Archive for category G

FOUR #3

four

Hey there readers.

So I have done two of these FOUR lists in the past. Which makes this one #3.

The first one (here) was a mash up of several broad categories. The second one (here) was all about games in certain genres.

Well this one is going to be about supplementary books. Be they modules, or rules supplements, or books about settings and locations. They are going to be game specific, and there is even going to be one in here for GURPS. I know I know “But you hate GURPS?!” Yeah I do. I hate the rules. However the added books give you so much material that they go beyond the rules and can be used just about anywhere.

So who should we start with… hmmm… how about pre-3.0 D&D…

DnD Faves

Ok yeah so I really should have just gone for AD&D… but I really started thinking and even though there is a TON (no really I put it all on a scale and it does weigh a ton) of great materiel out there, when you are pre-3.0 these four items just… stick with me for some reason.

The Council of Wyrms setting gave us rules for playing a dragon as a PC for the first time.

Thri-Kreen of Athas gave an insight into really alien minds and yet explained it in a way that human players can still get it.

Keep on the Borderlands  was my very first module. And it still stands today as a really good adventure.

Factolis Manifesto gave an in-depth view of the factions in Sigil. Considering the impact the factions have in Planescape it really became essential to getting into character well.

And then how about something super heroic…

Champions Faves

Classic Organizations has CLOWN, Neutral Ground, Red Doom, plus Primus and Demon, with a bonus appearance by Foxbat. All 3rd edition supplements all tied together into one story that evolves them all.

Ninja Hero is one of the best compilations of martial arts rules that I have ever seen.

StrikeForce is not only a great campaign source-book, it changed the way I looked at many aspects of gaming. As both a player and a GM.

Viper is the dream of any gamer who wants to have a resource for the pesky recurring evil organization. With this material you can make those little villain groups more of a threat than you ever thought possible.

How about next we go ahead and get that GURPS thing out of the way…

GURPS Faves

Cyberpunk was the first RPG book ever seized by the US Government. At the time it was also a great bit of reference material on ‘modern’ hacking and the cyberpunk genre.

IOU is one of the funniest settings I have ever had the pleasure of playing with. A college of the strange.

Transhuman Space gives one of the best treatments ever on Transhumanism. And translates it well into something that a gamer can use.

Steampunk is an awesome introduction into the world, and mind of the steampunk genre. I would actually recommend this more than most of the steampunk games combined.

And we can finish off with a little Paranoia…

Paranoia Faves

Acute Paranoia has some of the best added material to a game setting ever. It can really add some depth to the way the game is played.

Form Pack is just what it says. And since you are given free reign to copy and reuse everything these forms enhance the feeling that you are up against the worst bureaucracy in the universe.

The DOA Sector Travelogue offers us the first in depth look at a sector of Alpha Complex. Once you go over this material the size and scope of Alpha Complex becomes clear. And the world of Paranoia can go from being funny to scary when you get a grip on that sense of scale.

R&D Catalog gives you some of the most dangerous, useless, and bizarre equipment ever created for a game.. or reality. Toys to impact any game session in the name of the Computer.

I know this is really brief. But favorites for any hobby or interest can get really personal. I figured it would be better to be brief than to rant for hours on each one of these books.

Hope you all enjoyed, and I would love to hear some of your favorites.

Keep safe out there in the age of Covid gamers.

Now gimme the dice, I need to figure out the strangest combinations of factors of four.

2 Comments

Game Review – Module Champions To Serve and Protect

Howdy readers

I thought this week I would pull and oldie but a goodie off the shelf and give you a review of an adventure that is a lot of fun on the super hero scale.

Champions tsap

To Serve and Protect was originally printed back in 1988 for Champions 3rd/4th edition. I say 3rd/4th due to the fact that some players still argue over the publishing of the rule books with Champions / Champions II / Champions III and then Champions 3rd Edition being out of synch regardless of what the publisher said.

This edition of the rules comes for the time when the game system had starting characters running at 250 points for a character build. 4th Edition also was at 250, 5th  became 350, and 6th (current) is 450. This will be important a little bit later in the review.

