Friday, May 31, 2013

Closing Out May...

Overall I've been pretty happy with my posting schedule this month.  We went to Disney World for a week and I took time off from everything.

I'm currently struggling for a direction for some of my creative outlets.  With DnD Next they've spoken about the direction Next will take and I've tinkered with it to emulate that, but I feel it's well past time for a new packet.  I've received my preorder PDF for 13th Age and the book will be as gorgeous as the rules.  I keep thinking about Weird War Stories and mixing it with 13th Age, as well.  Then the Dead AGE game kind of haunts me.  And finally, I picked up the Fate Accelerated Edition and it seems to fix all of the problems I had with Spirit of the Century/Dresden Files/Fate, which was a very pleasant surprise.  Now I wish I'd backed the Fate Dice Kickstarter :(

I did wrap up my Dragon Age for John W.'s group.  It was extended more than I'd like, yet we didn't accomplish as much as I'd hoped.

I'm continually reminded that the older I get, the more I appreciate smaller gaming groups, but it's difficult to find the right size.  Too small and you miss sessions when a player has to miss.  Too big and it's chaotic at the table and you look forward to when a player has to miss.

We'll see what June brings.

Playing with D&D Next House Rules

So tonight I got to implement the changes I wrote about in this post.

I think they went very, very smoothly.

The Areas of Knowledge work very, very well and it's fairly easy to work out the different levels of knowledge in a minute or two.

The only class that still had Skill Dice was the Rogue and I'm seriously contemplating just changing that to gaining Advantage in those areas.

I think it streamlined things to simply ask the players to make Ability checks and slightly reduced the clutter on the character sheets.

Proficiencies didn't really come up, but I can see them being useful.  I have a character that's a musician and simply listing the instruments he played as Proficiencies was easy and painless.

Honestly, I'm even contemplating spell lists, I have some creative players and may simply define basic attack and healing spells and then let them generate their spell effects on the fly...we'll see about that one.

I'm not sure when we'll see a new packet, but I'm pretty happy with what I have.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Obscure Fantasy RPG Appreciation Day: Shades of Fantasy

Shades of Fantasy was written by a customer of mine located here, in Northern Kentucky.  I'm not sure how wide distribution was, but all three of our stores carried it and I bought up before I began working there.  The author, Steve Bode is an acquaintance of mine.

Here's the description from the back of the book:
"Inside you will find: * 40+ Character Occupations including Exorcists, Witch Hunters, Knights, Holy Knights (5 orders: Knights Inquisitor, the Grey Angels, Knights Imprimatur, Knights of St. Justinian, and Knights Macabre), Sturmguard, Vermitic Warlocks, Militant Wizards, Luminati, and many more! * 15 detailed Fantasy Races including the Fey Folk, Banruks, Gimnar, Nith, Ordrue, and more. Also included are human derivative races like the fey influenced Changelings and the half human, half demonic Devilkin. * 110 Creatures, 100+ Skills and Advantages, 130+ Spells, detailed Religions, a sample History, and Enchanted Items. Flexible rules for Character Creation. Innovative rules for Magik, Combat, Exorcism and Possession. Critical Hit and Fumble Charts, and much more! CONVERTS TO MOST POPULAR ROLEPLAYING GAMES"

I know the game was designed to fix the author's dissatisfaction for fantasy RPG's that were in print at that time.

I remember that some that tread some ground that DnD 3.0 would eventually tread and it was fun for several evenings for our group.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Battle Beasts Tuesday: Triple Threat Snake for D&D Next

Triple Threat Snake

Medium Humanoid

Armor Class 12

Hit Points 14 (4d8) 

Speed 35 ft.; 

Str 16 (+3)     Dex  12 (+1 )    Con 9 (-1)
Int  12 (+1)    Wis 10  (+0)   Cha  8  (-1)

Alignment lawful
Languages common, parseltongue

Constrictor:  When Triple Threat Snake misses with a coils attack roll, the target takes 3 points of water damage.

