Sunday, December 30, 2012

Return of the Dragon Slayers!

I got a chance to play with the boys again today.  We continued the DragonSlayers game from a while back.  To recap they had just entered the Temple of Tharizdun and had held off the advancing hordes with a Wall of Flame spell.

I upped the stats of all the goblins, trolls and norkers in the place to make them partially demonic.  Centuries of interbreeding has made them them evil, but dumb.  The boys cleared out one side of the temple and found the access to the Black Cyst.  

They recovered the Lament of Tharizdun, but the mostly Neutral Good party wants nothing to do with it.  They have no issue with the legendary 333 gems of Tharizdun.  

I am setting Tharizdun up as the next big bad.  But not till the next generation. That is the 1st Ed AD&D game I started with the children of these characters.

I printed out the newer symbol of Tharizdun and had it ready. One of the demonic trolls had it on his armor, so I showed it to the boys.  After some Knowledge Arcana, History and Religion rolls I announced that they didn't know what it was.  My youngest, playing a half-elf Sorcerer/Ranger/Arcane Archer stated "I know exactly what it is. It's a target!!" and he fired two flaming arrows into the troll.

I have to admit, I was pretty amused by that!

They finished the adventure and high tailed it back to Glantri City.  They are planning on taking a couple of months break before the next leg of their adventures, but I doubt it will be that long.  There is some trouble brewing in Two Lake Vale and strange cloud over the land.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Zatannurday: Into 2013!

We are nearing the very end of 2012 and the last Zatannurday of the year.

I thought it might be nice to get a preview of the new year and next weeks Justice League Dark.

Looking forward to reading this arc! (Once I catch up of course.)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Grumble*Sprint sucks*grumble

Was going to work on a post today.  But been on hold fighting with Sprint over the crappy ass phone they sold my son.

Hopefully something soon.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Star Trek RPGs

I was chatting a little bit with my buddy Greg on Star Trek RPGs.  He had mentioned while he love Trek he has yet to find an RPG that really captures that proper Trek feel.

I give Greg the benefit of the doubt on this one, he has played all the Trek RPGs out there and playtested a few more.  He has also played more SciFi games than I have.

Now I will admit that so far Starships & Spacemen 2e seems to fit the bill rather nicely, it's not perfect. In fact in my mind it even has a couple of potential problems, but I am not talking about that one today.

So let me ask you all.
What does a game need to have or do to be a "Star Trek" game? 
Any series is fine.  Any game is fine.  Just let me know why it works.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

White Dwarf Wednesday #45

Have a good Christmas/Yule/Festivist?  Good.  While we are all sleeping off the day and recovering from presents and Doctor Who and how ever much food we all ate let's sit back and cast our minds back to a simpler time.  The date is September 1983 and the Magazine is White Dwarf #45.

The cover is interesting.  I am sure she is supposed to be a demon of some sort, given the contents of the issue.  I don't really like it to be honest.  Something about it rubs me the wrong way.

Normally I don't comment on the ads very much and that is shame really.  The ads are always a good way to pulse of the gaming trends.  I should mention though that on page 6 is the first time we see the Mentzer edited D&D Basic Set, AKA the Red Box in pages of the White Dwarf.  To some this is the signal flare of the end of the Golden Age, to many others this was their start with D&D.  For me it was the first D&D product that I made a choice not to buy.  I felt I didn't need it.  I have the Holmes and Moldvay Basic sets, why did I need this?  Plus I was heavy into AD&D at this point.  Moving on.

Ian's editorial mentions this issue is the last phase of the changes that had begun a while back with the addition of two new comics to the pages of WD.  He reminds that there is a read survey.

Open Box gives us yet more classics.  The Avalon Hill classic Wizards is reviewed.  To me this game was what I really liked about gaming in this era.  All sorts really cool games that I could mine for ideas.  I loved the idea of Wizards and shameless mined it for ideas for my own Wizard Schools and Druid Groves.  I really should find a copy of this again someday.  Alan E. Paul gives is 7/10 total.   We have a collection of the new I Series from TSR.  I2, I3, and I4 plus M1, TSR's first solo module.  The "M" stood for the "Magic" of revealing the hidden text.  Or so I always have thought.  I always thought T&T did better with the solo modules, so I never cared for this one.  Jim Babbra gives them 9/10, 10/10, 10/10 and 6/10 respectively.   Oliver Dickson reviews Pavis: Threshold to Danger for RuneQuest.  I have never heard of this one before, but it sounds interesting (I am sure one you knows about this one).  It gets a 9/10.

Critical Mass reviews some more current Sci-Fi and Fantasy books and some outside of that.  I'll ignore the SStephen R. Dondalson poetry and move right to the 1982 Hugo award winning Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh.  He struggles to like the book, but somehow it just does quite get there.

Dave Morris has Part 2 of Dealing With Demons.  This time the Lesser Demons. Like a lot of articles written for other games I ported them over to to D&D, with the Porphyrs becoming Astral Vampires in my games.

Starbase has an Introduction to Traveller Scenarios.  I had finally thrown in the towel on Traveller at this point, but I still enjoyed reading the articles.

Marcus Rowland has an article on Thieves tools.  Interesting read, but not something we ever used.

