August 31, 2017

RPGaDAY #31 - Predictions for the next year


What do you anticipate most for gaming in 2018?

I'm going to preface this post by saying that I am a cynic (and by extension a pessimist). Here are some predictions for the coming year...

-Brick & mortar stores will either close or stop carrying rpg games. I have seen many "hobby" stores relegate rpg games to 1-2 shelves only. They also only carry the latest and most popular games and only a couple of them. The days of being able to walk into a store and seeing every product for a game, the latest releases and older games/supplements (stuff released within the past 5 years) are gone or dying. Most brick & mortar re being kept afloat by collectible card games or board games (and I have seen a decrease in board games of late).
-5E will remain strong. People still seem eager to explore the system. However, WotC will need to provide rules updates (instead of just adventure paths) which they are planning on doing later this year. This puts them in an excellent place.
-Kickstarters will diminish. Most companies have turned to Kickstarter as their main avenue of selling games and I believe there is a Kickstarter fatigue going on that will increase.
-Slow decline in rpg sales in general. While I think the market is still strong, I have heard of various companies selling less overall. I feel that rpgs were a growing fad due to Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings/Game of Thrones but as a fad they are waning. The market will continue strong but not at the same heights.
-New Games will continue to proliferate. More new games with old and new systems will be released but most will be niche games too often overlooked. Of late we've seen a bunch of new editions for older games and genres (Torg, Star Trek, etc) but I suspect we'll see some solid games that are new and fresh.

August 30, 2017

RPGaDAY #30 - Desired mash-up


What is a genre-mashup you would most like to see?

To start I'm going to list some of my favorite mash-ups currently out there and then I'll get to the one I'd like to see that is not out there yet. There are quite a few that I like and think work really well...

-Torg. This game does an excellent job of integrating genres in a coherent way. You can add almost any type of genre without upsetting the game.
-Shadowrun. Cyberpunk and Fantasy. Superb game that I have run many times.
-Mutant City Blues. Superheroes and Investigation (Detective). Two of my favorites.
-Ashen Stars. Science-Fiction and Investigation (Detective). Another Gumshoe game that works very well as a setting (even if I am not a fan of the system). 
-Deadlands. Wild West, Fantasy, and Horror. I ran some excellent and long running games with this system.
-Dragonstar. Fantasy and Science-Fiction. I love this setting.
-Vampire (White Wolf). Horror and Modern. I've run many a game using this system and they've all been enjoyable. 
-Fading Suns. Science-Fiction and Fantasy. I ran this game and it was fun. Too bad it got lost in the rpg landscape.
-7th Sea. Three Musketeers and Fantasy. Played the heck out this game. I loved the first edition (still do); haven't tried the newest version but I am leery of the rule system.

Now for my favorite mashup I'd like to see. My gut reaction is to say superheroes and something else, but the more I think about it the more I realize that combining superheroes with something else is difficult. It is not impossible as I've seen some Superhero/Horror (Rotted Capes) games but superheroes tend to dominate the setting due to their level of power. While Torg technically includes superheroes they are limited to the level of pulp powers and weak which allows for their integration.

Lately I've been on a time-travel kick and I've always liked fantasy so...

Time-Travel and Fantasy. The setting would still be Earth but a slightly futuristic Earth where magic has returned (sort of the way it did in Shadowrun but without the goblinization). The theory is that magic has always existed but in small amounts in recorded history. The PCs are part of  team that travels back to historical Earth to keep control of rampant magic, especially when it disrupts the time-stream. 
An adventure would be something like...Jack the Ripper was a diabolist and the killings were part of a ritual to summon a demon. The PCs must stop him before the ritual is completed.
Hmmm...maybe I'll have to start working on this.



August 29, 2017

RPGaDAY #29 - Best Kickstarter


What has been the best-run RPG Kickstarter you have backed?

Tough call. I have backed quite a few kickstarters and most have come out beautifully. Picking one will be hard. Here are some of the better ones...

