Fav RPG books of 2018

Anyway these are not necessarily from 2018, but just books that I took a fancy to throughout the year.

Shinobigami Modern Ninja Battle Game

I finally got the final PDF of the rules and printed them up and have read them cover to cover. If you like Hillfolk or Fiasco, you can see where they got all their inspiration for those games from (this and Tenra Bansho Zero). Looking forward to running this. I have not played this yet, so I can’t truly review the game itself.

Down Darker Trails

While this uses an inferior D100 system to Mythras, Down Darker Trails is an incredible supplement to CoC for the old West. It’s extremely thorough in it’s descriptions of the era and nature of roleplaying in the old west with monsters without getting totally overboard like Deadlands (which is cool too). The adventures in the back of the book aren’t too great, but it would be easy to wing something with this source material. With the rate at which I’m able to run games, this may never get played, but it’s a great read.

Runequest Glorantha/Guide to Glorantha

These are excellent RQ books, especially the Guide to Glorantha which finally laid out to me what the heck is going on. While RQ requires a lot of player knowledge of the setting, it’s much easier to have it all consolidated in a couple of books than all over the place. No matter what system you may choose to run RQ with, the Guide to Glorantha is a must read.

For play in 2018 year, we continued the Lamentations of the Flame Princess campaign, but some of the players got sick of the non-levelling up and general low power level of the game (with silver=experience, it can be rough to level up), so we are going to switch to Mythras after the current campaign arc is done.

My favorite game from 2018 is probably DCC, we’ve had a lot of fun with friends and the kids with the game and adventures. My favorite RPG event of last year was the 2 day 13th Age level 1-6 switching GM’s every 3 hours.

STraaaahd game and 5E

I want to do a serious post about my thoughts on 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons, the system and where I think it’s great and where I think it’s sort of lacking.

We had our monthly Straahd session a week or so back and it was a good one, we ended up in our first (that I was there for) combat with the vampire himself and one of the characters was completely destroyed in a single round, which always keeps you honest.

While I think 5E is excellent, there are times when, compared to my other d20 faves (13th Age and DCC) it can fall flat like when BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT

BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT

PAFFFFSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!

The best games of 2018 – boardgames

To say 2018 was a good year would be odd, to say it was a bad year would be inaccurate. What we have before us friends is an absolute DELUGE of games. More video games, more board games, more console games and more (shitty) iphone games than you can even count. It’s like humankind shifted in the late 90’s from enjoying games occasionally to it being the absolute raison d’etre for human existence and that it only matters if a game is NEW and not if it’s GOOD. It may be said that this was the year where historians ages hence say that all people wanted to do from here on out was play games, and that would be great if we had some star trek level of egalitarianism and technology to support people just gaming, but neither will ever happen. As a gainfully employed American, here’s to the wayward distractions from the fall of the West.

Board games

Keyforge

Coming out near the end of the year meant we didn’t get a ton of play time with this one, but I’ve now played 15 or so times and it’s an excellent game. We haven’t had a ‘tournament’ day yet where we open random decks and go to town, but that’s coming. If this was multiplayer, I think it would be the best CCG ever made.

Rising Sun, pointing.

Rising Sun

This is my favorite game of 2018 by far. Really an excellent follow up by Eric Lang after Blood Rage. I was very skeptical of the battle system, but it works brilliantly. He trashed a lot of early designs to get to this one and you can tell he was going all in to make the best area control game he could. It’s a toss up at this point between busting this out or Blood Rage, and that’s saying something! If you’ve been stuck fucking around with Scythe (a euro)– this is the real deal.

Games I didn’t play from 2018

Auztralia

This is Martin Wallace’s follow up to A Study in Emerald. It’s a train game, a bit like Brass but with monsters. Will get to the table soon!

Root

Looks like a solid COIN game. I probably should have kickstarted this one, but theme wise I should probably pick up Cuba Libre or Pendragon instead. The art is Armello-esque.

Western Legends

This is going to hit the table, but just hasn’t yet. This is an old west Talisman-style game and should be fairly good for a few plays but I’m not sure long term. I kickstarted this on a whim so we’ll see!

New BRASS (Birmingham)

I’ve played Brass a few times but never owned it, so I’m looking forward to busting out this LAVISH ass version of the game.

