Monday, December 24, 2012

Using trading cards in your role-playing game



     I was listening to a podcast recently (2GMs1Mic) where the hosts talked about the Star Wars game that one of them was running. Apparently, if I remember correctly, they had a stack of the tcg cards (Decipher, maybe) that they drew from for random finds. I am gearing up to run a game of Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space, and have a lot of cards from the 1996 Doctor Who tcg. I have been waffling on how to present this, and have decided to put the idea out there and see what you think. 

     Put together a deck of gadgets to see what may be in that secret UNIT storage shed. Stumped for what villain the PC's should encounter next, put some villain/alien cards together to draw from. So what if you do not have access to any cards? There are plenty of online card lists, take advantage of them and create a random roll chart. The appeal of cards is that they have pictures that you can show your players, and with a little cut/paste magic, you can make your own cards courtesy of the magic of the internet. Just think of the possibilities! I am working on an expanded list of alien/human encounters by taking the list from the '96 tcg (daleks, mongols, cybermen, etc.) and adding the stuff from the new series, like weeping angels or judoon. I will include the final version of the list soon. In the meantime, let me know if any of you have tried this and how it has worked for you.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Wyvern's Tale

     When traveling somewhere new, I like to see if there are any game stores in the area. So recently I was in Asheville, North Carolina and decided to check out the Wyvern's Tale.The store itself is fantastic, with plenty of games separated into boardgames, card games, miniatures, and rpg's. All in a neat, orderly atmosphere.     The second floor held the gaming areas where there were a few groups playing. I was impressed by the fact that in addition to trash cans, there were also containers for recyclables. Their hours are Sunday through Thursday 12-8, and Friday/Saturday 12-10. They have regular game events throughout the week and December 23rd, Jason Morningstar (creator of Fiasco) will be at the store, signing books and talking with folks. All in all, I definitely will stopping back in if I am ever around Asheville, a really great experience.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pandokemon, Gotta Catch Them All!!

     So, it's been awhile, between work and internet going out for about a week I have been absorbed by WoW and their pet battles. The best thing about it, in my opinion, is that you can name your pets. My first task was to name my Darkmoon Monkey Wil, after Mr. Wheaton. I mean look at him, doesn't that fez just scream "Wheaton!!"

     As I have said before, there are a few ways this resembles Pokemon, and that is a good thing. The achievement system really pushes you along. Many times I have meant to stop playing, only to have a little voice in my head say "You just need to capture a few more pets." or "You almost have that next achievement!"

     Anyone out there playing WoW and doing the pet battles? Let us know what you think, and what (if at all) you have named your pets? Take care guys.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mists of Panderia!!

     So for a few months I have played very little World of Warcraft. The week or so prior to the new expansion hitting (which happened this past Tuesday, the 25th) have been an explosion of activity as I began trying out the new talent system they have put in place in an effort to simplify talent selection and put an end to "cookie cutter" characters. Ideally there should be no right choices, and I believe them. Each decision came down to which is cooler, or does this fit how I play. Then, of course, Tuesday the 25th hit.

     Pandas! Pandas! Pandas! Oh my word! I made a pandaren monk and ran with it. Then I hopped on my main (85 blood elf paladin) and went to Pandaria, fought and then made friends with the pandaren and hozen (monkeys) then dragged myself back to the old world to try out the pet battle system, I will refer to as pandokemon.

     I call it pandokemon since I heard Turpster call it that on the Instance. It is a beautiful mash up of Pokemon and Warcraft. I enjoy playing around with the old Pokemon games, so it was natural that I would get sucked into. In fact, I think I have spent more time on this than leveling my main.

     Eventually I came back to the Wandering Isle and made my second panda monk, the first will join the alliance and this one will be in the horde. The fire spirit Huo is with me in both pictures, because I love the stylistic flourishes they gave to the elemental spirits. I am a little nervous about, but still looking forward to, the Tillers where I can get and cultivate my own farm. OMG!! Let me know what you guys think, and take care everyone!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hellbrood hits the store

     To avoid possible legal issues, since there was a Hellspawn comic back in the day, Daring Entertainment has changed their setting/event to Hellbrood. So wait no longer, Hellbrood:Countdown to Invasion is here, and while I have not picked it up yet, I am looked forward to it immensely. I just wanted to let you guys know, since I have went back and changed my interview with Lee around to reflect the new name. Take care guys, and let me know what you all think of it. Thanks!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Too many games...too little time.

     Recently I started a Labyrinth Lord game with my family, using the Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque setting. I have wanting to play some LL so this is a pretty cool compromise. (ie. I run it at home) I interviewed Lee Szczepanik about Hellspawn and now I want it to come out so that I can run at least a few games of it at my flgs. Anyone in the Columbus, Ohio area feel like giving it a shot, go ahead and leave a comment.

     Of course there are more games I would like to play in or run.  Shaintar is getting a bit of a face lift, though it has always been on my radar. Streets of Bedlam, because I want to see my players, as dirty cops and criminals who do not quite trust each other. Oh I could go on, it is just bad when I stop and think about it. I had better stop for now, take care guys!

   

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day!! Hellbrood Interview!!



