Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chillin'

I like Chill.
I like it quite a bit.
I like it enough that I went back to the LGS and bought all the Chill stuff they had. (Super cheap, btw)
 I think RAX is the coolest RPG bad buy/commentating NPC I've seen in awhile.
 I now think I prefer horror games where the loss of Sanity/Humanity/Morality is not mechanically regulated.
I think this is what I'm going to run at the Local Convention this summer. (Previously I've only run B/X D&D and various derived games like Stars Without Number and Mutant Future.)
I'm also thinking I might give this a try on the "off" Tuesdays. (A couple of the players in my upcoming WFRP 2 game expressed interest in playing something every week instead of every other.)
That's all for now.
All hail RAX.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

More Obscureness

I recently purchased online a copy of The Everlasting: Book of the Undying.
The only time I had ever seen this game is in the used bin of the game shop near my high school. It would have been around 1997-98. The game would be best described as a "World of Darkness Heartbreaker," though I am loathe to use Edwardsian jargon. It looks like the guy basically did the same with the other parts of the old World of Darkness. Anyway, if the game turns out to be crap, I paid less than two bucks for it. (I actually paid more for shipping the book than I did for the actual book)

Last night, I was at the LGS after the Sunday game when I chanced across two copies of Chill. I had only heard of this game, never seen it, but the people I know who played it absolutely loved it and had only good things to say. While I initially passed on buying it, I went back this morning and picked it up for posterity. If I don't like it, I can give it to one of them at the next con where we bump into each other.

While digging around in said store, I also came across a bevvy of old adventures for Star Ace, which I'm not at all familiar with. However, one of the adventures (Goodbye Kankee) was only a buck and looked like fun. I plan to convert it to Stars Without Number or Star Frontiers or something and run it at the next convention I attend.

It seems like for every game I get rid of, two more (and more obscure) games take its place. I'm cursed, I tell you.

On the same

Monday, April 23, 2012

Conversion Notes Continued

The RIFTS Magic and Psi conversion still isn't going well.

I'm thinking here's the deal with magic:

1. AD&D Magic spells. Wizard and Priest spells are merged together; there is no divine magic.
2. Fixed cost of 5 PPE per spell level, with cantrips costing a mere 2 PPE each.
3. Spells that I feel should be ported over from RIFTS shall be.
4. Ley Line Walkers, Shifters, Techmagi, and Mystics will have separate spell lists,the way magic-users and illusionists did in AD&D 1.
5. I'll probably leave ranges the same for now and see how well it plays out. Ranged weapons in my conversion actually have range penalties now, and it is much more difficult to hit a target. (Armor now provides an AC to hit, rather than just having to roll 8+ like in RIFTS as written.)

Now, as for psionics....

Ugh. I was planning on using the psionics system from AD&D 2nd edition, but I don't like that you have to roll to use your psi power. (Then again, warriors have to roll to attack and city rats have to roll to use skills...) At any rate, I either have to reorganize the AD&D powers into the RIFTS categories, or else rewrite the converted RIFTS classes so that their powers come from the AD&D psionic categories. I will probably also have to convert the technology based psi, since it has no AD&D equivalent, and the special Burster powers that all revolve around fire. Fun fun.


I have put entirely too much work into this to give up!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

WFRP Scribbles

Players of mine, kindly bug off. :)


Scribble #1- Adding Wizards, Illusionists, Elementalists, Alchemists, and Druids back into the game. I like the flavor of that better than having nothing but color mages.

Scribble #2- The Old Faith is still around, as are Malal and the three Gods of Law.

Scribble #3- A deviant though... what about using the setting of Talisman as my campaign setting, rather than the Old World? This would be decidedly more high fantasy than WFRP usually is.

Scribble #4- ...or maybe a Bretonian campaign? Knights and grails on the surface, decadence and corruption beneath.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thus Begins the Scribbling

It is decided.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, 2nd edition.

