Sunday, April 21, 2019

KantCon 2019

KantCon is just a little over three months hence. I'm running so many games there this year that they comped my entry fee. My Friday games are full, my Saturday games are not. This year, I am not running any modules. All the scenarios are my own.

On the docket this year:

Starships & Spacemen, 2nd edition, "Ne Plus Ultra." I'm running a continuation of my yearly game featuring the crew of the spaceship Armiger. This year the first officer is now the captain, since he remained behind in a dimensional fissure in last year's game to basically save the space-time continuum. This year's episode is just a simple escort mission: take a scientist to a distant research station. Totally easy, totally not going to lead to some horrific space disaster. 

Zweihander, "Times Are Gone for Honest Men." Refugees fleeing from the ravages of war are migrating south toward a town where work can be found as caravan guards. The job is dangerous in times like these, but coin is coin. Of course, each of the characters also has a hidden agenda, nothing to do with jobs and money... 

(And yeah, the title is a low key Soundgarden reference) 

Cartoon Action Hour Season 3, "Saturday Morning 1986." I'm running four little one hour "episodes" of 80's ish cartoons. I'm doing take offs of GI Joe, Transformers, TMNT, and Thundarr the Barbarian.

Battle Century G: "Fusion Breakers Wachter." Weebtastic mecha anime rpg. This is the "ending movie" of a non-existent series where the PCs engage in a final battle of an alien race trying to genetically merge with humanity. A little bit Evangelion, a lot Genesis Climber Mospeada.

Just running a bunch of non-roleplaying games right now- Munchkin Shakespeare, Chrononauts, DUNGEON! (the old 80's printing, not the lame ass modern printing)

Update: I just got my mitts on a copy of the Lone Wolf Adventure Game from Cubicle 7. I might run a session of that on Sunday. Bitches better eat a meal or lose 3 ENDURANCE POINTS. Might run one of the pre-fab scenarios, might write one of my own... all my other rpgs this year are scenarios of my own design.

Ye gods, I can't wait for KantCon. 

Friday, April 19, 2019

Two Steps Forward, 5 Steps Back

I got dragged back into 5E.

I want to play D&D and be able to include my girlfriend. She's a Pathfinder player. I tried to run B/X D&D for her back in December, and she rejected it outright.

After a lot of discussion, we determined that 5E might be the only halfway point between my D&D and her Pathfinder.

(If you're of a mind to recommend that I try Pathfinder, I did. I've played it. I've GMed it. I'd rather eat broken glass than do either ever again.)

A colleague of mine is currently running a "Waterdeep Adventures" campaign, based around the current Dragon Heist campaign from Wizardzzzz. We joined up, partly to spend some time together during my busy season, and partly because I feel guilty at having ducked every single game invitation that my colleague has extended to me for the last three years.

Did I mention that I think Forgotten Realms is a.) incredibly boring* and b.) super overrated?

*Well, Zakhara and Kara-Tur are pretty cool, but I prefer their standalone iterations.

Anyway, I will admit that the D&D Beyond digital tools are pretty neat, though it means that I have to use a device to access my character sheet for awhile. Early 5E levels blow by so fast I was having to reprint my character sheet every week.

The DM has endeavored to make it a bit of an urban sandbox mixed with a "town parked on top of a dungeon" type setup, though I'm not sure how much of this is his own doing and how much of it is the module/campaign book.

I still stand by my assertion that 5E is D&D with kid gloves on. I think my best summation is Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction when he says "We should be fuckin' dead, my friend."

In the meantime, I am considering a game of Ghosts of Saltmarsh featuring the various people in my household. (I've got a pretty sitcom-esque living situation right now.) If nothing else, it'll be a nice change of pace from my weekly PbtA game.

Le sigh.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

White Box Class Overlays

The only thing remotely old school I've been into lately is Charlie Mason's White Box Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game. Since most of the people I game with are scrubs who play Pathfinder or 5E or my goddamn hippy PbtA stuff, it's all wishful thinking tinker work.

My present project is something I dub "class overlays." WBFMAG (what a torturous abbreviation) sticks to the four basic character classes. Since most of the people I know like a little more variety than that, I started working on little templates that keep the essentials of the class while giving it just a little bit of flavor.

So I start off with the Assassin. Hmm. -1 to Thievery, +4 Backstab, 3 damage dice. I write up a simple ability to brew poisons at 5th level, keeping it vague and very much up to the GM in the spirit that WB is written in. (The game very much trusts the GM to do their goddamn job.)

Alright, done. On to the Druid. Neutral alignment...changes to weapons and armor, turning ability is animals instead of undead, slight alterations to spell list... a little less of an overlay. Hmm.

And then I stopped. Not because I'd made the Druid too complicated, but because... boredom. Why bother rolling out the nth iterations of the same tired-ass roster of character classes? Someone, somewhere wrote up a Northern Godi and a Jester for Swords & Wizardry White Box. Why shouldn't I do the same and take a departure from the usual suspects?

The goal:
-Keep 'em simple. A dash of flavor to the existing standard four classes, but still very much a member of that original class.

Something along these lines:


Practitioners of hedge magic, Witches are a subclass of Magic-User that consists mostly of women. Witchcraft tends to be more subtle than the fiery evocations of the standard Magic-User, and Witches also know their way around herbs and fantastical brews.

Weapon and Armor Restrictions: Witches can only use daggers in combat, and the only missile weapon they can use is oil. They are not allowed to wear any armor, nor use a shield.

Spellcasting: Witches generally function as standard Magic-Users, with a few modifications. They can learn and cast Cure Light Wounds (and its reverse) as though it were a 1st level Magic-User spell. When a Witch casts a charm or illusion spell, any target has a -1 penalty to their Saving Throw. In addition, calculate the duration of such spells as though the Witch were two experience levels higher. Witches cannot cast Fireball, Lightning Bolt, or other spells which cause direct damage.

Potions: Starting at 5th level, Witches can brew potions. The exact requirements, time and cost are left to the GM, but one recommendation is that they need a week's time, access to a cauldron, and rare ingredients that can cost between 500-1,000 gp. The GM is also free to impose a shelf life on the potency of the potions. The Witch may create any potion from the list in WBFMAG. If the GM wishes to limit this, perhaps the Witch gains a single recipe at 5th level, and learns an additional recipe with each experience level, or perhaps they must learn (or steal) the recipes from other Witches.


Now, I know that witches are hardly new to D&D and have had lots of incarnations, but this was just a starting point. I'd like to see some other fantasy, pulp, and even fairy tale archetypes get some love instead of ranger-paladin-monk-druid-bard-rinse-repeat.

I'm working on these in my drive right now, but I could well post them here as I get them done.