Sunday, November 29, 2009

Turkey Day fun and miscellaneous rambling

Here's what was going on when I arrived at my in-laws' for Thanksgiving this year:

That my two bro-in-laws and two nephews playing a game of the Avalon Hill classic Britannia. It's a holiday favorite with this crew. Before the weekend was up the whole family also ended up playing the fun party-type game Time's Up! (the Title Recall! edition) and Rock Band. One of the nephews also whomped me on some Xbox-360 soccer game he liked. My wife and I were partners for Time's Up!, always a perilous predicament for any couple, but we did sufficiently well to keep me out of the doghouse. I'm still patting myself on the back that we scored 'The Iliad' during the pantomine round by me swinging an imaginary baseball bat. (It was a Homer, you see.)

Here's an extra counter from the Britannia set. The die cut in the wrong place or something like that, resulting in an extra piece with no function. I've been playing Britannia with this particular set on and off for a decade now and this extra counter has always fascinated me. It looks kinda like the insignia of an alien space navy. Maybe I'll use this counter as the jumping off point for an article on the military insignia and national symbols of the Gateway Quadrant.

Jim (the guy in the upper right of the first photo above) and his wife recently moved to Knoxville, Tennessee and this weekend was our first visit. In addition to playing games and eating turkey, on Friday we made a quick stop at McKay's, one of the best used book stores I've ever visited. If you ever get to the Knoxville area, do yourself a favor and check it out. The gaming section is very respectable in size. They had multiple corebooks for every edition of AD&D from from first through fourth and plenty of other stuff to check out. I had just enough time to flip through a stack of magazines and pulled out two issues of White Wolf magazine, an issue of Shadis and some of the issues of Heroes I'm missing.

Before Vampire: the whatever and all that stuff, White Wolf was a very respectable gaming magazine. By which I mean it talked about the kind of games that I like and not the World of Darkness. As far as I can tell, early on it was highly focused on AD&D content, but later issues include all kinds of stuff. Shadis seems underrated in some circles. I always thought it was a great generalist RPG mag that unfortunately suffered the same basic flaw as all generalist RPG magazines: I didn't give a crap about half the systems covered in any particular issue. Still Shadis is the only gaming magazine I ever subscribed to that wasn't put out by TSR Periodicals.

Heroes was a weird one. It came out in 1984 as the house organ for Avalon Hill's rpg division. At some point the brain trust at the Hill figured out that they perhaps made a mistake when they passed on that manuscript Mr. Gygax was shopping around in the early seventies. When Avalon Hill entered the rpg scene they did it in a big way: four RPGs and a new magazine all released in the same year. The magazine supported only the four AH games and occasionally talked about an Avalon Hill wargame with crossover appeal (like Amoeba Wars, my all-time favorite game about giant space amoeba attacking the galaxy).

The four games were James Bond 007 (still an excellent espionage RPG and available in retroclone form on this Uncle Bear page as Double Zero), Powers & Peril (an overly complex fantasy system), a new edition RuneQuest (sold by AH instead of Chaosium as part of some licensing deal I don't really know anything about) and Tom Moldvay's gonzo multiverse-hopping Lords of Creation. One of these days I hope to find an explanation why AH thought it was a good idea to release two and a half fantasy systems at the same time.

Since Lords of Creation is one of my favorite RPGs written by one of my favorite RPG authors, I've been trying for years to put together a full run of Heroes. The RuneQuest connection keeps the eBay prices a little higher than my inner cheapskate likes, as RQ fans are some of the most canon-crazy in the hobby. But at McKay's two days ago the prices for all the magazines were a buck or two a pop, so I bought even the ones I suspected I already owned, just in case I was wrong. By the way if you're one of those canon-crazy RQ fans, McKay's had some issues of Wyrm's Footnotes going for a buck or two.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Shatnerday!

This week Shatnerday comes to you from Knoxville, Tennesee.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Starwolf Crusades

Today I woke up thinking the Gateway Quadrant needed more menace. So I wrote this:

The Starwolf Crusades

Imperial psychohistorians have long considered free trade and the regular exchange of ideas that accompany it as the best vector for intergalactic piece. Their poster boy for this relationship is the six sector long coreward border the 3rd Imperium shares with the canoids of the Vargr Extents. Although hostilities and outright warfare can be found in the annals of Imperial/Vargr relations, the relatively limited scale of such actions can be directly attributed to the ongoing commercial and cultural exchanges between the two powers.

