Friday, April 11, 2014

Kickstarter update

A brief update on the kickstarters I am backing and their status: 

Dementalism: Lots of Snazzy New Stuff
Legendary Games Pathfinder Books in Print
Razor Coast
Revisiting my Legions of the Petal Throne Art
Midgard Bestiary for 4th Edition
Scarlet Heroes

Almost Complete The Original Online Megadungeon! (everything but the pathfinder conversion)
Rappan Athuk (still one more subscription level to go)

Subscription Ongoing
Adventure Quarterly: A Pathfinder Periodical
Throne of Night, a Pathfinder RPG Adventure Path (a little behind, but good things are promised)
Beyonder (rules in hand, bestiary still pending)

Draft in hand
Orbis Terrarum RPG
Ryuutama - Natural Fantasy Role-Playing Game
Domains at War: Battles, Campaigns, and Mass Combat

Still waiting
World of Calidar
Adventures in the East Mark - The Red Box
Dragon Kings
The Lost Lands: Sword of Air
***Update two more added***
Lusus Naturae: A Gruesome Old-School BestiaryBethorm: the Plane of Tekumel RPG

Best performer: Scarlet Heroes final .pdf shipped within 20 days of funding. I was going to list Beyonder as most worrisome, because as a slacker backer I didn't get to read their updates (next time either in at the start or wait for drive thru  .pdf). but they sent the rules .pdf out last week. These days I am mostly opting for the digital version, having ridden out the proto-kickstarter Slumbering Tsar and the white knuckle ride that was Rappan Athuk. Note to kickstater newbies: layout takes longer than you think, the tchotchkes will not show up when the vendor promised, and shipping a 1,000 of anything is real work. However, notice I am still buying stuff from Frog God games. Why? Because their products are cool, they have always delivered in the end, and they let the subscribers know whats happening good or bad.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mythweaver RPG

A rules light RPG from New Zealand at . Written to introduce the the authors friends to roleplaying its core mechanic is both simple and elegant. Everything is resolved by attribute roles. Need to disarm a trap make a Dex check, need to bluff somebody make a charisma check. Normally I am not fond of attribute checks (especially the old roll a d20 and get under your stat kind), but the mechanics for this are bit different you are rolling a d20 and adding a bonus based on your attribute to hit higher than a target number. Target number is based on difficulty (seven levels from easy at 5 to uncanny at 30).  There's a nice table that lists all the common things that adventurers often do and what kind of check they are. Reasonably straightforward so far, but here's the twist that makes it awesome, if the attribute is primary you get to add your level. What determines if the attribute is primary, why your character class of course! Fighters are good at strength things, Rogues at dexterity, etc. What struck me about the system (perhaps I'm just in a weird mode) is that it has given a mechanism for doing what what needs done while kicking to the curb all that talent, skill, feat, non-weapon proficiency crunch that grinds many modern systems to a halt, but still preserves unique roles for fighters, rouges etc. Magic is based on a spell point system Mages get charisma+1 spell points to start and an extra spell point every level. Spells cost 3 points per spell level (cantrips are only 1 point leaving one open to cantrip spam abuse but damage from these is only 1d3). No Clerics, healing spells are on the mage list. I did have a few things I didn't like, the most important one being if your longsword only does 1d8 giving platemail a damage absorption of 8 is going to make things tough. In general I found fixed damage adsorption a bad idea.One of the reasons I gave up on Runequest was that its damage adsorption both that most hits didn't count and that fight usually went to the first one lucky enough to roll a critical. I am working on a percentage damage reduction system, but since smooth implementation will require a chart it won't be rules light.  Lack of artwork didn't bother me since the pages are well laid out in a nice font. All in all Mythweaver is definitely one of the better rules systems I have run across, and since it is currently a free download the price is right. Definitely worth checking out.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

GMs day sale *update*

Here's what  I bought at the GM's day sale

Marked down 30% until the 15th

Marked down to $5 until the 31st then the're gone

Pay what you want

Some good titles from some of my favorites including Avalon Adventures, Cubicle Seven, Kobold Press, and Purple Duck games. Was going to buy ORSIC adventuers from Expeditious Retreat , but they are still cheaper per adventure in the bundle ten packs, and she-must-be-obeyed recommended focusing my $100 budget on rules rather than adventures (I ignored that recommendation for Kobold Press). You too can get in on the savings but you have to hustle because the sale ends tomorrow (the 14th).**Update sale still on Saturday the 15th, Drivethru rpg account reports 1 day 1 hour 13 minutes at 8:47 AM Eastern Daylight time. Going to pick up some emperors choice Arduin eternal things and hunt for more ***

P.S. my biggest problem there is so much on sale its hard to sort through (unfortunately not the tile sets I am still missing from Skeleton Key games).                                                                  

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The road goes ever onwards

Although I am a big fan of Tolkien and Lord of the Ring, having first read them when I was only 11 and re-read them three times since, I have not been a big fan of Middle Earth roleplaying. To me at least, Middle Earth (which seems to have  limited wizards to only seven semi-divine beings and has no apparent clerics whats so ever) was a poor fit for classic Dungeons and Dragons (although fighting the big battles of middle earth with Chainmail rules seems completely plausible, not that big battles are are going to save Middle Earth). It also has the issue of when do you set it? Before the books anything the players do won't matter. After the books the great evil has already been defeated, and the magic is fading from the world. I like D&D games where the the player characters are causal agents (much more Conan king by his own hand) rather than bit players in some giant overplot. However my web surfing today revealed that quite clearly many people do not agree with my position.