(Optional) Heart of Water: Triple Threat Snake is vulnerable to wood damage.

(Optional) Riptide: Triple Threat Snake is resistant to fire damage.

Melee Attack—Coils: +5 to hit (reach 10 ft.; one creature). 
Hit: 9 (1d10+3) water damage.

Ranged AttackVenom Spit: +3 to hit (range 25 ft./50 ft.; one creature). 
Hit: 5 (1d6+1) water damage.


Level 4                   XP 250

ParaMilitary: Reichsraptor for 13th Age

France 1946
Agents of Project: Crystal Ball have reported facing a new type of Nazi soldiers, known as uberfalkoniers, who are commanding highly trained dinosaurs on the field of battle.  Obviously, this was surprising to the agents because they firmly believed dinosaurs were extinct.  

Mystics working for Crystal Ball have discerned that the Reich's program is in it's infancy and hope to sabotage it quickly.  Additionally, there are ongoing concerns on how the Reich acquired these monstrosities.


They guard enemy strongholds, telepathically communicating with their handlers and learning each and every one of humankind's weaknesses...

3rd level scrapper troop [DINOSAUR]
Initiative: +6

Natural Born Killer +8 vs. AC—10 damage
     Natural even hit: The target takes the escalation die in damage
        from razor-sharp teeth.

Nastier Specials
Sidekick:  On a miss the target takes 4 damage from the uberfalkonier.

AC   19
PD   17                             HP 45
MD  15

Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Kickstarter is now live...or is that undead?!

I guess when Chaosium jumps onboard something, it's fully arrived?  Or is WotC the last bastion?

Either way, CoC 7 has a Kickstarter.  Check it out.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Weird War Stories Icons for 13th Age

One of the unique aspects to 13th Age are Icons, they are the equivalent of the powerful NPC's that aid or oppose your player's in the course of the campaign.

Here is how the Icons are represented in my Weird War Stories setting:

The Archmage is Zatara.

The Crusaders are the Losers.

The Diabolist is the Ultra-Humanite.

The Dwarf King is G.I. Robot

The Elven Queen is Madame Xanadu.

The Emperor is the Unknown Soldier.

The Great Gold Wyrm is Sgt. Rock.

The High Druid is Solomon Grundy.

The White Queen is Mary, Queen of Blood.

The Orc Lord is the Iron Major.

The Hierophant is the Haunted Tank.

The Prince of Shadows is Blackhawk.

The Three are Abnegazar, Rath, and Ghast.

Friday, May 24, 2013

More Weird War Stories...

My first post for this blog involved a WWII and DnD 4E mash-up I call Weird War Stories.  While it was short lived I've been away from it for quite some time.  While many of the ideas ended up in my Aquila 13th Age game, I've been pondering moving back to it.

And I've been pondering using 13th Age.  I feel it has the right feel for what I'm looking for.  The reason I like 4E is that, at it's heart, its an action epic and 13th Age uses and possibly tops some of those features.  So I'll be adding it to my development list along with FOWL and a project I've been developing for years, Grave New World.

Hopefully, one day, all three will be complete.

13th Age is off to the Printers!

I've played quite a bit of 13th Age with the Escalation editions and was glad to see that the finished product has been sent off to the printers and the final PDF is available for me to download.

Fire Opal and Pelgrane have also given us a taste of the revised Monk for 13 True Ways.

I'm looking forward to sitting down with the PDF this weekend.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tonberry for D&D Next


Small Humanoid

Armor Class 14

Hit Points 32 (9d6) 

Speed 20 ft.
Senses lowlight vision 50 ft.

Str    9 (-1)      Dex 16 (+3)    Con 11 (+0)
Int  12 (+1)     Wis 13 (+1)    Cha  15  (+2)

Alignment chaotic evil 
Languages undercommon

Stealthy +5: The tonberry gets +5 to all checks to avoid detection.

Grim Determination: When the tonberry is constrained it can use an action to end the constraining effect at the end of its turn.

