Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Closing out January

While I didn't manage a post (or more) a day in January, I have at least 6 more than in December so I fell that I'm on the right path.

I would like to focus on working up more fan-material and probably returning to Masters of the Universe Monday in February.  We'll see.

I realized that my depressed state wasn't merely from events that occurred in November or Christmas.  After running the Pre-Release this weekend, I think those events drain more from me than I realize.
It doesn't mean much, they're an integral part of my job and I'll continue them.

I'm looking forward to spring and thankful our area of the country has had a fairly light winter, thus far.

I'm also contemplating resurrecting the Ironcloaks game, as I'm eager to fully test out the current DnD Next playtest packet.

I'm proud that while there was some clash of personalities in my Dead AGE game, everyone involved handled it maturely, openly and it has resolved itself as positively as possible.  At the very least, there are no hard feelings and no burnt bridges.

Monday, January 28, 2013

D&D Next: Barbarian is Live!

I just downloaded the playtest package and the Barbarian is Live!

Winter Fantasy

It was right about this time, last year, that I was trying to talk to my Rep at WotC about playtesting DnD Next.  And parsing every little tidbit out of Winter Fantasy about this new version of DnD.

My, Rep, being an awesome guy, had me hooked up within a few weeks and by March I was Alpha Testing DnD Next.  It was good timing as I'd stepped back into gaming after a 3 year sabbatical.

This year, I'm waiting for tidbits about the Barbarian and hoping we'll actually see a version today for download.

While my opinion of the rules for DnD Next have drifted, I still find myself excited at each new development.  Like a kid waiting for a new movie or toy.

Thank you for that, Wizards of the Coast.  The older I get the less that happens.

Please Allow Me to Re-Introduce Myself

Rolling Stones, aside, this blogfest is being hosted by Stephen Tremp, but I heard about it from Timothy Brannon (I check his blog daily and am always entertained).

The purpose of this blogfest is to re-introduce yourself to your readers.

My name is Mark Craddock and I've been runig Cross Planes for nearly 10 months.  I started this blog to share my thoughts on DnD and the Old School (Gaming) Revolution.  It's become more and less than that in it's time.

The first few months involved working on ideas for Labyrinth Lord, but my return to gaming and my chance to Alpha Test DnD Next moved it toward fan created material for that iteration of DnD.  I also began chronicling my sessions as Game Master.  Once I began running 13th Age, I created a fair amount of material for it, as well.

And then I hit a huge wall in the fall.  Fewer and fewer updates were forthcoming.  I made it a point to get back on the wagon in December and was fairly successful at posting and have made even more strides in January.

This blog is my voice in "the industry" and an outlet for my ideas.  It's also one of my steps to overcome Gaming ADD.  It's a big help and I'm proud of what I've done here.

I started role playing in the summer between my Freshman and Sophomore year at the College of Mount Sain Joseph.  I was a late (gaming) bloomer.

It quickly took over my free time and became my passion for years.
After getting my BFA in Art an working in the Printing industry for 7 years, I got hired at my local gaming store, Comic Book World as Gaming Manager.  13 years later, I'm still doing it.

The group has changed and I've mellowed but I still love being a Game Master.  Telling stories...know sharing stories and having them embellished by my players.

My wife, is my boss at Comic Book World, and my best friend and soulmate.  We have 3 children ranging from 23 to 8.  We home school the younger 2.

As much as I love Gaming, I love my family more.  All 3 kids have gamed at my table with me and I wouldn't have it any other way.

In fact, my 11 year old son has started running his own game and my youngest wants to start a game for her friends.

Friday, January 25, 2013

D&D Next: Skill Dice

As I read and reread the December Playtest update for DnD Next, Skill Dice were the idea I had the most problems with.  I like uniform mechanics in my RPGs and I hate it when Combat is one system and Skills are another.

This was exacerbated as I read various Special Abilities and Maneuvers that used Skill Dice.  I kept wondering why the particular skill mentioned wasn't called out?  What was wrong with WotC?  I was pretty close to just walking away from DnD Next.

