Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Busy Week

It has been a busy week or so around here. I am in crunch time to get a legal brief written and I am putting the finishing touches on the start of my OSRIC campaign.

Good stuff is on the way though. Two weeks ago I played in a Pathfinder game and I will be sitting in on another session this Saturday. There will be recaps of those two games going up soon. After the Pathfinder game, at 6 PM, I finally kick off my OSRIC game. Stonhell awaits!

I also confirmed that I will be staying with the Podgecast boys at GenCon this year. I had a blast last year and cannot wait to do it all again.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Adventure Names: Songs

I would love to see what an adventure with any of these names would be like (in easy to use d100 form)

1. Last Train to London
2. In the Hall of the Mountain King
3. Welcome to My Nightmare
4. Heart of Glass
5. The Bringer of Old Age
6. Jungleland
7. Darkness on the Edge of Town (Hey, I am from NJ)
8. The Man Who Sold the World
9. Child in Time
10.Spanish Caravan
11.Soldiers of the Wastelands
12.Burn Down the Mission
13.The Ecstasy of Gold
14. Gabriel's Oboe
15.Wanderers from Ys
16.Castles Made of Sand
17.Vanishing World
18.Walking the Path of Legend
19.The Ancient City Surfaces
20.Collapse of the Ark Napishtim
21.Scenes From a Night's Dream
22.Duke's Travels
23.Land of Confusion
24.Firth of Fith
25.In the Cage
26.Los Endos
27.Watcher of the Skies
28.Dance on a Volcano
29.Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
30.Dark Horse
31.Rocket Queen
32.The Lonely Bull
33.2 Minutes to Midnight
34.Can I Play With Madness
35.The Evil That Men Do
36.Duel of the Fates
37.Electric Eye
38.Bat out of Hell
39.Dead Ringer For Love
40.Symphony of Destruction
41.Wake Up Dead
42.Fire on the Mountain
43.Hooligan's Holiday
44.The World is Not Enough
45.Butterflies and Hurricanes
46.Knights of Cydonia
47.Mt. Ordeals
48.Road to Nowhere
49.Wolfman's Brother
50.Purple Rain
51.Keep Yourself Alive
52.Seven Seas of Rhye
53.A Kind of Magic
54.Who Wants to Live Forever
55.Imitation of Life
56.The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight
57.Ashes in the Fall
58.People of the Sun
59.No Shelter
60.Sympathy for the Devil
61.Pulsing Towards Ruin
62.Living for the City
64.Handle With Care
65.Tweeter and the Monkey Man
66.Xanadu (Just seeing if you are still reading)
67.King of Kings
68.The Watchers are Being Watched
69.The Musical Pocket Watch
70.Once Upon a Time in the West
71.Cinema Paradiso
74.Home by the Sea
75.Midnight Rider
76.Night on Bald Hill
77.Whipping Post
78.Space Truckin'
79.Rainbow Demon
80.The Magician's Birthday
81.Echoes in the Dark
82.Footprints in the Snow
83.God of Thunder
84.The Hanging Tree
85.Atomic Punk
86.Verklärte Nacht
87.Consecration of the House
88.Screaming for Vengence
89.Symphonie Fantastique
90.Locomotive Breath
91.The Ancient Giants Under the Sun
92.On The Silent Wings of Freedom
93.Gates of Delirium
94.The Three Fates
96.Phantom Lord
97.Disposable Heroes
98.The Ones Who Help to Set the Sun
99.Under a Glass Moon
100.Prophets of War

Friday, January 8, 2010

Fight On! Issue 4

I got way behind on these reviews so the next few will just be quick thoughts so I can get caught up to the present.

I love the Arudin Trilogy picture on page 8. I don't know exactly what Arudin is, I gather it is pretty wild and gonzo, but you had me at "busty elf decapitates lizardman."

I like Hook-Hand Jack, he is my kind of creepy NPC.

The "House of the Axe" by Calithena is a pretty cool adventure. I really like how the ghost is handled and the apartment level. If I use it, I will probably just use the house parts though. Personally, I think all the dungeon crawling in the basement levels will lessen the haunted house feel. They are well done though.

I am probably going to use "Random Rooms" by Michael Curtis to flesh out my sub-level for Stonehell. I have some stuff I want to work in fairly early. I'd like to stick with the whole random/megadungeon spirit where I can.

"Home Remedies for Common Dungeon Ailments", "Carousing Mishaps" and "Random Facial Hair" by Jeff Rients are clever. I got a kick out of these.

I am torn about "The Tower of Duvan'Ku". I enjoyed reading it, it is a clever idea, it would be fun to run as a GM. I am not sure that it would be fun to play in as a player. It is almost like an Andy Kaufman skit, or Borat set up. They aren't really a lot of fun for the targets, just the people who are in on the joke. I will need to think about this one some more. I like it, but I could wind up with a table full of angry players too.

