A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My AD&D 2nd House Rules Part 4 - Combat Part 1

I decided to do Combat in a comic style so its easy to see what I explain. It took me nearly 4 hours and I took nearly 40 photos and didn't even do all the pages I could have. So the next week is just gonna be sporadic combat strips, culminating in an entire combat encounter done comic style with full explanations and such!

Why? Because I don't believe in myself. I believe in Kamina who believes in me! GO TEAM GURREN!

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The madness has begun!

Monday, August 25, 2008

My AD&D 2nd House Rules Part 3 - Character Class Modifications and Magic

Yes, I know Magic was supposed to be up next. But a little thinking (I know, I should stop having thoughts. All they do is make me miserable. If I quit thinking about things they can't anger or depress me. No wonder so many folks take to booze or other brain deadening things!) made me realize the core classes need a wee tweaking. Its simple, though.

Honest!

And an addendum to the above section:

Multiclassing: For a Multiclassed character to level up, instead of dividing XP, you merely add up ALL the XP needed for every class to level up at once. That is the XP your character needs to advance. Then you advance as normal PHB rules. If you reach a point where a class may no longer be advanced in, you no longer have to worry about it's XP cost.

Example: If you are a Wizard/Thief your XP requirements to level 2 are 2500, and 1250 respectively. Thus you need 3750 XP to go from Level 1 to Level 2.

(This is much simpler and easier than the normal method. Provided people can add and subtract when writing down how much XP they need to go from Level X to Level Y. No need to worry about partial skills and HP since it all advances at once.)


Class Changes:

Warrior Group: Any class or kit in the Warrior group may take Weapon Specialization if they have spent a Perk on it. (Note to self: Add Weapon Specialization to the Perks list when I make the printer friendly version.)

Fighter: Only class that can take Weapon Mastery levels from Combat & Tactics. Fighters also gain an extra weapon proficiency point for free with their every 5 level perks.

(The Fighter needs a little extra OOMPH. I like the idea of spending a Perk on letting the other other Warrior group classes and kits take Specialization if they burn an oh so rare Perk on it. Perks are like Feats after all. Except they aren't handed out like candy.)


Paladins: Paladins' Detect Evil is reduced to Detect Law or Chaos. They now only need a 16 Charisma instead of 17.

(Detect Evil is too powerful and annoying. So it gets a nerf. And 17 CHA to be a Pally is too high, so it gets a little looser too.)


Wizard Group: Wizards have 1 extra Level 1 spell they can cast. Unless allowed otherwise, they still may not be able to have more than 5 Level 1 spells to cast per day. All Wizard Group characters can learn as many spells per level as they want, and have no chance of failing to learn them. (See Magic for more information.)

(Wizards are the most unbearably BORING characters to play till level 5 or so when they can start casting Fireball and other impressive spells. Being a 1 or 2 shot artillery piece until then is kinda lame. The extra L1 spell gives them a quick pick me up where they need it, but goes away later on when they become nasty, scary, engines of destruction. The unlimited learning of spells is mostly a streamlining thing.)


Rogue Group: Rogues ignore Tables 27-29. Rogues unless specified otherwise may use any weapon they wish.

(The tables just add too many new modifiers to worry about and weaken the Rogue group in the long run and they are already the weakest class overall. Being allowed to fight comfortably in their armor, and use any weapon they choose gives them a little balance bump. Plus Basic D&D never really cared about armor or racial penalties/bonuses. And when it comes down to it, BASIC D&D IS TRUTH.)



Magic

Ok, so let's cover Magic now. Since I am feeling randy!

Its basically the same. Memorize your spells, cast em, and forget em. But it needs some hard and fast simplifying of a few things.

Memorizing: It takes 4 hours of uninterrupted rest to learn all your First and Second Level Spells. Another two for Third and Fourth, another two for Fifth and Sixth, and another two for Seventh and Eighth. It takes an entire 24 hour period of nothing but rest and study to learn Ninth. Note resting also includes meals, study time, ect. It is up to the DM if you can memorize while in overland travel of any sort.

(This is me streamlining spell memorization. Its quick, simple, and makes it easy to figure out.)


Spell Components (V/S/M): These are still required but unless the spell specifies a component that is required and its cost, you are considered to have the needed items "on hand". Somatic components may be used with any non ranged weapon the caster is proficient with.

(Again, its just keeping it all simple. Plus stylish. Sword dancing spell casting is just a cool image. For the Mage willing to spend a Perk on being allowed to wield a sword anyhow..)


Casting: Casting works as written though Segments now work as such: Whenever a caster begins casting a spell, it activates AFTER a number of units have gone in the turn that matches the number of segments the spell has. A caster in a Dexterity modifier order may start casting first to "speed up" casting by letting her teammates do something after as to let more segments pass. As Initiative is rolled at the start of the encounter and stays put till the end of it, this may mean a spell will take until the caster's side goes again. In this case (Usually for high segment casting times with small number of active participants in the fight...), segment casting time spells go off just before the caster's side has their actions again. For multi round spells, from when the caster casts a spell to when it is the caster's turn to do something again counts as a round for timing purposes.

(I wanted spell casting time to stay in because its tactically interesting and made for some fun strategic choices in the old AD&D Gold Box games that so inspired me as a lonely teenager. The way the new combat sequence works will be explained further when I get to Combat. But it seems pretty simple to me. You have a 3 segment casting time? You cast your spell, 3 other units perform actions depending on who is up next, then it activates. If its an 8 segment and there are only 5 total units in the encounter, it goes off before the caster's side gets to perform their actions. EASY!)