And then I realized the problem wasn't the rules, it was me.  I was overthinking it.  Your Skill Die is equal to X, depending on what level you are.  If an ability calls for it, you don't have to worry about a Skill, just the Skill Die.  It was beautifully simple.

Then, when making checks, I could just call for say, a Dex Check and mention the Skill Die if they were trained in Z.

Also, when making a Skill Check, there was visual cue during the roll that the PC or NPC was trained in a skill.  The Die told you.

And for new players, I've found having the Skill Dis a concrete separation from the Attribute and helps them understand and more importantly want to use those Trained Skills.

I still like uniform mechanics, but I can't argue that the Skill Die works.

Good job, WotC.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 is here!

DriveThruRPG and Wizards of the Coast have just launched  PDF's of the book rom 1st through 4th edition will be available.  And all PDF's will be cleaned up and searchable.

Imagine where the OSR would be if WotC hadn't pulled down their PDF's years ago?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Dead AGE: The Mothman

For the last 13 months, strange lights have appeared all over Starling, MA and along the Miskatonic River.  Hundreds of sightings have been covered on local news, newspapers and blogs.

Many have worried that something dreadful will happen in Starling, just as it did in Point Pleasant, Mexico City, Chernobyl and Raccoon City.

As 12/21/12 approached, tensions rose to a fever pitch, but as 12/21 dawned an eerie calm filled the city.

No one xpected the biological attack on the city.  None of them except the Mothman.  And they didn't heed his warnings.  Again.


I'm not providing stats yet, because at the moment the Mothman will be a veiled figure and cryptic source of information.  He's not meant as antagonist, just yet.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Aquila: The Procession Episodes 3 & 4

The Cast:

Hurricane - 4th Level Demigod Fighter
Tesla - 4th Level Tellurian Psion
Fikrit- 4th Level Human Sorcerer
Becker - 5th Level Human Barbarian
Jacob the Rooster- 4th Level Halfling Cleric
Bachman - 4th Level Human Paladin
Luken - 4th Level Human Paladin

Lorelei brought the band into the fortress known as Verdisgris and introduced them to the merry band of survivors who lived there and it's spiritual leader, Manthrax.  Manthrax is an 8 foot tall raccoon and student of Pan.  He formed this haven from various survivors of shipwrecks, both from the sea and the sky.  He explains that Lorelei's rogue excursion past the river that runs beyond Verisgris, put the whole fortress in jeopardy as there is an enchantment in place to protect his charges agains the island's prisoners, the giant monsters.

Several village elders also tell them about strange falling stars several nights ago, three in total and the ill portents for the fortress.

As the group decides to investigate the crashes, Jacob decides to aid Manthrax in bolstering the enchantments.

The first crash sight is less than 3 hours from the fortress and their journey there is uneventful.

They come upon a downs air ship of unknown design, but Tesla recognizes it and its two pilots from the planet Mongo and as scouts for Ming the Merciless.  Their golden skin clearly marks them as Mong.  Both pilots seem very nervous and harried at the camp they've found and Hurricane while spying finds the beach less than two hundred yards behind them teaming with Giant Crabs.

As a monster hunter, his urge to hunt them overwhelms him and he clashes with three of the beasts.  While his first volley is effective, the monsters merge into a single, massive, monstrous crab and nearly cut him in twain.  It is only by calling upon the power of his father, Jupiter that he can slaughter the monstrosity and make an escape.

The surviving Mong pilots witness the battle and our approached by Hurricane's comrades.  They learn that some anomaly in the atmosphere caused there vessels to crash onto the island and that the crab seemed contain to the beach until dawn, when they scuttle over the sun and have carried off the other 4 survivors, one a day.  One of the Mong scan each member of the group with a strange device and is visibly shaken by what it says about Tesla.

Both pilots draw their blasters on Tesla, realizing he's a tellurian and Beck manages to slaughter them both.  Tesla then uses an alien artifact to repair part of the damaged craft and use it's sensors to locate the other crash sights.