From the man who brought you War of the Dead, Hellbrood is coming. The quick pitch is alien zombie apocalypse with superheroes. Reading the previews, which can be found at Daringentertain.com , you get a bit of a tease as to what is coming. Despite that, I wanted to get a little more information, so I asked the man in charge some questions. So here we go.


How did the idea come about? I can see where you may have been influenced by different media (Marvel Zombies, Escape from New York), but how did the idea nestle in your brain and eventually creep out?

Actually, if Marvel Zombies showed me anything it was: this is how not to do superheroes and zombies. I hated it on all levels, and that isn't something I say often about a product from a top company.

As War of the Dead hopefully showed, I'm a fan of the zombie apocalypse genre. I'm also a very huge fan of superheroes. The problem is, there was a part of me that never felt they really mixed together well. On the one hand you have flesh-eating zombies, on the other people that typically can level an entire city block and are getting into fights all the time. They aren't exactly your average untrained civilian.

So, I'd been playing around with the idea of how to mix the two for a very long time, and in a way that would put the world at stake with such an apocalypse, but not be so over-the-top that a typical zombie would somehow be able to bite into the average heavy-hitter.

Several ideas were boiling in the pot. One was a world-wide virus orchestrated by a mega bad guy of whatever the setting eventually turned out to be. That one was there for a while, but the more I looked at it from the angle of a game designer and really explored it (especially as the setting developed), the less I liked it. It was too pat, too easily defeated, and it led to a singular adversary. I would be able to pull that off in say, a novel or a series of novels where I maintained control over the heroes, but when looking at a roleplaying game setting--- well, I just couldn't envision it surviving the players. All you needed was a group that wanted to be more anti-hero than hero, and the opposition was all but done.

So, then I hit upon an alien race, something that could truly dominate the Earth even with superheroes, and who served a cosmic being (or a god, if you prefer) that wanted to eradicate all life in the universe. I decided they would harness a form of biotechnology that, itself, was a super-form of undead-- something the average superhero would even have to take a step back when they first saw it and go: but-wait-what?!!?

So, when Hellbrood was in the early stages, I sent the idea to Dave Martin (a writer on the main Hellbrood book who actually turned into what I would call a co-designer, and who is also the owner of Protagonist Games), and he created this cool mythology about the dark cosmic being (whom I had named Necrolos), how the Necroleans came about, and a war with cosmic warriors called the Makers.

I liked it— a lot. What he wrote not only fit very well into comics, but opened up the foundations for a pretty cool Cosmic section to the setting.

Dave also handled all the biographies for the Defenders of Liberty (sans Phalanx, who I have special plans for) and really brought the main NPCs to life for me. As a matter of fact, his biography for one of those NPCs brought about a scene at the end of Hellbrood: Countdown to Invasion, and influenced parts of the setting in a big way. So, Dave Martin has also been a deep influence on Hellbrood and its development.

Meanwhile, the novels "Ex-Heroes" and "Ex-Patriots" by Peter Clines kept my thoughts company, and the DC Comics event "Blackest Night" hit a lot of cords with me. As a matter of fact, the Incarnate Hellbrood were inspired by the Black Lanterns in a few ways.

Other than that, writers such as Mark Waid, Geoff Johns, Brian Michael Bendis, Grant Morrison, Chris Claremont, Dennis O'Neil, Roger Stern, and Marv Wolfman— and of course Jack Kirby's New Gods— all provided more inspiration.


The first preview mentions that there are four books that are being worked on, if the demand is there will there be more?

There is plenty in the setting to explore and for the fans to play through and experience. Throughout the Hellbrood "event" we are planting seeds for many future "event" style plot-point campaigns, ranging from time travel, to a super artificial intelligence bent on protecting humanity in a very twisted way, to something major within the mystic community, and more. I feel it is important, like in comics, for the Necrolean/Hellbrood storyline to also hint at events outside of that scope, things that the players will get to experience down the line. So, there are most definitely plans for more if the demand is there from the Savages.

The post-apocalyptic setting of the Hellbrood "event" won't last forever. It's comic books, after all.


I was wondering because the information about New York sounds really cool, which got me thinking about what may be happening in the rest of the world. Also I felt a little touch of Escape from New York, both having a crazy cabbie, though Hellbrood's cabbie is a little more dangerous. A little rambling, but I guess my question is would it be in the cards that a location guide might pop up, maybe next year?

While I am touching on places beyond New York in a couple parts of the plot-point campaign and the Savage Tales by sending the players there as part of what it'll take to eventually defeat the Necroleans and Incarnate Hellbrood, I most definitely plan to do an Atlas type book for the rest of the setting. I've actually been thinking of doing the Atlas and the Alien Races (Atlanteans, Martians, Lunarians . . . and something more for the Necroleans) as one book. The final determining factor will be page count, which dictates minimum MSRP (especially in the print editions). So, we'll see if it turns out to be a single book or not.

In the meantime, I would definitely recommend hitting RPGNow.com or DriveThruRPG and downloading Savage Insider #4 and Savage Insider #5 from Mystical Throne Entertainment. They are free, and both issues contain a Hellbrood short story. As a matter of fact, the story in Savage Insider #5 is a sequel. The Hellbrood plot-point setting book will also point GMs to Savage Insider #4 at one point, as the story in there is also meant to be a player handout of an audio file. It isn't required for that adventure, but is recommended.