Learning Spells: As mentioned, casters can have as many spells in their spellbook as they want, and do not have to make a percentile roll to learn them. However, learning from a scroll destroys the spell on the scroll, and if learning from a spellbook it has a chance to destroy the spell in the book which causes the learner to fail to learn the spell as well. This is done as follows:

Learner's INT Attribute roll, with their roll number lowered by their INT modifier, and raised by the level of the spell. If the roll is successful, the spell is copied to the learner's spellbook. If it is failed, the original spell is destroyed and the learner fails to copy it over. As always for Attribute checks, a natural 20 is an automatic failure.

Example: Grozzo of the Northlands has a 16 INT, which is a +2 modifier. He wishes to learn Ice Storm from Doug. Ice Storm is a Level 4 spell. Grozzo rolls a 14, lowered by 2 for his modifier (or you could say his INT is raised by 2 for the INT check. Same difference!) for a 12. The spell RAISES his roll by 4 to a 16 and he succeeds in copying the spell over.

(This is a quick and fair way of learning spells, AND it keeps rampant spell trading in check. With multiple characters all being able to learn unlimited spells people will be a tad greedy and protective, especially at the higher levels. Which is as it should be!)


Banned Spells: Reincarnation, Raise Dead, Resurrection, Detect Evil

(Death is mostly permanent in my games. Its harder for characters to die given my HP rules, but losing a friend should be a terrible event, and not just an annoyance. Outside of Wishes and maybe Limited Wishes and other such powerhouse things, nobody escapes the Reaper. Plus it doesn't make sense from a storytelling and realism factor. So best to remove it altogether. Not too many Wizards are gonna go through hoops to cast Wish for some smelly adventurers after all!)

Wow! 2 more sections covered.

Friday, August 22, 2008

My AD&D 2nd House Rules Part 2 - Character Generation/Advancement

I am doing these two bits together as neither one of them is that complex or that complicated. Or that long. However, some of my decisions are also based on the campaign style I plan to run, which is "troupe" style. A reminder that I will probably alternate between AD&D 1 and 2 terms for the core 4 classes.

The basics of character generation are the same. 4d6 take 3 highest, assign in any slot you want. However I am using the Basic D&D 2 for 1 deal with some tweaks. STR, DEX, INT, and WIS may have 2 points subtracted to add 1 point to any other stat.

(This is just quick, easy, and eases the pain of a really bad roll.)


Maximum Hit Points for 1-3rd level characters, roll from there on, but 1s become 2s.

(I don't like early level player characters dying to stupid bad luck. Max HPs for the first 3 levels gives them a little buffer, and the 1s become 2s guarantee a name level Fighter will have at minimum 42 HPs. In regular AD&D and D&D its just too easy to die! I would bet many people who love the idea of RPGs quit playing the minute they lost their first character. The Basic sets sold in huge quantities, possibly in the low millions. How many active RPGers are there today? Yeah. Heroic adventure doesn't mean dying to a house cat.)


Level 1 characters roll as normal for gold, all using PHB rules for such. Level 2-3 get maximum starting gold. Gear and equipment is taken from PHB/Combat & Tactics (Armor and standard gear from the former, weapons from the latter.) even if the character is from another world with specialized gear choices. In the event the class or race gets special equipment from their lands, they may buy it initially but will have to either have the skills to make replacement gear, or pay someone to do it for them.

(This keeps gear simple, but allows the massive choice in weapons from Combat & Tactics. For the racial and class stuff, this allows your Kender to have their Hoopaks and your Samurai to have their Katanas. However they better either know how to make their own replacements, or hope to heck they can find these rare weapons here in the Forgotten Realms. And for Krynn folk they will just have to get used to using gold instead of steel for money. And Dark Sun peoples are just gonna prefer nice reliable steel weapons and armor over the more primitive stuff on Athas anyhow. We can assume they have acclimatized to their new environment before they become PCs.


Common is assumed to be the same language throughout the D&D universe.

(If your PC cannot talk with other PCs why would they be there? This is just keeping it simple.)


Players get three XP levels to build their characters. This can be 1 3rd level, 3 1sts, or a 2nd and a 1st. Outside of special situations the player may NEVER control more than this many characters in the game, and all replacement characters upon PC death come in as this level. (So if your 9th level Wizard dies and he was initially selected as a 2nd level character, your new PC replacement has to be another 2nd level. If your 1st level character makes it to the same and had died instead, your new PC would be 1st level.)

(Getting people to play oldschool games on GASP! a weekday is hard enough. Most modules require 6 Player Characters. Having to sit around most of a game because your sole PC is dead sucks. 1st level characters are generally unfun to play. 1st level Wizards are generally unfun to play. This takes care of all of those problems in one fell swoop.)


Weapon and Nonweapon Proficiencies are used with the exception that ONLY Fighters may Specialize or use Weapon Mastery unless the class/kit specifically mentions being allowed to do so.

(This is because Fighters sort of NEED a little boost. And a Fighter should fight better than a Paladin who has other stuff to learn and do besides just shoving sharp pointy things through soft squishy things that scream and bleed!)


Dual Classing is NOT allowed, but Multiclassing is. Demihumans who single class may advance their Prime Requisite's bonus in extra levels beyond their maximum. This is only for Fighter, Wizard, Cleric, and Thief classes. (Thus a character with a 14 in STR, which is a +1 modifier, could be one level higher as a single classed Fighter.)