I will be trying to adapt a lot of the flavor stuff from 1st edition: Druids/The Old Faith, alchemists, illusionists, elementalists, etc. I thought the magic system in 1e was more flavorful, if mechanically less interesting. I'm sure someone out on the internet has done the heavy lifting for me.

I'm thinking we will begin the first week of May.

Time to get to work.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

One of those sessions

Tonight was one of those sessions where everything goes horribly wrong, and you end up with really nothing to show for it.

Actually, I gained a level mainly because of "DM Magic," but aside from that, we blew our shot at taking out the enemy of a vastly superior force. I have no earthly idea what we're going to do now.

My MUD is frustrating me as well.

On the plus side, Nathan and I nailed down some important things in the RIFTS-to-AD&D conversion. There will be no Mega-Damage, but archaic weapons are still useless against high-tech armor and the average unarmored man will still be vaporized by a laser rifle blast. We're taking a different approach to power armor and vehicles, though... there's a separate scale between advanced infantry and advanced vehicles. Yeah, KS often touts the example that an MDC equipped character is the equivalent of a modern tank unto himself, but these aren't modern tanks; they are crazy ass FUTURE TANKS.

The idea of magic and psi power conversion still makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit. I have to admit we're kind of avoiding it while we finish weapons/armor, combat, and proficiencies.

I sent out the email to my potential Tuesday players. One of them seems to be confused and thinks I'm just putting together a group, when in fact I want to run a campaign, and I want to host it at my house. These are two items upon which I am not willing to negotiate. :) I might suggest that he run those things as alternates for the couple of weeks I have to be out of town this summer.

Local gaming con coming up this weekend. I'm not sure if I missed the deadline. I should check. Apparently there is a lot of Pathfinder on the roster. I think they could use some...diversification. Maybe I should run something that hardly ever gets any love. Hmm....Mutant Future? Star Frontiers?

Let me contemplate.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Contemplating the Relative Merits and Quirks of Various Fantasy Games That Are Mostly Related

...this being a navel-gazing blog post with a very tortured tile.
This is mostly thinking out loud, so feel free to skip it.

Right, so...

1. B/X D&D.
-It's damn simple.
-It is easily house-ruled, and in fact it begs to be tinkered with.
-Lack of mechanical options might frustrate or bore players
-Lack of mechanical options makes "fluff" more important
-Easy to come up with neat little things to distinguish characters
-I will be tempted to dick around with the rules, classes, etc.



2. AD&D 1st edition
-Crunchier than B/X, which is both good and bad.
-Still easy enough to tamper with
-Will probably use the OSRIC book in lieu of the actual AD&D rulebooks.


3. Pathfinder
-Crunchy
-I feel like I have to study for this game
-Seems very popular right now
-Characters are very customizable and players may enjoy that
-Rule book could stop a bullet
-Not comfortable house-ruling a game with this many interlocking rules.


4. Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay
-Fun system
-Inexplicably fun character creation
-Mechanics are smoother in the 2nd edition, magic is neater in the first edition.
-Probably run 1st edition, unless I can convert the 1st edition magic to 2nd edition mechanics.
-I feel obligated to run the game in the Warhammer world, though I realize this isn't absolutely necessary.
-Players may be turned off by random starting professions...then again, the last group I ran Warhammer for kind of liked that.

5. OpenQuest
-Customizable characters
-Would have to study the rules
-Setting almost demands high-magic, since anyone can use it, and I'm not sure if I'm feeling a high magic campaign.
-Would be something I've never run before, and thus new and refreshing
-Pretty sure none of my players are familiar with this one, which might be a barrier to entry and might be a turnoff.
-Compatible with Call of Cthulhu should I take leave of my senses.


