Friday, February 28, 2014

Tempting Fate, Part 2

So I have been looking at Fate a lot recently.
Reading it over. Thinking of different things to try with it.

There are a lot of reasons to do so.  Just have stuck that right chord with me yet.

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 28

Day 28: What is the single most important lesson you've learned from playing Dungeons & Dragons?

Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.

― G.K. Chesterton

The same thing can be said about D&D.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mecha vs. Kaiju

Back when True20 was still new there was a "campaign world" created for it; Mecha vs. Kaiju.  It eventually spun off into a full blown product.

I talked about it more recently when Pacific Rim came out.

Well True20 sadly never got the traction it should have, but there is a new system to fill it's niche, Fate, and new Mecha vs. Kaiju for it.

If it is anything like the True20 it will be ridiculously fun.
Though it looks like to me this not a simple conversion, but a complete rewrite to fit the Fate rules.
If that is the case then this stands to be a really, really fun game.

If it does for Fate what it did for True20 in my mind then this is an easy winner.

I have been dying to do something with Fate and this just might be the thing I need.

Mecha vs. Kaiju True20 Version
The game is set up much like other True20 books.  You have your three archetypes/characters (Adept, Expert, Warrior) and a host of new feats and powers to choose from.  Some are campaign-specific but almost all could be used anywhere else.  In fact there is enough here that the main feature of MvK is readily apparent; you don't have to do games about fighting giant monsters all the time.  Now of course the main plot and thrust of this game is fighting giant monsters, but I can easily see some adventures of exploring monster islands, contests between cocky pilots, mad scientists, children with newly awakened psychic powers.

When I first read this game my thoughts went first to Godzilla, but you can do Akira here as well and any number of other "Neo Tokyo" genres.  Plus it is compatible with a host of True20 books I already have, so adding cyberpunk, horror or even comedy is easy.

If you don't like the campaign background you can leave it, but I think you would be missing out on something really fun if you do.

This might in fact be my favorite True20 setting.

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 27

Day 27: If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything different when you first started gaming?

I don't know.  I am not one for regrets or second-guessing my choices.
I think I would have liked to have bought more of the classic books when I could and saved more of the things I wrote. Playing some more games when I was younger would have been nice too.

But yeah I mean I had a blast. I am still having a blast. Why would I want to change any of that?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

White Dwarf Wednesday #99

March 1988 and White Dwarf #99. This might one of my least favorite covers ever for White Dwarf.  Some weird looking space marine (research tells me it is a Chaos Marine).  In The Eye Of Terror Collective by Creativity Inc is the credit.
Sean Masterson gives us lackluster editorial.

Marginalia gives us two products, Curse of the Mummy's Tomb and Heroes for Dungeonquest.  Curse of the Mummy is a new board game and Heroes another expansion for Dungeonquest.

Lots of stuff for Warhammer 40k.

Letters moves up to the start of the issue.

The Ritual is a Warhammer Fantasy introductory scenario.   It's 10 pages and looks like it could be fun.  It has a serious old school vibe about it (naturally) but it really looks like something that could be published today for the OSR crowd.

For RuneQuest we get a guide on Martial Arts.  Only a page, but some very 80s stuff.

A little bit more on some Warhammer 40k.

Spirit of the Mountain is a Call of Cthulhu adventure.  Taking place anytime between 1830 and 1930 it is a fun little adventure set in Navajo land in Arizona.  I like it. I am sucker for anything Native American in nature.  Growing up in the midwest near old burial mounds will do that.  Plus I was in the area of this adventure this past spring on vacation and I have been dying to try something out.  It looks like something that I could convert easily to Ghosts of Albion.

One of the reasons (I think) for letters getting moved was to make room for a new forum on miniatures. I have been poking my head in on various newer White Dwarf issues to know that anything miniatures was gold for White Dwarf.

End with more Warhammer 40k and various ads.

A lot of what I said about last issue is still valid here.

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 26

Day 26: Do you still game with the people who introduced you to the hobby?