(Dual Classing is slow and complicated. Multiclassing is a nice option for the longer lived Demihuman races. The Prime Requisite thing loosens the belt of the already improved level limits from AD&D 1 and Basic to 2nd ed. I really don't care if Gary wanted things Human centered. Lots of people love these other races more than playing a Human. Hell, White Wolf has founded its own niche about people NOT playing humans for the most part!)


Race and Class selections: Any 2nd edition race, class, or kit may be selected provided the DM has the chance to look over the race and class first. From 1st edition Dragonlance Adventures and Oriental Adventures characters are allowed excepting the Orders of High Sorcery, Barbarians, and Ninjas.

(There will be more modified or disallowed choices as I see what my players pick out. The DL Orders of High Sorcery are too tied to Krynn, a little too complex, and the basic fact there is no way for them to be legally trained on Toril anyhow. Barbarians were always terrible in 1st ed AD&D as they effectively can't even work with spellcasters till 5th level or so. Ninjas are a wierd multi class thing that is again too complicated for what they bring to the table. I may see how Complete Book of Ninjas does it though and allow them however.)


Alignments for PCs are Lawful Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, and Lawful Neutral.

(I like heroic games. The lesser alignments are mostly picked by PCs in order to be jerks, and not to try to actually roll play an interesting character. Plus in a troupe system this eases up having to worry about one player's character doing things his other characters would not approve of as much. I would honestly prefer to just use Palladium's alignment system which is more realistic, has better guidelines and such, but daring to copy it would bring the wrath of Seimbeida's insanely protective IP policies, and would require more DM houseruling and converting for classes and modules. And my house rules are there to streamline and codify what I want to do with AD&D. Not to add more stuff that isn't needed.)


Until Name Level, PCs do not need to pay to train up a level, though they do need 24 hours to reflect on what they have learned with no serious interruption or in a dangerous position. For name level it takes one whole month, and 10,000 gold pieces.

(I hate training times and costs for advancement, but don't want DING GRATZ of an MMORPG either. We will assume that PCs are practicing and are actually advancing subtly all the time. Its just one day after a lot of rest and thinking things over they put all they have learned into action! For name level its much more important. You MATTER now. You can be a leader of men, a living legend. A land holding minor noble. This takes time and money. Its basically saying your PC is taking care of all of these things behind the scenes and it takes a good month. You get to know the right people, and do the right things. It should probably be more roleplayed than just handwaved, but this is better for troupe play or people who don't care that much. And some of it could still be collaborated between the DM and player for new plots and story hooks.)


At Levels 5, 10, 15, and 20 PCs gain a single perk. These perks are nifty abilities which make your character stand out.
These perks will include:
Fast Casting (Reduce casting time by 2 segments.)
Evasive Casting (Be allowed DEX bonus while casting a spell.)
Nimble Charge (Be allowed to charge without going in a straight line.)
Point Blank Fighting (Be allowed to use ranged weapons and pole arms in base to base fighting.)
Attribute Point Gain
Trusted Companion (A new playable character who does not get to take perks, but is otherwise a new PC to use. Starts 5 levels below the PC selecting this perk, though choosing it at 5th level gives you a 1st level. Must be the same class as the PC.)
Inherited Weapon or Armor (+1 Weapon, Shield, or Armor allowing for gear normally not found in the campaign. Can be taken multiple times to boost the same item.)
New Weapon Training (Allowed to use 1 weapon your class normally is prohibited from learning at the DM's approval. Must still take the proficiency to use it however.)
Shield Training (Either be allowed Bucklers, or gives larger shields +1 AC if already allowed to use shields.)
Armor Training (Allowed to use next best armor your class is normally prohibited from using without any penalties, or reduces Movement penalty by 1 square (or 1 inch or 5 feet..) for one selected armor type.)

(Players like mechanical rules to differentiate their PC from others. This is a simple, and not too overpowering way of doing so. It won't satisfy your average D20 Fighter Playing Powergaming Feat Fiend, but its enough for most folks I hope! Plus the ten I chose add some logical realism to AD&D and its sometimes silly class equipment restrictions without being silly.)



Well, there we go for installment number two! Next time: Magic. Already we are 100 pages into the Black Book 2nd edition PHB. A lot either stays the same or just is ignored in my rules. My choices try to keep the game as close to what it already is, with only the fat and gristle removed. Combat and some of the adventuring sections are gonna be the biggest changed areas.

I am debating if I will change anything in the classes, mainly the Paladin's Detect Evil ability, and Thief armor penalties. Most likely Detect Evil will be nerfed a bit, and armor penalties for Thieves dropped entirely due to being more pointless meh. Not to mention Thieves need a little boost IMHO.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My AD&D 2nd House Rules Part 1 - Attributes

This post will probably be updated over the coming weeks, provided the campaign actually happens.

As mentioned, 2nd edition is being used because there is SO MUCH available for it, and its flexible enough to make it do basically what I want to do.

The foundation is really more Basic D&D than AD&D however. My actual goal is for these house rules to be the primary rules referred to in active play. Its effectively shrinking D&D to a DM screen level of actual required rules, with the books mostly reference for equipment, what a class or race can do, the spell lists, ect.

As I put in my house rules, I will try to explain why I am doing it like this.

For attributes we will use Basic D&D stats for bonuses.

