Saturday, April 20, 2024

State of the Planes April 2024

It's been awhile. I've been good and hope all of you have as well. I've spend a lot of time thinking about what this hobby and its industry mean to me. I think I'm at a point in life where finding time for my buddies is more important to me than the games.

Further, I'm not sure I like running games anymore. I know I prefer the games I run to have less and less combat and that they resource management of DnD and its many, many clones just don't do it for me. Honestly, the OSR showed me the resource management aspects and I think it's why I don't have much to say about running any of those games. I've really come to realize I prefer games about big damn heroes fighting the good fight and if there isn't any real danger for the characters I don't know what the point of combat is. I'd rather run games where the conflicts have different stakes these days and I know with 100% certainty that I don't want any part of a combat that lasts over an hour and if the tide of battle looks like an assured victory for the players I'd rather just end it and move on.

I also find myself wanting less rules. I don't want a 300 page rulebook or a 300 page adventure. I'm lucky that right now I play with two fantastic groups who prioritize fun over rules and I trust them to let the story drive the sessions.

Additionally, I've found that I am really tired of rolling a d20 and seem to favor d100 and 3d6s as resolution systems these days. I've been looking at GURPS, The Fantasy Trip, and the HERO System a lot. HERO was my first RPG and maybes its simply nostalgia? Along those lines I've been reading Green Ronin's Adventure Game Engine offerings like Dragon Age, Modern Age, and Fantasy Age. However, I've found myself finding more satisfaction from systems where you roll equal to or below your TN as opposed to  equal to or above. That is a major sea change for me but I think it has to do with wanting to think less about rules while at the table and putting the mechanics into the hands of the players.

The only drawbacks I have with HERO and GURPS is that I don't want a full blown point-based system so after reading through GURPS Lite for 3rd Edition I've been looking at merging B/X DnD or Gamma World with the bones of the HERO system replacing the skill system and combat system and GURPS standing in for armor and weapons.

Hopefully, I'll get back to posting again to showcase my ideas.

Monday, December 4, 2023

Monster Monday: Ork City's Chupacabra for Shadowdark

Welcome to Ork City!

In the middle of Ork City's Hatt Island is the Park, a wild and dangerous forest filled with all manner of nightmarish predators. One of the most frequent dangers is a creature about the size of a large dog that drinks the blood of its victims. It is quiet as death as it stalks its prey, listening to their heart race, smelling the fear radiating from them, and relishing the warm, coppery taste of the blood that sustains it. Few who come across a Chupabra live to relay the tale.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Ork City: Moorlocks for Shadowdark

Welcome to Ork City!

It is inspired by Gamma World, Numenera, Thundarr the Barbarian, Planet of the Apes, Roadside Picnic, Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth, and Mad Max and focuses on excursions to what used to be the ruins of New York City. I see it as a Point Crawl mixed with running Dungeons that drawls in those seeking fortune and treasure in this harsh and unrelenting world. 

Most of what is known about the Moorlocks come from the Vagabonds who have survived its dangers and the Versifiers who carry those tales far and wide. 

Monday, November 27, 2023

Miscreant Monday: Crime Wave for Savage Worlds + the Supers Companion for Earth 72

Hamilton Fox, a con man and drug dealer, had dreamed of becoming an Olympic runner for as long as he could remember. Sadly, he was willing to do anything to be the best and was caught using performance enhancing drugs and banned from competing any further.

Blaming everyone but himself he fell in with the wrong crowd and began dealing drugs before being caught and doing time in the Holloway Detention Center on the outskirts of Opal City. It was there that he met Joseph Klein who took him under his wing.  When Klein was released he told Fox to look him up for a job when he got out. 

Hamilton did just that 18 months later when he found Klein working for the crime syndicate known as the One-Thousand and serving as a trusted right hand for the Mist who was in charge of operations in Opal City. Two years later, after proving himself loyal and reliable, the Mist asked Fox if he would be interested in an experiment that could give him superpowers and without a moment's hesitation he told her he was in.

The 1,000 had put a member of the Dominator species known as Gunther in touch with a new iteration of H.I.V.E.. Gunther had defected to Earth during its Invasion by a coalition of aliens. The Dominator's research involved unlocking the metagene and he and two other subjects underwent the procedure.

Hamilton was really lucky. He only had flu-like symptoms for a couple of days before his super speed manifested while the other two subjects died very, very painful deaths.

The Mist has been training Fox in the use of his powers and he has taken up the codename the Crime Wave. She's been having him operate in Hub City to save him as secret weapon when the time is right. Fox is running faster than ever and is enjoying the rush.

You can download a PDF for Crime Wave here.

I used the excellent to build him at Power Level II.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Miscreant Monday: DC Comics' H.I.V.E. Soldiers for Savage Worlds and Earth 72

H.I.V.E. is a mercenary organization that specializes in high-level contract assassinations, the training and even creation of metahuman operatives, and acts of terrorism. The current incarnation has begun operating in Opal City on the East coast of the U.S. and the Department of Extranormal Operations had identified its new Queen to be the brilliant and deadly Cheshire.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Dungeons & Dragons 5E: Thoughts on Rogues & Rangers

Our group has kept up with Wizard of the Coasts Unearthed Arcana playtest material for the 2024 Edition/Printing of DnD and there two things the boggle us, how underwhelming the Ranger is and how overpowered the Rogue is.

When it comes to the Ranger I'm sure there are numerous people coming to DnD because of the Drizzt novels and we wonder if Hasbro/WotC isn't too keen on that? I mean Drow are nearly unplayable with Sunlight Sensitivity and the 5E Ranger doesn't seem to have a very clear vision for what it wants to be. We had a bit of hope because at one point Hunter's Mark no longer required Concentration but according the notes WotC felt that made the Ranger too good. We were all left shaking our heads at that.

Then, from the other side is the Rogue who can deal Sneak Attack damage once per turn, can gain Advantage on attack rolls by not moving on their turn, can use a Reaction to take 1/2 damage, and can sacrifice Snake Attack dice for special effects. The Rogue, in our estimation, is just too damn good. Realistically, how does WotC walk that back? They just don't and we get it.

I'm going to be really honest about the fact that WotC's tactics with DnD and Magic: the Gathering leave me fairly bitter. I've been pretty clear with my group that I just don't see myself running leas anything published by them. I will say that I am fairly excited by Kobold Press' Tales of the Valiant and ENWorld's Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition and may very well do something with either or both in the future.

State of the Planes April 2024

It's been awhile. I've been good and hope all of you have as well. I've spend a lot of time thinking about what this hobby and i...