Monday, December 17, 2012

Thoughts on Neutrality

Who doesn't remember this?  Chaos guy is about to kill the prisoner while Lawful man is holding him back.

Lawful is the alignment of community and prosperity.  Order and structure, predictability, and the overall good of the group.  Men of intellect and conscience should lean toward a more holistic and selfless outlook.

Chaos is the embodiment of destruction and selfishness.  The knife wielder may be a good man.  The thing in his arms is obviously Evil and probably deserves to die.  I mean it's me or him, right?

So what about that third guy?  Mr. Neutral doesn't seem to care about what's going on - the fiend can live or die, and Lawful and Chaos can fight over it or not.  Whatever.

Why is this interesting?  Goodman Games Dungeon Crawl Classic RPG introduces Cthulhu as a Neutral deity.  Neutral?  I would imagine the consensus to be that Cthulhu is Chaotic, so saying he's neutral is a bit of a stir.  But think about it.  When did neutral become the embodiment of Balance?  It seems pretty obvious from the image above that neutrality is ambivalence.  Cthulhu isn't going to usher in an age of terror and pain to spite humanity - we're just the ants in his lawn.  Our blood-soaked demise is not personal and I would argue, not even the goal.  We are of no consequence - that is neutral.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Rat Swarms Part I

Does anyone know of any good OSR resources for dealing with swarms in general and rat swarms in particular?

Swords & Wizardry - no.  Delving Deeper - no.  LotFP - no.  Heros Against Darkness - kind of, but no.  Secret Fire - uh, if its there it's probably encrypted.  Barebones - nope.  Crypts & Things - no.  Champions of Zed - don't know yet...

Joseph Bloch's Adventures Dark and Deep - A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore mentions an Insect Swarm spell in passing without giving the actual spell or anything like in the monster section.

Goodman's Games DCC RPG uses the following mechanics
Vermin attractor. The spell attracts a swarm of bothersome insects to the caster’s location that arrive 1d4 rounds after the spell is completed. These insects mill about the caster, biting for 1 point of damage and causing the caster to suffer a -1 penalty to all saving throws, initiative rolls, and spell checks for 1d10 rounds or until he takes adequate measures to disperse or escape the swarm.
 Rat swarm: Init +4; Atk swarming bite +1 melee (1 plus disease); AC 9; HD 4d8; MV 40’ or climb 20’; Act special; SP bite all targets within 20’ x 20’ space, half damage from non-area attacks, disease (DC 5 Fort save or additional 1d3 damage); SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will -2; AL N.
Labyrinth Lord uses
Ordinary rats range in size from 6" long to 2' long. They can be black, brown, or gray in color. They live in packs that can consist of great numbers. Rat packs get 1 attack per 10 individuals, inflicting 1d6 hit points of damage per hit. If a character is swarmed by a whole pack, he must succeed in a saving throw versus death or fall to the ground under the writhing rodent horde. He may stand up the following round, but makes a new saving throw if still under the swarm. The opponent can make no attacks until he gets back on his feet.
bats are small and do not attack for significant damage. However, when in a group of 10 or more they are able to confuse by swarming around an opponent. When confused by a swarm of bats, an opponent makes all rolls to hit and all saving throws with a penalty of –2. No spell casting is possible. Normal bats are not particularly prone to fight, and as such they are susceptible to a morale check once each round. This does not apply to bats that are under another's control.
I like the distraction mechanic.  Blood & Treasure by John Stater has a pretty good treatment
Any creature covered by a swarm must make a Fortitude saving throw each round or be distracted, suffering a ‐2 penalty to all attacks and saving throws. Distracted spell casters must succeed at a Will saving throw to cast spells.
He also goes on to outline how you damage a swarm since in his version they are immune to physical attacks
  • A lit torch deals 1d3 points of fire damage per hit.
  • A weapon with a special ability such as flaming or frost deals its full energy damage with each hit even if the weapon’s normal damage can’t affect the swarm.
  • A lit lantern can be used as a thrown weapon against a swarm, dealing 1d4 points of fire damage.
  • A spell that does damage to an area does full damage to a swarm.
Anyway, before I start crafting something custom, I was hoping someone out there cold point me to an module or system that uses an alternative.

Friday, November 2, 2012

SW7 Leaked Images

I just found some evidently leaked pre-poduction images from the new Disney Star Wars VII film!!!

Check em out at James Hance's blog, especially like herehere, and here...


