Friday, December 26, 2014

Sourcebook Control Freaking

One of my hangups as a GM is that I don't like allowing material (spells, equipment, etc) from books that I don't own. I have players who occasionally want to bring in things from Sourcebook X, and if I don't own it, my inclination is to say no.

Some RPGs just spit out book after book of gear and guns. (Shadowrun being a particular offender) As a GM, I am just not interested in piles of equipment. By the end of 3.5's run, and by the end of my patience with 3.5, I felt awash in an endless sea of extraneous bullshit.'s the other thing. I've had players offer to pirate, buy, or loan me the sourcebooks that contain whatever feat or toy they want to use. I already have enough shit I need to read without extra stuff being stacked on it. I also don't like the feeling of obligation this creates in me, as some stuff just isn't suitable for my game.

So I ask you this, fellow GMs: am I overly controlling with regards to allowing supplemental material in my games? I do admit that I have a desire to keep a tight control on the gear, spells, classes, races, skills, or whatever else goes into my game, even if that material is "official" and offered by the original party that published the game.

Disclaimer: You guys telling me that I'm a control freak probably won't change anything. I just want to see if I'm alone in my control freakishness, or if I have control freak brothers-in-restricted-arms out there in Blogaria.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Which of These Should I Run Next?

Presently I am running my sort-of Deadlands Reloaded game and my Ravenloft/Masque of the Red Death campaign. While I have no intention of concluding them within the foreseeable future, I am always thinking up what to run next.

These are things that are presently rattling around in my noodle. I also have different systems in mind of each.

-A fantasy adventure crawl set in a mythic fantasy realm lightly flavored of northern Europe, with lots of runes and forests and druids and pseudo-vikings. Also, cavaliers and witches.
 Systems: OSRIC, D&D 5e

-A trippy ass 70's style D&D. Pointy hatted wizards and magical mushroom forests and stuff.
Systems: Swords & Wizardry.

-A modern urban fantasy/horror game about supernatural factions fighting over big places of power. Equal parts Feng Shui, Dylan Dog, and Nightwatch. Maybe throw in some Dresden Files and Iron Druid.
Systems: Cryptworld + Creature Feature + Majus, Fudge, Savage Worlds, Silent Legions/BXWOD

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Silent Legions Beta

Recently I backed my second Kickstarter ever, the Silent Legions rpg by the inimitable Kevin Crawford, the mind behind Sine Nomine Publishing. I've perused the beta rules so far and find them quite to my liking. I especially like the magic system, and find that it would be appropriate for a sufficiently horror-themed D&D game without requiring much in the way of alteration.

My recent musings on a B/X World of Darkness substitute would actually dovetail well with some of the material I've read in SL. I'm still working on B/XWOD, but it currently exists as a series of scattered and frequently changed Excel sheets. Soon, with the advent of Winter Break, I will have a wealth of free time to work on it.

Beyond the Supernatural continues this Thursday as our party tries to unravel the secrets of a ghost-riddled town. On Friday, my sort-of Deadlands Reloaded game continues, with the Larimer family scheming to gain mystical and financial control of Denver from rivals various and sundry. Sunday will see the continuation of Ravenloft/Masque of the Red Death and the hunt for the remaining members of the enigmatic Circle of the Moon.

On we go.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Ravenloft Rides Again

Yesterday I resumed my online Ravenloft/Gothic Earth campaign with Meghan and James. I ran a very, very, very heavily modified version of the werewolf adventure from The Book of Crypts, because most of the stuff in the BoC is just awful. In fact, I've modified it so heavily that really you could say I just took the premise, "village with a werewolf problem," and ran with it.

The players devised an absolutely brilliant solution to the town's werewolf problem. Having captured a forbidden tome containing a spell called Curse of Lycanthropy, the party's adept undertook the dicey task of learning the black spell and then researching a reverse, Cure Lycanthropy. Instead of simply slaying the beasts*, they are hunting them down during the daylight hours and de-cursing them with magic. Frickin' brilliant. The party also saved a poor villager from being wrongfully condemned with a well placed charm spell and some fast talking. 

I love how this group solves problems. Granted, they have little choice: there are only two of them and neither one is particularly combat-oriented.

Next week the party will hopefully manage to bust up the rest of the sinister Circle of the Moon, and perhaps hunt the beast that even werewolves are afraid of. (Dun dun dun)

*Well, they had to slay one... that's how they got their hands on the book with the cursing spell in it. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Deadlands Campaign Pt 2

The second leg of my pseudo-Deadlands campaign is underway.