The situation in the Empty Quarter and Ley Sectors of the Imperium is decidedly different. Paradoxically, the buffer zone of the bleak Star's End Rift allows hostilities to fester. Trade is limited to the handful of merchants with multiparsec-capable vessels willing to risk it all on long hauls across the rift. And save for the occasional effort by the Scout Service, cultural exchanges are non-existent. Thus stellar distribution and economic reality conspire to limit contact in the region between the Imperials and the Vargr to only those most motivated (i.e. crazy enough) to make the voyage. Unfortunately for the inhabitants of the trailing end of the Imperium that means incursions by the Starwolf Crusaders.

Led by rogue hierophants of a splinter faction of the Church of the Chosen Ones, the Crusaders follow a creed of belligerent Vargr manifest destiny. Although Imperial chroniclers squabble over what constitutes a full-blown Starwolf Crusade, the Sector Navies closest to the Rift have engaged in fleet scale actions against the Crusaders no less than twelve times in the past half millennium, with many other lesser actions in between. Rarely have the Crusaders gained a foothold on Imperial worlds, but the damage they do to the worlds they target is immense: defense satellites and local navies destroyed, population centers bombarded from space, wholesale looting, and the carrying off of Imperial citizens as slave labor.

The last Starwolf Crusade ended in 1093 [seven years prior to the campaign start], so any ex-Navy or Marine characters with more than one term served can throw 4+ on 1d to have seen action against the Vargr. Scout and Army throw 5+, all others 6+. Those who fought against the Starwolf Crusaders may throw 6+ to receive some sort of decoration or commendation for heroic action, base chance 6+ on one die, with die modifiers of +1 per full term served prior to the conflict and +1 if an officer. Throw 1d on the table below to determine specific award.

1. Emperor’s Legion (Purple Heart type award)
2. Amulet of Cleon
3. Octagon of Honor (roll 1d, 1-5 Silver, 6 Gold)
4. Order of the Corona (nobles are Knights of the Order, others are Members)
5. Iridium Star (military only, civilians reroll)
6. Letter of Commendation (can’t wear it on your chest, but +1 reaction bonus in formal job interviews)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

five links, nano-review edition

Malevolent & Benign - You'd think I'd be really into a book full of shiny new 1st edition monsters, but this thing is just too wordy. Every time I go to read the fluff on one of these monsters I keep thinking Dave Hargrave of Arduin fame could've fit four times as many awesome critters in the same space. But if you like deep background info on your monsters, this may be right up your alley.

The Grinding Gear - Another absolute gem from Jim 'worst attitude in the OSR' Raggi. Like Death Frost Doom before it, this is a great item to drop onto your sandbox hexmap. Just leave it there, lurking menacingly, for some poor bastard PCs to stumble into. Things I wish I had thought of first: dead rats on the wandering monster charts. Like most of Raggi's best work, only get this one if you like material that demands that you DM outside your comfort zone.

X-plorers - I need another sci-fi RPG like I need a third bunghole, but I'll be darned if this doesn't look like a hoot. Remember how that old TSR chestnut Star Frontiers was basically Traveller for the Basic/Expert D&D kids? X-plorers is in the same conceptual territory, but I think it does a better job of it. If you like the mechanics of Swords & Wizardry look no further for your new favorite game about laser beams.

Adventure Games Publishing - The booklets that James Mishler has released recently are all sorts of awesome. I like Curses & More Curses and 100 Encounters & Treasures: Level 1. And Guide to the World of the Wilderlands is both a great campaign overview and a great format to rip off when writing an overview for your own setting. Monster Menaces Compendium 1-5 has the same wordiness of Malevolent & Benign above, but it also contains rules for the Chupacabra and the Rocktopus. It's hard to be dissatisfied with any book that brings that kind of radical-osity to the table.

Stonehell Dungeon: Down Night-Haunted Halls - One of the best things to come out of the old school hullabaloo. If dungeons are your bag, get a copy. Highest recommendation. 'Nuff said.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Filling Billets 2

Today I'm continuing my attempt to hire a crew for the Leviathan, the merchant cruiser appearing in the Traveller module of the same name.

2nd Officers

Position 07: Computer Officer

Navy 107*
Scout 67, 100

Suprisingly I could find few characters in the right Rank range qualify for this gig. The Naval character also qualifies for the higher-ranking Chief Gunner position. I wonder if offered this lower position instead of Chief Gunner, would that character take the assignment but resent it?

