Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Oh. My. God. (no, seriously)
Newsflash! You can make FASERIP open!
For $1,000 in donations Philip Reed will take two weeks to create a game titled "FASERIP." This will be a new, free, professionally-produced game that is opened so that other publishers may create supplements compatible with it.
FASERIP will be compatible with the old Basic and Advanced games that inspired it; the game's sole purpose is as an open source document for publishers. Players can use the game to play, but they'll gain little new value from the free product planned. It is the new supplements that can be created that will be of true value to everyday players.
FASERIP, if funded, will be created and released as a free PDF. After 30 days all feedback will be considered and the file updated at which point it will also be made available in print at cost.
NOTE: No work has been started. FASERIP will not be created until after it is funded.
If you have any questions about FASERIP please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Chris at Dorkland for this tip!
Great Random Charts from RPG History, volume I
RANDOM CASTLE OWNER AND MINIONS
Instructions: Roll d6 for castle owner, then d4 for owner's brute squad
1) Lord (Fighter level 9+)
- d8 Champions (Fighters 8)
- d6 Heroes (Fighters 4) on Griffons
- d10 Myrmidons (Fighters 6)
- d4 Giants
2) Superhero (Fighter 8)
- d8 Myrmidons (Fighters 6)
- d4 Heroes (Fighters 4) riding Rocs
- d4 Ogres
- d10 Swashbucklers (Fighters 5)
- d4 Dragons
- d4 Chimeras
- d4 Wyverns
- d4 Basilisks
- d4 Chimeras
- d6 Manticores
- d12 Lycanthropes
- d12 Gargoyles
- d20 Heroes (Fighters 4)
- d6 Superheroes (Fighters 8)
- d10 Treants
- d8 Heroes (Fighters 4) riding Hippogriffs
- d10 Trolls
- d6 Vampires
- d20 White Apes
- d10 Spectres
According to the rules, each castle also has 3d6 x 10 regular guards, half crossbowmen in light armor and half melee guys in heavier armor. In modern terms these guys would be low level Warriors.
Each castle owner also had a chance of some henchmen/cohort types. Fighters had a 25% chance of a Magic-User level d4+4 and a 50% chance of a Cleric level d4+2. Magic-Users got a 25% chance of a Fighter level d4+4 and a 50% chance of an apprentice Magic-User of level d4+3. Clerics had a fifty/fifty chance of havinf d6 clerical assistants of levels d4+3 each.
In a modern 3.x campaign a little bit of liberal interpretation can really stretch these charts. You could use any kind of fighty classes in place where a Fighter is called for and ditto for various arcane specialties and the Magic-User results on the chart. And anyone who rolls up a Necromancer and stats up a plain Wizard 10 is just being boorish. Give that dude the power to raise up undead armies! For extra silliness whenever a Superhero comes up on the chart, model the character on someone like Batman or Spider-man. "Welcome to stately Wayne Castle. I am Sir Bruce."
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
metal mini mania
This skeleton band from Ral Partha was sold as "The Grateful Undead", if I recall correctly. I didn't paint this, I just thought it would be cool to share a pic. It's from a small line of comedic fantasy figures. As a kid think I owned two pieces from the line, the John Belushi Samurai and the three-headed 3 Stooges troll.
These golems are early nineties Ral. They were primed and the clay golem partially painted when I got 'em. The flesh golem has some stitchwork that's going to be a challenge to paint. It's so fine you can't see it in this shot. Part of me is tempted to try and modify these figures a little. I'd like to put weapons in the flesh golem's hands and maybe get him a backpack. That way he could be a Frankenstein adventurer for Encounter Critical. I kinda want to repaint the clay golem's diaper to be a bright purple. Then I could use some putty or something to give him some hair and paint the skin green. But those sorts of mods are a bit ambitious right now. I think instead I'll just paint up some golem dudes.
I'm pretty sure these little lizardish orcs were originally released by R-Kiiv a.k.a. Archive. What's the proper procedure for broken off weapons?
A close-up of one of the orcs. That polearm blade is substantial.
A different polearm wielding orc by another company. I think this wide-face tusk-mouthed fellow is an early Ral Partha. A lot of stuff needs to be trimmed from the mold lines before he can be painted.