December, 1878
City of Denver, Colorado Territory

The late Joseph Larimer, Jr., founder of Denver and sorcerer of considerable power, has passed away from serious illness. He willed most of his fortune to his eldest children, who struck out from Denver to found their own legacies in the corners of the globe. Rachel and Matthias, the youngest but perhaps most capable of the brood, are left in charge of the family manse and interests in the city. The Larimer family isn't the only power in Denver, however. The city is both the physical and metaphysical gateway to the West, and as such, several factions vie for control of it:

The Gilpin Family- Eternal rivals of the Larimers, family patriarch William Gilpin used political maneuvering, magical charms, and treachery to wrest the Governor's seat of Colorado Territory away from Joseph Larimer. Much like the Larimers, the Gilpins have a history and tradition of sorcery in the family, with William himself possibly surpassing the elder Larimer in power.

Cult of Auroria- A secret society of sorcerers who are in league with an entity known as Auroria, the Tattered Angel. The PCs vanquished the cult's branch in Creede, but it seems that a cell continues to operate in Denver. They seem to have some kind of feud with the Larimer family, but the current generation doesn't seem to know why.

The Denver-Pacific Railroad Company- This rail company is owned by industrial giant Smith and Robard. They are allied with the Larimers and intend to be the only rail access to Utah and California.

Wasatch Rail Lines- Owned by Hellstromme Industries, Wasatch is based out of Utah but has the same ambitions as Denver-Pacific. While not located in Denver, it is suspected that they have agents there to undermine their rival company.

There might be another faction or two in town, but I have two players who read this blog, so that information will remain unknown for the time being.

Our Player Characters:
Rachel Larimer- The youngest daughter of Joseph Larimer Jr and a budding sorceress. Rachel has also proven quite adept at dealing with the family's enemies.

Matthias Larimer- Youngest son of the Larimer family and also a sorcerer. Matthias has a clockwork prosthetic arm from a spell gone awry.

Bill- A hired gunman with hideous scars and a bristling hatred of supernatural creatures. Originally a hired gun for Matthias Larimer, Bill currently serves as the head of security for the Larimer manor.

Sebastian- The family butler and personal bodyguard of Rachel Larimer.

My game really only superficially resembles Deadlands at this point. I pretty much toss out Deadlands canon whenever it suits me.

I wonder which problem the PCs will tackle tonight...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Random World Crafting

Because I apparently needed another project to work on in my endless march of unfinished projects, I've started laying the groundwork for my next D&D world. I want to get away from all of my previous thought processes regarding world design, or at least as far away as I can without getting a brain transplant. To that end, I've decided to use a lot of randomness and force myself to connect the dots.

-Dungeon Geomorphs (Goodman Games)
-Adventure Design Deskbook (Mythmere)
-The Dungeon Alphabet
-The Dungeon Dozen 

These are packed in my mighty Bag of Holding, and from them I shall forge a world that probably won't make much sense, but will probably be awesome. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dungeon Dozen + DMG

My shiny, shiny copy of the Dungeon Dozen arrived yesterday. I'm already delighted by multitudinous tables that reside therein. I mean, who doesn't want to roll on an Apocalyptic Visions Seen in a Crystal Ball table? This only makes me want to run my nascent idea for Swords & Wizardry that much harder. 

My copy of the 5e DMG ships today. It's supposed to arrive Thursday or Friday. I plan to really dig in to 5e over my winter break, which approaches with all the speed of a drunken walrus. (Next Friday, next Friday, next Friday...) I have ideas rattling around in my head for a 5e setting, though part of me feels this strange need to make my first foray into a new edition of Ye Auld Gaime to be something fairly...standard. We'll see what shakes out of my addled dome once the semester is concluded.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Horror on the Brain

On the heels of my B/X World of Darkness idea...

I backed Kevin Crawford's Silent Legions Kickstarter because I love all things Kevin Crawford and I love horror games. I have a copy of the beta rules, and while I have only had time to give them a cursory glance, I am pleased with what I see. I might adapt some B/X magic to it, selecting the spells very carefully to be genre-fitting. (So magic missile is out, but Protection from Evil is in, etc.) I might take it a step further and add the white/gray/black magic rules posted on Akratic Wizardry or adapt something similar of my own design.

My Ravenloft/Gothic Earth Skype group is slated to being playing again this Sunday after a two month hiatus. I'm actually tempted to try and convert the game to Silent Legions, but I might stick with my AD&D2/LotFP mashup, if only for consistency. I'll mention the idea to my two players and see what they think.