Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 A Look Back

Well, 2017 was an interesting year.

I managed to get a few PDFs out. Mostly for Swords & Wizardry:
And some more Strange Brew for Pathfinder:

So naturally, my blogging took a hit. This was my least productive year in terms of posts since the start really.  But that is cool.

Like last year D&D 5 dominated my play.  Though I did play some other games.

The big game of my year was not Starfinder as I expected, but rather Blue Rose.

I spent a month or so on it back in June and my adoration of it has not lessened.  Looking forward to some more Blue Rose in 2018.

Later in the year I also spent a lot of time with Mighty Protectors.

It was also a joy to review and play. Looking forward to some more.

Hope your 2017 was good. Here is to a better 2018.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: Mistress of Ambiguities (Silverglass #4)

“But I-But you-Do you mean to say that you’re the Witch of Rhostshyl?”
“It’s not a title to which I lay formal claim,” said Nyctasia, smiling, “but, yes, I’m called that.

Here we are with the last of the Silverglass books. It is our time to bid witch Nyctasia r'n Edonaris brenn Rhostshyl and mercenary Corson brenn Torisk, Sorry, Lady Corson goodbye.

Nyctasia is finding her home as ruler of Rhostshyl while Corson...well she is back at the Hare getting drunk and looking for fights to pick.  In the meantime men from their pasts have come back.  For Corson it is scholar from her past that taught her how to read, amonge other things, and is now looking for work.  For Nyctasia her former lover Ben is back.  Trouble is Ben was supposedly killed in the Yth Wood back in Book 1.
Now it would be great if all these plots all came together to a satisfaying ending, but they don't. Not Really.  Ben never really lives up to his former glory or threat. The scholar thread went no where and even the drama of Nyctasia rulership of Rhostshyl was anti-climatic.
I got the feeling that the authors had a bunch of ideas and notes and a 4 book deal.

Still though, it was a fun read and I am going miss these two.

2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
2017 Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
Books Read so far: 22
Level: Crone
Witches in this book: Nyctasia, even if she denies her own power.
Are they Good Witches or Bad Witches: Nycatasia
Best RPG to Emulate it: Nearly any D&D game would work great. Tying D&D 5 for this one.
Use in WotWQ: Yes.  I absolutely need to include these two in my War of the Witch Queens.

I could not let the year go out and not try these two out under D&D5.
Corson is remarkablly easy.  She is a fighter with military training and she likes to get into fights.
For Nyctasia I first tried her out a sorcerer and even considered a druid for about 30 seconds. In the end I went with one of the new Warlocks with a Celestial Pact.  It seemed to be the right choice for the Vahnite religion and her ability to heal others.  I gave her Pact of the Tome to cover her scholar background since made D&D5 Background as a Noble.

Corson brenn Torisk, D&D 5th Edition (PDF)

Nyctasia r'n Edonaris brenn Rhostshyl, D&D 5th Edition (PDF)

Book 1: Silverglass
Book 2: Web of Wind
Book 3: Witch of Rhostshyl

And with that my 2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge is at an end.  Looking forward to 2018!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Classes

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays all!

Been sick as a dog the last week.  I was planning on getting some new material out to you all, but that didn't happen.  Day-job was also insane.

BUT I did find something that is filled with Holiday Cheer.

Over at the DMsGuild there is a collection of holiday-themed classes.
Now I have dealt with a very mixed bag at the DMsGuild. There is some good stuff, but also a lot of bad stuff too.  Plus most of it it seems has a lot of art ripped off of the net without regard to ownership and you all know I can't abide by that.

Those issues aside I opted to pick up The Season's Subclasses - Player Options for Winter Cheer by Levi Pressnell.

This is a fun product.
For a buck (or more) you get new class options for all the core D&D 5 classes.

Here are my favorites.
Barbarian: Dancing Lights - The power of the Aurora Borealis is at your finger-tips.  The is a seriously cool concept and one that should be ported over to other settings/games like Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.

Bard: College of Caroling - with a bit of a tweak you can get a Mummers Dance out of this, and that would be a lot of fun.

Cleric: Domain of Cheer - Love this concept!

Druid: Circle of the Evergreen - I like this one too, not what I thought it would have been, but still really cool.  Remove it from it's Christmas origins and now you have Eco-Protective Druids.  Think Swamp-Thing with spells.

Monk: Way of the Sugar-plum Fairy is far more awesome than a PWYW product should have.  A monk tradition. Based on the Fae?  Ah..yeah! Sign me the heck up!

Paladin: Oath of Winter - "Winter is Coming". That's all you need to say.  Gotta get a blank sheet and get my Ned Stark on.

Rogue: Chimney Lurk - major props for the name alone.  This one is really cool too.

Sorcerer: Frozen Soul - If you get the desire to sing "Let it Go" while playing this character no one will laugh at you.  They can't because you froze them in a block of ice!  Maybe one of my most favorite ones here.

The Wizard, Warlock and Fighter options are also fun, but I liked the others the best.

It's Christmas, pay more than a buck for this. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

This Old Dragon #148

Jumping ahead this week to go solidly into the 2nd AD&D era.  Or is it?  A brief look at the table of contents tells me that 1st Ed is not going away so quietly.  It's August 1989.  I am a Junior in University now.  D&D has had to take a back seat since I am now in a lot of "honors" level courses, I am even eyeing grad schools now.  I do still have my notes about my witch class still from this time. I spent the summer working but also playing in some D&D games.  I began to convert her from a stand-alone 1st ed class to a sub-class of the Priest.  So let's see what else was going on in This Old Dragon #148.

This is not a cover I remember well. At first, it looked like a Clyde Caldwell painting, only not enough.  It is by Ned Dameron and I guess it was enough that there is an editorial about it.

The theme of this issue appears to be loosely collected around fighters and fighting.

Big ads for Ghostbuster International and AD&D 2nd Ed.  While Dragon is becoming more and more D&D focused we are getting more and more other types of games. 

Letters cover a wide variety of issues.  Most importantly we learn that Jeff Grubb has moved on to other projects with TSR and the Marvel-Phile will not appear as regularly as it used to. 

The Editorial covers issues of art looking like other art.  In particular some dragons on the cover of 146 looking like some form the cover a Larry Niven book. Also, this month's cover looks similar to last months Clyde Caldwell cover.  They talk about how they see the same ideas over and over and how hard it is to have a truly original idea.  Case in point, they talk about Wood Golems. At about this time I had also come up with my own Wood Golem, the Druther, and thought I was being very clever about it.  Later I discovered, no wood golems are actually pretty common.

