Wednesday, August 31, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 31

What is the best piece of advice you were ever given for your game of choice?

I am not sure who told me this, but I remember is was early into high school.
At the time I was learning to game it was more important for us to have fun than it was was to play by the rules.  Then I went through a period where I only played by the letter of the rules. I used weapon speeds and every little encumbrance rule I knew of.   If it was not in the books, or our specially sanctioned set of house rules, then we didn't do it.

I was talking with a friend (or maybe it was the older brother of another friend) and I was told this.

Don't memorize rules. You can't memorize them all anyway.  Focus on the basics and having fun. Everything else can be looked up.

Turned out to be good advice. It's also the same advice I give.

I tend to make the rules an abstraction.  Like in most newer editions of D&D it's "roll a d20 vs. a specified number. If the number is not specified use 10, 15 or 20."  In Unisystem it's "roll a d10, add skills and abilities and see how much higher than 9 it is."  Everything else will flow from that.

We are here to have fun, not defend a dissertation that someone else wrote.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 30

Describe the ideal game room if your budget were unlimited.

I am not sure about *The* ideal game room, but for *my* ideal game room I am already pretty damn close.

Here are a few posts about it.

I need plenty of light, easy access to my books, a good table with chairs and lots and lots of pencils.

Right now I could get a better table. Nothing wrong with the one I have, I think a "gamer table" would be nice.  I just have not found one yet that I like enough to buy.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Tarot Witch of the Black Rose for Villains & Vigilantes

We have two great comic-related Kickstarters going on right now, one just getting going and the other about to end.
We have the update to the classic super-hero RPG Villains & Vigilantes from +Jeff Dee and Jack Herman, The Mighty Protectors RPG. It is doing great and still a few more weeks.
Also, we have issue #100 of Jim Balent's and +HOlly Golightly's comic Tarot Witch of the Black Rose.

So to celebrate both I thought some V&V stats for Tarot might be in order.  I have not played V&V in years, so I am a little rusty on character creation.

Notice:  Neither of these Kickstarters or their respective properties have anything to do with each other or their respective creators. Except of course that I am a fan and wish them all the best of luck!

Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose
Identity: Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose
Name: Rowan

Side: Good
Sex: Female
Age: Late 20s/Early 30s
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 135 lbs 

Training: Coven Witch, Swordmaiden

Level: 13
Experience: 100,000 xp

Strength: 13
Endurance: 15
Agility: 35
Intelligence: 18
Charisma: 30

React. Mod.: 5
Basic Hits: 3
Agility Mod: 0

Hit Mod. (1.2) (1.8) (3.4) (1.3)=9.5472

Hit Points: 29
Power: 81

Healing Rate: 1.2
Accuracy Modfier: +6
Damage Modifier: +5
Detect Hidden: 14%
Detect Danger: 18%
Reaction from Good: +5
Reaction from Evil: -5

Movement rate: 63

Skills: Swordsmanship, Witchcraft

Power: Precognition
- Tarot Reading/Tarot Magic - Can use tarot cards as divination devices.

Power: Magick (Spell casting)
- Dazzle
- Eye bite (Blast, does not require hands)
- Flight
- Magickal Senses
- Teleport
- Telekinesis

Magic Items
- Magic Armor (resistance to magical attacks,  enhanced agility)
- Magic Sword, Sword of the Black Rose (heightened attack, magical attack)

Legal status: Citizen of the United States with no criminal record.
Security clearance: 0

Other Tarot Character Builds
Hair: Red
Eyes: Green
Group Affiliation: The Black Rose Coven
Base of Operation: Witches' Hollow, Salem, MA

Notes: I have posted about Tarot before.  She has some magic, some skills and combat ability.  She has a winged cat familiar named Pooka as well as a two lovers, Skeleton Man (Jon Webb) and Boo Cat (a werecat).  She does some really cool comic things, but then ends up loosing her clothes while sledding due to some faeries (ok to be fair the whole vacationing lot, Jon, Mother and Raven, did too).