While he works on this, across the river, the others spy Godzilla moving off and submerging into a lagoon, one of the crash sights.  He tells them that they need a component from one of the other sights to get the ship off the ground.

The group decides to set out on foot for the final sight and after moving through the massive forest and into grasslands, crest a hill above the last ship.

Here six Mong have made camp in the tall grass.  The group is trying to decide a plan of action, when the realize that several Mong are pointing towards them.  It is then that the group notices a huge shadow coming upon them on the ground and dive for cover, moments before Rodan swoops past.  When they rise to their feet, they see that the Mong have hidden amongst the tall grass.  Unsure of how to proceed, they are ambushed and taken prisoner by the Mong.

The group is brought to the camp sight and are interrogated by the Mong, who are guarded but not aggressive.  Tesla manages to convince them that they've been to the first crash sight and he can help them locate the second.  However, just then Rodan swoops in from behind and snatches four of the Mong survivors in one it's powerful talons.  The group and the two Mong make a stand as Rodan quickly banks and Hurrican and Lukens and the Mong Captain are snatched in its other talon.

The group boards the air ship and flies after the monster, but they are snatched from the sky and sent hurtling toward the ground by Kong.

It is then that Koenig's spirit attacks Jacob and Manthrax, trying to take over the raccoon's body.  Jacob realizes that the nazi has taken control of Kong's body, as well!  He uses magic to grant the group a boon in fighting Kong.

Rodan, seeing the massive ape lands, killing the Mong and allowing Hurricane and Luken to escape.

Kong smashes the air ship, but is attacked by Becker and Bachman.  Becker manages to cut off several of the ape's fingers on it's right hand and Bachman climbs the monster and attacks it's neck.

Rodan launches itself at Kong with Hurricane latching onto it's leg as it takes to the air.

Kong hurles Becher into a huge tree and the Barbarian taps into a past life and is transformed into hulking, green beast.  Kong snatches up Bachman, but Tesla furiosly attack the ape's mind and it's right eye explodes.

As Rodan is about to smash into Kong, Becker launches himself like a bullet and pierces Rodan's hide, exploding out the other side.  Hurricane, unfortunately is smashed between Rodan's corpse and Kong, who has been knocked over by the dying winged monster.

Jacob managed to not only force Koenig back into Kong's body, but trap him there and Becker tore out the ape's heart, seeling the nazi's fate.

The group manage to lick their wounds and use Jacob's magic to rest and heal up, before finding the final crash sight and finishing the repairs on the Mong scout ship, preparing to leave Monster Island, hopefully once and for all.

DnD Next Concept Art

Joseph Bloch, over on Greyhawk Grognard, posted a link to a Deviant Art page with DnD Next concept art from the design frim, Conceptopolis.

I like the concepts of the monsters, but feel like the racial concepts are bit too stylized for my tastes.  They remind me of several different CGI kid's movies, like Paranorman.  That isn't a bad thing though.  If the art appeals to younger players then I give them two big thumbs up.  A 40 year old existing player of DnD shouldn't be their main target audience.  Here is the page.

WotC is Reprinting AD&D 2E

This product listing on Wizard's website shows the forthcoming reprint of the ADnD 2E Player's Handbook (and at the bottom of the listing links to the DMG and Monstrous Manual).  They all release at the end of May.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

R.I.P. Lynn Willis

Chaosium announced yesterday that Lynn Willis, the mastermind behind the entire Call of Cthulhu RPG line for many years, passed away.

He co-wrote Masks of Nyarlathotep with Larry Ditillio (of Reals Ghostbusters cartoon fame).

He will be missed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dead AGE: Focus & Weapon Groups Lists (UPDATED)

Since I'm hacking the Adventure Game System in a modern setting, I needed new Focuses (Skills).

So I promptly raided Vampire: the Masquerade 2nd Edition & 20th Anniversary Edition, plus Dragon Age.