Since we will be going over 18, I had to decide how I wanted the further values to go..

Attribute Number Modifier STR Weight Allowances
3 -3 6/8
4-5 -2 11/17
6-8 -1 30/60
9-12 None 45/90
13-15 +1 55/115
16-17 +2 80/150
18-19 +3 130/210
20-21 +4 180/260
22-23 +5 235/310
24-25 +6 335/410

Note: For Single Class characters with level limits the modifier adds that many additional levels to the limit.

With my allowances for other races and such, I had to allow the higher stats. This will affect the individual attributes quite a bit. Not to mention the chart above is the foundation of my house rules. Everything depends on the little chart. Its also great because it streamlines the slow and confusing chart hell AD&D had. Plus none of that FIGHTERS ONLY stat stuff. Fighters get Weapon Specialization and Mastery to make up for it.

Strength
Modifier used for To Hit and Damage.
Strength Value cross referenced with Light Encumbrance value in Players Option: Combat & Tactics for maximum carried weight with no penalties, and maximum weight limits with half move penalties.

This is SIMPLE, FAST, and logical. The Light Encumbrance weight is what could logically be carried around in dangerous situations without causing much affect on the adventurer. Armor is going to be the arbiter of what your actual movement is. Its weight counts against total gear carried as well. I had to eyeball and average the weights from the Combat & Tactics chart to fit my stat levels. This will also allow for the logical times people need to carry their buddies out of danger and other such things. All the other stuff is really irrelevant or can just be done via a stat check on a D20 with difficulty modifiers. (Bend Bars, Lift Gates, Open Doors. Cheap wooden door? Roll equal or under STR on a D20 with a minus 4 to your roll. Slam open a giant metal door? +6 to your roll. Ill explain more on this later on.)

Dexterity
Reaction Adjustment Ignored. Missile Attack and Armor Class Adjustment as chart above. Modifier also counts when character acts in combat.

Its simple again. The combat part will be explained in my combat section. But the short of it is Intitiative will be per side. However in each side you act based on your Dexterity Modifier. This mostly matters for my simplified spellcasting time rule.

Constitution
Only counts for Hit Point modifier and maximum number of negative HP a character can take before dying.

Again, its simple. There is none of that extra stuff to deal with. No Raise Dead in my campaign because its unrealistic and stupid. Only Wishes or Reincarnation will bring someone back.

Intelligence
Number of extra languages and number of extra Nonweapon Proficiencies at First Level.

Again, SIMPLE.

Wisdom
Modifier affects Magic Spell saving throw, and single bonus Divine spell per level. (Modifier number means what is the maximum spell level the Priest class spell user gains one bonus spell of. So a +3 means that Cleric has one extra First, Second, and Third level spell.)

This is just fast, simple, and happy.

Charisma
Modifier affects Reaction Adjustment if being used.

This one doesn't affect my game as Reaction Adjustment or Morale won't be used anyhow. Its something I would prefer to roleplay or logic out.


As you can see, I pretty much stuck to what Basic D&D used in Attribute bonuses, but with some nods to how AD&D does it.
I think the stats can be quickly memorized plus what they are good for.

That was pretty simple. Next time: Character Generation

Gaming Update for the Last Two Weeks

Sadly, this little installment is kinda dumb. Last 2 Wednesday Sarge's runs involved big 1000 point per player 3 players per side Warhammer 40K games. Last week's one had my side lose, this week the other way around. Except we never got to actually FINISH either game, merely get through 3 or 4 turns of amusing mayhem. Both games my poor Tyranids got shuffled off in a corner, only to much some Imperial Guardsmen and get shot at quite a bit. But it was entertaining and fun and that is what matters most.

Tuesdays have been odd. Last week was MagicDrew and myself mostly shooting the breeze. This week Starfury showed up and before gametime we had to drive to Groton to do car paperwork. Who knew me selling him a 13 year old car for 200 bucks would require so much effort? But as the bank was right next to Citadel Games, we stopped in and I saw many new and out of print goodies I wanted. But being more stingy and reasonable these days I merely chose 2 issues of Autoduel Quarterly, and 2 Battle Lore Expansions. Call to Arms, which is a new system of army deployment/selection for the game, and 100 Year's War which adds more historical units to the game, most notably Polearms. I haven't had much chance to play Battle Lore itself or read the new expansion rulesbooks in depth, but they look pretty cool.

Actual gametime involved a couple games of King's Blood which is very fast and fun. Its speed Uno with a royal bloodline feel, cards that get placement on the table, and adorable manga artwork. Following that was the start of character creation for my massively houseruled AD&D 2nd edition Forgotten Realms campaign. Starfury started work on a character, MagicDrew seemed overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choice I gave everyone, and my NPC character got built rather quickly. A Mul Gladiator from Dark Sun sans Psionics or Dark Sun construction rules. I rolled some heat and have a 20 Strength. An 18 roll plus 2 for being a Mul makes for one heavy hitter. He will be the dependable NPC with the Polearm rampaging about Phlan's seedier areas in the days before the Time of Troubles.

But more AD&D 2nd edition stuff will follow in another post. I am houseruling like a maniac. Its closer to Basic D&D, but with as many AD&D options as I feel like using.

And people claim only OD&D is the D&D for do it yourself rules tinkers!

Now if Troll Lord Games would hurry up with Castles & Crusades Castle Keeper's Guide I could have my ideal D&D without having to make it myself.