Skip Williams is up with Sage Advice. This month he covers the 2nd Edition Player's Handbook.  Some stem from translation from 1st Ed ("Can Halflings become clerics?") to typos ("page 44 is right, page 45 is wrong"). 

Fighting the Good Fight is our featured theme section this month.  Maybe why I did not buy this issue since I tended to focus on magic using classes.

Gordon R. Menzies discusses armor in Always Wear Your Best Suit. Armor enameling, engraving and decorations are discussed. Some increase the value of the armor other might have a small AC bonus.

Tracking Down the Barbarian by David Howery shows that 1st Edition is not going to go quietly off to the Old Games Home.  This is a revised barbarian class for 1st ed.  Making this what, the 3rd or 4th barbarian we have seen?  Now if the barbarian was a class I was interested in I'd roll up some, each using a different take on the class.  Maybe something Celtic.  Could be fun.

Scott Bennie takes on a topic closer to my heart with "Good" Does Not Mean "Boring". He talks about the 1st Ed Paladin. This immediately brought the Gary Gygax article Good isn't stupid, Paladins & Rangers, from Dragon #38 just over 9 years before (the same article where Gygax says that female dwarves DO have beards). This article goes into much more detail about Paladins than the Gygax one did.  Indeed, reading this over now I see a lot of good advice for D&D 5e Paladins as well.  There is also a Paladin-Cavalier class.

Speaking of which, the next article is all about the Cavalier.  The Corrected Cavalier by David Howery is another attempt to give us a working Cavalier class for 1st ed.
Now I like the cavalier class, always did.  I think I would have rather seen a 2nd Ed Cavalier.  I know now that one was coming in the Fighters book, but I didn't know that then.

Bruce Kvam breaks out the theme with Arcane Lore: Can a wizard cure your light wounds? No, but... . Or healing like spells a wizard can use.   Again this is a 1st Ed focused article.  Lots of interesting spells here, but really designed for a party that wants a wizard, but no cleric.

TSR Previews is up next.  The big ones are The Monstrous Compendium vol. 1 for July and the new Dungeon Masters Guide for August.  I have to admit that the 2nd Ed DMG was a bit of a disappointment compared to the vast tome that the 1st ed DMG was.

Robin Jenkins has a short story about the Deck of Many Things, in Luck of the Draw.  It also includes some rules and some notes, so it really feels more like an "Ecology of..." article.

The Game Wizards covers SPI's Sniper game on the Mac.

Jim Bambra has some Reviews, mostly featured on monsters.  Ents for MERP, Trolls for Rune Quest, the Orcs of Thar by +Bruce Heard and the Bestiary of Dragons and Giants both for D&D.  The D&D products are also ones I still use to this day.

The Role of Computers covers the then state of the art software.  I am hesitant to say too much about these articles.  The biggest issue is I was not really playing these games all that much back then.  When this article came out I owned my second computer, a Tandy Color Computer 3.  It was as expanded as much as I could make it at the time and it got me through my undergrad days well enough.  But aside from Rogue there were no games I could play on it.  It would not be till my fifth computer in 92, a Gateway 2000 486 that I had anything like a "real" powerful computer.

We have some small ads next.

Jim Bambra is back with a fantastic article covering the D&D (B/X and BECMI) Gazeteers in Around The World In 36 Levels.   This one of those articles that really needs to be reprinted or revisited with new eyes.  The article is long and really gives you a good idea of what to expect in the books.  2nd Ed may be king of the 90s, but I like to think there was a time and maybe places where BECMI and the Known World rulled.   This article begins with a good overview of the splt between AD&D and D&D that really should be a must read.

Robert Bigelow covers minis in Through the Looking Glass.

Watch Your Step! by Thomas M. Kane details landmines in the Top Secret SI games.

The Con Calendar is a whopping 3 pages for just the next few months. When was the Golden Age of Cons?  Was there a time where there was a good one every week?

Dragonmirth has some comics. 
Yamara is here.  I never knew exactly when this one started. 
None of the comics though I remember are here anymore.  End of another era I guess.

Big ads for Sniper, the 1990 TSR calendar, and the new Dungeon! board game.

I don't really have any memories of this issue. I am sure it was not one I bought. 

If I ever play 1st ed again I am certainly going to have to comeback to this issue.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Mighty MAGIC Protectors

 Magic in superhero comics is often a problematic issue. Magic in superhero RPGs is no less of one.
Often, most games solve this by saying magic replicates any power or that the power you have comes from magic instead of a mutation or accident or not having parents.

Mighty Protectors by +Jeff Dee and +Jack Herman uses the approach that magic can be used to replicate a power and you can use the Arsenal ability to bundle a bunch of powers together as a spell.

I mentioned this before using the examples of my own characters Witch Queen and Teen Witch as well as my versions of Willow and Tara.

+bk adams is a YouTuber that has been doing a number of videos about Mighty Protectors.  They are great to watch if you are new to the system and need some "real world" examples.

Here is his two-part series on the Arsenal ability and how to use it as a spell book.

He has even put up his Spell Book spreadsheet for you to use.

I wanted to post something similar here, but frankly, he does such a good job there is no need for me to go over it more.   I do have a Spellbook I am working on that will also let me build spells from abilities.  I will combine some ideas from his as well.

This puts me in the mood to run some more Supers games in 2018!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Iggwilv, Witch-Queen of Perrenland: Pathfinder Stats

It might feel like I am phoning this one in...and I am!  But seriously, work is crazy busy right now and to be honest these stats are top notch.

Over on the Sages of Oerth-Greyhawk page on Facebook, Randy Davis is doing a hell of a job of stating up some of the "big names" in Greyhawk.  I noticed his Zuggtmoy write-up a couple of days ago and thought it was great.  I did some digging and found his takes on GwynharwyfJuiblexFraz-Urb’luuYeenoghuGraz’ztOrcus, and Demogorgon.  I then found his take on Iggwilv and saw he used a lot of the same pictures I did.  So I immediately liked it (and "Liked" it).

Here is his take on Iggwilv. You can see it on Facebook and it is reposted with his permission below.
If you like his work, pop on over the Facebook page(s) to let him know.  He put a lot of work into these.