Here is what I came up with:
Academics (CUN)
Acrobatics (DEX)
Athletics (DEX)
Awareness (PER)
Computer (CUN)
Drive (PER)
Initiative (DEX)
Intimidation (COM)
Investigation (PER)
Larceny (DEX)
Law (CUN)
Medicine (CUN)
Occult (MAG)
Persuasion (COM)
Religion (CUN)
Repair (PER)
Science (CUN)
Seduction (COM)
Self-Discipline (WIL)
Stamina (CON)
Stealth (DEX)
Streetwise (PER)
Subterfuge (COM)
Survival (CON)
Technology (CUN)

Each Character chooses 9 Focuses from the list. One Focus is rated at +3, instead of +2.  One Focus gets a Novice Talent that allows a Reroll on a failed roll, but the second total must be used.

Weapon Groups are:
Assault Rifle

Each Character can choose up to 3 Weapon Groups at Character Creation and spend a Talent to gain 3 More.

All Characters start with 2 Talents at 1st Level.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

On Being a Gamemaster: Player Bickering

Last Friday, I played in John W.'s amazing Kansas City by Gaslight (powered by the Iron Kingdom RPG).  John's group has been playing together for several years.  They're an imaginative sort and have lots and lots of ideas.  He normally runs with no less than 8 players.

Part of the reason I don't play every week is that I know how tough it is to manage that many players.  But his game is so awesome that it's hard for me to sit out for too long.

His group, like so many, sometimes need some organization and I took that role upon myself about half way into the session.  I asked if anyone minded and no one seemed to.

As we were about to hit a complex combat that involved storming a heavily armed house and trying not to get potential hostages killed, I became the de facto field commander.

As an aside, one of the players, a teenager I'll call Brody often "wanders off" in an encounter.  Its not cowardice or poor planning, he just views his role in a battle...differently, I don't think he sees the need for teamwork and places his survival high on the list of goals.  Its not a bad choice, but with so many players, encounters can be very dangerous and John W. is a very SMART GM.

John W. is the type of GM who lets you earn great rewards after overcoming greater risks.  In my experiences he understands the player's resources and challenges them to use them.  So as a group, we were keen on utilizing all of our resources to not only survive the battle but free the hostages with no harm done to them.

As Brody's turn came up, I explained that another player with a lower initiative had a "knock out bomb" and he needed to hold his action and not go into the room to attack so the bomb didn't affect him, as well.  He not only didn't hold his action, but the way he answered me when I questioned him about it felt like he was disrespecting me.

Later, as we moved to the second level, instead of joining us he decided to aid a fallen player who was in no real danger.

Now, I sharply chastised him for this decision and then foolishly wounded an innocent, due to brash (fueled by my frustration) decision making.  (Thankfully, John W. allowed me to use a Feat point to change that I hit the victim with the "flat of blade".

However, we were victorious.  But I was pissed.  I moved away from the table as we broke for the night, not out of anger toward Brody now, but at myself.  My emotions were causing conflict at the table.  What's worse, the person I was conflicted with was a 17 year old kid.  Even if he was "disrespectful" to me, what would my "righteousness" achieve?  I'm 40, its my job to show maturity and lead by example.  Not argue with people about the "right way to play".

I quietly waited apart from the others and calmed myself down and then Brody approached me.  We communicated about what happened and I apologized for my behavior.  I calmly explained that in a fight, John W. accounted for all of our resources and I need his in that fight.  I explained my point of view and honestly explained that I got defensive because I felt he disrespected me.  He explained that wasn't his intention at all and we both learned something about each other that night.

Mostly though, I remembered that a game, a mission, or a PC isn't worth battling a player, who I should be using positive messages to share from my longer experience as a gamer.  And it's ok if he's got different ideas.  The worst that would have happened is that my character died.

I also took some moments to explain that my role as an organizer wasn't an attempt to "be the boss" and was happy to find out that the whole group didn't mind my tactical input.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Pathfinder Online Funded!

Over on Kickstarter, Goblin Works funded their accelerated release of Pathfinder Online.