The general premise of To Serve and Protect is that a team of established heroes, The Protectors, starts getting darker. Their views on ‘Justice’ become more and more extreme. And then they start getting down right criminal. And the PCs are going to be the ones to figure out why and put a stop to it.

The lineup of characters in To Serve and Protect (TSAP) reminds me a lot of the Justice League International or one of the lineups for the West Coast Avengers.

They are not the ‘A List’ team like the Avengers or Justice League of America (in game terms the A List would be the Champions), but they still have a cool lineup and their power level should not be underestimated in any way shape or form.

Now while the idea here is that the characters in TSAP are not supposed to be the A List, the characters in the module are averaging 385 points. and there are eleven of them in total. That does not count the fact that these heroes were smart enough to fund a private company called Protectors Inc. that functions like a private industry version of SHIELD. I mean the company only has about 1000 active agents world wide, but all of them are built on about 180 points (leaders may be 225). So, that is a lot of potential opposition. Most game sessions that I had been a part of when this was the main rules was three to six players. Using 250-300 point characters. And here we are supposed to be taking on eleven hitters averaging 385 points and possibly a thousand other ‘agents’ (Hello Mr Agents… its only a… Yeah Dan you get it) that are about 180 points each. Needless to say you are going to need some pretty sweet tactics or have some significant power to take on a group like this that are all acting more and more like the Punisher every day.

I wont give away the final stage of the adventure, but lets just say this module is also heavily timed. Once you are underway, do NOT slow down.

Now then there are going to be a lot of folks out there who say that this sort of thing sounds like no fun at all. Too much power in the bad guys hands. To me however it is a cool challenge. Also with the inclusion of the Protectors Inc company it ties into the Super Agents sourcebook created for Champions which made it possible to play Agents of SHIELD in a super hero setting back in the mid 80’s. Which to me is awesome.

Another element of this module, sort of, is the fact that the writers at Hero Games kept the Protectors and Protectors Inc in mind as they continued to develop their universe into their 4th edition. Both the team and the agency continued to pop up in the backgrounds of other groups, both hero and villain, as part of the ongoing history they were developing.

Ok so that covers the basics… lets see what I do with the numbers.

Overall Fluff 5/5 – Solid background material for every character, the team and the organization introduced. There is also plenty of material to take the story elements given and drive it further into a campaign. Even tying your PCs into the Protectors for part of a longer term campaign.

Overall Crunch N/A – No new rules or material, so you cant really calculate crunch.

Overall Mod 4/5 – As mentioned in fluff, this material is presented well enough so that you can tie it to another campaign. There is also the potential, as with any point based system, to easily rewrite the characters to make them better fit.

Overall Fun 5/5 – I really have had fun with this. As both a player and a GM. This is a really solid 32 pages and there are so many ways to use it, I cant call its fun level anything less than the top.

Total Score 14/15 – Pretty high rating for just a module. But I honestly think its worth it. Even if you just want to take a look to get ideas for something else.

Well, thats it for now folks. Hope you are all having fun and staying safe in the age of Covid.

Now gimme the dice. I need to see the level of damage that could happen if all of the agents shot one hero at once.

3 Comments

Game Review – Infinity

Infinity

Welcome readers

Time for another round of game reviews.

Infinity is a game that I had waited for, waited several years for in fact. This has happened before when I took an interest in an RPG that was created outside the US like with Anima or In Nomine. But unlike the Anima RPG, I was not disappointed in the final product.

The team over at Corvus Belli first created a war-game with the name Infinity that formed the basis for the RPG. The war-game itself is pretty easy to play. The minis are awesome and can be used with the RPG without an issue at all. In fact, for myself, this is one of the big draws as I love good looking minis when I am running a table top combat scenario. I am not afraid to use anything, even thumb tacks with lettered dots on them, to map things out so that folks can better see what is going on. But when you have minis and the bad ones in the batch look like this…

Infinity Minis

… why even bother with something lesser. And yes, in my opinion these are some of the lesser quality minis in the series that has been produced for the game.

