Monday, October 14, 2019

Review: Gunzo! Operation Bug Hunt for Dungeon Crawl Classics

I'm a big fan of Eric Bloat and Bloat Games line of products. He was kind enough to give me an advance PDF copy of Gunzo! Operation: Bug Hunt for Dungeon Crawl Classics for review purposes, it was written by Eric with additional writing by James Spahn.

OBH is a military space setting for DCC that is designed to emulate movies like Aliens, Predator, and  Starship Troopers and comes in at 56 pages.

The art for OBH is well done and channels the setting perfectly.

The PDF opens with some fiction and moves into the five new Classes for the setting.  We are introduced the Combat Medic (healers with the ability to install cybernetics), Engineer (they repair and disable machinery and try to figure out what alien tech does), Grunt (the soldiers with boots on the ground and weapon specialists), Pilot (their piloting skills also cover ranged combat), and Robot (they have packages that they can take that cover combat, diplomacy, mechanical operations, and medical care, additionally they have a self-repair feature).

Next we go over starting cash, and appropriately your rank indicates your pay, except for Robots who don't get paid.

New armor, gear and weapons are presented to and allow the PCs to travel the universe, killing their enemies before they can launch an asteroid at Buenos Aires.  We are given heavy army whose laser reclective plates protect the wearer from all forms of attack to ion whips to grenade launchers. Your players will have plenty to spend their pay on.

The cybernetics chapter opens by letting the GM decide if their is a limit to how many cybernetics a character can have and then covers all the parts necessary to upgrade you to major badass.

The horrors of war are also covered with a section for Pressure and Shell Shock. If you gain too much Pressure you have to roll on the Shell Shock table where you can just start killing any living beings around you to simply losing your next action. I'm glad Eric included this, because it reminds you that your character isn't just a killing machine and all of these operations have long term effects on your psyche.

We are given a random Bug Generator to help the overtaxed GM keep things unique and interesting.  Several of the tables use D16s and d14s so make sure you have your DCC dice handy.

OBH ends with a bestiary of your favorite cinematic horrors and the art is very well done.

Eric gives you everything you need to run the Mobile Infantry or Space Marines (the ones from Aliens) in a tight package.  You could easily hang out watching any of the films that inspired OBH and then make some characters and be playing within a half an hour.  You can't ask for more than that.

The Dungeon Crawl Classics Rulebook is necessary to play Operation: Bug Hunt.

This is another home run for me  I urge you to pick it up when it releases.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Back This: City of Solstice: A Setting for OSR Fantasy Campaigns

I'm a big fan of Charles Rice's RPGs and, in fact, his was the first blog I followed as he pulled back the veil of game design and shared the development of the projects with his fans.

He's made some great stuff, especially for the OSR, including the Akhara setting, OSRIC Unearthed, Old School Psionics, Old School Magic, and Old School Class: Necromancer.

The other day, his Apocalyptic Games launched his first Kickstarter, City of Solstice: A Setting for for OSR Fantasy Games.

I'm a big fan of using an urban setting to play DnD or OSR games from Lankhmar to Sanctuary to Sigil to my own Jarlsburg.

And after reading the Quickstart, which easily breakdowns the City and its movers and shakers, I'm pretty anxious to use it as soon as possible.

Backers get access to the Quickstart, which is a 51 page PDF that goes over the Cities' history, the five rival criminal organizations that rule it, new Classes, new Magic Items, and an Adventure.

First, the PDF opens with this: "You are not adventurers.They’re dead."

I really appreciate that statement. It sets the stage for the locale and the type of campaign it's designed for. Solstice is broken, decadent, and well past saving. And the Players take the role of members of the Vigilant, the cities' corrupt guards who are not "adventurers" but "have a duty" to carry out.

Ten years ago, Solstice experienced the Black Night, when a hight priestess of the Moon rallied 4 other criminal organizations to storm the Earl's castle and he trades his life and that of his life, spared the lives of his brother and daughter, and handed over the city to those organization, known as the Star Society.

Since that night five proclamations have been issued: First, weapons are restricted. Second, armor is restricted. Third, magic is restricted. Fourth, religion is restricted. Fifth, criminal organizations will be killed on site, well, all except those that are a part of the Star Society.

