Monday, August 10, 2020

Legend of Grayskull: The Masters of the Universe RPG

Power-Con, the convention of all things Masters of the Universe was held virtually this past weekend and Legend of the Grayskull: The Masters of the Universe RPG was announced for 2021. It is being published by Fandom, who own DnD Beyond and will use the Cortex Prime rules.

I'm a huge Masters of the Universe fan and have showcased it quite a bit here on the blog. My main experience with Cortex was the Marvel Heroic RPG and I wasn't too keen on how it played, but I'll give it a try. It appears that there will be an open playtest, organized play, virtual table-top and character generator, and a community content program.

I'm really happy to see how that this is a thing and I feel that Mattel has people running the property who cares about the fans.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

#RPGaDAY Day 9: Light



I'd like to use this post to remind people of Swords and Wizardry Light from Frog God Games by Tenkar and Matt Finch. 

All the game you need in four pages. It doesn't get much cooler than that.

RPGaDAY 2020 Day 8: Shade



Init +3; Atk sword +6 melee (1d10); AC 12; HD 6d6; MV 30’; 
Act 1d20; SP infravision, invisibility 1/day, regeneration, shadow essence; SV Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +4; AL C.

   Shades have infravision out to 90 feet and they are humanoids who have given themselves over to the Shadowfell itself and are no longer truly human. They bump all of their dice by one step when in dim light and by two steps in darkness, e.g. In darkness, a Shade uses a d30 for their action die. A Shade regenerates 1 hit point per round however, decapitation will kill them.

   "Shades were humanoids who had merged with the essence of shadowstuff. They grew more powerful in areas of darkness or shadows, including gaining the ability to leap from shadow to shadow, to create shadowy duplicates of themselves, and even to become entirely invisible. They could also decrease the amount of light in an area and could see through darkness, even of the magical variety."

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Saturday, August 8, 2020

RPGaDAY 2020 Day 7: Couple



Couple made me think for a bit. I thought about Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. I thought about Conan and Kull. And then I thought about Advantage and Disadvantage which was perfected in DnD 5th Edition.

I say perfected because 4E had Talents that let you roll a second d20 if you didn't like the first result but didn't call the mechanic Advantage and it empowered the DM to use the Disadvantage mechanic.

I think its a brilliant mechanic. No need to consult a book, no need to calculate a bonus or penalty, either a mechanic grants it or the DM adds it. It's beautiful. It is perfect, in my opinion.

It's the kind of rule that I think is just as useful in the OSR and I think it is in 5E and can easily be ported over to any other game engine.

I applaud the 5E designers for codifying it and giving it to us as a tool.


Friday, August 7, 2020

RPGaDAY 2020 Day 6: Forest



While forests in my games tend to be Fey-haunted and filled with grotesque spiders, mysterious Ents, and distrustful elves I'm instead going to talk about a wonderful novel I've finished recently.

Max Brooks' World War Z is a favorite of our whole family and we end up listening to it on our vacation trips in the car. Earlier this year he released Devolution: A First-Hand Account of the Mt. Rainier Sasquatch Massacre and I've already read it once and listened to an additional time. 

I have loved cryptids and Sasquatch since I saw the Patterson-Gimlin film on In Search Of... as a child. While Bigfoot is pretty popular these days some of the earlier stories of human interactions are far more dangerous than most accounts these days (though its interesting how many people disappear from National Parks each year and how little data is available to the public).

Brooks' tale paints the creatures, especially under a great deal of stress due to the eruption of Mt. Rainier, as willing to do what needs to be done to survive including radically altering their preferred meal. Meanwhile, modern humans, also faced with a great deal of stress, collide with the legendary primate and a mighty battle ensues as the trapped humans must embrace their baser natures if they have any hope of surviving the Bigfoot assaults.

Its a great novel and I heartily recommend it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

RPGaDAY 2020 Day 5: Tribute

I'm going to pay tribute to two different men whose work has left an indelible mark upon me.

