rules.
At Bruce's place I won last night's game of Puerto Rico. That was really satisfying. It's one of the more complex German games that we play, a "gamer's game" as Jim likes to call it. I've got to pat myself on the back for this one. I made some good sound plays. I made several goofs as wells, but I took the lead early and just barely held on to it throughout the game.