The lumpish thing on the left appears to be someone's idea of an Intellect Devourer. The body of the beast is brain-like, but someone either misunderstood the critter description or thought it could be improved, because a lizard head has been added by the sculptor. The other guy is a Games Workshop wizard's familiar. He's a furry little goblinoid carrying a sack. Very cool.It's a shame this picture turned out so fuzzy. These guys are cool. They're Blemmyes or Blemmyae, a legendary race of beings with no heads and faces on their chest. I think they worship Arnim Zola. Skull & Bones, the d20 pirate book Gareth-Michael Skarka worked on, has stats for these dudes, but they don't quite fit these figures. These creatures are clearly Large size, but the Blemmyae from S&B are only medium. Still, that's a good place to start.
Monday, February 26, 2007
I paid 50 cents for what?!
Man, this thing is like a time machine. Extremely wordy narration boxes, Liefieldian pencils, a villain with ill-defined but world-shattering powers. It's like half the comics I bought in college distilled down to one book.
But it's the cover that kills me. In particular, Nightcrawler. When Spider-man does that spread legs thing it works, because his costume isn't designed like Borat's swimsuit. That pose and that costume work together in perfect harmony to emphasize Nightcrawler's package, or rather his comic code-approved lack of package. Which only confuses me more. It's like this cover is trying to remind me that Nightcrawler has no genitals.
Eat hot plasma, sathar scum!
The background story Doug whipped up was perfect for a high octane single session. We were all members of Department 7, the black ops division of Star Law. In the setting the Rangers of Star Law are like Captain America as Science Police. When their good guy nicey-nice methods don't work, they call in the literally take-no-prisoners hard case psychos of Department 7. So basically we had all the perogatives of space cops, and none of the usual responsibilites. In short, we were playing Judge Dredd in outerspace. For my tastes that sort of a set-up is too fascistic for extended play. I know first hand from running such a campaign that if you give PCs that much author-i-tay things quickly get ugly. But as an excuse for an afternoon's worth of Bad People Fighting Worse, the premise was aces.
It was very cool to see Doug behind the screen. He was the only player to be at the table for all 18 months of my Wild Times campaign, the totally out of hand D&D epic gestalt game where the PCs fought bad guys until the universe melted. He's currently a player in my still-getting-pur-skylegs Eberron game. Doug and I play together in the World of Alidor. His sneaky ranger is the subtle tactician archer and my shouty barbarian is the party meatshield. But this is the first time playing together where he wore the viking hat and I was the player.
And it was cool. Doug pulled a fabulous bait-and-switch on us right at the start. He handed us incomplete, half-assed 1st level character sheets and told us we were first time smugglers about to meet our boss to get our first mission. Only when the jig was up did he hand out our lavishly constructed 13th level black-ops badasses. Then we shot up a cantina full of space pirates. Hot damn! Another thing that I really liked was the way that Doug seamlessly integrated old school Star Frontiers setting material with new school sci-fi trappings. For example, the nefarious space worm menace was planning on using a nanite terraformation bomb to rewrite the local planet's biosphere to be more Sathar friendly. How cool is that?
I should note that the 'network externalities' thingy inherent to the d20 system really shined through, as no one had any significant problems playing this session cold, even with a tricked out high level sci-fi character. Heck, Kathleen hadn't played anything d20 since 2nd edition AD&D and she stepped up to the plate and ran an extremely effective psionic PC. Of course, she's also really smart and a veteran player. And Dave and Stuart were very entertaining, playing Johnny Octagon, a dralasite martial artist and Coco, a gun fu yazirian respectively. Stuart was gliding around Rocket J. Squirrel style, a pistol in each claw, and Dave used one of his blobby pseudopods like a swingline to fly through a windshield and kick a Sathar in the face. Hi-yah!
So yeah, I got to play a cool game with some cool people. My insect alien got to roast bad guys with his plasma pistol. Good times, good times. Next up for the Run Club, yours truly will be attempting a James Bond 007 caper. It's 1985 and the PCs are licensed to rock.
Attention Doctor Rotwang!
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Meet the newest hero in town!
That's the best character name since Admiral Wolverine Lightningbolt.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Audience participation time!
