Friday, November 23, 2018

Overpowered Spells and Obvious Consequences

Meteor Swarm is one of those that has some very obvious societal consequences, even more than teleport or fly spells. Magic users anywhere nearing the ability to cast this spell should immediately become a "priority" to anyone operating an army in the area.

I've never ran a magic user from 0 to 18, nor had anyone in any of my campaigns done so. I was unfamiliar how effective Meteor Swarm was until I played a game with a pre-generated, 21st level magic user. The DM was an old school wargamer. He loved the Chainmail rules and WRG. He intended to start the game with a prison break, but as a twist, let us play out our capture. Our party encountered what could only be described as hoplite phalanx, a seemingly overwhelming force that would easily capture our tiny party.

As the DM described the situation, I read the description for Meteor Swarm. I asked if they were in bow range. The DM advised that they were not. he smugly informed me it didn't matter because magic users use darts, not bows. As they got closer, the party loosed arrows. A few arrows hardly did anything, there were several hundred guys. At 180 yard... yards(!), I cast Meteor Swarm.

Meteor Swarm vs. Phalanx
The DM consulted the Player's Handbook as I rolled damage. He read that description back and forth, over and over again, as I rolled die after die. The zig-zag of range in yard and area of effect in feet confused him, but not me. The AoE is massive for this spell. The rolls didn't matter, there were only a few hundred guys. The DM ruled that anyone hit by the spell was dead. The overlapping pattern of damage made saving throws moot.

What happened next was even more horrifying. I cast it AGAIN! The DM walked away from the table. Even assuming the phalanx scattered to the winds, I was killing survivors by the dozens. The few that ran towards the party were running into a hail of arrows and in the very next round, I would be casting a fireball.

As it stood, the DM decided to allow this insanity to stand. The second, third and forth phalanx captured the party. Funny how they snuck up on us. My character was put to the sword. I played a 5th level thief for the remainder of the session.

If there is a smart lord or lady of the lands, they would be wise to kill any and all magic users before 18th level.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

The "Bookshelf" shot

I wanted to do a bookshelf shot, but then realized I needed to reorganize my shelves to look presentable. 

This is the result. The shelf is full from just a few things from DriveThruRPG in binders. No room for my "real" AD&D books or all of the palladium products. I only pulled out one module and the old D&D Basic Sets.  No more room on this shelf. 

As I look over at the old shelf, I see over a dozen modules, a Call of Cthulhu game, BattleTech, Star Frontiers, Interceptor, Traveller, Striker, Starfleet Battles, Car Wars and a few others I can't read.  

More than a new bookshelf, I need to make a pledge to play all of these games again. 


In the image below, you can see my Illustrated World War II Encyclopedia and The New Junior Classics set. These are some of my favorite books for brainstorming gaming ideas.

Well, off to clean up again.

Monday, November 12, 2018

I Just Can't Stop...

I just can't stop.

While organizing my desk, I happened upon a book by Robert Pearce. It is an incredible set of ship plans for Traveller. Sure, it says "Traveller", but it could be used for any game system. The detail and scope is amazing. It is campaign fuel for sure.

 Why not take a look yourself.

I know I will be pouring over this book for days to come. For some odd reason, it isn't even for sale. It's free.

Damn. A mighty big thanks to you Mr. Pearce, you made my day.

Taking Stock Part 2

Having established myself on MeWe.com and Pluspora.com, I started to clean my desk to get ready for more work. The first thing that stood out were all the books I download and printed from DriveThruRPG. I had purchased a number of ring binders and neatly hole punched them and added them to my shelf.

You can see the problem, I am sure.

What is in each binder? Might as roll 1d100 to see what I get when I grab one. I decided to print labels for them using Google Docs. Well, there is a horizontal but no vertical ruler.

Annoying.

In an effort to fix this, I made a template with an image of a ruler on each axis of the page. I trimmed the image down to read from 1/4 of an inch to 10 1/2 inches. On the other one, I ended at 8 1/4. It roughly takes into account a quarter inch margin all around and a 48 pt font.

It worked nicely and now I know what books I have.

You can download the template on Drive.

Speaking of books on DriveThruRPG, you could download my book: Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners. It's pay-what-you-want and compatible with many OSR D&D type games. It contains over 50 commoner character classes, rules for using the commoner class as a professional skill for PCs and many other game ideas.

While you are there, why don't you leave a review. Feedback is always appreciated.



Saturday, November 10, 2018

Oh... Miniatures for Sale

Over on Classical Hack, I noticed my dad is unloading some of his massive armies.



Some of my favorites are the Macedonians. Check them out.

Taking Stock

Back in January of 2011, I started my first website at PretenderToThePower.com. It was a flat looking html page with the banner above. Nothing to write home about. Later, I moved on to Wordpress and then finally Blogger.com.

Over the years, I added more sites to cover all of my interests. I currently run four websites:

PretenderToThePower.com - my academic website. 
Theseoldgames.com - This page, all of my gaming posts.
Unpwnd.com - A site on technology.
WondersofNY.com - A travel and camping blog.