-Feng Shui 2. Fast turn around. Good product.
-Primeval Thule 5E. Fast return even on the stretch goals. Looked great.
-Starvation Cheap. This is for a smaller kickstarter and book but its the only one by Kevin Crawford I've backed. I had to include this one because the man is a beast when it comes to kickstarters. He runs awesome kickstarters that go smooth and fulfill fast. For me his are the standard for rpgs.
-7th Sea 2E. Well done. So far mostly on target for releases. Nice product in hand.
-Quests of Doom 5E. Not a lot of updates during the process but the fulfillment was fast and the product was what I expected.
-A Touch of Class 5E. Blindingly fast turnaround. Nice product. They probably didn't need to go the kickstarter route, but that seems to be the way to go these days.
-Torg Eternity. It just ended but I have the preliminary pdf already as well as another 180+ page stretch goal. It is going very well so far.

...but the best one I would have to say is...
-Tome of Beasts 5E. It was fast, including the stretch goals. The book is gorgeous and I got a stretch goal I didn't even know was part of my package. They must of lost money on this one. 


August 28, 2017

RPGaDAY #28 - Game quotes


What film/series is the biggest source of quotes in your group?

Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
I suspect this answer will be the most popular one...at least for us older gamers. Even my wife who has never seen the movie (I almost stopped dating her when I heard that) will throw in quotes at the appropriate times. There is usually at least one quote a game night.

However, I am unimpressed by them. They got stale a long time ago for me. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the movie, but I've heard the quotes so often they are cliche and almost trite now. People seem to use them as some sort of badge of honor, "Hey, look at me. I have geek cred." or they try to present them as 'new'. The quotes haven't been new for over 40 years. Now I just smile and move on.

I wonder if there are other source of quotes just as big. I know Princess Bride gets a lot of quotes and some nights will surpass the Holy Grail for quotes. Are there other, more modern, film/series that can contend? Am I out of touch...or are the modern fantasy films unquotable?

August 27, 2017

RPGaDAY #27 - Essential gaming tools


What are your essential tools for good gaming?

Dice and paper and pencil.
Seems simple doesn't it? That is all I really need, the essentials. I usually have a good idea of the targets numbers required for a game system and from that I can pretty much do anything. For monster stats (for which I usually use the stats as found in a book) I can forgo the book and just run a monster by "feel"; ie the monster dies when the PCs have gotten in a few good hits. I actually do run by the rules and written material but I can improv, even with the stats, when needed.

However, there are a bunch of other things I prefer to have either in game or as I prep. I prefer a DM's screen if only to hide my die rolls. A map of where the PCs are. The combat stats for the antagonists. Written out encounters. My reading glasses so I easily see the writing on the paper. A drink. The rule books within reach.

For prep I tend to get help online. Kobold Fight Club and Donjon help a lot with encounter building. I also have literally hundreds of rpg gaming books which I use as a research library. If I am home-brewing I will look at them to see how someone did something or to get an idea.

So, the essentials are very light but I do prefer to make use of all of my available tools.

August 26, 2017

RPGaDAY #26 - Best Resources


Which RPG provides the most useful resources?

Trick question. I am going to assume they mean which company that released the rpg provides the most resources for their game. I have found that many games, even "dead" ones, will have resources for a given rpg from various fan sites. Sometimes it is like finding a buried treasure when you stumble across a website full of useful material. In fact, often, third party sites will have more resources than the company themselves. This makes it a little hard to describe best company as an rpg might have a lot of resources for it but not by the company.
However onto the rpg company with the best support...

5E Dungeons & Dragons. 
-Basic Player Rules and DM's Guide for free. You essentially get the rules for free.
-Sage Advice. Errata and rules clarification. This extends to their presence on twitter and other media sites.
-Unearthed Arcana. This series of unofficial game material does still provide a plethora of new material a group can use.
-Store and Event Locator. This is actually pretty good for finding a local game or store. I use it whenever I am traveling to see what stores I can visit.
-DMs Guild. This is their drivethrurpg site where they sell pdf downloads and allow for third party material to be sold as well. Essentially it is a resource for designers to sell 5E products. However, they also have provided several things for anyone there to use for free such as artwork.
-D&D Beyond. This is their latest endeavor and puts the majority of the rules online for anyone to use. If all goes to plan it will allow for character generation, homebrew material and full stats (monsters, magic items, etc) to be accessed.
-Hidden Resources. The WotC site actually has other resources that are not immediately noticeable from their main page. Such things as a Random Tavern, Die Roller, Adventure Generator, or Name Generator.

