Showing posts with label Games. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Games. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Practical Tactical - Which Edition of D&D is Best?

I find myself attracted to some of the older versions of D&D based on the speed of play. If you are tactical combat person, I would suggest either D&D (Red Box) or the Blue rules by Holmes. I lean towards the Red Box because that was the game of my time.

I prefer a role playing style game and as a consequence gravitate to AD&D, Rules Cyclopedia or 3.5. 3.5 does what I want, but I like the quickness and expansiveness of Cyclopedia more. What I often do is mash Cyclopedia with AD&D. It's quick, sloppy and as expansive as I need, without the clunks that come with 3.5. I allow for all of skills and spells in Cyclopedia, but with all the classes and races from AD&D. In some very rare cases, I have allowed the races and classes from Cyclopedia in AD&D with zero modification. That gets weird and really isn't any better than what AD&D offers from its class choices.

Which is best? Well, the one that you play. No other opinion is possible on that. Outside of capturing the flavor of your campaign, the rule sets are flexible with enough abuse.

One of the things that changed between the editions was the numbers of players at the table. When I was playing AD&D I had as many as 12 players in the action. I never split the party unless someone said: "I need a break." If that happened, it was assumed that those players on break would be left behind and not a part of the action, no matter what. This was problematical in the respect that sometimes the second half of the party failed to progress after the first part of the party. Things would get weird.

I never developed a solution for this. What would actually happen is that half of the party would go eat or turn into DJs for a couple of hours, which meant they were observers, not players for the duration. For the most part, they were pretty good at self-moderating, meaning they knew what happened to the rest of the party, but would behave in character, as if they didn't know. They were a great bunch of people.

In any event, as you look at the newer rule sets, the number of players has dropped off from 6-9 or 6-12, down to a mere 4. I hate that because it removes some rather practical tactics from the players hands. When you are operating 12 characters, who are supported by perhaps some torchbearers, porters and a few followers and hangeroners, things slow way down.

I don't mean the game play, but the natural measure of time was slower. Things were done in Turns of 10 minutes each. Being so long, it made sense to have the characters in a marching order which changed and evolved during that 10 minutes.

The lead character would be a thief or ranger. The first wave of characters were usually fighters. The second wave were the squishy magic using types mixed with missile type characters. The last rank was often the weaker fighters. In my campaigns, the players usually did 3 blocks of 4 characters, so they could fit down a 10 foot wide hall. Many times, characters would swap out of positions to meet certain goals. It was very effective.

If you suppose just 4 characters, those parameters vanish.

Being a role playing yet tactical minded person, I would encourage my players to take the time to succeed.

One thing I could never account for but very much wanted to was "evolution" of fighting formations. Say for example, the thief ducking back between the two fighters behind him, so they could deal with a threat. My solution was to simply make sure they had the time to do such things or create scenarios where surprise prevented such things but was not immediately fatal.

When playing encounters for any edition of the game, the DM has to make sure that nearly any scenario cannot be thrown into a "party kill" condition on a single turn, or worse, a single die roll. It takes a bit of creativity to create these story points while maintaining the believe-ability of the scenario.

I recall a particular vicious combat between some hobgoblins and the party. The thief got caught trying to disable an already disabled pit trap. The hobgoblins had triggered the trap and decided to spike the lid in the closed position. They snapped off the tops of the spikes and covered the area with garbage. The thief botched all of his rolls, except a save vs Dexterity to avoid plunging to his death. He was dangling by his fingertips as the battle raged over him.

Wicked fun.

In the very next session, the magic user had exhausted most of his offensive spells early on, but the thief came up with a deliciously fiendish use for his remaining spell, Passwall.  The wizard unleashed the spell at the floor in the middle of a group of hobgoblins. Two fell in and one was left dangling by his fingertips. Turn about is fun, eh?

Beautiful.

That created some interesting DM rulings and decisions by the party. I decided that the wizard could simply end the spell immediately killing those inside the hole or he could easy it closed which would allow the hobgoblins to crawl out as the hole. The party ended up with 3 hobgoblins acting as retainers because their chieftain had a policy of not negotiating for prisoners. I had to call in reinforcements to make the last battle a reasonable challenge, but the players loved every nail biting moment.

Ah... the twists, turns and complexity from what should be a simple set of rules (but probably isn't).

If you are interested in packing the party with NPC types or give your players secondary skills, try out my home brew rules called Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners. If you desire some interesting locations for your campaign, I have two rule set agnostic map sets called Kobold's Folly and the Compass Rose Inn. As final offering, I have an old, old characters sheet for use with AD&D and Unearthed Arcana.

Monday, November 12, 2018

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.



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.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Some things children should not hear.

This could be a post over on TheseOldGames.com, but I really thought it could be better addressed here on unpwnd.

Last year, Santa brought use a PlayStation 4. And kicked off my children's adventures in social media and online living. We started slow, a PSN screen name and email address. This year they have moved up to Kindle Fires and Amazon accounts.