All in all not a bad fit.  I like her at 13th level which lines up nicely with her other builds.  Tarot really amounts to what is a Witch Guardian in my games.  A little magic, some combat ability, and a desire to protect others.  Everything else aside that is what Tarot (the character) is all about; protecting others.
Kinda makes her perfect for a game called "Mighty Protectors".
Other Characters for Villains & Vigilantes

RPGaDAY2016: Day 29

If you could host a game anywhere on Earth, where would that be?

Hmm. I think I answered this one, a little bit, on Day 27 with "a haunted* house".

But I suppose a "haunted*" castle would be more fun. Or even just a real castle we could explore first and then game.  It would have to be a weekend thing. Or a week.

I think that would be a blast.

*"haunted" because I don't actually believe in ghosts.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 28

What film or novel would you be most surprised that a friend had not seen or read?

I have to admit I am always very surprised when someone in RPG circles tells me they have never read J.R.R. Tolkien.

To me it is so integral to what I consider my own RPG experience.

Now I am not surprised when I hear people have not read H.P. Lovecraft.  I find that more people talk about his works than have actually read them.

For movies.  I am in shock when I hear that someone has never seen Star Wars.  That is also so central to my own RPG upbringing.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 27

Describe the most unusual circumstance or location in which you have gamed.

Anyone remember the old TV show, the Newlywed Game?  One of the standard questions was "strangest place you have ever made 'whoopie'?" which was conservative America talk for having sex.  

Yeah.  That's what this question reminds me of.

I don't know really.  We use to play on the school bus in Jr. High and High School, but honestly that doesn't seem so odd.

I always wanted to run a horror themed game in a "haunted" house. That would be fun I think.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Kickstart Your Weekend: Huge Kickstarter Round up.

Lots to share today! So let's get into it.

Prince Valiant® Storytelling Game by Greg Stafford

The comic gets updated in a new game from Greg Stafford.  I remember reading this as a kid and it could make for a great game.  Just a couple of hours left!

Tarot Witch of the Black Rose: Issue#100 Extended Edition

I make no apologies of my enjoyment of Tarot and Jim and Holly have put together a cool package here.  It's issue 100 and Tarot and Skeleton Man are getting married.  I am sure things are going to ger crazy before the official handfasting.

Battle of the Bands: The Deluxe Edition Card Game

I do enjoy a crazy card game and this one had me at Elvis impersonator.

Worldographer: Hexographer 2 - Easy Map/World Creator

I also love mapping software.

Invisible Sun

Monte Cook's massive new RPG. Or RPG as art or lifestyle.  I am not sure what it is to be honest.  But I am sure you all have $200 to find out?  Well so far a lot of others have so there is obviously a market for this.

Last, but not at all least.

Villains and Vigilantes™ 3.0: The Mighty Protectors™ RPG

Jeff Dee has the rights to Villains and Vigilantes back and now is working on the 3.0 version of one of the world's first super-hero games.  It looks like it will be a lot of fun!

Go out there and bring your credit card! ;)

RPGaDAY2016: Day 26

What hobbies go well with RPGs?

Which ones go well?
Well reading obviously, but it is hard to consider that one a hobby. Kinda like saying breathing and eating are hobbies in my mind.

Collecting RPGs is one that gets tied up in playing RPGs a lot.  Long ago I knew I would never, ever be able to collect every game I wanted so I have just focused on a few things I have wanted for my collection.

Curious to read what others say on this.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 25

In your opinion, what do you need for a satisfying character?

All I need is a good concept I want to explore.

In particular when creating a character I might have some archetype or even some stereotype I want to explore.

Currently, the character I am working on is an NPC for various project. She is a witch (of course, but so are my projects), but comes from an ancient line of witches.  Something like the Mayfair witches from Anne Rice, but a lot less incest.

Tanith Winters is a member of the ancient Winters family of witches.  She might be the powerful one yet, no one is sure.  But I plan to find out.
Like all of the Winters witches Tanith is pale, with white hair and favors darker clothing.

I am basing her look a little off of Taylor Momsen, the actress and lead singer of The Pretty Reckless. Yes she was also "Cindy Lou Who" in the live action How the Grinch Stole Christmas movie.

