Friday, March 28, 2014

Welcome Back, LGS

So, last month my LGS burned down. I posted about it.

On Wednesday, they re-opened in a new location. The new store is beautiful, brightly lit, spacious, welcoming, and has clean, gender-segregated bathrooms.

In short, it's everything the old store wasn't.

I plundered the fire sale goodness. I picked up some odd little gaps in my collection, including being one book closer to having the entirety of The Enemy Within Campaign for Warhammer Fantasy Roelplay, 1st edition.

Catch of the day? Deadlands Noir, totally undamaged, five bucks.

Too bad I bought it last month. Still, I'm going to give it to Josh, who is an enormous Deadlands fan.

I'll post pictures when I'm feeling less lazy.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Modules from Literature

Aight, so literature can provide us fantastic ideas for modules. I don't know why I never realized this.

About ten years ago, I tried to turn Bret Harte's short story "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" into a Deadlands adventure. It was a complete and utter failure. As soon as the folks of Poker Flat tried to run the PCs out of town, they wanted to start shooting. When I informed them that this would lead to their instant demise (five people vs. a town, even a small one, is a grim prospect) they went out into the wilderness....

........and immediately came to the conclusion that the townsfolk were under the spell of some kind of malignant entity, and that the preacher must be an evil servant of the Reckoners who needed to be killed. They immediately began planning to assassinate him...

....and then the party started bickering and it ended with them all splitting up and yeah. For a long time after that I was of the idea that stories were stories and games were games, and never the twain should meet.

Flash forward: I'm a high school English teacher and I'm into both classic literature and D&D. I download "A Thousand Dead Babies," and a few days after I finish reading it, I realize:

Dude, this is Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" but in D&D world. 

So then I start thinking about sandboxy stuff and non-sandboxy stuff I can steal from the literature I teach.

Beowulf- A wimpy-ass king needs YOU to get rid of a supposedly invincible monster. (Also, oddly, the premise of the old TSR module "Wizard's Challenge II..) He will drop serious treasure on you if you can solve his little problem.
               -A wimpy-ass king's swank castle stands empty because some monster haunts it. Kill the monster, get a free castle.
               -There's a horrible sea witch at the bottom of a haunted, glowing lake. Supposedly she is in possession of a magic sword crafted by giants in ages past. Just sayin'. You like magic swords, right?
               -Your old-ass king needs YOU to save him from taking on a monster he can't dial in his decrepitude.
              -The old king died fighting a dragon. They buried him in a tower full of jewels. Feeling lucky?

Hamlet- The castle is haunted. They say the ghost looks like the recently deceased king....
            -Investigate the cause of the prince's recent madness.
            -Escort the crazy-ass prince to the neighboring allied kingdom and give his secret death warrant to the king there.
            -Help the prince sneak back into his homeland.
Macbeth- Some witches show up and tell the characters (or just one) they're destined for something great.
              -Someone's done killed the King overnight. Who was it?
              -An exiled Prince needs you to help kill the guy who jacked his dad's throne
              -The King wants you to off this guy....and his son.
              -The King wants you to off this traitor's entire family.

If you don't want your PCs running around with kings all the time, you can easily make them burgomeisters or guildmasters or high priests or mayors or well-to-do artisans or whatever.

Any of these could simply be rendered as rumors, too. The castle is supposedly haunted. The king is rumored to be concerned with the prince's madness, etc.

Campaign prep and lesson planning at the same time....? Madness. 


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Making a Saving Throw vs. Malaise

If Mike were alive, he'd tell me to quit moping and get back to gaming. So I shall.

First things first: Tonight I'm going to go to the Grand Reopening of my LGS that burned down several weeks ago. It's got a new, bigger location and it's about half a mile closer to my house. Get some. I'm going to buy something to support them, and I don't even care what it is. RIFTS Lemuria? Maybe. (I am a mere six books away from owning all of the current RIFTS World Books, a fact that makes me both proud and ashamed in equal measure.)

Second things first: I am just about finished with my playable archetypes for my horror/supernatural game. (I imagine it will be more urban fantasy with a horror veneer, however.) I will begin posting system notes sporadically.

Third things first: I am going to endeavor to marshal the online Sunday group this week to play through Zzarchov Kowolski's excellent module, "A Thousand Dead Babies." Remember when modules used to have high falutin' names like Beyond the Crystal Caves and Palace of the Silver Princess? No more. I even have the sprinkling idea for a module called Forestmurder.

Fourth thi- yeah, okay, tired of the punnage.

I might see about rejoining the Sunday group or at least stopping by once in awhile. If Mike's passing has taught me anything, it's that the idea of our limited time is not an abstraction, it is a very real thing. Likewise, I'm going to attempt to step up my attendance at the Thursday group. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

RIP, Mike

Mike, a friend and fellow gamer, lost his battle with cancer earlier this week. Mike was a longtime member of the Sunday group that I played in for a couple of years. Besides this, Mike and I played boardgames, went to the occasional Star Trek movie event, and hung out with at local cons and game days.

Mike, you'll be missed. I've never lost a gaming friend before.

I hope Mike's son continues to play with the Sunday group, though even if he does he will likely need some time. My thoughts are with the family, the group, and his friends.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The God That Crawls, Pt. 2 + Good News

We finished up The God That Crawls with my online gaming group on Sunday.
The short version: Through luck followed by extreme cleverness, the group escaped with a fair bit of treasure. (Though mostly it was scrolls and potions.)

Nobody died, much to my surprise, though there was a close call or two. The players escaped using a method that wasn't counted on in the module itself. Delightful.

My LGS, which burned down last week, has already found a new retail space, one that is close to their old location, but is also closer to my house by about half a mile. I look forward to their announced Grand Reopening, though the date isn't yet set. They apparently have something hanging in the window (or so my wife has just informed me via email) so perhaps I'll check it out after I leave work today and see what's in store.

I shall next subject my online group to Hammers of the God, then we'll take a break from Raggi, perhaps. I do have an idea to propose to them as well.

Oh, and in my continued and chronic navel-gazing indecision, I am now considering FUDGE (which I guess isn't an acronym anymore, but I do what I want) for my upcoming urban fantasy/modern horror/whatever campaign that I'm unlikely to ever run but which consumes my thoughts. So, I have now considered: Chill (Mayfair edition), Basic Roleplaying, a mashup of old White Wolf/Storyteller, and now FUDGE. (Maybe FATE? I need to be slapped.)

The struggle is real.