Tag Archives: archive

Looking at Nook Color for RPG PDFs

Over the past weekend I purchased a Nook Color for a gaming PDF reader, and decided to play around with it for some other features.

Here’s a video showcasing the stock PDF reader vs. ezPDF Reader (99 cents on the B&N Store, as well as Android Market.) Also showing off the iDisplay app ($4.99 Android Market) via Cyanogenmod 7.

Gaming & Gumbo Easter Sunday!

Happy Easter Sunday to everyone out there in the RPG Bloggosphere!

Today we’re having our monthly AD&D meet up, and I decided to post pre-game this time. Really stoked because I’m running module UK3: THE GAUNTLET, which is a small nerdy dream of mine. You see, growing up, this module was one of the few that was hiding out in my bro’s old D&D box. I loved the cover with the nasty looking fire giant on the front, and his Hobgoblin soldiers peering and snarling out from behind him. I was also intrigued by the story of the conflict between The Sentinel and The Gauntlet…..but as far as I knew my brother never had UK2.

But I got lucky last year, and while hitting up eBay in search of my own AD&D DM Screen, I found a bundle of the core 3 books, the screen, AND UK2 and UK3 together for five bucks. Gotta love it.

Today is also going to be epic, just because our host for our monthly games has promised us some of his chicken Gumbo. I love this dude’s cajun cooking…..just hope I don’t regret it tomorrow.

I’m going to take it all in and enjoy the piss out of this gaming session today, if nothing else because tomorrow commences that lovely time in the semester where I have to buckle down and hit the ground running. I have an early final this week, and I have a couple weeks left to finish a research paper which I’ve admittedly been slacking off on. And then, right after finals, I have a friend’s wedding to attend. It’s been a busy month and it’s about to get busier…..hopefully afterwards I can resume my gaming and blogging groove over the summer. We’ll see.

When I do get to some break points in my busy schedule, I’m going to be revising and editing WYRED a bit more. One of my buds in my Friday afternoon group has sat down and volunteered to be an editor for me, and has sent me his suggested corrections and editing. I’m very thankful for it; and hopefully after the revisions the last of the art pieces I’m waiting on will come in and we can send the whole thing to lay out. It feels awesome knowing that my little home brew project has found so much support and that my friends were eager to contribute to it. Even though it’s something I’m giving away and will never see a dime for…..feels kinda cool knowing when it’s said and done, we’ll have this little game book in our hands that is, well, ours.

Once the semester is over, and the edits are made, I’m then going straight to work on a few projects I owe a couple peeps for the IAYC donations. Don’t worry guys, I didn’t forget about you. Just needed to get out of the current busy work in order to focus more.

And again, Happy Easter everyone.

 

 

 

 

Late to the Party: Basic Fantasy Role-Playing

My game time as of late sure is getting its fill of older D&D. And I’m not bitching; the old systems are surprisingly refreshing after long nights of the more modern systems.  I’m highly appreciative of the experience so far, getting back to my gaming roots and, in a way, getting a better understanding of what appeals and detracts from the different styles of gaming. I’ve also been learning what I can take from different iterations of the game, and bring it to the other systems. Don’t tell my AD&D group, but I’ve been using Skill Challenges on them to speed up wilderness travel. And my 4E group knows that from here on out….I’m not calculating XP wallets for encounters, and treasure parcels are thrown at the window (hell, they have been for some time.)

Last Friday, prior to our basic D&D session, I got into a discussion with one of the other group members about different variations and systems of “old” D&D there were (even before we counted the “retro clones.”) He brought up to me that he had an interest in Basic Fantasy Role-Playing, and explained to me one of the features was using a “modern” Armor Class system (as opposed to the old THAC0 systems.) He even suggested that we should probably convert to that system….but at the time I waved my hands and said “We got the versions a lot of peeps are trying to copy…..no reason to change things up.” But, being the curious one that I am, I decided to look into it.  Normally, I respect retro clones if nothing else for providing free, open gaming to the masses. Other than that, I haven’t really had the urge to truly use one particular system over another because, well, I already own the damn originals. Exceptions have been Dangers & Dweomers, which I did a review of back in the day, and Mutant Future, which wasn’t a “clone” of Gamma World as much as it was Labyrinth Lord with a post-apocalyptic skin. Both of these attempted to emulate a style, but weren’t necessarily a “clone” of a system.

It Casts Charm on Me

Tickle me impressed. This whole time, I had written BFRP off as being another copy (of a copy of a copy.) I also think there might have been times I mistook the name for being a derivative of Chaosium’s Basic Role-Playing. This seems to be a “simulacrum” game that I’ve been waiting for someone to make, and it’s been available the whole damn time. And while I have yet to actively engage with the community for it, lurking their forums the past few days seems to be relatively free of some of the elitist ass hats that I despise in any gaming crowd. Please, don’t prove me wrong right now, I’m enjoying my rosed colored glasses on this for a bit.