Those proclamations certainly cover the four "core" classes and set the tone for how bleak this place is, in my opinion.

The five members of the Star Society are: the Church of Mother Moon which is dedicated to the Moon Goddess, the Nizari are mercenaries, the Sagittarius Sect were an embattled thieves guild that now operates publicly as the bowyer's guild, the Order of Antares which was formed by saboteurs and assassins, and the Five Forms who are ascetics from the East.

New and altered Classes are presented, as well: the Anti-Paladin, the Arcane Channeler which doesn't use vancian magic and neither does this setting, a new version of the Bard, the Divine Channeler which, like the Arcane Channeler, doesn't use vancian magic, the Martial Artist, the Mercenary Captain, the Mystic, the Noble, a variant Thief class, the Zodiac Channeler (specialist magic-users), and the Zodiac Knight.

Solstice spellcasters don't have "spell slots" they draw their power from their environment with the aid of certain magic items specific to the class.

Several magic items are also introduced and is followed by the Wards of Solstice, which gives a great overview of each part of the City and some of it's notable inhabitants.

The Quickstart ends with an 11 page adventure to introduce your group to Solstice and I can't wait to run it.

I won't lie to any of you, I've been a big fan of Charles' work for years, from Modern20 to this OSR stuff to AZ: After Zombies. But this is a great setting and I've only seen 51 pages of it. I think it's a great concept and respectfully channels Lankhmar and Sanctuary, while also separating itself in the process.

I urge you back Solstice here.

Running Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Quickstart

Last night our regular DM and a couple of players couldn't make it, so the three remaining players picked out pregens from the Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Quickstart and we gave it a spin.

Let me state from the get go that if you are familiar with ADnD or any of the OSR games, you already know how to play this game.

As a refresher, Night Shift focused on three mechanics. First, is an ability check/attack roll/saving throw using a D20 where you add your ability modifier (which can have a bonus that increases as you level) or attack bonus and try to equal or exceed 20. 

Second, skills are percentiles, ala thief skills, and our modified by how difficulty the task is. So, if I have a Climb Walls of 55% and the DM feels that it's a level 3 challenge, I would subtract 15% (3 x 5%), I would end up with a 40% chance.

Third, there are times that, if no other skill or ability seems to apply, I can roll a d6 and I succeed on a 1 or 2. Per the Quickstart this is the default, for instance, if a player doesn't have an appropriate skill to use and the DM still wants give them a chance.

The PCs were:
Leo Derleth, the Fey (Veteran)

Jaimie Concord, the Chosen One

Dirk Pascal, the Veteran

The game went great and we were up and rolling in less than 20 minutes.

The rules easily handled investigation, social interaction and cinematic combat. If I had any uncertainty on what type of check was appropriate, I'd just have the PC or NPC roll a d6 and look for a 1 or 2. I felt secure as a DM running this system with very little prep time -- just a reading of the rules and the adventure.

NPCs and Enemies are easy to use, you simply add their Hit Dice value to any D20 checks they make. This allowed me, as the GM, to easily create some ally or enemy NPCs on the fly.

Due to the player's actions, I had an encounter that wasn't in the Quickstart and by simply figuring out the NPCs Hit Dice, I had their Hit Points, D20 bonus, and quickly figured out their AC, which defaults to 9.

I also felt the action was pretty dynamic, it was easy to run a small horde of bikers, hellhounds, and a Big Boss that outnumbered and challenged the PCs, while at the same time the their class abilities really channeled the action of the TV shows that inspired this game in the first place. At one point, the Chosen One was hanging from the side of the rooftop and facing a demon and the Player wanted to break free and then grab a window seal and smash through instead of falling to the concrete below. A simple opposed Strength check and a well time 1 on a d6 handled the action easily and had everyone at the table pumped.

I also want to highlight Fate Points and their uses. The Chosen One entered they fray on the rooftop 2 rounds sooner than the Fey and the Veteran and got pretty beat up extremely fast. Thanks to Fate points was able to activate Second Wind on one round, Righteous Rage on the next, and another Second Wind on the third round. Fate points were a great way to emulate the genre perfectly and allowed less flashy characters, like the Sage, to shine in the game alongside the Chosen One and the Fey.

