Gencon bound tomorrow!

Here we go for another fucking Gencon. When oh when will I learn? The overpriced everything, the MASSIVE crowds (and I mean that on every level) and the constant hunt for the awesome thing– when really this year I would be fine staying at home with a bunch of friends and playing a whole lotta ROOT instead.

That said, I’ll be able to see some homies from across the lands (not as many this year are going), and play some stuff that I wouldn’t ever have a chance to, so that’s good. I think until our kids are old enough, gone are the days where a whole shitload of us would ditch the kids for the weekend and go down for all four days. It may be better to go back to what I used to do: drive down Friday, stay saturday and leave Sunday. Ahhhh well, in a moment of weakness and Maat’s prompting, I’m in it for all four days.

Events! I’m in what should be a very cool FASERIP miniatures Free For All battle. I’ll post impressions and the rules and all that shit when I get back from the con. Second I got into the Keyforge tournament, which should be ridiculous. RPG-wise we are in a Mutant Crawl Classics game and a game of Mythras on Saturday morning at 8 AM (let’s see if we make this one).

Most importantly though is the self run SHADOWFIST DRAFT! I got together all my remaining boxes of Shadowfist and we have a few people ready to draft and play. It’s going to be a real shit swarm of decks as we are starting with:

Standard Starter – Absolute DRECK of cards, the lowest of the low. When I look at this stuff, I’m shocked that Shadowfist survived after it’s first Limited run…so much garbage.

Boosters of the following:

  • Standard Booster – More of the same crap and still no hitters to find…
  • Empire of Evil – everyone will be hoping for the best with their booster here
  • Netherworld 2 – good stuff, just need to get lucky
  • Throne War – great set, but pretty big… so chances are slim
  • Boom Shaka Laka – in for the LOL’S. Maybe someone will get a good dragon card or…?

This should be enough to get a semi functional deck out of and we have pods of feng shui and foundations. Should be a great time, if we can only get a couple 3-man tables anyway.

So see you after with pics and other nonsense. Luckily I can’t spend much money on anything, so there won’t be the horde of crap I come back with this year. Hoping to find a decently priced John Company, Conquest of Paradise or Fire in the Lake, but that’s it.

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.

Nostalgia for the OSR

Since Google+ and the OSR movement are going away in a year after G+ closes down, there’s a lot of pre-shutdown nostalgia already for the OSR, though the movement will go on for another year (until the day G+ shuts down for good, then it will be gone outside of Garycon and Gamehole con).

The questionnaire below was posted as a nostalgia piece that bloggers can fill out to have some feels together now at the end and for the posterity of the movement. The OSR had a good run, and G+ was entertaining to say the least.

In terms of content that the OSR produced, there were some good adventures but I think 90% of the ‘hacks’ people put together were in some issue of Dragon magazine from 1978 – 1985 but people were just too lazy to find them and tell the people that what they were suggesting had already been done before.

OSR Guide For The Perplexed Questionnaire 

1. One article or blog entry that exemplifies the best of the Old School Renaissance for me:

Zak S. and RPGPundit, a comparison of the D&D 5th Edition consultants, or “John Tarnowski must feel lower than a legless flea’s taint”

  1. My favorite piece of OSR wisdom/advice/snark:

All of the LotFP Grindhouse GM’s book.

  1. Best OSR module/supplement:

Prince Charming, Reanimator

  1. My favorite house rule (by someone else):

Advantage / Disadvantage from 5E

  1. How I found out about the OSR:

LotFP stuff sitting on the shelf in the game store… I think.

  1. My favorite OSR online resource/toy:

Into the Odd Character generator

  1. Best place to talk to other OSR gamers:

GaryCon

  1. Other places I might be found hanging out talking games:
  • Gamehole Con
  • In person with friends.
  1. My awesome, pithy OSR take nobody appreciates enough:

Endless Trash.

  1. My favorite non-OSR RPG:

FENG SHUI 2!

  1. Why I like OSR stuff:

Dungeon Crawl Classics and especially the LotFP stuff by Raphael Chandler

I like Tenkar’s hounding of that pencil dice guy.

  1. Two other cool OSR things you should know about that I haven’t named yet:

Venger Satanis.   Runequest 6.