There may be other games with more resources (especially in the area of free adventures) but none provide the resources of the scope that WotC does.

August 25, 2017

RPGaDAY #25 - How to show appreciation to your DM


What is the best way to thank your GM?

Let me count the ways. As I mostly GM I think feel qualified to answer this one. The best is to actually show up and be engaged. Missing multiple weeks for weak reasons or showing up and not paying attention will drive a DM crazy. We put in a lot of time and effort and all we are looking for is that the players have a good time. Now, I will admit there are times when the DM drops the ball and runs a lousy game but if it is a half-way decent game night show it during the game.

-Buy them some supplements. I wish there was a gift registry for DMs and rpg books. This also works for replacing their old broken books.
-Bring the food/snacks. My Thursday night group is awesome. They rotate the players with each one buying dinner for everyone each week. As the DM/host I don't have to pay.
-Coming up with extra character stuff like pictures of your character and their contacts.
-Don't argue or be belligerent if things don't go your way. Trust your DM.

August 24, 2017

RPGaDAY #24 - PWYW that is worth more


Share a PWYW publisher who should be charging more.

While technically not a PWYW (Pay What You Want) because it has a price of free and there is a version that you can buy, I am going to say most of the games from Goblinoid Games, specifically Labyrinth Lord. It was one of the first of the retro-clones and is an excellent one in its own right. It is definitely worth more than its price of free.



August 23, 2017

RPGaDAY #23 - Best RPG layout


Which RPG has the most jaw-dropping layout? 

I'm going to go with the 5E Monster Manual. There are so many to choose from that I have to go with one of the ones I have seen most recently. I actually like the way they integrate the monster pictures with the layout where they are not always in neat little boxes and instead overflow into other boxes/areas of the page without being obtrusive. They also did a nice job adding sub-boxes of interesting tidbit information on the monsters for some of them that enhance the monster description while making the point unique. You can also tell they purposefully tried to keep descriptions and stats on one page per monster, thus making it easier to read and follow. They did an excellent job. Would I call it jaw-dropping? No, but their attention to detail is excellent with this product and one of the best.

August 22, 2017

RPGaDAY #22 - Easiest to run RPG


Which RPGs are the easiest for you to run? 

The ones where everyone at the table already know the rules. I prefer to focus on the story going on and I've at various times defaulted to the players for a rule. I make them look up a rule as I keep the game moving forward. I am actually okay with letting a player know the rules better than myself. 

That said, I prefer the "lighter" rule systems that don't have a rule, or subsystem, for every type of action. I am okay with a system that is crunch heavy or math-intensive at character generation as long as once play starts things can move fast without the heavy crunch or rules.

Right now, that means 5E D&D. Most of my players know the rules at some level, even if it is just knowing previous editions. It is a fast system (at least at 8th level). The Advantage/Disadvantage system is beautiful for making fast judgements on bonuses to a die roll ("that awesome speech earned you advantage on persuading the guard to let you pass") because it comes down a simple 'did your action gain you an advantage on the task at hand? Yes or no.'. No more is there the question of 'does that action give a +2 or +3 or +5 bonus?'. Between al those points, right now, it the easiest for me to run.

August 21, 2017

RPGaDAY #21 - Most succinct RPG


What RPG does the most with the least words? 

There does seem to be a trend in game design to use the most words possible. This is usually done to either sound intelligent or to pad the word count for a higher paycheck. Some do it well and others are painfully obvious. So who has the most succinct rpg? To be honest I am not sure. Each rpg seems to fall into some sort of verbosity either by explaining the same rule in multiple locations or wanting to add flavor text. There are of course various rpgs out there are specifically designed to be short and limited to as few pages as humanly possible (the result of various online contests) but these tend to be fringe or one-off niche rpgs. I personally am looking at rpgs meant to appeal to a broader market.
If I have to give an answer right now without looking at my stack of games, I'd go with Savage Worlds. The rules are fairly trim and to the point. This seems to actually extend to supplements/settings written even by third parties. Overall Savage Worlds keeps on target and endeavors to provide only as much written material as needed.