In the third and fourth previews, you give us a look at the Hellbrood and their masters, the necroleans. What inspired these creatures?

To be honest, I'm not really sure. They just sort of popped in there, and then Dave Martin took the parts of them I needed further fleshed out and really ran with it. I've no doubt some fans will see a correlation between . . . well . . . whatever. In that case, I'll just nod and agree, as they're probably right. The subconscious apparently played a large part in Hellbrood, as even during editing on Hellbrood: Countdown to Invasion, Tommy Brownell would appreciate certain nods that I did to something in Marvel or DC. I'd smile, because the nod was sometimes completely unintentional.

We do have nods to Marvel and DC within the setting (but then again, what superhero setting doesn't— they've covered so many of the bases). There's a lot of new stuff for the GMs and Players to grasp and get to know, and I felt some nods and homages were important in order to give them a sense of semi-familiarity from the start. I wanted them to be able to dive right in and have a basic feel for things, not necessarily be lost from the jump.


In the necrolean preview you explain power stunts. Did you include it as a tool to facilitate comic book action or so the characters might not get squashed as much?

While the Hellbrood have certain abilities that could level the field against the superheroes if encountered at a bad time (and I'll leave that there, so as not to spoil the surprise for the players), the typical Hellbrood is not going to take down a superhero. Depending upon the hero, a pack of Hellbrood aren't going to do it— nor are they meant to in that case. Sure, there are some with powers, but even they probably wouldn't be a threat that could crush a hero. Now, the Incarnate Hellbrood are a different matter entirely, but they are extremely rare. The Incarnate Hellbrood are best described using a line from the Matrix film between Cypher and Neo: You see an Agent, you do what we do. Run.

The player-characters will eventually have to face them once and for all (as the heroes always do), but that is a Legendary rank affair.

Anyway, Hellbrood uses the Recurring Roles Setting Rule from the Super Powers Companion. Since the Setting Rule specifically states it deals with normal death under the Savage Worlds rules, however, the Hellbrood infection is not affected by that rule. So, even if the players managed to get squished by the Necroleans or a supervillain, it isn't "death" in the normal sense. Under the rule, they'll be back in 1d6 days. I really didn't want Hellbrood to be "War of the Dead" lethal (and it isn't as long as you don't somehow get infected). They are both two different genres, and it wouldn't really represent what I wanted out of the superhero genre if the player-heroes were falling like flies. The setting has a dark tone to it, but as we remind the GM often— it's still about superheroes, protecting the innocent, and fighting evil.

Power Stunts were included to facilitate comic book action. All the options in the Super Powers Companion do a great job of that already, but we felt Power Stunts were a staple of the genre that were important to that superheroic feel we wanted Hellbrood to still be able to convey at the table. The new Setting Rule really flexes the muscles of the Savage Worlds system in relation to the Super Powers Companion. And since the final version of the Setting Rule was designed by Clint Black (he really gets the credit for Power Stunts in Hellbrood), and the play test we did internally on my end went very well, I'm thrilled with the outcome.


Alright, down to brass tacks, do you have a release schedule yet?

I have one, but not one that I'm going to announce too far in advance. Being a small company, too many things can cause a date to be missed.

What I will say is that Hellbrood: Countdown to Invasion and the free, full-length adventure called Hellbrood: Ultimate Agenda both release in September. In October at some point, we will be launching a Kickstarter for the main setting book. The Hellbrood setting book is coming out whether the Kickstarter makes it or not, but a success on that will allow us to have more maps for Hellbrood New York, more internal maps of special locations, art for all of the major characters in the setting, and allow us to have additional material written and included for the setting. So, it gives fans a chance to make the main book bigger and better. Naturally, there will be some cool tier rewards and Stretch goals (final details are being hammered out).

After the main book, we'll have the book dedicated to the Alien Races, Atlas, and other sourcebooks released throughout 2013, in addition to individual adventures (one of which deals with an Alternate Earth), One-Sheets, and so forth.


Anything else in the works?

After Hellbrood launches and the main book is out, we'll be revisiting War of the Dead with new products. Some will be Location/Plot Point Setting books that give an alternate War of the Dead campaign, some stand alone adventures, and of course the World of Dead sequel plot-point setting.

Dave Martin and I will also be working on the final incarnation of the Daring Comics Adventure Game. Given how that product branches us out to not being a licensee for "Game-X" to cushion its release, since it is our own RPG system, it's being carefully designed, play tested, hammered, and redesigned where needed. I put it on the back burner recently to release War of the Dead: Chapter Four and launch Hellbrood, but we'll be diving into it again very soon.

Finally, late 2013 will see Daring Entertainment, after much preparation over the past 18 months, enter into the eBook market. We've already made a deal with a larger company in that industry, and we'll be debuting with a Hellbrood "mosaic" novel. Although we'll be marketing it ourselves to the RPG fans, the main eBook marketing will be more focused outside the RPG industry and handled by our partner.