I started 35 years ago.  The people I gamed with then have all moved on and now have families of their own.  The ones I still keep somewhat in touch with are still over 200 miles away.

Maybe someday I will game with them again.  My boys are also playing 1st Ed. AD&D now so everything has come full circle for me.

20 Years of Starlog

Back in the 80s there was one magazine that vied for my attention as much as Dragon and White Dwarf.

Now the Internet Archive (one of my favorite websites ever) has 20 years worth of back issues of Starlog, Issue #1 to issue #224 (1976 to 1996).  Pretty much the golden and silver ages of the magazine.

No idea how long these will stick around.  People tend to upload this stuff without having the proper permissions.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Oh no. There's goes Tokyo!

Can't wait for this.

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 25

Day 25: Longest running campaign/gaming group you've been in.

This one is pretty easy.
I have been able to play in some pretty cool groups, but the one that has lasted the longest and the one I get the most enjoyment out of is Dragonslayers.

The Dragonslayers began as a way of teaching my oldest son how to play.  He was only about 4 years old at the time. I began with some very simple rules, but mostly based around D&D 3rd Ed.

I added in bits of Star Wars d20, BESM d20 and Mutants & Masterminds.  Over the years we also added my youngest son.  I have talked about the group many times here.

Presently the Dragonslayers are all in Epic levels, 24-26.  Yeah I wanted to do somethings with 4e too, so I am using the 3.x Epic Level Handbook and ideas from 4e. I have one more adventure to take them through and then it is off to the Dragon's Isle to fight Tiamat.  It will be epic!

Monday, February 24, 2014

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 24

Day 24: First movie that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why?

That's easy.  There really is only one D&D movie.

Star Wars.  Or "A New Hope".

Not only was it out at the same time (more or less) I discovered D&D. It became so much a part of my experiences as a kid that is hard to tease out where one influence begins and the other ends.

This movie has: A boy who would be the hero, a swashbuckling rogue, a princess to rescue, a wise old man/wizard/jedi, an evil warrior, an impenetrable fortress, magic, fights, side-kicks, monsters, sword fights and epic battle.  Everything here IS D&D.  They even meet the rogue in a bar!

Yes this another retelling of the monomyth or The Hero with a 1,000 Faces.  That's why it works so well.

If you have never watched the original trailer, watch it.  It gives you an idea of what Star Wars was in the late 70s, before all the toys and baggage.

This is also one of the reasons I like the d20 Star Wars game over the West End Games d6 one.  To me Star Wars and D&D are the same.
It should also be no surprise that Star Wars movie posters are the only movie posters hanging in my game room/office.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 23

Day 23: First song that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why?


Again, given the age I am I usually associate D&D and AD&D in particular with Led Zeppelin.

I grew up in the mid-west, the middle of Illinois to be exact.  Classic Rock was all that was on the radio.  So songs like "The Battle of Evermore" or "Misty Mountain Hop" invoke that quasi-Tolkien feel that goes hand in hand with D&D.  But I also have to mention "Kashmir" and "The Immigrant Song" as having some lingering associations for me.

I have to admit I once wanted to create a series of adventures all based on the songs from Led Zeppelin 4 (aka "Zoso").  While that is SOOO a typical High School kid in the 80s thing to do with D&D, I still think it might be fun.  I mean look as the adventures I did for The Dragon & The Phoenix, Season of the Witch and The Hex Girls.  Obviously I listened to a lot of music in my formative years.

"Does anybody remember laughter?"

Saturday, February 22, 2014

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 22

Day 22: First D&D-based novel you ever read (Dragonlance Trilogy, Realms novels, etc.)

I have to admit I don't read a lot of game-based fiction.  I did. But not anymore.

So like most people my age the first D&D book I ever read was Dragons of Autumn Twilight.

I remember being rather excited about it when it came out.  I read it and it was ok.  I liked the Twins Trilogy better, but lets be 100% honest here. These are not great works of literature.  They are fun.