Off surfing the web ran into this site rating classic Dungeons and Dragons modules (disclaimer I do not agree with his rankings Tomb of Horrors sucked when it first came out and still does, Queen of the Demonweb still rocks). However, I also noticed his comprehensive review of Middle Earth Role Playing (MERP) modules from Iron Crown. I do have a bit of a soft spot for MERP as Arms/Claw/Spell Law light, and some of the modules sounded lots better than Moria and the Corsairs of Umbar, which are the only two I own. So I went to see what was on the web. Unfortunately MERP itself seems locked in the property rights graveyard (where games go to die) having lost their license from the Tolkien estate in 1999. I can find are boot-leg copies (no I'm not giving the links, you can find them yourself). However, in addition to the Decipher Lord of the Rings Game (also property rights defunked, although the card game seems to still be continuing) and the the One Ring from Cubicle 7 available from Drivethru RPG (although at $30 quite expensive) I found several quite interesting home brew game systems. On there is both Adra Marred  and Ea d20 , as well as a GURPS adaptation. Also of use was a collection of lord of the rings fonts (the tar.gz format is not real pc friendly, but 7zip was able to handle it). Several folders for other games exist but have no content. There is a Hither-lands entry but the link is broken, luckily I was able to find the teaser edition of Hither-lands on  The teaser edition is a really very interesting 30 pages, as well as being enough rules to play, although lacking DM guidance for monsters and building encounters. I would like to see more, however since the last date on the news page is 2010 and the forum link crashes this project is probably abandoned. Pursual of the links page of lead me to the The Heren Turambarion website their own game Ambarquenta is currently a password locked beta test (and has been since 2012, I'll try asking for the key anyways). However, they also have a copy of The Middle-Earth Adventure Game (MEAG) which is not locked. Other site of interest included the fanzines Other Minds and Halls of Fire , and an archive of MERP fan modules and game aids. I signed up for the fan MERP module yahoo group, but they have not let me in yet. There are also a number of sites to devoted to literary critisms of the Lord of the Rings, but since I think Lord of the Rings is one of the most over analysed books there is I won't bore you with them further. As some of the younger folk at work were pointing out its my generations Harry Potter, the book you love because you grew up with it. Unfortunately I am beginning to get that collectors itch to go acquire MERP modules I turned my nose up at when they were easy to get a hold of. Hopefully the free stuff I downloaded today will stave that off.

Updates: The password in Open Minds 4 for Ambarquenta still works! The Open Mind site also contains the fanzine Open Hand for download as well. Am in on the yahoo group (interesting files but not well organized) it points at another depository of even more stuff (but no better organization)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Goblin Week

Apparently January 15 through 25th was Goblin week and I missed it (too busy missing DnD's 40th anniversary I guess). Here's the tumblr site from those who didn't. The Blue (see Dragon Armies 17 Rats in the Walls) will have to pipe me out

P.S. Wizards of the Coast actually did post something for the 40th Anniversary of DnD. Unfortunately they are still not selling many things that I do not already own.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Hungarian RPG rides again

Working my way through my capsule review for the rulenomicon (I have it made to the letter "S") I ran into Gabor Lux's Swords and Magic (long time readers may remember my vain attempts to translate this long ago, luckily for you can get Gabor's own translation here). This reminded me that I have forgotten to check Gabor's Blog Formhault for awhile (most of the time its in Hungarian, but the English posts are gems, one can wade through the Hungarian ones with google translate as well although some of the magic is gone). The good news Gabor had just published a new game. The not so good news its in Hungarian. Click here and you'll be taken to a site to download the free .pdf. Cover of the boxed set is shown below

The blurb on coachmen and robber knights reminds me of the central European folktale book of my youth. If I remember my Hungarian traditions, it was the coachman's job to tell the grooms stories while they worked on the horses. It also seems to have a three musketeers vibe as well, in my opinion a bit neglected era for roleplaying (En garde and Seven Seas being the exceptions) I have the .pdf already but will wait for an English translation before ordering the boxed set. I'll probably run the .pdf text through google translate, but  based on past experience the results won't  be pretty. Only one more thing left to say

*** Warning any Hungarians under the age of 18 should cover their eyes as what is coming is what my Hungarian friends refer to as a term of amusement ***

Kurva jó !