Scan number 1 comes from issue 10 of The Occult Files of Doktor Spektor, published in 1974 by Whitman. Here we have Lakota, Dr. Spektor's Native American secretary/love interest/damsel-in-distress, dressing up for a costume ball. Note her choice of costume: sexy injun squaw.
Contestant number 2 hails from the ninth issue of Teen Titans Spotlight (copywright 1986, DC Comics). In this issue for no apparent reason Beast Boy goes to the zoo and starts flirting with a lioness.
Finally, we have Ms. Marvel #7 (1977), wherein we find a picture of Carol Danvers making out with MODOK!
So now that I've scarred you all for life, tell me which scan is merely Creepy, which is a bit Creepier, and which one is Creepiest.
P.S. #1: Don't try to tell me the green dude's name is Changeling. He's Beast Boy on the cartoon and that's all that matters to me.
P.S. #2: This issue of Teen Titans Spotlight is the first time I've read a story with Robotman in it. And let me tell you, he is rad to the max. Cliff Steele spends the whole issue acting like Ben Grimm, only he's a robot instead of a rock monster. Is he that awesome all the time?
Friday, February 23, 2007
A pic for the Encounter Critical fans
Holy crap! 28mm B.A. Baracus!
From the Foundry Street Violence line, available for purchase here.
Put a crazy cat lady in your next dungeon!
Size/Type: Tiny Animal (Swarm)
Hit Dice: 8d8 (36 hp)
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class: 14 (+2 size, +2 Dex), touch 14, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +4/—
Attack: Swarm (1d6)
Full Attack: Swarm (1d6)
Space/Reach: 15 ft./0 ft.
Special Attacks: Distraction
Special Qualities: Half damage from slashing and piercing, low-light vision, scent, swarm traits
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +2
Abilities: Str 3, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 7
Skills: Balance +10, Climb +6, Hide +16*, Jump +10, Listen +5, Move Silently +8, Spot +5
Feats: Alertness, Improved Initiative, Stealthy, Weapon FinesseB
Environment: Temperate Plains
Organization: Domesticated, solitary, pack (1-4 swarms), or infestation (7-12 swarms)
Challenge Rating: 3
Alignment: Always neutral
Level Adjustment: —
A housecate swarm seeks to surround and attack any warm-blooded prey it encounters. A swarm deals 1d6 points of damage to any creature whose space it occupies at the end of its move.
Any living creature that begins its turn with a swarm in its square must succeed on a DC 12 Fortitude save or be nauseated for 1 round. The save DC is Constitution-based.
A housecat swarm has a +4 racial bonus on Climb, Hide and Move Silently checks, and a +8 racial bonus on Jump checks. A cat swarm can always choose to take 10 on all Climb checks, even if rushed or threatened. A cat swarm uses its Dexterity modifier instead of its Strength modifier for Climb and Jump checks. *In areas of tall grass or heavy undergrowth, the Hide bonus rises to +8.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Fragments from Palace of the Vampire Queen
The product is called ' Dungeon Master Kit - Number One'. The term module wasn't in use yet.
"The kit itself is only a basic outline - you can make it a dramatic adventure." A motto to DM by.
This intro is fabulous. If you can read that and not be ready for a kickass adventure, then you're in the wrong hobby, bub.Part of the leve 1 adventure key. I am totally swiping the Madman and his horde of cats and putting them in another dungeon. Coming soon to Jeff's Gameblog: my 3.5 stats for a Housecat Swarm.
The map itself may be crude but the marginal decoration is absolutely charming.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Sweetie, let go of the comic long enough for daddy to scan this one panel.
That's Predaking, the robotic Predator of the Transformers mythos, hunting the most dangerous game, Megatron. Wicked cool!
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Nextwave has ruined me
But this new decompression depresses me. This 'written for trade' style is an abomination unto the Lord and I will not tolerate it. If a writer can't advance the plot arc and simultaneously provide a good, complete, action-packed freak-out, then I say ditch the plot arc. Or better yet, bring in a writer than can deliver both a larger story and a fast-paced sinlge issue.
