Wednesday, July 11, 2012

White Dwarf Wednesday #23

Issue 23 puts us into 1981 proper.  February and March to be exact.  We have an interesting cover by someone only listed as Emmanuel.

We start off with a few pages of ads and then an interesting editorial from Ian Livingstone.  The editorial talks about the future of games, RPGs, as computer games.  Could you imagine being in 1981 and seeing the games we have today?  Skyrim or World of Warcraft or any of them?  I know exactly what I was doing then, trying to get a Radio Shack TRS-80 to do simple graphics in BASIC and saving them to a cassette tape.  It would have blown my mind.  But interestingly enough this editorial, unlike the others, is not as timeless even if the debate is still going on.

First up we have a milestone article from Lew Pulsipher, his grand "An Introduction to Dungeons & Dragons".  Frankly this one still works right now and I am considering making copies of it when I give my "What is D&D" speech when I bring in new players. There will more parts of this article in future issues.  While the numbers of players might be off, the "feel" of the article is right.

Next up we have the White Dwarf interview with Traveller's Marc Miller.   While this could be debated, I think Marc Miller has contributed just as much to the RPG hobby as did Gygax and Arneson.  Oh note they use the term "FRP" where we would use "RPG" today.  The article is an interesting read into the genesis of one of the "old guard" games.

Fiend Factory is back, this time with a theme of Flymen (no Flygirls in sight) as previewed in Issue #20. These monsters are all connected to the adventure later on.  The Flymen are insectoid-humanoid creatures.  Or more to the point, humans with fly heads. They are only 1/2" tall/long but have magics that can alter their or other's sizes.   The associated adventure, "The Hive of the Hrrr'l, is an interesting one and I give them credit for really trying something new.  The over effect is great. New monsters and a good hook.   I am not sure they would make for a great recurring enemy.

Open Box has reviews for us.  Up first is Warlock, a game I owned at one time.  Charles Vassey gives it an 8/10 and that roughly meets my memory of it.  Cults of Prax from Chaosium is next. I never played this one, but it gets a rare 10/10.  Might have to find that one. We are also treated to TSR's Deities and Demigods, the first AD&D Hardcover I owned.  This one of course does feature the much sought after Elic and Cthulhu mythos.  The book gets a 8/10 from Andy Slack, mostly due to the fact that he likes his own gods and this is a "DM's only" book.  We wrap up with Adventure 4 for Traveller, Leviathan. It gets a respectable 9/10.

In Character Conjuring Stephen Bland gives us the Elementalist.  As you can imagine it is an elemental based Wizard.  This is the first one of this type I recall seeing, but there were many more after it.
This one seems pretty good to be honest.  Spells up to level 9, but only 5 per level at max.

Starbase and Roger E. Moore present the Khazad-Class Seeker ship for Traveller.  I remember this article as another one from a collection I had from 81-82 or so.  I loved the idea of creating my ship.

Bill Milne writes "A Spellcaster's Guide to Arcane Power", one of the first Mana/Spell-point systems I can recall seeing.  It is a reasonable effort and shares traits with a number of other like systems, costs for spells, differeing rates of power recharge.

In Treasure Chest we get a number of "non-magical" items such as a knuckle dagger, a garrotte and a sword with a dagger in the hilt.

We wrap up the issue with Classifieds and a few more ads.

All in all a solid issue, what I'd call a utility issue.  I remember back when I first read this of using the Elementalists and only allowing him to use the Spellpoint system.  I thought it would be the best way to bring them both into a game.  It struck me later, after I had made a character, that these two systems really don't play well with each other.  So I dropped that idea.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

LinkWithin, part 2

Well I am going to stick with LinkWithin this time around.

Not only is it working better now it is also pushing up the hits on some of my older posts and that is a cool thing.

It looks like I could expand it to 4 or 5 links per page instead of just 3.   Will have to see how that works out.

ETA: Tried it, was a snap.  Is 5 too much?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Primeval RPG

Primeval is the latest game from the fine folks at Cubicle 7, the same that gave us the excellent Doctor Who RPG.

There is an absolute ton to like about this game.  First, things first, yes. It is the same system as C7's fantastic Doctor Who game.  That end and of itself is enough to merit it a good review.  The system is simple and gets out of the way to allow you to just play the game they way you like.  Secondly let's talk about the art and layout.  Plenty of stills from the series, but the layout is still top notch and the text is easy to read.

So what is Primeval? Well if you have not watched the series in England (or on BBC America here State-side) then you are missing out on some fun.  Basic premise: Anomalies in Time are opening up allowing all sorts of creatures from the past and the future to walk through, whether it is a Dodo or gigangantic Giga-Rex. The team at the Anomaly Research Center have to deal with it.  Which means of course now YOU have to deal with it.  Of course maybe your cast is not with the ARC, instead you could be independent.  Frankly I can't wait to run a game with an investigate news team seeking out anomalies to get them on the news or net.