August 20, 2017

RPGaDAY #20 - Out-of-print RPGs


What is the best source for out-of-print RPGs? 

If I am looking for a particular hard-copy of a game  I usually go to eBay first. The pricing tends to be fair and they usually have what I am looking for. Amazon sometimes has them but not as often and not always at a good price, mostly because the sellers charge a lot. I also find myself buying from Noble Knight Games on occasion but they do not always have everything in stock that I came looking for; though their sales are pretty darn good.
As for pdfs of out-of-print games the first I check is Drivethrurpg. A lot of companies have started putting out pdfs of their old games and more seem to be doing it of late. They seem to be slowly coming to the realization there is a market for them.

August 19, 2017

RPGaDAY #19 - Best writing


Which RPG features the best writing? 

This is a tough one. There can be many forms of "best" for "writing". Do you mean flavor text? Do you mean that the rules are clear with good examples? Do you mean the writing is evocative and makes you wants to play the game. Do you mean the writing is inspiring and makes you want to run the game? Do you mean the writing is lean and to the point? Do you mean the writing comes across as written by and for an adult? Do you mean the writing is not dry and boring? For the sake of this post I am going to assume all of these points are relevant.

White Wolf. Vampire and others.
I have always felt that White Wolf paid close attention to how they wrote. They seemed to approach their books as entertainment themselves. It wasn't just enough to give you rules and a setting so you could play a game. Some rpg books are nothing but tools for the gamers so they could make an interesting night of entertainment themselves. White Wolf instead seemed to want to have the writing itself entertain and be engaging. Sometimes they would get a little heavy with the prose, almost to the point of obscuring the game, but overall they were the best at presenting an rpg as something more than just rules.


August 18, 2017

RPGaDAY #18 - Most played RPG


Which RPG have you played the most in your life? 

Dungeons & Dragons.
This is the game I started with. Sometimes I will either grow tired of it or want to try something new, but I always end up wanting to run a game with it eventually. Curiously I always end up playing the latest edition - maybe my desire for a new games is what keeps me moving editions.

Why D&D? I'm not sure. 
Maybe there is a certain comfort level there. 
Maybe the rules are similar enough that I can pick up the newest edition without a large amount of  rule induction.
Maybe fantasy offers the greatest area to explore and keep things interesting.
Maybe because the players I game with also know the system.
Maybe because I like the fantasy genre the most and is what I read the most.
Not 100% sure why but I always end up going back.

August 17, 2017

RPGaDAY #17 - Longest unplayed RPG


Which RPG have you owned the longest but not played? 

Bushido by FGU.
I got the game soon after it was released by FGU. It was actually out before then but it didn't come onto my radar until FGU published it. Technically, I had some early Traveller books which came out before Bushido but I actually picked them up after I got Bushido. 


Bushido was a fascinating game for me. I guess I just loved the concepts of samurai, ninja and wujen. I wrote up a couple of adventures and did some maps but never actually got to play. (I posted some of them on this blog and you can find them here). Since then I have played Legends of the Five Rings which I feel is a superior game, even if it isn't a true Japanese setting game. I will likely never play Bushido for that reason but I still have it and its supplements.

August 16, 2017

RPFaDAY #16 - Best RAW RPG


Which RPG do you enjoy using as is? 

RAW (run as written).
There have been many times when I prefer to run a game as written without any homebrew. Often I will be looking to run a certain type of game and I then go looking for which system I think will best do what I am looking for. 

For example, I was looking for a galaxy spanning science-fiction system that was gritty and dangerous. After some contemplation I decided that Shatterzone (the Masterbook sci-fi game) was what I wanted (though Spacemaster was a close second). I also decided to run it as written without changing anything so as to not "upset the balance". Sometimes adding things changes the system into something else and it just doesn't work then. Sometimes you have to trust the designers that they did the math and play-testing and worked on making the best game as possible within that system. If you tweak too much you can "break" things.

