Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Quick Review - Dragon Empires Primer

Just got this as part of my Paizo subscription...it's good!! While the Dragon Empires Gazeteer was underwhelming when I looked through it, this Player Companion, makes up for it.

This is part of the Player Companion Series of booklets, coming in at 32 pages for $10.99.

I loved Oriental Adventures back in the day, 3rd edition didn't re-use Kara Tur as the base setting, they used Rokugan, AEG's setting for Legends of the Five Rings; While I love Rokugan the translation wasn't so great for 3rd edition. So far from what I've seen of Tian Xia, I absolutely love it, Paizo makes sure to include all aspects in their settings, and this preview of the full book is no exception.

The book starts with a quick introduction, and quickly moves into the races, while it doesn't include the images of the races like the gazeteer does, it provides all the player info for the five non-human races; kitsune, Nagaji, Samsarans, Tengus and Wayangs. What's awesome is the three feats for kitsune, that play with their shape change abilities.

The next 14 pages covers 28 different regions, with 56 traits!!! I have a feeling one of the most selected of these traits will be the Quain trait for the Quain Martial Artist. This trait gives a straight up +1 trait bonus damage to all unarmed attacks. On the same page will be the most contentious trait, Chosen One, which is the same as Rich Parents. Which is often banned in games, and not allowed in Pathfinder Society.

The next two pages present 4 new archetypes.

Lotus Geisha is a bard archetype. It's decent, but not a class I'd play myself, however it will make an NPC-perance.

Next is the Sword Saint, a Samurai archetype, however this is probably the ONLY samurai I'd play as they're presented currently, as I feel the Cavalier wasn't the best choice for the class, They're too horse related, so this one that replaces the Samurai's mount. Perfect Fit. Iaijutsu strike acting against a challenged opponent, with drawing the blade and delivering a devastating blow similar to a sneak attack, however it doesn't note the damage as being precision damage specifically. The other abilities play off the Iaijutsu strike, increasing critical confirmation chance, effectively causing a "dazzling display", and finally deafening their opponent.

The White Haired Witch (Witch archetype), this is a really cool interpretation of a classic myth. The class swaps out the powerful Hex ability, so it needs to deliver, and does it. The hair able to attack as a natural attack that does 1d4+Int damage, with a free grapple attempt, which also uses Int instead of Str in the CMB. This power advances with the character, the reach which starts at 5 ft, quickly increases 5ft per 4 levels, and adding additional maneuvers to the hair, including constrict, trip, pull and finally strangle. To top it off the White Haired witch gains rogue talents at 10th and every 2 levels thereafter!

The final archetype is the Yokai Hunter (Ranger archetype). Having watched the entire Claymore series last month, this one intrigues me. However, I would have made it an Inquisitor Archetype (see below for my conversion.) It's a good archetype, especially for a Tian based game, where you want to hunt kami, oni and ghosts. Favored Yokai replaces Favored enemy, basically just changing the favored enemy list for a ranger, with the addition of a check to identify the Yokai. Yakai Sense gives blindsight against identified Yokai. Resist  Yokai gives some nice resistances and and the ability to break enchantment.

Combat comes next. 10 new feats and a New Samurai Order, Order of the Black Daimyo. The feats are Blinding Flash, Disorienting Blow, Enhanced Ki Throw, Feinting Flurry, Hold the Blade, Improved Feinting Flurry, Quivering Palm Adept, Quivering Palm Versatility, Sleeper Hold, and Stunning Fist Adept. Of these I think my favorite is the Enhanced Ki Throw, nice to cause damage with the ki throw.

One of the last sections is the Faith of the Dragon Empires, covering the Major Deities, and some minor deities and philosopher. In addition the Moon sub-domain. (a sub-domain of Darkness).

Finally, Magic, the Arcana of the Dragon Empires. Only three items in this section, but they are all very Asian inspired. The Oni Bloodline for sorcerers. The Void Elemental School for Wizards and a Sorc/Wiz, Witch spell, Call the Void. The Oni Bloodline is my favorite out of the section, one of the bonus feats is Weapon Proficiency (katana), and the level 15 Oni Healing being the best.

Edit: Forgot to add the Honor Section, new mechanics for honor...pretty well thought out, however, I would add some additional entries. Merely being accused can cause honor loss, until proven innocent. Levelling false accusations can also cause honor loss, so there's definitely room for improvement; but it's a good start


Yokai Hunter (Inquisitor archetype)
Favored Yokai remains the same, replaces Judgement.
Yokai Sense at 8th level instead of 7th level. Replaces Second Judgement.
Resist Yokai at 11th level instead of 12th level. Replaces Stalwart

Monday, January 30, 2012

Gamesday Report & 200th post

The Gamesday was a blast, Not enough people showed for Traveller, however I was able to play some Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG...not the beta, the GM had an editing copy of the final rules, and they definitely seemed better than the beta rules!! Well done. We played a standard kill the kobolds/goblins game and bring back their right ear...

Not being constrained by good and evil in the alignment system, we decided to dominate capture and harvest said ears rather than killing them all for the ears. My character, being a cleric and chaotic was a real nutjob...Cujo the Confused...Got himself killed when he decided to relieve himself in the sewage filled room. The giant centipedes didn't approve. (technically it would have gotten 4 of the 6 players killed had he used the actual save or die rules for the centipedes..instead it did Stamina damage...my character had 8 Stamina, lost 3 during the surprise round, and then keeled over dead at -2 Stamina before he could react in the first round.) Ian picked up the table in the card room and then rushed the 6 kobolds from the secret passage...the magic user charmed one and I commanded another to surrender, the warrior killed one and the others then surrendered!!! Several great rolls in the final encounter really made it a cake walk....Especially since both the Warrior (played by an old-school player in his 60s, that used to play with his sons since he picked up the old red box for them in the 80s) and Sean who joined after he finished with the Pathfinder Game he jumped into, both got criticals in the final battle. All in All a GREAT time was had at that table.

What I like about DCCRPG is that it is designed to be like OD&D dungeon crawls, but it uses some cool table-related mechanics to change it up, and having a luck score is quite fun. The different mechanics for each class actually make the game REALLY REALLY interesting because they all feel unique, and not at all confusing. I love that the game uses the weird dice, d16s, d22s, d24s and d30s!!! While I still hate d20s, it's neat to see other dice being used!! I bet Game Science is giddy about that...I have a d16 that I used for Bloodbowl, I may just have to pick up DCCRPG when it drops in April. I'm glad I got to play during this Gamesday.

After DCCRPG, the boys joined MIB Robert and 4 other players in a massive 4 board game of FRAG!.
I joined on the third turn when I wasn't able to secure enough players to attempt to run the Traveller game. I popped in the spawn zone, rolled 4 on my move which was enough to close with Ian with the Chainsaw 2H+1D=3D, however I had also drawn the HUD (+1 accuracy), so I had two attacks....Fragged Ian, then used my teleport hack to get into one of those fun rooms with lots of guns and equipment tiles. Second Turn, Sean was close enough to close with, Fragged! picked up his flamer. Third turn, rolled a nice 8 on my move...closed within 4 squares of Robert....6 dice rolled 17 to his 9, 1 wound...+1 wound for no armor. Fragged!!, Second shot just for fun...Fragged Ian again...3 Turns 4 Frags, I win...Robert likes to give out prizes, So I got a "My Little Cthulhu" munchkin card and a Undead Task Force hat he picked up at SDCC last year.