Iggwilv, the Witch-Queen of Perrenland
CR 31 / XP 13,107,200
Medium human CE female archwizard 10 / wizard (arcane crafter) 20
Init +8; Senses arcane sight, darkvision 60’, see invisibility; Perception +31

AC 33, touch 24, flat-footed 27 (armor +4, deflection +5, dex +6, insight +1, luck +2, natural +5)
hp 346 (30d6+210+31)
Fort +23, Ref +22, Will +25; evasion
DR 15/cold iron and good, Immune all devices and spells that gather information (detect, scry, etc.), electricity, movement-impeding effects, poison, Resist acid 10, cold 10, fire 10, SR 36

Speed 60 ft., fly 80 ft.
Melee staff of power +22/+17/+12 (1d6+8)
Ranged touch +21
Special Attacks: Archwizardry 5/day, Bypass Spell Resistance, Spell Echo 5/day

Wizard Spells Prepared (CL 30, Concentration +44)
9th gate, imprisonment (DC 33), quickened maze, extended shapechange, extended time stop, wish
8th extended greater planer binding (DC 32), extended dimensional lock, quickened forcecage (DC 32), maximized horrid wilting (DC 34), extended mind blank, trap the soul (DC 34)
7th banishment (DC 31), quickened flesh to stone (DC 31), quickened greater dispel magic (2), extended project image, soul transfer
6th maximized chain lightning (DC 30), maximized disintegrate (DC 30), extended mislead, extended planer binding (2), extended repulsion (DC 30), maximized and quickened scorching ray, extended true seeing, maximized undeath to death, quickened wall of force (2)
5th maximized acidic spray (DC 31), maximized cone of cold (DC 29), dismissal (DC 29), maximized and quickened magic missile, extended overland flight, sending, extended telekinesis (DC 29)
4th extended charm monster (DC 28), extended dimensional anchor (DC 28), quickened final sacrifice, extended greater false life, extended greater invisibility, quickened magic circle against chaos, extended sacrifice
3rd extended create soul gem (DC 29), extended displacement, extended fly, extended greater magic weapon, extended protection from energy, quickened resist energy (2)
2nd blindness/deafness (DC 28), extended glitterdust (DC 28, 2), extended hideous laughter (DC 26), extended invisibility, extended mirror image (2), quickened true strike, extended web
1st maximized chill touch, extended grease (DC 27), extended mage armor, maximized magic missile (2), extended protection from evil, extended protection from good, extended shield
0 light, mage hand, open/close, prestidigitation

Str 15, Dex 23, Con 24, Int 38, Wis 13, Cha 29
Base Attack +15; CMB +17; CMD 61

Feats: Augment Summoning, Craft Construct, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Wondrous Item, Demon Mastery, Extend Spell, Ironclad Logic, Greater Spell Focus (Conjuration, Necromancy), Greater Spell Penetration, Maximize Spell, Quicken Spell, Scribe Scroll, Skill Focus (Knowledge – Arcana), Skill Focus (Spellcraft), Soul-Powered Magic, Spell Focus (Conjuration, Necromancy), Spell Penetration, Superior Summoning

Skills: Acrobatics +56, Diplomacy +47, Escape Artist +36, Intimidate +39, Knowledge (arcana) +55, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +44, Knowledge (engineering) +44, Knowledge (geography) +44, Knowledge (history) +44, Knowledge (local) +44, Knowledge (nature) +44, Knowledge (nobility) +44, Knowledge (religion) +44, Knowledge (the planes) +44, Perception +31, Sense Motive +31, Spellcraft +55, Use Magic Device +44

Languages: Abyssal, Common, Celestial, Draconic, and Infernal
SQ Arcane Servant, Metamagic Enhancement, Selective Targets, Shaped Area
Each day Iggwilv casts extended greater false life, extended mage armor, extended greater magic weapon, extended mind blank and extended overland flight.

Contingency: If Iggwilv is ever petrified, a stone to flesh spell affects her.
Demon Mastery (feat): When summoning demons Iggwilv gains a +2 on Charisma checks made to resolve the effects of planer binding and similar spells. Additionally, whenever she uses a spell to call or summon a demon her effective caster level is +1 for resolving its effects.

Permanent Spells: Iggwilv has used permanency to make the following spells permanent upon her: arcane sight, darkvision, read magic, see invisibility, and tongues.
Inherent Bonuses: Through a combination of books from Xagyg’s library, her own levels and wish spells, Iggwilv has a +5 inherent bonus to all six of her abilities.

Lilitu’s Kiss: Iggwilv has secured the cooperation of a lilitu demon named Tsatchti, and bears her name as a tattoo-like mark on her right shoulder. This gift grants Iggwilv a +2 profane bonus to her Charisma and saving throws. Iggwilv’s weapons are also treated as being chaotic for the purpose of bypassing damage reduction. The mark can be removed by a dispel chaos spell.

Combat Gear: scroll of limited wish (2), scrolls of monster summoning VII (4), VIII (3), IX (2), amulet of natural armor +5, belt of battle, Boots of Swiftness, bracers of mighty constitution +6, Cloak of the Witch Queen, dusty rose ioun stone, gloves of storing, headband of protection +5, ring of free action, Ring of Epic Wizardry VI, staff of power (16), Robe of the Abyss, rod of greater quicken metamagic, 25,000gp in diamond dust for wish, true seeing ointment (4), 10,000 gp in rare incense and offerings for gate, 3000 gp in ruby dust for forcecage, star sapphire worth 22,000gp for trap the soul

Belt of Battle: This belt grants a +2 competence bonus on initiative checks. This is a continuous effect and requires no activation. In addition, a belt of battle has 3 charges, which are renewed each day at dawn. Each time you activate the belt, one of the black pearls set into its buckle turns white. The pearls return to normal when the belt’s charges renew. Spending 1 or more charges grants you an extra action, which must be taken immediately (before you take any other action). 1 charge: 1 move action. 2 charges: 1 standard action. 3 charges: 1 full-round action. Caster Level 13

Boots of Swiftness (minor artifact): These soft-soled leather shoes grant their wearer a +6 enhancement bonus to Dexterity. The wearer’s speed doubles (this does not stack with any magical or supernatural enhancement to speed), she gains the evasion ability (as the rogue class feature), and the wearer’s jumping distance is not limited by her height. The wearer gains a +20 competence bonus to her CMD, and on her Acrobatics and Climb checks. Three times per day, the wearer can utter a command word to activate haste as a swift action. Caster Level 25

Cloak of the Witch Queen (major artifact): Wearing this cloak grants the wearer a +8 enhancement to Intelligence, a +6 enhancement to Charisma, SR 36 and +5 resistance on all saving throws. The wearer can plane shift at will (as per amulet of the planes). Caster Level 30

Robe of the Abyss (minor artifact): The wearer of this robe enjoys DR 15/cold iron and good, immunity to electricity and poison, and resistance to acid 10, cold 10, and fire 10. Caster Level 25
(converted from Savage Tide epic 3.5 to Pathfinder)

Monday, December 18, 2017

Uncle Matt's D&D Studio, Part 2 Adventure Design

Whole family was sick over the weekend so no gaming.
But part 2 of my interview with +Matt Finch is up over at Uncle Matt's D&D Studio.

