Sunday, March 29, 2015

Engines & Empires, Session 2

I fucking love this campaign.
I love my character. I love the other players' characters. I love the DM's world (and this is the guy who wrote the book), his style, and his sandbox. This game is bangin', yo. I feel like I'm playing an expansion to Arcanum, and I am totally down with that.

I think the moment that did it for me was finding an ancient gadget and blueprint. (Basically like finding a scroll and spellbook in classic D&D.)

I think this month I am definitely going to Lulu myself a dead tree copy of E&E.

Traveller or MegaTraveller?

Bundle of Holding has a pretty sweet deal on MegaTraveller. I recall owning the core set as a young'un, but I don't really remember the main differences between MT and Mongoose T. I might pick it up just for the 80's-tastic sci-fi artwork, but who knows. I'm not sure I'll ever run another sci-fi game that isn't Stars Without Number or some flavor of Savage Worlds.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

RB1: Man on the Silver Mountain

Fact: 80% of the band Rainbow's song titles would make really badass old D&D modules.

That is all.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Engines & Empires with the Author

So a couple of years ago, I downloaded Engines & Empires on PDF. I glanced through it, liked some ideas, but never really did anything with it.

A week ago I got invited to join a new Cyclopedic/BX campaign being hosted at my FLGS. I popped in tonight to roll up a character. The DM showed me that we were running a modified Engines & Empires game. Halfway through creation is discovered that I was playing E&E with none other than the guy who wrote it. How cool is that? Turns out he also wrote Elegia, later reworked into Retro Phaze, both of which I downloaded previously.

Anyway, I have rolled up one Henrik Ivarsen, Artificer, scholar, and political exile. We played for an hour or so, had an encounter, established the corner of the sandbox we were starting in, and just generally did a setup session. I look forward to playing next week. I also plan to get myself a paper copy of E&E off of Lulu.

One last odd tidbit...I mentioned that some of the technology in the game reminded me of gadgets from the PC game Arcanum, one of my favorites...and one I just happened to have a copy of in my bag. He admitted to being a fan and that the technology system in the game lent some inspiration to his Artificer class. Overall, it was a pretty serendipitous evening of gaming.

My Icons group has gone on a one month break while two of it's players (me included) wind down their Master's degree programs and the third gets ready for an art show she is featuring in. We have every intention of returning to the game, because we're all enjoying it.

New leg of Deadlands starts this Friday. It's good to game.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

BXWoD Talismans - Scrolls and Wards of Protection

There are ancient contracts in place, spells of such potency laid in the beginning of time that they remain as tacit law even in the modern era. Protection scrolls and wards are a sort of shorthand for those contracts.

A scroll can be inscribed by a Witch (only). The scroll must be written in special inks. Under no circumstances will these symbols operate when rendered electronically. A Witch can create any protection scroll so long as they know Protection from Evil.

A scroll requires 1d6 hours and a pint of blood from the type of creature to be affected. (In the case of ghosts, a handful of the corpse's remains or grave dirt. The ashes of a slain vampire will suffice for a vampiric scroll, as well.)

A scroll of protection lasts for 1d4+3 turns and centers 20' around the person who reads the scroll. Reading the scroll causes it to crumble to dust.

The affected creature(s) cannot cross into the radius of the protection scroll under any circumstances. Those who are protected by the circle are at +2 to save against any powers, spells, or effects that originate from a creature of the warded type. (A vampire's gaze, etc.) Physical attacks propelled by the warded creature, however, are unimpeded. (A warded vampire could just shoot the protected character.)Wards

Wards are basically scrolls of protection placed on a specific location, usually not larger than a house. They take five times as long, cost five times as much, but have a duration of days rather than turns. While the levels of magic in the present day are typically not strong enough to create new permanent wards, some particularly... drastic.. undertakings can be taken to produce long term wards. (GM's discrection)

Spell-using characters can places their spells on scrolls as well. A scroll can be used by any character as a one-shot spell. The Witch must know the spell in question and ink it on special paper using special ink, with prices and further ingredients at the GM's discretion. The spell slot is used up until someone releases the spell from the scroll by reading it aloud. While non-Witches can do this, characters who are incapable of casting spells have a 10% chance of catastrophic failure. There is one exception to this: werewolves cannot use scrolls. A werewolf reading a scroll suffers 1d6 damage per spell level (save for half) and destroys the scroll.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Haiku About Kevin Crawford

I fucking love Kevin Crawford and pretty much everything he has ever written. I wrote a haiku in his honor.

I love Kevin C
And his Stars Without Number
And other games too.

That is all.

Thank you.

Hashtags for Days

Being that it is (or rather was, eighteen minutes ago) St. Patrick's Day, I thought I'd post a little rpg-related drinking game.

Read my Twitter feed. Any time someone mentions Numenera, take a drink.

Make sure you have a bucket and someone else in the room. I'd hate for you to go out like Hendrix.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Misc Updates

Various Updates:

Deadlands- If you can't beat 'em.... hats off to Dani for the most creative way to deal with a rival family I've seen in a game: marry into it. By marrying her father's arch-rival's son, Rachel Larimer (now Rachel Gilpin) effectively has control of about half the supernatural resources in town.

...of course, then the PCs went through a time portal to the Hell on Earth Deadlands setting, but more on that as the story unfolds.

Icons- Two sessions in and running smoothly. Icons is fast and fun, even if we're still learning the ropes with Qualities. It's interesting that the two players are sort of collectively playing a team of superheroes. I'll say it again: Icons is the only superhero game I've played that feels like a superhero game, rather than a roleplaying game with superheroes in it.

RIFTS- The replacement GM's game has run like, once. I have to say I'm hoping we get back to Beyond the Supernatural soon.

BXWoD- Working on it slowly but surely. My comprehensive exams for my Master's have been taking up all my energy lately, but I'm still working on this.

A New Game?  - I was invited via Google+ to play in a dungeon sandbox game of B/X/Cyclopedic D&D being run at the FLGS by my house. I am so in. Also, first time I've ever accepted an invite to anything via Google+.

Game on!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Got my Ic On

...get it?

Anyway, I ran the first "issue" of my new game of Icons last Sunday.

I'ma come right out and say it: I have never enjoyed running or participating in a superhero game as much as I enjoyed Icons. I would also say I have never seen a superhero game emulate the feel of a comic book/superhero animated series the way Icons does. It finally felt like I was playing the superhero game that Champions and Heroes Unlimited teased me with but failed to deliver.

We stumbled a little bit with Qualities at first, but we started getting the hang of it. It also prevents the game from being just a bunch of numbers crashing together, which is the feel I always got from Champions. For instance, one of our superheroes, Iron Bark, is a tough tree/plant elemental dude who can grow into a hugenormous tree with crazy damage resistance. I had my fire elemental bad guy pull a power stunt to create the quality "on fire" for Iron Bark. Iron Bark responded by spending a Determination Point to retcon a decorative fountain in the area, jumped in, and spent another to activate his quality "Humanoid Plant" to absorb the water into his roots to he could quench said untouchable-fire-villain. We had lamp posts getting wrapped around people via magnetic control (Quality: restrained), we had a goddamn amazing fight.

I also enjoyed the Pyramid Tests as a method of crisis resolution. While at first I balked and flashed back to the atrocity that was 4th editions's "skill challenges," but it turned out really well in practice: we had two tech savvy superheroes trying to shut down an overloading gravitic accelerator's control panel while two other heroes tried to contain the out of control machinery.

Obviously, session one of any game has the potential for "honeymoon syndrome" but I have a really strong first impression of Icons as the superhero game I always wanted. This Sunday is Issue #2.