Like many games, you have basic Attributes.  In this case six of them that are ranked 1 to 6.  These are all point buys, so choose wisely. You also have skills, whit general skills and areas of expertise.  You could be great with Technology, but your specialty is Computer Hacking or Surveillance Systems.  These are also ranked 1 to 6.

The basic rule is Attribute + Skill + 2d6 vs. some Target number.   Simple as it can get really.

You also have various Good and Bad traits that can be bought.  Sometimes these add to your roll, but could subtract from others. These help define who you are.

You character is then topped off with Story Points, which can be used in play.

After all the character creation rules we get a nice bit on Group Creation where you can also buy some Group Traits.

This is followed by the official cast stats including the human adversaries.  We also get some tips on playing ARC-related games.  This is followed by something completely different and we given tips on how to play a "Dinosaur Hunter" style game.  So two campaign models for the price of one.

We get into the basic rules section, including combat and chases.   You spend a lot of time running away from things in Primeval.  There is a nice overview of gadgets and equipment.

Next up descriptions of the various epochs of time.
And the Monsters.  The Monsters of course are the real treat of this book.  Plenty of examples are given and advice on how to create your own beastie from the past, or future.

A Gamemastering section is included on how to run the games. Followed by chapters on Adventures and Conspiracies.

A look into the Future is up next.  Primeval tends to focus mostly on Dinos, I think because Dinosaurs are cool.  But the creatures from the future are also very interesting.

Primeval is a fantastic game that should give a creative GM many, many sessions of adventure.  While there is certain emphasis on dinos coming in from the anomalies, there is no reason to limit it to that.  What about Neanderthals? or worse a victim of the Black Plague wanders into modern London?  The possibilities are endless really.

Now of course I have to mention that the game is compatible with Doctor Who.  It opens up an exponentially growing amount of stories when the two games are combined.  The game becomes worth it for the dinos alone for Doctor Who, or the creatures in Who for Primeval.  Honestly there is no way to go wrong here.

Interestingly enough my original playtest for Doctor Who was called "The Ghost Tower of Inverness, Illinois".  The premise was that there was a Time Beacon in Inverness, IL (which is next door to my town) that malfunctioned and pulled in characters from all over time.  They had to get into the Tower (which looked like a Light House) and fix it.
That playtest would have worked just as well for Primeval.  In fact I might even run it again one day.

If you are a fan of the Doctor Who then get this.

Tales of Woe, Part 2

Well after my post I got a number of offers to fix my hard drive.
I looks like for 60-75$ I can get the data pulled off of it.  Which is, to me, great.

Meanwhile I have 2 dead computers and a dead laptop.  So through some careful configuring I have assembled one Frankencomputer!  Currently it has an 80gig drive running Ubuntu 10.04.  I'd like to upgrade to Ubuntu 12 or Fedora, but I'll need a new video card and memory.

Of course I need to decided whether or not to stick with a Linux OS.

The open software scene is a bit like the OSR.  I feel that the ethos are mostly the same, but I could be wrong.

Course the thing I am missing the most on a Linux-box is I can't play my Doctor Who DVDs and frankly I don't have the desire to go out there and dig up codecs and use crazy Linus-speak to install them.

My wife says I should just forget it all and just buy a new computer.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Various reminders

Spent all day in 104+ weather outside.  My brain is cooked.

Here are some things I want you all to remind me about later cause they were in my clipboard so they must be important.
Need some more information on Swords & Wizardry.  Anyone have some details I can use?
I'd love to have some more people sign up for this.  It's the last time I am running Blight.
Jason has a poll up.  Give it a look-see.

Next weekend I run Ghosts of Albion: Blight om Saturday and Part two of Keep on the Shadowfell on Sunday.

Zatannurday: Supers Unleashed

I picked up this really simple super game a bit back called Supers Unleashed.  To say it is simple is an understatement.
It has a lot of potential and extremely easy to learn and play.

I have a feeling though that eventually that player of this game will want more.

So here is Zatanna, stated up for Supers Unleashed.


Super Points: 100

Powers: Magic 110
Limitations: Limit, must speak backwards: -10
Archetype: Magician (like Mage, only not as stuffy).

That is it!
I told you, very simple.

Sure I could reallocate points to mental or psychic powers, but she does all that stuff with magic.

Not too bad for a $0.99 game.

Friday, July 6, 2012

You Know Something?

I had forgotten how much fun I had with D&D 4th Edition.

The kids are in bed, the wife is out seeing "Magic Mike" and I am sorting through my D&D4 collection.

I know it gets beat up a lot, especially in the OSR blog-universe, but you know what? It is still fun to play and reading it there is a lot of nods to the older editions and a lot of love.  They just wanted to do their own thing.

I am really, really pleased that this is the system my son picked for his group.
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