Tuesday, September 20, 2016

TridentCon Prep Progress Update

When I posted again for the first time in a year, I listed some items that I needed to complete prior to TridentCon in October. I have been making good progress so far.

  1. Refresh my Savage Worlds rules knowledge
  2. Refresh my Star Wars rules knowledge
  3. Make pregens for Savage Rifts
  4. Make pregens for Star Wars
  5. Write Savage Rifts adventure
  6. Write Star Wars adventure
  7. Play test?
  8.  Find Savage Rifts minis
  9. Finish Final Fantasy V
  10. Finish Pokemon Yellow
I have also made some progress on finding minis for my Savage Rifts game, I plan to use the Token Tool and just use tokens. I used to use Token Tool all the time for Savage Worlds, but I completely forgot about it. Now I just need to find some good pictures and get to work.

I haven't made as much progress on the video game front. I have not touched Final Fantasy V, and I have barely played Pokemon Yellow. The main culprit here is the arrival of Dragon Quest VII for the 3DS. I pre-ordered it, but thought it came out in October for some reason. I barely put any time in to DWVII on the PS1, because it was so rough for its time and had such a slow start. I am about 5 hours in to DQVII and I am loving it so far.

I am still debating whether or not to back the GURPS Dungeon Fantasy kickstarter. I love GURPS, but I have not had a chance to play it in years. Maybe the box set will grab some attention and I can find folks into giving it a try. I have been running old school style D&D for about 8 years straight, other than Edge of Empire, and I am itching to do something at least a little bit different. I primarily used GURPS for hard scifi in the past, I would love to get back to that again.

We had a good Stonehell session this weekend. The players finally explored another one of my sublevels, The Conquistador's Tomb, thhat they discovered over a year ago, but never entered. I had a group explore the tomb at TridentCon last year, but I changed it quite a bit after that. If I can find an easy to use map making tool, I will draw it up and post it here. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Square Enix Brings Back King's Knight

The first video game I bought with my own money was Squaresoft's King's Knight for the NES. This was a time when you had to rely on the laminated cards in Toys 'R Us to determine whether a game was going to be good. Sure there were game magazines, but there was no guarantee they would cover a game, and they could be owned by the company trying to sell you the game anyway.

King's Knight looked like a Zelda-style game, it was not. It looked awesome, it was not. King's Knight was a forced-scrolling shooter with terrible jumping thrown in. Most of the game play was getting crushed by terrain at the bottom of the screen. While I have no data, my guess is that after the release of Final Fantasy, a lot of very confused kids bought this piece of junk.

Now in an attempt to rehabilitate Final Fantasy, which has had a rough decade, Square Enix is tying the return of King's Knight to the upcoming Final Fantasy 15.

Friday, September 16, 2016


If you play in my Stonehell game, do not read this entry.

Tomorrow I am running another session of my Stonehell C&C game with my regular group. Last time, they had an amusing foray into one of the sublevels I created. I was very pleased with how it went. You can find a pdf of the level here. I used ChicagoWiz's One Page Dungeon Template to make itI placed this level where room 10 in level 1A used to be. There is a staircase that goes up 60' to this sublevel. 

For me, the most amusing part of the game was their combat encounter with a naked man. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Savage Worlds Reread

So, I am about halfway through my reread of the Savage Worlds and I forgot how much I loved this game. I played a lot of Savage Worlds back in the mid-aughts, but I haven't touched it much since I moved for law school in 2008. I basically used Savage Worlds for everything for a while, it seemed like everyone was at the time. Of course the Internet was a bit more fragmented in those days, broken up into a lot more forum based communities, so it could have just been the Fear the Boot forums that we're going crazy with it (Savage Worlds Woooooo!). 

Over time I moved away from Savage Worlds in favor of games where the mechanics were more tied to the theme of the games. I had played so much Savage Worlds that I could always see the man behind the curtain. Fantasy started to fell the same as scifi, which felt the same as superheroes. This is a danger for all generic systems, and a good argument for not using them for too many different campaigns back-to-back. I think this was even more of a problem for Savage Worlds because it was so rules light. But, as I have been rereading it, I am remembering how much I enjoyed it. I am really looking forward to running it again at TridentCon.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

One Year Since Last Post

So it has been a year since my last post. I never have been any good at updating this thing. I have had a pretty busy year and done a lot of gaming. I have a large amount of gaming related things going on in the short term, and I hope to use the blog to force myself to keep moving.

I am running three games at TridentCon in a month. I will be running:

  1. A Castles & Crusades Stonehell session. This requires almost no prep on my part as I use both the rules and the setting for my regular game.
  2. A Savage Rifts adventure that I am writing. This is going to be the most trouble of the three. I have played a lot of Savage Worlds, but I have not touched it in about 5 years. I backed Savage Rifts, and I have read through the .pdfs. I need to go back through the Deluxe Rulebook and actually write the adventure. I also need to come up with suitable miniatures, paper of plastic.
  3. A WEG d6 Star Wars adventure. I have not run this game in a very long time, but it is simple, and I ran it every week for 4 years in the '90s, so it should be easy to get back up to speed. 
I am running a session of my home C&C Stonehell game next weekend. This will require some prep, but not too much. I was able to restock and update immediately after the last game. I introduced a new sublevel last time, and I was very happy with how it went. I have made four sublevels for Stonehell. Two of which have seen play. Oddly, the two oldest are the two that have never seen play, because no group has ever found them. I made them shortly after Stonehell came out, so that is a long time laying unused.