To top it all off, we played the adventure in just under 2-1/2 hours. Night Shift is certainly a rules set you are probably intimately familiar with, but it's innovations channel the genre appropriately and highlight some of the recent innovations of contemporary game design.

I cannot recommend backing this game enough and taking the Quickstart for a spin.

Back this game right now!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars: Playing a Monster

I'm extremely excited for Jason Vey and Timothy Brannan's Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Kickstarter. It takes Old School ADnD-style rules and merges it with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, and Charmed. It's a setting that we all love with a rule's set we all know.

Thanks to the kindness of Jason and Tim, I've gotten a small glimpse of the game. Most of the characters in the game are Humans, but the Supernatural race/species is available. 

I think it is ingenious that the Supernatural allows you to pick and choose abilities to build a Fey, Vampire, Werewolf, or other type of creature that prowls the night. This class is represented by the Fey in the Quickstart that was published earlier this week.

I'm going to do a character creation walk-thru by building a Supernatural, in this case Hiram Lang, a Werewolf.

The Ability scores of Night Shift are rolled as we are all familiar with ADnD: 3d6 in order, 4d6 drop the lowest and assigned by the player, or a point buy method.

Ability modifiers range from -3 to +4.

The Quickstart shows us that you may choose one Ability to be your Primary, two Abilities to be your Secondary, and the rest will be Tertiary. Primary and Secondary Abilities gain bonuses as you gain levels and are added to Ability Checks.

I'm going to make Hiram's Strength his Primary and denote it with a * and Dexterity and Constitution his Secondaries and denote them with **.

The Supernatural allows you to add a bonus to one Attribute and Hiram's Strength will get that bonus.

I can choose one ability from the Witch class and I decide on Wild Form at 1/Day.

As a Supernatural Hiram heals damage per Hour, as well as per Day.

Hit Points are 1d8, I rolled 7 and have no Con Modifier.

Supernaturals also gain a bonus to Saving Throws against supernatural attacks, magic, and spells.

A Supernatural's attacks are considered supernatural for the purpose of overcoming a being's immunity to normal weapons, if they have it.

There's a cool twist that I like too, after 3000 XP, a Supernatural may choose a Class. I think it's a great idea and am glad it is here, in the Quickstart, the Fey is a Veteran. 

Aside from equipment, Hiram is done and here he is:

Hiram Lang, Werewolf

Strength 13*           (+1)
Dexterity 9**          (+0)
Constitution1 11** (+0)
Intelligence 5           (-2)
Wisdom 13              (+1)
Charisma 10           (+0)

Hit Points 7

When Hiram gets 3000 XP, as a player, I can choose from the following Classes: Chosen One, Sage, Veteran.

I made this character in 10 minutes at the most. This is one of my favorite genres with rules that I know and love.

I hope my readers take a moment and back this on Kickstarter.

I'll also be posting an Actual Play in the next few days, as I'm running the Quickstart tonight.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

PunkApocalyptic: Shadow of the Demon Lord to PunkaApocalyptic Conversion

As many of you know, I'm a huge fan of Robert Schwalb and Shadow of the Demon Lord and I'm backing his PunkApocalyptic Kickstarter which still has around 40 hours left.

Rob has just released a free conversion guide from SotDL to PA (they both use the same game engine) and you can download it here.

If you were on the fence and already love Shadow of the Demon Lord, maybe this will help make your decision.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Quickstart

The Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Quickstart rules and Adventure has been released. If you love Buffy, Charmed, Supernatural and OSR rules this game is for YOU.

The Quickstart is 26 pages and provides an overview of O.G.R.E.S (Oldschool Generic Roleplaying Engine System), which breaks down to using 3 different approaches: a D20 roll high system to equal or exceed 20 (fans familiar with Delta's Target 20 system will get this immediately), a percentage score for Skills, (ala ADnD Thieves) and needing a 1-2 on a d6 roll.  Basically, if you are familiar with older Editions of DnD and it's various clones, you know these rules.

The adventure, By the Blood of the New Moon, is straight forward and quick and easy way to the genre and the rules for a spin.

Sample characters are provided and you get a look at the Chosen One, Sage, Fey, Veteran, and Witch classes. Jason Vey, the game's designer has mentioned that a supernatural creature race-as-class is available and gives options to allow it to model different types.