The name is a nod to both the novel "Tanith" by Jack D. Shackleford and the author Tanith Lee.

Lately for characters, I have been putting together Pinterest boards to collect ideas, mostly images, about the character.

Here is Tanith's:

Follow Timothy's board Tanith on Pinterest.

I also have boards for other characters as well.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 24

What is the game you are most likely to give to others as a gift?

It kind of depends on the situation.  If I am trying to introduce someone to our hobby, but I think they need "training wheels" of a sort, then I am most likely to give them Dungeon! because it is easy to learn and does not require a game master.

Though if I think they are ready for the plunge I have a couple of other options.

My go to in most cases is the D&D Basic set of whatever the most current or popular version is.  So over the last few years I have given away copies of the 4th and 5th edition Basic/Beginners Sets and the Pathfinder Basic Box.

I also love to give out copies of Basic Fantasy with a set of dice.
It is cheap and everything is in one book and easy to learn.  Typically anytime I make a big Amazon order, I'll throw a couple of Basic Fantasy books on and always have them on hand.  Sometimes I also throw in a copy of my Witch book.

Maybe what is needed is a nice cheap book that is designed to get people into the game and has everything they need to get going.  Something like "OSR Basic".

Hmm....I wonder how much it would cost to print up just the basic information from the D&D 5 SRD?
But not just rules, something to really bring new players into the fold.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 23

Share one of your best 'Worst Luck' stories.

I mentioned this one a couple years ago for "Most Memorable Character Death" but it also falls under best "Worst Luck" since the poor guy was at the receiving end of some truly diabolic dice rolls.

I have played exactly 1 ninja my entire  gaming life.  His name was Oko-nishi (horrible I know).  My lame attempts at a Japanese sounding name.  In my defense at what I knew was a bad name, I made him a half-orc; because I could then blame his orc parent.  It must have been around 1984-5 as I made him using the Oriental Adventure rules.  My then DM and I had worked up a D&D combat simulator on the Color Computer 2 and we plugged him in with 9 other characters.  He was attacked by a Black Dragon (or Red, cant recall) and killed. The dragon kept attacking him and only him.  We had not worked out all the errors. In the end, he had been reduced to something like -70 hp.  My DM offered to let him be ok, or keep him dead. We enjoyed watching it so much and getting the mental image of this dragon jumping up and down on my dead ninja that I felt it was a waste to say it never happened.

I never played a ninja or a half-orc again.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Monstrous Mondays: Wendigo Matron

A while back I featured a Wendigo as part of my A to Z.  Well, my son has been running some games on his own with a group of his friends and he has been using Wendigoes as well.  This monster is one of his original creations.

Section 15: "Wendigo Matron" Copyright 2016 Liam W. Brannan.

Wendigo Matron
Armor Class:  2 [17]
Hit Dice: 10d8+5* (50 hp)
No. of Attacks: 2 claws / 1 bite / breath weapon / spell use
Damage: 1d6 / 1d6 / 1d6+3 / 1d8+5 (cold)
Special: breath weapon, fear, low-light vision (240’), scent, immunity to cold
Movement: 90’/180' (fly)
No. Appearing: 1
Saves As: Witch 10
Morale: 9
Treasure: None
Alignment: Evil (Chaos)
XP: 3,000

A windigo matron is if anything, more evil than the common wendigo.  This creature is te defacto leader of a any band of wendigo and she has powers above and beyond the already formidable powers of these foul creatures.
In addition to the physical attacks, breath weapons, and fear of a normal wendigo, the wendigo matron can also use the following spell-like powers 3 times per day:

Wind Walk
Shape change

A common tactic of a wendigo matron is to shape change into a normal human woman and lead victims to the lairs of the wendigo. She will often pose as a rescued victim, or as a someone seeking vengeance against the wendigo that killed her "family".   There may be truth in both guises as the wendigo may in fact, have been her family.
The wendigo matron is also different in her origin.  While humans can become wendigo when confronted with the prospect of starvation and freezing to death, a wendigo matron chooses to become what she now is.
It is believed that there is a dark ritual where prospective wendigo matron cuts out her own heart with a flint dagger.  What is known that a wendigo matron can not be truly destroyed till she is reduced to 0 hp and her heart is burned.  Otherwise, she will rise again when the next snowfall occurs.
Like the lich and his phylactery, the wendigo matron keeps her heart in a safe place.