P.S. actually one more more thing to say in learning Hugarian, unfortunately I seem to be following the long language learning tradition of learning the swear words first
P.P.S She-who-must-be-obeyed would  highly frown on the other time tested language learning technique of picking up a Hungarian girlfriend.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy 40th D&D and other stuff

So hunting for Strongholds in minecraft has cut into my blogging time. However, since I am home from work this morning I though I would give it a shot. Happy birthday D&D! Jon Peterson has declared it so, watch his video on youtube.

I enjoyed Jon's book Playing at the World greatly. I do agree with the several other blogs that this is yet another WoTC marketing opportunity lost. Kobold press seemed to give some coverage as did Pazio, but WoTC is behind the internet power curve as usual  *** UPDATE Wizards of the Coast actually did post something for the 40th Anniversary of DnD. Unfortunately they are still not selling many things that I do not already own ****(When I am running my game company, I'll be hiring some 18 year old who's job is to surf the web and tell me what people are saying, he can also log on my website and tell me what links are broken and what people on the forum are complaining about). Unfortunately my 4th edition living forgotten realms game group seems to be winding down. They are piling in the car next week and heading to Fort Wayne for the final winter fantasy blowout. I'd have gone too, but I couldn't take as much time off from work as i would need to ride with them, and she-who-must-be-obeyed doesn't like me driving long distances by myself anymore (besides I missed the 24 hour window between when tickets went on-sale and when they sold out). As wind-down for our group we have been writing MYRE for other peoples favorite characters to run through out the spring. I am working on one for my friend's dragonborn Talak'talon. Here's the introduction (Lucas Cornelluis is my epic level warlord who is multiclassed bard, Captian Bellmourne is another players character from the Sunday night spelljamming MYRE series I ran over the Summer):

You sit in your cups in the Roaring Griffon Inn in Marsember listening to Lucas Cornelius the Singing Warlord perform the Dragonborn Opera “Lost Arkhosia” all on his ownsome. It tells the tale of the fall of the dragonborn lands from Abeir to Toril during the time of trouble. It’s a small crowd and gets even smaller once the aria of “Wails and Screeches” begins. This part tells how during the fall the Royal Palace cracked in half and is a song about the Crown Prince of the Dragonborn watching his principal consort, her newly laid egg, and the Queen Mother drift off in the half separated  from the part still attached to the ground. The fact that it is normally sung as duet does not seem to deter Lucas. The high pitched screeches  offensive to both human and dragonborn ears, are meant to jar the soul. The dull metallic clunk of the Chon Bek, although hammered in a rhythm unfamiliar to most, is in keeping with the traditions of the Dragonborn High Court Ceremonies. The low rumble of the principal consort to her egg sounds strangely familiar. As the  Opera closes Lucas receives polite applause, except from you who gives it a loud screech and a standing ovation. As you are doing so, you feel a tug on your cape. You whirl around suddenly hands on your khopeshes, to see two dark-skinned dwarves, one with a hook for hand who is doing the tugging, and another with patches over both eyes. The dwarf with the hooks speaks “Yar there be a strange tale indeed, but didn’t blind Smee here see a piece of a dragonborn palace floating in the bottom of the East Rift on a sea of stars when he had eyes to see. And weren’t he clutching an egg in a stasis field when we rescued him from the Ilthid slave caravan. Don’t bother talking to him direct all he speaks is deep speech now.  Took him years to crack the stasis spell and what the thanks he got? When the egg hatched they took the dragonborn bairn away and told him no one should be raised by an Ilthid touched like him, but didn’t he keep the shell? If you matched the shell pattern to the Royal Egg records, wouldn’t you have something. Of course the Royal Egg records from that time are in the part of the Palace that broke away. You’d need a Spelljammer, and a Captain with balls as big as dragon eggs, and no sense at all. But didn’t that Capt’ Bellmourne fly that bat winged spelljammer over the Cormyr Wizards guild and have his crew give them a twenty-one moon salute. We hear tell you’re a dragonborn raised by dwarves, perhaps you’d like to come with us and have a chat with Cap’t B?”

 I have been poring through the Rulenomincon by reading all the rules I have downloaded to look for a suitable substitute for 4th edition (The group all agrees from what we have seen that the 5th edition play test rules are not it, and we burned the Pathfinder bridge hard a year or two ago {some people have been sneaking of to play Pathfinder in secret anyways}). I  am also trying to write capsule reviews as I go. So far I am up to letter M in the Rulenomicon, when I get to letter Z I will rework the Rulenomicon to include the reviews. Thought I had an near hit with Dungeon world (even signed up for a dungeon world kickstarter by the guy who did the fourthcore Fane of the Hesiearch for 4th edition, Kickstarter's over but there's a late subscribers link here , at least as of this morning, they send me a link to the draft .pdfs the same day I signed up). However, the more I read Dungeon world the less I like it (too much make stuff up, and caped at 10th level; more on this later). 13th age finally send me the group play modules I asked for in December, so we may give those a go instead...
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