I recently set out to reread the Annotated Dragonlance Chronicles recently.  I have not gotten very far.  There is a surprising lack of violence in these books.  Plus they commit one of the cardinal rules of fiction in my mind, things happen to the characters rather than characters doing things.

My son is reading this now.  He will enjoy it since he is the same age now I was then.

I will admit to reading all the Gord the Rogue books and all of the Ravenloft ones.
To be fair with the Ravenloft books though there are some "names" in those early books, Laurell K. Hamilton, P.N. Elrod, Christie Golden, and Elaine Bergstrom.

I have never read any Forgotten Realms books or anything for any other game line.

Friday, February 21, 2014

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 21

Day 21: First time you sold some of your D&D books--for whatever reason.

Not sure when the first time was.  I do recall though a great 2nd ed purge around 1997 or 1998.  I had a ton of books and I wanted to get things down to the bare essentials.  This also corresponds to the time I was getting out of D&D.

I remember selling some items at the local Game Plus Auction, but I also sold a more significant amount on Ebay.

This was right before the Dragon magazine archive went for sale so I unloaded my old Dragons for a decent price. I sold all my 2e splat books.  My best sell was a near mint Complete Book of Necromancers. I had bought it for $15.00 and it was then being sold at $18.00  I made $83.00 on it.

I almost always regret selling my games and have often bought them back.  I have owned over the years 3 different copies of Chill and Quest of the Ancients, two copies each of BESM, Vampire, Mage and various Star Trek games. There are more.  Interestingly enough I recently picked up a copy of the Complete Book of Necromancers at Half-Price books for $9.00.  That is the same price as the PDF.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 20

Day 20: First non-D&D RPG you played.

It is a toss up really.  I am not quite sure of the dates but it was either Traveller or Chill.

Of course with Chill I never played, but I managed to run a couple of sessions.
Traveller, at least how we played it, ended up being D&D in Space.

Though now that I think about it is also could have Villains & Vigilantes.   But all we did in that was use our D&D characters.

Since then I have branched off into scores of games and have a few that I regularly play.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Social Media applet

Did a quick and dirty social media contact widget to the right (and below).

DeviantArt email me facebook Google+ Instagram
linkedin Pinterest tumblr twitter YouTube

Now you can see what I am doing all over the web.  Just click on the icons.

I'll add more as they become relevant to me.

White Dwarf Wednesday #98

Heading into the last hurrahs now.  White Dwarf Wednesday takes us to February 1988.
On the cover "Games Workshop" takes front and center.  The cover is also a group of Space Marines by Dave Andrews.  While this is certainly a sign of the change here it is also the change itself.  This is basically how the issues will remain till the present day.

Sean Masterson's editorial covers how packed the issue is (it is) but that is about all he says.

Marginalia covers Timescape for Talisman and a Warhammer 40k product Chapter Approved.  Timescape is a boardgame expansion and includes a number of new cards.

Some articles on Centuars for Warhammer Fantasy battles and a preview of Chapter Approved for 40k.

Thurd and Gobbledigook both get the Warhammer treatment as well.

"Scenes for Courtly Life" is an article on using courtly characters in your FRPG. Examples of different sorts of characters are given, such as the King, Queen, Physician and so on. With some quotes from literature to help make the point.  There are some great ideas on marriage, rules, etiquette and more.  Think how popular Game of Thrones in now.  This article won't let you do all of that, but it will give you something to do in between dungeons.

Grapes of Wrath is a scenario for Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play for 5-7 characters, Advanced careers.  Scenario makes it sound small, this is one of the longest adventures I have seen in a while in the pages of WD. 17 pages with 2 pages of full color maps.  Again I look on WHFRP as something akin to trying to read Modula-2 or Oberon if you learned Pascal. Or Danish if you know German. The words are familiar and you can figure it out, but there is something lost in the translation do to my own lack of knowledge.  IF I do nothing else with this White Dwarf experiment I think I owe it myself to try out a game of WHFRP.

The Madcap Laughs is next with Part 3 of 3 of the Stormbringer Adventure.
Couple of pages of Letters and some Warhammer questions.