Games that I have stricken from the short list:
*Savage Worlds Fantasy (I'm already playing in Deadlands...though I don't get to run this one much...maybe I'll reconsider)
*Palladium Fantasy, because it is a hot mess. I'd consider running the 1st edition someday, though...but not today.
*The Riddle of Steel, because every time I try to learn it my brain turns off.
* Earthdawn, because I'm feeling like a more traditional/classic fantasy experience, and Earthdawn is just too damn weird for that. :)


...okay, so I guess it's not a short list yet, is it?

Let the navel gazing continue.

Feel free to chime in.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Getting Ready to Game

So...I guess I'm one of those once-a-week guys now.

I'm making steady progress on the RIFTS-to-AD&D conversion, especially now that I have Nathan (formerly of the Sunday group) helping me. Right now we're trying to decide on the scale of weapons and the "killability" of 1st level characters and Coalition Grunts. (I basically view them as the orcs of the RIFTS world.) We're also toying with proficiencies, mostly using AD&D and the "First Edition Skills" PDF as a road map. Today we started talking about magic, which is going to be....daunting.

We're not sure what we're doing with Mega-Damage, if anything. I'm kind of keen to just have one damage system, and say that high-tech armor just ignores sufficiently low-tech weapons, a la Stars Without Number.

Meanwhile, I've been putting together a Tuesday night group, mainly composed of people who had to leave the Sunday game due to scheduling conflicts and people from previous games of mine that were disbanded due to similar woes. I'm going to run something fantasy. My short list at this point is AD&D 1st edition, B/X D&D, Pathfinder, and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. (Probably 2nd edition, but possibly 1st) I need to get it narrowed down, because I want to start in like three weeks, give or take.
I miss the joy of running a campaign, and I double-miss hosting my game at my house.

I've been invited to play in a game of Rogue Trader. From what I understand, this is a break from the group's usual D&D game. I will probably give RT a try, but I'm not sold on joining another gaming group. I actually prefer to run games rather than play them, and I don't think I have the time or patience for three groups.

I have also started MUDding again. There is something comforting and simple about it. It may be fairly mindless, but I enjoy exploring a world that I still have to imagine.

A dude tried to recruit me for his online gaming convention....yes, an online tabletop convention. I just don't dig on online tabletop. This makes absolutely no sense coming from a guy who just admitted to playing a text MUD, but there it is. I "sat in" on a session briefly, and as I mentioned before, something about it just instantly turned me off. I think it's because online tabletop, to me, is a simulation of tabletop gaming, not a replacement, not an equivalent. I know a MUD is a MUD and I'm not trying to use it to replace the tabletop experience.

A local gaming con is coming up next weekend... I'm thinking about running a quickie B/X dungeon. I did at the last local game day and had an absolute blast. I might do Mutant Future instead... I've had a slight MF bug lately.

Mike's viking game is this weekend, after a painful three week hiatus. That orcish castle is going down.

Happy days are here again, methinks.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Time To Get A New Notebook

It's clear as day.

I want to run a campaign.

That is what I want to do.

The desire to be a player is secondary at best.

This is not commentary on any game I am presently involved in. This is a building, nagging thing that stems from the very essence of what I get out of gaming; what I always have gotten out of gaming.

I am presently watching a play by chat game of the Savage Worlds Solomon Kane setting. Although I have been invited to participate, I can already tell that I really have no interest. This, to me, is not gaming. It is an approximation of gaming, but it isn't the real thing, any more than is the text-based MUD I have running in another window.

I guess I should amend that to say that it isn't gaming to me. I know some of you out there in Blogland have had great success with it. Hell, the game I was watching is on session #52. I was not at all drawn in by the setup.

I have received some encouraging feedback from Nathan on my Palladium/AD&D conversion. I will continue work on it tomorrow... perhaps nail down the races.


My new goal is to start a new campaign of something before summer break starts.

Monday, April 2, 2012

An errant thought

WotC, I am probably not going to buy D&D 5E. it doesn't matter that Cook is in on the design. It doesn't matter that the game is modular. I don't even care if you bundle it with a goddamn candy bar like Eden did with All Flesh Must Be Eaten*, I'm probably going to give it, and all future editions of D&D, a pass.