Pathfinder Game that Sean played in...note: 3 girl players, 2 guy players!!! Epic!

Let the games commence

Still early in the day, the afternoon session all the tables were full

Savage Worlds Deadlands...wanted to play in it, but my table was downstairs, and I wanted to keep an eye on my stuff...

Brian Bialewski at the far left enjoying some gaming

MIB Robert running some Munchkins

DCCRPG Ian across the table, GM to the bottom right! Thanks for the fun game


Love this shirt!!! He happened to be our 3rd thief player...Thief of 3 faces.


Carcasonne, a family favorite


Didn't even know this game existed...

I believe this is Arkham Horror, want to try this some time.

Star Trek co-op game! Didn't get a chance to play that one either...definitely interested though

There might be another Gam3rCon Gameday in Spring...have to wait to see what happens...Watch this blog for updates!!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Gam3rCon Gamesday tomorrow!!

Here's what's planned for tomorrow...

Dungeon World - RPG
The town of Three Crossings has put up with the occasional goblin raid for years, but lately they've gotten much more frequent and organized -- not to mention dangerous. Not content to poach livestock and foodstuffs anymore, the goblins have started hitting merchant caravans, travelers, and even outlying homesteads. What are they up to out there? A handful of heroes have stepped forward to find out... before Three Crossings is overrun.

Pathfinder - RPG
The party is hired by The pathfinder society to escort a caravan to Diobel from Absalom. The caravan is secretly carrying an ark that was recovered from Osirion and only the party knows of it's presence, but they do not know what is inside it.

Dungeon Crawl Classics - RPG
You’re an adventurer: a reaver, a cutpurse, a heathen-slayer, a tight-lipped warlock guarding long-dead secrets. You seek gold and glory, winning it with sword and spell, caked in the blood and filth of the weak, the dark, the demons, and the vanquished. There are treasures to be won deep underneath, and you shall have them. Return to the glory days of fantasy with the Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game. Adventure as 1974 intended you to, with modern rules grounded in the origins of sword & sorcery. Fast play, cryptic secrets, and a mysterious past await you...

Dominion - card game
Dominion is a deck-building game in which the players compete to gather the most valuable deck of cards, representing a Kingdom.

Call of Cthulhu - RPG
Call of Cthulhu is a horror role playing game based on the Cthulhu Mythos primarily associated with writer H. P. Lovecraft. This particular scenario is set in the future, with the Players waking up from some kind of suspended animation with no memory of who they are, or how they came to be there.

Arkham Horror - board game
Players take on the role of investigators in H. P. Lovecraft's Massachusetts town of Arkham. Gates to other planes open throughout the town. If too many gates open, a powerful alien being will enter. Players must cooperate to stop the alien being from destroying the town.

Traveller - RPG
This is what I'm Running....

Werewolf - social game
Players are secretly assigned roles: either "werewolves", who know each other; or "townspeople", who know only the number of werewolves amongst them. In the game's "night" phase the werwolves covertly 'murder' a townsperson. During the day phase, all of the surviving players debate the identities of the werewolves and vote to eliminate a suspect. Play continues until all of the werewolves have been eliminated, or until the werewolf outnumber the townspeople.

Frag - board game
A board game the simulates the first person shooter experience.

Star Trek  - Card Game
In Star Trek [Deck Building Game]: The Next Generation, players take on the role of Captain of a salvaged Starship. You build your crew and deck and then explore the universe.

Ticket to Ride - board game
Ticket to Ride is a railway-themed board game where players try and build the most expansive railway across the US.

Outbreak Undead - RPG
In the days following the first outbreaks, as society crumbles around them, a group of survivors bands together to make a last, desperate stand, at a defensible house in the suburbs. Can they survive long enough to acquire what they need to get back on the road to the protection of a FEMA safe zone at the nearby Air Force base? And, to what lengths will they go to survive...?

Invasion from Outer Space - board game
Invasion From Outer Space, The Martian Game is a fast-paced game of fiendish Martians, Big Top Heroes, and SciFi Movie Action.

Pandemic- board game
Pandemic is based on the premise that four diseases have broken out in the world, each threatening to wipe out a region. The game accommodates 2 to 4 players. Through the combined effort of all the players, the goal is to discover all four cures before any of several game-losing conditions are reached.

Deadlands (Savage World) - RPG
Deadlands is a genre-mixing alternate history roleplaying game which combines the Western and horror genres, with some Steampunk elements.

Cosmic encounter - board game
Cosmic Encounter is a dynamic and social game, with players being encouraged to interact, argue, form alliances, make deals, double-cross, and occasionally work together to protect the common good.

Lord of the Rings RISK - board game
Risk: The Lord of the Rings is a board game based upon the game Risk, but set in Tolkien's land of Middle-earth. The board is divided into nine regions of Middle-earth taken from the three films.

Furt - board/social game
FURT is a befuzzling eruption of laughter in a box. It is a party game that defies logic and reason.

Star Wars Saga - RPG
It is the dark times now that the emperor and Dark Vador have locked down the galaxy. It is up to a small band of heroes to find and help a budding group of rebels if there is any hope to be free of the Empire.

Bang - card game
Bang! is a wild west-themed card game similar to a spaghetti western. Players secretly take on a role which determines who they must shoot before they get shot.

RPG Superstar 2011 and 2010 entries

(Note: due to the entry rules, these items now belong to Paizo, LLC. I am using them under the Paizo CUP. )
This was my entry from 2011:
Rings of the Master
Aura faint abjuration, necromancy,  and transmutation; CL 5th
Slot wrist; Price 41,500 gp; Weight 5 lbs.
Description This set of ten mithral rings is engraved with mystical Tian characters. Mundane versions are known as chi sau rings, which are used in the monasteries of Tian Xia to condition the body through hours of form training; gaining power and speed from the extra weight on the arms.  
A wearer that has the Deflect Arrows feat may avoid two ranged attacks per round, instead of the standard one per round. He also gains the ability to deflect magical rays by making a DC20 reflex save, once per round, in lieu of deflecting normal missile weapons.
Once per day, as a standard action, the wearer may use 2 points of ki to activate his inner reserves, gaining 10 temporary hit points for a duration of 10 minutes.
Due to the mithral construction of the rings, unarmed attacks are considered silver for purposes of bypassing damage reduction.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, entropic shield, false life, haste Cost 20,750gp
This was my 2010 Entry:
Ghostfire Torch

Aura moderate abjuration; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 1,800 gp; Weight 1 lb.
This polished birch torch flares to life with a pale green incorporeal flame when lit. Within the 20 foot bright illumination radius of the torch incorporeal creatures become almost corporeal. This near corporeal state negates movement through solid objects and their attacks do not surpass natural armor, armor and shields. In addition they lose their 50% reduction in damage from corporeal sources and they may be affected by normal weapons. Within the 40 foot dim illumination radius of the torch, incorporeal creatures are reduced to 25% reduction in damage from corporeal sources, but maintain the rest of their incorporeal abilities. Once lit the torch quickly burns out, only lasting for 10 minutes.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, dimensional anchor, ability to channel positive energy Cost 900 gp

The general consensus was that it was too cheap, and it really took away the incorporeal aspect. It's a one shot item, for 1800gp, I think it would mostly be used as an escape mechanism. It was priced perfectly according to the creation rules. The judges can be funny, sometimes they judge on originality and creativity, other times they ding the professionalism. This one they compared to a fanboi item...which is strange since I'm a GM 99% of the time...Also one of the problems that the judges didn't catch, is that it was similar to an item from 2009.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fun Friday - Dungeon Madness III

The adventure continues....(The rogue)

The rogue (adverb)_________sneaks up behind the (adjective)_________ beasts, stabs one of them with a (noun)_________, and shouts (exclamation)_________, a bit prematurely as the beast turns to (verb)_________ the rogue with its (adjective)_________ claws and sharp (noun)_________. Paralyzed with (emotion)_________, the rogue does the unthinkable and (verb)_________ before (verb ending in -ing)_________ behind the (noun)_________.