Don't forget to include the hashtag #MonsterMonday on Twitter or #MonsterMonday on Google+ when you post your own monsters!

RPGaDAY2016: Day 22

What are some random events in your games that keep happening?

We have been going through the "Greyhawk Classics" series of modules and other adventures from about the same time.  There seems to be an inordinate number of wealthy elvish princesses captured in dungeons.  Yeah I know it has a lot to do with the time the books were written (late 70s early 80s) and the audience they were geared too (teenage boys), but it is getting silly enough that even my youngest is like "who is keeping an eye on these girls? not their parents, that's for sure".

Appearing almost as much is the "helpless captive, who is really a thief".  So much so that I have taken to use the same mini for this character in a half-baked idea that it is in fact the same thief that keeps getting captured.  Just need to come up with a name a little bit of a back-story for her.  She has managed to steal quite a bit of loot from the characters already.

I am thinking something like Autolycus the Prince of Thieves, played by Bruce Campbell on Xena. Pure comic relief.

Could be fun really.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 21

What was the funniest misinterpretation of a game rule in your group?

Funniest?  No idea really.

The only rule misinterpretation I recall was back in the days of Basic I saw the wizard XP and thought ok, he needs 2,500 to get to level 2 and then 5,000 to level 3. So I got 2,500xp, went to level 2 and erased the XP and started at 0 to work to level 3.  By the time I was level 3 I had already earned close to 8,000 XP.

Not really fun I know, just kind of youthful misunderstanding.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 20

What is the most challenging but rewarding system have you learned?

I don't find many systems to be very challenging to be honest.

Back in the day I would have said Chill or Call of Cthulhu just because they were so different than what I have used in the past.

Friday, August 19, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 19

What is the best way to learn a new game?

No shock or surprise with this answer.
The best way to learn is to play.

That's not just true for games, that's true for lots of things. Almost everything in fact.

Sure you can get more detail reading, but doing is the best.

Let me ask you this.  Are you going to get into a airplane with someone that actually has flown and landed an airplane or someone that has only read about it?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Maximum Mayhem Dungeons. My collection is now complete!

Look what I got in the mail today!

+Mark Taormino's Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #2 and #3.

I now have the complete set.

In order of playability, lowest to the highest.

Just missing an adventure for 4th to 6th and then 12th to 14th.

Not sure what I will do with these.  Hanging Coffins was so much fun I just had to have these.  The 3D glasses and pictures are a nice and unexpected treat.

I also can't help but think that Mark and +Venger Satanis need to get together to make a really gonzo adventure.  Liberation of the Demonslayer would fit into all of this really nice and Star Spawn practically begs to be mixed with Alpha Blue.  Get on that one guys!

RPGaDAY2016: Day 18

What innovation could RPG groups gain the most benefit from?

Hard to say since I don't know exactly what other groups are doing.

The biggest obstacle or complaint I have seen is being able to find a time everyone can meet to play.
But for this situation I have seen some great tools online that allow people to meet when they can.

I have nothing profound here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Toll of Depression

I originally wrote this for my atheism blog, The Freedom of Nonbelief, but I think it is better suited here.

I usually don't post a lot of personal pictures here, but this one is important to me.

Me, my son Connor as a baby and his big brother Liam at age 4. They are 13 and 16 now.

Doesn't look like I am suffering from depression here at all, but I was.

This photo was taken sometime in February 2004.  I have to trust the date on the file because I have no recollection of it happening.   I didn't know it then, but I was still about 5-6 months before I started to get well.

Back in 2000 to 2001 I started to hit a downward spiral. I am not really sure what caused it but there were lot of factors that added to it.  By the end of 2001 I was in deep. So deep that I barely recall anything that happened between 2001 and 2005.   Which is really fucking sad to be honest.  My kids were born in 1999 and 2003, this should have been one of the happiest times in my life.