To give you an idea of the game itself, it is a sci-fi setting that is far enough in the future that humanity is spread over multiple worlds and has encountered multiple alien races. AI has developed to the point that it is a stable an ongoing part of every day life, doing everything from helping humans muck through their media intake all the way up to running a sort of secret society that tries to replicate great people from humanities past.

Being based in a war-game there are a lot of factions of humanity that are looking to be the biggest game in town. And the issues with aliens are sort of all over the board. The state of humanity is sort of a Transhuman place, but not completely. The sci-fi elements are not quite hard sci-fi, but not really in the realm of space opera either. So the setting is a fun mix of elements. And surprisingly coming from a war-game the potential for social, personal, and exploratory elements in the game are just incredible. I seriously went through character generation and worked out an adventure concept so that I could try to have a game session that would look like the episode of Babylon 5 where they followed a maintenance team around the station for a day. Just to see if something that mundane could be both playable and fun in the setting. Got a big yes to both.

The game engine for this system is the 2d20 engine by Modiphus. They have used it in multiple settings and it is not bad overall. It gets a little clunky in some situations. Like just about anything outside of combat needs a bit of wiggle room in how it goes together in the engine. I am not saying it is a bad engine. In combat it is one of the smoothest beasts I have ever had the pleasure to use. It is just that outside of combat the challenge rating for actions can be so fluid and dynamic that it can take several minutes to just figure out what you need to roll if you have not worked with it for a while. Sort of like trying to figure out how to trip someone in D&D 3rd edition for the first time.

One of the elements that I find a lot of joy in with this system though is the Life Path generator. It has a feature in it that is unique in my experience. You start out character generation with a small set of option points. As you roll your way through the Life Path generator you can keep what the fates have given you in regards to your rolls and spend the option points at the end on added features, or you can select elements of you Life Path by spending options to have the parts you want. Now then there are also more steps in the Life Path than you will have option points, so you are going to have to accept your fate at some point. And if you are worried about someone spending those points to max out skills or something at the end, well, there are enough random elements in the tables that the chances of someone getting perfect rolls to make a character that is totally over powered and min maxed is tiny. There is one, and only one path that I have found in the Life Path that could lead to an  OP character. Considering the number of tables that use a d20, the subtables that also require rolls and the selection process you have to hit dead on in the sub sub tables, I figure the odds at about .000005% of a chance to get it to happen. Now then you also have it in the rules though that if no one wants to roll their background (all players must agree to it though) selecting your own background is fine. There is a collection of notes though in the GM section on how to deal with groups that abuse that power, and some of that is down right subtle and mean.

I really like this setting. I would have enjoyed having more than just the humans and one ‘alien’ species in the initial book. But I understand they have a company to run and need to publish more books to keep the product alive and selling. So I wont fault them for that.

So what do my numbers say?

Overall Fluff 5/5 – Nice art, good layout, and enough detail on the setting to let you really feel what the game environment is all about. The room for character depth at creation is great, and that leaches into everything else you do with the game.

Overall Crunch 4/5 – The rules are pretty solid. Non-combat situations can get a little challenging to resolve with the rules initially. But it is nothing you cannot work through. I may have been doing this since the 70’s but I think even a rookie who likes the setting could work it through with some practice.

Overall Mod 3/5 – So modding things for characters is easy. Setting changes are a little more intricate. Vehicles not so easy. Adding aliens, I would not even try since you cannot generate a Life Path for them without a LOT of work. There are some elements like that which feel as if it is not worth the effort.

Overall Fun 4/5 – I really like it, I think it is a lot of fun, and that this 2d20 system has a ton of potential. The setting is cool and the things you can do by abusing an AI just… well… yeah you really need to try it yourself. But you can trust me, its fun.