But I need lots of race and class options that right now 2nd ed provides without the annoying stuff I hate in 3.x.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Canon and Rules as Written

Over at http://grognardia.blogspot.com/2008/08/muddled-and-confused.html the writer is doing a series of posts about the covers and to a lesser extent the content of the entire D&D corebooks line since Original D&D. In the comments section a discussion about freedom vs "following the book" has come up. I am reposting my thoughts from that because its some rather important things I think most people really should heed when running and playing in an RPG. It it seems a little jumpy its taken from the discussion in the blog post above. I cut and pasted my parts I thought were worth saving and sharing.

I've always been a "fluff" gamer. Gimme the information overload (yet keep the rules simple, streamlined, and elegant!) on the setting, the peoples, the world.

Then I can gleefully use it or twist it into whatever horrible pretzel shape I choose.

Cool players won't mind. I've thrown Innsmouth pretty much as written (outside of automobiles anyhow) into Dragonlance and the big DL fan didn't complain a bit.

My players gave me a statement of truth: You are the GM.

Obviously you have to make it logically fit, but any good GM can use or change anything he wants to fit his campaign world.

I guess I am wierd when it comes to D&D. I consider Mentzer Basic THE book any new RPGer should pick up. (The only game that could be better is D6 Star Wars, which might be one of the best RPGs ever made, even if it gets wonky at high power levels. Call of Cthulhu is in the best ever running too, but its NOT a novices game at all.)

Even though I am not very fond of the old school D&D mechanics in general, I absolutely adore the "feel and charm" of AD&D1, and the worlds and fluff of AD&D2.

OD&D I own all but the Gods book, but I don't see the point in a toolkit. Mainly because I end up with something like Castles & Crusades anyhow.

Even if my next campaign will probably be AD&D2 with Basic stat advances and almost every race and class from both AD&D editions. A little from Skills & Powers Combat, a little from Battlesystem 2, a little from Rules Cyclopedia...

Now if only the Troll Lords would do a big book of races and classes so I could just start converting classic and neo classic modules over.

I think its more gamers than the books who sort of enforce this behavior, though I cannot disagree that the later era RPGs tend to push this sort of thing subtly.

Its funny how the same audience who insist on writing fanfic and fanart, much of which is rather... deviant shall we say have trouble with any level of freedom or change.

I've even seen people in fan circles insist THEIR totally unsubstantiated and totally against canon source interpetations to be the correct one and then they proceed to verbally berate and harass anyone who dissents.

A lesser example I saw myself when I joined into a White Wolf game once. My character had a silver weapon, as he was from a campaign where Werewolves and Vampires were fighting together against really bad world destroying stuff. (I can't help it. I like people uniting against the great darkness. Its my comics and anime influences showing through..) Well I took my NPC into this game. When he was revealed to have said weapon the Wolf players in this game FREAKED OUT as if I had broken some great taboo. By their interpretation its mere proximity to their PCs would cause negative effects.

Yet by the rulesbooks it DID NOT. Here we have the other PCs pooing bricks and the GM is looking up to confirm. Once it was found I told the GM I would be happy with whichever way he wanted to run it as it was his game. I was the only one who seemed to be more interested in how the GM wanted to run things than the book or the group concensus.

FRACK CANON IF IT MESSES WITH YOUR GAME.

Gaming is supposed to be about fun. Its not a peenwaving contest. Its not a competition. Its sure as hell not a good way to pick up girls. (A good way to repel them maybe...)

If we just want to level up and not affect or change anything and follow someone else's lame-o story there are plenty of console RPGs available out there.

Why try to deal with scheduling and people conflicts and the time and expense to read all these blasted overpriced rulesbooks otherwise?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Wednesday Game Report

This week was another trip to Sarge's Comics for moving around wee toy soldiers and making pew pew noises. At least in a perfect world anyhow.

But I FINALLY got to play Warhammer Fantasy. 1500 points of Night Goblins vs 1500 points of Wood Elves. My poor Goblins, already afraid of nasty Elves and their pointy ears, (Except for Liv Tyler. She makes them feel funny...) had the absolute worst luck. They lost every combat. They failed every morale test. Their spells almost never actually worked. Outside of my Fanatics and the Rock Lobba doing some damage, my whole army basically did nothing and died horribly. When they weren't running the Hell away. It was a fun game, but a bad one for the little green blighters.

For a quick follow up game, we played a 1500 point game of AT-43. Therian vs Therian. I had my usual army, and my opponent had a 2 Storm Golem/2 Strider force. However, fitting Tiamat and the big strider in meant he had no Overseers (officers) in his forces other than Tiamat. I used my Tiamat as bait, and my Goliath squads and my Tiamat managed to take her out, giving me the win.

My playing and pimping helped one player grab the Warhammer Battle for Skull Pass set to go with some Orcs and Gobbos he already got a deal on, and its pushing Starfury who was there observing towards the Dark Elves who just got a new army book and some new models. (22 dollars MSRP for 5 Cold One Cavalry? THAT'S A GOOD DEAL.) I even bought a D&D miniature off of Starfury, cutting down what he owes me for the old car I sold him. I get a nifty Efreet model that looks like the pants wearing little brother of the one on the original AD&D Player's Handbook, and he effectively got his booster pack for half price!

I also grabbed the Operation Damocles campaign book for AT-43. I haven't had time to do much more than skim it, but its got some neat new special rules, the game errata, and a bunch of new scenarios to play.