 (verb ending in -ing)_________

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

RPG Superstar 2012 Entry

Seeing as how I didn't make top32 for the 5th year running, here's what I submitted. I thought I had tweaked it enough from being a SAIC...Guess not.

Tempest of Abendego
Aura moderate abjuration and evocation;  CL 9th
 Slot neck; Price  77,900gp;  Weight 1 lb.

This is a large deep blue opal pendant in an adamantine setting with seven mithral Azlanti glyphs. Tiny mithral wires crisscross the face of the gemstone connecting to minuscule platinum coils beneath each glyph. When viewed closely, the dark swirling clouds of a tempest can be seen brimming within.

The wearer is constantly surrounded by moderate winds. The wearer is never checked by, or blown away by, winds of hurricane strength or less, and ranged attack rolls suffer a -2 penalty. This effect may be suppressed at will.

     The wearer may, upon command, surround himself in a cloak of winds, up to three times per day. While a cloak of winds is active, as an immediate action, the wearer may draw on the power of the storm within for one of the following effects.  The user may either call a bolt of lightning from the amulet as  lightning bolt for 3d10 damage (up to 9 bolts per day), or gust of wind up to three times per day. The wearer may choose to be pushed or lifted by the gust of wind, making a move of up to 60 feet in a straight line in any direction. 

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, call lightning storm, cloak of winds, gust of wind;  Cost 38,950gp

Here's what I used as my pricing guide.  
Caster Level 9
Level 3 spell 3/day 3x9x1800/(5/3) = 29160
Level 3 spell 1/day 3x9x1800/(5/1) *1.5 1800*1.5=14580
Level 2 spell 3/day 2x9x1800/(5/3) *1.5= 29160
Level 1 effect constant = +2 deflection 10000gp/2=5000gp

Monday, January 23, 2012

Just a reminder...Gam3rCon GameDay

Reminder, Gam3rCon Gameday is this Sunday January 29th. 

It's FREE!!!




I'm running a TRAVELLER game as well.

"No One Can Hear You Scream"

Sunday, January 22, 2012

DCCRPG by Goodman Games

So, Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG is coming out in April (not February like the poster says.) I did do some beta testing of this game, let's just say it's just brutal, you actually roll up multiple 0 level characters, and proceed into a killzone....err dungeon. If you have a character survive, then you will make it to level 1. 

It's designed like an OD&D game, not the modern role-playing game, but a deadly, haphazard, monster-strewn dungeon crawl. I would definitely love to play this at cons though! Some of the best old school D&D modules were convention tournament modules. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

RPGNow/DrivethruRPG/Wargame Vault Affiliate

EpicRPGBlog is now an affiliate with the RPGNow family of sites.

If you aren't familiar with these stores, they sell PDFs of the games you want to find. Support them in your PDF purchases and you help our blog, we can get more stuff from the stores, or, we can go to more cons!

GeekSpeek - Gaming Innovations

Since the beginning of the Role-Playing game, it has constantly been about innovation. Each game tries to capture audience through innovation.

Over the last couple years I have seen some great new innovations, one of them I just read tonight.

1. Aspects (from the FATE/FUDGE systems)
Aspects are a great role-playing innovation. Aspects are easiest to imagine when you equate them to movies, when you think of Luke Skywalker saying the words; "I'm a Jedi, like my father before me." Well since we've seen the prequels now, we now that Luke's father wasn't the best of Jedi, that his anger and jealousy were a bit over balancing and that the Emperor could play him like a cheap guitar. Those simple words can mean so much. The beautiful thing about aspects is they CAN work both ways, they Should work both ways and make the system pure awesome when they do work both ways. You call out an aspect while you're acting to get bonuses, but only one person can use the free tag, after that you need FATE chips, (hero chips in other games).

2. Archetypes (Pathfinder) - While archetypes were around mechanically, it wasn't until Pathfinder really put them to paper in the Advanced Player's guide that they really truly showed their true potential. While 3.5 used class ability swaps in their splat books, they felt clunky, and never really seemed right. Obviously these all stem from kits in 2nd edition. So this was the evolution of innovation.

3. City creation rules (Dresden Files). Really what is more innovative than having the players help design the main city with you? When players have vested interest in the city where they work and play, it becomes much easier to make that city come alive. The players want to interact in the city, become part of it an make it grow, make it live and breath. Creating the conflicts, the movers and shakers, and write themselves into the city. Does it work for every game? Nope, but it works for enough to be very innovative.

4. City Trappings (San Francisco: The Ruins by the Bay) - I just came across this idea in the San Francisco - Ruins by the Bay supplement for Interface Zero. It really is brilliant. Effectively this is templates for a city, but if you boil it down to aspects, it becomes easier to deal with in a more basic sense. Tagging an aspect of a building, city or even country to get a bonus. If a portion of a city is Crime Ridden and you have Profession (Criminal, grifter, con artist, etc) you should be able to tag that known aspect, the city trapping and get bonuses to whatever you want to tag.

Is this all the brilliant innovations? Nope, but it's all I'm going to talk about right now, One thing about gamers, is that anyone with a house rule could be an innovator...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Review - San Francisco (The Ruins by the Bay)

Disclaimer: Provided free by GunMetal Games to Epic the RPG Blog for review purposes.

San Francisco - The Ruins by the Bay (Savage Worlds Setting)
Produced by Gun Metal Games, under license for the Savage Worlds Role Playing Game. Currently available in PDF format at RPGNow for $8.99.

First Glance: With bright red background and heavy borders, this appears to be a bit cluttered at first. The graphics are top notch for a small company. Better than the art for many major game companies really. Only Paizo and Alderac come to mind right off the bat with consistent awesome artwork. It's 67 pages of crunchy, meaty, savage goodness. (Note: As this PDF is layered properly it was easy to turn off the background and borders layers for ease of viewing...This is a bonus, not a bummer.)

Core: This product delivers from the word go. The fictional writing is great, especially with the interaction of the hackers in the sidebars, which runs the entire book, from the neighborhoods to the NPCs. Pages 5-15 are neighborhoods, from Chinatown to Pacific Heights this gives a good indication of what you're in for in San Fran. The next 7 pages cover the organizations operating in San Fran, there's 13 of them, so you can imagine there's plenty of space for conflict.