We come to our first new comic Thurd the Barbarian.  Amusing liitle tale.
Next page is out next new comic, the Travellers.  I enjoyed what they were trying to do here, but never got into it.

Part 4 of Irilian is next. 6 more pages of urban goodness. I still think TSR missed the boat on doing an Urban Survival Guide.  I wish I still had all my notes for mine.

More letters. More people disappointed in Lew Pulsipher.

RuneRites has some clarifications on Divinations.

Thistlewood is a first, and certainly not the last, Warhammer Adventure in the pages of WD.  I hate to sounds all maudlin but this here is the signal of the beginning of the end.  I stopped reading WD regularly around issue 50.  It was harder to get by me by then and any extra money I had for magazine went to Dragon and the new Dungeon later on.

Fiend Factory, our constant companion here, has some monsters from the elemental planes, with focus on the "new" para-elemental planes.  Very interesting ones too.   To follow up on this there is the next article on various items from the elemental planes.

Ok this next article is an odd one.  Under the title of Super Mole it is an RPG industry gossip column.
I have no memory of this and I am not sure if it survived much after this.  There is a con report and then on to the gossip.  It is reported that 100 of TSR's 300 staff were laid-off (they don't use those words) and Kevin Blume is now President of TSR while Gary is out looking for that D&D movie.  Wow. I guess I have a right to be maudlin.  This issue reads more and more like an obit for the Grognards of the Golden Age of D&D.  Reports that 3 companies want the Marvel Super Hero license, TSR, Games Workshop and Mayfair. I wonder who is going to get it?  Games Workshop will publish their Golden Heroes with out the Marvel Content anyway it is claimed.   We get an overview of the Red Box D&D and promises of an Expert Set.  The HeartQuest books are mentioned as a means to get more girls into the fold.   And some rumors of Marc Miller's Traveller hardback not seeing the light of day anytime soon.

The page concludes with Gobbledigook.

The next page has the new reader survey. They are still offering a prize draw if you can get it back to them by October 1, 1983.

We end with more ads.

I don't want to say this is the beginning of the end for WD. It isn't. Nor did I feel so then.  But retrospect is a funny thing.  Know what I know now and knowing when things began to happen it is hard not to look at this issue as a transitional one.  At this time in 83 I was in my own personal Golden Age of gaming.  Things were great and they were going to get better. I had a job and I could buy the things I wanted, for the most part, or save for the things I really wanted.  The next five or so issues will be very interesting to revisit.  Some I have not reread since I picked up this box of White Dwarfs at a Garage sale so many years ago.   Some I will wager will be like reading them for the first time.  Once we get into the 60s and 70s I know there will be more like that.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy BOXing Day

We are celebrating Boxing day a day early here at the Other Side.

I am opening up functionality for all my free downloads.

So please expect some more content here as I am working on gathering up material and getting it out to you all.

So Happy Boxing Day!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Year 2012 in reveiw

It is just about that time to get reflective on the year we have past and look forward to the new year.

2012 might well go down as the Year of the Kickstarter.  Sure we had Kickstarters in 2011, but this was the year that everyone seemed to be getting on board.
We saw the introduction of the RPG Kickstarter Group on Facebook and I'd wager we will get something similar on Google Plus Community soon.    One of the more useful sites though has been Tenkar's Tavern and his round up of late Kickstarters.

I mentioned the Hobbit already, but 2012 was a great year for movies.  All sorts of Superhero action, with the Dark Knight Rises as my favorite super hero movie of the year.  I also enjoyed Brave quite a bit.

Not much came out this year that I had to have. My Witch book came out and I was quite pleased with that.
In terms of running games, well it has been a busy year.
I am still running the D&D 3.x with my two sons, the Dragonslayers.  We had hoped to finish up this year but various things got in the way.  I started a new 4e game with my sons and some of their friends.  That one is more intermittent, but still enjoyable.   At Gen Con we also started a new 1st Ed game, designed as a "Next Generation" of our 3.x game.  I introduced my oldest son to Ghosts of Albion and he enjoyed it.  I want to introduce Doctor Who to them both since I think my youngest would like it as well.

The Edition Wars seemed to end, more or less.  WotC is working on 5e and printing 1st Ed material.  The OSR and Pathfinder is still chugging along.

Blog Traffic
So far this year I am sitting at 540 or so posts compared to 511 for last year.
My total traffic is down 109,747 visits (as of this writing  this year compared to 121,509 visits last year.  This is a general trend I think most bloggers are seeing.  While this is all down there is not a huge change in the patterns of traffic, just less of it.  One thing I have yet to figure out is why Google Analytics gives me different numbers than the Google Blogger stats.  For example if I just look at Blogger stats I got  over 300,000 hits this last year.
Regardless of the amount, the trends are about the same.

Here are my Top Ten Referers for 2012:

A lot of what is going on with Blogger and Bloggers is Google Plus. A lot of bloggers have been spending more time on talking and posting Google Plus.

By the end of last year I had written a little over 200 reviews for DriveThruRPG.  This year I reached my goal of 500 and hit 531.  Not sure what my goal should be for 2013.

Not sure what the new year will bring to the Other Side yet.  I want to continue White Dwarf Wednesday and Zatannurday.  More games and reviews to be sure.  I have a few WiPs I can alos talk about more next year.