Thursday, September 30, 2010

Steppin' Up That Nerd Game, Son

Went to the used bookstore today to get a few extra copies of The Hobbit, since my school doesn't have enough and the copies other schools are loaning me aren't coming in fast enough to accommodate my lesson plans.

Whilst there, I found Middle Earth Role Playing (2nd edition, labeled "Collector's Edition" as well) and the friggin' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles rpg. Suffice to say, my bookshelf has even less space on it now.

Work continues on Mutant Future, though I am too tired at present to post stats. I am toying with the idea of allowing specific types of Mutant Animals a la Gamma World 4th edition, (not the upcoming Gamma World using D&D4E rules, but the 4th edition of Gamma World that came out in the early 90's) but that might be more work than I am willing to do. I'm thinking that if a player asks to play a MA, I will ask what kind and cobble something together from there.

Soon I will be ready to dust off Hexographer and add to the map I created last summer for my AD&D group's somewhat ill-fated trip to Tarraxian...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

So...Who Is Doing It Wrong?

I recently snatched up a copy of Heroes Unlimited, Revised Edition (not 2nd edition) for a dollar.

At one point, the author advises against allowing heroes to switch the source of their power because it might screw up the continuity of the game.

Continuity. In a game about super heroes.

I believe the most appropriate response, rendered into our modern internet parlance, would be "lawl."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mutant Future: Here I Go

I've started work on MuFu. The first thing I've done is created several mutant and android sub-races for the player characters to pick. These are some of the "stable" mutant races that have evolved in the post-apocalyptic world. I may create a few more. The players have the option of being a unique mutant (so basically the standard mutant), but I can still use these as antagonists, allies, and NPCs even if nobody wants to be one.

*Suulians (Mutant Human)- Though reptilian in appearance, Suulians are actually descended from human stock. They are short, 3-5 feet tall, and frail, with soft scales ranging from dusky yellow to burnt orange in color. Suulians have small spines that run from the crest of their heads down to their stunted, non-prehensile tails.
Suulians have a =2 to both Strength and Constitution, but gain a +4 bonus to Wisdom.
A deeply spiritual people, Suulians can use cleric and druid spells from the Rule Cyclopedia, functioning as a cleric of equal level in regards to spell advancement. Suulians also have a +2 to save against radiation, and can detect radiation out to 60' by concentrating for one round.
Suulians are not without disadvantages, however. They roll d4s for hit points, due to their frail bones, and they have totally eschewed technology. A Suulian cannot use any technological device, nor may they even roll to identify one. A Suulian can never benefit from a technological device used by another, or risk losing spell ability until they are able to atone.
Suulians have rejected both Law and Chaos, and therefore must be Neutral in alignment. A Suulian who devotes himself to either of the Powers will lose all spell abilities, though no longer has the restrictions regarding technology.

*Nobles (Mutant Humans)
Nobles are emaciated, angular looking humanoids who stand 6-7 feet tall. Their skin is usually bone white, though some take on a sickly bluish hue or an ash gray color. Their hair has the same range of color as their bodies, and their eyes are red and take on a slight gleam in the dark. Nobles have +2 to Dexterity, but -2 to Constitution.
The Nobles once ruled large swaths of Tarraxian in the wake of the apocalypse. They had cowed several semi-stable strains of powerful mutants to serve them, and one particularly powerful Noble had a cadre of heavy artillery military bots to enforce his will. They carved sections of Tarraxian up into fiefdoms, preying on their terrified subjects.
Though the subject is misty, legends say that one Noble turned on his fellows, or perhaps they all fell to infighting. Whatever the cause, their fiefdoms collapsed and their servitors turned on them or deserted. The Nobility were deposed and went underground for several centuries. They have reemerged in recent decades, mostly as vagrants and parasitic scavengers. Some have tried to establish domains again, but the people of Tarraxian remember the old legends.
Nobles have the mutations Vampiric Field, Mesmerism, and a limited form of Regeneration. (They can only regenerate using hit points stolen from Vampiric Field.) Nobles do not need to eat or drink, and are immune to disease and poison. They are effectively immortal; no Noble has been known to die of old age.
Nobles suffer from the defect mutation Albinism. Sunlight causes Nobles to lose 1d4 points of Strength so long as they are exposed to it, as well as the loss of 1d6 hit points per hour. Nobles do not heal naturally; they regenerate only with points stolen from their mutation. Finally, Nobles suffer the same reaction penalties as Androids; the legends of the Nobility live on, and people know about their parasitic need to steal life energy.