In this one we discuss adventure design.  I talk about my three different D&D games, developing adventures for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Ghosts of Albion and where do I get ideas.

Enjoy and don't forget to subscribe to his Youtube channel!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

This Old Dragon: Issue #55

Let's go WAY back today to issue that is falling apart as I read it.  Hall and Oates have the number 1 spot on the radio. Time Bandits, the first of the great "Trilogy of Imagination" from former Python Terry Gilliam.  Tell me you didn't try to use those "time holes" at least once in your games. It's November 1981. I am in 8th grade and playing Basic/Expert D&D all the time with bits of AD&D. This is issue #55 of This Old Dragon!

Oh my, but is this an issue of treasures!  Let's start with the cover.  Erol Otus in his weird best.  Looks like the same cave system our intrepid adventures are battling a dragon in on the cover the Basic Set.
Otus is one of those artist people either love or hate. I always loved his style and subjects, but sometimes it was like viewing D&D while on mushrooms.   I mean seriously, what the hell is that thing? Why does it have such perfect teeth? Who is that little gnome dude and what the hell is his staff for?  I have no answers but I think D&D is better off in general because of EO.  I am not sure what that thing is but as DM I'd love to stick him into a dungeon.  As someone that appreciates art though I don't want to define it. Stay weird giant toothy slug monster. Stay weird.

The next page is one of the true odd and rare finds in the D&D merchandising landscape.  The official Dungeons & Dragons portfolios.  I had one of these way back when, but it got destroyed. Now they go for outrageous sums on eBay.  I used to keep characters in it and I had it till about the late 80s.

A feature missing from newer incarnations of Dragon is here; Cover to Cover. Which...hmm...covers what is going on in this issue.  No need to detail it here since that is what I am doing anyway.

The Letters section cover various topics from previous issues including some discussion on the Monk class.   I never fely that *D&D got a good grip on the what the monk was supposed to be in D&D until about 3rd Edition.

Up next is the first big controversy in AD&D that I can remember.  The Fiend Folio and whether or not it is any good.
Up first is Ed Greenwood with Flat Taste Didn't Go Away.  Ouch. That is a bit harsh Ed and the article doesn't get much lighter. I am sure there were plenty of old-school AD&D fans who were at the time saying "Who the hell is this Ed Greenwood guy and why do I care about his opinion?"  Sy though, Ed is no fan of this book and calls many of the monsters incomplete, inadequate and many are redundant.  AND to be 100% fair he is making some very good points here. The editing is all over the place, many of the monsters are useless or way overpowered in some respects.
Alan Zumwalt follows this with Observations of a Semi-Satisfied Customer.  An endorsement, but not the ringing endorsement one might want.
Not to be forgotten Don Turnbull,  Managing Director of TSR UK, Ltd. and Editor of the FIEND FOLIO Tome ends with his Apologies - and Arguments; his defense of the Fiend Folio.
All three articles make good points and overreach in others. In the end, I still love the Fiend Folio, not despite its weirdness, but because of it.  I have decided though that when I run a pure Forgotten Realms game that I will not include any of the monsters that Ed found objectionable.  I was going to say not include any from this book, but that includes Drow and we know that isn't going to happen!

What were your thoughts on the Fiend Folio?

We follow this with a big ad for White Dwarf. You know those guys that gave us the Fiend Folio in the first place? (more or less).

Ah. Now here is something fun.
Lawrence Schick has a nice big article on Dinosaurs, New Theories for Old Monsters.  Plenty of stats of various prehistoric beasts are given. I am not sure if these would later appear in the Monser Manual II or not but they feel familiar.

The man himself is back with a new From the Sorcerer's Scroll. Gary lets us know he is still working on the Temple of Elemental Evil (it doesn't quite come out the way he wants) and more on Greyhawk.  A lot of this in one form or another would later reappear in the Greyhawk Boxed set.

Ever want to include Robin Hood and his merry men in your game?

Well thanks to Katharine Kerr you can! Robin, Wil Scarlet, Little John, Friar Tuck and of course the Sheriff of Nottingham himself (looking exactly like Roger Delgado as The Master from Doctor Who).

The fiction section is next and holy shit! It's Gardner Fox! Fox might not be the biggest name in D&D but in comics? I put him in the pantheon of the Great Old Gods like Kirby and Lee.   I have not read The Coming of the Sword, but I think I should.  It is an installment in the saga of Niall the Far-Traveler.  This is exactly the sort of thing I love finding in these old dragons. Gardner Fox..."slumming" at Dragon! The story looks cool and it's actually pretty long.

Our centerpiece is another rarity.  A D&D Basic-Set adventure.  Seriously. Is this like the most 1981 issue ever?? The Creature of Rhyl by Kevin Knuth is a Basic D&D adventure for 2 to 12(!) characters under 3rd level. It is a nice combination of exploration, plot-driven mystery,  and dungeon crawl with a freaking dragon at the end! It makes for a great introduction adventure really and one that can be easily adapted to any version of the game.

The Electric Eye has answers to last month's computer terminology quiz.  At this point in time, I am learning to program in BASIC on the very high tech TRS-80 Model III in my school.

The many ways of getting away: Methods and magic to keep your character out of the crypt by Pat Reinken covers the many ways your character can avoid death.  Or as I like to call it, Advanced Running Away.

Jon Mattson is next with some Traveller advice on skills in Filling in Skills, Experience, service-switching make TRAVELLER more ability-oriented.  I have mentioned in my reveiws of White Dwarf I was already taking a pass on Traveler at this point.  I was gravitating more towards Chill and other horror games and I could not find anyone to play Traveller with.

The Monuments of Minaria is the next installment of the Minarian Legends series for the Divine Right game.  Though I get the feeling that one is not only expected to convert to other games (coughD&Dcough) but encouraged too.

Dragon's Bestiary is next. What a nightmarish mix! The Devil Spider, with text and art by Erol Otus.  The Surchur by Jeff Brandt and the Dyll by Ed Greenwood.  We also get a new, non-evil but very chaotic, version of the Poltergeist by Craig Stenseth.

Practicing Game Design IV: State of the Art is the fourth of a five-part miniseries
in Jack Parados' Simulation Corner that gives a detailed but non-technical answer to the question of how to make a game.  This month covers the experiences the author has had with successful game designers.

Jeff Swycaffer reviews the Universe RPG in Universe is an Artistic Triumph. I have always been curious about this game.  He deems it superior to Traveller in almost every respect.

Kim Mohan reviews some gaming accessories.
Various minis, back when they were still made of lead.