While, a classless, leveless approach sounds exciting in an MMO, its seems to miss the point of its inspiration, but I wish them well.  Ok, mostly, I'm not fan of Ryan Dancey, but a huge fan of Paizo.

Dead Age Episode 1

The Cast
Rick Shaw - Half Zombie Philosopher (3rd Level Rogue)
Detective Terry Gamble - Off Duty Cop (3rd Level Warrior)
Matthew "Mr." Mann - Super Soldier (3rd Level Warrior)
Captain Lewis - Homeland Security Field Agent (3rd Level Warrior)

New Edison's Starling, Massachusetts' campus is only a few years old and a key plan to rolling out human testing for the numerous pharmacological projects they bring to market each year.

On a quiet saturday afternoon, Terry was picking up some extra money by working security at the Starling Campus, teamed with a company man named Harry Samuels.

Rick was part of "Group 7", earning money as a human guinea pig and was one of 8 others receiving treatments that afternoon on the secure 4th floor.

Mr Mann was in Sub-Basement 2 performing Classified Security Protocols.

Captain Lewis was posing as a nurse on the 4th Floor, trying gain intel on what New Edison was working on.

It was Rick, while in hour two of his "treatment" that caught a flurry of activity and screaming from the other end of the floor.  Poking his head outside he saw a doctor and nurse attacked and murdered by a berserk woman, who used her teeth to rip out their jugulars.  Rick decided to smash a chair in his room to use it's leg as a weapon and was surprised at how easy it was for him.

Going into the hall he smashed the skull of the "crazy woman" and was startled to see the nurse, with her neck ripped out getting up and lunging for him.  Rick quickly smashed her skull in as well, and began moving through the rooms dealing with the other "patients".

Lewis, unsure ow what was happening had taken cover behind the nurses station and was receiving orders on how to proceed when Mr. Mann burst up to the 4th floor.  Both men moved forward into the ward and were startled by the amount of death and gore.

They met with Rick, just as Harry Samuels made his way to the top floor and began to take notes.  Terry was given access to the security feed on the 4th floor, by Samuels and immediately made his way up.  He encountered an injured nurse fleeing the floor and told her to go outside and wait for the first responders he's alerted.

Once Terry had made it to the 4th floor he became very concerned for the situation and began trying to contact his police station, but discovered cellular and land lines were down.

As the group formulated a plan of action, they were alerted to screaming outside and witnessed several injured people brutally attacking the first responders outside the building.

They raced down to the first floor and secured the doors while bearing witness to the mutilation just feet away.

Mr. Mann decided they needed to head toward downtown and Rick decided to sneak out the back and get his beat up Ford Van.  The maniacs didn't seem to give him a second glance, and when he looked at his visage in the Van's rear view mirror, he was startled at how gray his skin appeared.

Rick easily parked his Van close to the door and they group sped off to the north, taking the Interstate.  Smoke was the first sign things weren't right coming from the southbound lanes and the Starling itself.  As they slowed toward a massive pile up of cars on the southbound side, they heard three ATV's speeding toward them and saw they were being driven by leather clad drivers with strange looking guns.

Rick decided to play chicken with the ATV's and crossed the meridian to the southbound lanes.  Two of the ATV's drivers weren't skilled enough to doge him and crashed, but the third swooped around his old Van.  Mr. Mann pushed Harry to turn around and pursue and several projectiles filled with a glowing red substance was fired at them from the ATV's driver.  Unfortunately, while taking aim for a third shot, he failed to notice a stalled car on the left shoulder and met his end in a fiery collision.

The group began to process what was occurring and Mr. Mann was e-mailed a video of similar ATV's driving through Starling shooting citizens, who quickly began to attack those around them like wild animals.

The group headed into town and discovered numerous buildings burning, with hospitals, fire stations and police stations having been targeted by what looked like bombings.

Rick drove the Van to a gas station, wanting to fill it up and get food.  While there the group met two young men who worked there, Mal and Juan.  Both of them explained how the city erupted in rioting after "strange biker dudes" began shooting the place up and then began "attacking the police."