Total Score 16/20 – A solid game engine, a solid setting, supporting things like minis and the details already worked out in the war-game that can be added to the setting. Yeah I like it. I like it a lot and I am very interested to see what they do next. Both with the setting and with the game engine. Publisher Power Creep (yeah Palladium I am lookin’ at you) could get out of control really quick in this engine.

 

Well that’s it for this week. Hope everyone is having fun and staying safe in the times of Covid. Just remember that doing something stupid in the name of having fun is a 2 step alignment shift down.

Now gimme the dice. I need to see how many times I can get a stage on the Life Path to repeat and make me a totally one sided character.

1 Comment

Making old stuff new again

CP10

Hey readers

Sorry about the low quality image for the starter here, but I will never claim that editing pictures digitally is any kind of a skill I have.

What you see here in this collection of classic D&D/AD&D modules is one of the many variants of an adventure epic that I have created over the years to sort of tell one giant story arc that would involve one group of PCs and build them from the ground up to serious epic level adventurers.

I put this version together when I started converting old modules over to Pathfinder first edition.

For those of you wondering how you can convert old game modules to a new game, its actually pretty easy. Pathfinder made it especially easy when they added in their book the NPC Codex. Which gives you breakdowns, by level, of most of the core classes they had created at the time of the books publication. So if you see a 5th level magic user called for you just need to decide if they are a Wizard or a Sorcerer and there you go. NPC Codex has you covered. With the majority of the monsters all you need to do is look up their current stats in one of the Bestiary books. If the creatures are unique to a module though you may have to do a little accounting, or trade them out for another creature you like more in any given circumstance.

Now then you are also going to note that there is a repeat of a module in the image above. That is not an error. It is actually a story point.

Let me break down for you how all of these tie together so you can see what I was setting up.

cp0

Module T1 was originally written to be a first to third level adventure. For this story though it is used as the starting village. Every PC lives here, and starts the game as a ZERO level character. Thats right no character classes or anything else. Using Pathfinder you can take a background feat, and have one or two skill points (but no class skills) and there you go. Farmer, blacksmith apprentice, spoiled child of former adventurers. Whatever sort of background, even visiting minor noble. That’s how you start. And the village gets raided by slavers.

 

cp1

So the slavers take the PCs and other survivors to a holding facility on an island. No one really knows where they are at. Things are bad here and you get to treat the PCs badly. Give them a feel for a primitive nasty island and before they get frustrated the island gets raided by a group of characters that has it out for the slavers. Rescue minded they save the PCs and bring them back to a safe haven.

 

 

cp2

 

Sadly the safe haven is really close to a series of caves. So safety is a relative thing. However in the group of characters there is one of any character class they want to learn to be. With mentors on hand you can queue up a training montage to get the PCs to level 1 and then send them off to the local caves to test themselves. Sadly when they come back from their training run the safe have has been hit by the slavers and all the evidence points back to the island they were rescued from.

 

cp1

 

It takes some time and effort but the PCs will find the island and the slaver holding facility through luck, good role playing and maybe a little kind DM plot armor the PCs will find evidence that says the actual slave lords are back on the mainland and they are running a big sale for someone. Potentially hundreds of slaves. You can even make them specialized in innocent children if that helps motivate the PCs.

 

 

cp3

So that gets us running through the Slave Lords series of modules. The PCs get to take ongoing revenge. And slowly pick up information that suggests the big slave sales are going to someone or something nefarious. Giving the Players a chance to be total heroes is an awesome thing. However you can also keep things interesting by having some of them be approached by agents of the higher powers of evil to make them offers to betray the party… for added plot depth of course.

cp5

In finishing off the slave lords the PCs get word from someone claiming to be one of their mentors about a location that is very dangerous but it holds weapons that may give the PCs a serious advantage over the forces that were employing the slave lords.

