Friday, March 31, 2017

Revisiting Aftermath! Part II

Part I

This time I am looking at the combat rules. Just - reading them and making nots of my impressions as I go.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Revisiting: Aftermath! Part I

  My oldest sister and her husband are cool, like jazz musicians and rock stars. They got me the Buck Rogers collections when they were first printed; they introduced me to King Crimson, Jethro Tull, and Dave Brubeck; they got me a subscription to Dungeon magazine for Christmas. 
  And they bought me Aftermath! in the Summer of 1982.
  I was already running 2 AD&D campaigns, a Champions campaign, and was pretty active socially so I never ran it, but I remember the first rules read-through was great fun.
  A classmate of mine, Derek, ran an Aftermath! campaign called Broken Sky in '84-'85. I have described it elsewhere in this blog, but imagine if The Road Warrior was crossed with the Dark Crystal, then re-written by Monty Python and directed by Mel Brooks. Everything was lethal, everyone was insane, and it was hilarious. He was using Spell Law for the various magical/super-sciency stuff but everything else was Aftermath! mechanics, including the rolling to hit with Firebolts and the gaining of spell lists. I played 4-5 sessions as one of the 'Shinermen of the Apple-Atcha' Mountains.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Getting Girls To Play

  I was reading an article about how to get girls and women to play TRPGs [no, I will not link it] and I came away from it annoyed. I always find it annoying when female authors pull the hat trick of
  1) talking down to men
  2) by giving their personal preferences as universal advice
  3) while also talking down to women

  The author said some stuff I find wrong-headed, so let me give my advice on how to get more girls and women into the hobby.

  Be courteous to everyone.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

FORTY. YEARS. and a sale. And a prize

40 years ago today I sat down with a small group of college freshmen and rolled up an Elf. I was only 9 years old. The DM's girlfriend *insisted* that he let me play [thanks, Kim!].
We went into a dungeon - I went first. 90 feet in, I fell into a pit trap and I died.
Another player helped me roll up a replacement, and I rolled a paladin!

The Elf is long gone, but I still have and sometimes play that paladin.

I mentioned to the guy at the bookstore that I was playing. He ordered the books for me and pointed out Traveller, that had just arrived.
  I got the monster manual for Christmas.

  In the years since I have played and sometimes run:
2300 AD, Aberrant, Indiana Jones, Aftermath!, Alternity, Amber, Ars Magica, Beyond the Supernatural, BESM, Boot Hill, B&B, Bureau 13, CoC , Castles and Crusades, Champions , oWoD, Chivalry and Sorcery, Conan, CORPS, Cyberpunk and FNFF, DC, Elric!, EotPT, Fading Suns, FUDGe and Fuzion, Gangbusters, Ghostbusters, Space Opera, Godlike, HackMaster (both versions, early memebr of the HMGMA and early pre-orderer of books), HARP, Heros Unlimited, In Nomine, Jorune, Marvel, Mechwarrior, Mercenaries, Spies, and Private Eyes, Metamorphosis Alpha, MERP, Morrow Project, Ninjas and Stupid Guys, Over the Edge, Palladium, Paranoia, Pendragon, Prime Directive, Psiworld, Rifts, Robotech, RuneQuest, Sailor Moon, Shadowrun, Space 1889, Spacemaster, Star Frontiers, Star*Drive, Star Trek (most versions), Superworld, Bushido,Talislanta, TMNTAOS, TFOS, Timelords, TOON, Top Secret, TORG, Traveller (all versions, although the LBBs are best), Trinity, Twilight 2000, and, of course, D20, D6, and GURPS. And my favorite non-D&D game, Rolemaster.
  I am certain I missed a few.

  My wife and I spent our second date playing WEG's Star Wars. Half of all the Christmas presents I have ever received are RPG related. I have met amazing people at gaming tables and many a friendship has been forged over badly-photocopied character sheets.

  On the 16th and 17th (Thursday and Friday this week) I will be having a 50% off sale at RGNow.

  Today, though, is a special giveaway to celebrate!