*Yrini (Mutated Human)
Yrini are blue-skinned humanoids, about the size and shape of normal humans. Their skin sometimes has tiger stripe patters of dark blue, purple or even red. Their hair and eyes run the spectrum of red-blue-purple. Some of them grow stunted white horns from their foreheads, particularly as they age.
Yrini have +2 to Intelligence and -2 to Dexterity.
Yrini have brains like organic computers, analyzing every course of action, every though, and every new discovery along thousands of lines of thinking. Unfortunately, they are not efficient like actual computers, and thus come off as ponderously slow to other races. Yrini are very interested in the technology and lore of the ancient world. One group on Yrini founded the monastic order known as the Archivists, dedicated to restoring the world to its previous height of civilization.
All Yrini have the mutations Intellectual Affinity: Tinker and Dual Cerebellum. They also have two other randomly determined mental mutations, which cannot be Defects. They do all suffer the Slow Mutant defect, however, due to their inability to act without first considering dozens, if not hundreds, of courses of action. (The Dexterity penalty they suffer is a side effect of this ponderous nature; even in combat, they analyze every possible course of action.)

I have also written up a few models of Android, but I'll post those later.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bless My Soul!

Starting next week, I am teaching The Hobbit to my seniors. I was delighted to find it on my curriculum list, and I wonder how I missed it last semester.

I started rereading the book today, as I last read it when I was in the sixth grade. I had forgotten how charmingly written this book is, in contrast to Fellowship, which I remember being somewhat slow and boring. (Then again, I haven't read any of the LotR trilogy since I was in 8th or 9th grade...perhaps those deserve another look.)

Anyway, I find the simplicity of this tale to be refreshing. I have been suffering a profound lack of motivation for all things gaming recently, and I actually feel a bit of a boost even from reading just the beginning chapters.

...granted, my group still wants to do something with science fiction, but I feel like my imagination and/or sense of wonder just got a shot in the arm.

Hmm... while I'm at it, I'd better design some lessons...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Quick Addendum to the Previous Post

Let's separate Gamma World from Mutant Future, shall we?

In the back of MuFu is a sample adventure/dungeon. This, to me, is what I have in mind when I envision the bizarre post-apocalyptic world in my brain. This is more or less what I'm going for.

Famine in Far-Go- I was/am so not on the same page as default Gamma World

Okay, so sometime last year I bought a Gamma World 2nd edition boxed set off Ebay (with Star Frontiers, to boot.) I was surprised to see that the seller threw in a copy of Famine in Far-Go, which, as far as I know, did not originally come with said boxed set. I let Famine sit in the box until earlier this evening. Looking for inspiration for the Mutant Future campaign I should have started several weeks ago, I thought I'd give it a peek. The module seems to be fairly highly regarded in grognard circles, so what the heck...

My initial reaction: What. The. Fuck.
My secondary and tertiary reactions were similar, though with added expletives.

In middle school, I was apparently doing Gamma World all wrong, in that I did not steep the entire game in total absurdity. (Of course, I was ten, so I didn't pick up on"finer points of humor" in the game.) To me, GW-and, by extension, Mutant Future- were weird, sure, but they were games about science fantasy and wonder.

Hallucinogenic berries lead the characters to a factory full of mutant chickens with guns. Oh, and there's a radioactive meteor up in there, too. Don't forget the self-referential Gygax encounter, including the characters having the opportunity to find a damaged copy of a Gamma World rulebook.

Perhaps I was a bit naive to take the game seriously at all. I always interpreted the game as bizarre with a dash of gonzo, rather than double-gonzo-all-the-way.

Mutant Future, on the other hand, is practically a re-skin of D&D. (To me, anyway)

I think a lot of the cognitive dissonance that Famine in Fargo is causing me results from my own very specific interpretation of Gamma World and Mutant Future. Of course, specific interpretations of D&D are part and parcel in this corner of the internet; that's how we end up with stuff like Carcosa, The Metal Earth, Planet Algol, etc. (The latter two are fine blogs and you really should check them out, by the by.)

It looks like I'm back to the drawing board, or at least back to the AD&D notes on Tarraxian. I don't even think my Mutant Future is is a post-apocalyptic Earth. Then again, TSR went that route with Metamorphosis Alpha, and even the Mutant Future rulebook suggests some alternatives.

Hell, maybe I just want to play MA with Mutant Future's rules.

At any rate, Famine in Far-Go is going back into the boxed set.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dream Pod 9, Conversions, and Other Idle Thoughts

I used to be utterly fascinated with Tribe 8, a game from Dream Pod 9 that was a fantasy/horror/post-apocalyptic mishmash of a setting. (Incidentally, it is also the name of a lesbian punk rock band, which lead to some interesting search engine results back in the day.) For as much time as I invested in that game, I never ran even a single session of it. Aside from the fact that I could only get two of my old group to buy into the idea, I came to absolutely hate Dream Pod 9's rules system, which has actually lead me to abandon DP9's games altogether. Before I moved here, I had some conversion notes for changing T8 to FUDGE, but sadly I never finished them, and they are lost to the void.
For the record, I also think Gear Krieg and Jovian Chronicles are very cool settings, but they use the standard DP9 rules and therefore suck as well.

Yesterday, my wife fished a used copy out of the used shelves at the LGS. I got rid of my book long ago, since the first several years I lived in this town, I found that WotC D&D was the order of the day. Hell, for all I know it could be my old copy. I have to admit that the T8 germ is still buried in my head, but the thought of converting it to FUDGE sounds about as appealing as a home root canal. My wife suggested that I convert it to Savage Worlds, which would be a lot easier. I still don't know if I would be able to generate any interest in it. With my free time going at a slightly higher premium these days, I'd hate to do the conversion unless I knew I was going to get some mileage out of it. I'm also not sure that T8 meshes with my very much changed gaming sensibilities.

