Saturday, August 24, 2019

#RPGaDAY 2019: Day 22, 23, & 24

As a Game Master I can get LOST keeping track of all of the Player's actions and plots. I find that is good to make notes from a session later that evening. What can compound the issue for me is how much I improvise in a session. 

I love it when a player or players SURPRISE me. I learned early in my tenure of being a Game Master that it's a good idea to listen to your players and if need be, go with the flow. I'd much rather the players drive the plot than "railroad" them because I think it's cool.

My greatest TRIUMPH as a Game Master are those rare moments when you and your players become so immersed in the flow of the game that you can actually see it, however briefly, in your mind's eye.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Super Hero RPGs Part 2

I first started Role Playing when I was 19 years old and a sophomore in college. My first RPG was Champions 4e, the "Big Blue Book". It was like learning a program language and we we all had enough free time to do that. However, even though Champions was the game we were playing, I found a copy of the Magic of Palladium Books that sold me, I mean SOLD ME on Rifts, Ninjas and Superspies, and Heroes Unlimited. These games had CLASSES and LEVELS!

Due to my gaming ADD, I bought it and couldn't figure numerous things out about. It was arcane. There were huge glaring holes that book didn't answer...I was confused. To make matters worse, the rest of the group didn't want to switch games, we already were pretty good at Champions/HERO System.

But I couldn't help myself, there had to be even better superhero RPGs out there. So I bought Marvel Super Heroes, DC Heroes, Guardians, GURPS Supers, GURPS Wild Cards, Villains and Vigilantes , DC Universe, Aberrant, and others I've since forgotten. We played many of them but none of them worked any better than Champions (though DC Heroes was pretty darn close).

In the last few years I've come to realize some basic preferences I have in RPGs in general and Superhero RPGs in particular. 

First, I like Hit Points. I don't enjoy wound tracks to damage boxes. I like Hit Points.

Second, I don't want to roll buckets of dice. In Champions, you have to total the dice to find the amount of Stun (assuming it's not a Killing Attack), then look at the dice again to see how much Body damage there is, and then check for knockback.  That. Is. Insane.

So I'm being really picky in the superhero RPGS I'm looking at. Which is cool, I have no ETA on when I will run this game.

I just know I want a game with Hit Points, small pools of damage dice, and fairly quick and easy character generation.

My top contenders right now are Guardians (an excellent OSR game that is what Heroes Unlimited wanted to be), Rotted Capes, Event Zero, Vigilante City, Champions: The New Millenium, and Champions Now. I was looking at the Sentinels Comic RPG today but realized that you apparently automatically hit in combat.  That was a dealbreaker for me.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

#RPGaDAY 2019: Day 21 & 22

I have a VAST collection of RPGs, hundreds of them. They are all over my house. And the worst part? I prefer PDF versions these days.  They sit there unused, but I love them and need them. I'm like a dragon hoarding sparkly bits. I think about selling them, but I don't know that I have the strength. It's terrible.

Have you ever LOST your love of gaming? I did. It was the culmination of many events, being a husband and dad, growing up, tired of fighting with people over rules instead of just playing, and my anxiety and learning to treat and manage it..  I took a step back. A hiatus for several years. I wasn't sure I would ever play an RPG again. This blog was how I started to find my love again. The OSR was the fire I needed. It's okay to step back. It's okay to give yourself a break.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Review: Rotted Capes Survivor's Guide Vol 1 by Paradigm Concepts

The Rotted Capes Survivor's Guide Vol. 1 by Paradigm Concepts (full disclosure, I received this PDF for review purposes) is a major expansion for the Rotted Capes RPG.

It adds two new Power Sources: Cosmic (Silver Surfer), Mystic (Zatanna), and Supernatural (Ghost Rider). All three are excellent additions to the game and are hallmarks of the Supers genre. A cool feature is that the Supernatural source breakdowns demons, ghosts, vampires, and werewolves for play. Each Power Source provides an Attribute Bonus, Unique Advantages, and Unique Disadvantages. It's a great system and allows a player to focus their concepts without truly being a hinderance.

The book also adds Alien (Martian Manhunter), Android (Vision), Anthromorph (Tigra), and Demigod (Hercules) as Archetypes. I appreciate their referencing character types that are essential to comics and allowing them to be played. Archetypes give Attribute Bonuses and have Primary Powers which may be purchased at a cheaper point cost.

What I really dig about both of these approaches is that is kind of makes you feel like you have a broad class and origin, but purely from a conceptual stand point. You get mechanical benefits, but you  aren't hindered in any significant way.

Next comes new Disadvantage that include Addiction, Enemy, and Taboo.

Personality Flaws add options like Berserker, Combat Paralysis, and Too Much of A Good Thing (you are pretty and people assume you are also stupid).