So here's the deal. I'm done with buying new monthlies until someone can approach the undiluted awesomeness of Nextwave. Otherwise I'll be sticking to trades, shitty old back issues, and graphic novels. I'm not paying three bucks for one sixth of a story where I have to wait six months for the big dramatic payoff. Not when that same three bucks will get me 6 issues of random Mantlo or Gerber or whatever from the fiddy cent bins.
Maybe I'll get some new indy stuff or the new Conan comics. Maybe not. I'll keep following the Invincible Super-Blog and Bully and other comics blogs, watching for the next thing that may light my jets. Until then, there's a wild world of back issues and reprints waiting to be read.
Sky Pirates update
Hey I caught your post on mar 2006 of an eberron campaign with sky pirates. Curious how that went and If I could swipe some ideas or even maps off you. Thanks I'll flag your blog.Thanks for reading the blog, mystery dude. I work on scanning in my maps. So far all I have to offer is a couple of quick-and-dirty skyship deckplans.
In the meantime, let me tell you how things are going in general. Session three of the campaign is scheduled for tonight, so things are still very new and I'm still working some kinks out. The biggest area that needs work is a set of crunchy-but-not-overwhelming mechanics for air vessels exchanging fire prior to the inevitable boarding action. Session one featured the taking of a goblin dirigible and we tried adapting the chase scene rules from Savage Worlds. That worked out okay but not great.
Most of the other changes I've made have gone over pretty well. In order to allow more buckling of swashes I'm allowing PCs to use the reserve points and defense bonus rules from Unearthed Arcana. NPCs don't normally get either of those goodies simply because I'm a lazy DM who doesn't like to incorporate new rules into stat blocks I'm ripping off from elsewhere. We've also tweaked the blackpowder weapon rules from the DMG to make them more useful.
Two big changes to the Eberron setting as written are that blackpowder weapons are uncommon but available and that various airships ply the skys besides the House Lyrandar elemental vessels. The skys are generally a busier place than in the default setting because I need plenty of airborne victims and foes. One other minor change I've made is that Warforged are not "kinda like robots". They are totally and emphatically robotic, in the grand tradition of Robbie and the Cyclons and the Boomers and Aaron Stack.
I can't take any credit for it, but the PCs are awesome-tastic. Pat is playing a Warforged Warlock. The dude shoots laser beams out of his eyes! Doug has one of those new Eberron-flavored badass elves. The fact that this setting makes elves cool again totally blows my mind. Stuart plays a gnome artificer (which I suspect will be a core class in 4e) that emphasizes pistolry and gunsmithing. He's basically elf with a gun, but in pirate drag. Jon (my DM in the World of Alidor) is running the ship's cook, Steven Seagal style. And Jonathan is playing a rogue member of House Lyrandar and is working his way towards the Dread Pirate prestige class. How can you go wrong with these guys?
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Precarious Crystalline Structures
Then, for a little change of pace, I got out the Icehouse set. These little plastic pyramids from Looney Labs are game equipment usable with several different games, in the same way that a deck of cards can be used to play a whole bunch of different games. The game we played was Thin Ice, a stacking game kinda like Jenga but everyone has their own structure they work on. You start with nothing and each turn someone picks on or two pieces that must be added to the structure (e.g. "one large piece" or "one medium and one small"). You are out if you end up with more than 3 pieces on the table or if you have more than two in your hands. Here are the last two pyramid towers left standing in the final round we played.
My nephew Ian's tower. He would have won if he just stopped fidgeting with the darn thing. But one adjustment too many caused him to topple the thing.
My structure, which won the final round by virtue of me placing my pieces and then waiting for Ian to self-sabotage.
The fun thing about Thin Ice is that it tests an entirely different set of skills than most boardgames. A steady hand and 3-D spatial thinking won't do you much good in Puerto Rico or Power Grid.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
The Original Warforged
I actually had this figure as a kid. I colored him with Dragonscale, the Ral Partha product that did metallic colors with the same powdery consistency of cosmetics like eye shadow and rouge. I think this dude would make a great Robodroid Warrior, especially if you painted a peace sign on his shield. Fight, Mechanical Knight! Fight for everlasting peace!
Friday, February 16, 2007
Local item: The Chief is gone
"The names 'Illini' and 'Fighting Illini' will continue to be used..."
link of the day
DiscountHobby.com is the devil
Space Lizard with light sword!!!
