Monday, June 30, 2014

Sleepy Statements Before Sleeping

I like running games at conventions. It's pretty much the only thing I want to do at conventions now.

I got the new free LotFP adventure. I have mixed feelings about it. More on that later.

I am running RIFTs this week. Juuuuuuuuuuuice.

More later when I'm not sleepy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

On Overthinking

I've been working on DarknessFudge, a lighter alternative to World of Darkness using Fudge, for months. I've been working on and off, and despite my efforts to keep it simple, it's already bigger than I wanted.

...then last night I stumble across a Fae-based rpg, somewhat reminiscent of Changeling, that a person did on one page using Fudge.

...and now I feel like kind of a tool.

I mean, it's pretty simple, sure, but it works.

Maybe I need to rethink how I'm working this.

Of course, I have little time to do so, with BritishFest coming up and my having agreed to take over two campaigns while the GMs are out of the action.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Delicious looking, but not what I'm looking for...

I wish Fudge wasn't called Fudge.

My search engine gets so confused.

Also, from the look of page updates and the like, I'm pretty sure nobody has played, run, or done anything with Fudge in at least a decade, unless you count the creation of FATE.

I have FATE on PDF, but it just doesn't do anything for me. Maybe I need to give it another shot.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ravenloft Gothic Earth: Session 4

Yesterday I ran an altered version of The Dark Minstrel from The Book of Crypts. I changed a bunch of shit.

...firstly, because The Dark Minstrel is a stupid name.

I ended up making the villain kind of silly and eccentric, which I think made him creepier when Dr. Corrigan discovered that his host had a slight addiction to murder.

The pair were able to figure out that the harpsichord held the key to their escape. I removed the painting that pretty much shows it to you. Because, you know, if I were an immortal dude with only one weakness, I would definitely hang a painting depicting me dying from said weakness in full view of my unwilling guests. (God these modules are fucking terrible.)

The session was a bit more silly than scary, but it was still entertaining. Next week we'll continue the adventures of Dr. Corrigan and Madame Zoltara.

This week I start my RIFTS game. I'm also running a bunch of shit at a con this weekend. I've lost my frickin' mind.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Red Jack'd

On Sunday, we concluded Red Jack. I changed a bunch of things from the module as written. I think our two characters are the perfect duo for Victorian shenanigans. Now I'm going to adapt one or to modules from the Book of Crypts to serve as an interlude until the next adventure from the boxed set. Loads of fun.

This week I am supposed to assume the GM mantle for Josh until he returns. I'll be cobbling together a short Deadlands campaign to tide the group over until August.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Palladium Triple Play

Yesterday I took a run to the used bookstore with the missus. I found the Compendium of Weapons, Armor, and Castles, Compendium of Contemporary* Weapons, and Aliens Unlimited. I snagged them up for seven bucks apiece. My bookshelf now groans with the weight of my Palladium collection.

 There was also a Planescape boxed set for fifty bucks, which was tempting, but... who knows. I still have a coupon tucked away.

*Contemporary as of about twenty years ago, but whatevs.

Today I run what is likely the final installment of Red Jack. After that, I will be adapting the scenarios from The Book of Crypts to be 1.) Set on Gothic Earth, and 2.) Not be brain-bleedingly stupid in their execution. I'll run our duo through a few of them before continuing the campaign from the Red Death boxed set.

Friday, June 13, 2014

From Zero to Sixty

I've been running my online Ravenloft/Masque of the Red Death game.
Starting next week, I'm taking over Josh's Deadlands group while he is away for the summer. (Though I intend to start a different campaign, just sticking with Deadlands.)
Now, Steven needs to step back from GMing for a couple of weeks, so I am running a mini-RIFTS campaign on Thursdays.


Now, I know this situation isn't sustainable in the long term, but it's summer. I only have two weeks of class left, and the Thursday and Friday situations are just temporary.

I do still have to prepare for the rapidly approaching BritishFest.

Too much gaming? It's a good problem to have.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Go Ravens!

I just found out about the new Savage Worlds setting, East Texas University.

...and I'm kind of excited about it. 

That's all.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Alright, Enough of this Crap

The key to making The Book of Crypts into something other than aged toilet paper:

1. Take the very basic idea of each module
2. Imagine what Jim Raggi or Zzarchov Kowalski would do with that same idea.
3. Bam.

Further Module Sins: You Keep Doing It Wrong

"If the characters do not decide to stay the night, they find the storm has suddenly worsened and the town has no other inns."

...and thus, the second module in The Book of Crypts renders itself just as hidebound as the first.

Other sins of the module include:

-PCs on a werewolf hunt coming across a village called Moondale. Seriously, Moondale? Why not just call it Wolfington? 

-The assumption that the PCs will not suspect the failure of an NPC ally to show up to investigate the first murder with them, and also assuming that the locked door to his room will provide any serious deterrent to a party of adventurers.  

-"In the morning, the characters find Eldon asleep and the woman dead. If questioned, Eldon says that she screamed out once in the night, but by the time he reached her, she was already dead."
And then the guy just went back to sleep? Are you fucking kidding me? The PCs have no chance to hear the scream? What if the PCs insist on guarding this girl? And again, the guard found the chick he was supposed to guard dead and just went back to fucking sleep and the module just assumes the PCs will basically shrug their shoulders at this. 

-More NPCs who die automatically regardless of what you do to save them.

...and actually, I quit reading it at this point. On to the third module, but it doesn't look good for this book. At least it was only three bucks.

Seriously, though, you ARE doing it wrong.

Yesterday, I was perusing the used section of the FLGS near my house when I chanced upon a battered copy of The Book of Crypts for three bucks. This is an old Ravenloft supplement of short adventures, nine in all. I grabbed it, thinking I would adapt them to my Gothic Earth Ravenloft campaign to use as interludes between the modules in Masque of the Red Death.