Do you have plans to attend any conventions, as a publisher, guest, or just for fun?

I would love to. It's good for any publisher to be at the Cons and meet the fans. Unfortunately, being the main writer at Daring Entertainment as well as running the company (not to mention the 19, 12, 14, and 2-year-old children), I've been so busy I haven't been able to handle that end of the business very well. I have solid plans to be at GenCon next summer (2013), as between the War of the Dead line, the Hellbrood books, and (hopefully) the launch of the Daring Comics Adventure Game, I think being there is going to be well worth the trip.


Well, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule. Take care and watch out for those nasty Necroleans!!

Always a pleasure!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tom Smith/Gen Con 2012

    
     Saturday night, 10 PM. at Gen Con and I found myself at the Tom Smith concert. I was minimally familiar with his music, that he was a filk performer of some renown and having listened to his Driving through Ohio repeatedly. (off the Earpicac cd) Mister Smith did not disappoint. His songs were fun and clever, with pop culture references abound. Just a few songs we heard were Spoiler Alert, Telly Taley Heart (to the tune of achey breaky heart), and my personal favorite, I had a Shoggoth. I had a Shoggoth is on his free download page, and is originally from the FuMP and is extremely entertaining.

     So, I just discovered that Tom is an award winning filker and frequent guest of honor at shows all over the place. Really, all over the U.S, Canada, and even England! So if you get a chance to see him at  a show, I highly recommend it. If you cannot, then check out his cd.s here. I am sure you will be glad you did. As always, please leave comments or questions, and take care!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Headlocked: What's Your Story

     So, a friend of mine has a game he is trying to get off the ground, called Headlocked. He (Andy Fix) describes it as a game about the art of pro wrestling. (check out his nifty little video here) Art you say? Yes, art, we know that wrestling is not real, but basically there is a story behind all of the fake hits. It uses the Fate system, and Fred Hicks from Evil Hat Games gave it a bit of a plug. In wrestling you have heels, basically the bad guys or jerks. Then you have the faces, the ones whom everyone loves. So you and your friends get together and say "I want my wrestler to be despised by everyone, but somehow turn around and be redeemed." The Fate system is all about working with the other players and connect your story with theirs.

     I have heard of some people saying "What, another wrestling rpg?" and I was confused, since I have only heard of the WWE: Know Your Role rpg. Apparently there are a few more out there, but since I am not a gamer who is also a wrestling fan, I had no idea. So, the point of this is here is this game, I am not a huge wrestling fan, but if my friends who are wanted to play, I wound jump at this one. I also wanted to get the word out, especially since he has a kickstarter going. Please check it out, and let me know what you all think.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Nicholas Briggs!! and Big Finish Spare Parts audio

     I went to the Who NA booth to purchase the Big Finish audio Spare Parts, and discovered Nicholas Briggs there. The voice of the daleks and cybermen, signing autographs and playing with his modulator, it was so cool! I purchased the audio and Mr. Briggs signed it for me. Of course, after walking away I thought of all kinds of things to say/ask him. Such is life.

     I listened to Spare Parts on the way home from the con and I loved it. They fact they used the original cyberman speech pattern is awesome (though they made so you could understand them). The story drags a bit in a couple of spots, but really turned out great. There are several nods to previous cybermen episodes, especially The Tenth Planet. Just seeing the forbears of the cybermen, before they are/were converted is a little chilling, a feeling of inevitability washing over the story at times. Even though this is from 2002, I do not want to get too much into the details so as not to spoil it for people who have not experienced it. Please leave me some comments so I may try and improve this blog, thanks.

    

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I feel a Gen Con comin' on!

     So, Gen Con 2012 is here, as many of you know. My twitter feed, as well as Facebook, has been inundated with posts from the show. It has been awhile since I have attended, so I am very excited. I will try to take pictures while at the show so that I can share with all of you guys.

     I plan on playing in one of Sean Fannon's Shaintar pick up games as well as hanging out with Andy Hopp, possibly playing Low Life with him. Other than that I am hoping to possibly get in on a Labyrinth Lord game. Anyone out there going, let em know? Take care everyone!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Shaintar and Gen Con

     So Gen Con looms so close yet just out of reach. Sean Fannon will be running his awesome Shaintar setting and I was going about updating a character of mine for his new beta rules, that you can find here! I got caught in expanding my back story, then I saw others had come up with actual stories, so I decided to put mine out there as well. I hope it has some redeeming value to it. Let me know what you think.


A Dwarf Reborn
     Taryn Shaleskin seemed a typical dwarf, despite his dusky skin he diligently studied about masonry and how to combine natural rock formations with solid dwarven craftsmanship. He had already been caught picking the lock to the pantry several times, but when his teachers discovered him attempting to disable the traps in the catacombs beneath the school, that was the last straw. Taryn’s parents were called, and when they arrived to pick up the young dwarf, scolded him profusely.

     “What kinda life were ye lookin fer?  Ye better get started straight away on clanhold repair, bes’ be staying outta the kitchen, too” his mother growled, the promise of endless chores could be read in her stern gaze. Taryn despaired, a life of nothing but simple work around his families here and there was not something he was looking forward to.  On his second evening home, he managed to slip out, opening the locks and using his knowledge of crystallography to disable the guardstones. Free at last, he wandered not caring where his booted feet took him. He paid his way making some simple house repairs in the nearby Olaran village, the humans were amazed to see a young dwarf away from the clanhold.