Gabor Lux is as productive and creative as always.

"Fungoid Gardens of the Bone Sorcerer" makes me very interested in Carcosa. I like the style here. I really like the picture on 73. I know there is a lot of controversy around this setting, but none of it sounds like something that would even come close to bothering me.

"The Mysterious Crystal Hemisphere" by James M. is a dungeon level I want to use. I find this level to be far more focused than the other Darkness Beneath levels. The whole thing is just really cool. I like the weird effects outside the ship, the mystery of the whole thing, the alien wierdness, and the puzzle-like nature. I have a pretty good idea how I want to use it too. I will probably have it be a stand alone dungeon. With some minor changes to the background I could tie it into my loose Stonehell plan along with the Stone Wombs (Knockspell #2) and some crazy portals (Knockspell #3).

I am really glad to see a review of Tunnels and Trolls. I picked up a new copy at GenCon this year. I am a long time Flying Buffalo fan, we played many, many hours of Mercenaries, Spies, and Private Eyes as kids. The guy at their booth was really nice, and talked to me for almost half an hour about MSPE.

All in all a good issue. I liked the more generic theme to this issue. The Arudin specific adventure could easily be used anywhere. I still don't grok Tekumel, I think I need to learn a lot more about that some how. Everything I read about it seems interesting.

Blogging Habits

Tim at Gothridge Manor wrote about his blogging habits, how he goes about commenting, reading etc. I use Google Reader. According to Reader I subscribe to 106 blogs, all of them are RPG or video game related. Most of them are pen and paper RPG blogs.

I rarely comment on blogs. I don't really know what to say most of the time. When I do comment I use Cocomment to track responses to the comments. I find this tool to be very helpful. I don't have to remember what blogs I commented on to follow the conversation. I only found out about it a few weeks ago, perhaps I will comment more now that I have a way to track it.

I am a creature of habit when it comes to blog reading. Every day I scroll to 1Up's Retronauts Blog, Grognardia, and West Karana first to see if there are new posts. Then I bounce around to see what else catches my eye until I have read the all the posts.

I usually read all the posts for the day. There are some exceptions, I usually skim monster, spell, and magic item posts. I enjoy these, but rarely read them in depth. I usually just read the headlines from commercial blogs like WotC. And on and some other multi-blog sites I am usually looking for specific blogs that post there.

I need to get better at commenting, and at pointing out posts I really enjoy by calling them out on this blog.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sustainable RPGing: A Letter to the OSR

As I gathered my resources for my OSRIC game I couldn't help but notice something. There are only two books, both out of print, by a major publisher. The City State book is by Sword and Sorcery, I am pretty sure they are White Wolf. The Gygax Names book is by Troll Lord and I am not even sure they qualify as a major publisher. The setting is coming from Goodman Games, some of their stuff is available in B&N so I guess they could be major. But, Points of Light II is written by Rob Conley so it keeps its small community cred as far as I am concerned. Everything else is self published in some fashion. Written by people whose blogs I read.

I get a lot of use out of the Names book, so it was hardly purchased for this campaign. The City State book has been sitting on my shelf for years, I just saw a chance to use it (maybe, if needed). So every single dollar, minus printing costs, spent on this game went right back into the gaming community. Those dollars stayed in gaming. They didn't get taken out for dividends, the weren't used for more popular things by a corporate entity. They went to the creators who will most likely use them to make/buy new gaming stuff.

I am going to nickname that sustainable gaming. Not in any real economic sense, obviously everyone has day jobs, but in the sense that we can get everything we need from each other. I am just using a popular buzzword to describe it. We could do this electronically, or through word of mouth before. Now we can do it by buying actual, quality print products.

As I have said before, I am not an old school purist. I love 4th edition, GURPS, and I am looking forward to trying out this WFRP 3rd edition box I have here. Old school gaming is one of many, many styles I enjoy. I even enjoy "story" games. That means that you are sustainable from the point of view of an outsider to your movement. You can draw people in, and they can make do with only your products. I don't know if this was a planned goal or not, but you accomplished it.

The idea of that much quality, community generated content is something I can get behind. You have created your own little RPG economy. So give yourselves a hand OSR. This can only make it easier to get new people in.

You have several excellent rule sets, a good volume of modules, you are really starting to put out different and interesting campaign settings, and you have the two best gaming mags out there right now. Keep up the good work.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Gaming with Kids: Sir Kevin and the Leprechaun

Sir Kevin decided to follow the unicorn as it fled the goblin hut. He quickly lost sight of it in the forest though. It wasn't long before he realized that he was lost and it was getting dark. He decided to rest on a log while he got his bearings. Once he sat down he started feeling very sleepy. He managed to jerk himself awake and find a strange little man dressed in green nearby.

"Who are you?"