  1. If I could read but one other RPG blog but my own it would be:

Design Mechanism’s blog

  1. A game thing I made that I like quite a lot is:

A lotfp pocket mod character sheet. A funnel for DCC.  A monster for lotFP that was never published.

  1. I’m currently running/playing:

Lotfp, DCC, 13th Age, Mythras

  1. I don’t care whether you use ascending or descending AC because:

You’re trying to find players to play Dungeon World at Game Universe.

  1. The OSRest picture I could post on short notice:

And another couple kickstarters…

Brutal!  Too many….

First one I can’t vouch for as a game, but it LOOKS good.  (Remember Dungeon Degenerates? that was well worth the kickstarter price based on the art alone, and was a solid game to boot!).  DEUS LO VULT.  

this one is around 50$ shipped so it’s not a bankbreaker like the CMON ones…

The second one is a no brainer.  Steve Jackson got the license back for “The Fantasy Trip” after many years as an out of print microgame and started a kickstarter to bring it back into print.  30$.

Remember these in the hobby shops back in the day? This is it.

DCC – Funnel with scratch off 0-level character sheets

Last weekend I finished running a funnel with the DCC scratch off character sheets. This will be a bit of a review of the sheets and a bit of a review of the new, brutal, way you can handle characters in the funnel if you have these sheets.

First, the sheets are aesthetically pleasing, but they are not made with the best scratch off stuff. I don’t play the lottery or any of that parasitic shit, but I’ve scratched off some stuff in my time and it was better than the sheets– the stuff was challenging to get off without scratching the crap out of the paper underneath.

Secondly, the size of the type in the scratch off areas made it difficult to read the text, especially for the lucky signs and some of the equipment.

Last, I think these should have been a quad of four character sheets and not just one. There is a lot of space on the sheet wasted and frankly 0-level characters aren’t worth a full sheet of paper in the first place!

We followed the suggestion that came with the pack of ’emergent’ stats, that is: when you have to use a stat on a character, you scratch it off the sheet and reveal it. Only when you use a stat do you get to see what it is and what the bonuses are.

While this was fun, a couple of the players felt like they were bit upside the ass by it when their front character turned out to have a 16+ in some stat and they didn’t know and doomed the poor fellow to some trap.  Make sure if you do this that you have ample opportunity for tests (PER especially doesn’t come up often).

That said, my funnel turned out not to be a very dangerous one, and with careful play (in most instances), the players came out with multiple characters.

Overall, it was fun to use the scratch off sheets, but they could be better and there were some complaints about reading the entries at times.

Names for Maaaat

We play a bunch of RPG’s and Matt is castigated most of the time for his character names. So much so that he has descended into utter filth or silliness as a response. While I’m used to players naming their characters after other PLAYERS in the game, or some two word combo that turns out to be violent sexual imagery when pronounced, I seek to help matt with his naming problem and wasn’t sure how until I found this post about a neural network generating thousands of ‘fantasy’ names.

Here are some good ones out of the 10K+

Chagg Castlewink
Mira the Bastard
Ravelock Hewclot
Saltroth Dank
Varion Mandrin
Perry Bardwood
Mellock Fistbelly
Rhon Smallthorn
Maedo Balland
Poppy Didgins
Corvish Prinn
Temen Maft
Morrigan Hellioa Forgelock

Losing stuff with ideas in it !

Well, I found my notebook with my FASERIP BPRD notes in it in my daughter’s room after a few weeks of looking and even starting over in another notebook! I have a lot of notebooks and they have random ideas in them all over the place. I realize that most of them are places of dead roads that nothing will come out of except the fervent act of creation itself in the moment and that’s just dandy, but sometimes I have stuff written down that I aim to do things with, like finish a LotFP module the cartography of which ALSO was in the lost notebook! (one demand I have of my non work notebooks is that they are all graph paper). So now I need to finish off the maps and get this thing done.

Another issue is playtesting. I’ve had the thing read over by a few people and it’s been playtested once in 5E, but I haven’t done it, mainly because my roll20 group does not generally like the character thresher that is LotFP. It’s something I gotta do. It’s not a long adventure: 3-4 set pieces and some ‘connective tissue’ between if the characters take the bait.