So, to answer the question...it all depends on the game/campaign/setting I want to run. It also comes down to which game I think it the most "fragile". I am more apt to run a game RAW if I think it is inflexible. 

If I have to give one answer I will go with Rolemaster. It is a math-intensive (at least at the start) with specialized and dependent tables. It is not a system I want to homebrew as it can easily break. However, it is a system with great detail and lots of choices. I can easily build a world and campaign with it. It is large enough that I can create almost anything without needing to homebrew.



August 15, 2017

RPGaDAY #15 - Most adaptable RPG


Which RPG do you enjoy adapting the most? 

I have actually been adapting, or as we like to call it homebrewing, for decades now (wow, did I really just say decades?). Obviously D&D and its various editions have been adapted. Also I've done work with... 
1E Gamma World (new monsters and mutations)
Masterbook (A superhero game)
Gumshoe (a fantasy version)
Numenera/Cypher System (superheroes)
Savage Worlds (Necessary Evil campaign with new powers, psionic campaign, fantasy world/campaign)

For awhile Savage Worlds was my go-to system for homebrewing. It is light and flexible with a solid foundation to build from. However, currently 5E D&D is my rpg of choice for adapting/homebrew. It is a system known by a large number of people. It is also light and flexible. I've adapted it for a modern version of Gamma World (kickstarter plug) and a science-fiction space-faring game. Both have been easy to do and people have said they are a lot of fun to play.

August 14, 2017

I have a kickstarter!



As some of you have noticed I have been remiss with this blog (though I am having some fun doing the latest RPGaDAY event - part of the reason I joined in was to do some writing here). What have I been doing with the time I haven't been writing here? I went and made a game...and now I have a kickstarter for it. Here is the official blurb...

After The Crash is a 5E Post-Apocalyptic Science Fantasy RPG launched as a Kickstarter. This is a collaborative endeavor between me and my wife, as we translated her Gamma World campaign into the 5E ruleset. The Kickstarter is for a full 250+ page book that presents a plethora of new material consisting of 4 races, 9 classes (6 reworks of existing classes and 3 new ones), 27 archetypes, 20 backgrounds, 160+ mutations, 60+ artifacts, and 40+ monsters. Included will be a completely new setting and a starter adventure. Stretch goals will have more monsters and adventures if we hit them.

We are excited about this Kickstarter and hope you can check it out and pledge your support.



RPGaDAY #14 - Favorite system for campaigns


Which RPG do you prefer for open-ended campaign play? 

I feel that the majority of RPG systems lend themselves to open-ended campaign play (Toon and Paranoia come to mind as systems/settings that would prove difficult for a sustained campaign). However, generic systems or those decoupled from a setting tend to allow for such campaigns fairly easily. So, to be honest, almost any rpg system will work.

That said, I believe that systems that are more widely known tend to be the best for such campaigns. It then becomes a case where the system takes a backseat to the campaign. People spend less time worrying about the rules and more time interacting with the setting. Right now that would mean 5E D&D.

5E is still young enough that there are not a lot of supplemental rules and additions (such as classes, races etc). That means a campaign is not trying to play catch-up with the rules. 3E and Pathfinder rules are well known by a majority of players, but they have so much supplemental information/rules that to create an open-ended campaign would be daunting if you were trying to include everything available (or more to the point, all the things the players want to have included). Sure, you can include or not include what you want, but even pruning such a campaign would be time-consuming.

5E is a nice place where a large number of people know the rules but there is not so much bloat that a campaign feels weighted down.

August 13, 2017

RPGaDAY #13 - Things that changed how I play


Describe a game experience that changed the way you play.

I am playing a druid named Brie Wildways. His highest stat was a 12 (Wisdom), but the highlight was his Intelligence of 6 (bad die rolling). It was at a college game with about 12 other people (they had a lot of people there). It was an ongoing campaign where the rules were played loosely, especially during character generation (lots of unofficial material was allowed). We had a vampire and a githyanki in the party if that tells you anything.

For some unknown reason the githyanki didn't like my character. As the campaign progressed he became more belligerent to me. He started attacking trees and other aspects of nature knowing that I would have to try and stop him...which with my pathetic stats was not going to be possible. So I tried and got beaten down and was going to be killed if some of the other characters (who he also had antagonized) hadn't come to my rescue. To this day I still don't know why he was so belligerent to me and the others. It seemed like some sort of power-play on the player's part. It soured my game play experience as there was no real need for him to be a jerk other than to do it.