 The next 8 pages are what I usually look for first...crunchy character info. First we start out with a neat hindrance called: Nano-infection, a nanite virus, totally cool, totally futuristic and affects the wild die associated with a specific trait. (This could easily be worked into a normal hindrance such as a chronic disease for your non-scifi games). Next is the new edges. Four of them, Bedroom Eyes (Social), Bounty Hunter (Professional), Feral Throwback (Racial) and the Sword-Whip Training (Combat) edge for the swip from the equipment section. The next thing covered is the Occupations. These are one of the unique elements of IZ, making it slightly more complex than a standard SW game, but I like it, gives clarity of a purpose in life, without nailing you down to a class. The two introduced here are the Caravan Guard and the Professional Escort...yes that kind of professional escort, a companion you might say. Next up...Mad Max style gear from Road Wear, a new Armored jacket and Armor suit...plus wasteland survival wear. Only three new weapons, but man, start with the SWHIP, the sword whip, a heavy blade that can extend out to have reach 1 (with reduced dmg.) and you should probably pick up the edge as well. Next up is a big beefy carving knife...a 3 lb twin titanium blade with a carver motor in it...YIKES! I love it. Last up is a 50Cal sniper rifle...makes big holes in things including heavy armor, it's effectively a Barrett 82. Two new vehicles, the bay runner (a sea motorcycle effectively) and the Wasteland chopper, complete with gorgeous artwork show a nice chopper mounting a mini-gun on the handle bars...Then there's the designer drug, Black Zombie, nasty stuff, which is perfect for sadistic gamemasters. The final piece of gear is "Pipe Cleaners" a catchy name for a hacking filter for the less than perfect San Fran local web. [Also provided in the book are the racial templates for Rat Hybrid (pg 6) and Bull Hybrid (pg 28) characters]

The next section is pure genius!! City Trappings. Really this is brilliant, effectively it is templates for anything from a building to an entire nation. Each trapping has unique characteristics based upon it's trapping, so a building that has brown-outs obviously has power issues, unreliable power makes hacking a little more risky. The trappings are Black Market, Brown Outs, Combat Zone, Humans Only, Hybrids Only, Interdicted Zone, Kingpin, Martial Law, Military Base, Slum Dogs and Wilderness. Really these are awesome and worth the $8.99 in and of themselves.

Next up is "Salvage Tales" 4 pages of crunch for rummaging through ruins. These are also rules that can easily be used in other SW games, or even converted for scrounging rules for other systems. A quick bounty generator for those bounty hunter characters is provided, then we're on to Plot Hooks. Seven plot hooks are provided, not bad at all. The book rounds out with almost 30 NPC stat blocks, some of which are unique NPCs, typically leaders or major contact for an organization and typical members of those organizations.

Artwork: As I said in the Quick Glance, GMG puts out top-notch artwork that surpasses a lot of Big Game companies...The cover is awesome with the Bull hybrid toting the mini gun...

Family Rating: TEEN! With drugs alcohol and sex this supplement, like its parent setting screams parental discretion advised.

Value: Oh yeah this is easily worth the $8.99 the PDF costs!

Rating: Epic!!

Fun Friday - Dungeon Madness II

Continuing the adventure: 

     The party's path is blocked by a massive (adjective)__________ door. The rogue (-ly adverb)__________ searches for traps.  Too late she spots an (adjective)_________ trap, when triggered it fires (plural noun)_________ in all directions.  The wizard is hit in the (body part)_________, (-ing verb)_________ over in (adjective)__________ pain. The trap also summoned a pair of (monsters)_________, drooling with (adjective)__________ hunger. Instantly the party reacted, drawing weapons and preparing spells. The Wizard, injured but not down, begins casting his most (adjective)__________ spell, using a combination of material components, a (noun)_________ and the (body part)_________ of a deadly (monster)________. The half-elf leader draws his  +2 (noun)______ of (verb ending in ing)________  and (action verb)_________ into action, cutting off one of their (body parts)________.

(-ly adverb)__________ 
(plural noun)___________
(body part)_________
(-ing verb)_________
(body part)_________ 
(-ing verb)_________
(action verb)________. 
(body parts)________. 

Previous Entry:
The Adventure Begins:

     The party of (adjective)_________ adventurer's entered the dungeon. The leader was a/an (adjective)_______ half-elf (class)________, with (number)______ years of experience adventuring, named (name)________. As they entered the Lost Cavern of (plural noun)________ , he drew his +2 (noun)______ of (verb ending in ing)________. The rest of the party consisted of an ancient (adjective)_________ (class)________, who knew everything about (plural noun)_______. The rogue was a (race)________, with a pair of (plural noun)_______, which he had slain numerous (monsters)________ by hitting them in their vital locations such as the (part of body)_______, or the (part of body)_________, and his favorite location, the (plural parts of body)________. The final member the expedition, was the (adjective)________ wizard who was fond of summoning (plural noun)_________, to slay her foes.

Help get Battlelords of the 23rd Century carried by Alliance

Hey everyone,

You've probably never seen Battlelords of the 23rd Century. Currently it's not carried by Alliance. Alliance is one of the main distributors.

Call in to request that they start carrying Battlelords. Here are their phone numbers, as you can see all but the International lines are 800 numbers. If you're a fan of the game, or if you'd just like to see this in your stores...call in help us out! Some stores are only serviced by Alliance.

East -1-800-669-4263
Midwest -1-800-444-3552
Southwest -1-800-424-3773
West -1-888-366-5456
El Cerrito -1-800-424-4263
International Customers -410-602-8000

Thank you!
Epic the RPG Blog

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Legends & Lore - Looking at the Past and the Future

Looking at the Past and the Future

This is the craziest part of this weeks article is this:

     "Second—and this sounds so crazy that you probably won't believe it right now—we're designing the game so that not every player has to choose from the same set of options. Again, imagine a game where one player has a simple character sheet that has just a few things noted on it, and the player next to him has all sorts of skills, feats, and special abilities. And yet they can still play the game together and everything remains relatively balanced. Your 1E-loving friend can play in your 3E-style game and not have to deal with all the options he or she doesn't want or need. Or vice versa. It's all up to you to decide."

I can't even wrap my head around this, how can one player play a 1st ed style, while another plays a 4th edition style character. I can understand a DM picking what rules are to be used, but letting a player choose their ruleset  really boggles my mind. I will definitely be watching this design process to see how the design team pulls this one off. 

Mapping software

So gaming and mapping, who what when why where.

So my favorite software program to create maps is Dundjinni. Now unfortunately, Dundjinni was sold and Dundjinni 2 is supposed to be in development. The unfortunate part of the problem is that you can't buy the original software currently. The forums are currently assaulted by spam and moderators are doing their best to combat it. For several months now the store has been closed for migration, but that doesn't seem quite right, it shouldn't take that long to migrate, well I guess it could if you're doing it entirely in house and you have to write all the software. The software is good enough that WizKids was using it to produce maps for HeroClix. I believe the Armor Wars base map and some others were created in Dundjinni...at least that's what my memory says. The community is great, lots of art is created for free for others to use, some commercially, others non-commercial (so you have to remember what is and isn't usable if you plan to sell your maps.)

Campaign Cartographer
This is Computer Aided Drafting software, I'm an experienced Computer Aided Drafter and this software is tough for me. This software is not for the neophyte really. It takes work to Master, however once you've mastered it, it can be quite powerful.
The last version I used was CC2. Including Dungeon Designer, City Designer and Fractal Terrains.

