|Damiano could be un Mago or un juglar (minstrel), |
each distinct from Saara the witch and Gaspare the dancer.
Sunday, January 3, 2021
Monday, November 23, 2020
However, in other games it is in the rules but somehow violates the spirit of the game. Star Trek and Star Wars come to mind. How many characters on TV or in the movies run out of ammo? Only when the plot calls for it.
Most games will fall someplace between the two extremes, such as any d20 game. Where the amount of ammo does not seem relevant, I prefer to use a different mechanic. In a modern setting with characters carrying normal firearms, I assume that all characters and NPCs are spending a bit of their time reloading as the opportunity presents. This means they almost always have bullets available.
To add some tension, if the character fails their attack roll by rolling the worst possible number (say, a 1 in 20) then they are out of ammo and need to spend time to reload right now. If the rules have a mechanic for a jammed gun occurring on a one, the first time they roll a one they are out of ammo and if it happens again on the very next roll, the gun has jammed.
Some games have weapons that simply don't work like a machine gun or semi-auto pistol. A blaster in Star Wars or Phaser in Star Trek are very unlike modern firearms. In the movies, they never run out of ammo unless the plot calls for it. As before, if a character rolls a 1, their weapon has malfunctioned. It makes a noise and nothing happens. To get the weapon working, the player needs to make a successful to hit roll to make it start working again. That seems like an oxymoron rule and maybe it is. The tension comes from the fact that the enemy knows there is something wrong and the hero can't shoot. They are drawing attention to themselves. Having the weapon suddenly go off in the enemy's face is just like Star Wars. And in Trek, fiddling with the controls almost always works.
On the off chance these advanced weapons experience two back to back failures, then they are out of action until a repair is made, usually outside of combat.
For most games where ammo tracking is important, I make sure the story provides ample reloads or parts where shooting is not required. My D&D players love "defending the castle walls" because by their nature, defenses have plenty of ways to get more ammo to the defenders.
Thursday, November 5, 2020
I love Chessex Dice. Well, I love all dice and these 9 sets are on my Amazon wishlist. The great thing about the Amazon wishlist is the ability to price check things. This way, I don't go too nuts and buy high when I consistently sell low.
Anyway, I have to have those Blue Weather Dice and the Tiny Pink Dice Set. Those are the best. The prices aren't bad at all and I can't wait until tomorrow when I can place an order.
Saturday, March 14, 2020
|Skill using the logo, even though I will|
likely change it.
|In the image, shots are numbered in order.|
Red is for aimed shots and green is for indiscriminate.
Friday, March 13, 2020
While every number over the target’s defense value is a hit, all pairs or triples which are higher the target’s defense are nearly as good as a matching roll. A pair (6 and 6) will do damage and stop an action. A triple (such as 3, 3 and 3) will do damage, stop an action and put the person on the ground. Neither will automatically knock the person out.
Thursday, February 27, 2020
Author: Nate Treme
Rule Set: Angostic
Number of characters: As needed
If a book has a good cover, I'll probably take a look. If it has that haute 70's look, the smash of day old banana and lime colored paste, I'll do a double take. If it has both of the above, plus the childish, rounded look of a composition notebook, my brain shuts down and the money comes out, no questions asked.
Well, that's what happened with The Moldy Unicorn a few days ago. I purchased one of a few physical copies based on a single image on MeWe.com. And then I forgot about it.
It arrived today.
I opened the envelope and was all disappointed. It was tiny. Really tiny. "I paid money for this?"
Then I opened the booklet. And the frisson hit. Suddenly, I was 8 year old me, standing in Walden Books, smelling nasty carpet chemicals and mall pretzels, looking a copy of the Red Basic D&D rule book. Gary, Dave and Tom whispered, "Go ahead, turn the page."
The thing is six g-ddamn pages, packed with amazing stuff. Pages 1 and 2 describe The Moldy Unicorn with a colorful map. Page 3 lists encounters for the Inn. The next page describes how to design a Demon, with 3 tables, conveniently labeled 1-12 for easy die rolling. The last two pages are a mini dungeon, Grotburk Crypt.
