Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dead AGE with the kids

So, while my wife hung out with some moms in the neighborhood I ran my 2 youngest and two of their friends through the League of Shadows attack on Starling, MA (the Miskatonic runs along side it.

I uses a mix Vampire 3ed ED  + Cinematic Unisystem (for Hit Points and Damage).

Worked great!

Resurrecting Dead AGE

I really miss running my mash-up of Resident Evil, Nolan's Batman Trilogy, and Fu Manchu with a hint of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, known currently as Dead AGE.  I'd like to find time to bring it back.  Although I'm contemplating using White Wolf's Adventure or a hybrid of Storyteller and Cinematic Unisystem.

Hopefully, something will work out.

Closing Out June

Well my output hasn't been as strong this month, but summer is busy and on a family level we've had quite a bit going on.

I think part of the reduced output is a malaise that's crept in and frankly, I'm extra grumpy in the summer (I guess it's the heat and humidity).

One positive this months is getting the chance to play some board games on fridays.  I've learned how to play Elder Sign, King of Tokyo, & Castle Panic.  John W.'s friday group spent several weeks overflowing with players which forced several people off the table.  It was hard because two of those players were my kids and one was another young man around their age.  But the board games have proved a great addition to the gamescape.

It also has forced me, as a shop manager, to begin working out a system to allow space for everyone even if it requires more game masters.  My son, probably doesn't want to me to reveal this, but not having a spot at the friday game has been hard on him.  And I'll admit here, he seems to have been forgotten about by some of the people he's played with over the past year.  I know its not malicious on the GM's part, he's a young guy who doesn't have kids and not a lot of experience at running games.
Another reason I'm glad the board game option presented itself is because while it's my job to make sure the games run smoothly (meaning I'll step away from a game to make room for someone else), losing my spot made me feel like an outsider at my own store.  Thats something I don't want any of my customers or my kids to go through again.

The Jarlsburg game is going strong, but it looks like I'll lose two players for a period of time.  Fortunately or unfortunately, I have a surplus of players so I don't think it will impact our schedule.

Sadly, I've missed out on joining two Roll20 games.  One of them was, at least on an ancillary level, inspired by the Jarlsburg game.  I hope at some point to explore Roll20 more.

See you next month.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Jarlsburg: The Shamamalan Family

The Shamamalan family has been prominent in the academic and arcane circles of Jarlsburg for well over a century.

Dug Shamamalan was, until his untimely death last year, one of the most respected cartographers and treasure hunter on the entire continent.  He was a forward thinker and loved his wife and daughter deeply.  In some ways neither of them have fully recovered from his loss.  He was, however, uncertain of Grover and always kept his son-in-law at arm's length.

Rachel Shamamalan, oldest of the renowned Geff sisters, is a powerful sorceress and brilliant business maven.  While her husband was "out in the field", she made a business out of his discoveries which kept them well-funded for whatever distraction her husband wanted to pursue.  While she loved her husband desperately, she has a weakness for halfling men and strayed often during this long expeditions.  She was very distraught that many of her longtime friends within the city turned a blind eye to Dug's murder.  The group of Ironcloaks who helped solve his murder has garnered her support and she has become a frequent ally for them.

Phoebe Shamamalan-Drune had the misfortune of losing her husband, Grover, and her father within the last several years.  As a young woman, Phoebe chose to study at the Hexenschule and is a very adept Wizard.  She met Grover, who was copying illuminated manuscripts in exchange for doing research at the Hexenschule.  After they married, they split their time between Jarlsburg and the Duchy of St. Cuthbert.  The couple never truly recovered from the disappearance of their daughter, Shay, within the Wraithwood.  This tragedy led them to stay permanently in Jarlsburg and Grover took ill a few years later.  Phoebe spent many years caring for him and still grieves for Shay.  After becoming a widow, Phoebe moved back in with her parents and has turned her attention back to her magical pursuits, but has attempted to move on from her past and has developed a reputation for being lascivious.