  I will be posting this on Google+ under 'public' and my collection for 'tabletop roleplaying games' and in a few communities. Tomorrow morning the Fun Lads Four will make a list of everyone who makes a comment on one of these entries and my dear wife will randomly draw two names.
  Those two people will get a prize! The can choose from
1) A free copy of The Book of Seaward - my complete add-on rules for AD&D 1e that are never sold.
2) Free copies of all of my stuff on RPGNow.
3) A write up of the top four levels of Skull Mountain, including the sublevels
4) I create a new, custom adventure for them in one of the following game systems: D&D 1e, 2e, 3e; Rolemaster; HERO; Classic Traveller.

  Good luck and good gaming!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Play Report: Old-School Take on 3e, First Session & Second Session

  As I had mentioned a short time ago, the Fun Lads Four and I decided to try to make 3e as OSRish as possible and try it out.

The Setup:
Classes- PHB classes only. Some are limited (Druids must pick the one combat-worthy wildshape form they can take, for example).
Skills- PHB only
Feats- PHB only and not all are available (Natural Spell, for example, isn't to be found)
Prestige Classes- Some from the DMG
  In general, splatbooks don't exist (although we are told 'there might be psionics. Or not. If there are, they were always there. If not,t hey were never there'.)

Players and Characters:
I played Janusz- 1st level human Cleric
Jen played Mary- 1st level elven ranger (bow path)
Sam played Frederick- 1st level human paladin
Nick played Kedrick- 1st level human rogue
Jack was DM

Friday, March 10, 2017

RPGs, Deceit, the OSR, Publishing, FUD, and you! - A Rant

  Warning - rant follows.
  My blog's tagline mentions something I don't do enough of - talk about the industry of RPGs. There are reasons for that, the biggest being I am a hobbyist publisher. Not a 'small press'; not an 'indie'. A hobbyist. I strive to generate high-quality work, yes, but I will never, and do not wish to ever, generate a wage off of my RPG publishing.
  But there are people I talk to and interact with on G+ who either do make a wage off of gaming and related activities or wish to. Semi-series to serious authors, artists, etc., too. I enjoy reading of their interactions with and participation in what I will call 'more serious RPG publishing' for lack of a better term in much the same way I enjoy reading about baseball trades; it impacts my hobby, so I am interested.

Monday, March 6, 2017

How We "Fix" 3e - a Short Post

From years and years of not having access to anything else, I have a few cubic meters of AD&D 3e books. Working for Fast Forward as a freelancer added to that, as did freelance copyediting for, oh, half of the d20 explosion guys. They are all neatly stored in my (finished) basement. About once a year my wife has to convince me not to sell them.

Son #1 pulled a few out last week.

For the last three days he and I have been discussing them and there was a lot of,
  "Why do people say 3e wizards are overpowered?"
  "Huh. Why do people think this feat works a way it doesn't?"

So over the last two days he's decided to run a short 3e campaign in a unique setting.  But it led us to talk about What's Wrong with 3e and how to fix it.

Our takeaways:

1) The GM must keep tight control over what prestige classes exist. The creep and bloat of splatbooks can make a campaign collapse.

2) The GM must carefully control the magic items in the campaign. This ranges from 'no, you can't buy potions from a street vendor' up to using items that grow. While this may sound too obvious, the implied/assumed setting of 3e appears to be awash in magic items!

3) The GM must throttle access to spells for wizards and sorcerers and make sure cleric spell selections make sense in the context of the domains, deity, and alignment of divine spellcasters.

4) The GM must control access to feats, especially advanced ones.

5) Challenge ratings must be based on the level of play not the level of PCs.

This is from an old 3e campaign of mine- 6) Consider making the Barbarian and the Druid NPC classes

7) Play the rules as written.

  We'll be trying this out over the next few weeks. We think with GM oversight and cooperative players we can have a 3e game with a real 2e feel and play!

Play Report: First Game in the Dosmend Campaign for HERO System

  I love Champions and the HERO system. I've been playing Champions since it came out and it is my default superhero system. HERO is my default system for damn near everything that isn't fantasy or horror.
  Recently Son #4 told us that phrase that all people who play superhero games both love and dread.
 "Play anything you want".