Next, we have a real oddity.  A Larry Elmore penned and drawn comic "Da Letter" that can only be described as Proto-Snarf.  I am a bit surprised this never comes up in discussions of Snarf Quest.

Phil and Dixie are still in Black & White at this point.
Wormy is in color.

So. Wow.  What an issue.  Not just for crazy nostalgia fun, but for being so packed full of great stuff.  AND stuff I can still use today really.  The Basic set adventure, Robin Hood, all sorts of great stuff here.  I am glad I took extra time on this one (I started reading it two weeks ago!)

Now compare this issue to what was happing in White Dwarf #27 from the same time in my White Dwarf Wednesday #27.  Similar themes but White Dwarf was moving more towards Traveller at this point.  Mimics the gaming scene I was in during the last days of 1981.  I was digging D&D Basic but a good sized chunk was headed to Traveller.

What are your memories of this time?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Uncle Matt's D&D Studio

+Matt Finch, of Swords & Wizardry fame, has a YouTube channel where he discusses Old School games. Uncle Matt's D&D Studio.

He has some great videos and interviews with various folks in the OSR game sphere.  He has interviews with Dave Donohoo, Alyssa Faden, Jim Raggi and now me!

In this first of two videos, we chat about my blend of 5th edition and 1st edition and my start in the publishing world.

It was a blast. I had a great time chatting with Matt.

Check out his channel. In addition to interviews, he has tips and tricks like How to Use the OGL and a lot of OSR topics.   Make sure you hit that Subscribe button too.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Weekend Gaming: The Worlds of David "Zeb" Cook

Spent some time on the Second Campaign this weekend.
Various factors have come together and I have moved the entire campaign over to Mystara.  It just made some things fit better.

I knew I wanted to get the player to I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City, though a couple of obstacles were in the way. First, they were really not high enough level yet.  Second I have had on the mainland of a fairly generic D&D/Eurocentric area.  No jungles in sight.

That's when I had an idea.  I pulled out my tired, true and very worn copy of X1 The Isle of Dread!
This gave them an excuse to get to a tropical area AND gave them some much-needed adventuring along the way to level up.

 Of course, it was at the moment I took the above picture that I realized that both adventures had been authored by David "Zeb" Cook! The same David Cook as in the Expert Game author and the author of the next adventures in the Second Campaign.

I knew at some level the authors were the same, but I never thought about it save for mentally commenting on the similarities and how well they work with each other.  I am simpling placing the Forbidden City in the central plateau of the Isle of Dread.

It is not an original idea, nor even an uncommon one:

I wish I had given this more thought to be honest!
Right now the characters are mapping the interior of the island in a good old-fashioned hex crawl.  Two characters so far have been hit with "jungle sickness". In fact, the poor wizard was hit with sea sickness and jungle sickness for so long that she has had four (in game) days of disadvantage rolls.

After this the characters are going to go south to a dessert for both the Desert of Desolation series and the Lost Tomb of Martek series.  The Lost Tomb of Martek of course by David Cook.

I just have not figured out how I want to do them.  I will likely go in this order:


But have not really figured out the narrative I want for them.
In any case it is going to be fun!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Willow & Tara: Mighty Protectors

Willow and Tara are a couple of serious powerhouses in my games.  If you look at the most recent "canonical" versions of them from Armageddon they can do some serious supernatural smacking down.
For their Mighty Protector's versions I toned it down a bit, but still set them at over 200 CP.  These are very similar to their Villains & Vigilantes 2.1 counterparts which I have put at around 12-13th level.

Now I can easily dump more CPs into powers and "spells".  I truthfully want to tweak them both a bit to see how well my magic rules work.  That is the real test of any character I would normally want to play.

Willow Rosenberg
Willow has a lot of spells and I can swap them out as needed. Willow and Tara share a psychic bond to allow them to communicate with each other regardless of distance. Willow also has increased wealth due to selling off her software firm.

Tara Maclay
Tara retains her ability to heal that she gained as an ascended witch.  She shares Willow's psychic bond.  I likely could have dropped the CP cost for both since it would work fine if only one had it.

Both have TK, a holdover from the Buffy RPG rules and both magical senses, aka "Lesser Sensing" from Ghosts of Albion.  The real tweaks for these two characters would be their magic and spells.  Given that I have them in semi-retirement I would not expect some of their powers, and certainly not their Basic Characteristics, to get better. Though one could argue that Willow's IN could be higher.
Also I could raise their Energy by a lot really.  Somewhere in the MP book it mentions the amount of CP/XP I can expect and I have seen online a rough V&V Level to MP CP conversion.  So if I come back to these two I can dump those extra points somewhere.

But all in all I am pretty happy with these builds.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Mighty Protectors + World's Greatest Screen

Picked up my screen inserts for Mighty Protectors Referee's Screen a bit ago and they were a nice cheat sheet when working on characters.

Stopped by my FLGS today to do a little Christmas shopping and picked up another of Hammerdog's The World's Greatest Screen (I think I have five or six of them now) to use.  And it looks great!

Can't wait to use this!

This Old Dragon: Issue #105

I remember the start of 1986 as being a very cold one.  Of course this is the month that the Challenger exploded on take off forever changing how we felt about our space program.
I was in the middle of my Junior year in High School. My regular DM was going to graduate and move on so we started a campaign that mimicked WW I mixed with Crisis on Infinite Earths (which was the biggest thing happening in comics at the time).  It was so big that depending on where you were in the game world it was called The Shadow Wars, the Dragon Wars or even the Demon Wars.  It had a huge impact on my game world and how I later played in college.   In fact, this issue gave me some ideas for the group of characters I was playing at the time that were central to the fight.  So without further ado, it's January 1986 and this is issue #105 of This Old Dragon!

This cover was also one of my favorites.  A flying wizard attacking giant bats? How cool is that! Seriously that is pretty hardcore.

This is issue comes just before the "themed" issues later in the 80s. It has the same look and feel but there is still some evolution happing here.

Letters, as has been a while and will continue to do so, covers clarifications of the new Unearthed Arcana rules.  In particular getting the rules to work with other classes that have appeared in Dragon.  This is exactly the sort of thing that must have gotten the think tank at TSR to work towards a newer version of the AD&D game. After 12 years things just were not holding together on the fringes as well.

Big ad for the new Dragonlance Legends series.  I thought the Legends were a much better set of books than the first trilogy, The Chronicles.  The scope was larger, but also more personable.