There are other bits of software out there, I'd love to give them a try some day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Legends & Lore Redux - The Temperature of the Rules

The Temperature of the Rules

So the entire article is basically about a conversation about how to present the default setting of the rules. The DM being the arbitrator as to what rules are presented should be the default. It happens in every game, sometimes the game is presented with the rules in a pick and choose way, but more often than not, the game is presented in the default mode, and additional rules are presented as optional rules or variant rules. So what DnD Next is talking about is just presenting almost all the rules as optional, with a very small core of general rules.

This will make it a fully modular system. Will it be successful? Maybe...I know Monte Cook and Mike Mearls are both incredible designers with decades of experience, so if anyone can do it, they can. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Legends & Lore Redux - Rules, Rules, Rules

Rules, Rules, Rules

Ah yes, "Rules, Rules, Rules," this is the meat of the contention in editions, the rules. Too simple, too complex, what is the proper balance?

As an example in the article Monte breaks the game into 3 options of complexity for a climb check. The first class is a basic all climb checks at half speed no checks...

WHUT? That would be just ridiculous, no climb skill, no reality, no challenge.

DM: "You approach the mage's tower, it appears to be made of a smoky glass and is slick to the touch. There's a door at the base but no means of visible entry otherwise" 
Players: "We climb it"
DM: "OK, I guess you climb it, it takes about an hour to climb, you don't have any climbing gear or anything, but you climb it anyway. You reach the top and realize the tower comes to a perilous point."
Players: "Oh well we climb back down."

The second option is a simplified version of the third option, the third option being the one that includes all the modifiers and exceptions. This is where I want my D&D rules, with modifiers, yes it CAN sow things down, but if you have a DM's Screen, not that much. What I don't want to see is SCALING challenges, that simple climb at level 1 might be a DC 5 climb, but once you're a level 22 character, suddenly that same climb is a DC27. Sorry, but challenges should scale by level, they should scale by the difficulty of the feat. A 22nd level character should be able to climb that simple wall without fail, and to be able to climb that slick wizard's tower that would kill a neophyte adventurer in the first 20 feet. Now, given the proper equipment, enough time and safety precautions, anyone should be able to scale anything..eventually, though there might be set-backs, that turns into a story element instead.

NOW, I'm not a DM who likes to kill player's for a failed skill roll, one of the reasons I hate having a single die for any roll, it's just TOO random, if you had to roll a d20 to walk across the street or fall down for 2d6 damage, there's a 5% chance you would fall every time. AD&D used percentile dice for rogue skills...maybe they should go back to that...it prevents stupid deaths due to stupid rolls. DC15 = 25% chance of success for the unskilled, but if you have 10 ranks, it increases to 75% chance of success. I know, a little bit of math...But if you can't do simple math, maybe you should be playing a video game...or LEARNING MATH. The design to the Least Common Denominator school of thought is insulting to the game, and should NEVER be done. True designing to the fullest extent should be avoided as well. Phoenix Command was over designed, when you have different results for being shot in eye or the pupil, you have definitely over-designed.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Legends & Lore Redux - What Can You Do?

What Can You Do?

OK, this isn't where I'd go with design. Monte is talking about only having a single action per round. Move or Attack or Cast a Spell...

This definitely isn't what I want to see, I want to see dynamic action, that's one of the reasons I like Savage Worlds, you can attempt to do lots of things in a round, but each additional thing is affected by penalties.

I want a game where a 1st level character can attempt to run past several foes striking each of them as he goes. I say attempt because say the character wants to make 3 attacks, while running. Those penalties might add up to a -8 to all actions. Could he get lucky and do all of them at 1st level? Yeah, he could. But it's not likely. As he gets more experienced, or if he takes feats which remove the penalties, then the chances of it working greatly increase. There would still be limits, unless you have a feat you can only cast 1 spell, move would be similar to what it is in 3.x.

Making a single action game is BORING, with a Capital REALLY. Unless the game is free-form enough to have that action include anything. When its your turn you act, you swing from a chandelier shouting "Your Momma was a Half-orc!" and swinging your sword at every spear that comes close.  You should be able to defensively attack, while readying to cut the tip of the spears off as they thrust. You should be able to do the same stuff, sorry attempt the same stuff at level 1 that you can attempt at level 20.

Sorry on a tangent now.

What should really be decoupled again is the single attribute having a single modifier, 20 = +5, in the case of strength, that lead to things hitting well and powerful. In OD&D an 18/00 Str was +3 to hit and +6 dmg, That was good, because it didn't skew the game as much. And it was better both directions, for players and monsters. Minimum strengths, prevalent in other games SHOULD be instituted in the new version. 7 str, hope you like that dagger. Want to wield a two handed sword, 17 Str, sorry 16 Str rogue, no back-stabbing with that two-hander. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Legends & Lore Redux - A Different Way to Slice a Pie

A Different Way to Slice a Pie

Now we're seeing similarity between what DnD Next might be, and what Pathfinder is, With the beginner box release, we're seeing which rules can be easily stripped from play for new and/or younger players. We have seen this in other games such as Dragon Age, where they split the various rule sets into levels 1-5, 6-10, etc. However, this isn't a new concept in reality, as OD&D originally came in sets of varying complexity, Basic, Companion, Expert, Immortals and Master sets.  When AD&D came out, the main rules were covered in the Player's Handbook, and Dungeon Master's Guide, but as the game advanced new rules were introduced in new optional books, such as the Wilderness Survival Guide or Unearthed Arcana. In 3.0 and later rules, this became gluttonous, with so many splat books, that the rules became unwieldy, but they were optional.

Unfortunately this sounds like a step backwards though, Monte is discussing breaking Attacks of Opportunity back into individual rules based upon situations. I feel they should keep it as it is, the complexity would be which parts you want to be in there, moving away and ranged attacks only. More complex might add spellcasting and scroll use. Continue adding complexity as needed, not removing the words like Attack of Opportunity.

Many games have sidebars for optional rules (3rd edition Earthdawn is one of these with lots of optionals). I see the rules for D&D Next having checklists.  Whether this will work or not again, remains to be seen . 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Legends & Lore Redux - Out of Bounds

Out of Bounds

Monte tackles the main problem that the "latest edition" had. The fact that everything was balanced and the difficult challenges were removed is one of his main points. Monte's specific example is that they removed Red Dragon's immunity to fire, so no one was left out if they had made poor choices, so you could still use fireballs against a red dragon.

I love providing challenges that make the players think. Paizo's adventures are very good at this, so if D&D Next is going to compete, they need to make sure there are challenges that require thought to succeed rather than a die roll or blasting it.

What if DnDNext fails?

What if the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons is the biggest flop since New Coke? I see it going down like this...

2012 Wizards of the Coast develops D&D Next with the help of the community
2013 The community ALL having their own id, egos and super egos, gets butt-hurt because their ideas didn't make it to print. "This isn't MY D&D!!!". Those individual communities continue to play the version they like, whether that's 1st, 4th or Pathfinder, and the game is a flop.
2014 Hasbro shelves The Role-playing game part of Dungeons and Dragons, shifting gears to more board games, card games and other ventures.
2024 After almost a decade on the shelf, with much fanfare Hasbro announces a D&D Classic for the 50th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons. This new set is basically a revised Basic D&D
2027 Advanced D&D Classic is released for the 50th anniversary of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Another rework of the original 1st & 2nd editions.