...I read the first one this morning and it was fucking terrible.
Fucking terrible. 

If you are writing an adventure and you include a phrase such as "No matter what precautions the PCs take, she is still abducted..." Stop writing. Stop writing and don't start again until you come up with a better idea that rewards, rather than disregards, cautious and clever preparation on the part of your PCs. Seriously.

Also, if your bad guy holds someone hostage, and then moments later admits he has no intention of killing his hostage, prepare to have the rest of his monologue interrupted as the PCs jack him.

Hopefully the other eight won't be as terrible, but I'm starting to think that all 90's era TSR modules are just inherently terrible, Ravenloft or otherwise.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Red Jack: Part II

Today I ran the next leg of Red Jack with Meghan and James. Their characters are quite entertaining and are well suited to the adventure at hand. We had one of the most entertaining fights I've had in a game in quite awhile. Nothing like several Victorian white people sort of flailing around an alley at each other. I will say this: the PCs fought smartly when faced with an opponent who would have presented difficulties had they simply traded blows. The low hp total of the two characters causes them to get very creative when it comes to fighting, and very often they avoid fights that other groups I've played with would've approached with far less tactical ingenuity.

We weren't quite able to finish, so I'll be concluding the adventure with them next Sunday. I might see if people want to hop on for the next module in the campaign.

I had to rewrite, re-imagine, and add a number of scenes to the game on the fly, because as I mentioned before, Red Jack is a cool idea but a poorly written adventure. I removed one encounter entirely because I prefer the PCs figuring out things themselves to NPCs who basically do this if the PCs stray from what they're "supposed" to do. I also got rid of the "NPC you are talking to gets insta-murdered by bad guy and there is nothing you can do about it" bit, because that shit annoys me, too.

I played the score to From Hell in the background softly, and some parts it really seemed to fit. (My players couldn't hear it very well, but it was doing it for me.) Yeah, I know 1890's Boston isn't strictly Victorian, but suck it.

I look forward to next Sunday's romp through misty alleyways with top hats.

Saturday, June 7, 2014


So I'm signed up for KantCon.

Friday I'll be running Betrayal at Kallanax!, a scenario that I'm going to do with Starships  & Spacemen 2nd edition, followed by a run of Jim Raggi's Hammers of the God using the LotFP rules.

The rest of the weekend I'll be playing a variety of games, including AD&D 1st edition (Tegel Manor, bitches) FATE, and Deadlands Reloaded. Hot Damn.

Tomorrow I will be continuing Red Jack with James and Meghan via Skype.

If you're going to be in the KC area in late July, you should consider KantCon. This will be my third year attending. It's a pretty amazing con that is pure, 100% gaming. (Which is really all I do at cons anyway besides room parties)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Simon Vincent Rides Again

With a surprisingly light workload this summer, I find that I am able to rejoin Steven's Thursday night Beyond the Supernatural campaign. I'm once again playing Simon Vincent, socially inept psychic medium/crime scene investigator.

Tonight's session was mostly combat, though Steven does a pretty good job of making the otherwise extremely tedious Palladium combat system come to life. Our party vanquished a demon from come crazy non-BTS sourcebook and a monster of Steven's own design that is essentially Psychic Leatherface.

It will be fun playing in this game again. It's very heavy on roleplay and Steven comes up with some damn interesting situations.

I also realized that, with stars and stops and hiatuses, that I've been playing Simon on and off for two years. Weird. I seldom stick with characters in tabletop gaming.

Monday, June 2, 2014

BRP Horror?

Quick question, blogging compatriots:

Is there any horror game or horror setting out there that uses Basic Roleplaying system that isn't Call of Cthulhu or any of its spin-offs? While I enjoy Lovecraft's stories, I'm just really not into the Cthulhu mythos as a gaming thing. I think it's overdone and I think geek culture has turned Cthulhu into a punchline.

A quick search of the internet is showing nada. I'd also be interested in conversions of other horror games to BRP. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Masque of the Red Death, Session 1 (Red Jack Pt. 1)

Today I started up my Sunday Skype group again. The session consisted of chargen and the first part of Red Jack, the first module in the Masque of the Red Death boxed set.

I love, love, love the characters that my friends made up. (See below if you care)

I hate, hate, hate the way Red Jack is written.

I actually changed a lot of shit, because while the idea is pretty cool, the module is written very poorly. After I finish it, I'll blog a list of things I changed. Let's just say that this module is excruciatingly low on player agency and player decisions really mattering at all in the end.

I am also running the game using a skill system more in line with Lamentations of the Flame Princess than the AD&D 2nd edition non-weapon proficiency system.

I do think that this campaign would work extraordinarily well as a Savage Worlds game, either straight up or as a thing for Deadlands and/or Rippers.

James is rocking Dr. Stuart Corrigan, 3rd level Tradesman (Physician) - The product of a privileged Beacon Hill family, Dr. Corrigan wishes to discover cures to incurable diseases. He was intrigued by rumors that the male bodies found in the South End murders have no apparent cause of death. (Whereas the female bodies found with them have a very apparent cause of death: being stabbed like a hundred times)

Meghan is rocking Madame Zoltara, Oracle of the Orient, 3rd level Adept (Charlatan) An orphan-turned-pickpocket-turned fake gypsy, Elizabeth Bishop has stumbled on to the secret of real magic. She's investigating the murders because of the rumors among the carnival folk that an evil spiritual presence is involved.

I'm also going to just throw this out there: Charm Person is an amazing goddamn spell.

Having survived one encounter with a crazed murderer, gathered a few clues, and ensorceled the police detective in charge of the case, our intrepid investigators will begin next session trying to get information at Muldoon's, a  wretched hive of scum and villainy located deep within South End.