     Somehow, his wandering took him past the border and into blasphemous land of Kal A Nor. Sleeping under the stars was new to Taryn so he had covered himself completely with his blanket. Shortly before dawn, a border patrol was moving through the area and stumbled over Taryn, embarrassing a guard who actually fell over the prostrate dwarf.  

     “Damned heathen scum!” shouted the captain of the guard, starting to draw his sword. The disheveled guard who had tripped over Taryn turned and kicked him in the head with his steel shod boot. Thinking him a spy as well as an affront to Ceynara, their twisted goddess, they bound him roughly and brought him to a nearby guardhouse for interrogation.

     Taryn awoke on the floor of a cold, stone cell. One leg shackled to the wall, he brushed bits of dirt and dried blood from his face. Suddenly the stout wooden door opened and a guard pulled him from the floor while another removed his shackle. Soon he was strapped to a table, being screamed at and spit upon. They felt he was a spy, but it did not help that they hated anything “less than human.” Across the room lay another dwarf, this one had been beaten and seemed like he was not long for this world.

     “We captured your friend a few days ago,” one of his interrogators croaked “trying to spy upon us! He was found stalking one of our patrols!”

     “Perhaps we should show you what’s in store, maybe you will be more cooperative than him.” The man moved to the other dwarf and grinned, the poor dwarf groaned and then spit into the interrogator’s face. The man’s face twisted in rage, as he backhanded the prone dwarf.

     At that moment Taryn heard shouting from outside the room. The clamor of metal striking metal caused Taryn’s torturer to turn as the door burst open, revealing a brutish ogre. Before the brute cross the distance, the interrogator drew a dagger and plunged it into the beaten dwarf’s breast. A cry of rage broke the ogre’s lips as he broke the man’s neck. From behind the ogre came a tall graying man, wearing a long gray cloak, ragged leather armor, and a grim expression.

     He cradled the dead dwarf’s head, then turned to the ogre “Shakalla. Bring a stretcher, we must get our fallen brother away from this wretched pit. Give him a proper burial.”

     Shakalla stalked out of the room mumbling about having something in her eye. Taryn lay there in shock, wondering what would happen next. The man in the gray cloak turned to Taryn “Did you know our brother here? “ Taryn could only shake his head. “Grog had a huge heart, which is how he came to my attention.”

     The man came over and removed the straps that had restrained Taryn. “Grog was a great dwarf, no one can replace him. Get out of here, go back to wherever you’ve come from.” He then turned and left the room, brushing past Shakalla and another man.

     As the ogre and human carefully Grog on the stretcher, Taryn felt a fraction of their loss. Here was this dwarf, defiant to the end. If he could somehow prove his worth, to be at least half as great as Grog had been, then he could someday go home with his head held high. As they quickly marched off, he decided to follow them. These, oh what did he hear one of them say, these gray rangers!  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Coming soon (Harrowfaust, round 2)

     Working on upcoming hooks for my Harrowfaust game, using recent posts from Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque for some cool ideas. Just a teaser, I am calling one story idea ,Cannibal Holocaust. looking forward to letting you know what happens next. Take care everyone!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Harrowfaust (Labyrinth Lord) Game

     Yahoo!! I ran a game of Labyrinth Lord set in Harrowfaust, from the Tales of the Grotesque and the Dungeonesque Gothic fantasy setting. Harrowfaust is the region that the vampires vs. pennagalan and is populated by superstitious peasants. My three players decided to run a paladin, fighter, and a magic user. They are started in the village of Bremond and have joined with a group of sun worshiping vampire hunters who hide in an abandoned church.

     The leader of the hunters, Cristoff, tried to convince to the group of the reality of vampires. The players remained skeptical but are willing to stick around if there is pay involved. Cristoff then sends them to the home of the village elder, who will be expecting them, to retrieve a few items hidden under his floorboards. Also, recently the local baron has sent a representative on an inspection of his lands, the group should be wary of this individual.

      Upon arriving at Jean Michel's hut, comes out of a neighboring house to tell them that he was chased out of his hut by some vicious looking rats, so to be careful. They entered and located to hole where the items had been stored and also the giant rats had come out of. The items (two bags of grain and a bottle of holy water) were gone, presumably with the rats down an ominous tunnel.

     Viola, the fighter, set to crawling down the tunnel when it collapsed into a cave. Quin, the magic user tied off a rope and climbed down with Alexander, the paladin. As they looked about the area, seven giant rats leaped upon them. After beating down the rats they found a trail of grain leading through a tunnel into another cave chamber. Crossing the chamber, they were set upon by three giant centipedes, scuttling after them. Finishing off these three creepy creatures they then came upon the object of there search, a room whose floor was cluttered with various mushrooms and fungi. Giant rats skittered amongst them, hiding their numbers and across the room lay a rather large specimen, even for a giant rat. amongst the debris and detritus scattered about this lounging beast was the bags of grain as well as gleaming bits of treasure.