I was fortunate.  Really.  My wife was there for me every awful moment I put her through. Sleeping all day, up all night. Thankfully I never had suicidal thoughts. I never gave into drinking too much, in fact, I think the whole thing cut my drinking down to nothing.  I did get to write. That is plus.
But there were days that just disappeared from me. Hours, even days, lost in some haze that I to this day can't recall.

I used to think that I was immune to this sort of thing. Really.  I had a GREAT childhood. Parents that loved and supported me. Great friends. I always had a job. I may not have been rich but I could afford to feed myself and I had a place to sleep at night.  I knew the warning signs too.  I have degrees in Psychology. I did my Master's work while working a suicide hotline.  I did my Ph.D. work in one of the best cities in the country.  I really had it made.

Maybe that all made it worse. I felt like I was a sham. I didn't have the right to be so depressed. There were so many others out there that had it worse than me.    But that is part of the stigma.
In psychology, we call depression the "Common Cold" of psychological ailments because it is so common.  But what I had was more like full blown N1H1 flu.  I knew the signs and I was bowled over anyway.

The toll comes in from the damage that happens all around you.  I was taking really piss poor care of myself.  Despite trying to get out and exercise I still gained weight. My health in general sucked. Then there are the relationships.  I basically had two personality traits then; catatonic or angry.  Thank goodness my wife and kids are as stubborn as they are. I don't know if I would have stuck with me.

This video by +Wil Wheaton kinda sums up how things were for me too. The first two minutes really captures how the anger was.   I met him in 2009 or so. Had I known all of this we could have at least mentioned it to each other. How we both got out of it.

I didn't go see anyone. Maybe I should have. I might have gotten better sooner.

It's weird.  I have started, stopped and started this post at least a dozen times. I have had to update my kids' ages a couple of times since starting.

In the process of revising this post, this was posted to my feed. (and yet again more evidence of how many time I have started and restarted this).

It is Sex+ and atheist YouTuber and Vlogger +Laci Green.   I like Laci. I think she is great.  This video though doesn't make me happy.

It doesn't make me happy because I know all too well what she is saying.  I have been there.

In fact here is another one.

And one more (see I told you I started this many times). +JaclynGlenn is another fave of mine and she makes a lot of great points.

Sometimes I feel like it is some kind of monster, waiting to draw me back in.  Minus a minor episode in 2007 things have been really good. But yet it is always there, lurking in the shadows.

What do I want to say about this?

I guess to say this is not uncommon.  People all over suffer from this.

The things I learned that I really wish I knew back then:
- It won't be forever.  I knew that, intellectually, but it was hard to process that then.
- Get help. I get shots for the flu, take Lipitor for all chili-cheese dogs I ate as a kid and getting help for this is no different.
- Get a support net. I was lucky.  My wife and kids kept me protected and safe. I never could have made it without them.

I am better now.
But I see the same behaviors I went through in others and I wanted to post this to let them know that they are not alone, they are not unique in their suffering and there is help and others out there.

We have the greatest communication tool ever invented (to date), lets use it to make things better.

(Note: just putting this link here in case I do put it up on my other blog.

RPGaDAY2016: Day 17

What fictional character would best fit in your group? Why?

Hmm. Too much like the last question really.


If could relive your gaming years so far, what would you want to do more of?

I am pretty happy with the way things went in my gaming career.
Right now I am doing all the things I wanted to do then and then some more.

But I suppose that when growing up in the 80s I would have tried to play with more different groups.
I think part of that is really thought kind of a "the grass is greener" phenomena.  Not that those groups were in fact doing things better, just different.

My desire is to experience that difference as it was and appreciate it for what it was.
Which of course is the problem, I want to experience it as a kid, but appreciate it as an adult!

Best to just do the things I want now.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 16

What historical character would you like in your group? For what game?

This is an odd question.  I like history and I like reading about it, but there isn't anyone from history I want at my gaming table really.

I have used plenty of historical people as characters in games though.