I have also been working on burning down my RPG backlog, both tabletop and video game RPGs. I finally finished reading through all of the 5th edition rulebooks for D&D. I read through the PHB and Starter Set when they came out, and I liked what I read. I have played in a few sessions and run a few sessions as well. I don't know that reading the DMG really changes my opinion of the game in any way. It was a good DMG.

I have also been working my way through the .pdfs I have of Lamentations of the Flame Princess and Castles & Crusades adventures. I must have bought bundles of both some time in the last couple of years, because I have a lot of each company's adventures. I have made it through most of the LotFP modules and the first three A Series modules for C&C.

I also uncovered several boxes of RPG stuff that date back to high school in my parents' attic, and I have been slowly going through all of that. One interesting thing I found in there was a campaign I had been working on where I was converting all of my MERP supplements to AD&D 2nd Edition. I find this interesting because +trey causey has been publishing an effort to make a pulpy Middle Earth on his blog. While that is a very different thing, it has still sparked my interest in what I was doing back then. I didn't have any concept of pulp, swords and sorcery, or "old school" in the mid '90s; but I was trying to make the supplements work in AD&D. I did know that this required more than just converting stats over (some of the supplements even had charts for that already), I knew it required a rethinking of the world of Middle Earth to fit D&D. Those supplements were great, and I would still love to do something/see something done with them. I will be watching From the Sorcerer's Skull closely over the coming weeks.

Anyway, I have a long list ahead of me over the next few weeks:

  1. Refresh my Savage Worlds rules knowledge
  2. Refresh my Star Wars rules knowledge
  3. Make pregens for Savage Rifts
  4. Make pregens for Star Wars
  5. Write Savage Rifts adventure
  6. Write Star Wars adventure
  7. Play test?
  8.  Find Savage Rifts minis
  9. Finish Final Fantasy V
  10. Finish Pokemon Yellow
On those last two, I always have at least two games going, one console and one handheld. I am trying to finish all of the Final Fantasy games before FFXV comes out later this year. That isn't as hard as it sounds since I beat most of the games when they came out. In the last year or so, I have finished FFX and FFVIII. I just finished a play through of FFVII last weekend. I beat that one when it came out, but it has been so long I hardly remembered what happened. I never beat FFV, as the PS1 version was crap. I am currently working on the GBA version, but playing it on an emulator (I have the cart). This would be the last of the good, main series games that I have not beat. I have never completed FFII or FFIII, but I have played both extensively in the past. I don't know if they are really worth going back to, but I will at least give them a shot. 

I have never played a Pokemon game before, but my four-year-old is obsessed, so I picked up Yellow for my 3DS. I am liking it so far, but it is often pretty hard to figure out what I am supposed to be doing. I play a lot of old games, so I accept the fact that things were just more opaque on the 8-but systems. We will see how that goes. Luckily there are lots of guides for that game. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Mines of Phandelver

Tonight, I ran the first sessions of the D&D 5e Starter Set adventure, Mines of Phandelver. It went really well. One of the players is in my C&C Stonehell group and runs 5e on a regular basis. The other two have only played a RPG once before during a Greyhawk Reborn event. They did very well and are a lot of fun to play with.

I made some changes to the adventure. Most obviously, I set it in Mystara instead of Forgotten Realms. The players started out in Threshold and headed out for Phandelver to look for their missing dwarf friend Gundark. They discovered the remains of his caravan and were ambushed by goblins. They tracked a fleeing goblin to a cave. As they made their way into the cave, they were hit by two floods from goblins breaking dams above them. They decided to try another route. Their initial push into the cave saw them rescuing Sildar, one of Gundark's bodyguards. Sildar told them that Gundark had discovered the long lost Wave Echo Cave, and that he believed the bugbear in this cave had captured him to find the cave.

After a short rest the party pushed on to take on the bugbear. The characters wound up fighting the entirety of the last two encounters at once on the bridge. They handled it well and overcame the odds with some help from goblins falling to their death while trying to sneak up behind them. I think the 5e system really shined during this encounter. The players were able to do interesting and clever things but the game kept moving quickly.

I have now been both a player and DM in 5e and I am looking forward to playing it some more. I think this is a really good introductory adventure. This may be the best introductory set they have had since the final Basic D&D box sets back in the '90s.

Friday, September 11, 2015

City Month Day 8

This is what I have worked out for the background of the city so far.

A thousand years ago, the Prime Material Plane was devoured by a strange extra-planar force. The great wizards and scientists of the worlds of the Prime Material Plane had time to construct 12 Sphere Arks with which to save as many people (now called Primers) as possible. These Sphere Arks were set adrift in the multiverse to find a new home for the Primers. The Sphere Arks are the height of the Magitech art. Each sphere houses tens of thousands of Primers in a city built on its inner surface. The Sphere Arks' surfaces protect them from many of the dangers of interplanar travel, but their residents must still go out to explore, and outsiders still must come in to trade.

Sphere One has drifted long and far, and still there is no sign of a place to call home. Many generations have lived and died in the Ark ad the memories of life in the Prime Material Plane have faded to legends. Knowledge of Magitech has faded and the wondrous machines that the Ark depends on are falling into disrepair. Occasionally, caches of Magitech items are found, but they are few and far between. It has been centuries since the last time another Sphere Ark was sighted, and the residents of Sphere Ark One have to accept the fact that they may be the last of their kind.

The characters are members of the Prime Guard, the police force of the city. Keeping peace in this town is a hard job. Sphere Ark One has collected a strange mix of residents over centuries of drifting between the planes; demons, elementals, and outsiders of every kind inhabit the city now. They commit every sort of crime you can think of, and come up with new ones every day.