While Rick finished up topping off his tank, he heard an ATV approaching at a slow speed and finally saw that it's driver had some strange device that emitted lights on it's tail and the driver was pulling nearly 40 "zombies", as he'd taken to thinking of them, right toward their position.

He alerted the others to the approaching horde and then plowed his van into them, moments after the ATV broke away and zipped down a narrow alley.  Rick managed to mow down quite a few, but his Van stalled and the zombies yanked him out the open driver's window.  However, they merely moved him out of their way and did not seek to attack him.  Thinking desperately, he used a handgun he'd taken from Samuels, and shot the Van's gas tank and the nearly half the horde were blown to bits.

Mr. Mann, Terry and Lewis all began opening fire on the remaining "zombies", mowing them down but at the cost of Mal who was overwhelmed running to help Rick.  Rick had been blown clear of the explosion and appeared fine, except for being hairless and naked.

The group and Juan began to look for a new set of wheels, when a sewer lid less than fifteen feet away rocketed up into the air and a monster stirred from it's filthy depths.

Something out of nightmare clamored into the dim sky, standing nearly ten feet tall the thing that faced them had six arms and stuffy legs, wired and tubes criss crossed it's pink skin.  A single, giant red eye gazed out of its small head and a mini gun grew forth out of it's left shoulder and back, an ammunition belt running out of its left leg and onto it's back.

The mini gun began to spin, it's high pitched cry cutting the eerie silence to the bone.

Friday, January 11, 2013

My Most Played Role-Playing Games

Akratic Wizardry has a post about a thread over on the RPGsite devoted to listing your  ‘most played’ role-playing games.  Here is my own list in order of ‘most played’:

1) Champions 4th Edition

2) Hero System 5th Edition
3) ADnD 2nd Edition
4) DC Heroes 2nd Edition
5) Vampire: the Masquerade 1st Edition
6) Feng Shui
7) Marvel Super Heroes (TSR)
8) 13th Age
9) Legend of the Five Rings
10) Mage: the Ascension 2nd Edition
11) Werewolf: the Apocalypse 1st Edition
12) Necessary Evil (Savage Worlds)
13) Rippers (Savage Worlds)
14) Angel RPG
15) DnD Next
16) DnD 4th Edition
17) Mutants and Masterminds 1st Edition
18) Brave New World
19) Mutants and Masterminds 2nd Edition
20) Star Wars RPG (WEG)
21) Talislanta 3rd Edition
22) TORG
23) Marvel Heroic Role Playing (MWP)
24) Star Wars Saga Edition RPG (WotC)
25) 7th Sea
26) Star Trek: the Next Generation RPG (Last Unicorn)
27) Deadlands (Classic)
28) Marvel SAGA RPG (TSR)
29) Cyberpunk 202o
30) Castle Falkenstein
31) WitchCraft RPG
32) DC Universe RPG (WEG)
33) DnD 3.x
34) Mutant Chronicles
35) Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying 1st Edtition
36) Rifts
37) Spycraft 1st Edition
38) Star Wars D20 RPG (WotC)
39) Lord of the Rings RPG
40) D20 Modern
41) Shadowrun 3rd Edition
42) Wild Talents
43) Robotech RPG
44) Godlike
45) Dresden Files RPG
46) GURPS 3rd Edition
47) Gamma World 3rd Edition
48) Call of Cthulhu 5th Edition
49) Elric 1st Edition
50) Conan 2nd Edition (d20)
51) Armageddon RPG
52) Fudge
53) World of Synnabar
54) Chill 2nd Edition (Mayfair)
55) Rogue Trader RPG
56) Atomic Highway RPG
57) Shatterzone RPG
58) Adventure Game Engine

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Torment Sequel to be set in Monte Cook's Numenera

Apparently the Sequel to the Planescape Torment PC game will be set in Monte Cook's Numenera.

Tres cool!

Beginnings Blogfest

Tim Brannan's post introduced me to the Beginnings Blogfest hosted by L.G. Keltner over at Writing Off the Edge.