As a former psychologist I would love to have a game where Sigmund Freud makes a cameo appearance.  That would be a lot of fun.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Monstrous Mondays: Stranger Things

If you play D&D or ever played it and read this blog chances are really good that you have already heard of (or have watched) Netflix's Stranger Things.

It is the biggest hit of the summer and made huge stars not just of the great young cast, but also D&D. In fact it is being credited with helping D&D sales.

Beyond all that it is just great story telling and a fantastic tale.

Plus it has a cool monster.

The Monster, called "Demogorgon" after our favorite two-headed demon prince, is a true monster.  It is hard to see, hunts and kills people and can smell blood anywhere.  I am not going to spoil it if you have not seen it, but sufice to say it is a great monster.

Great enough in fact for AD&D.  Here it is, with some artistic liberties taken.

The Monster
AKA: The Demogorgon
Frequency: Very Rare
No. Appearing: 1 (believed unique)
Size: Large 7" (L)
Armor Class: 5 [14]1
 Basic: 180' (60')
 Advanced: 18"/27"
 3e: 45ft
Hit Dice: 8d8+4 (40 hp)
% in Lair: 50% (hunting at night, hiding in the Border Ethereal)
Treasure Type: None
Attacks: 3 (claw/claw/bite)
Damage: 1d6+4/1d6+4/1d6
Special Attacks: Scream (as fear spell)
Special Defenses: Ethereal Projection; Immune to all gaze attacks, blindness; regeneration
Save As: Witch 102
Magic Resistance: none
Morale: 103
Alignment: Chaotic evil (animal)
Level/XP: 8/4,250 + 12/hp

STR: 19 INT: 10 WIS: 8 DEX: 16 CON: 20  CHA: 6

1 Descending and [Ascending] Armor classes are given.
2 This is used for Basic games, and S&W. Also for monsters that I think need to save a little differently than others.
3 Morale is "Basic" Morale and based on a 1-12 scale. Multiply by 1.6667 for 1-20 scale.

The Monster, known by locals as "the Demogorgon" is not a demon, or even related to demons.  It is a native of the Border Ethereal known as "the Upside-Down" and really not much more than an animal.  It is a rather terrifying animal with hunting abilities similar to that of a shark.  It has no eyes, it's entire head opens up to a large mouth, it can smell and even taste blood on the air like a snake or shark would.

The Monster is a nocturnal hunter, not because of fear of light, but it is when it has advantage over it's prey.  It seeks out it's prey, large warm blooded creatures, and drags it back to it's lair in the Border Ethereal.  There it can feed at it's leisure.

The Monster can heal itself at the rate of 2 hp per round.

Don't forget to include the hashtag #MonsterMonday on Twitter or #MonsterMonday on Google+ when you post your own monsters!

RPGaDAY2016: Day 15

What types or source of inspiration do you turn to most often for RPGs?

I have mentioned it before, and if you hang out here for any length of time it is obvious, but music and horror movies are my primary sources of inspiration for games.

Yes. I am a voracious reader and I devour fantasy, horror, history and psychology books to feed my game ideas.  But those ideas usually come from a place when I am listening to music or watching a horror movie.

Many of my games even have a "Soundtrack", often known only to me, but they do.
For my "The Dragon and the Phoenix" Buffy game I posted many of the songs here. The Dragon Slayers also had/have a soundtrack.

Ghosts of Albion was written on a steady of diet of Hammer Horror films and Black Sabbath.
The Witch was written with a playlist full of "witchy" songs, from the obligatory Stevie Nicks, to Garbage, Third Eye Blind, and Love Spit Love.

I pretty much lay my muses bare for all to see.

This is going to be a fun one to read from others!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 14

Who would be on your dream team of people you used to game with?

I don't know. I love the people I game with. I would not want to change it in any way.

I have had the chance over the years to play with some really great people.  I can't imagine that someone else out there would be so much better.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 13

What makes a successful campaign?

All the prep, research and planning in the world won't matter if the players are not invested in the world.

The thing that makes for the most successful game is investment and enjoyment by the players.
That is the only thing that matters.