Dice Hospital

I have to get this to the table. The theme is not my favorite but I think my kids will love it.

Gateway: Uprising: Deck-builder area control games

We played Gateway: Uprising the other night which is the third deck-building with area control mechanics mash up game I’ve played and figured I’d write a bit since this type of game has held my interest for a while.

After Martin Wallace’s A Few Acres of Snow, this type of game became a thing with follow ups of Mythotopia and finally A Handful of Stars.  Deck-building with area control is a very  interesting style of game for me, creating player controlled asymmetry like Ascension or Dominion, but with a physical area that is controlled or conquered by players as the game goes along (so they are not as boring as Ascension and Dominion…).  There’s a lot of potential for “wow, I’ve never seen that before” in these games as well as having actual player interaction during the game instead of none.

Gateway: Uprising is a game of various wizard-lead factions (like the Great Fish!) in this very strange city that is having some immigrant and crime problems.  Your factions is built from cards you acquire which are either support cards, merchant cards or army cards build out of the various smaller factions in the city.  Support cards are single play and discard as are merchants, but Army cards stay on the table until destroyed (and they are destroyed often!) at which time they get shuffled into your deck.  Your goal is to score more points than your rivals after time is up or take over all the regions of the city which is instawin.

Unlike Mythotopia/Handful of Stars, locations in Gateway do not become cards in your deck. I was rather surprised by this as the city locations in the game don’t seem to do much except get attacked! You could win the game by not setting foot in the city at all if your faction could pile up enough victory cards (runestones).   However, if a Wizard faction controls the entire city of Gateway, they win the game immediately, so other factions are forced all into the city to make sure no one gets control.

Another interesting twist with Gateway is that there are monsters that show up which can and will destroy the city if not dealt with, generated via an event deck.   So…. this is how the game gets it’s ‘co-op’ tag on the box. It is necessary for the players to work together in order to hold off the horrifying monstrosities that continuously attack the city.  Co-op though, it’s really not. When the monsters start to destroy the sections of the city, it is then easier for one faction to take the entire city over and fighting between factions intensifies.

One thing Gateway has in spades is SOUL.  The art (by concept artist Sean Murray) on the cards and the city itself is superlative and is some of the best I’ve seen in a game for awhile (Rising Sun and Blood Rage aside).  The artist obviously loves Ian Miller/John Blanche as the cityscapes on some cards look straight out of The Enemy Within!  Like Dungeon Degenerates, this is a game that could justify purchase on the weird art alone.

In contrast to the rather dry Mythotopia and Handful of Stars, the goals that your faction has (kill monsters, dominate the city, kill the city guards, kill off the other player’s army) are clear from the outset, unlike the sort of vague ‘go forth and get points’.  Players being able to instantly win with full board control in Gateway is another excellent aspect that obfuscates a bit of the point salad that is inevitable with these types of games.

Mythotopia and Handful of Stars have player’s controlled areas scattered across the map at the start of the game, forcing them to fight with others or neutrals in order to consolidate some sort of defend-able empire and score points.  Gateway: Uprising starts with the city in the game controlled by no one, and the gangs/factions have to stake claim to the board as they go.  I find this a superior method, especially since Mythotopia feels pretty messy when you first start out and you immediately ask yourself why on earth you, as a fantasy lord, would control areas scattered randomly across the country side like this?  You have no sense of your faction or loyalty or what you are trying to do—it doesn’t make much sense.  I chalk that up to Mythotopia being one of Wallace’s ‘mechanics tests.’  Handful of Stars feels a bit better in this regard since the board represents 3 dimensional space and you are an alien faction (with a special power) rather than a generic fantasy lord.  I think both the Wallace games would be better, albeit LONGER if they started the players with a single star system/region or off board to start the game.  This would be a major design change since resources to play and buy cards come from the regions/planets themselves.

The rules are OK, there are some gaps we found in the rules (like, if regions are destroyed, do they count against the ability for a faction to control the city? It never says), so you have to make some judgement calls.  Components are good but the big hexes are not cardboard, they are very thin card and get moved around easily.  