Melee Attack—Wicked Dagger: +5 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one creature). 
Hit: 28 (7d6+3) piercing damage.

Ranged AttackHooded Lantern: +6 to hit (range 10 ft. radius; all creatures). 
Hit: 10 (2d6+3) radiant damage.

Level 9                   XP 2400

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Battle Beasts: Killer Carp for D&D Next

Killer Carp

Medium Humanoid

Armor Class 12

Hit Points 18 (4d8) 

Speed 20 ft.; swimming 90 ft.

Str 13 (+1)     Dex  11 (+0 )    Con 10 (+0)
Int  11 (+0)    Wis 13  (+1)   Cha  8  (-1)

Alignment lawful
Languages common, pisces

Ruthless:  Once per turn, Killer Carp may gain advantage on his attack roll if there are no creatures hostile to Killer Carp within 5 feet of his target.

(Optional) Heart of Water: Killer Carp is vulnerable to wood damage.

(Optional) Riptide: Killer Carp is resistant to fire damage.

Melee Attack—Fins: +2 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one creature). 
Hit: 3 (1d4) water damage.

Melee AttackWave Axe: +3 to hit (reach 15 ft.; one creature). 
Hit: 8 (1d12+1) water damage.

Ranged AttackHigh Tide Missles: +2 to hit (range 200 ft./400 ft.; one creature). 
Hit: 5 (1d8) water damage.


Level 4                   XP 250

DuckTales + Call of Cthulhu (with a bit of CHILL) = Duck Call of Cthulhu

Before we went to the Disney World parks, I got to hang out with two of my favorite people, my best friend Mark M. and his most awesome wife, Jackie.  He mentioned he's recently picked up a DarkWing Duck Disney Pin (if your not familiar with the Disney Pin craze, it  makes Magic: the Gathering look like amateur hour).

Then as I ventured the through the parks I began waxing nostalgic about DuckTales, DarkWing Duck, and Carl Bark's Uncle Scrooge comics.  I really enjoyed all of those stories and once had a buddy, tell me about a Basic Role Playing session he ran with non-gamers where they were Ducks.  The final piece of the puzzle came to me in the Little Mermaid show at Hollywood Studios, when Eric ran Ursula through with his ship...a moment straight out of the Cthulhu Mythos.

And so I began contemplating FOWL (it's inspiration is taken from CHILL).  A high adventure game of battling the Mythos and it's shadowy minions.

Ursula = Cthulhu

Chernabog = Ithaqua

DeSpell family = Whately family

Maleficent = Mother Hydra

NegaDuck = Nyarlathotep

These are just my initial brainstorms but I'm planning on continuing to try to work things out.

At this point I'm leaning toward BRP, but I'll consider Savage Worlds, AGE and GURPS as options.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Back from Vacation & Star Wars

So we made it back home very, very early Sunday morning from our trip to Disney World.  My oldest daughter hadn't been with us yet, so this was her initiation.  I was lucky to have two friends, Freddie and AJ who are working at Disney World who were kind enough to help us throughout our trip.

By shear coincidence, friday was the first day of Star Wars Weekend 2013 and it cost me a ton of money.  But we had a huge amount of fun.  My wife and I got our likeness's preserved in Carbon Freezing and my three kids opted for Storm Troopers.  And we all thoroughly enjoyed the Hyperspace Hoopla.

I can honestly say, based on my experiences in the last week, that I feel very comfortable with Disney's understanding and appreciate of Star Wars.  I've truly looking forward toward Episode VII.

And then today I saw the announcement for the new Star Wars: Rebels animated TV show starting in the Fall of 2014.  It's set during the era between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.  Hoping it's pretty cool.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Pondering D&D Next's Future

Mike Mearls spent the last several Legends and Lore talking about changes to Feats, Skills, Backgrounds and presumably, the removal of Themes from "Basic" DnD.

In my Ironcloak's game, I have access to all of the characters on my hard drive, so I copied and made changes based on what information he's given.