Friday, September 21, 2012

Post-Apocalyptic Cream-Filled Snack Cakes

No really.  Low Life is the very imaginative post-apocalyptic role playing game using the Savage Worlds rules.  It's extremely colorful and full of interesting ideas.  Check this guy out:

Yes, that is a scorched Twinkies wielding a flaming war-hammer of flame.  So what's the point?  Well, Andy Hopp (and you should check him out, he's done a lot of impressive art for more traditional RPGs) is adding new supplements to Setting, including miniatures

Right now there is a Kickstarter campaign going on to get dozens of these crazy illustrations set in 3D.  Check it out, there is only a day or two left.

Friday, August 31, 2012

A Game I Want to Play

Here is a beautiful quote perfectly describing the game I want to play:
The PC casualties in that campaign were ridiculously high.  Just getting from the beginning to the end of the session with the same PC was an exhilarating victory.  That's why I'm all for save-or-die, level drain, zero level funnels and balanced-dungeons-my-ass.  Not because I'm enjoy forcing players to suffer the same way I did, but because I want them to experience the high of just escaping the session with your life.

from Jeff Rient's blog.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I Suck At This

I read a great slew of blogs on a daily basis...but I can't seem to find the discipline of blogging myself.

So here is a quick something something just say something.

The Relationship Between A and B is (opt. 1-4 Bidirectional; 5-6 Unidirectional)
  • 1-2: Hostile (worst)
  • 3-7: Unfriendly
  • 8-13: Indifferent
  • 14-18: Friendly
  • 19-20: Helpful (best)
How is A Related to B
  1. blood relations (roll on Family Chart)
  2. by marriage (roll on Family Chart)
  3. married to
  4. loves
  5. is intimate with
  6. childhood friends with
  7. owes money to / is indebted to
  8. knows a secret about
  9. experienced something dramatic with
  10. accused of some wrong by
  11. works for
  12. is indentured to / is a slave/servant to
  13. works with
  14. is in the same business as
  15. lives next to
  16. cheated
  17. is stalking / infatuated with
  18. there is absolutely no relationship
  19. looks shockingly similar to
  20. has a mutual friend with
  21. is well known by through some great deed
  22. frequents the same hangouts as
  23. is of the same faith as
  24. served in the town militia with
  25. has some unexplained psychic/empathetic connection to
  26. neither person will discuss it, even under pain of death
  27. parents adventured together
  28. reroll and apply to parents
  29. reroll and apply to A's sibling
  30. roll twice
Family Relations (A is a X to B)
  1. parent
  2. child
  3. sibling
  4. cousin
  5. aunt/uncle
  6. grandparent
  7. grandchild
  8. distant cousins

Here are some links to the forefathers of such thinking:

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Digital Format

The big news coming out of GenCon appears to be the WotC announcement concerning the release of all their products in digital format.


...Wait, what? Digital format? Does that mean I can pick up the Moldvay edition of D&D Basic in PDF or does that mean I can pay a monthly fee to access some version of D&D Basic on your website?

Those are two very different things - the former will create a customer whereas the latter will just espouse more bitterness and I'll just keep using the copy I have, your loss.

I don't have much faith but we'll see.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Numenera And Potential Campaign

update: it's already funded...I wonder how high it will go?

Numenera: A new roleplaying game from Monte Cook

Curse you Kickstarter!!!  I've got 39 days to come up with money...

From and Monte's blog there are a couple of hints here and there...I'm always interested in new ways to play, but I'm leary of things like "choose from a number of descriptors like clever, tough, strong-willed, or mystical."  I'm just old fashioned and biased towards what I know, so if anyone can win me over it'll be Mr. Cook.  Here's a bunch of my money.

Which makes me want to talk about FATE ladders and stuff...but not today.  I can see a D&D game in my not too unobtainable future and I need to figure out what to play!  I'm trying to decide between the following three four contenders so the next couple of posts will probably be my ramblings about the various Pros and Cons.
  1. Pathfinder
  2. pure Moldvay/Cook
  3. pure DCC RPG
  4. mish-mash of OSR gems
    1. fighter from DCC RPG
    2. thief from LotFP WFRPG
    3. Cleric & Wizard from S&W or LL
    4. house rules absconded from all over the OSR blogosphere

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Advanced Adventures Sale

I just saw that Expeditious Retreat Press is having a 50% off sale for today only - check out Joseph's Sorcery & Super Science blog for details.