I love the approach. The core game very much feels like “basic” D&D, with just four classes and three races, but I like that the races aren’t considered classes here. Yet, the class mechanics seem to stay true to basic D&D than original AD&D rules, which I like a lot. Yes, it has an ascending Armor-Class mechanic, but it also has a few of the nice little “modern” combat mechanics that I like. It seems they took some bits that got popular in later editions, and re-wrote them to fit under Basic-style. I like that they kept “Ability Rolls”, but treat it as a d20+modifier roll vs a difficulty. It’s like the more flexible modern mechanic meets the flexible, broad stroke philosophy of the old-school gaming. Everything just seems to zing, and is written out pretty clearly as a cohesive system and not just a shoe-horning of different mechanics from different editions.

A Great Amount of Content

The book is laid out well, indexed well, and organized neatly enough that even novices should be able to dive in and get a good feel for where to reference everything during play. Although, minor nitpick: Why no bookmarks in the PDF? Regardless, not only do you get the usual gamut of character creations, gear, spells, monsters and treasure like you would expect in a game book…you get the stuff that I always go bat shit over when it’s included in a core book (and bitch when it’s not!) Siege Weapons, hiring retainers and mercenaries, strong hold building, traveling over land, sea and air….as someone who regards the D&D Rules Cyclopedia as probably one of the best gaming books ever, this game is right up there. Oh, and blessed the stars, these guys even included a printer friendly version.

Perhaps it was best that I was late to the party, because the other huge draw to me is the modular expansions to the game. In addition to the core rules of the game, their download section is filled with additional documents adding classes, races, combat mechanics….you name it. This makes it easy to stay within the same system, but expand on an as-needed basis. There’s even a really neat conversion guide that assists you with converting d20/3rd edition NPC’s and monsters to BFRP stats. I’m probably going to abuse that regardless if we make the switch or not!

Besides, any system that provides optional character classes like Pyromancer and The Jester is freaking cool in my book.

Lastly, the open-sourced nature of this game rocks. One thing that really turned me off from other retro-clones was how they gave permission to make 3rd party works compatible with their games, yet you couldn’t reuse and edit their source material for your own projects. BFRP not only provides free copies of the rules, but provides the Open Office documents for the majority of their gaming documents, and as long as you don’t use the name or the artwork you’re free to butcher and re-publish to your heart’s desire (staying within the terms of the OGL of course.)

So, whether you’re new to the old….or an old looking for something a bit new, Basic Fantasy Role-Playing seems to be a good enough mash-up that is flexible, complete, yet easily modifiable to suit your tastes. Give it a look if you haven’t already.

 

Small Updates on WYRED

I’m getting to the point that my little cyberpunk RPG project WYRED is getting close to being finished. The last rough draft seems to be playing very well; the only problem being the realization I had no real rules or guide lines for Defense values in vehicle combat. I’ll address more on that in a bit.

Other than that minor issue, the combat, the character creation and the overall system is working out pretty well. I’ve been running a mixed bag of players, from complete newbies to RPG vets, and even folks with a varying degree of exposure to the cyberpunk genre, and all seem to be really getting into it. The WYRM System has been fun to tinker with, and I’m happy that not only did I find a good balance of different mechanics from RAG and WR&M to suit the cyberpunk style, I’m happy I’ve actually been able to contribute some mechanics and ideas that others have adopted into their games.

This Week in Rivet City

Tonight we’re going to be gathering again to continue what has become the first serious, full length adventure I’ve written for the game. Before this it’s been small one-shots, combat tests and just fiddly bits. Last weekend, with a full group of five players (and tonight I bring in a sixth,) I presented a mission that so far has involved lots of legwork, role-playing, moral ambiguity and is currently in an awkward state where the PC’s have to decide if they’re going to finish the job they started, and bring justice to a young woman’s murder…..or turn their backs on their employer and strike a deal with the enemy. I don’t even think the party is in full agreement of what they should do…..which makes for some good cut throat gaming.

Feel free to read up the play report of last weekend; tomorrow I’ll be posting the results of tonight’s game.

 

Defensive Driving Course:

So I’ve been trying to brew up a painless way to determine the Defense ratings of an opponents vehicle while shooting each other up during a chase.
I’ve ultimately decided that instead of giving vehicles a base defense rating, to have the rating affected more by the driver’s skills. The formula I brewed up is simply:
Wires + Vehicle Skill + Maneuver Rating of the Vehicle

This also allows me to add “Defensive Driver” as a Perk; allowing the pilot or driver of a vehicle to add their Awareness skill to their defense.

 

If you haven’t checked it out yet, please feel free to hop over to the WYRED page on GamesAndGear.Net and grab the latest rough draft.

Ode to the Old School Cleric.

Ya know, I’m going to tip my hat to the OSR this week. New school D&D players who’ve only dabbled in d20/3.5/Pathfinder and/or 4E Dungeons & Dragons really don’t know how pampered they are, especially when it comes to playing the Cleric class.

In our Friday game, which has been playing Mentzer D&D (using Redbox and Rules Cyclopedia), I stepped up to the front and volunteered to play a Cleric. As of right now, he is quickly approaching his 5th level of experience, and I have to say this has been one of the toughest, most rewarding D&D experiences I’ve ever had. It’s a miracle he’s still alive (he’s fallen a few times in battle and has seen death’s door a bit), but where many have seen a weak support role I have seen nothing but an amazing role-playing challenge that has left me on my toes.