Position 08: Purser (NPC)

The ship's purser is the highest ranked company agent on the vessel and as such the command crew gets no choice in filling this billet. In the module it's explicit that the company people on the ship are present to prevent the PCs from skipping with the vessel. As an alternative idea, one could fill out the company slots with the PCs and start the campaign with them having to mutiny against the captain to prevent him or her from stealing the ship! A nasty firefight could leave the ship seriously under-crewed for the long trip home.

Position 09: Boat Deck Officer

Navy 61*
Other 63, 82, 90 94
Sailor 8
several Doctors
Bureaucrat 18, 23, 26*, 33
Scientist 14, 19, 26, 29, 36

Based upon the qualifications (Admin-1, Computer-1), this looks like mostly a desk job managing the ships complement of small craft. The Navy dude and two of the Scientists also qualify for the much more prestigious Exec Officer billet, so you might be able to put a back-up X.O. in this spot. My sense of humor can be very simple at times and the thought of a surface navy Sailor working as the Ship's Boat officer amuses me to no end. Make sure someone explains the concept of vacuum to that guy!

Position 10: 2nd Pilot (NPC)

No point in the purser seizing command of the ship if he doesn't have a loyal pilot to steer it back to port.

Position 11: Navigator

Navy 27*, 31*
Scout 16, 67, 96, 100
Scientist 4, 40

The two scouts who qualify as Computer Officer above also fill out this billet.

Position 12: Shuttle Pilot

Navy 21, 31*, 50, 53, 58*, 61*, 106
Scout 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 12, 16, 18, 20, 22, 25, 28, 30, 31, 33, 36, 38, 40, 45, 47, 48, 53, 55, 57, 58, 59, 62, 66, 67, 71, 72, 73, 75, 78, 84, 88, 92, 94, 95, 96, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 107, 110, 114, 115, 116, 118, 120, 123, 125, 128, 129, 130, 132
Merchant 5*, 15*, 21*, 37*, 46*, 47*, 54*, 57*, 63*, 69*, 80, 91*, 113*, 131*, 134*, 135*
Other 1, 7, 9, 19, 21, 32, 39, 41, 79, 87, 88, 90, 97, 107, 118
Pirate 9, 16, 37
Belter 2, 6, 7, 31, 34
Flyer 30
Noble 8, 11, 13, 15, 21, 23, 28, 40

The primary qualification of this billet is Piloting-1. In a game about spaceships, that's a pretty common skill. Personally I like the idea of hiring a Belter for this slot. The odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field may only be 3720 to 1, but these folks spend years there! Navy officer #61 makes another appearance here. Exec officer, the boat deck, shuttle pilot: Is there nothing this guy won't do to get onboard this ship?

Incidentally, this is where I would expect the PCs to get sick of recruiting. When 60 Scouts (Quickie adventure seed: Why are there so many out of work Scouts in the area?) and 55 other people show up to interview for the Shuttle Pilot job, it's time to ask the referee if we can hand waive the rest of this and get on to the space adventure. "Sure," says the ref with a grin, "I'll take care of the rest of the crew. I love the prospect of getting to pick out the doctor who puts you back together after laser shoot-outs."

Position 13: Surgeon

Army 12*
Scout 37, 57, 62, 99, 112
Merchant 21*, 59, 74, 131*
Other 4, 75, 112, 117
nearly any Doctor
Noble 30
Scientist 8

Obviously the Doctor career path from Supplement 4 gets big play here. But I'm curious about the Others, the Noble and the Scientist that qualify for this billet. Why did that Noble go to medical school? And why would he or she be trying to get onto a ship heading away from civilization? Are the Others back alley quacks who happen to be pretty good at what they do?

Position 14: Second Engineer

Navy 65
Scout 17, 61, 64, 77, 125
Other 91, 133

Scout 64 is the guy in the kilt from last post. Since's he's the only candidate for Chief Engineer, I doubt he's going to end up as 2nd Engineer. And as the only qualified Chief Engineer available, my guess is that he would respectively inform the captain and X.O. that he will hire his own engineering department and they can mind their own business. I'd look for the engineer department to be scout heavy on this cruise.

Position 15: Second Gunner

Navy 18, 107*
Scout 4, 18, 21, 28, 42, 54, 69, 74, 90, 92, 110

Navy character #107 is my first candidate for Chief Gunner and I'd pick Navy 18 as the first person to interview for this job for the exact same reason: the Navy shoots people for a living, so why not go to that service for gunners?