The theme of this blogfest is to talk about why you started blogging in the first place, so without further ado:

I began Cross Planes earlier this year because I'd been lurking on numerous OSR forums and RPG.NET for years and had lots of thoughts on DnD and gaming in general. I also wanted an avenue to express and explore my feelings on the OSR.  And I've always wanted to write more and I decided to challenge myself to do so.

At the same time, I've always been an amateur game designer and I wanted an outlet for my fan created material.

Coincidentally, I returned to gaming after a 3 year sabbatical and my exuberance helped focus my enthusiasm and allowed me to express my half-baked ideas.

Luckily, this all culminated with WotC's announcement of 5E or DnD Next, and my luck of being part of the closed beta portion of the rules testing.

Finally, soon after I started Cross Planes, the First Loves Blogfest began and I found my stride at brainstorming ideas at posts and keeping up with the writing.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dead AGE: Frankenstein's Monster

Last night I ran the first session of my mash up of Dead Reign, Resident Evil and the Adventure Game Engine (that powers Green Ronin's Dragon Age Table Top RPG).  It worked very well.

I figured I'd share some insight into how the mash up works:

1) The core of the system is the Adventure Game Engine.

2) I used Hunter: the Reckoning's Skill List (removing the combat skills for AGE's Weapon Groups).

3) I've imported Heroes Unlimited and Dead Reign for Special Effects that are not Magic based.
So I have a Half-Zombie PC and Super Solder Experiment.

4) I've basically used the AGE attributes, switching Magic to Inner Strength as a nod to Palladium's Inner Strength Points.

5) If Magic becomes available to the PC's, I'll use AGE's system.  I'm contemplating a "ritual system" that allows anyone to try a spell.

6) I've only loosely applied classes.  All PC's have the same number of skills and based on their "role" are given a number of Weapon Groups corresponding to the Rogue, Wizard or Warrior.  Hit Points are also based on this decision.  Most PC's have at least 25 base Hit Points.  Currently, I'm not employing any Backgrounds.

7) PC's all have 2 Talents to start and I've allowed the selection of the Novice Talent of rerolling a failed roll, but you have to take the new roll, for any skill.  I've also allowed conversion of Weapon Style Talents to modern weapons.

8) Weapon damage and armor are an extrapolation of Dragon Age.

9) I introduced a 2 point Stunt that allows a head shot against a Zombie, automatically destroying it.

Overall, it was a blast.  The AGE system fell into the background and I think they're getting the hang of Stunt Points.  I'm looking forward to session 2.

I can easily see the AGE becoming my goto system.  I like using 3d6, having Zero Average Attributes, a simple Skill System, Talents/Feats, Hit Points and Armor reducing Damage.  Point based Magic is icing on the cake.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

13th Age Icons for Aquila [UPDATED]

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 Aquila setting:

The Archmage is Merlin, Cambion Wizard of Avalon.

The Crusader is Odin, the All-Father.

The Diabolist is Eris, Goddess of Chaos.

The Dwarf King is Vulcan, God of the Forge.

The Elf King is Neptune, God of the Seas and Guardian of Lemuria.

The Empress is Cleopatra, Vampire Queen of Egypt.

The Great Gold Wyrm is Jupiter, God of the Sky, Ruler of Olympus and Warden of Lemuria.

The High Druid is Frigg, Goddess of the Earth, Mother of Thor, Jupiter's lover and Patron of Lemuria.

The Lich King is Pluto, God of the Underworld and Ruler of the Dead.

The Orc Lord is Hitler, King of the Amazons and Furer of the Alpha Reich.

The Priestess is Nemesis, Daughter of Jupiter and Nox and the Avenger.

The Prince of Shadows is Ming the Merciless, Tyrant of Mongo.

The Three are Emperor Longinus Faustus, the Bardarian, and Lotus, the Triumph of the Roman Empire.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Aquila: Lemurians

4th Level Large Wrecker                    

Initiative +5

Psyclops +9 vs MD; 
Hit: 14; Natural Roll 16+: Lemurian can make an Invisible Strike against the target.