Rough Start

Brother Grigori started out like any 1st level cleric in Mentzer D&D: a single d6 hit die, a modest weapon and armor, and no spells. First level Clerics only get the added privilege of a Turn Undead ability that, thankfully, they get to cast At-Will as a standard action (using the new school terminology.) I figured as long as our party played smart and didn’t get in over our heads, we’d pick up our 2nd level in no time. Wrong.

Our “Island Hopping” campaign began with us ship wrecking and coming ashore to a strange island, only to be captured and enslaved by Hobgoblins. All of our gear was lost, and we spent the first session in nothing but rags with rusty pickaxes as our only possible weapon. When we attempted escape, my character (being restricted by his religious tenants) was forced to use the blunt side of the rusty pickaxe; making our gimped weapons even weaker. We were offered a chance to fight in an Arena for our freedom, with some rusty armor and slightly better used weapons. My cleric even landed some crucial blows, and was the last party member standing (until getting owned in the face by wild animals.)

We didn’t get to see our 2nd level until after our second session. It took us escaping into an abandoned mine, fighting off Spiders, Kobolds, and eventually a family of 3 Ogres. Yes, you read that right: three Ogres, vs. Level Ones.  I think the DM had intended us to sneak or flee past them; but some quick thinking saved the day.

Thinking on Your Toes

Being considerably gimped and not even getting to start off with spells forced me to kick creative thinking up several notches. Biggest thing I learned playing this style of D&D is forgetting what you know about later editions, even first edition AD&D. The other thing was stop thinking about what’s written on the character sheet, and think about things your character knows. In this case, I realized that my alignment was simply “Lawful.” No good or evil expressions or mechanics there. There was also no significant rulings against or for the use of Poisons by the class. Also, we had decided as a group that we’d implement some kind of “profession” system to flesh out skills we have outside of our classes, and I had my heart set on him being some sort of herbalist/botanist during his monastic years.

When we had slain the spiders, which were large sized Black Widows, I asked the DM if my character would view Poison as a strictly chaotic or evil act. I brought up a bit of my herbalist/botanist back ground, and how poisons were used in agriculture for keeping out the pests. While I wasn’t necessarily inclined to use them, I was able to give a convincing statement allowing my character to harvest the poison glands from the spiders and allow the other members to keep them for coating their weapons with toxins. This allowed us to narrowly defeat the Ogres at the end of the cave by using poison tipped crossbow bolts.

Making those Spell Slots Count

Even now that my character has decent bludgeoning weapons and armor, and the ability to cast spells, I’m having to take into careful consideration the actions and abilities I use. There’s been times where I’ve had to consider if my place was hanging back from the party lending support, or taking the front lines with my mace in the air, or holy symbol in hand blasting away undead threats. Even outside of battle, I’ve had to make some clever considerations. When we finally left the first Island, and embarked on a sailing expedition that lasted weeks into the unknown, I made damn sure to give up my heals for Purify Food & Water and encourage the others to fish when they could.

Now that I have a 2nd level spell slot open, I’ve decided to make regular use of Hold Person. It’s such a badass spell, in that it has a ridiculous range and allows me to cast on up to 4 targets. But it’s also the ultimate, in my opinion, passive aggressive spell. In our current situation, we have arrived on an island under siege by cut throat invaders who have been corralling refugees into their harbors in hopes of forcing the food supply to run out. Before we were granted into the main island, we were stopped in an outpost where the invaders took our boat and attempted to take all of our weapons and armor. We stashed many of the weapons where we could — bails of hay, ale barrels, but my character had no place to stash his Plate Mail or magical mace. So, instead, I covered it up with thick layers of cloaks and robes attempting to look like a rather large Friar, and another party member covered my face and tried to warn everyone I had the plague.

The plan almost worked, but then a scuffle broke out and guards immediately started clubbing everyone, especially us. My character looked up to see a guard charging at full speed with a baton, and Grigori without even flinching lifted up his hands, Held the guard in place, and began “thanking” him in his paralyzed state for showing mercy on a poor, plague infested man of the cloth such as himself. That’s role-playing gold right there, folks!

Getting the Most out of Little

I don’t have any cool divine laser spells I can blast my enemies with. I don’t have this amazing spammable channel ability that heals all my friends in an area and harms the wicked and the undead at once. I don’t have any fancy domain powers, orisons, or even bonus spell slots because of my high wisdom. In this game, I am merely Grigori, a fourth level Cleric. He may not have the fancy feat list or “kewl powers”, but his story is epic. He has survived for so long on so little, and what he lacks in power he has made up through faith, devotion, determination and zeal. He has a righteous fire burning within him, and even though he’s a bit of a grumpy old bastard….his heart is in the right place, and he has allowed himself to be an instrument of his Lord’s will.

So many times I’ve almost lost him; and each time I couldn’t help but think to myself “This is but a glorious death for such an incorrigible bastard.” And yet the fates have left him standing still. God damn I love this game.