Another conversion I've been thinking about it Nightspawn/Nightbane. I have this morbid idea of converting it to World of Darkness, using werewolves as the template for the Facade/Morphus transformation. I like the setting of Nightbane, but I find that I'm more attracted to the idea of the various types of human sorcerers. A few months ago, I posted my results of making two sample Nightbane characters, one an actual nightbane, the other a human spellcaster... and the discrepancy between their power levels would give most GMs a migraine.
Ideally, I'd have liked to convert it to Eden Studios' "Beyond Human," but given that the book has had a TBA release date for the past six fucking years, I'm not holding my breath.

So, Tribe 8 to Savage Worlds, Nightbane to World of Darkness.

Meanwhile, today is the first day I've actually thought much about doing something with gaming. My D&D group at the kung fu school is pretty much dead, my work on Mutant Future has not started (despite emails and text messages from the group asking me for an approximate start date), and I missed the deadline to run something at the upcoming local gaming convention. FML, as the kids would say.

Well, at least RIFTS is tomorrow. It will be our first week without the resident rules lawyer, who has moved off to KC and been replaced by one of my gaming buddies.

...yes, a Palladium game is my only gaming outlet at present. What has happened to me?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Kung Fu is Strong

Mystic fucking China, bitches.

It's supposed to be a supplement for Ninjas & Superspies (the book with the most awesome cover ever drawn by mortal hands- an army of ninja vs. an army of laser wielding commandos fighting atop a mountain of dead bodies), though compatible with many of their other games. (I'm actually looking at it as a supplement to Beyond the Supernatural)

This book has like twelve different types of martial artists. It has blind mystics with third eyes. It has crazy ass Chinese demons. It has Taoist alchemy and spells to remove a motherfucker's heart. It has rules for playing a capitalist entrepreneur.

Six bucks at the used bookstore.

I must also point out that this book was written by the late Erick Wujcik. I tend to his work a lot more than SuperKev's. I also think this book could work as a stand alone campaign, if one is into Big Trouble in Little China-esque shenanigans. I'd been thinking of a campaign like that and had thought I would have to de-fang (ha) Kindred of the East if I wanted outlandish pseudo-Asian fantasy goobfests. I think this book might be all I need. I don't even mind characters having SDC as much as I usually do, given the source material.

To use the parlance of our urban youth: this book be ballin', yo*.

In other news, I am now getting emails and texts from multiple members of my former AD&D1e group, wanting to know when we're getting started with Mutant Future. (MuFu!)
Things are starting to shape up at work, so perhaps I will soon be able to address them and their need for gaming goodness.

D&D at the Kung Fu school has not been happening lately, mainly because I've been too exhausted to get my train on. We'll try again this week.

*none of my students has actually ever said anything like this. Thank the gods.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Still Alive

Hi, gang. I'm still alive. I actually have a few minutes and a few drops of howzabout a small update to this here blog?

The RIFTS campaign actually continues to be pretty good. The new GM is most awesome. I am 3rd level. The former GM, who is a rules lawyer extraordinaire and who has earned, from several of us, the ill-fated position of That Guy in our group, is moving away. I have added another friend (and former AD&D1E player) to the RIFTS group. I totally Zerg'd this gaming group. I am more than a little ashamed that I just used "Zerg" as a verb.

Because I think there is a good game buried somewhere beneath the insanity and inanity of the Palladium system, I'm mentally measuring the various things I will need to amputate should I ever take a crack at running this game. It won't be pretty. Oh, and I may add Neutral alignments just because the book says that "No Neutrals" is one of the unbending rules of the game. Bend this.

I have not started my MuFu campaign. (MuFu being my delightful new pet name for Mutant Future) Work has been quite demanding, but things are starting to fall into place and I plan to have the next two weeks planned before Sunday. That should give me some time to work on MuFu. I am going to be expanding the cosmology behind my convention modules (Temple of Zirugar and Legacy of Zirugar) to link them into the events of my AD&D1E campaign. I find this coherence strangely satisfying, which is odd, because I usually eschew former campaign settings every time I start up something new. The crew looks to be the old AD&D1E gang minus two. (The ones who became parents during the first campaign. I don't expect to see them at my gaming table ever again, actually.)

The missus has recently told me that she misses gaming. She's been mighty busy with her book these past many months. I'd like to start up some kind of game that can involve her, but she's pretty selective when it comes to games. Last I checked, the list of things in which she will willingly participate is thus: D&D 3.5, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd edition, World of Darkness (but not Vampire or Promethean), and All Flesh Must Be Eaten. I may have missed one or two, but that's probably because I don't want to run them. (Of course, I don't want to run 3.5, either) I do want to accommodate her, I just need to find the time and energy. Hopefully I will have more of both in the near future.

Keep those dice a-rollin', amigos. I'm still reading.