Position 16: Master-at-Arms (NPC)

The crewmember responsible for discipline among the ranks is another member of the purser's shadow crew. Given that Traveller spaceships operate somewhat like age of sail vessels, I would expect this character to be one hard ass son of a bitch. In the event that the purser has to assume command of the ship, it's probably this guy's job to detain or eliminate the captain.

I'll tackle the 3rd Officers of the MSS Leviathan later in the week. You may get a Mutant Future session update before them.

Happy Life Day!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Filling Billets 1

I've talked about the Traveller adventure Leviathan a couple times before. The eponymous spaceship flown by the PCs in this module has a full complement of 55 officers and crew, making it a much bigger affair than the Millennium Falcon level operations in many outer space RPGs.

An assumption behind the adventure is that the PCs will fill out the top officer positions and then hire on the rest of the crew themselves, aside from a handful of positions that are to be filled by personnel from the company that owns the ship. Each job on the ship is given a position number and a list of qualifications. For example, the Captain of the vessel must have the skills Administration-1, Computer-1 and Pilot-1, while the two Cargo Handlers require Vacc Suit-1, Strength 8 and Endurance 7.

The other limiting factor is rank. You generally need someone with a first officer rank to fill a first officer billet. In the case of a Leviathan-class merchant cruiser, the assignment is prestigious enough that you can convince a recruit to accept a demotion of one rank to secure an assignment. So an ex-admiral might take the captain's slot, while you have a chance of convincing a captain to serve as a first officer, etc.

The module points the referee towards two Trav supplements, 1001 Characters and Citizens of the Imperium, for pregenerated crewmen. I've often wondered how easy it would be to crew the Leviathan with the NPCs from these two books, so I've decided to find out. Today I'm going to look at the First Officers of the vessel and see if I can fill those spots from the two supplements.

Position 02: Captain

Other 107

I was surprised to find exactly one NPC who could fill this billet. The Navy and Merchant NPC lists have plenty of captains, but none of them qualify for this assignment. Merchant #94 is a captain with 2 out of three required skills and Jack-of-all-Trades at a whopping level 5. I'd trust that character with the assignment, but only Other #107 actually has all three required skills. Which means the only qualified merchant cruiser captain has no Navy or Merchant service experience. Weird. Incidentally, another interesting candidate for this assignment is Other #58, whose only skills are Computer-5 and Forgery-3. Imagine a group of junior officer PCs, halfway into their voyage through unknown space, discovering their captain is an unqualified fake!

Position 03: Executive Officer

Navy 61
Bureaucrat 38*
Scientist 26, 36

If I was Other 107, I'd probably take a hard look at the Navy character to help maintain a disciplined ship. At first I thought employing Scentists anywhere on the roster would be odd for a mercantile venture, but the Leviathan is meant to explore new markets. In fact, the module calls for four company scientists to be carried as passengers, to help analyze data found during the voyage. A few more on the payroll might not be a bad idea, though maybe not as X.O. The Bureaucrat would be a fun choice from the ref's point of view, assuming the recruitment roll is made. Assume he worked a straight corporate desk job up until this point and you basically have Hermes from Futurama as second-in-command of the ship.

Position 04: Pilot

Navy 58
Scout 3, 18, 53, 55, 59, 66, 75, 84, 88, 116, 125,
Merchant 8*, 12*, 27*, 47, 56*, 81*, 89*, 122*, 126*, 132*
Pirate 9, 16

A crapload of Scouts qualify for this slot because all Scouts get at least one rank of Piloting skill. Most of the Merchants that qualify would have to agree to a demotion. Either of the pirates could be applying with fake credentials their pal Other #58 cooked up for them. One of them might be trying to go straight while the other one has mutiny on his mind. Or maybe they're just working stiffs who happen to have worked on private warships carrying letters of marque.

Position 05: Chief Engineer

Scout 64

Over a thousand NPCs to pick from and only one guy qualifies for Chief Engineer. Clearly Scout #64 wears a kilt.

Position 06: Chief Gunner

Navy 107
Scout 68, 89
Other 1, 136

Five candidates iseems reasonable. Twenty plus possible pilots looks like a big pain in the ass, while one captain and one engineer applicant would worry me if I was the money guy planetside. My gut here is to call in the Navy character for the first interview, since shooting people is sort of what the Imperial Navy is all about.

Normally all these top assignments go to the PCs. Seven pregens are provided for this purpose. But once the PCs are hired on, they're supposed to fill out most of crew themselves. Tomorrow I'll look at the Second Officers and see what the PCs would get to work with.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

So this is cool.