Friday, August 12, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 12

What game is your group most likely to play next? Why?

My current group, my kids, love D&D and D&D-like games. They love the old school feel, but prefer new-school mechanics.  So D&D 5 has been perfect so far but it is also very likely we will try some Castles & Crusades next.

My youngest doest care really. As long as he can play his half-elf ranger with an animal companion he is good.  My oldest will play anything, but he likes to play Dragonborn. So if we do C&C I'll need to figure out how to convert the Dragonborn race over.
It would be perfect for my "Second Campaign".

We have also talked about an ACKS/Basic mash-up.
If I do limit my "War of the Witch Queens" campaign to just 13 levels then that is my choice.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 11

Which gamer that you have played with has most affected the way that you play?

Hmm.  I know it sounds cheesy but I am going to have to say my kids.
They have changed how I prepare adventures and structure games.  I have played some really long games/campaigns in the past, but what I have had to do to keep them involved and away from the siren song of video games and the Internet has really challenged me.

Yes. I let them play video games and get on the net.  But what I do has to be just as entertaining to them, or more so, to keep them wanting to do this.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 10

What was the largest in-game surprise you have experienced?

Wow. I need to think about this one.

I think it would have been how well the flashback episodes worked with my kids.
I had done flashbacks during the run of the Dragon and the Phoenix campaign for Buffy, but it never felt like it did with my sons playing Come Endless Darkness for D&D 5.

I mean I knew it was going to work and work well, but I had no idea that the kids were going to enjoy it as much as they did.   It was so satisfying that I want to figure out ways to do it in other campaigns.

Anytime my players can surprise me with their cleverness is also a great time.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 9

What things are a part of your ideal session, other than the actual game?

I prefer to sit at a table with a good chair, but one that will also let me stand up a lot; so one that won't knock over or not slide easily.   I like to have a lot of really sharp pencils, plenty of paper to write notes and of course something to drink.  Not alcohol, I learned a long time ago that drinking and D&D don't mix with me, but something to keep my throat from getting dry.  It used to be Mt. Dew, but these days it is more likely to be water or tea.  And plenty of light.

One of the things I am happiest about is to be at a point in my life to be able to afford the game room of my dreams.  I have shelves where all my books are easy to get to, I have a nice table and cool art on the walls.  Plus my kids my love it and I often find my son down there just working on characters or adventures.

I also love having people are that there to play.  I don't mind table talk or the inevitable Monty Python quote storm; that's all part of the game really.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Monstrous Mondays: Dirds and Meowls

I did not forget Monster Monday!  I have just been really busy at work today and I just got around to it now.

So spend and any time on the Internet and you will soon realize that people are ... well ... really fucking crazy.  I say this in all sincerity.  Go pack and look at the original Monster Manual and you will see such monsters as the iconic Owlbear (based on a plastic figure) and the Peryton (based on a mythological creature).

Well not to be outdone the Internet gives us Dirds and Meowls.

Dirds and Meowls
No. Enc.: 1 (3)
Alignment: Nuetral
Movement: 90' (30') / Fly 180' (60')
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 1
Attacks: 3 (claw/claw/bite)
Damage: 1d2/1d2/1d4
Special: Very rare
Save: Monster 1
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: NA
XP: 100

Meowls and Dirds are a magical crossbreed. Often thought to be the same sort of deranged arcane experiments that gave us the Owlbear, the results of this experiment are less malign.
Dirds are a cross between birds and dogs, while meowls are a crossbreed of cats and owls.

Dirds typically have animal intelligence with the senses of both dogs and birds.
Meowls typically have slightly higher intelligence.

Both creatures make for good animal companions and even better familiars.   Any wizard or witch can gain a meowl or dird on a result of "Special" on their Find Familiar rolls.  Where an Imp or Quasit would be chosen for an evil spellcaster a Neutral one can choose a Dird or Meowl.

Don't forget to include the hashtag #MonsterMonday on Twitter or #MonsterMonday on Google+ when you post your own monsters!

Gen Con 2016 in Review

I am back from Gen Con.  As always we had a great time. I am on my lunch so I thought I would fire off an update.