Speaking of Unearthed Arcana, Len Lakofka is up with his Leomund's Tiny Hut feature in Tone Down the Demi-Humans.  Or putting some caps on the power of the new demi-human races.  Of the four, Wild Elves, Gray Dwarves, Deep Gnomes, and Drow, I agree with him on the Drow.  So much in fact that I banned them as a PC race until only very recently.  There was one very notable exception, also see that below.  No one ever played a Deep Gnome or a Gray Dwarf in my games for me to have a strong opinion about them.

Paul Vernon is up with Travel Works Both Ways. This is a guide for people (and things) the PCs are likely to meet on the road. Great for any type of hex-crawl or sandbox game.  It also fits into the larger philosophy I use in my games that the PCs are not the only ones in the world.  They might be the center of attention, but there are others.

Seeing is Believing by Geoffrey Meissner is one of those articles that had immediate and profound effects on my game.  Essentially it covers the three types of invisibility you can do in the AD&D game: Light-based, illusion-based, or psychic.   Since we were at the time heavy into psionics we used, and abused, the shit of this.  If you used the Invisibility spell well then no one could see you, but your thoughts would still give you away to a psychic. If you used the psionic power of invisibility then people didn't "want" to see you, but a mindless creature (undead, construct) could.  We got very, very particular about it.   I have eased back on it in more recent years, but it's still something I consider.

We get a little bit more on Centaurs in The rest of the Papers. No author given, but a followup to the Centaur Papers.

Ed Greenwood is up with The well-equipped victim: A “treasure type” system for 0-level encounters.  Exactly what is sounds like, what 0-level humans/humanoids would have on them.  In retrospect, this feels like a "Realms" article. It certainly has the vibe we will later see in the realms where people are more important than monsters (even if some of those people are monsters).   Five pages of "stuff" people can carry.   Now what I get from this is a good "normal setting" on what we can expect people to have.  PCs causally throw around gold pieces, but not everyone can or should do that.

Ah. Now here is something very near and dear to my heart.  Especially back then.
Fraser Sherman gives us A world of difference: The parallel concept expands gaming horizons, an article on how to use parallel worlds in your AD&D game.  I had already mentioned that DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths was already having a huge impact on my games at the time, but I had also just read Job: A Comedy of Justice and The Number of the Beast by Robert A. Heinlein.  I would later pick up Frederik Pohl's The Coming of the Quantum Cats having read the first part in my Pre-calc class when I borrowed a friend's copy of Omni.
Parallel Earth/Universes played a huge, huge part of my gaming then and now.  This article did not tell me anything I didn't already know, but it was a springboard AND an excuse to go crazy with the idea.  I would later gleefully steal the "D-Hopper" from the Myth Adventures series to make travel between the dimensions easier than travel between the continents of the same world.

Our centerpiece is an AD&D adventure, Betrayed!, for characters 3rd to 5th level by Jim Bengtson.
I will admit I never ran this or even read it in great detail. It looks like it could be fun and got me thinking I really need to run a murder mystery style adventure again.

Merle M. Rasmussen has Spy's Advice or some advice for Top Secret.

One of the first TSR Profiles I remember is up. This time featuring EIC Kim Mohan and Managing Editor Pat Price.

The fiction section is On the Rocks at Slab's which I am sure is related to Well Bottled at Slab's.

The Ares Section is next.

We get some alliances in Rites of Passage for Gamma World.

The Marvel-Phile deals a lot of snake-themed villains.  This article had a huge impact on my AD&D game.  Not because of the content, but the idea.  I created as my central characters for the this world ending war mentioned above a street gang known as the "Spider Society".  These were my characters built from Unearthed Arcana.  There was the Thief-Acrobat Eric "Spyder" Masters, a fighter (with all the specialization) Kiev Scorpius and drow (this was the exception) assassin "Arachnia".  I liked the idea of running a group of first level characters in some adventures of this war along with my high-level characters in other adventures in the war.  It was a lot of fun.

Up next are some optional rules for Villains & Vigilantes.  Not sure they will port over to the new Mighty Protectors, but there are some good ideas here. Such as lethal attacks (must be the late 80s!) and threatening civilians (yeah, definantly the late 80s).

Big Guns covers tanks and other military equipment for Marvel Super Heroes.

Expanding the Frontier gives us ideas on how to (basically) do Star Trek with Star Frontiers.  It's actually a good read and one I wish I had made more use of.

Con Calendar, Small Ads, Wormy, Dragonmirth and Snarf.
Dragonmirth has one of the few cartoons I still remember to this day.

Not a watershed issue for me, but certainly a very memorable one and a very useful one.

Want to know what I Was saying about White Dwarf from the same time? Check out White Dwarf Wednesday #73.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

No Way For You To Fight This: Carmilla and Laura for Mighty Protectors

I continue two series today! Of course I was going to bring together to my two newest obsessions; Carmilla and Mighty Protectors.

Outfits based on this picture.
All ADHD and OCD aside, Carmilla offers me a great opportunity.  Carm herself is a 330+ year-old badass vampire who was, to quote her sister, "death incarnate". Laura is...well she is a tiny wisp of a girl who happens to have the worst crush ever and knows Krav Maga.   This gives me the chance to see how well someone on the high end of the power scale (of what I consider "new" characters) works with someone on the very low end.  In my builds I targetted Carmilla at about 250 CP and Laura at 100 CP.  Good spread really.  Let's see how it turns out.

Out of the gate, I need to take a page from the Buffy RPG design and figure out a Vampire Package for Carmilla.  I did not really do that here, but it became obvious right away it is something I need to do.  Carm quickly got away from me too.  She ended up at 270+ CPs.

Laura Hollis
Laura, our tiny gay journalist, is completely on the other side of the build.  Spend some points on abilities and boom, done.  That works. But also need to represent her Krav Maga.  So 20 points there. She ended up on the other side of 100 from Carm's 250.

Both look great. The power imbalance is not really an issue in my mind. They are here for different things.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Mighty Protectors: Converting* Villains & Vigilantes

Mighty Protectors is billed as Villains & Vigilantes 3.0. For the most part, I am completely fine with that.  The game feels the same and mostly plays the same.  There are differences though.  The differences feel about the same as those say between AD&D 1st Ed and D&D 3.0.
The numbers don't always line up in terms of CPs or BCs, but close enough that you can do what I call "concept-driven conversion".

Concept Driven conversion (for me) is a matter of reading over the character (monster, spell, adventure) and re-casting it in the new rules.  This is different than what I call Numerical Conversion where I can lump the numbers into an Excel sheet and get the proper conversion.

I tried both ways on characters I had been using for Villains & Vigilantes 2.x; Justice and Tarot.
I do want to point out that neither of these characters can be considered "mine".
Justice is derived directly from Superman and Wonder Woman, both owned by DC comics.
Tarot is owned by Jim Balent and Holly Golightly and she is very near and dear to them.