Anyway, Gateway is pretty cheap (I got it lightly used for 15$) and well worth having in the collection (the box is small too for those of you with limited shelf space). I like it better than Mythotopia, and about the same as Handful of Stars. Gateway is far easier to set up to play than HoS is though!

 

this is one crazy ass beast.

Aphex twin on 2019

This got posted to reddit.

2019 update
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asbv in the pipesine ib the svno-awaitel “besektel aujient wvzrb 1.5” uetas kabbette, kl, dvuit-tintel dinfs anl uancas kiphezb (mckr lioitasb, anasvo vnsf, jajf). adaisajse mvz lvwnsval jf rinl seoas aozeeuent mzvu z+b zekvzlb inteznativnas dia uais vzlez vn uazkh 5th, 2019.

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khekr vct uf scbh aphex twin wejbite mvz the vmmikias annvcnkeuentb, i lvn’t hade anf btzvno meesinob ajvct fvc btcpil twitb bv i wantel fvc tv je the 1bt tv rnvw.

qvfzex ib a kcnt, zellit bckrb lvnref likr, fvc’ze jeino jzainwabhel jf kheutzaisb. hade a happf 2019 anl oet kzakrino fvc bsaob!

eteznassf fvczb in pzibu anl jitkheb, pzitkhazl j bsaub

That is:

hello guys, girls and trannies, just checking in to announce there will be some totally new aphex twin custom official limited edition dentures for sale soon. so vexing!

also in the pipeline is the long-awaited “selected ambient works 1.5” metal cassette, cd, vomit-tinted vinyl and manual ciphers (fuck digitals, analog only, baby). available for download by kind legal agreement from r+s records international via mail order on march 5th, 2019.

finally, while you’re at it, sign up for the upcoming korg “selected ambient works 3”-themed lush 25 keys rompler kickstarter with weirdcore designed interface print! synth programmeded by my chinky mate tatsuo mcwhatshisface. street date is july 5th 2019, will be offered with optional 3 months limited warranty, power supply sold seperately.

check out my lush aphex twin website for the official announcements, i don’t have any strong feelings about you stupid twits so i wanted you to be the 1st to know.

joyrex is a cunt, reddit sucks donkey dick, you’re being brainwashed by chemtrails. have a happy 2019 and get cracking you slags!

eternally yours in prism and bitches, pritchard b slams

Shirigui DEATH FRENZY

I first saw this Anime on netflix years ago, watching only the first episode. We just had a kid and I couldn’t give it the attention it deserved at the time. You can tell from the first episode, it’s going to be a series that rewards close attention.  My first draw was that Shigurui looked like the art style of Ninja Scroll with some of the same animators and, of course, it is, which should tell you something about it’s quality.  For those of us that grew up with Ninja Scroll as the GOLD STANDARD (along with Akira) for Anime,  Shigurui is like Ninja Scroll all fucking grown up.

From the outset, I want to highly recommend this anime with almost zero caveats… maybe just two.  First, it’s very dark and violent along the lines of 13 Assassins but a bit worse. Second it is UNFINISHED.  There is no resolution to the entire story, as that would have taken most of a second season which was never made. You never get to see what happens in the end, which a tough pill as things are set up in the first episode for a climactic battle, yet most of the series is a flashback that never flashes forward again!  How can you get the full story? You have to read the manga. That said, while incomplete, this is a masterpiece of anime.

What’s is Shigurui about? Like the film 13 Assassins, the series takes place during a peaceful era after the ‘warring states’ period in Japan.  And again, like 13 Assassins, a relative of the shogun is a Daimyo of a province and a full bore psychopath, one who dreams of a more violent era, regardless of the fact that he lives in lazy splendor and can kill servants on a whim. At the beginning of the first show we see him getting his head lopped off in a seppuku ceremony– one in which he ONLY touches the fan–he isn’t even given the time to touch the fan to his abdomen as is traditional– the executioner just lopped his head right off!  So he must have done something more than raping and killing peasantry right?  Right.

We then have a first flashback to a one armed man and a blind man about to duel to the death in front of said Daimyo. They prepare to fight and then another flashback occurs when one of the men (the blind one, but no longer blind) steps into a dojo. The other combatant is there and neither have any injuries (yet).  The show moves on to show the rivalry of these two men at the dojo, but then turns into something very different towards the end.