Of course I now have Changeling the Lost thanks to a Borders 40% off coupon (and I personally blame Jess H, and the Connecticon Changeling LARPers for making me want to buy it. ITS ALL YOUR FAULT!), and a killer ebay deal for some 2nd edition AD&D books too. Quite a bit to read, and all of it purchased at a fine price.

And now with a Warhammer Fantasy player going Orc, I may finally put my Lizardmen together so I can play something different. The Warhammer talk is getting MagicDrew a bit more interested in getting his Vampire Counts all set up too.

I'm such a damned gaming instigator when I get the chance.

Now if only I could get dates this easy!

Hell Dorado and why we can't have the greatness..

As I have mentioned in a previous post, Hell Dorado is a skirmish miniatures game where 14-15th century Spanish Conquistadors and other factions of that same timeframe find a portal to Hell and decide to invade it.

Well, its a French game by a French company, so we English language miniatures fans have been eagerly awaiting news of an English translated book and US distributors.

According to this post by one of the lead guys on the game, http://www.conf-federation.org.uk/forum/index.php?topic=12309.0 , the problem is his bosses are skittish and paranoid about bad press because of the touchy subject matter. Which is somewhat understandable, but not too worrisome. This is hobby gaming. Few people know or care who we are, and your average teen and preteen is too lazy and uninterested for the most part in games that require reading, and building little toy soldiers.

I sent the good man a response with the hopes he could send it on to his bosses as an example of a customer who wants to hand them money for goodies, but cannot because they are worried about nothing at all. Here was my comments:

Sir, I utterly admire and respect your honesty in telling us what is going
on with Hell Dorado.

Ever since I first heard of the concept I was interested, and I have turned
on quite a few people to the game, especially given the MASTERPIECES that
have been sculpted and painted from this line.

Whenever I mention the game online to people and show them the models they
are instantly impressed. Even folks not interested in another miniatures
game in some cases would buy these figures to use in other miniatures
wargames.

A HUGE portion of the line would fit in and SURPASS any currently available
model equivalent for Games Workshop's Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 line.

Which also contains icky demons, some nudity, massive amounts of
ultraviolence and has overt and not so overt parallels to real world
religions, history, and politics.

You can buy novels of their stories in almost any bookstore in the United
States. I know science fiction and fantasy fans who read these novels
because they are the only "pulp" (Think Conan styled stuff!) books available
as most of the sci fi, fantasy, and horror section has been taken over by
female written novels that are largely pornography, except with incredibly
well endowed werewolves or other generic monsters taking place of the
dashing pirate or English rogue that women's historical romance novels used
to be so much about.

And what's funny is anyone can pretty much pick these novels up. A 12 year
old boy or girl looking for something to read after they finish Harry Potter
can easily get a hold of them.

I haven't heard a single thing.

Many videogames released with a Teen rating in the US have gore, violence,
demons from hell, or overt religious themes and nobody bats an eye.

While it IS true that the US has a loud and annoying contingent of right
wing fundamentalist nutjobs, few people listen to them, and largely anything
they rage against at least temporarily becomes MORE popular. Dungeons &
Dragons, Heavy Metal Music, Videogames. (Heck, your mention of Gilles De
Rais? A Japanese made videogame called Jeanne D Arc has him as a playable
character for huge portions of the game. Except he doesn't look anywhere
near as cool as the design you guys and gals came up with! There are even
Japanese videogames released in the US that have you effectively destroying
the CHURCH, if not God himself. Who usually tends to be an evil being out
to destroy us all.)

And tabletop gaming is VERY niche here in the US to the point its largely
irrelevant to anyone's radar to become any sort of target of outrage.

As long as the sexual content is low and the game doesn't denounce Jesus or
is racist, nobody is likely to care. Now the Saracen faction (who I want to
play so badly it HURTS) may cause some issues with the Middle East, but they
tend to be insanely touchy about religion anyhow as Europe has found out in
the last few years.

Feel free to pass this email on to your bosses and let them know there are a
great many potential customers that want to give money for your fine
products, but cannot due to their skittishness. And I am sure a few changes
in the rulesbooks could easily fix any potential problems without
disrespecting your team's original hard work.

I have helped get AT-43 going in my area of the United States and I would
love to do the same for Hell Dorado.

If only your bosses would let me and many others all over the English
speaking world.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Welcoming new folks to my blog!

With Connecticon over and my various attempts at promoting my blog I might as well make this a new hello sort of thing!

If anyone wants to see my collected photocomics, http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/transformers-funnies/136375-toyniverse-plot.html has them as they currently are. Forgive the odd errors in grammar or spelling you find. The earlier strips were done and the original Comic Life Deluxe files were deleted, meaning I would have to redo entire pages to fix one spelling error or expand a single text bubble. These days I try to keep the original files so if I see any serious mistakes I can fix them.

I try to edit myself better too.

On this here blog you will find reposts of various forum postings I make, reposts from my old 1up.com blog, various bits of semi emo whining, reports of what hobby games I played recently, along with musings on games, game design, and nerd topics in general.

I don't take gaming seriously. I take having FUN serious however. By that I mean playing a game and having a good time is the alpha, omega, and epsilon (or the Larry, Moe, and Curly if you will..) of why I game. Winning or losing isn't the point. Gaming let's me use my imagination and do things I could never do in reality.