The First is Robert E. "Two-Gun Bob" Howard. His stories, especially those if Kull of Atlantis, Solomon Kane, and Conan the Cimmerian have been essential archetypes within the stories I tell. Obviously, I'm not alone, Howard's work is important to Pulps, fantasy, and the Lovecraft Mythos. Specifically, it was Marvel Comics' Conan the Barbarian, Conan the King/King Conan, and Solomon Kane that hooked me on the writer's creations. I won't lie, I have as much love for Roy Thomas and John Buscema as I do Robert (Barry Smith was before my time). Growing up our local independent TV station showed older Black and White films on Sunday mornings and while Conan wasn't featured, Tarzan was and I loved those movies. We had a local department store named Zayres which had these great 3 Packs of Comics. The first of these was DC's Tarzan and I reread them constantly. The next time we went they didn't have any Tarzans but they did have Conan the Barbarian and I decided I'd give it a try. As I remember it, Conan was heavier and more high-stakes than the Tarzans and it took me a few reads to really get into them, but I eventually got hooked. In many, many ways Thomas and Buscema's run will always be classic Conan to me, but it got me to read Two-Gun Bob's work as an adult and helped me have a view of the Mythos that wasn't Lovecraft (for me Bryan Lumley is my favorite Mythos writer). Many people find this hobby through Tolkien or Shannara, but I found it through comics and pulp-style cartoons and that has always informed how I run a game.

Finally, this blog, Cross Planes is named after Bob's hometown of Cross Plains, TX. I came up with the name preparing a city connected to the Multiverse like Sigil, Nexus, The Infinite City, or Cynosure that used Feng Shui for its rules. That game fell apart but Cross Planes, thankfully, lived on.

Last, but certainly not least person, is Game Designer Mike Pondsmith. Mike is the first Game Designer that I would keep track of and buy his work sight unseen. I loved everything that R. Talsorian put out in its heyday. And Cyberpunk was a revelation for me, both in terms of setting and game system. Interlock was a revelation to me about how to present a very straight-forward that was easily learnable and yet very in-depth. I love how it broke down class niche-protection in the way it represented exclusive skills and both Attribute and Skill were important for a character's actions. But the Killer-App for me was Castle Falkenstein. It was a masterful product, beautiful in presentation, brilliant it's streamlined rules, and astonishing in its mechanics. In my opinion, Story Games owe a great debt to Castle Falkenstein and showcased how Mike could redesign ADnD 2nd Edition in space with Buck Rogers 25th Century game, establish the Cyberpunk genre in our industry, and then embrace light rules with a commitment to genre emulation in the span of a decade.

The man even released CyberGeneration to show how Edge Runner's kids would rebel and change their world.

Sadly, I've never met Mike, but I've seen at conventions. In my opinion, he a giant of our industry and deserves a spot next to Arneson, Gygax, and Gregg Stafford.

Thanks for all of the hours of fun Mike. I owe you at least 1 beer.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

RPGaDAY 2020 Day 4: Vision

"The robot Ultron is the creator of Vision, a type of android he calls a "synthezoid", for use against Ultron's own creator, Dr. Hank Pym (Ant-Man/Giant Man/Goliath/Yellowjacket) and Pym's wife, Janet van Dyne (the Wasp) of the superhero team the Avengers. Ultron sends his new servant to lead the Avengers into a trap. Wasp is the first to encounter the synthezoid, and describes it as a "vision" while trying to escape. Adopting the name, Vision is convinced by the Avengers to turn against Ultron.[6] After learning how Ultron created him, using the brain patterns of then-deceased Simon Williams (Wonder Man), Vision becomes a member of the team.[7] The team initially believes the Vision's body was created from that of the android original Human Torch.[8] The Avengers later are told that the time lord Immortus used the power of the Forever Crystal to split the original Human Torch into two entities – one body remained the original Torch while Ultron rebuilt the other as the Vision. This was part of his plan to nurture a relationship for the Scarlet Witch that would prevent her from having any children, as her power level meant that any offspring she might have could threaten the cosmic beings of the Marvel Universe."

Legend of Grayskull: The Masters of the Universe RPG

Power-Con , the convention of all things Masters of the Universe was held virtually this past weekend and Legend of the Grayskull: The Maste...