I removed most Feats and converted them to a +1 bonus to an Ability Score on a 1 for 1 basis.  With Feats being optional, I assume the concept of Themes is most likely being jettisoned or at least moved to an option.

I added Areas of Knowledge (a +10 bonus to a Lore, generally) and Proficiencies (and left room for some of these to be added during play) to Backgrounds and excised Skills completely.  I figure, if the Ability check calls for it based on Background or other circumstances, I'll give the character Advantage on the roll.

Thieves still have +Xd6 to Skills called out in their Schemes.

It's reduced the level of crunch and I like what I'm seeing.  I won't be able to test it for several weeks, but I'm anxious to do so.

I realize Skills (mentioned as a hybrid of 3.X and 4E) will be an optional component, but at this point in my gaming preferences, I don't see the need for them.

EABA v2 Quickstart Now Available

Greg Porter's EABA v1 was a very interesting alternative to GURPS and HERO and he just released the Quickstart to v2.  Check it out here.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Goodbye, Mr. Harryhausen

Ray Harryhausen, master of stop-motion photography has passed on at the age of 93.

I was introduced to Ray's work with 1981's Clash of the Titans, but the 7th Voyage of Sinbad is the film that made me fall in love with his work.

He will be missed.

Back This: Adventure Maximus on Kickstarter

Eden Studios has just launched a Kickstarter for an RPG for kids called Adventure Maximus.  It looks like quite a bit of fun and has custom dice and apparently much of the player's information is on cards (while I HATED this for FFG's Warhammer Fantasy RPG 1E, it makes a TON of sense for a kid's RPG).  Another interesting feature is that the Maximus Master can switch with another player in the middle of a session.

It looks to be influenced by Adventure Time, which is a good thing since my kids love that show.

Check it out.

Modern AGE: Guns & Gun Talents 1st Draft

Here is my first draft for a Firearms Talent and stats for the Adventure Game Engine that powers Green Ronin's Dragon Age RPG.


Classes: Any.

Novice: Way of the gun.  You gain the Firearms Group and you can perform the Mighty Blows stunt for 1 SP instead of the usual 2.

Journeyman: Assault training.. You can perform the Pierce Armor stunt for 1 SP instead of the usual 2.

Master: Deadshot.  You can perform the Lethal Blow stunt for 4 SP instead of the usual 5.


WEAPON                            DAMAGE    SHORT         LONG         RELOAD
Revolver                                   2d6           180 yards       360 yards     Major Action
Heavy Revolver                       2d6+3       180 yards       360 yards     Major Action
Automatic Handgun                 2d6+2       150 yards       300 yards     Minor Action
Heavy Automatic Handgun      3d6           230 yards       460 yards     Minor Action
Rifle*                                         3d6         1000 yards     2000 yards     Minor Action
Sniper Rifle*                              4d6         1500 yards     3000 yards     Minor Action
Pump Shotgun                           3d6            50 yards         20 yards      Minor Action
Sub-Machine Pistol**                2d6           50 yards         20 yards      Minor Action
Sub-Machine Gun**                 2d6+3      100 yards        200 yards     Minor Action

*When using this firearm the Aim Minor Action grants you a +2 bonus to the attack roll, instead of +1.
**When using this firearm, Lightning Attack costs 2 SP, instead of 3 and Dual Strike costs 3 SP, instead of 4.

Monday, May 6, 2013

BRP/RuneQuest/OpenQuest/Renaissance/D100 HACK

Several months back I posted a hack for determining success using opposed rolls for the BRP derived d100 games and I've been tweaking it after watching John W. run Call of Cthulhu on Friday.

The jist is this:

If you roll equal to or less than your skill and it's an even number you have a regular success or a D result.

If you roll equal to or less than your skill and it's an odd number you have a better success or a C result.

If you roll equal to or less than 1/10th  your skill and it's an even number you have a regular critical success or a B result.

If you roll equal to or less than 1/10th  your skill and it's an odd number you have a better critical success or an A result.