Grover Drune was the son of a smith and the seventh son of a seventh son.  He had a passion for legends and lore and was a talented artist and musician.  He chose to run away from home at thirteen to seek the answers to the many legends his mother read to him as a boy. He found work illuminating manuscripts in exchange for access to the Hexenschule's library, where he met his wife.  He was unaware that the Head Librarian Stanis Clurk, was tracking his research and that there was growing concern about what his true motives were.  However, before the school decided to take action, his daughter disappeared and the couple moved away.  When Grover took ill, many wise and powerful magic users were contacted to aid his malady, but all were baffled by his condition.  The last person to visit him, three days before his death, was High Inquisitor Lot.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dragon Kings

Timothy Brown, one of the original developers of Dark Sun is developing Dragon Kings as a "spirtiual successor" and is even reteaming with Brom to do it.

I was a hug Dark Sun fan and hope this works out.  In my wildest dreams it was use the Archmage Engine that drives 13th Age.

Check it out.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Things Have Been Quiet. Too Quiet.

Sorry, for the slow down in posting.  Work has been crazier as I have reengineered how we approach internet sales.

We had a milestone session in my Jarlsburg game and closed down one chapter and will be starting on another.  If memory serves me, we're getting closer to the game being one year old.  I'm not sure of the exact date, but it's coming up eventually.

It was wonderful to see a few of my players dress up for the session and also provide food and beverages.  I've got great players ranging from 9 to well, older than 29.

Tony W.'s DnD game is something unlike anything I've ever played in...we're are the craziest, most incompetent group of Murder Hobos I've ever seen.  Last night an NPC was abducted and urinated on because he....left an Inn.  I'm sure we'll star in an RPG.NET thread someday.  But it's fun as heck.

I'll try to get things back on track this week.

Oh, one more thing, my son, youngest daughter, wife and I got our Yellow Belts in Tae Kwon Do.  I can't recommend this family activity enough.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Final Judgement (+3 Vorpal Battle Axe)

Final Judgement

Legendary Dwarven Battle Axe
Wielded; Weight 6 lbs.

Beacon: On command, this item sheds bright light in a 10-foot-radius sphere. Darkness within 10 feet of the sphere of bright light becomes dim light. Speaking the command word again douses the light.

Painful: The bearer experiences a lingering ache while wielding the item or has a flash of pain when activating one or more of its properties. The pain has no other adverse effects.  
Property: You gain a +1 bonus to the attack rolls and the damage rolls you make with this battle axe.

Property (Attuned): The sword’s bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls increases to +3. Attacks you make using this weapon ignore slashing resistance.
     Whenever you score a critical hit with this weapon, make another attack roll against the same target. If you hit again, the target takes 6d8 extra damage. If this second attack is a critical hit and the target has 150 hit points or fewer, you lop off its head, killing it instantly. If the creature doesn’t have a head, you instead chop the creature in half, with the same lethal result.   

Rarity: Legendary.

Monday, June 17, 2013

For Father's Day I Saw Man of Steel...

...And I LOVED it.  To me, it was at least as good as Avengers and is the first time I've actually ever found the character truly interesting and someone I could relate to.  There are moments where I feel true pain for this invincible, godlike being.  That's impressive storytelling.

Amy Adams as Lois Lane is the first time I'ver like the character.  EVER, though I could've used a bit more of her.

And Zod is brilliant, not only is Michael Shannon a great actor, but Zod's motivation, his essence, his soul is well crafted and you can understand him.  Part of me would have loved to see a teaser of Luthor though.

I will say don't waste the money on 3-D.  And I could've used without the "shaky cam".

Go see it, if you can!

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Dweller for 13th Age

The Dweller

The elves have always said that the land remembers.
But some sites are scenes of such horrific atrocities that the land must amputate all of the brutality and depravity to keep madness at bay.  It's in this cauldron of torment and violence that a new being is born.  One that only knows the trauma of it's malediction.  And so it waits, even as the land grows lush and inviting, healthy and pure; to unleash the carnage and terror that gave it form.

4th level wrecker [ELEMENTAL]
Initiative: +7
Fear Threshold: 18

Axe +9 vs. AC—14 damage

Natural roll of 16+: Up to 3 nearby enemies take 2d6 damage.

C: Go Berserk +8 vs. PD—10 damage

Carnage:  Once per battle, the Dweller may deal automatic damage equal to the Escalation die x 3 to all nearby enemies.

AC 20
PD  14                              HP 65
MD 18

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Back This: Rogue Planet by Lizard

I've been a fan of Ian "Lizard" Harac's work since Iron Lords of Jupiter in Dungeon Magazine and I think a Sword and Blaster novel from him will be the bees knees.