Every night was devoted to the Against the Giants adventure. We didn't get as far as we wanted, we only got through G1 The Hill Giants and +Thork Hammer aka R.C. Pinnel's G4 The Stone Giants.

They encountered their first drow of House Eilservs from Erelhei-Cinlu.
Since I am running this all under D&D 5e I am making the Drow of House Eilservs all partially Warlocks of Tharizdun, whom they know as the Elder Elemental God.  The G4 module played into this rather nicely.

I bought some things of course.  Mostly stuck to Castles & Crusades books.

Can't wait to dip into Victorious!

Went to the ENnies.  I didn't win, which I will admit was disapointing.
I'll post more later on this.

I did get a chance to meet +Zak Sabbath, Stoya and Charlotte Stokely at the ENnies and that at least was cool.  Zak took home 3 of the 5 ENnies he was nominated for, that was also cool.  My son loved his speech thanking Satan.  My son threw up some horns for that.  I also got my copy of Maze of the Blue Medusa signed by Zak and Stokely.

Opted to play a lot of different types of games this year.  Played a great game of Castles & Crusades.
Played some Exploding Kittens (really fun) some Munchkin (also fun), got into a board game at the Mayfair group, but didn't really care for it.  Tried to find a board game we all liked, but no success there.

I got some more art for my game room from Wayne Reynolds.  I think I want to get one of those frames that holds three pictures at once.

Wonder how much he would charge to do some art of Larina....

I picked up a copy of Gettysburg for a friend.  Picked up some more dice. Signed up for the Star Trek playtest.  Was going to pick up Pathfinder Horror Adventures, but there wasn't really anything new in it for me.   I might grab it later at my FLGS.

Loved all the Cosplay.  My son went as Jacob from Assassin's Creed and found a like-minded friend.

There were tons of "Harley Quinn"s but also a lot of "Rey"s from Star Wars. I thought that was cool.

While the con is still dominated by middle-aged, bearded white guys I am seeing a lot more families and kids.  This is a great thing.

Ate and spent WAY too much.

Not sure if I can make it next year.  It is later in August and my kids' school starts before Gen Con.

All in all a great time.

Just a test

This is just another little test.

RPGaDAY2016: Day 8

Do you prefer hardcover, softcover, or electronic books? What are the benefits of your preference?

In truth it sorta depends on the game.  I love my softcover old-school books, my hardcover books and my PDFs.  In general, I do like physical books, but I also love the convenience of PDFs.

I have put my PDFs on various cloud systems I have access too so being able to get to my collection at anytime is great.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 7

What aspect of Roleplaying Games has had the biggest effect on you?

The writing really.  I wanted certain books or content to play and it was not out there, so I had make it myself.  In the process, I had to write and I had to get better at it.

Never thought I would be in a place where I am writing every day because I wanted to and even other people wanted me to.

Also, I have to admit the friendships I have made over the years have made a huge impact on my life and my kids love playing.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 6

What is the most amazing thing that you know a game group has done for their community?

Hmm. I have seen a lot of game groups online give to charity. I organized some charity give aways with my game groups as well.  DriveThruRPG gives a lot to charity and that is nice.

I have seen gamers donate their time, money and books to children in need. Volunteering for various groups.

I like to think that in general that gamers are good people.

Friday, August 5, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 5

What story does your group of players tell about your character?

If it is my witch character then it is about the time took out a couple of ghouls at 2nd level.  The best part of it all was she was the almost the last one standing.
Managed to get them all and save the party.

But I have not had many characters in a few years due to always running games.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 4

What is the most impressive thing that you can remember another player’s character doing in a session?

I think that would have to have been my youngest son Connor who made three called shots in a row with a bow and rolled three nautral20s in a row.
Damnedest thing I ever saw.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 3

What is something you have done with your game character that you are the proudest of?

I have so many characters, but it is my iconic witch Larina I am most proud of.  She has been my playtest character for every witch book I have ever done and have multiple versions of her over many different systems.

She is also the character I have the most art of.  Here is my newest one.