99% of my traffic is from G+. It is sad to see it go. I have tried other sites in the past, but many of them shifted focus as they evolved and I did not. Ello is a key example. While billed as a social media website for creators, it does not seem to fit with my model. It is beautiful to look at but doesn't match with my style. I like it, but it isn't home.

Over the past month, I have lost most of my followers on G+ as they depart to more lively parts of the web. At this point, I think I have found a new home at both MeWe.com and Pluspora.com. As of this moment, I have 153 followers on G+, if I can just get the same number on Pluspora and MeWe, I believe I will feel at home.

November is never a good time for me. I have midterms rocking and rolling on me, I have a book to write, work and a family to take care of. I hate this feeling that I am living out of a cardboard box on social media. The box has got to go, so it is my first priority.

Do me a favor: Share my sites, profiles or even the book I wrote.

I will be eternally grateful.

Phil

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Proof of concept images for Social Studies Project

I made a little gif of some British and Zulu Warriors for a proof of concept test. This is for SSE-370.


This assignment is an example of digital storytelling.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

New Rule Set: Tanks and Yanks

Title: Tanks & Yanks
Author: Philip J. Viverito Publisher: LMW
Rule Set: Tabletop Wargame Rules (Unique)
Year: 2018
Pages: 104
Number of players: 2+
Price: $15.00
Rating: Not yet rated

Tanks & Yanks is the latest offering from LMW. The game covers World War I tank combat. While the title hints that the rules are based on American WWI armor, it includes infantry, armored cars, aircraft and artillery from Germany, the US, France, Britain and Italy.

I was excited to find that the rule set includes dozens of color images and tips for either acquiring models or scratch building models. Personally, I was looking for an excuse to scratch build some tanks.

The rules are heavy, 104 pages with tons of interior art, maps and photos. It looks fascinating and I cannot wait to give this game a play so I can update the rating above.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Be Careful What You Wish For...

My first offering on DriveThruRPG is Zero to Hero. In the past 5 days of sales, there have been 80+ downloads. Thank you so much for your support, but do you know what I really need? Reviews.


I am in the process of coming up with a second title by October. The reviews would certainly help me craft a quality product for you.

Again, thank you for downloading. But please let me know what you think.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

What now?

Last week, I launched Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners. Everything looks great! I have been very happy with

So, what's next? The Place We Will Stay. This will be a series of maps, places where commoners will be found. I've been roughing out some maps, exterior and interior art for many medieval and fantasy homes for our heroes to find NPCs, commoners and other background characters.


The Places We Will Stay will be in digital format, pay what you want and be between 25-50 pages. Coming soon in early October, 2018.

Again, thank you to everyone who took the time to download Zero to Hero.


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners - Update - We are live!

Update we are live!

I've been a gamer since the Fall of '77. Rules sets change, but I keep coming back to D&D. It was my first experience as role play and it made huge impression on me.

In the past 4 decades, I have come to a realization that players don't need much NPC help. I still always include a NPC as a guide, or an extra information resource but when I ask my players who the best NPC was, they always point to the character I thought was a background character. The cook who spotted the enemy approaching, the herald who cracks meta humor, the stableboy who worships them. Never the ranger I put there to absorb arrows and tie up combatants.

Well, in light of that revelation, started making 3x5 cards of every NPC. Except, they really didn't fit as a classic NPC character. No stats, no spells, no combat abilities. When my players demanded that these folks support them in the field, I started making up stats for NPCs.

Not uber stats, just average guys and gals who came along for the ride. Tiny details for people who gossip about the characters as they make their way. I decided that maybe some of these people were not NPCs at all but fully blown characters in their own right but with decidedly different points of view from the PCs. I decided that these types of characters were commoners. Not lords, not adventures, but just citizens.

One of my favorite characters was a scullion named Delia. She was taken by a first level fighter who frequented the local inn and slowly made a move on him. While everyone else understood that she had eyes for the fighter, he didn't get "it". However, if there was danger, he was the first to ask about her. If he had a need for something, she was always there. So obviously, she was important. After 3 years, the campaign ended in a wedding.

But there was no "scullion" class of character. How to represent her caused me to sketch out some guidelines for all of my commoners so they could fit the character mold.

I would like to share that guide with you. I am launching "Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners" on DriveThruRPG and it should be available shortly. Update we are live!

The pamphlet is 24 pages, lists over 50 professions, how to evolve a zero level commoner into a full blown PC, how commoners interact with those above them, etc.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.






Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Pre-launch nerves

This is it. Tomorrow, I will launch my first retrogaming title:



This title covers commoners as a class of zero level characters. It provides a framework for players to add those secondary skills by starting as something other than a hero.

Key points:

  • 50+ professional descriptions. 
  • An experience system for commoners. 
  • A balanced system for generating commoner ability scores. 
  • A system for conversion from a commoner class to player character class. 
  • A guide for hiring commoners. 

This pamphlet was produced as a lark, but I hope that it will bring new depth and richness to certain aspects of your campaign.