Back this sucker, now!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Battle Beasts Tuesday: Sledgehammer Elephant for D&D Next

Sledgehammer Elephant

Large Humanoid

Armor Class 19

Hit Points 51 (6d12+12) 

Speed 20 ft.

Str 16 (+3)     Dex  10 (+0 )    Con 17 (+3)
Int  14 (+2)    Wis    9  (-1)     Cha  11  (+0)

Alignment lawful
Languages common, pachyderm

Big & Tough:  Sledgehammer Elephant has advantage on any Constitution or Strength checks.

(Optional) Heart of Water: Sledgehammer Elephant is vulnerable to wood damage.

(Optional) Riptide: Sledgehammer Elephant is resistant to fire damage.

Melee Attack—Hammer Fist +6 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one creature). 
Hit: 10 (1d12+3) water damage.

Ranged AttackRocket Baton +2 to hit (range 60 ft./120 ft. 5 ft.) 
Hit: 6 (2d4) water damage


Level 4                      XP 250

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Jarlsburg: Ranks of the Ironcloaks & Silvercloaks

Footman or "Troll" (Usually a Footman maintains this rank for a minimum of six months, essentially it is the Watch's Academy)

Watchman or "Ironcloak" (A minimum of 16 per Shift per Precinct)

Inquisitor or "Silvercloak" (Rumors persist that there are only 13 Silvercloaks at any one time, the truth is highly classified)

Constable or "Bobby" (A minimum of 4 per Shift per Precinct)

Sergeant (A minimum of 2 per Shift per Precinct)

Inspector (A minimum of 2 per Shift per Precinct)

Deputy or "Barney" (1 per Shift per Precinct)

Captain (1 per Precinct, oversees the Footman, Watchman, Constables, Deputies and Sergeants)

Chief Inspector (1 per Precinct, oversees the Inquisitors and Inspectors)

Commandant (Oversees 4 different Captains)

Watch Commander (Currently Lady Selena Higgs-Boson, oversees the Commandants)

High Inquisitor (Currently Lot, oversees the Chief Inspectors, but maintains direct involvement with all levels of the Inquisition)

Commissioner (Currently Sir Tank Malta, oversees the Watch and the Inquisition*)

*Doesn't truly oversee anything, it's purely a political post that the Watch Commander has to deal with, since the most a Commissioner can expect from Lot is a threat on their life.  Sir Malta was a high ranking and decorated officer in Jarlsburg's Nerium Legion and he trusts Lady Higgs-Boson to maintain her duties without his interference.  He's aware that Lot has barely recognized his presence both times they have met, but understands that questioning Lot would only interfere in the man's responsibilities.  Tank is also keenly aware of the rumors that three separate Commissioners have been removed from the post, and lost their lives in the process, by the High Inquisitor's hand.

Sandy Petersen's Cthulhu Wars Kickstarter

The original CoC Keeper himself, Sandy Petersen has a Kickstarter for a new board game called Cthulhu Wars.  Check it out here.

Friday's D&D Next Playtest Packet

While I wasn't expecting the changes to the DnD playtest being discussed in Legends and Lore, I'm still disappointed we didn't see them.

I think this version was to bring the game in line with next week's Free RPG Day event and to give us something to keep us occupied with until the next packet timed for Gen Con (and to be sold there).

I like what I'm seeing, but it's hard to read about a game your not playing yet.

While my patience is being tried, I sill have faith in the crew at WotC.  However, if your growing very impatient and Pathfinder or an older version of DnD isn't your thing, definitely check out 13th Age, if you preorder you get the finished PDF immediately and it's definitely worth the price of admission.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Battle Beasts Tuesday: Horny Toad for D&D Next

Horny Toad 

Medium Humanoid

Armor Class 19

Hit Points 59 (4d6+18) 

Speed 30 ft.; jump 60 ft.

Str 11 (+0)     Dex  15 (+3 )    Con 10 (+0)
Int  13 (+1)    Wis 11  (+1)      Cha  12  (+1)

Alignment lawful
Languages common, ribbit

Leaper:  Horny Toad can move 60 ft. when jumping horizontally and 30 ft. vertically.

Spring Attack: Horny Toad may jump to charge a target and gains advantage on the attack.

(Optional) Heart of Wood: Horny Toad is vulnerable to fire damage.

(Optional) Mighty Oak: Horny Toad is resistant to water damage.e.