This points to an organizational issue of keeping everything straight paper wise when you run and play 5-6 different RPG’s in a given year (13th Age, Into the Odd, lotFP, Mythras, FASERIP and Dungeon Crawl Classics in 2017). What I’ve started doing after my ‘trapper keeper’ idea sorta failed (it got filled with stuff from all sorts of games and it’s a fuckin mess) is get one of those zipper folders and put all of the crap for that game you are running inside. It has to be totally self contained except for the rulebook (which shit for most games you don’t even need if you’ve played enough), but if you have a small rulebook like the LotFP or Into the Odd books, throw it in there too. So, that’s all character sheets, the module, any previous module the characters have run through (trust me on that one, you’ll need it),  and all session notes. The key is to have EVERYTHING there, even if you have to throw a 95% empty notebook in there (what are they? 2$?), it’s worth it so you can grab and go even if it has been years since the last time you’ve run it.

Zipper thingy with the Kid’s campaign modules and notes, cat.

RPG – my favorite books of 2017

Here’s my list of my favorite RPG books of 2017.  Not all of these came out in 2017 though!  These are books that have been at my bedside table or working desk most of the year.

How to Write Adventures that Don’t Suck

This is a great book of essays on adventure design from a lot of the greats, with short adventures to go along with each essay.  Fantastic stuff!  All GM’s should have this one.

FASERIP

This is an OGL redux of the Marvel Heroes RPG from TSR that had a LOT of expansions and material that my brother and I basically ignored after getting and playing the yellow box set a few times.  We were CHAMPIONS kids and that meant pointbuild and brokenness and combat that took forever.  Frankly I wish we had looked at TSR’s superhero game at the time a bit more OR they had the common sense to realize that kids wanted to make their own characters!  Faserip has character creation (which I would dub semi random).  Also, this shit is FREE.

We got to play FASERIP once this year (thanks to Lordlobo) and I intend to run it soon.

Veins of the Earth

This is great shit-reading.  Probably one of the best shit-reading books to come out in long time.  While the campaign itself is nothing compared to World of the Lost or Better than Any Man (it’s more of a gazetter), it has oodles of weirdness and unique ideas for your OSR, D&D5e or even 13th Age campaign.  While not a fan of the author’s writing generally (“get to the fucking point man!” is the constant comment running through my head) this is worth suffering through the rough spots.  After purchasing the lackluster Deep Carbon Observatory, I thought this guy needed an editor and he got one when publishing Veins: it really helped.  Hopefully he can tighten up his tendency to overwrite and wordiness even further for the next thing he does because the bones of it this are fantastic.  Art is great.

Silent Legions

This is older but I just picked it up this year.  It is likely an essential book in any GM’s library (like Dungeon Dozens!).   Why?  This has one of the best world building generators I’ve come across for both modern and fantasy stuff.  Not only that, it has a unique adventure builder that, while set up to work in the Early Modern to modern settings, could be used in any Fantasy Universe as well.  And this fucking guy really can write!

Runner Up:

Vagina’s are Magic!

This is the new magic system for Lamentations of the Flame Princess!  People have a lot of work to do getting all the spells in line with the new set up, and this also means the game is no longer backwards compatible with old D&D (sorta).  What’s most important is the system brings it closer in line with DCC’s (and likely the new WFRP’s) magic systems which are superior to the vancian system in oD&D and 5e).

Into the Odd character generator!

odd11

I typically hate D20 microlites. There are a shit load of them reaching for some perfect design goal of streamlined play that in my opinion has already been done by Moldvay and further improved by Lamentations of the Flame Princess.  There’s only so much you can strip away before your game becomes boring as fuck or, worse, Dungeon World.

However, Into the Odd is where I’ve eaten some crow on this hatred as it’s one of the best designed RPG’s to come forth recently, and it’s squarely in the microlite sub-genre.

That said, character generation takes about 2 minutes, such a long time right?  But with the online generator below, not only can you generate your character in seconds, but you can make all stat rolls right in the browser!

This is Alberta, about as good as you are going to get, and I don’t know what she’s scared of because she’s quite the badasche.

ALBERTA “SCARED” BICKLEY
STR
10
DEX
15
WIL
18
HP
5
Harpoon Gun (d8), Fire Oil, Mirror engine (arcana), Grappling Hook, Magnifying Glass

Make a bunch of guys here:
http://odd.pushingcows.se/