     What followed was a close fight for their lives as the group battled nineteen of these giant rats, only to have the monster rat at the end leap from it's throne of debris and wriggle away through a crevice. The group emerged triumphant, though sick from whatever disease the rats were carrying and that is where it ended. I am hoping to continue with the story next weekend. Take care everyone!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Check this Blog Out

     So, I have been winding down from work, drinking some wine and surfing the net. Possibly a bad combo, but this time I have been checking out Jack's Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque  and man is it cool! Anyone interested in Gothic fantasy or at least something something different should check this out. It is great fun and he has an amazing book regarding Gothic fantasy and information about his home campaign. (I hope that is correct) Please check it out and let me (or him) know what you think. Later!!

Howard's Conan

     So lately I have been reading some Conan stories. When I first began reading the stories when I was younger, it was the Acer (?) compilations. The ones where Decamp and Carter put all of the stories in order of when they occurred in Conan's life. They also changed some things around, so that they may make sense. I did not know this when I originally began reading them, so the unevenness of some of the fiction was just something I just accepted.

     Eventually I discovered the Ballantine Books Compilations, where they keep the original stories in the order Howard wrote them. It is amazing the difference between what Howard wrote and what was written to expand upon and fill in gaps. I recently read Conan of the Isles and Conan the Buccaneer (Decamp/Carter filler) before diving into The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian(original Howard) and the difference is night and day. The former is formulaic while Howard's prose is electric, full of energy but able to channel through different situations. Each story comes from a different period of Conan's life, be it as a king, a thief, or a mercenary, Howard portrays the character superbly. Tempted as I am, I will keep my Acer books since they have the typical Frank Frazetta art that just goes so well with the subject matter.

     Please leave a comment, I know someone visits this blog, but it would be nice to hear what you folks think about it. Thanks everyone and take care!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Paul Crabaugh's Customized Classes

     So, I just picked up a copy of Dragon #109 which contains the aforementioned article. I had this issue as a kid and loved it. Has anyone used this before, I just messed around with it back in the day, as I did not have any serious D&D group back then. The way it works is for every special ability or skill you want your class to know, it raises the experience points necessary to level by a certain percentage. The end of the article contains examples of different classes and how they break down, beginning with typical ones such as fighter, cleric, and magic user. It finishes up with orc, viking, fairy, and ubermensch.

     So I would really like to hear from anyone who has used this, is it worth working with? I also heard they put something like it in the 2nd ed. DMG. Please let me know and take care everyone!

Friday, June 29, 2012

WoW, Minecraft, and Diablo 3. Oh my!!

     Oh man, lately my spare time has been consumed by World of Warcraft, Minecraft, and Diablo 3. Minecraft has overtaken the other two, though I still dip my toe, so to speak, in the other two. Basically Minecraft is like a 3D lego land, and I am currently working on building a pyramid. I tell myself I am only going work on this one thing and soon it is two hours later. So, anyone out there playing anything that keeps calling you back? Let me know!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Things are interesting around here

     Work has gotten better and worse at the same time, I am re-certified but the my job may be drastically changed soon. This craziness has been reflected in my home life as well, but enough of that. This past Saturday we had some friends over and we played Carcassonne and Telestrations. There were six of us and it was so much fun.

     In other news I am getting my 4E D&D game back off the ground but would still like to try something different sometime. That is right Doctor Who rpg, I am looking at you! In the next several days I am hoping to try something new in this blog (well, new for this blog anyways) so please stay tuned! Take care everyone.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Playing with Strangers

     I am reluctant to pay to play games at conventions because of some bad experiences at one of the big shows. It just felt like "Here's four dollars, poke me in the eye.", but that has not been the case at smaller conventions were there is no charge for playing.

     So, the point to this post is, does anyone set up games offsite or in free play areas of a con? If I were to say I was running a game at a certain time at a show, would there be interest? I would feel better running a game where I was in charge and could say "Hey man, tone it down a bit." instead of feeling trapped at a table with a jerk or two.

     That is all for now, feel free to leave me some feedback.Take care guys!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Carcassonne!!

     So, instead of playing 4E this last time, my friends and I played Carcassonne!! It is a tile placement game where the players are building a landscape from southern France. The game ends when the last tile is placed and the winner is the one with the most points. A tile may have a road, city, farmland, or a cloister on it.

       When you place a tile you have the option to place one of your followers, or meeples, on it. If it is placed on a road, it is a thief and you get points once the road is completed. Once you have scored points from a meeple, it returns to you. A meeple in a pasture is a farmer and remains there until the end of the game when you get points for each completed city your farmer supplies. A meeple in a cloister is a monk and grants points when all tiles around it have been placed. Finally, a meeple in a city is a knight and once the city is complete, grants you points and returns to you like the others (except farmers). There are some exceptions but it is pretty easy to pick up and play.

     In addition to playing with my friends, I got my family to play and both times everyone had fun. I am always glad to find a game that is easy to pick up and teach others to play. I feel good about the re-playability of Carcassonne and look forward to playing again soon!