Of course this is supposed to be a death trap but, if the PCs survive the almost artifact level weapons inside are real. But given the weapons personalities and such, there should be questions regarding if the weapons are actually being imprisoned to keep them from wreaking havoc.

cp4

 

The next layer of the conspiracy of the slavers is the Giant Kingdoms that the large slave orders have been going through. This gets a little hard core. And I would recommend replacing the Drow with ‘mysterious people in priests robes’. Tearing through the giants the PCs find evidence that the slaves are being forwarded to another location. But there are certain items that will need to be used to get there, and the number of slaves the giants keep (10% of the shipment) means there are a bunch of slaves to rescue here. Also its a great way to introduce replacement and new PCs.

 

cp7

The items picked up in the giants realm leads to a nasty slave ship. I like to play up the horror of this vessel and add things that make it seem even more magical and nasty. It is not an easy thing to get through.

And this is a great place for any of those rescued weapons from S1 to try and turn on the players.

 

 

 

cp6

 

Now then I know a ton of people who hate the Sci Fi elements added in to S3. And for me there is a time and a place for it. But this story-line is not it. I replace the tech with a magical equivalent and add a bit of a Cthulhu feel to it. Computers become magical tapestries, guns are wands or rods and so on. All the strange wildlife and plants are what most of the slaves have been brought here to deal with. And you even get to play up the horror of not being able to save some of them as the plants and animals mutate/possess/turn undead the slaves.

And all of this leads to the final phase.

cp8

The temple. Buried under all of the weird #@$% in S3 is the entrance to the temple. Now then whatever group of individual is trying to get into this place is way ahead of the PCs. And it appears that they have been sacrificing slaves along the way to power magic, appease gods, or whatever it is, And if the players still have the weapons from S1, here they get stronger, and chant in the back of the PCs minds.

 

 

So you will note that the level of PC listed is not all that epic when you read the module covers. And that is one of the bits of scaling that will need to be done. When I mapped this story out originally the T2 module was going to need to be upgraded to Levels 15-20. But again with something like the NPC Codex book it is a pretty easy thing to do.

That is my method for taking a classic series of modules and building a story that is fresh and new. And I kid you not converting from old school to Pathfinder is just as easy as I have suggested here.

And that is what I mean by making something old new again.

Now gimme the dice. I need to see how many classic modules I could put a mashup in place with.

Keep gaming and being safe out there folks.

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

A D&D Comparison

DnD Compare

 

Hello Readers

So I have been patching this one together for a while now. And it may take a bit to sort through it all. But I hope that you enjoy.

You see for a while now I have had a few readers pop up and ask me about the significance of editions/versions in role playing games. This is mostly from folks who are new to RPGs in general or have only ever played one game. So I thought I would do a breakdown on D&D. Now then I will admit that at first my grandiose plan was to break out things across multiple topics. Skills, magic, combat, and more. However it soon became clear that the scope of that was WAYYYYYYYY too huge. So I paired it down, and then down again, and then finally to what I am presenting right now.

What we are going to have here is a comparison between major editions of D&D/AD&D regarding Player Character Races and Classes. This information is only being taken from the Players Handbook, or equivalent document. So no add on books, no Dragon Magazine, no module supplements, third party books, or anything else. Just the very start of the game. That is because if you start going down any of those rabbit holes, you are gonna get lost and overloaded really fast. I know, I looked into that abyss and when it stared back and went “Hey, Howdy!” I knew I had to step back because otherwise that would have been a project for the centuries.

In a tribute to Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson I have decided to do the majority of the lifting for this article by using tables. First thing you will get is the Master Table. It lists all the races that have been in Players Handbook or equivalent books, and calls out if a race could be a class, if it could not be a class, or if it was not present in any specific edition.

The tables that follow the Master Table break down things per edition. And will include information about level limits for classes or for races in specific classes. Also there are notes about specific classes, and things like multi-classing to give a more well rounded collection of information.

So lets see how this breaks out…

Hmmm… it breaks out poorly.

All righty so since this page cannot cope with the majesty and beauty of the tables I have created I shall instead link you to them… HERE. Its a Google Docs page and should be accessible to anyone following the link.

So what is the TLDR here, just in case you dont feel like following the link and being amazed at the work I put into this, it breaks down rather simply.