The Survivor's Guide also adds the Occultist Skill Set (a bundle of skills bought all at once) and Instruction, Mettle, Mimic, Occult, and Performance as individual Skills.

New Advantages include Deflect Arrows, Hidden Stash, and Third Eye.

A whopping 34 new Powers are presented here and include Absorb Matter, Chameleon, Damaging Form, Gravity Control, Parlor Tricks, Utility Belt, and Weird Biology. These new skills are also added to existing Archetypes as Primary Powers and as All Skill Powres. The Guide also presents 20 new Power Modifications and 16 new Power Tricks. 

Some truly cool Superhero Gadgets are presented and I found them to have inspired by some major characters from the Big Two publishing companies. It's cool to see them available. Some additional equipment as presented as Lost Tech that can be found and possibly utilized by the Player Characters.

Superheroic Sorcery is discussed and gives the Editor-In-Chief (Game Master) some good advice to use. And optional rule for Horror is presented, which is pretty important in a zombie apocalypse. Finally, we are given some options on how the zombie virus might or might not affect non-humans.

The Survivor's Guide finishes with some Heroes to use as pregenerated characters or NPCs.

I'm truly impressed with all Paradigm Concepts has done with the Rotted Capes line. I hope we are treated to a second Survivor's Guide in the future. While the addition of a zombie apocalypse helps set Rotted Capes apart, this is well-designed medium crunch Superhero System either way. I cut my teeth on Champions 4th Edition and loved the old DC Heroes RPG and I feel Rotted Capes is equal to both games and a worthy addition to my collection. I hope to run it fairly soon and I think the Survivor's Guide Vol. 1 really adds quite a bit to the game and is necessary purchase.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

#RPGaDAY 2019: Day 20

NOBLE is an interesting topic. Back in my youth, I wanted our RPG sessions to be filled with melodrama and deep character arcs. I was fully into Storytelling. After all, I was young and had plenty of time and very few real responsibilities. However, most of the people I played with wanted laugh, zing one-liners, snack, and roll some dice. At some point, I took it upon myself to bring NOBILity to these wayward savages.

Which basically mean a lot of drama. I mean, A LOT OF DRAMA. Thankfully, at some point, my lovely and brilliant wife pointed out that all we did was fight. And she was right. So I took a step back and realized that I am at least 50% of any conflict that I am in. Even if I'm well-intentioned, I am still at least half the problem.

Since I came back to RPGs, my intentions have been far more NOBLE. Now we all just want to laugh, zing one-lines, snack, and roll some dice. It's all a lot easier now.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Mightiest: Making Demolisher for Rotted Capes

I'm brainstorming a Supers setting to run in the future (it actually might feature zombies). I'm looking at several systems to see which I like. I have the most experience with Champions, but I'm not sure I want to get THAT in depth.

I've had Rotted Capes from Paradigm Concepts and it's going to be my first system:

Rotting Capes features "B-List" heroes who have to fight normal and "A-List" super zombies. It's a good concept and I'm surprised it didn't get the kind of following that Eden Studio's All Flesh Must Be Eaten has.

I'm making a Delta (B-Lister) hero named DEMOLISHER, so I have 150 points to work with.

Power Source is Superhuman, which grants +1 Vigor, the unique advantage of Super (which grants a bonus Rank to a power of your choice), and the unique disadvantage of Power Limit (which means the powers you choose during character creation are what you limited to).

Archetype is Heavy, which grants an attribute bonus to Might or Vigor (I'll choose Might). It grants me several Primary Powers, which are 1 point cheaper to improve).

Disadvantage chosen is Overprotective

You choose a Tagline (which allows you to reroll a plot die), and mine will be "Demolition Time!"

There a 3 parts of Character Creation, Attributes, Skills, and Powers. You cannot spend more than half your total points in any category. The cost of something is it's new rank in points. So Rank 1, costs 1 point, Rank 2 costs 2 points, etc.

Attributes start at 3 and have die bonus and a passive bonus (of a flat number).  There are 8 Attributes: Might, Prowesss (melee attacks), Quickness (Ranged attacks), Vigor, Charisma, Insight, Logic, and Resolve.

Might 12 (+1 from Heavy, +4 from Enhanced Might) D12/5 
(26 points)
ProwessD8/3 (9 points)
Quickness  4 D8/2 (4 points)
Vigor  6 (+1 from Superhuman) D8/3 (11 points)
Charisma 4 D8/2 (4 points)
Insight 5 D8/3 (9 points)
Logic 4 d8/2 (4 points)
Resolve 5 d8/3 (9 points)
Attributes =  76 points total

Derived Attributes 
Defenses are equal to 12+the Passive modifiers of 2 Attributes.
Avoidance Defense 18
Fortitude Defense 22
Discipline Defense 17
Stamina (Hit Points) 47
Health (Lasting damage) 7
Pace  (Movement) 4
Initiative 4
Burnout Threshold 22

You can buy individual Skills or Skill Packages (limit of 2 for most Archetypes)

Universal Skills: Drive 1, Local Knowledge 1, Technology (Basic) 1, Urban Survival 1.