    

Friday, June 8, 2012

Origins, Carcassone and the Doctor Who RPG

     So, I managed to get to Origins this past weekend for one day. Went on the family pass, so it was mostly shopping the dealer's hall and visiting with friends. I got to meet Wil Wheaton and get his autograph which unfortunately this cut into my hanging out with friends time, but was worth it to meet one of the "ambassadors of gaming". I forgot my decision to do more planning regarding these convention visits so started setting things up for this years Gen Con. Seriously, this is planning ahead for me. I am hoping to meet other bloggers there, so if any of you are bloggers and are attending Gen Con 2012, let me know!

     My big dealer's room finds were the Carcassone big box (main game plus five expansions!!) and the Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space rpg, both for half price. I have not played Carcassone yet, but I have been reading up on the Doctor Who game and plan on running it with my family this weekend. I will let you know how that goes, along with Carcassone. Take care everyone, and please leave comments!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Deadlands Finale, Finally!!!

     So, about a month ago, we finally finished the Deadlands game I had been running. The last game we played can be found here http://randomencountersohio.blogspot.com/2012/03/deadlands-game-part-2.html . So the guys went after Miss Chambers as she fled the town and having a bit of a head start. They managed to catch up enough to her as she escaped in the ruins she had recently excavated.

     As the posse approached some cultists ran forward one of the boys attacked with his horse as the others drew their pieces, both sides exchanged hot lead, and horseshoes in one case! As the last cultist fell they noticed the squarish hole before them had a brazier lit at each corner, a broad stone staircase descending into it's depths.

     Heading down the steps, which led to a platform in the center where Miss Chambers was finishing an incantation. Three skin walkers slithered out of what was seemed to be hundreds of bodies all around the platform. The boys opened fire as the fiends advanced upon them, one of the skin walkers attempting to jump over stairs to get to the preacher in the back but slipping back into the mass of corpses. Johnny was in the front tussling with a walker as Richard took aim with his rifle. After some close calls it came down to Miss Chambers and one skin walker versus the guys. The preacher created a whirlwind that pulled Anna and the last walker into it, along with a flaming brazier. Johnny ran back up the stairs, remembering that he had seen a wagon as they arrived. Just as he hoped, it contained dynamite, and he shouted to his compatriots to get out of the way as he pushed the wagon down the stairs and into the whirlwind. The dancing flames and hot coals from the brazier caught the dynamite and exploded, setting the pit ablaze.

     Any questions or comments, I am done with my classes for work, and am getting back into the swing of things. Take care everyone!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

PvP Online:Shecky

     So, a few days ago, Scott Kurtz posted on his blog (check it out here http://www.pvponline.com/ )about his character, Shecky, cousin to fan favorite Skull. In it he states that "No character has been more universally hated among PvP readers, than poor Shecky." and I can see why he may be disliked, but hated is a bit strong. Apparently he was brought into the pvp universe to give Skull a sense of having come from somewhere and not just being popped into existence from the ether.

     His character works in broad strokes (pretending to be a baby to steal for booze money) but he has this underlying sneakiness and possibly warmth that just works for me.I'm trying to remember/locate the second story that he appears in but I seem to be at an impasse. It had to do with good old Shecky wrapped up in a romance (?) with a medusa. If someone knows where I could find that story, let me know please.
   
     Shekels Montgomery Troll seems very vaudevillian to me and I always want to read his lines as if W.C. Fields were saying them. Sure he can be a pain but his actions bring depth to the group as a whole, not just Skull. Kurtz states that what he had in mind was "a character comprised completely of tropes" which further pushes him into vaudeville territory for me, especially with the bowler hat, cigar, and spats.

     Personally I hope to see him again to further explore Skulls troll roots. Plus, spats and bowler hats rock!
Any thing to add? Leave me a comment and I will get back with you. Thanks guys and take care
   

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Andy Hopp and Con on the Cob 2012!!

     I am hoping to finish my Deadlands game this Sunday, though that is not the point of this post. Still mired in work, home, and classes but here I am to let you know of a couple great things coming to you this year.

     First off is Andy Hopp has started a Kickstarter to bring his latest Low Life book, The Whole Hole: a gadabouts guide to Mutha Oith  to the masses! Go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1359565526/low-life-the-whole-hole-a-gadabouts-guide-to-mutha to check it out. If you like Andy's art, you owe it to yourself to check it out, and if you have his original Low Life book, this is like that turned up to eleven. All of the art is in color and man is it amazing! Go check it out.

     Also, Andy's annual Con on the Cob has recently begun taking registrations. Go to http://cononthecob.com/ to sign up. In addition to Andy Hopp's signature weirdness their are other notables who will be in attendance, such as Kay and Tony Steele, Meg Lyman, Heather Krieter, and more.