For those of you into comic books, remember the old Sam Keith comic, "The Maxx"? There was a rather well loved section where our hero is doing some epic pose that goes into some way cool attack with the comment "For her, I can be.. A HERO!!".

Its kind of like that.

I also say nobody should be offended if I make fun of someone's favorite game or favorite creator or whatnot. I don't generally do it to be mean, its just my opinion. Hell, it would blow my mind if someone took my loser ass opinions and actually cared about them! Even in the niche interests I have, I tend to be the misfit.

The misfit of misfits!

It is what happens when you mostly grow up by yourself and spend a lot of time getting into things because you want to, and nobody else you know does all that much. Or you become the guy who gets everyone else to try whatever dumb ass new game you saw this week.

I turned quite a few people on my ship in the Navy on to Magic. I remember one guy told me "I thought Magic was just going to be ANOTHER stupid game you were showing off". He then became the type to buy 100 dollar rares.

I am like that. I get people turned on to games. I try to promote gaming. I spend entirely too much money on gaming. Even if by RPG.net's standards I am a cheap bastard who is TAKING MONEY FROM CREATOR'S POCKETS by refusing to buy new editions or complaining about 50 dollar full color hardbacks even though a 30 dollar black and white softback is all I need. (Though I would be happy to pay 35 for a nice spiral bound book. Too bad my only choices in that category is Basic Fantasy and Aeon/Trinity.)

But I love this stuff and I love promoting it. (Even if my dreams of getting gamers in Southeastern Connecticut to game and network and communicate with each other has proven to be an utter failure.) I got Rackham's AT-43 started at Sarge's Comics and I am already pimping Asmodee's Hell Dorado even if Asmodee itself doesn't want to release it in English. DUDES. ITS 14-15th CENTURY SPANISH CONQUISTADORS INVADING HELL FOR JESUS.

The concept sells itself. And the miniatures just add to it. Trust me. Go to the Hell Dorado website. Even in French its easy to find your way around. Go look at the miniatures and the preview figures. The monsters and demons are the stuff nightmares are made of. The Saracens are the Arabian Nights come to life. Their versions of historical figures both real and legendary are amazing.

See? There I go again. So many good games to play. And so many good ones to buy! I really can't write all that well. I really can't draw. I don't exactly have a movie star's looks. I don't have a golden tongue for talking. I don't have musical talent. But I can let some of the ideas in my head flow forth instead of just being dreams that don't get to be shared. I can use my imagination for something at least. Even if few people see it.

So you fine readers can expect to see house rules, musings on games, and even the odd photocomic story. Everything I come up with is mine, though if credit is provided I would love to see it used and spread around. Or hell, even turned to something that does not suck.

Feel free to post comments on my stuff. Feel free to contact me.

Connecticon Wrap Up Report Part 2!

Finishing it up!

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I hope everyone enjoyed this comic! Its been a while since I really went all out on a strip, and its so satisfying to create something, especially if other people like it too!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Connecticon Wrap Up Report Part 1!

That's right! I went all out this year and my report comic is mega huge! 7 pages and I am not even done yet!

But enjoy the first half and the rest will follow soon!

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Monday, August 4, 2008

LARP and Me.

I really need to thank the players, storytellers, and NPC players for this year's Changeling game at Connecticon 08. It was so kicky rad I just had to say thank you once more. Time for a long but not massively detailed recap, and a bunch of me feeling utterly not worthy at the majesty of megafun you fine ladies and gentlemen provided for me Saturday night!

First off, why I didn't ever do LARP before this event:

1: It seems dorky. Yeah. Its kind of goofy running around in silly costumes in public doing silly things.

2: Possibly illegal. One of the first times I got asked to LARP it was with a group who mentioned they had to look out for cops as they run around graveyards and stuff.

3: Some WEEEIIRD PEOPLE MAN. Its unfair stereotyping, but it does cloud your opinions.

4: Conflict resolution is usually STUPID. Throwing beanbags at people? Rock Paper Scissors? Hitting each other with pool foam tubes? DUMB. Maybe if there was lightguns, airsoft, or paintball, but you can do those without having to yammer on with the prince of Muncie. I love putting my wee toy soldiers on a battle mat or my Heroscape scenery or whatever and having my wargames where RP breaks out.

5: Mostly gamestuff I don't like. I am sci fi and horror as my big nerd on things. Most LARPs are goth Anne Rice wonderlands or immersion breaking sword and sorcery games.

6: I work weekends and evenings. Yeah. It ruins what little social life my sorry butt could have to begin with, and even makes it hard to tabletop game.

Now this week, my opinion was changed thanks to my LARP friends convincing me to give the game a try. It was a Changeling game. What sold me to at least give it a shot was the conflict resolution. Your stats and skills plus a randomly picked playing card.

Ok, that's kind of neat. And I like playing card mechanics in RPGs. Its a nice change of pace from dice. Its how I ran All Flesh Must Be Eaten in a sit down game many moons ago.

We were allowed to make our own PCs if we wanted, so I made mine up the day before. I had a negative opinion of Changeling as well, but I went in at least willing to give it a shot. I made a version of one of my pet PCs I have used in such games as Castles & Crusades, Car Wars, and Warhammer 40K. I would have much rather played a Promethean as I am a total fanboy for that game, but it wasn't on offer.

Because nobody likes Promethean but me.

I make him up and tweak his concept for this setting. Being our characters are in a local place in a modern setting, no need for costumes or whatever which helps with immersion. Even if its just in a large conference room at a convention. Some folks have their cosplay either as their character, or from their impromptu dealer's room trips. Or just for the con itself.