Not a lot for my games here, but the "Scenes for Courtly Life" is interesting enough on it's own.

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 19

Day 19: First gamer who just annoyed the hell out of you.

There have been a few.

I have had "the unwashed guy", the "creepy guy" and the "angry guy" all in my groups at one point.

But the one that I have to admit who annoys me the most is also one of the first I ever ran into, he is the "You're Doing it WRONG guy".

This is the guy who has been playing for a while and has decided, for whatever reason that your brand of fun is somehow wrong or deficient in some matter.

I would run into him when I was playing Basic/Expert D&D and he was playing AD&D. I ran into him while playing Chill and he was playing Call of Cthulhu.  I run into him all the time on internet.

Of course by "him" I mean a metaphorical "him", but I have never run into a woman gamer that did this.  Most times they are older than me (which is now thankfully rarer) but sometimes younger.

I look at this guy the same way I do Edition Wars. Ignore him and continue with my fun.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 18

Day 18: First gaming convention you ever attended.

I had attended some smaller Con at Southern Illinois University back in the late 80s.  But being a poor college student I didn't get a chance to do much.

My first Gen Con was not until 2007.  I have had a blast there every year since (except for 2013, we didn't go).

This year I am taking my boys again.  It should be a blast!

Monday, February 17, 2014

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 17

Day 17: First time you heard D&D was somehow "evil."

I started gaming in the late 70s, early 80s.  So hearing D&D was "satanic" was part and parcel of the gaming experience then.  Especially in the ultra-religious town I grew up in.

I remember hearing it from one friend that his mom would not let him play because D&D was "from the devil".  And me being, well, me, told him how there is no devil in D&D...we killed him a few adventures ago.

Back in the early 80s we even had our own little satanic panic scare in town.  Someone had discovered "an altar" out in a cornfield near the high school.  Sent the school into a tizzy. People started wearing these inverted crosses with red line through them, Satan Busters. Like the Ghostbusters symbol.
Everyone was scared.  I thought it was hilarious.   I was a pretty hard core atheist already so I was fascinated by how panicked everyone was.  I DO remember being told not to bring my D&D books for a while.

I also had a copy of Jack Chick's infamous Dark Dungeons tract and I also did this, MST3k: Dark Dungeons.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 16

Blog hop
Day 16: What was your first Edition War? Did you win?

I honestly can't recall my first Edition War. I personally find edition wars in general to be pretty stupid.

 I do recall a lot of complaining when 3e first came out.

I have participated in Edition Wars in the past, to be honest, I have gone in with the intention of defending whatever edition seems to be getting the wrong end of the majority.  Lately, that has usually meant 4th ed.

There is no "winning" in edition wars.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Zatannurday: What a Doll!

The new line up for the Toy Fair 2014 from DC is out.

In addition to some fantastic looking one of Batman and the Batfamily we get a new one to the Bombshell line.

So these have been running about $125.00.

I looks great but they forgot her fishnets.  Given that they had them on Black Canary I think it was a choice.
Still though the smoking rabbit is a nice touch.

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 15

Day 15: What was the first edition you didn't enjoy. Why?

Hmm. Generally speaking I have enjoyed every single edition. Sure for different reasons, but in truth as long as I am throwing dice with friends or family then I am happy.

Though I will admit I was getting burned out on AD&D 2nd ed by the mid 90s and when the Skills and Powers books came out I was pretty much done.

I felt the Skills & Powers books were overkill and took D&D into deep munchkin territory.
Picking up the new 3rd Ed Players Handbook in 2000 was the only thing that won me back to D&D to be honest.

Also at this point I was playing more WitchCraft RPG and branching out to other games more.  The AD&D Skill system was by then horribly dated.

Friday, February 14, 2014

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 14

Day 14: Did you meet your significant other while playing D&D? Does he or she still play?

No. I met my significant other playing cards.  She was over in our dorms because she already destroyed everyone her dorm at cards.  Her game at the time was euchre, but she also played a lot of pinochle.  Yeah she kicked my ass, but I am not very good at cards.