This COULD happen if D&D Next fails...

Review - WarLands Core Rulebook

*Note I am reviewing a PDF version provided for review purposes.*

I reviewed WarLands back in July, now I have the full core version,

WarLands Review (CORE Rules UPDATE)

Edit: I had to correct the scale, I had listed it as 15mm, but it's actually 20mm.

This is a review of WarLands miniature game produced by Aberrant. www.aberrantgames.com

What is it: WarLands is a 20mm scale miniature war game set in a post-apocalyptic world. Mad Max in 20mm scale. (1/64 or 1/72 is a comparative)

Rules: If you’ve always liked vehicular combat games, but hated how long they took to play, this may be the solution, Movement is simplified into Slow/Cruising/Fast, the exact numbers based upon the type of vehicle, fast for a truck is only cruising for a bike. The system uses 2d6, with modifiers, such as RC or CC (ranged or close combat). Damage is based upon the rolled damage, each die calculated separately, using exploding dice is always fun. Double sixes on the attack roll automatically cause a critical. Criticals can be brutal, and one can turn the tide of a combat in seconds, everything from a lucky escape, to a ruptured fuel, to a vehicular explosion. Balance is maintained using point buy for vehicles and pedestrians. On aberrantgames.com there are free ezines called Data Dump which covers all of Aberrant’s games (Though there aren't currently new zines). With the release of the full rulebook, Mac's Bodyshop is where it's at, while the addition of more background is nice, the real meat of this product is the ability to field unique models, a la Car Wars. I scavenged parts off my old Epic minis to get lots more turrets and large bore guns to put on the vehicles, so whether I'm running a Rattler or a more beefy truck, this just plain rocks.

There are full "army" lists, with 4 levels of play based upon points. 0-150 points is patrol level, 150-250 Skirmish, 250-750 Battle, and 750+ full-on War. The play-test game we played was about 300 points. I had a champion kicking it on the watch tower with a 50cal rifle with a laser sight, that was fun, I also fielded 3 scrap mechs. At 20 points each these are under-priced. Wielding a mini-gun but having the ability to aim is a bit unbalanced. I want to see the ability for scrap-mechs to have interchangeable weaponry, but at our house, that's an easy fix. Twin 50Cals? Oh, that sounds FUN! The main force you can choose from is the Warriors of the Wastelands force. The second list is Nomads. The last is Lotek. Nomads and Lotek have specific special rules which apply to the forces, the Lotek forces have poor tech weaponry, but are brutal in hand to hand. Noamds don't fight for control of the force, so no power struggles mid-game between leaders and champions, making it a more stable force, but as they barter more, they have to roll on a special table for loners.

Loners are individuals that join for pay, aka Mercs, or The Stranger and his Dog...I think he might be named Max the Mad or something like that....If you want a sniper for your Lotek force, a loner might be what you're seeking, since he won't be subject to the Lotek rules. It's an interesting way to make your force more varied.

There are some errors in the book, but many of them have been addressed in the FAQ on the Aberrant Forums. No big deal, that's first print for you, at least they're addressed quickly, unlike some companies.

Miniatures: Decent, the vehicles are resin cast, with white metal accessories and figures. Being 15mm scale it’s easy to pull in WW2 miniatures for additional pedestrians, even axis and allies figures work pretty well scale-wise. (Though I wish there were some good post apoc 15mm mini lines out there, until Aberrant can get pedestrian figs made. Though using paper minis for the pedestrian minis is an option as well, there are already some of those out there, even if there are only 25mm ones, just printing them at 80% size makes them 20mm.)

Comprehension Level: Excellent, The rules are simple, the action furious. It’s one of the fastest miniatures games I’ve played. You can get lucky penetrating shots that change the course of the game very quickly. When you roll doubles, you automatically get to roll on the devastating table, if you roll a 1, Kaboom, vehicle destroyed. Makes for a pretty fun game.

Family Rating: 10+, rules are easy enough though it deals with shooting, destruction and killing, so as always, parental discretion is advised.

Price Tag: As a miniatures game, you’re paying for the figures mostly.

Warlands CORE Rules PDF $18.00
Battle Box $37.99 (Basic Rules, 2 Buggies and a Utility Truck) [cheaper to buy 2 buggies and a truck]
A pair of bikes, $9
Cars cost $13,
Buggys, $11.99
The Rattler Gun Truck $15
Utility truck $9.99.
Sand Surfer #1 or #2 $13

The PDF Core rulebook currently runs $18. (bit pricey for a rulebook for a mini game...)

The quality isn’t bad, but it’s not incredible, for a niche market, it’s pretty good.

Value: For us, it’s well worth the money. No matter how many times we play WarLands, it’s always fun. We have A Battle Box, plus 2 more buggies, and a Rattler. Next purchase will be a couple cars, 1 more buggy.

Overall Rating: EPIC! The game is fun and fast, the tide can turn very quickly, good tactics and good rolls can change the game lightning fast.

Over 5000! nice

Another thousand hits...thanks for the support, I just started a new Fun Friday feature, I will try to do fun stuff every Friday (bound to miss some, because life is that way). This week it's Dungeon Madness. Fill in the blanks with your friends and laugh your face off.

Fun Friday - Dungeon Madness

Here is the first of the fun stuff, everyone's played Mad Libs, here's a Dungeon One. Pretty simple, fill out the missing words. In the case of words like (class), (race), (monster), use RPG related words. If you want to share your versions with me, I will publish them as comments, however, it is a family related website, so if it's too vulgar, I won't publish it. But I WILL read it!!!

For Soloing...skip to below the story, fill out the blanks and then read it by inserting them.

The Adventure Begins:

     The party of (adjective)_________ adventurer's entered the dungeon. The leader was a/an (adjective)_______ half-elf (class)________, with (number)______ years of experience adventuring, named (name)________. As they entered the Lost Cavern of (plural noun)________ , he drew his +2 (noun)______ of (verb ending in ing)________. The rest of the party consisted of an ancient (adjective)_________ (class)________, who knew everything about (plural noun)_______.  The rogue was a (race)________, with a pair of (plural noun)_______, which he had slain numerous (monsters)________ by hitting them in their vital locations such as the (part of body)_______, or the (part of body)_________, and his favorite location, the (plural parts of body)________. The final member the expedition, was the (adjective)________ wizard who was fond of summoning (plural noun)_________, to slay her foes.  

 (plural noun)________
(verb ending in ing)________
(plural noun)_______
(plural noun)_______
(part of body)_______
(part of body)_______
(plural part of body)_______
(plural noun)_______

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Super Dungeon Explore - 3D Boards!

This person went all-out with their 3D boards for Super Dungeon Explore

Super 3D Dungeon Explore

Finished Tiles

He used Hirst Tiles for a lot of it, I covered those on a previous post. This is pretty spectacular though. I can't wait to get started on my own tiles!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Legends & Lore Redux - Customized Complexity

Customized Complexity

Now we're getting somewhere, some of the design parameters that they're going to be attempting to design to. So one of the stated design goals for 5th edition is a sort of backwards mindset, not compatibility per ce. It's more of a conceptual backwards progression. Being able to pick and choose the level of complexity, then tack on which rules you actually want to use. 