A = An odd numbered Critical success.
B = An even numbered Critical success.
C = An odd numbered success.
D = An even numbered success.

Obvioulsy a higher level of success beats a lower level.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Another Free Comic Book Day Come and Gone

I think this is the 11th Free Comic Book Day I've worked.  I won't say they get any easier, but each year we learn a new piece of that puzzle.

It's a mixed blessing.  It's not free for us, it runs about $6000.00, but it's part of our marketing for the year.  And we see at least 1000 new customers, but we convert probably less than 10 as "regulars".
But they know are name and know where we are and we make the best of the situation.

I have to give the publishers high marks for this year, because there were more comics for kids than I can remember and that is a good thing.

The Valiant Harbinger Wars preview converted me to a become a regular reader and the Absolution FCBD and Strangers FCBD books hooked me, as well.

All in all it was a good day that marked the end of a 10 day work week.

Plus, David Mack (Creator of Kabuki and writer and artist for Daredevil) was in the store signing and sketching.  I've known David for years and he's shopped with us probably as long as I have, but his talent as a painter and illustrator is phenomenal.  Mindblowing, really.  It was an honor and a treat to watch him work in inks.

Friday, May 3, 2013

On Being a Game Master: Gamer A.D.D.

Through most of my time in this hobby, I've suffered heavily from Gamer Attention Deficit Disorder or "I can't pick a game and stick with it".  Back in the day, my group called me Nolan Ryan, because I always had a pitch (for a new game) ready.  It is a real problem (at the gaming table).

You might have noticed that the subtitle of this blog has been "or how I learned to love DnD".  That was as much devoting myself (mostly) to a single system.  And lately it's been hard.

I've been running DnD (Next, Pathfinder, 13th Age) for well over a year and I'm not sure a break isn't forthcoming.  But the problem is that I've begun to look at another game to run, that old A.D.D. has reared it's ugly head.

I spent last week looking at BareBones Fantasy, Rotted Capes, Conspiracy X, BRP, and Adventurer, Conqueror, King. 

I tend to be a system guy first and a setting guy second.  The way I overcame the A.D.D. was to focus on the setting, but in looking at each of those games, I made the old mistake of prioritizing system and the old itch came back.  Hard. 

I think I've stepped back enough to force it down, but obviously it's a problem that doesn't go away forever.  While I love learning new games, I enjoy the hobby more when I don't have the stress that the A.D.D. brings with it.  I'd much rather be content with one game than trying to juggle how to persuade a group to change games on a weekly basis (yeah, it's been that bad before).

The key, for me is simply stop worrying about the "system experience" and just start rolling characters and having fun.  A good solution to most problems, really.

Weaponeers of Monkaa!

In the last six weeks, as I've done "research" for the A to Z Challenge, I discovered some awesome new toys and one of these are Weaponeers of Monkaa.  The toys use the Glyos System (based on Onell Design's system of interlocking toy parts) so you can mix and match toys from various manufactures.

The designs for the Weaponeers really struck a cord with me and I placed our first order for them this past week.  I'll post pictures when they come in.  I really can't wait.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Colonel Bird for BareBones Fantasy

Colonel Bird
Rank 4

Strength 63%                                                  Body Points 32
Dexterity 55%                                                 Initiative 1
Logic 66%                                                       MOV 5 on Ground, 10 in Air
Willpower 69%                                               Armor Light Fusion Plate DR 3

Leader (1) 65%                                            
Melee Warrior (1) 52%
Ranged Warrior (1) 48%                                Javelin 1d10+2, Range 15
Scholar(2) 53%
Thief (0) 28%

Eagle Eyes (Beneficial)
Stubborn (Hindering)

Tactician (Each encounter, choose one foe to re-roll one successful check).
Speaks avian and tradespeak.
Primary Leader
Secondary Scholar

Thundarr the Movie

As a life-long comics fan and a retailer with a quarter century of experience, I was today years old when I discovered that Buzz Dixon and ...