Since then I have tried to live up to the mantra...
"An RPG game is a shared experience. Your fun doesn't trump the fun of anyone else at the table."

August 12, 2017

RPGaDAY #12 - Interior art


Which game has the most inspiring interior art? 

I'm going to turn this into a question of...which artist did I like the best as interior art. Allen Nunis. I am most familiar with him from the work he did for West End Games, particularly TORG. (So I guess to answer the original question Torg/The Land Below, though I loved everything he did for the game line.) He could showcase a setting elegantly in just a picture while still giving an action shot. Things were happening in his pictures. This then led directly to wanting to make those scenes come alive in the game.

Here is a picture he did for the Star Wars game...

August 11, 2017

RPGaDAY #11 - Which game needs a new edition


Which "dead game" would you like to see reborn? 

Flashing Blades.
This is a Three Musketeers style game that came out in 1984 from Fantasy Games Unlimited (FGU). It was well written and even had some excellent supplements for it. The rules had an excellent background/career system for characters and a solid combat system that was engaging and diverse. If it were to be made over with a fresher system it could really shine.


Honorable Mention:
The Fantasy Trip (yes, I know GURPS is the evolution of TFT, but THT was lighter than GURPS).
Timemaster.
Lords of Creation.
Lace and Steel.

August 10, 2017

RPGaDAY #10 - RPG reviews


Where do you go for RPG reviews? 

I do a general internet Google search. However, most of the links all point to https://www.rpg.net/ at some point. I have found that they tend to have more than one review for a game and are rather comprehensive in their analysis. They usually outline the different parts of the RPG and then give examples/reasons for what they like and don't like. I find that as I read them I will agree or disagree with their assessment as dictated by my personal biases. So while a reviewer may give a reason for liking or disliking part of a RPG they still provide enough information that I can then agree or disagree as to what I personally like in a game. Overall they do an excellent job with reviews.

August 9, 2017

RPGaDAY #9 - The 10 session campaign


What is a good RPG to play for about 10 sessions? 

I tend to prefer long, multiyear long campaigns. I do not tend to run finite campaigns but rather let the players decide where to go and what to do. If one of my campaigns ends around 10 sessions it means something went wrong (like a TPK). I have only ever run one "plot-point" style game and that was Necessary Evil (which was an excellent campaign).
As for a good RPG for such a campaign I would say...anything would work. I know its a cop-out answer but I feel that any system/setting can be run to completion in 10 sessions. All it takes is laying it out ahead of time. It is fairly easy to decide ahead of time what the PCs will encounter and when.

August 8, 2017

RPGaDAY #8 - Good and short RPGs



What is a good RPG to play for sessions 2hrs or less? 

Right now I'm going to go with 5E D&D. Combat moves much faster while still retaining good choices and resource management. Because the combats flow faster it means you can pack in more non-combat scenes as well. I usual run games for 3 hours or so (sometimes 2 if we end up chatting about non-game things that night) and I've found that in the game night there is enough opportunities for everyone to shine at some point. If a player is rolling badly in one fight the luck evens out for them in the next. If they prefer role-play over combat there is enough time for that in the night as well. For my group, the speed of 5E allows for more to happen in a shorter period of time which in turn allows everyone to do something cool in the session.

I find heavy die rolling games or those with lots of sub-systems to bog down the game. Also games with greater complexity or too many options as well. Once a game slows down if also slows down opportunities for players/characters to shine.

August 7, 2017

RPGaDAY #7 - Impactful RPG session


What was your most impactful RPG session? 

My first interpretation of "impactful" is one wherein there was a session with great immersion or that altered by perceptions of RPGs in general. However, I have to say that no such thing has happened at my tables (though I have seen it at a LARP). When I play I always try to keep in mind that this is just a game, mostly so I can try and make it fun for everyone. Too often I have seen people ruin a good night for someone else because they are "in character". So, I try to remember the other players as we game which precludes getting too immersed.