However, I will pay you money by the bloody bucketful for your legacy product PDFs. If you put out archives of the Dragon, I will buy them. If you put out all the wonderful old AD&D 2nd edition PDFS, I will buy them. I will buy 1st edition. I will will buy every single classic module, even the weird British ones.

This is a complete reversal to my "PDFs baaaaaaaad!" stance that I have held for years. I'm at the point where, if they were made available on the right device, I would be willing to go partially digital. (I still prefer books to PDFs, but I prefer PDFs to books that are badly damaged or difficult to replace)

The thing that finally did it was finding the Dark Sun books at the half priced bookstore, but finding them so badly damaged that I wouldn't even pay the few dollars they wanted for the books. (These things barely survived my flipping through them...they'd never last crammed on a bookshelf or being used in an actual gaming session.)

I realize that all my old D&D stuff is decaying. Maybe they won't fall apart today, maybe not in five years, but eventually they are going to get fragile enough that I'm not going to want to use them. They are also going to become increasingly difficult, and expensive, to replace.

I think that WotC is as likely to open the vault as they are to create a D&D V(ersailles)- see what I did there?- that unites the fan base and has LBB lovers breaking bread with 4E guys.

Still, a guy can dream.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Conversion, Ho!

My RIFTS rewrite is coming along, slow and...well, I guess I wouldn't say steady.

I think I'm finished with character classes for now; there are a few things left to hammer out, but I think I can say that I have knocked out a testable version of each one.

My list of classes thus far:

Men of Arms: Merc Soldier, Headhunter, Psi-Knight, Juicer. These are roughly analogous to the fighter, ranger, paladin, and barbarian. The Headhunter takes cues from the 1st edition ranger while the Juicer is actually a bit of a hybrid between 1st and 3rd edition barbarian. I remade the Cyber Knight into the Psi-Knight, which fits the class concept a little better for me. I'm considering adding the Crazy as an analogue to the monk.

Practitioners of Magic: Ley Line Walker, Shifter, Mystic, Techmage. The LLW and Shifter are basically different variations on the AD&D magic-user. The Mystic is actually almost unchanged. The Techmage (which is a placeholder name but sounds less unwieldy to me than Techno-Wizard) still needs a bit of fleshing out in terms of his ability to create magical batteries and weapons, but I have a simple system converted for permanently imbuing spells into items.

Adventurers: Rogue Scholar, City Rat, Wilderness Scout. The Rogue Scholar is sort of a bard-like character, with a few lore specializations and the potential to learn a little bit of magic. This class is actually sort of an amalgamation of the original class, Rogue Scientist, Body Fixer, and Cyber-Doc; you can really make an of those characters with this fairly customizable class. The City Rat is essentially the AD&D thief, with an option to make him more assassin-like. The Wilderness Scout is actually sort of like the 2nd edition ranger.

Psychics: Mind Melter and Burster. I've left these concepts mostly intact. I'm considering a rename of both classes.

In terms of combat and saving throws, I'm essentially using the class groups from AD&D 2nd edition. Men of Arms are obviously Warriors, Practitioners of Magic are Wizards, Adventurers are Rogues and Psychics are Priests.

My next move is to knock out the races. There are countless races available to play in this setting, but I think I'm only going to stat up about 7-10, including humans. I was also considering creating some templates for Mutants and D-Bees so that players could try to approximate their favorite race. I dunno....that seems like a lot of work. One thing I am decided on, though, is that race and class will always, always be separate things. (In the RIFTS RAW, some races have racial character classes, some must choose a regular class,and some have both options)

After that, I'm going to make an insane attempt to merge the magic systems of RIFTS and AD&D, then try to port over RIFTS Psionics, then make a simplified equipment system, then do proficiencies (don't hate!)...

...whimper.