I chose Mechanic (10 points) and Survivalist (20 Points) Skill Packages.
Athletics 4, Animal Handling 2, Drive 4, Engineering (Aircraft Mechanic) 3, Melee 1, Perception 3, Outdoorsman 2,Technology (Basic) 3, Urban Survival 3
Skills = 30 points

Exploit Weakness

Armor 6 (AR 6) 16 points
Enhanced Might 6 D8/3 16 points

Overall thoughts, this is well put together game and I really liked making a character. It took me about 45 minutes, which isn't bad for my first character of a Supers System.

The only downside was adding the cost of things (most times cost of next rank, sometimes cost of current rank), but it isn't a dealbreaker.

I totally recommend Rotting Capes, even if you don't want to run a Zombies game with Supers.

#RPGaDAY 2019: Day 19

It's kind of strange that I love SCARY stuff, you see I was the kid who couldn't sleep after watching Universal monster films, let alone my contemporary films featuring Jason, Freddy, or Michael.

I was always worried about watching something with too much gore in it (and still am, on some level).

And yet, I love SCARY fiction, and my first short story as an adult (for a college class) was horror.

I like running SCARY games, the darker and more splatterpunk the better. I just don't want to see them turned into films.

A Little Help

The last two years have been rough. We've lost some loved ones and had some health issues (that are getting better, thankfully).

Unfortunately, we've got close to $5000 in medical bills and things are a bit tight.

I apologize for being forward, but if anyone has a few extra bucks and been looking at any of my products on, perhaps you could pick something up? I'd greatly appreciate it.

Otherwise, we could use some prayers and/or good vibes sent our way.

Here is all of my stuff on

And here is all of my stuff on

Sunday, August 18, 2019

#RPGaDAY 2019: Day 15-18

For me, RPGs have been a DOORway for both my career and the friendships I developed that will be life long. This hobby has allowed me to discover some of the best and worst parts of who I am, and thankfully, helped overcome some of those negative traits. I'm thankful every day that I sell games for a living and get to do so while working with my wife and kids.

Since discovering this hobby, I'd always DREAMed of publishing my own stuff. And somehow, while working on this blog, I made that happen. This no better feeling than checking a box on your bucket list.

Additionally, the ONE thing RPGs have done for me, is to meet and fall in love with my wife. She helped found Comic Book World, where we work together now.

Finally, there have been PLENTY of weeks that have been rescued by getting together with my group, roll some bones, and laugh our stress away.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

#RPGaDAY 2019: Day 14

As a manager of a small chain of Comics and Game stores I GUIDE customers (veteran and new) every day. It's my favorite part of the job. I've enjoyed the resurgence of DnD over the last five years as it's greatly expanded and diversified the types of players that walk into my store. These days, I've got empty nesters, middle-schoolers, and veteran edition warriors shopping with me. It's a real treat.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Super Hero RPGs

I've had an idea for a Super Hero campaign and I've been looking over some of the Super Hero RPGs I own, trying to see if one works better than the others.

So far, I've looked at the following games:

Champions Now Playtest
Champions 4E (5E is good too, but I'll pas on 6E)
Champions the New Millenium (Fuzion)
Rotted Capes
Icons: Assembled Edition
Prowlers and Paragons
AMP Year 1
Cypher System
Brave New World
Super World
Supers! Revised
3d6 Supers
Modern AGE
Angel RPG/Beyond Human Playtest (Cinematic Unisystem)
Villains and Vigilantes/Mighty Protectors
Vigilante City

I'm looking for Lower Level heroes, powers at about the same level as the original X-Men.

I really like AMP Year 1 and Rotted Capes, but I'm not yet at a point where I can decide.

My intention is to make the same character for each system and post it on here with how character generation went.

At the same time, I'm going to take some time and really work out the story I want to tell and maybe that will help bring things into focus.

#RPGaDAY 2019: Day 11, 12, & 13

One of my favorite things to do is to EXAMINE any game I'm newly exposed to, I like to see how it works and brainstorm what kind of game I would like to run. The downside is that I've been like this for the last three decades and there is no way I will have time use all of these games. But it makes me happy, so there you go.

I've been fortunate to develop several life-long FRIENDSHIPS with some amazing people because of role playing. I was always a bit introverted and these friends have stood by me through thick and thin. I can't ask for much more.