Last time my daughter had a play date with one of her little friends, the girl's mother cautiously broached the subject of her daughter's game group. My wife and I could tell she was very tentative in her approach out of concern that we were anti-gaming nutjobs, which amused us to no end. Amy politely explained that I am, in fact, a pro-gaming nutjob.

So now my daughter is in a game group of little girls who play the Faery's Tale rpg published by Green Ronin. Elizabeth's first session was today and she came back with a brief report. Her character is Sally Buttercup, a pixie with extraordinary luck. Sally and her friends live in a treehouse in a magic forest. Today's adventure centered on dealing with a band of careless hunters who were killing animals for sport rather than food. The party enlisted the aid of a nearby dragon to scare the huntsmen away.

Needless to say, I'm pretty jazzed about this development.

Happy Waxnerday!

Gameblog reader Roger sent me a link to this pic of the recent opening of the Captain Kirk figure at Madame Tussaud's.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Designing the Ultimate Treehouse

Creating characters for RPGs is a lot of fun, but sometimes I think PCs should be allowed to create something bigger than themselves. The original RPG example is the player of a high-level PC sketching out the plans to their castle and detailing their minions, but there are other possibilities. Here are a few of them, off the top of my head:
  • Designing your own custom spaceship in Traveller.
  • Imperator and Chancel creation in Nobilis.
  • The point-build superspy agency rules in Ninjas & Superspies.
  • Giant robot creation in Mekton Zeta.
  • Superhero base creation in the Marvel Super Hero advanced rules.
I know I can't be the only one here who as a kid sketched out imaginary treehouse designs or super-secret headquarters. Letting the players design the above stuff satisfies this juvenile impulse while also giving the players a feeling of ownership and investment in a larger piece of the campaign world. And if you can get the players to design some of these items as a group, then suddenly they all have something in common beyond all being lone wolf psychos with hair triggers.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

skill systems

I have heard it bandied on the internets about that old schoolers are considered to be against skill systems. Personally, I am not against skill systems. I don't care for skill systems in D&D, but in other RPGs I have no objection to them. My bigger problem with skill systems is that so many of them are cumbersome and/or just plain boring. For my tastes Traveller and RuneQuest said 90% of what needs to be said about skill systems. Which is good, I guess, since so many games rip off RQ.

That's vaguely acceptable if you're Chaosium, but what is everybody else's excuse? A list of skills and a die mechanic does not a good skill system make. I'll grant Savage Worlds some points for brevity and Clash Bowley's In Harm's Way for allowing different skills to solve the same task, but most similar systems don't do much for me. Lords of Creation has a neat mechanic where each new skill level gives you better chances of success and broader uses for your skill. I like that a lot.

And then there's the make-your-own skills games, like Unknown Armies, Ghostbusters and Risus. I like the concept, but I would have trouble keeping it straight for a serious game. I've never played UA but if I did my charsheet would probably say stupid things like "Han shot first" and "I'm Harley Race and you're the new babyface who thinks he's hot stuff".

What other skill systems do people like?

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Mutant Future, session 8 part deux

So having completed the new bridge connecting the folks in the Slimy Lake region with the city far to the west, the party set off down the ancient blacktop highway in search of the spellbooks of the legendary wizard. Next came a brief visit to the highway rest stop that had been converted to a shrine which the lich recognized as being dedicated to the Great God Elvis. The undead wizard with the hell's angel jacket lined with newly-slaughtered sloth fur refused to allow the rest of the party to the loot the place. Even heartless abominations respect the King.

As the party traveled down the ancient road they naturally inquired about any ancient wrecks to be looted. Initially I informed the players that all the ancient vehicles by the roadside had been left to rust out then burned down, leaving nothing but mounds of rusty ash. But then Carl pointed out they really only needed a cart for their donkeys to pull. The idea of a couple donkeys pulling the rusty bed of an ancient pickup amused me so much I decided to allow it.

Finally, after two half-sessions of delays and shenanigans, the party exited the Slimy Lake area and began exploring the unknown lands to the west. The party didn't know it yet, but they had just taken their first steps into Dave Hargrave's Arduin modules! First stop was the Winged Elf Inn, which is an ancient metal hull ship inexplicably laying upside on a dry plain with a sign depicting a Keebler elf with angel wings. The owners are a grey-haired three-eyed old mutant and his equally ancient but unmutated wife. At least they are in my campaign world, I don't think Hargrave gives many details in the module.