It was not till more than 10 years later that she played for the first time.  It think it was 1997 or so.  We played some 2nd Ed AD&D and I was running Keep on the Borderlands.
They never made it to the caves.  I swear she and two of our friends spent more time buying stuff at the Keep's weaponsmith.
The other oddity of this they all wanted to play gnomes.  All first time players.

Strangest session I ever ran.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A to Z Challenge Ambassador

I am signed up for the A to Z blog Challenge again for this April.

Not only that, I am once again one of the "Ambassadors" for the challenge. Basically this means I am a cheerleader. It will be my job to go through the sites in the challenge and give them encouragement.  I am once again working with Master Blogger Arlee Bird over at Tossing It Out.
In addition to the list of sites that my group will monitor I am also going to be hitting all RPG sites in the hop.

I think this is a great outreach opportunity. My hits increase by 300% and some of those stay on.  It is my version of evangelism.  If you are part of my regular set of readers and you are going to do this let me know!  I will make sure I add you to my list.

I mentioned here and here that this year I am doing an A to Z of Vampires.  This hopefully will support two different projects I am working on.  These projects are still in draft phase now, in fact one is not even in that yet.  But Vampires are something I have always enjoyed.  In fact in most circles before I was "the witch guy" I was "the vampire guy".

Like last year there will be plenty of RPG stuff, but there will also be more general horror posts too.  Trying to please all my audiences.

Hope to see you in the Challenge!

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 13

Day 13: First miniature(s) you used for D&D.

This ties nicely into Question 1. I bought some minis with my then DM, Jon, for use in our game.

We ordered them all from the Mail Order Hobby Shop.
I got my cleric, dwarf, halfling, thief and wizard.

These were the old made of lead, lead miniatures.
I used them for years, but never painted them.

I sold them or gave them back Jon.  He painted them and held on to them for nearly 25 years.

He had a few more that he painted.  Most have "Ral Partha 1979" on them. I think he got them at Black's Hardware in Springfield, IL.

Recently Jon sold them all back to me.  He loved the idea that my kids would use them.

My favorite is that Intellect Devourer.

Of course here are some of my favorites.  My recent batch of witches.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Strange Brew. Take 2?

So we have pulled the plug on Strange Brew.

Here is the official word from the publisher:

HI, all:

Thank you for your support on this project, but we are not making the needed traction to make this kickstarter a go. Therefore, I am closing the funding down on this and taking some time to reconsider how we can better interest the market on this project--which I still strongly believe in. We aren't giving up, just regrouping.

Meanwhile, three of my friends are producing some interesting kickstarter projects that you may be interested in:

Naomi Tripi has the family Flip Flash card game going--art is going to be by Stan!

Eloy Lasanta of Third Eye Games has AMP, a game of modern supers, going strong.

Hal Greenberg has the Fall of Man, postapocalyptic game ending soon. They've put up some very nice artwork and an interesting video. I've been asked to edit the final book.

Stay tuned for more information on Strange Brew. Thanks again.

Christina Stiles

We have been talk within our group and we felt that we could do better with more art, a video and some other levels.  Plus revamping the project too in an effort to bring it to you all cheaper.

Yeah, I am disappointed, but the reasons are all sound.

I will be working on it and hopefully be getting you something great here soon.

If you can, throw in your support for Naomi Tripi's Kickstarter or Fall of Man.

White Dwarf Wednesday #97

We begin 1988 with White Dwarf #97.  This is another one I picked up to be complete.  I bought though because it was an "attack of opportunity" so to speak; it was there and I had cash.

The dragon on the cover is nice. It's the same cover as Dungeonquest by Peter Jones.
The editorial is a blast against nostalgia and favors looking towards the new.  It is using the metaphor of rock bands and "Classic oldies" stations, but the message is clear. White Dwarf is changing and if you don't like that, well you can always listen to your dad's 8-Tracks.

Marginalia covers the Judge Dredd Companion.  Of course given the 80s hair and giant shoulder pads it could have also been clothing catalog.  It was the 80s after all.

