Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Hate Law School

OK, bar applications are done, moot court is finished, and I just did my oral defense for my research paper. I still am without a job for after the bar, but I should be back to posting on a regular basis now that I am through hell month.

Both my long-running Stonehell game, and my Castles and Crusades game on Wed. nights continue.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hot Elf Chick

I'll admit that the title and the picture were a trap. At the urging of The Underdark Gazette, I am hoping to attract lapsed gamers back into the fold. If you used to play D&D as a kid, and ever stop to wonder what happened to that game, welcome home.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Death in the City State: Session 1

Last night I ran my first Castles and Crusades game at All Things Fun in Berlin, NJ. I only had one player show up, but we had fun anyway. I set the game in The City State of the Invincible Overlord, in the same campaign world as my OSRIC Stonehell game.

The adventure kicked off with the player waking up shackled to a wall. He had no memory of how he got there, but was sure he had been tortured. After a few minutes a jailer came in to take him back to his cell. After he was unchained he charmed the jailer and convinced him to let him go. During his conversation with the jailer he learned that he was being held for the assassination of the Invincible Overlord and that the City was in chaos.

He made his way out of the tower and on to the wall. When he heard guards and dogs approaching he jumped from the wall onto the roof of a building in a shanty town that had grown up along the outside of the wall. He fell through the roof but was not seriously hurt in the fall. He quickly made his way from the abandoned portion of the slum to a run down tavern.

He rolled a drunk outside the tavern to get a disguise and went fishing for information inside. He found a silver gambling plate from the Silver Eel Inn in the city state in his own pocket when putting on the disguise. He decided to sneak back into the City and investigate the Inn. He climbed back in through a sewer pipe and entered down the block from the brutal repression of a riot by the City's forces. He slipped away into the night.

Next Game: Wed. 3/23 (I have Spring Break next week) at 6pm. All are welcome.

A Blog You Should Be Reading

If you like old school D&D, or just well written blogs you need to check out The Tao of D&D. The first thing I do when I fire up Reader every day is rush to read Grognardia, Torch, Pole, and Rope, LotFP, Greyhawk Grognard, and flip through the various video game blogs to which I subscribe. Tao of D&D is different, I save it. It isn't something I can read while I am in class, it is something I like to take my time and think about while I read. I do not always agree with Alexis, but he has one of the most thought provoking blogs in RPGs. He also goes into insane (the good kind) detail. You will walk away from his blog with good ideas for your game, and probably having learned something new about history, or geography.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Gaming for Charity

I recently offered a game of D&D as an item to bid on for my law school's charity auction. I think I am going to cheat a little bit and actually run Castles and Crusades for the winner of the auction. It is just much easier to teach a total outsider.

Wilderness Rules: The Wilderness Turn

My wilderness rules saw their first use in play tonight. I was pretty happy with the results, they moved fast and made the travel just tense enough. They also gave the players plenty of choices on how to spend their two main resources, time and food. I am going to continue to revise these rules through play, and I have only completed the arctic environment tables (all I need right now). These are not especially original, but they do make wilderness exploration fun. I am heavily influenced by the Wilderness Survival Guide, but I have no interest in its unwieldy nature. My goal was to develop a streamlined wilderness system that still has enough depth to present the players with interesting choices. I am aiming for something like the fun of Oregon Trail.

I am pretty happy with my turn structure. This is my Wilderness Turn (1 day):

  1. Food Phase
  2. Travel Phase
  3. Travel Phase
  4. Camp Phase
  5. Food Phase
  6. Rest Phase
Food phase: Characters must eat 2 meals a day. If they only eat 1 meal they suffer a -1 to all rolls. If they do not eat at all they are subject to starving. All of the Hunting, Fishing, and Foraging table results are expressed in meals.

Travel Phase: During each Travel Phase the characters can move half a day's movement. The can also substitute other actions for a Travel Phase:
  • Extra Rest Phase: This can help make up for not getting a good or complete night's sleep
  • Forage for food and water
  • Hunt
  • Fish
  • Explore: Get more detail about the hex they are in
Camp Phase: The characters roll on the camp table to determine if they find a place where they can get a good night's sleep.

Rest Phase: This is when characters sleep, and memorize spells.

Random Encounters: Random Encounters are usually rolled for twice each day. Once during the Travel Phases and once during the Rest Phase. They can take several forms:
  • Monster encounter
  • Traveler encounter
  • Environmental Challenge
  • Weird Encounter
I will be discussing my rules and the tables that go along with them in more depth.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Shadow, Sword & Spell

One of my favorite purchases at GenCon this year was James M.'s Shadow, Sword & Spell. Rogue Games has just released a preview of Shadow, Sword and Spell: Expert. I am looking forward to this.

Edit: Forgot to mention that I appreciate that the cover is blue in the Expert book

'70s Sci Fi

When I was talking about running a game that would look like '70s sci fi I was thinking of something more like this:

And less like this:

See the excellent Space 1970 blog for more examples