At the Winged Elf they made contact with some spider mutants who 'mine' a landfill to the north. Periodically they bring a cartload of ancient metal to the inn, where they trade it to 'the fat merchant'. The merchant was overdue and the spiders where running out of beer money, so they sold their wagon o' junk to the party. Spunky the Invincible Wonder Weasel found a functional Rubik's Cube among the tin cans and aluminum foil. It was missing most of the little stickers, so her attempts to solve it where all in vain.

Along the road the party ended up fighting a pair of wobras, which are cobras with wings. That Hargrave sure knew how to make a monster. My second attempt of the night to kill Spunky with poison failed, but maybe I'll get her next session. I allow her to abuse the hell out of her mental illusion powers, so I feel I can get away with picking on her just a little bit extra. With the wobras quickly slain, the party resumed its journey, pushing a full 24 hours to get clear of a forest reputedly the lair of a fearsome dragon. The last time a dragon showed up in one my campaigns it killed the entire party in the first round, so they weren't in any hurry to meet another one.

Instead of a dragon, the party met Ortegg the Obese (the fat merchant) on his way to make his delayed appointment with the spider miners. You remember the fat computer guy from the first Blade flick? That's what the merchant kinda looks like, a slightly more humanoid Jabba the Hut. His caravan is 3 wagons, one of which carries only him. The merchant and his three cyborg minions were late for the rendezvous with the spiders because the axle broke on Ortegg's personal transport.

Ortegg and the party negotiated a trade for the junk he was hoping to buy cheap from the arachnid pioneers. He ended up with a jar of wobra poison that Dane had extraced from a dead wobra as well as the junk and the party got an ancient artifact: a working metal detector. After spending a night on the road with Ortegg and his men they also got directions to an ancient tower. That's where we'll pick up the next session.

Happy Shatnerday!

Jazz hands!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Mutant Future session 8, part 1

When last we left our genetically impaired heroes they had decided to build a new bridge to replace the one they accidentally blew up. So we started this week's session at the next logical step in the narrative: an attack by hostile mutant tree sloths. The logging team recruited by the party tried to chop down the lair of a family of gamma sloths, only to be treated to radioactive eyebeam attacks. The sloth morale broke early and the encounter was brief, but I was entertained because these infamously slow creatures kept winning the initiative roll. Gamma sloths have a low AC and are immune to radiation, so I announced their fur must be shiny and metallic. Joe latched onto this fact and decided that his lich's biker jacket needed a fur lining. Have I mentioned that my players are rad to the max?

The next little hassle in bridge construction was a wandering monster. Instead of rolling up a critter as is my usual wont, I just opened my copy of Labyrinth Lord to a random page. My eyes immediately fell on the entry for crab spiders. I've always felt that crab spiders should have big crab claws, so I added a couple d6 damage attacks with grab ability. And just for good measure I added some wasp wings, allowing it to swoop down and attempt to carry off Spunky the Invincible Wonder Weasel. Also, I arbitrarily gave the spider 9 more hit dice than are in the book. Sometimes I'm a dick that way. Spunky ended up finishing the fight trapped in a spider claw, repeatedly bashing the thing in the face with her sledgehammer.

The last major hurdle in building the new bridge was the Sludge River itself. Periodically slimes, oozes, jellies and puddies float down the river and at least some of them would readily eat the the logs. I thought the PCs would travel upriver to locate and shut down the source of the pollution, but instead they covered the logs with pitch. Although I had this neat side jaunt in mind, I decided that I liked this idea. They got to have their bridge and I got to keep sending oozes down the hexmap. Win-win.

At the grand opening of the bridge I assigned a flat 1 in 6 chance that their would be a catastrophic design flaw, but the structure held firm. The nearby fishing village feted the party for re-opening the old trade route to the city far to the west and I awarded the PCs 200xp each for doing their part to make the world a little more civilized. The next day the party set out on their quest: to find the wizard's tower to the west. Actually, I'm not sure they really want to find the wizard. The lich just wants the dude's spell books.

Well, my daughter is begging me to come watch Futurama with her, so the second half of this recap will have to wait. I can hardly say no to that! Stay awesome, everybody.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Howdy, folks! I'll post a rundown of last night's awesome Mutant Future game later today or tomorrow. Right now I'd like to help out Andrew, who emailed me asking my opinion of the Alternity rpg. The thing is, I don't really have an opinion about Alternity. Never played it, never read it. Anybody care to share an opinion in the comments? Or maybe supply some links to groovy Alternity fansites? Let's see what we can do to assist Andrew in his quest for Alternity information.

Internet... ACTIVATE!