However, there was one session where I was running a mono-language NPC in a Feng Shui game. Hugo was his name and that was the only word he spoke (long before Hodor and similar characters made it "popular"). I was able to convey multiple emotions and statements with that one word by use of inflection, tone and body language. He also became an NPC that the PCs actually cared about and went out of their way to help.

August 6, 2017

RPGaDAY #6 - A week of gaming


You can game everyday for a week. Describe what you'd do!


Day One - Run Legion of Stars, my 5E science fiction setting.
Day Two - Run Legion of Stars, my 5E science fiction setting.
Day Three - Run Torg Eternity.
Day Four - Play in my wife's 7th Sea game using the 1E rules.
Day Five - Play in a 3E Shadowrun game.
Day Six - Play in a 3E Shadowrun game.
Day Seven - Play in a Middle Earth Rolemaster game.

August 5, 2017

RPGaDAY #5 - Best evocative cover


Which RPG cover best captures the spirit of the game?

I have seen many different covers through the years, with the majority of them actually doing a good job evoking the game inside. For me this question come down to one of nostalgia. Which cover make me want to play RPGs overall, want to explore what the game offered. While the cover to the Blue Box Basic D&D was good, it was the cover of the AD&D Player's Handbook that really caught my eye and attention.

In it you had party all doing their own "class" thing. It showed how you could play anything. You had the warriors who just finished hack-n-slashing, the mage, the fighter type planning the next move and the thieves doing thiefly things. It showed that a lot can happen in the game. Plus, you just know something is going to go wrong as they pry out the gems...the mystery of the idol is evocative and makes me wonder what would happen if my character was there.

The picture also reminds me of all the adventures I did have back in the game with that game. So nostalgia plays a big part in "best evocative cover".


August 4, 2017

RPGaDAY #4 - Most played RPG for the past year


Which RPG have you played the most since August 2016?

5E D&D - Homebrew setting. This was actually a close one, I had been running a 3E Shadowrun campaign for the last couple of years but that wrapped up earlier this year. The 5E D&D game started about a year ago, so overall while it has not been running as long as the Shadowrun game it is the one I ran the most this past year.

August 3, 2017

RPGaDAY #3 - Source for RPG info


How do you find out about new RPGs?

Online. EN World is usually good for info about new RPGs, especially since they've started a new regular column that showcases new releases. They also do a run-down of kickstarters which is where is seems a lot of new RPGs first appear.

August 2, 2017

RPGaDAY #2 - The RPG that needs to get published


What is an RPG you would like to see published?

Other than my personal projects (such as the After the Fall kickstarter going on right now - wow, what a shameless plug!) I have always wanted to see an RPG for the Narnia series.



I absolutely loved the books and have always felt like it would make for an excellent setting. There are actually a couple of attempts to make one, but they are usually lackluster or incomplete. However, I can see a few problems with such an RPG...
-It plays heavily into morality and intangible human qualities. I do think that it can be done properly though but would require more work to integrate the two (morality/virtues and the typical fantasy setting).
-Finding players for such a setting might be difficult. Most players (mine included) usually prefer hack-n-slash. Forcing morality into play is something they would find either foreign or distasteful.
-From all I've heard, the people who run the estate of CS Lewis are disinclined to allow a Narnia RPG.

I guess I'll just have to make my own.


August 1, 2017

RPGaDAY #1 - The RPG I wish I was playing



What published RPG do you wish you were playing right now? 

I am going under the assumption the question means "playing" as opposed to being the DM (as I usually DM). So with that caveat...Torg Eternity. 


I loved the game when it first came out in 1990. My official favorite game system is Masterbook. I bought into the Kickstarter for Torg:Eternity and have thus been able to read the rules in pdf that just came out. It looks like a solid system that definitely captures the setting while retaining much of the rule set I liked. Fortunately, there is a game being started up this Saturday so I will be able to try it out as a player!

That being said I would actually like to be playing my Legion of Stars homebrew which is not published yet, but at least I get to run it every other week.