Add to this the fact that the master of the Kogan-Ryuu dojo is  insane, and lies in a state of dementia for most of the show, however, he has massive parts in the series when he is in his right mind and is probably the most dangerous character in terms of ability to apply violence.

The show and manga has everything samurai you can imagine–various fighting styles, ‘magical’ or unlucky swords, western sword styles, rival schools. You know how Game of Thrones very much includes nearly every fantasy trope and most of the ‘fantasy’ races without being like a bad Forgotten Realms based Dungeons and Dragons movie?  Shigurui HAS all the samurai tropes, it just presents them in such a way–again, much like ninja scroll– that helps you forget that you are seeing/reading about the same old tired stuff that showed up during the ninja and samurai craze in the 80’s.

The meat of the show outside of the character development are the various fighting styles.  The fighting styles are extremely well detailed, and will have you thinking quite a bit about it as the learning of the two protagonists increases and they not only learn the secrets from the master, but come up with their own modifications and evolution to the styles.  Having read the manga, I can say that this continues well into the second half of the series and ends spectacularly.

One other thing I really like is that if you look up the series in google and do an image search, you cannot find out what happens in the final duel.  The manga author has many dream sequences and day dreams where BOTH of the main antagonists are show to be killed or terribly wounded during the final fight, so it’s impossible without reading the manga to get spoiled by the internet.  The picture you are looking at with the guy with one arm’s face cut off could be during the final duel, or could be a dream sequence.

The entire series is up on youtube.  The manga is a bit harder to get a hold of.

Gaming

The only mechanical system that would be able to handle Shigurui’s level of combat depth and manner of wounds, is, of course, Mythras.  Most of the sword fights are over in a SINGLE stroke, which is simply not possible with D20 systems that use hit points, nor WFRP, nor 13th Age.  Story games would not effectively simulate the fights without far to heavy narrative control: you may as well just play with action figures at that point rather than roll dice.

In Mythras, both of the protagonists would have over 100% in their relevant sword skills (in the Kogan style), and you would probably need to break out different weapons having different skills (such as the shorter sword, the longer katana’s, and the big honking club thing one of the characters uses, and two swords at once).

One other thing that may be difficult in any RPG, even Mythras, is that the Kogan-Ryuu sword school students NEVER parry.  This means that the swordsman that strikes at the higher strike rank and hits is going to need to score a heavy wound most of the time to not himself be killed, but vs another Kogan swordsman, he will get a special effect straight away since there is no parry.

In order to simulate the sword styles, I would give special traits when characters got to 90 %, 100% and finally 120% skill levels, so every style would have three traits.  These are usually only given once to an entire style in the core game, but it should not break anything to give more, especially at such high skill levels.

I would also recommend using the advanced range and distance rules.  There are a couple of the fights in Shigurui where the range is critical.  In fact the first Kogan style trait I would add at 90% mastery would be that the sword used counts as one level up in terms of weapon length.

Passions can also be very useful in this type of game, as they could boost combat skills in certain situations to god-like levels.  Getting close to 10% chance of a critical is scary– 14-17% is insane.   Anyway, a game with Mythras where on one wears armor and no one parries could be very interesting…

Mythras

Boob post

This is a post with boobs on it.   If you want to put boobs on the internet, don’t use a SERVICE like blogger, tumblr, twitter, G+, facebook or instagram– get your own domain, get blog software (much different than wix or some blog SERVICE) and then boob out all you want.  If you don’t want to use blog software, just code your own HTML pages. It’s really not difficult.

Otherwise your content isn’t your own, your followers aren’t your own, you can (and should) be censored based on the whims of the platform service you are on, and your information and your followers information will be sold and used for marketing.  If you use a free blogging service, you are their PRODUCT. 

Without further adieu….

 

Free WFRP 4 adventure

Night of Blood is a classic WFRP adventure and it’s free on Drivethru RPG.

I partially ran this one in college– the players didn’t take the bait due to ‘running away from some baron’s men’ factor and avoided the fun. There are many, many adventures influenced by this one, including 2-3 DCC ones I can think of off the top of my head that are now ALSO classics.

I haven’t picked up WFRP 4 yet, but it’s bound to happen eventually.