I tend to run games with central MYSTERIES, its a great way to have conflict without a fight and it gives players a chance to use their character's skills and connections.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

#RPGaDAY 2019: Day 9 & 10

I think it is CRITICAL for players at a table to buy into the story. In the past, I've watched too many games get wrecked because of the age old "my character wouldn't do that". That's fine and all, but make a character that would. That doesn't mean the GM should railroad the players, but at a basic level, either take the GM's bait for a story or as a group work out your goals.

In this day and age I think it's important that everyone at the table FOCUS on what is happening. I think smartphones are the biggest problem for player focus and it makes sense for everyone to take talk about expectations and appropriate behavior before things get started.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

#RPGaDAY 2019: Day 8

My RPG collection is filled with some OBSCURE games. I own RavenStar, Blood Dawn, Cosmic Enforcers, Millenium's End. I love learning new TRPG systems and for years looked for the "perfect" one. I eventually realized, that it doesn't exist (though DnD 5E and Shadow of the Demon Lord come pretty close).

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

#RPGaDAY 2019: Day 7

As I get older, I find myself preferring to play or Game Master systems that are FAMILIAR to me and my players. It's not that I don't newer, shinier games, it's that I don't have the time to devote to them the way I used to.  As much as I'd like run Genesys, our group already knows how to play DnD 5E or Shadow of the Demon Lord. I'm not saying I won't run Genesys one day, but I can't say when I'll have the time to devote to working it out.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

#RPGaDAY 2019: Day 6

When I first started playing TRPGs I much preferred modern settings or even the wild west or steampunk and had no interest in fantasy. These days though, I prefer my settings to take place in what feels like an ANCIENT world filled with swords, sorcery, and diabolical villains. Maybe it World of Warcraft, but almost exclusively prefer fantasy settings at this point. Even when I brainstorm new settings I keep coming back to fantasy.

Monday, August 5, 2019

#RPGaDAY 2019: Day 5

For most of my career we played in one our homes (or our parents' when were younger).
But, right around the time of the DnD Next playtest, I opened up SPACE for in-store TRPG play at Comic Book World (which I manage).

At the same time, I focused on 2-4 hour sessions, instead of the 6-8 hour sessions I had always played  before. I was surprised that I like gaming at the store and I quickly recruited others who felt the same way. Additionally, the short sessions really hit the spot. We didn't have any bickering or boredom that I had experienced with longer sessions. Today, we have in-store TRPG play three days a week, the limitation is finding Game Masters. 

Sunday, August 4, 2019

#RPGaDAY: Day 4

I thoroughly enjoy SHARing my hobby with others, and it's actually my job. These days, it's pretty hip to play DnD, but obviously it wasn't always like that. I'm very blessed that my kids have played at my table and introduced their friends to it, as well. Working at Comic Book World, it's amazing the different people who come in and how RPGs build bridges and can create fast friendships.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

#RPGaDAY 2019: Day 3

Player ENGAGEment is something that I have grown very aware of the longer I've played TRPGs. Buying in to the game and seeking to be apart of events is essential, in my opinion, to a successful game. Too often with my original group, certain Player Characters had agenda's counter to the flow of the story and it always derailed events and let to Player bickering and Player Character conflict. The latter is something I have no use for at my table anymore. For one thing, all of our time is far more limited than it was when I was in College and for another, we have enough conflict in our lives without more of it during something that should be fun for all. I'm not trying to tell anyone how they should play, just sharing what I expect from games I run.

Friday, August 2, 2019

#RPGaDAY 2019: Day 2

Something I love about Role Playing Games, is that every session is UNIQUE. I can run Keep on the Borderlands with three different groups and each will take their own path, make their own mistakes, and savor in each of their victories.

I don't believe any other form of entertainment is truly like that. Yes, you can replay a video game and make different choices, but it's nothing like the difference in dynamics between two RPG groups going through the same adventure.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

#RPGaDAY 2019: Day 1

My FIRST love of TTRPGs is being a Game Master. I love creating worlds, inventing quests, breathing life into NPCs, and challenging the players.

I live for those rare moments when the people at the table are actually in the story for a few seconds.

And I thoroughly enjoy improvising in the moment when a player does something completely unexpected.

For me, there is nothing like running a game.  And I am thankful for all of the people that have sat at my table over the decades.

A Couple of Quick Things

Today, Paizo releases Pathfinder 2, I went ahead and picked up the PDF, even though I don't know that I will do anything with them. I will at least make a character or three and maybe do a one-shot sometime in the futureoo. I will say the book is gorgeous, I think it even outclasses WotC's DnD 5e books.

Also today, James Haeck talks about using the new Warriors and Weapons and Monsters and Creatures young reader books for DnD to introduce younger fans to DnD. He even creates a very streamlined RPG system that uses both books. It's a pretty sweet idea.

#RPGaDAY 2019: Day 22, 23, & 24

As a Game Master I can get LOST keeping track of all of the Player's actions and plots. I find that is good to make notes from a se...