     On a final note, Pinnacle Entertainment will soon be releasing their Savage Worlds Deluxe rules in their popular explorer's edition format. As far as I know it will be ten dollars, making it affordable for most gaming groups to jump in and get playing. Check out their site here for updates and/or details http://www.peginc.com/ Take care everyone, and please feel free to comment.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Playing Online

     So things still remain hectic in my life, hence the gap between my last post and this one. I am curious about running games online using Google hangouts, does anyone have any tips? Thinking of using the video/voice chat and having everyone use an instant messenger for player notes. So please leave comments and I'll do a follow up soon. Take care guys!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Old School D&D

     I am going to try and sum up Labyrinth Lord's, as well as original D&D's, appeal to me. The characters are created easily enough since they are rolled up randomly. It is a bit like meeting a person for the first time and you are getting to know them. Also they can be such fragile things, sometimes you end up running your but out of danger. Another appeal for me is the way adventures and monsters were written, sometimes a room is just a room and a creature is just a creature. There just happens to be an ornate statue in the middle of the room or there is a strange looking cow munching on the moss in some subterranean cavern. If the DM wants to, he can make it sinister or just look sinister.

     In the very early 80's, we were visiting relatives in Eastern Ohio and an older cousin had some weird books called "Dungeons and Dragons". Of course I wanted to look at them, I was into science fiction and fantasy, but I really fell for this game. I could do whatever I wanted, be bad or good, make mistakes, and yes, even help people. It really put my love of fiction into overdrive and gave my something to look forward to when visiting family out here. I owe a debt to my cousin, who I have not seen in over twenty years. I wonder if he still plays.

     So maybe a portion of the games appeal is it's reminder of times long ago. Along with the ability to pretend, to do things I cannot normally do, like face down giant rats under a mill or saving a someone from some horrible fate. Well, that's all for now, take care guys.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Labyrinth Lord!!

     So, a few weeks ago I played in a game of Labyrinth Lord that a friend of mine ran at a local game store. It was my first time playing it, but I knew what to expect with it being a retro clone. I knew most of the people there and everyone just turned up the fun factor, even when the dice were not going our way. Now I have this overwhelming desire to play/run this game. Then the next weekend, my friend showed me a kick starter for Dwimmermount, a mega dungeon written for Labyrinth Lord and the ACKs system. James Maliszewski is the man behind it and it looks amazing, bringing me back to when I first got into Dungeons and Dragons. Which should not be a surprise as he has a blog all about gaming from that era, check out  Grognardia here http://grognardia.blogspot.com .Also the Dwimmermount link is here http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/142014231/dwimmermount?ref=card . Check this stuff out and please let me know what you think.Take care everyone!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Deadlands Game part 2

     So we last left our posse of grizzled hombres in the the town of Avarice sitting in the guest cottage of their friend, wondering what was really going on. The Professor brushed them off and said she had to go out to check on some research. She gave them a basket of bread, meat, and cheese for their dinner and was then on her way. After talking it out a bit, the guys decide to check her research in the main house, which involves opening a locked door. If it's your friend's house, is still considered breaking in?

     They locate her study, open her desk, and begin examining Ms. Chamber's notes. Everything seems harmless enough, maybe they are not needed after all. Oh look, someone has recently put a lock on one of the desk drawers. One picked lock later and they are looking at the Professor's original notes. Certain words have been scratched out but with a bit of work they can make it out- skinwalker! This ominous piece of information sends our group in search of Ms. Chambers.

     It is now evening in Avarice as they move through town, looking for their friend. There is a light on at the stables, so they sneak a peek inside. The Professor is speaking to four hooded individuals and gesturing to the stable boy, who laying tied up and gagged in the corner. So the Preacher kicks the door open and starts shooting as the menacing hooded figures advance upon them. Three of them attack with knives while the last one has a set of nasty red claws, and they soon find out why when his (?) hood falls back to reveal a hideous mass of muscle and bone, but no skin!! Our guys manage to keep it together and take these guys out, but Ms. Chambers has escaped out the back.

     That is how we ended our last session, unfortunately we are having trouble setting up a new game. When we do I will let you all know how it goes. Take care and please leave me a comment.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Work, Work, Work (and my Deadlands game)

     I have been very busy due to work related issues, and I do not see it slowing down anytime soon. This means I will be shooting for one post a week. On the plus side of things my group got together this past Sunday and we played some Deadlands.

     Last game ended with the guys (Johnny, Richard, and the Reverend Josiah Love) getting off the train in Avarice. Well, the Reverend needed help off since he had been shot up during a train robbery. The group turned over a bandit they had captured and the corpse of one they had killed.

     So, in game we picked up several days later after Josiah had a chance to recover. They find out that their friend Professor Annabelle Chambers has been out working outside off town, but she should be back soon. While waiting at the saloon they ask some locals if they know anything about what the Professor has found. About this time, a man rushed in to get a drink before he went to the sheriff. It seems animals had dug up that fella they buried a couple days ago. The group asked him some questions and then decided to go with him and see if they could help. Eventually they ended up at the cemetery investigating the grave and coming to the conclusion that it was not dug up, something came out of it. They decide to follow tracks that lead away from the grave and which eventually get obscured by wagon tracks.

     About that time a buckboard wagon approached, heading towards town. It halted and their friend, Ms. Chambers leaned out and asked if they would like a ride into town. They accepted and began their conversation by asking what she had found and why she had been so worried and secretive. Apparently she had misinterpreted some local lore, but it ended up being something harmless. If they want to stay in her guest house, that would be fine, but there is nothing to be concerned about.

     And I have to stop right there, I will let you all know how it turned out later on tonight. Take care!!