The artwork is excellent. It isn't excellent in the sense of a masterpiece, but the odd, brightly colored outsider art that masters cannot duplicate. The text is tight, it has to be in a volume this small.
While its only 6 pages (8 if you count the covers, the thing that made me **WANT** this 'zine), those pages are highly concentrated. Being so tiny, it is delicate. I already know that I am going to buy a special picture frame for this. I am just moments away from heading to DriveThruRPG and purchasing an electronic copy, to jealously protect the physical copy like mage protects his spell book.
It's been decades since I have been this happy with a purchase. Of course, I've read it cover to cover. But I'm going to do it again tomorrow. And the next day. This is great buy. This is well worth the $6.00 for the physical copy (Sold out, sorry), $10.00 for the PDF.
To put some perspective on the Star Rating above, I review a lot of things. Computer hardware and software, novels, games, historical books, etc. If I'm not going to give something 3 stars, I'm not giving any stars. If you're not going to give at least 3 stars, its like trash talking people. This is the first time I have been compelled to give 5 gold stars, underlined. I've reviewed several of my mom and dad's books. I don't hand out gold stars. It is very rare that I am so enchanted with any product to completely rethink my rating system.
Thursday, January 2, 2020
Author: Andy Collins, Bill Slavicsek, JD Wiker
Rule Set: d20
Number of players: 2 or more
For many years, Star Wars was in the stable of West End Games. Over the years, I accumulated many of their books, but never had a chance to play. In 2000, with The Phantom Menace coming to screens, Wizards of the Coast produced a gamebook for the series, which included everything you needed to play, including a set of rules to convert from WEG Star Wars to d20.
The system is a pretty close skin of D&D 3.0 or 3.5, with some great differences.
The system is a standardized d20 system. Standardization from the ground up is very good. One of the great advantages is it breaks every character down into a couple of stat blocks, which makes building a quality, unique character easy. Each character is made of 7 different categories of descriptions, all of which is uniform between classes. You start with ability scores, then everything changes. You select a species which is an approximation of race in D&D terms, a class, skills, feats, character descriptors like reputation, equipment and finally spells, if any. All characters have the same 6 items, unlike D&D where some characters get spells in addition to their other "stats".
So, what about The Force? Those aren't spells, they are tied into one Feat and several Skills for Force Sensitive people. Hit points are replaced with vitality and wound points. This changes the dynamics of how characters work. Vitality is how much energy and stamina you have, while wounds are actual chunks of flesh. Hike through a hellish landscape will reduce your vitality, but a blaster to the head is a wound. Wounds stick around or are fatal, while vitality tracks how much "give" you've got. Nice system, considering how dangerous a lightsabre is. Vitality returns with rest and wounds require healing. The reputation system is a replacement for alignment, which actually has some mechanical advantages or disadvantages, unlike the alignment system.
While this is a d20 system, there are several advantages to this rule set over a typical d20 RPG. First, your players will have a general idea of what they want to be if they have seen Star Wars. To this end, there are 25 character templates so you can play right away. The rules allow you to flavor these characters, so you are a cutout character, but perhaps not made of cardboard. Additionally, if you played WEG Star Wars, there is a set of conversion rules in the back. There is a section on Starships, Droids, and a Game Master Section, with a module included. Everything you need to play is right there.
4 of 5 stars.
You can pick it up on Amazon for less than $20.00. The links below are paid ads and will take you to Amazon.com.
Monday, November 4, 2019
The rules are totally retro feeling because they are printed in one color, black, on yellow paper. Published in 1993, they'll send you back a couple of decades.
While not perfect for every setting, the set manages to handle most fantasy settings. Give it a try.
Sunday, November 3, 2019
Let me give you my short rundown of Favorite RPG Podcasts*. The link is for the associated blog and the naked link is the feed location.
Thought Eater Podcast by Jeremy “frothsof” Smith. This is an Anchor podcast covering all things blogs on Wednesdays and a five minute Friday show, which is often off the cuff and right from brain to 'cast. He has 130 shows in the can, so you have a lot of replay-ability. Love it.