July 20, 2017

Torg Eternity - Perks By Cosm






When making a character for Torg I tend to select a Cosm first as that tends to define for me the way I'll play (pulpy, cyberpunky, etc). I felt it would be good to know what each Cosm offered for Perks since Perks are really the special powers and abilities of the characters. So here they are... 

ANY 
-Leadership (Bolster, Followers, Natural Leader, Rally)
-Prowess (Bodyguard, Brawler, Brute, Double Tap, Endurance, Hard To Kill, Indomitable, Mastery, Relentless, Situational Awareness, Sniper, Survivor, Strong-Willed, Trademark Weapon, Vengeful, Whirlwind)
-Social (Helper, Linguist, Wealthy)


AYSLE
-Darkness (Critical Strike, Frightening Aspect, Shadow Step, Smiling Deceiver)
-Dwarf (Bearded/Braided, Dragon Warrior, Forsaken)
-Elf (Elven Archer, Elven Sorcerer, Warden, White Wolf)
-Faith (Conviction, Miracles, Lay On Hands, Protected, Spirit Bane)
-Light (Detect Darkness, Radiant, Rejuvenate, Raise the Dead, Righteousness)
-Outsider (Berserk, Magic Resistance)
-Spellcraft (Magister, Resilient, Spellcaster)

CORE EARTH
-Faith (Conviction, Miracles, Lay On Hands, Protected, Spirit Bane)
-Psionics (Iron Will, Multi-Tasker, Overcharge, Psionic)
-Reality (Adaptable, Axiom Increase, Grant Possibilities, Negation, Prodigy, Realm Runner, Storm Caller, Storyteller, Tenacious)
-Spellcraft (Magister, Resilient, Spellcaster)

CYBERPAPACY
-Cyberware (Cyberware Implants)
-Faith (Conviction, Miracles, Lay On Hands, Protected, Spirit Bane)
-Spellcraft (Magister, Resilient, Spellcaster)

LIVING LAND
-Edeinos (Chameleon Skin, Death Claw, Star Eyes, Stone Skin, Whip Tail)
-Faith (Conviction, Miracles, Lay On Hands, Protected, Spirit Bane)
-Savagery (Beast Rider, Animal Companion)

NILE EMPIRE
-Faith (Conviction, Miracles, Lay On Hands, Protected, Spirit Bane)
-Pulp Power (Electro-Ray, Flight, Force Field, Mind Control, Super Attribute, Super Skill)  
-Spellcraft (Magister, Resilient, Spellcaster)

ORRORSH
-Faith (Conviction, Miracles, Lay On Hands, Protected, Spirit Bane)
-Occult (Alchemy, Bulletsmith, Demoniacal Frenzy, Diabolist, Medals, Occultist)
-Spellcraft (Magister, Resilient, Spellcaster)

PAN-PACIFICA
-Electric Samurai (Ion Gusoku, Speed Demon, Unflinching)
-Ki Powers (Block Strike, Focused Strike, Ki Strike)
-Psionics (Iron Will, Multi-Tasker, Overcharge, Psionic)

THARKOLD
-Occultech (Occultech Implants)
-Psionics (Iron Will, Multi-Tasker, Overcharge, Psionic)
-Spellcraft (Magister, Resilient, Spellcaster)

Some interesting things I see from the list. Some Cosms (Core Earth, Cyberpapacy, Nile Empire, Orrorsh, Tharkold) have only 1 unique Perk to them. Aysle has 5 unique perks and the most overall at 7 (not counting ANY). Core Earth comes in at 4 and the rest all only have 3 Perks allowed (other than ANY). I can only assume when the Realms supplements come out each Cosm will get more.

July 19, 2017

Torg Eternity Cheat Sheet

I'm liking the new Torg Eternity so far. Someone local is doing a play-test of an adventure they want to run at a nearby convention this week. For prep I quickly put together a Torg Eternity Cheat Sheet. All you really need is Page 1 (for the PCs) and 8 (for the GM); the rest just give details on items and cosms.

Page 
1- Basic info a PC might need
2- Melee Weapons
3- Firearms
4- Ammo/Missile Weapons
5- Armor/Shields
6- Torg Value Chart (good for impromptu scaling)
7- GM Cosm rules
8- GM rules

You can get it here.