An interesting bit, a couple of pages from Games Workshop mail-order store.
The next 50 pages are devoted to Warhmmer.  Not that this is a bad thing, but I have nothing to contribute to it.

An article for Call of Cthulhu is next.  Three cases for 1920s Call of Cthulhu.  Seems like a weak effort to me.

The Madcap Laughs is next with Ruins in Madness for Stormbringer. At nine pages is also fairly long.  It is nice and detailed.

We end with Letters and ads including a Dungeonquest one.

We all knew this was coming.  Sure there are more pages, but less and less of the things I am interested and outside the focus of this blog.  I was just talking with my son on Tuesday about Warhammer (because if you don't talk to your kids about Warhammer then who will?) and how I never got into it.  We were at our FLGS and I showed him all the stuff you can buy for it and the new weekly WD.  It dawned on me then and there that WH is younger man's game.  Not that you need to be younger than me to play it, but you need a lot of time.  Frankly I don't have that anymore.   So I am popping in my 8-tracks.  Get off my lawn.

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 12

Day 12: First store where you bought your gaming supplies. Does it still exist?

I actually devoted an entire post or two a while back to this.

My first game store was Waldenbooks in the Mall over in Springfield. Later Belobrajdic's Book Store closer to home also carried D&D books.

All these places have closed.

When I was in college I was privileged to be around when Castle Perilous first opened their doors.  Bought most of my Ravenloft stuff there.   Now I spend most of my time at Games Plus.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A to Z Blogging Guest Post

I have a guest post up over at the Blogging from A to Z site today.

I am going to participate again this year. Like last year I am doing "posting with a purpose" and will be doing the A to Z of vampires.

It should be fun!

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 11

Day 11: First splatbook you begged your DM to approve.

Hmm.  Not so sure.  There were not a lot of splats available then.

I think the first one had to be the Book of Marvelous Magic for D&D.

There were a lot of really cool magic items and I wanted my assassin (AD&D) to get some of them.

We used a few, but never all. It was one of the books I lost when all my AD&D hardcovers went missing in the early 90s.  Since then I was able to get a hold of another copy.  It is still a fun little book.

Monday, February 10, 2014

As seen on TV!

Hey everyone I have a question.

What do you perceive the value of a "celebrity" write a forward of an RPG book? This would not be an RPG person, but someone in a similar fandom. For example a comic author/artist or an actor for a supers game.

So as an off the wall example. Getting Robert Downy Jr. to talk about how playing a super hero is fun or Vin Diesel talking about his D&D character?

Mind you the cost with the book is no different, just something extra for the book.


D&D40 Bloghop: Day 10

Day 10: First gaming magazine you ever bought (Dragon, Dungeon, White Dwarf, etc.).

The first ever Dragon magazine I ever bought was Dragon #85.

I had been hanging out in Belobrajdic's Bookstore in my home town and I looked at the Dragons every month.  But this one grabbed my attention for some reason.

Back in those days we milked every magazine for what it was worth.  It wasn't like now where the amount to fill a magazine is posted every day for free. Then the new material was few and far between.

My first issue of White Dwarf came later. The local bookstores didn't carry it so I had to order it.  Not knowing what to get, only that it looked really cool, I grabbed issue #44.

Very fond memories of reading both of these over the years.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 9

Day 9: First campaign setting (homebrew or published) you played in.

The Known World for the Cook/Marsh Expert Set was my first world.
Later I would end up playing a lot in the World of Greyhawk a lot as well.

Around 1986 or so my then DM and I had this idea to merge our worlds into one.  So one half was Oerth and the other half was Mystara.

The map we came up with was no where near as good as this one, but the idea was the same.

I have detailed all of this on my Mystoerth page.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Zatannurday: Serinda Swan

It dawned on me this week that I have never posted anything about Serinda Swan here.
Afterall she has the honor of playing the only live action version of Zatanna on TV in Smallville.   She was just recently spotted on the CW's updated Tomorrow People.  I have a feeling we will be seeing more of her.

In the meantime here she is as Zatanna from Smallville.