It starts off with us being gathered at some meaningless social gathering. OH BOY.
Even my friends are giving me a look of "Oh no. Boring disaster in the making." But some folks are more outgoing than others and a little RP starts happening and we get into character a bit more and sort of at least familiarize ourselves with each other.

Then the Storyteller gets things moving with reports of one of our upper leaders being dead. We split off and go find things out. Still just in the same room, but I can visualize it well enough. The ST does a great job of RPing the NPCs and we move on. The RPing gets a bit more intense as we work on what to do next and how to do it. I become one of the three big movers and shakers getting things done. (We would later find out the guy who pretty much nominated myself and the other proactive leader type did so figuring we would all get taken out. ) We come up with a plan and start putting it into motion. It leads to a combat situation and we described what we were doing and BELIEVED IN THE HEART OF THE CARDS. Except unlike terrible anime, it didn't always work out as planned.

But even the failures lead to a TON of laughs. (The only other time there were so many big laughs this con was in a rather disastrous Warhammer 40K battle where one of the best close combat models in the game got taken out by the worst. Its a minis wargamer thing...)

We took care of our problems, and as RPGs and stories go, it was merely the first step to more fun havoc and mayhem. Which we as a group dealt with. And pretty much AS A GROUP. Nearly 20 people, most of whom had never met before and we worked as a team. (Even the guy who tried to orchestrate our doom ended up becoming one of the gang. Post game he apologized for going from an evil sort to more good to get things moving in a way he thought it should go, but I thought it was great myself.)

We had a KICK BUTT TIME, and I ended up chatting with people from the group off and on for the rest of the convention and because of it, got to meet and talk with tons of great folks. I tend to be a quiet lonely sort whose life is pretty much work, 1-2 days of nerd gaming in the afternoon, sit around at home and waste my life on videogames and the internet. I don't get to meet people who share similar interests as me and talk about stuff I care about. Because of the LARP I did, and I found the game itself really fun.

My experience was closer to a sit down RPG with 2-3 times as many people, light costuming, and more roleplaying with much less constant GM supervision.

I WANT TO DO IT AGAIN. ASAP.

And now I want to sort of develop a little LARP myself. It could make a fun Mecha game. Either hybrid it with rules light miniatures play for the robot combat (TOYS FOR EVERYONE! HUZZAH! ^_^ ), or just as the LARP I played in, describe the actions.
It would sure be a nifty way to get people who generally shy away from the glory of big stompy robots to play in a mecha game. Either way the rules light approach and more people actually ROLEPLAYING as opposed to Advanced Squad Leader with robots could be really neat. Its making my neurons fire with inspiration! I even have the perfect setting for this. SO CURSE YOU AWESOME LARP PEOPLE! SEE WHAT YOU HAVE DONE! (But its mecha, and like Promethean I am alone in my love for it so it would just be a mental workout as opposed to something I would expect to actually see USED. Even if it would be totally RIGHTEOUS. Seriously. Sci Fi Channel 11pm-midnight Mondays as of this writing. Gurren Lagann. Giant robot action is AWESOME.)

I really regret not taking pictures at the game. When I do my post con report on my blog (see below plug plug!) I will have a gaping hole in my pictorial commentary done up in a fun and easy to read comic book style. (If anyone else happened to take pics PLEASE SEND EM TO ME!)

But for yall that were there as this youtube link says:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayF1T_CdGro

Yep. If I ever have a chance, first round of the tasty beverage of everyone who played this year is on me!

As to my tiny amount of regular readers? My full con report will be started sometime this week.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Wednesday Game Report

Last week I made the mistake of not bringing Warhammer 40K with me as I had a scheduled AT 43 game. Last minute my opponent got called in to work. Note to self. Always bring 40K if nothing else!

This week I wised up and switched out Warmachine for 40K. One player wanted a demo of AT 43 so I ran another 1500 points basic game with a couple rules shaved off to make things simpler. I ran the Therians against the UNA. The fight went well with my units taking heavy casualties, but in the end Omega Tiamat and her ability to regenerate won the day, though it was a VERY closely fought battle.

The demo worked so well he is now buying into the game and already has close to 1500 points himself. A deal with another player for his extra starter minis and a couple purchases and he is ready to go. And we are scheduled for a possible Warhammer Fantasy game next week as I brought up how much I have wanted to play the game but never seem to get the chance.

Most other games in the last few weeks have been a bust due to scheduling. However tomorrow is Connecticon and I have been busily preparing for it. People on the Connecticon forums mentioned some interest in me running old school D&D so I am gonna bring it along again and see what happens, though given last year, I doubt it will actually happen. We shall see though. I have a nice 1000 point Tyranid list for a Warhammer 40K tournament and my 1st edition AD&D Player's Handbook in the hopes the listed game happens.

It should be fun, and it looks like there will be more time at the con this year, and less scheduling insanities than last time. I'm not trying to do 40K 2nd edition this run, and looking back I am not sure I ever really WANT to go back and play that mess again. I have a blast with 4th and now 5th edition. I have a nice little notebook with lists of what I would like to do and when they take place, and I have slowly adjusted my sleeping patterns to assist in this.

Let's go for fun times with my fellow nerds!

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Southeastern CT, United States
I like to play nerd games! I am a nerd! Join our nerd ways at https://www.facebook.com/groups/112040385527428/