Justice (aka "Justice is Blind Issue 8: Mighty Protectors")
In the case of Justice I went with concept driven conversion since I knew I wanted to recraft her from the ground up as a 200 CP character.
To recap, Justice is also known as Astra Kal'El or Astra Kent.  She is the daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman in the future.  I have toyed with the idea of having her go back in time to stop the death of Lois Lane but that would also erase her problems there, but none that I can't solve really.  I like the idea of a young Kryptonian/Amazon.  True, I get a lot of my Justice fill lately from the Supergirl TV series, but this is still a fun character.

This Mighty Protectors version of her is not as powerful as the Villains & Vigilantes version I made a few years back, but I am much happier with it. She is powerful but still just starting out.

Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose
For Tarot, I wanted to do a more numerical conversion.  She was one of the last characters I stated up for V&V 2.1 and thought she would make a good first character for Mighty Protectors.
Trouble is I didn't like the conversion I came up with.  So I smoothed out some of the edges with some concept-driven ideas and good old-fashioned number juggling.  Comparatively the MP and V&V 2.1 versions are much closer aligned. truth the paper sheet I have is much closer. The Excel sheet shows more of the "smoothing".

From a 13th level character to a 200 point build.  Again I am pretty satisfied with this one but the 2.1 version is just as good to me.  Besides.  Tarot is way too fun NOT to have in a game.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Victorious Villains & Vigilantes: Maxima

Last year I did a deep exploration of the Victorious RPG.  It is a really, really fun supers game set in the Victorian era.  I could have done a Plays Well With Others with this.  There is a lot in both games that the other can use. 

Mighty Protectors and Villains & Vigilantes both have an absolute ton of Powers that Victorious players can adapt. 
Victorious has skills and a ton of information on supers in the Victorian era.

Both have great advice on playing supers and are generally "Supers as the good guys" games. Not dark anti-heroes or modern-age supers.

One of the features of the Victorious game is that many of the supers in Victorian age are from the 21st Century, having traveled back in time.   Sounds just like our superhero Maxima from Villains & Vigilantes and Mighty Protectors. 

Maxima is one of the more popular of Jeff Dee's and Jack Herman's characters.  Afterall she is a seven-foot tall blonde amazon powerhouse.  She will be appearing in a future Mighty Protectors product where more of her history and future will be detailed. 

In Victorious let's say that Maxima went back in time, but instead of New Mexico in 1986 she ends up in London in 1886.  Maxima belongs to Jeff Dee, Jack Herman, and Monkey House Games.  I am just playing with her for a bit.

Proper Name: Maxima

Strength: 36 (+12)
Dexterity: 38 (+14)
Constitution: 31 (+11)
Intelligence: 22 (+5)
Wisdom: 20 (+4)
Charisma: 20 (+4)
INIT: +12 (Intuition, Lightning Speed)
Actions: 1 per round
AC: 29
Hit Points: 380 (d12 HD)
Level: 20
Alignment: Good
Victory Points: 5
Skills: Melee
Languages: English
Supernatural Powers: see Packages and Powers

Future Science Creation (theme)
- Attribute Increase: Strength
- Attribute Increase: Constitution
- Invulnerability (Temporal & Knockdown)
- Lightning Speed
- Might
- Robust

Powers: Robust 2, Might 4,  Attribute Increase (Strength)

Shortcomings: Enemy 2 (various villains), Obligation, Odd Appearance (7' 6" blond powerhouse woman) 2, Watched (British Home Office).

Maxima is very much out-of-time here.  She remembers enough of her mission and her life before to know she is in the past. She has also found other, similar heroes to help her.
She would be a great character to play in Victorious.  HEY! A time travel epic where the heroes of Mighty Protectors meet up the heroes of Victorious! 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

This Old Dragon Issue #111

It's the summer of 1986.  My regular DM has graduated from High School and is getting ready to go to the Air Force. We are gearing up for an epic world-changing round of adventures we call the Dragon Wars. Essentially this is our World War I. I can't recall if this cover played into that at all, but I would like to think it did.  It' July 1986 and this is issue #111 of This Old Dragon.

This is also one of my top 10 favorite colors.  The white and black dragons in a "ying yang" theme has been done before, but not quite like this. It is another winner from Denis Beauvais.  While meant to invoke the struggle of good vs. evil D&D players will look at it and proclaim "they are both evil!"  Sheesh...not appreciation for art.

Speaking of art. The Letters section covers the disparity between male and female figures on the cover of Dragon.  The all too common complaint is that females tend to be nearly naked and men wear sensible armor.   We are still having this conversation.

Our first article is by John M. Maxstadt, Good stuff, for a spell. Magic focusing: a new dimension for possessions. This deals with a common problem, what sort of magic item does a mid-level magic-user need?  The solution is a Spell Focusing item.  Now off the bt I have an issue with the term.  What is being described in this article is not spell focusing but rather spell storage.  The MU casts a spell into an item to be used later.  Essentially these are variations on the Ring of Spell storing only in wands and other items.  I don't want it to sound like I am dismissing this article. On the contrary, I rather like it and the author brings up a number of points I still see in my games.  For me a Spell Focus should make casting a spell easier or harder to avoid.  I have also allowed some spell focuses to change the die in which they use.  A wand of fireball focus would change the die from a d6 to a d8 for example.

Ah. Now here is one I remember. Welcome to Malachi: Visit a city where magic reigns supreme by Becky Helfenstein is about a city of magic. We are still a year out from the Forgotten Realms and their Waterdeep and Suzail cities.  This is also the time my DM and I had started to put together our own "Urban Survival Guide" for playing in cities.  This article is "class" focused. So what do clerics do, where do thieves go, what about fighters? and so on.  Not a bad way to set it up, but also leaves some gaps.  Ok it's only an article in Dragon, size alone will mean there are gaps.  I think a series of articles on Malachi would have been great.   Maybe I should do a series myself on The Urban Survival Guide.  I don't all the original docs (that was 30 years ago) but it might be fun to pull various resources together to discuss this.  Dragon and White Dwarf, the tables in the old DMG, the newest books on DriveThru.  Could be fun. A lot of fun really.

Roger E. Moore is up telling us everything we need to know about how to submit articles to the newest TSR Publication Dungeon Adventures.  Back in the day I had worked on a couple of adventures with the intent to submit them to Dungeon.  Never did, I could not get them to work out the way I wanted.  But it was great practice really.