I have done my best to teach them what is and is not acceptable online and all three of my kids have done pretty well.

I have not faired so well because I broke the rules. My PSN account name is my real name, which seems innocuous. Until you plug in headphones. Then I hear also sorts of things about my mom, about my game skills, and a slams against everything and anything you could think of. It seems rather personal because it's my name being called out.

I am pretty resilient, but sometimes my head lifts from the pillow and think: "My god, do I suck that bad?" And being resilient, I can laugh it off.

Children can't laugh abuse off and they really shouldn't have to do so. Good parents set their children up in ways that are safe, exciting and bold. Make sure you know what could happen and make sure you are involved enough to help them through difficult times. Don't let them get owned.

In closing, I'll leave it to one of the better gamers there is: Wil Wheaton.



*There are ways to change a PSN account name, but you need to call Sony. Chat does not cut it. To get a new name is non-trivial and annoying which is why I haven't done so. That and it serves as a reminder not to be stupid.

Back into Scale Models

It has been a very long time since I have worked on a model. My dad gave me a couple of his older buildings and I intend to fix them as they haven't held up with children and age. I started with some photos to get an idea of how to start.

Edit - This building is a stave church, which is different from my expectations. I picture stave churches as having graceful sloped components. Now I am off to research more on the topic. Please see my next post.

Front view
(click image to enlarge)
Rear view(click image to enlarge)
Side view(click image to enlarge)

Looking at the damage, I wanted to make a copy first. I took some measurements and sketched out a plan.

Front view
(click image to enlarge)
Side view(click image to enlarge)




I am using I intended to work with balsa wood, but bass wood was the only type available. It is much harder. So using the drawings above, I cut my lengths of wood for the frame and matched them up to the sketch.

Front view
(click image to enlarge)
Side view(click image to enlarge)

And the first problem presented itself. I had measure, sketched, and measured again. The beams are 1/4 inch. I purchased 5/16 inch dowels. That is close, but no cigar.

Since I have a scanner, I quickly ran copies and corrected the sketches.

Front view
(click image to enlarge)
Side view(click image to enlarge)

What I decided was to extend the beams inwards and upwards. Now I have an idea of where to go. 

Tomorrow, I will make a base and start gluing. Look for more updates shortly. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

For future reference – US Census Microdata

The other day, took the kids to the Niagara Aquarium.
On our way home, desperate for bathroom, we stopped at the Tuscarora Reservation. Inside, there is a tiny museum with awesome maps. 

Snapping pictures of them does no justice. They are gorgeous prints. I found out that they are from the 1892 Census.

Looking around online, I found this website with the actual images. The Integrated Public Use Microdata Series website is not just information on the US Census, it is data on individuals. What an excellent historical document.
I am pretty sure they didn’t think of someone pulling maps from the public documents, but what a wonderful resource for history and art.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Prioritizing Fun

I have so many great games to play, I keep putting off my D&D campaign. I need to prioritize my choices. Here are the games that have me hooked right now:
NHL 2015 by EA Sports
EA Sports has been doing the NHL series for years and it is still very addictive. I love the season system, building teams and players against the league. 





Destiny by Bungie
This one reminds me of Marathon and I love the game play. I haven’t really gotten into it too deeply, but it is a great way to blow off steam. It is expansive yet simple. 

Starfleet Battles and the family of great games by Amarillo Design Bureau
Star Fleet Battles. Or more correctly some mini’s a purchased a while back. I want to get these done so I can play with models.
Additionally, I picked up Federation Space from Warehouse 23. This is the game that really sparked my imagination as a child and directly lead to me playing Star Fleet Battles. I want to try this one with the kiddos.
I also want to sit down and design a custom ship with a great scenario hook and submit both to ADB. SFB is so expansive, that Amarillo Design Bureau needs to strike a balance between fun and reasonability. I really can’t decide if the hooks are good enough for submission or not. No way to tell if I don’t give it a shot.
D&D
Dungeons and Dragons. I have a campaign setting I’ve been working and want to see it in action.
For the past 7 months, I have been teaching a class on religion and this has noticeably affected my D&D campaign plans. I have created a Stave Church Map, a temple dedicated to the planets and a homely inn for the characters to relax at between adventures.
Gemstone IV
Gemstone IV just went F2P and I am hooked once again.

I really want to hammer out a more up to date review of Gemstone IV, but the game has so much depth, it is hard to wrap my mind round.

Rifts
On the way back burner is Rifts. I just picked up Triax and the NGR.
I’d really like to create a campaign for this game with a lighter, more humorous background. Nothing says lack of humor like a post-apocalyptic world. As always with Palladium, the main hook is the artwork.




Around Christmas time, we implemented Family Game Night. I can’t really complain about a lack of playing options. Nothing is more fun and rewarding that setting up Risk, Monopoly or Uno with the family and having a great time.