"I am a leprechaun, and I want to make a deal with you."

"What is the deal?"

"I will tell you where to find my pot of gold, if you will dig it up for me. You can have all the gold in it, I just need the pot."

"Why can't you dig it up?"

"An evil witch put a curse on me."

"We should kill the witch."

"I am afraid she is long gone. I have had this curse for 100 years."

"That is horrible. I will help you get your pot back."

"Very good. Just follow this path to the bridge, cross the river, and dig where the rainbow ends."

"What path?"

"The one we are standing on!"

"Oh, I didn't notice it before."

"It's magic...." The leprechaun vanished into thin air.

Sir Kevin finished resting and set off down the path first thing in the morning. After a few hours Sir Kevin came to the bridge, a knight in black armor sat atop a black horse on the bridge.

"You shall not pass"

"But I have to get over the river to get the pot of gold!"

"You shall not pass"

"I'll give you half of the gold if you let me through."

"You shall not pass"

"I am going to walk around you now"

"No one has crossed this bridge for 50 years"

"I'll wait till you eat"

"I do not eat"

"I am coming through"

"I will strike you down if you try"

Sir Kevin walked towards the Black Knight, drawing his sword. The Black Knight charged Sir Kevin, lance in hand. Sir Kevin dodged to the side at the last second, the Black Knight charged by. Sir Kevin ran for the brideg. Behind him the Black Knight turned and started to run Sir Kevin down from behind. When Sir Kevin felt the horse's hot breath on his neck he turned, grasping the mermaid statue's spear in both hands. The spear took the Black Knight in the chest, his armor exploded in every direction in a flash of light.

When Sir Kevin's vision cleared he saw that there had been nothing inside the Black Knight's armor. It was scattered on the ground, crackling with electricity. Sir Kevin decided to put on the Black Knight's armor and take the horse to ride down the path.

Shortly after crossing the bridge Sir Kevin could see the rainbow. He followed it to where it hit the ground on a grassy hill. He began to dig.

Sir Kevin dug for three days and three nights before his shovel hit something metal. The pot of gold! He pulled the pot from the hole and turned it upside down to pour out the gold. Gold came streaming out of the pot, soon it covered the entire hill. The gold kept coming! Sir Kevin tried to turn the pot upright but it would not budge, he let go of it and it hung in the air. Soon the gold covered the ground as far as Sir Kevin could see, a foot deep. The gold was piling up around the hill and Sir Kevin struggled to stay on top.

From somewhere nearby he heard the high pitched cackle of the leprechaun.

OSRIC Campaign Resources

With my OSRIC campaign starting in just a little more than two weeks, it is time to nail down what will be in from day 1.

Rule Set: OSRIC. I think that for the group I will be playing with this is the best rule set. They have all played 3.x and have come to expect a certain level of complexity. This will let me keep that while being much easier for me to run. It also gives me a lot more room to mod the game than 3.x does, I can tailor it to this group. XP for gold and exploration will be the primary advancement mechanisms.

The Group: Looks like I will have 4 players. I have, to some extent, played with all of them before (maybe not 1). One member is part of my original gaming group and we go back to middle school and Mentzer. His wife will also be playing with us, she played in at least one of my 3.5 Monster Feature games (I think the one with the Kraken). I played with the other male player in a Shadowrun game last year and I think his wife also played in it. It is possible I met her at a different time though. They are all nice, and very smart people. Two lawyers and two engineers makes for a group that will pick up the rules fast. Four players is my ideal group size.

Additional Rules: From Knockspell #1 I will be using the "Random Hireling Generator". From Fight On! #2 (The Awesome Issue) I will be using "Shields Shall be Splintered", "The Entourage Approach", and "Random Inn Generator". I will also be using "Gary Gygax's Extraordinary Book of Names".

Setting: The campaign will be set in Amacui from "Points of Light II". The players will be arriving in Magnus Aquila in search of fortune and adventure. They will be fresh of the boat from The City State of the Invincible Overlord. This allows me to fall back on Supplement VI: The Majestic Wilderlands if I suddenly need to flesh out world details for some reason. It also allows me to incorporate the lovely Sword and Sorcery 3.5 version of the City State that has been sitting on my shelf for years. Very little detail about any of this will make it into the campaign for a long time. If the players decide to get back on the boat and go home, I have something to work with.

The Dungeon: I am using Stonehell. I won't go into a lot of detail in this post about changes I will be making since one of the players might read this. For those of you in the know, I am putting Stonehell in hex 0411. What you would expect to find several levels down in 0411 of Amacui will be taking the place of the nixthisis in Stonehell.

Changes to the setting and dungeon will be discussed in separate spoiler posts.

Table Rules: Mapper and Timekeeper. No real need for a caller with four players. I will be fairly strict about the map. The mapping player's character has the map. Try not to get him too wet or set him on fire.