So why would I declare DiscountHobby.com, purveyors of these fine wares, to be Satan Incarnate? Because of their insane policy regarding selling these old figures. They list ten R-Kiiv figures for sale each month. After that month is over, they discontinue sales and sell the molds. I hate artificially created windows of opportunity like that. I feel like I'm being pushed into buying something.
Still, cool figures. They've got some other great lines as well, that do not have this crappy deadline built into them. They've got a Gloranthan line that includes the dreaded Walktapus as well as this awesome female fighter. No ducks though. Here's a great Cthulhu I hadn't seen before. And the leftmost of these three succubi would make an awesome female balrog. Also: cheap zombies and wicked cool zombies.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Every time I see Neptune in a DC comic he's going on about someone swiping his stuff. He's worse than that leprechaun with the cereal.
Everything I know about the Titans I learned from the cartoon. When I first glanced at this cover I thought the grey dude was the Changeling.
Until today I had no idea that the X-Men had their own reprint title.
Demogorgon is awesome
As part of their licensed AD&D line Minifigs, now long gone, did a figure very closely based upon this picture from the original Monster Manual.
Grenadier later produced this Demogorgon look-alike but called him Orcus for some unfathomable reason. The head is reptilian instead of baboonish, but it's still pretty neat-o. I have one of these I bought off the eBay, thinking I was getting the Minifig version. Here's a link to a nicely painted version of this figure.
The Aspect of Demogorgon from Wizard's plastic figure line. I like the concept of buying a prepainted Prince of Demons, but the sculpt is too thin and spindly, lacking the look of raw power in the earlier versions.
Reaper's Dark Heaven Legends line has a lot of great figures designed for D&D play. This fantastic fella is called the Demonic Lasher in their catalog. They like to file the serial numbers off, don't you know. On this page you can find a great painted version of this figure.
Rethinking the Favored Class
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
I haven't seen this flick in forever
Which B-Movie Badass Are You?
Take this quiz!
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Miscellaneous Winter War pics
My Encounter Critical players. From the left that's Josh, Kathleen, and Doug. They've played in several con games of mine over the years. Our tastes intersect enough to create some magnificently fun one-shots, but I sometimes suspect that we'd drive each other crazy in a lengthy campaign. They'd be busy telling some sort of anime-based storyline and I'd be trying to fight every NPC encountered. Across the table from this terrific trio is Marc, Dave Hoover's son. We all had a lot of fun together.
After buying a bulletproof vest and shield, Josh modified his character illo. Not pictured: the rollerskates he swiped off of a one-eyed mutant midget.
Here's my ten-player D&D freak-out. Josh, Kathleen, and Doug are a little more crowded together in this shot! Everyone is working on characters here. For most events I love making my own pregens, but a nostalgia powered game like this demands random chargen at the event.
One of the vendors, Thompson Productions, had a painting demo table. They had a selection of Reaper brand figures and paints. I painted these two guys. Even with the limited time and selection of colors I thought they turned out better than I expected. This really gave me the boost of confidence I've needed to take minis painting more seriously. And working on the archer's chainmail made me a believer in drybrushing. The pic is terrible, that actual figures don't look very good (the sculpts are nifty, the paint job is terrible), but up close that chainmail looks awesome. All thanks to a simple drybrush of silvery steel over a black base. I'm definitely going to paint some more figures after this experience.
Finally, here's some links to pictures of the monsters I made for the Friday night Clay-O-Rama game.
Klaggor, the Thing from Beyond the Stars!
The Stinging Vampiric Two-Faced Snake-Weasel
Little Arty, the Littlest Artillery Piece
Kathleen colored in this one. Unfortunately the sparkly effect of the metallic crayons did not scan well. Trust me, those boots are very shiny. My daughter helped me design this mutant, by the way. She insisted on both the butterfly wings and the hair that is fire.
Kathleen's husband Josh coloered this dude. I like how he emphasized the tradeable limbs.
This bearded lady, colored by Doug, was the first victim of Hansel Manho's charms.
By yours truly.
I am totally going to repeat this ecperiment. A little dose of Encounter Critical brought out the fun-lovin' kid in everyone at the table.