Personally, if you don't already have it you should consider getting Stonesky Delve, the Shadowvein trilogy (here, here, and here), The Seven Shrines of Nav'k-Qar, or any one of another half-dozen great offerings.  As much as I love these, they are a bit expensive so a sale like this is great.  I think I'll finally pick up The Verdant Vault of Malakum.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Little Me and Pips

I'm a D&D guy since back when my dad tried to teach me the game from the Moldvay B/X box (and now that I think of it I cannot imagine why he ever bought it actually...weird).  Although back in the day I played Gamma World, Star Frontier, Car War, and even some James Bond, Star Trek (meets Aliens), and Twilight 2000, really I was a D&D player at heart.  I was infatuated with anything to do with Camelot, magic swords, and dragons.

Today, real life almost always keeps me from playing.  I spend a lot time reading blogs and buying up products to keep myself involved.  I love the plethora of games out there and I'm fascinated by all the various ways people play.  One of the things I want to with this outlet is to document (review?) stuff, mainly D&D but also rules and mechanics.

I'm also a Kickstarter junkie, but that's for another day...

One of the things I was thoroughly impressed with from the Lamentations of the Flame Pricess Weird Fantasy Role-Playing Game (LotFP: WFRPG, or just WFRPG) is the skills d6 mechanic.  By itself, its a great little simplification to Thieve abilities with the addition that everyone gets a shot at it.  However, I was also enamored by the graphical representation of the skill by using dice.  Shade in the pips to represent your skill level.  Brilliant.

Now jump over to Sham's Grog & Blog and the Art of Delving.  Here is a nice mechanic for adjudicating tasks that allows for improvement (using pips).  I like this because (extrapolating) you don't all of a sudden get better at picking locks when all you've done lately is kill monster and take their loot.  Here your lock-picking only gets better when you actually pick locks.  Nice.

Tsojcanth from Lost Pages has taken this a step further and created a whole new game around the idea: Adventure Fantasy Game.  I waffled a few days but finally bought it.  I hope to do a more thorough review soon because I really like the concept applied to skills for OSR games.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ooze Pits

Just finished reading through The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk and oh my gosh this Purple Sorcerer is amazing!

This adventure has it all, pig-stealing mist-men, bizarre cults, castle raids, freakishly huge trees, ooze out the wazoo, and tons and tons of PC death in pure DCC RPG style.  The best part though is that there are so many plot hooks and side adventure ideas a lazy GM could spawn off all kinds of setting-defining threads.

Remember, the Funnel is your Friend

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day & Free RPG Day

So today is Father's Day!!!  Happy Father's Day all you Dad's out there...

Yesterday was Free RPG Day and here is a little picture of what went down at the only local store participating this year (within reasonable driving distance):

I'm not even going to pretend to be all Above All That concerning the edition wars - you play what you want and have a blast - I consider myself firm in the OSR camp but I'm a charter subscriber to everything Paizo publishes (except the maps and minis).  It warms my bitter old shriveled heart to see three different Pathfinder adventures being hosted on the big 8-seater table while the 4e games was on the little 4-seater.

I know, I know, that's not nice.  Sorry.  The 7-8 guys playing Slavers of the Sunken Garden game was noisy and laughing and generally sounded to be having a good time.  The DM was pretty animated and paced around.  The 4 guys playing 4e were more serious and subdued as they listened to their DM talk about damage with the cold descriptor or something.

Oh, well, it was awesome to get out and see everyone role-playing, really.  All the hating aside, I spent most of the morning talking to 10-15 years olds about the power of hanging out with your friends, drinking Dr Pepper, eating Cheetos, and rolling dice.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Day Two Didn't Happen

Well I didn't post anything yesterday because I was too concerned about trying to sound all high fluted and fancy with a relevant point and whatever.

Ok, that's not me and I have no point so what the point?

Something is better than nothing so I'll just hope that I'll find my voice as I go along.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

First Post

This is my first post...

I've been lurking around the OSR blogosphere for many years but I've never really felt the urge to have my own blog.  ...still not sure it's really necessary, but eh, why not?!?  If nothing else this will be an excellent spot for collecting links to my favorite blogs and their more interesting bits.

I rely on sites such as James Raggi's Lamentations of the Flame Princess and Stuart Robertson's OSR Links for getting to the blogs I like to keep up with.

Over the next few days I'll be trying out various layouts and formats, trying to get this site to look more like me.  In the mean while, bare with me.  I plan on talking first about all the cool stuff going on right now - namely Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns I've contributed to.  And I'll explain the site name and other random bits.