I'm not quite buying this being doable, it would take a lot of design, and then you would still run into the issue of some people wanting to use the 4E type of package while others want to go back and use a 2E style package. It seems a little too far reaching, too inclusive, and reactionary to compensate for the exclusionary mindset of 4e. 

Good luck

The real question is going to be what type of licensing, IF ANY, is Hasbro going to slap on this. An Open Game License, allowing people to use the system freely, or a GSL, forcing 3rd party publishers to jump through hoops. The OGL was wildly successful, but had issues with inferior work. The GSL had issues with 3rd party publishers not wanting to be forced into the restrictions. Notably, the inability to support both 3.5, 4.0 and Pathfinder with the same line of books.

Preschool Pathfinder

This is pretty cool 

Justin Achilli, one of lead designers for White Wolf's World of Darkness line "playing Pathfinder" with his 3 year old daughter. Kind of like when I played D&D 3.little with my kids, we used rules, and they still remember the first foray, where they fought a carrion crawler and when Sean sliced a skeleton in half with his great sword...Basically I was just putting their figures on the board and picking out monsters for them to fight, but it will always be one of their most memorable games, and when I think about it, it makes me smile every time.

Legends & Lore Redux - Live together, die alone

Live Together, Die Alone

Monte is reminiscing about the original concept of cooperation and teamwork in D&D. When you deal with a game in a manner of cooperation, you don't have to worry so much about whether a fighter is balanced against a wizard at every level. The concept of players being perfectly balanced is preposterous. Even on Paizo's boards, there are constant discussions about wizards and melee types not being balanced. What's the point if they're balanced, the game is supposed to be about cooperation, not competition.

One of the problems with 4th edition is the design philosophy of making all classes balanced. Everyone progressing at the same power level. Just re-skinned by power source and power name. Pathfinder tried smoothing some of the issues by making the classes seen only as "dip" classes more interesting, rear-loading the interesting powers after level 6 or so.

I don't care if a wizard isn't balanced to a fighter. They're not SUPPOSED to be. In 1st edition, the magic-user was THE glass cannon, with only 10d4(+change) hit dice max, they could easily be slain, but they also wielded the powers of the creation; The fighter was the ONLY class that had multiple melee attacks, the paladin had powers based upon getting a holy avenger. Rangers were the masters of Two-weapon fighting, Rogues were the ones who got the rogue skills. Now, 1st ed definitely had issues. The lack of a skill system for non-combat skills was a major one, thus was born AD&D 2nd ed, and eventually skills & powers.

Fun in paramount, balance is not. Flavor is important, balance is not. Cooperation is important...

Live Together, Die alone...Don't split the party...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Legend & Lore Redux - Magic & Mystery

This is the continuing commentary on Monte's D&D5e design blog posts.

Magic & Mystery

In this installment of my commentary, I'm covering the October 4th entry, wherein Monte talks shop about magic items and the current iterations of 4th edition, and both 3.x (and by being a derivative work Pathfinder; though he of course doesn't mention Pathfinder.)

Monte makes great points about the mere fact that the game design of these iterations are built around a party have specific gold piece expectations of gear does several things. It removes the mystique of magic items, and it removes the Dungeon Master's ability to reward the characters with mystical treasures.

One of the reasons I love Earthdawn so much is that the good magic items are individual items that grow with the characters as they grow in experience. A weapon or magic item with a history or backstory is much more interesting than popping down to Ye Olde Magic Shoppe and having a vorpal weapon made. Imagine if King Arthur just had Excalibur handed to him by Merlin.

Defeating a dragon and looting it's treasure loses appeal if you just go through it to price it, sell it and buy what you REALLY want.

This can easily be accomplished in existing games by limiting what can be crafted without specific components. If you really want to craft a vorpal sword, perhaps you need to have a sword crafted by a master craftsman of an alloy of adamantine and mithral folded 1000 times. Then diamond dust is sprinkled over the blade as you have an Elder Elemental Lord heat the blade. Lastly the finished weapon much be tempered in the blood of the Jabberwock. Knowing what your magic item can do is more interesting when you find out in the heat of battle. Remember when Bilbo learned Sting glowed blue when orcs were around?

Decoupling magic items from the expected gear is good design, even if I don't play 5e, this also gives me hope that Dungeons & Dragons will continue on in RPG format rather than just as board games.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Legends & Lore Redux - Very Perceptive

So, after the announcement of 5e, I began looking at Monte Cook's Legend and Lore articles to get an idea of where he's going with the design. I am already a bit more enthusiastic. So I will be reading each article and then comment on what I think about it.

Very Peceptive

I like where Monte is going with these ideas, by using passive metagaming numbers, the game master is able to determine secretly if the perception check is an auto success, or just missed. No taking 20 in a search ( A Rule I hate by the way.) If the player actually says they're searching the specific area bonuses are granted. This idea can easily be ported into many different games and shows promise.

News! Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition

5th edition announced by Wizards of the Coast

   We all knew it was coming (well some people denied it when I talked about it before GenCon), I expected the announcement as part of WotC's "Big Announcement" at GenCon. But not it's official, for soem reason they decided this time to use the New York Times as a precursor announcement. Followed up by an article that is obviously written by someone without a clue as to the RPG world.  There's a Forbes article which is written by someone who plays, that's written more clearly.

   It' is heartening that Wizard's is taking a clue from Paizo in the development of 5th edition. The use of community playtesting and feedback. One of the reasons Pathfinder became such a success was the fact that they worked with the gaming community. The gaming community that is notoriously arrogant. The gaming community that every game master has their own set of house rules, whether that be just a few rule tweaks or entire forests of changed information. When Wizard's excluded the community during their secret development of 4th edition, and the wholesale slaughter of many sacred cows; well, let's just say many in the community were butt-hurt about it. I know I was.

   I was pissed from the false announcement that 4th edition was not in development during GenCon, followed by the next year's announcement that it had been in development for years! (Especially since I thought the Rules Compendium was a book to help clarify issues before moving on, as I wasn't as involved in the community at that stage.) I watched the design boards on the website each week as they discussed the new system. I went from slightly optimistic,  to completely confused, to supporting Pathfinder when they starting asking the community  if they'd support a "3.75" project. I looked at 4e when it was released, but didn't get it. I was one of those that felt it was too balanced, and video game like from the beginning.

   Now for a bit of personal history. I have quit D&D twice before to play other games. I quit playing AD&D 2nd edition because my own house-rules became too cumbersome to new players in my games, so I moved on to other RPGs. I started again when 3rd edition was released, and I saw the innovations in it, a built-in skill system, and the feats! I quit when 3.5 was announced because I had already gotten most of my stuff for 3.0 and  was once again pissed about having to buy books again. I didn't actually come back to 3.5 it until Eberron was released, ironically enough, because of DDO. Which sucks for bringing the world of Eberron to the computer screen. (see tangential rant below). 