[Special Trigger] Hidden Strike +9 vs AC;
Hit: 28; Natural Even Roll: Dazed

Fist +7 vs AC; 
Hit: 28

AC 14
PD 18
MD 20

HP 108

Fear Threshold 18

Icons Saturn  (The Prince of Shadows).

Fan-Made and Powered by:

Changing my style...

So I think this is the new look for the blog, at least this month.

Let me know if you find it appealing or awful.  Or have any feedback.


Aquila: The Procession Episode 2

Hurricane - 4th Level Demigod Fighter
Tesla - 4th Level Tellurian Psion
Fikrit- 4th Level Human Sorcerer
Becker - 5th Level Human Barbarian
Wolf - 4th Level Human Fighter

Moments after Thor shattered the Cloudship, Athena viciously attacked and both Gods vanished out of sight as they hurdled to the ground.

Fikrit, Wolf, and Telsa awoke in the leaves and branches of a gargantuan oak tree.  The day was bright and thought they had many aches and pains, all were whole.

As they got their bearings, they realized the area they'd "landed" in was a huge forest filled with massive trees.  Trees that were being pushed aside and snapped by something colossal moving toward them!

It was then they noticed that Hurricane & Becker had landed in a gigantic web with a huge spider closing on them for a meal.

Tesla's ingenuity and telepathy helped both men escape and drive off the giant spider.

The group slowly began moving towards the ground, feeling it a safer option with whatever was rampaging through the forest.

As they descended, they came upon half of their Cloudship and were comforted to find the mysterious monster had begun to move off, away from them.

Tesla also telepathic sensed the presence of a triumvirate of Lemurians nearby, and noted they should be avoided at all costs.

Nothing useful was found amongst the wreckage, but they did spy a man-sized squirrel and a large woodpecker that Becker slaughtered.  It was then that Fikrit realized where they were...Monster Island!
The island Jupiter and Hades created to entrap the spawn of the Titans.

The group further descended to the florest floor, an earthy realm of fungi and darkness.  As they sank closer to the ground, Becker spied a cloaked humanoid figure, quickly duck into deep shadows.  As Hurricane landed upon the ground a huge constrictor lunged at him and wrapped him in it's monstrous coils.

With team work, the group were able to destroy the serpent, but Becker fell too it's venom.  The hidden stranger then stepped forward to aid Becker, using healing magic to draw the venom from his body.

She introduced herself as a Druid, a student of Manthrax, named Lorelei.  Her features clearly showcased her mixed elven blood and she beckoned them to follow her to the refuge known as Verdisgris, where she promised shelter from the monsters.

AGE+Dead Reign=?!

I'll be starting a Dead Reign game soon and while I'd tried to work within Palladium's House System, I think I'm going to adjust the AGE system (from Green Ronin and powering their Dragon Age RPG) to use with it.

For quite sometime I've labored under the belief that Palladium's system finds it's "balance" in it's Skill system.  Regardless of OCC, RCC, or PCC characters all use the Skill system and their Percentages are fairly balanced (I'm sure to the Publishers, at least).

I think AGE is a good fit, because with Palladium's ranks improving at (mostly) +5% per Level, it's easy to treat them as Focuses in AGE (+2 to a roll).  I can then allow improvement of Attributes (I'll probably use Palladium's names) in the same fashion as in AGE (can't improve any attribute 2 levels in a row).

I'll have to basically import AGE's combat system, but that's fine by me.  The game I'm prepping has 2 to 3 players max so I think it will work fine.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Hello 2013

As a new year begins, I'm both happy and frustrated with the state of Cross Planes.  In less than a year, I've already managed 222 posts.  For several months, I posted over 1 message each day, but I've definitely been side tracked.

I'm also a bit down that my creative juices have been flowing less.  But, I'm glad that December managed 20 posts compared to 3 in November.

I'm prepping for Aquila and messing around with a Dead Reign game that may use Green Ronin's Adventure Game Engine.

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 ...