No campaign ever fails: What to do if your game gets out of control by Joel E. Roosa deals with a common problem that I still see today.  It deals with a game/campaign where the characters get quickly overloaded with magic items.  I made this mistake in my first 5e campaign. Fresh off of a magic-saturated 4e game, 5e doesn't like a ton of magic items.  My son is seeing this now with his 5e game he is running.  In AD&D I always put a cap on the magic.  In my game there was something like 4 or 5 +6 weapons TOTAL in the entier universe.  The most powerful you could hope for was +5 or +3/+6 where the +3 was normal attacks and +6 was against a very specific creature type.  In D&D 5 this cap is +3.  I wish I had reread this article before I started my Come Endless Darkness game.

Big ad for GURPS.

Kent Colbath gives us a microscopic bestiary with Microscopic monsters: When they get bigger, they get a lot tougher.  So paramecium, dinoflagellates and the like made huge.  An interesting idea, but one I'd only use in special occasions; never as a random monster.  Actually, they would make for interesting encounters in the Astral Plane.

Lots of ads...

The centerpiece of this issue is an adventure, Death of an Arch-Mage, by Michael D. Selinker.  It is a tournament-style murder mystery adventure for AD&D.  No levels are given (that I was able to find) but that makes sense.  This is a thinking adventure, not a combat one. The NPCs range from 0-level humans to 18th level. The adventure itself is really kind of awesome.  I love a good murder mystery and I have often wanted to do a Sherlock Holmes/Agatha Christie-style adventure.  I bet this one would work fantastically with other versions of D&D.  This one is worth trying.  The adventure is long, becasue there are a lot of details the DM needs.
Anyone ever do a murder mystery?

Kevin Marzahl has some details on grenades for the Top Secret game in Pull the pin and throw.

We get too our Ares Section now and on tape we have a few of the most powerful Super-powered Heroines in different universes.    Ok, confession time.  I was looking over three different Dragons for this week.  I opted for this one since it had Maxima and Super-girl in it.

Roger E. Moore is up with arguably the most powerful person in the Marvel Super Heroes Game; Phoenix.  If you grew up in the 80s and read comics you knew Phoenix.  I played a little MSH and enve I know there are not many Class 1000 anythings out there.  Phoenix is a Class 1000 Psychic.  The article, which is long for a Marvel-Phile, especially one dedicated to just one character, gives Phoenix her due.  I will admit I used aspects of the Phoenix cycle in my own Buffy the Vampire Slayer games just like I use (and still use) aspects of Crisis on Infinite Earths in my D&D games.

Jack Herman is up with his (or is it Jeff Dee's, I never really knew) character Maxima. Back from the future in VILLAINS & VIGILANTES gaming.  Maxima is one of the most powerful characters in the V&V line.  She is a scientist from the far future sent back to Earth of 1986 to stop the Apocalypse that destroys mankind, sadly the trip damaged her and she has forgotten much of what she knew of her time and why she is here.  In the new Mighty Protectors game we still see Maxima, so glad to know she is still doing her thing.  I think it would be great to see a new Mighty Protectors version of Maxima.

Greg Gordon, not to be outdone, has a write up for Super Girl for the DC Heroes game.  He make the argument that she is (was, this is just post Crisis) the most powerful heroine of the DC Universe.  He makes a compelling argument really.  Supergirl has had boost in popularity with the great CW show and performances by Mellissa Benoist.  I am going to say, and have said, that future generations of fan will look on Mellissa Benoist as Kara the same way we look on Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman.

Jeff Grub is next with the Marvel Phile on Longshot.  How did this guy get mixed in with all these super powerful superwomen? Luck I guess.

Not to be forgotten, George Mac Donald discusses super-super powers in Champions in Quantum.
We are introduced to the heroine of the same name.  I guess I should put up her pic too!

Small ads.
Snarf. Con Calendar and Wormy round out this issue.

So some great supers articles.  I am DYING to put all four of these superwomen into the murder mystery above.  I know! They are here to investigate the murder of Longshot!

Fun issue, with one of my favorite covers and some great articles.
You know who else had a good issue at this time? White Dwarf.  Pop on over and see what I was saying about July 1986 on White Dwarf Wednesday #79.  Great issue, ridiculous cover.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

PWWO: Mighty Protectors

Time again for another edition of "Plays Well With Others"!

Mighty Protectors is a new game, but it has a long history and some solid Old-School DNA.  Because of this, there is a lot of ways to tinker with the game.

It is no secret that there is D&D DNA in Villains & Vigilantes.  That DNA carries over to V&Vs offspring, Mighty Protectors.  While there are still plenty differences in these games, there are enough similarities to build on.

Mighty Protectors and Villains & Vigilantes 2.1

Total cheat really. These games are less "Mix and Match" as they are "ideas to be shared". They are basically two slightly different expressions of the same world.  Now V&V 2.1 has better, or at least, more explicit rules for magic and psionics. Plus converting between MP and V&V 2.1 is easy; there is a section in the MP book on converting V&V 2.1 over.  Using this V&V 2.1 becomes a Rosetta Stone of sorts for d20 based games.

This conversion key is really helpful for me for the next two games.

Mighty Protectors & d20 Silver Age Sentinels / BESM d20

Alas, Guardians of Order.  You were a not a well-run company, in the end, but you did have some fun games.  Two of GoO's games are of particular interest to me.  Big Eyes Small Mouth d20 (BESM d20) and Silver Age Sentinels d20 (SAS d20).  Both had great breakdowns of the d20 system (circa 2002) into Level-Based Point buy systems.  Using our V&V translation you can now have a translation of BESM/SAS d20 to V&V and MP.  In particular, the book Advanced d20 Magic for BESM d20 is a great resource for point-buy spells.   I have not worked out the mathematical translations or crunched the numbers just yet, but there are there.  My initial guess is that 1 CP (MP) = 2 Points for SAS/BESM. 
This would give me a great point-buy spell system with some well-defined familiar spells.

Another great thing about SAS (Tri-Stat or d20 versions) is the excellent history of comics and the superhero in modern culture. The Silver Age sensibility of the "how to play" sections fit Mighty Protectors to a tee.

Mighty Protectors and Mutants & Masterminds 2.0

One can't talk super-hero games and not mention Muntants and Masterminds.  While now in the third edition, it is the second edition that concerns us here and now.  M&M2 shares a lot in common with MP. I could detail it here, but this link, Converting Mutants & Masterminds 2.0 to Mighty Protectors, does a far better job.   I have gone over the list of Powers and Abilities for both games to see what one has that the other doesn't, But I can say that between these two nearly every power likely is covered.

Plus Green Ronin has an absolute ton of material for M&M.  Personally, I like to put the supers of each game into their own cities and if you go to that city that's where you will find them.

For my next round of characters, I am going to take some notes from these other games to get the characters I am really looking for.  It should be a blast.
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