I like the genre this game is based on and I know these rules. There are some twists and turns like Fate points, but if you pick this up, you'll be able to play in about 10 minutes if you know older Editions of DnD and that is a feature, in my opinion.

I urge to take a look and back this project.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Monter Monday: George for B/X Ascending

My wife and I don't watch a lot of TV, but there are a few new shows this season I'm enjoying. One of them is Evil on CBS and that's where George comes from.

George for B/X Ascending 
He creeps into bedrooms at night, paralyzing his victims and tears at his victims souls, slowly, methodically, until there is nothing left of them. Then, only then, does cut them apart for the sheer joy of it.

AC 13HD 3 (13 hp), Att 1 × weapon (1d6 or by weapon), AB +1, MV 120’ (40’), SV D11 W13 P12 B15 S16, ML 10AL Chaotic, XP 50, NA 1TT None
  • Stalks your dreams: Victims must make a Saving Throw vs Paralyzation or the wake up but cannot move.
  • Weapons: Prefer daggers.
  • Demonic: May be turned as Undead.
  • Shadow Figure: Moves Silently and Hides in Shadows at 12+ on a d20 roll.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Back This: Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars

Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars just launched on Kickstarter today from Elf Lair Games. The game was designed by Jason Vey and Timothy Brannan. Both of them have worked within the RPG industry for some time and have done work for Troll Lord Games, Eden Studios and Palladium Books, as well, as published their own material.

Tim's Other Side blog was a central inspiration for me to start Cross Planes, I liked the tone of his work compared to other blogs I was reading at the time, and I respect him a great deal.

The rules set, known as O.G.R.E.S., is OSR-inspired and is familiar and compatible with earlier editions of DnD and it's many clones.

Jason has an article from his blog, The Wasted Land, that should give people some insight into what direction he is going.  Additionally, if you are a fan of his Spellcraft and Swordplay, Night Shift has conversions to it, as well as ODnD and B/X DnD.

I'm really hyped on this project and urge you to support it.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Back In the OSR: Superheroes X

Since I seem to be caught up in Gamer ADD, I've take the time to read through several different OSR games that I'm not sure have gotten much exposure.

First is Superheroes X by the amazing Simon Washbourne of Beyond Belief Games.

The PDF is 28 pages and uses public domain golden age comic art.

The rules are based on Swords and Wizardry and Swords and Wizardry Light.

Each character has an Origin and you may choose from the following: Alien, Construct, Highly Trained (Agent), Mutation, and Deity. An Origin gives you some immediate benefits for your character and replace Race.

You may choose from the following Classes: Brick, Daredevil, Detective, Elementalist, Fighter, Gadgeteer, Metamorph, Mystic, and Psychic. Each Class only goes to 6th level, but everything is light enough to, in my opinion, extrapolate to higher levels.

There are 24 Powers to choose from and each has incremental benefits as you level. The powers cover every character in comic books I can think of.

There are also Advantages and Disadvantages to choose from.

The games assumes you are pretty familiar with older editions of DnD or it's retroclones but is complete enough you could pick this up and be playing within an hour, including character creation.

It provides stats for plenty of Antagonists too, including White Apes and Dinosaurs!

I'm a big fan of Simon and Superheroes X and highly recommend it.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Brainstorming for a Fill-In

In a couple weeks, our DM will miss a session and I've already volunteered to fill in. Part of me would like to take another spin at the D100 system I've been working on

Although, in working on it, I've also developed a hankering for Call of Cthulhu 7E, which looks delightful. 

Additionally, I've also been jonesing for some OSR goodness with either Labyrinth Lord/Old School Essentials/Adventurer Conqueror King

And finally, my favorite goto Shadow of the Demon Lord--and that could allow me to run PostApocalyptic.

Decisions, decisions.

I'll probably just start brainstorming the setting and that will dictate which direction I choose.

I had my Gamer ADD under a great deal of control for a ;ong period of time, but not so much right now.

P.S.- I forgot about superheroes using Guardians, Triumphant, or Vigilante City.

Review: Gunzo! Operation Bug Hunt for Dungeon Crawl Classics

I'm a big fan of Eric Bloat and Bloat Games line of products. He was kind enough to give me an advance PDF copy of Gunzo! Operation:...