Melee Attack—Fist Lance +2 to hit (reach 10 ft.; one creature). 
Hit: 6 (1d10) wood damage.

Melee AttackHeadcleaver +2 to hit (reach 5 ft.; aura 10 ft.) 
Hit: 7 (2d6) wood damage


Level 4                      XP 250

Monday, June 3, 2013

John Titor, Time Traveler for D&D Next

John Titor

Medium Humanoid (Time Traveler)

Armor Class 19

Hit Points 59 (9d8+18) 

Speed 30 ft. 

Str 12 (+1)     Dex  13 (+1 )    Con 14 (+2)
Int  17 (+3)    Wis 15  (+2)      Cha  14  (+2)

Alignment chaotic
Languages all
Deja Vu:  John Titor gains advantage on all saving throws.

Prescient: John Titor gains advantage on all ability checks.

Multiattack: John Titor makes one kung fu attack and one future shock attack.

Melee Attack—Kung Fu +4 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one creature). 
Hit: 8 (2d6+1) bludgeoning damage.

Ranged AttackFuture Shock +6 to hit (range 150/300 ft.; one creature). 
Hit: 14 (2d10+3) psionic damage


Level 9                   XP 2,400

The Caller for 13th Age

The Caller

Strange visitors who nest in abandoned mines and ancient tombs.  Sages debate wether they originate from deep within the earth or from distant planes, either way, their appearance is a harbinger of ill fortune and death.

5th level caster [outsider]
Initiative: +4
Fear Threshold: 24

Wing Buffet +10 vs. AC—36 damage

R: Ajna Beam +10 vs. MD—18 psionic damage
Natural roll of 16+: A psionic trap causes the target to be stuck (save ends).

Flight:  Callers fly at great speeds, often in a aura of brilliant light.

AC 21
PD 19                              HP 144
MD 15

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Skaven Skavenger for D&D Next

Skaven Skavenger

Medium Humanoid

Armor Class 13

Hit Points  11 (3d6) 

Speed 40 ft.
Senses dark vision 30 ft.

Str   11 (+0)      Dex 14 (+1)    Con  10 (+0)
Int  15 (+2)     Wis 16 (+3)    Cha   8  (-2)

Alignment chaotic evil 
Languages undercommon, common

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

Climber +5: The skaven gets +5 to all checks to climb and can move at it's full speed.

Filthy +5: The first time a target is hit by a skaven's weapon in an encounter, they must make a DC 12 Constitution Check or have their speed reduced by 1/2.

Melee Attack—Warp Blade: +2 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one creature). 
Hit: 8 (2d6+1) piercing damage.

Level 3                   XP 120

Jarlsburg: Mad Roland

Mad Roland moves throughout the city, barking his messages of warning and doom.  He's done it for as long as anyone can remember.  His favorite spot is on the corner of 7th and Dominic.

His most recent warning is thus:

Just as the Jarl is guided by Four Ministers,
Just as the night is ruled by Four Moons,
So this city will know Four Dooms.

Dread the Star, for it's light is filled with hunger,

Dread the Blizzard, for it's wind breeds corruption,
Dread the Bastard, for his words incite war,
Dread the Monk, for his touch means death.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Back This: Dogs Playing D&D Poster Print

Jay Babcock has a Kickstarter for a poster print of Dogs Playing DnD, a parody of the famous Dogs Playing Poker image.

Father's Day is coming up, so maybe I can talk my better half into going for it...

Elder Signs

Last night, John W.'s friday group (sans John W.) began playing Pathfinder, but the table was pretty full and two players didn't have characters.  Both players asked about playing Elder Signs (which they'd learned to play earlier in the week), so I opted to join them to make the table a bit more manageable for the Pathfinder GM.  The result?  Both tables had a blast!

And best of all, I learned a new board game (I hate reading board game rules), and a Cthulhu Mythos inspired board game at that.  I'm a big fan of cooperative games and Elder Signs is squarely in that category.  It's quick to play (under an hour when your still new to the game) and easy to learn.

I even think my lovely wife might enjoy it, as the dice mechanic is similar to yahtzee.

I can't recommend the game enough, even if your not a huge Mythos fan, but like a cooperative game with elements of exploration, magic, adventuring and horror.

I chose to play Dexter Drake, Magician and truly dug it.

I hope you get a chance to give it a try!

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 ...