The Red Dice Diaries by John Alan Large. Like Jeremy, John has 102 episodes available, so the back catalog is huge. Again, I love this show. John runs the gambit of gaming, so this the depth is great. He sometimes takes time out to cover methodology, so you might hear about things like journaling, preparation and from special guests. In addition to special guests, John throws the topics over to Hannah for treatment. It's like 2 or 3 podcasts in one. A wonderful find.
A relative new comer is the Super Adventure Friends Co. Podcast by Robert Loftin and friends. They have only 7 episodes, so if you want to jump in from the start on an excellent Traveller/Science Fiction pod cast, here you go. This is the first ensemble pod cast I encountered, with five high school friends chatting about great stuff. (Red Dice Diaries also gets this vibe when John hosts his friends.)
The last podcast I signed up for is vb Wyrde's Sunday Night Live From ElthosRPG. ElthosRPG is it's own thing and vb is ALL ABOUT METHODOLOGY. Mechanics, ideas, fitting it all together, from a non-D&D point of view. Great, eye-opening stuff.
*The little star beside Favorites is there because I reserve the right to add more favorites. They Might Be Gazebos was previously mentioned and has it's own post. I've left off Patreon information in this post, that will be revisited later.
Sunday, October 27, 2019
Sunday, March 24, 2019
Author: Mark Acres, Tom Moldvay with Doug Niles
Rule Set: Star Frontiers: Alpha Dawn
Number of characters: 4-8
Crash on Volturnus is one of my favorite modules. The player start of as passengers on the Sierra Dawn, where they first encounter trouble en route to Volturnus. After an epic battle and escape, players move on to phase two, an incredible hex crawl on the planet of Volturnus culminating in a final(?) battle with the pirate forces on the planet. Aided by the local inhabitants of the planet, surely the players will win the day.
This module was released with the Alpha Dawn rules set and to my knowledge, was not released independently of that set. I received my set of Alpha Dawn rules peice meal and ended up with two copies of the module. The whole boxed set includes giant maps and wonderful counters, which makes SF-0 a snap to play.
Crash on Volturnus is the first module in the series and was followed up by SF-1 and SF-2. The other SF series modules are unrelated, but are valuable as they are set up for characters to continue their adventures in new settings. The series was also brought back to life by the Endless Quest book Villains of Volturnus in 1983. It was published in relatively short time frame making the series rock solid in game play and feel.
Having played SF-0 several times, there are few game breakers built in to the scenario. First, when the escape pod crashes, the characters only have time to get the survival packs. Several of my players started out with standard equipment packs and used the coveralls as a makeshift backpack tied across their chests before seating themselves. Since the equipment was attached to them, I couldn't justify taking it. The players also started with 4 medical kits, which made them neigh unstoppable in combat. They kept pulling back to heal. Of course, these were the same players who tied their equipment to their chests. I kept running them against random encounters to try to eat up resources, but that was unfulfilling. Eventually, I figured I'd let them run in god-mode and kill everything and everyone. Many of the challenges they faced were thinking scenarios and not fighting scenarios, so it really didn't change the outcome.
All and all, I found this one module to be the best of the best for Star Frontiers. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
The whole shebang is available over on DriveThruRPG.
Alpha Dawn with SF-0
SF-1 Volturnus, Planet of Mystery
and SF-2 Starspawn of Volturnus
Monday, November 12, 2018
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.
Saturday, September 1, 2018
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, January 14, 2016
The initial design was rather slight.
A few details that I wanted to look at where the cockpit and shielding for the crew. The movable panels came from details of the drooping nose on the Concorde.
Each square is about a meter, so the ship stands 8 meters high. It is loaded out with 14 missiles, a centerline minigun and two large wing tip pods. There are 4 retractable radiators, the items with the 2x3 grids on them.
I hope to revisit this design again with ink, smoother lines and better proportions. This ship would be good in several rule sets like Traveller or Star Frontiers.
Friday, January 1, 2016
You can use the pay what you want model to give it a product a try and purchase it later. One of the advantages of using DriveThru RPG is their automatic system to deliver a product as a gift.
After going to checkout, all you need to do is enter your payment information and add the recipient's email address and DriveThru takes care of the rest. What a great way to share the gift of game.