   This time I had an alternative that I had invested time into, I play-tested Pathfinder from the word Alpha. I gave enormous amounts of feedback, I even seen some of my feedback in the design of things like the qinggong monk. (look up Xaaon's monk on the Pathfinder boards). I understand why they left the monk as similar as it was left in the Core book. Will I have a similar investiture of time in D&D5e? It's not likely, but I will be commenting on the development of it on the blogs, my first feedback will be from the Gaming Club teacher, Mr. Schmid, I have a feeling he's very excited about it. I'll let you know tomorrow (if gaming club is on, but, I have a feeling after the break there will be meetings).

   Wizard's needs to make something amazing to bring back paizoans and grognard's alike. It could be what brings D&D back or it could be the death knell of the original franchise, only time will tell. There's a spark of hope, Monte Cook. Monte Cook is one one of the most incredible and dynamic designers in the industry, if he can bring his ideas to the table, there's a good chance it will succeed. Only time will tell. I'm signing up for the 5e development to let my ideas be heard. As I'm one of the vocal community. I am the 99%...wait, wrong slogan. I am the 55% (or something) So from the Forbes article, I garner that the framework of 5th edition is there, and has been tested in closed testing under NDA.

   Let's see where it goes, shall we? I will watch the development and report on it, and of course I will comment on it, What does Epic think? I will also ask people about it at Cons and the Game Stores, and then I'll tell you what they're thinking as well. Get ready to answer San Diego gamers, I may ask you "What do you think about the announcement of 5th edition."

I got a list of demands,
written on the palm of my hand...no wait, on my blog.

Honor Gary Gygax AND Dave Arneson in the next edition with a dedication page. Because without them we wouldn't be talking about this at all.
Don't release 12 hardbound books per year...they're expensive and HEAVY to carry.
Bring back Dragon and Dungeon magazine in print.
Stop the power-creep when releasing splat books.
Don't consider grognards a lost cause, and especially don't bash them on your website.

TANGENTIAL RANT: Eberron in DDO, Stormreach. Such small slices of far-spanning, RICH worlds, in a microcosm of blah. Like visiting Earth and only being allowed to go to Fargo, when you know how much is out there from the books you've read. Pathfinder Online sounds like it's going down the same dark road. Pathfinder Online should be about visiting the entire world of Golarion, not just squabbling over the River Kingdoms...otherwise the name just sucks.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Reviews - Whizizzle Phonics (educational)

I'm taking a slight departure from RPG style gaming to review a product given to me by Matt Rivaldi. It's a simple educational card game, but it's a great one as far as I can tell. If you're a gamer parent of a young reader to be, think about picking up a set of these to boost your future gamer along.

Whizizzle is published by WiggityBang Games. It runs around $12.95 per set. ($19.95 for both)
We were given review copies of both set 1 & 2, which are going to my little cousin at her 2nd birthday party tomorrow. =D

Set 1-2-3 (very basic skills)
Set 4-5-6 (more advanced skills, double & triple consonants)



The basics of this game is a phonics game much like UNO. The complexity of the cards rises with each, the two separate boxes come in sets, 1-2-3 and 4-5-6. Each set costs around $15. Though both sets are rated age: 4+. In reality it will be based upon your child's reading level, while one child will be ready to advance to box 4, 5, or 6 at age 5, another might need to be 6. Regardless of this, the set will be useful for teaching children by playing a fun game. I really wish I'd had this when the boys were learning to read...would have made a HUGE difference. We actually had fun playing it even though we're well above the proper age category. Is it perfect? No, but it's close. I think that set 5 should still have included Is, AEIOU and sometimes Y..., set 6 can drag on a little as I describe below. It's not perfect but it is a great product...

Every kindergarten and 1st grade classroom should have a set or 2, or 8 for that matter. 8 groups of 4 for players to sit down and play. This game would really make learning to read fun. And of the kids are already familiar with UNO, then this is a great transition.

Set 1 (basic consonant-vowel-consonant words)

Set 2 cards (long vowels silents Es.)

Set 3 (beginning consonant groupings)

Set 4 (end consonant groupings)

Set 5 (double vowel groupings, and Y as a vowel in place of I)

Set 6 (double and triple consonants)

Note: For set 6, I recommend allowing match of consonant pairings regardless of position, for Example Smash and Shake since they share the Sh sound group should be allowed since it teaches that similar sounds can occur at either end of the word, and we ran into a snag where we played a 25 minute round because we all at one time or other had to draw over 10 cards to get a matching card.  

WiggityBang should think about a 7-8-9 set incorporating multi-syllabic words. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

RPG Superstar 2012

Well I hit submit on my entry for the year, it's under the 300 word limit, it messes with the rules but doesn't completely rewrite them, it's multi-SAIC, but I hope it has enough creativity to have the theme come through.

Let's hope for a Top 32 on January 24th. I almost got kept in 2009 with my Ghostfire Torch, but they thought it was too inexpensive, personally I think that a single use 10 round items that helps protect you from incorporeal undead, is priced about right at 900gp, perhaps I should have upped it by 50%.

Now to start thinking of an organization.

What really make RPG Superstar tough is you can't throw ideas around with others, its game design in a bubble. Game design in a bubble leads to overpowered items, and stupid items because you can't say "Does a Tablet of Book Storage sound too much like an iPad? " How about Spectacles of the Librarian? Actually Spectacles of the Librarian sounds pretty damn cool....just writing ideas out for others to review can be enough to get the juices flowing.


Tablet of Book Storage (sounds like an iPad, but is actually a place to store physical tomes, not to display their works.)

 Place a book on the tablet and push, and it is stored in the space. place your hand on the tablet to see what is stored within, like seeing a library shelf. Say the name of the book you want to call to bring it to your hand.

Spectacles of the Monster Hunter
These spectacles allow you to read treatises on various creatures, as an immediate action you may describe the creature out loud. The next round you may make an a Knowledge check to identify the creature's name and ecology. The round after the spectacles will instruct you on the powers and attacks of the creature. On the 3rd round, the spectacles will note all of the vulnerabilities of the creature, complete with highlighting vulnerable areas with faerie fire on the creature itself. This will grant a +1d6 precision damage for any attacks against the creature, unless it is a creature immune to criticals.

Spectacles of the Sage
These spectacles allow you to read treatises on various histories. Choose a subject, and read for 1 hour, for the rest of the day, you will have a +10 competence bonus on that specific knowledge check.

Spectacles of the Linguist
These spectacles allow you to read reference materials on various languages. When trying to decipher a language, you will have a +10 competence bonus on that specific linguistics check. 

(I will fully flesh out these items in the future)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Warlands - Using Mac's Bodyshop

So while we didn't get around to actual play today, we did get our forces sorted out using the new Mac's Bodyshop. I really liked how it all worked out for creating the vehicles, it was pretty simple.

I believe there's an error in the ET-5 Engine, as the acceleration numbers are the same as the ET-3, I think it's supposed to be the same as the Maxwell engine. (EDIT: I was correct, this was addressed in the erratta.)

Now as I read through the rules, I do find one thing a bit odd. I think it's weird to have Target numbers attached to a speed category where the speeds vary. The TNs should be based upon the speed of the vehicle, not it's category. A Slow vehicle that travels 12 should not be the same difficulty to hit as the fast vehicle that travelled 22, even through they're both in the same fast category. It doesn't change the fun I have playing the game, just a design choice that's weird to me personally...and I'm vocal about what I think. Obviously I wouldn't have a blog if I didn't.