Over the years that D&D has been around a characters background and role in the game world have changed significantly. What they can do, and the limits that the world places on them has gone through some major revisions. When something that basic can change so much over the years it is really easy to imagine how other things have changed. Because character race and class are just a small part of the overall game rules you can imagine what else might have changed in regards to things like magic, or combat.

Change like this can be seen as anything from growth to profiteering by different people depending on their attachment to a particular version of a game. It is not a bad thing really though. Because as times change, people change, ideas change, and so too will games change.

Personally I still have a rather deep attachment to D&D 3rd edition. But that is just me.

Ok so that is it for now. Gotta check on the little one.

Hope everyone out there is staying safe and yet having fun.

Now gimme the dice, I need to see how many more editions it will be before the perfect version of D&D for everyone.

3 Comments

Tales from the Game Table – The Inn

dm disaster mw kaluta

So ages ago, or so it seems, I had a game group that was sort of, eclectic, when it came to getting together. We did not really have the consistency to do a major story, or even a main ongoing campaign. So I came up with an idea to run serial one offs with whomever was available.

For the world we would use I created The Town. And yes this was my attempt at creating a place like The City in The Tick (comic book version). Inside the town was The Inn. All adventures start in The Inn. Everyone meets at The Inn. This was me spoofing the genre classic that every adventure starts at an inn.

Building on that premise I then also said that north of The Town, was The City. And north of The City was The Capital.

Then I figured that all adventures would take place south of The Town. Going to sea, going to a desert, going to a mountain, going wherever you would leave The Town and go south.

To facilitate the one off adventure but add some sense of continuity I created twenty characters. 4 rouges, 4 fighters, 4 spell casters, 4 clerics, and 4 oddities. When the group got together they would draw one character from one pile. The first time a character was drawn the player would add a name and gender to the character. At the end of the adventure XP would be added to the character and they would be put back in the pile. All future times the character would be drawn the name and gender would be set. I figured this system would let everyone tinker a little, and have a little fun humor wise.

The result of the very first adventure left me with a little something I had not been expecting. The players had rescued thirteen people from a monster camp. Brought them back to The Town, and gave them some of the reward to help them set up. So all of a sudden I had the chance to have recurring NPCs in The Town. Not wanting to take up too much effort on something I was trying to set up for serial one offs, they became bakers (make no mistake there was a lot of player input on this). As they had all been rescued while they were starving, being around food a lot seemed like a good idea. And so they added a shop called The Bakers Dozen to The Town. It was just west of The Inn. Half the time they ate themselves out of stock, but it was their shop and somehow it never went out of business.

We only ever got another five adventures in with this concept. I happened to love it and would one day love to do it again. In the current lockdown situation I have been thinking a lot about remote gaming and how a model like this could work in favor of folks who wanted to have low risk one shots, but still have some feeling of a campaign even if the same folks could not get together with any kind of consistency.

Anyhow that is the flashback of the week.

I hope that everyone out there is having fun, not getting too bored, and staying safe.

Now gimme the dice. I need to see just how many bagels the Bakers Dozen has in stock today.

 

2 Comments

Marvel Super Heroes RPG – MH5 Cats Paw – Review

MH5 Cats Pawy

Hey there readers.

So a quick review while the little one sleeps and I have a couple of minutes being awake for my own fun.

MH-5 Cats Paw is one of those moments for me that we had two great tastes that taste great together. Marvel Super Heroes RPG and Alpha Flight

. One of my favorite superhero game systems and my all time favorite super hero team.

Now then I did not find out about this module until years after its publication. But after getting it I had to do a little research . There were a few things going on here that struck me as just a bit odd. And as I dove into them a bit it became kinda cool.

So in this module there is a representation of the Alpha Flight team that only sort of happened once. Alpha Flight Vol.1 #16 November 1984. I say sort of because all of the characters were in there, they just did not really act like a team… really. Anyway the module itself lists a copyright date of 1984. So I have to figure with comics having a two to three month lead time and most game publications having a two month lead time that someone had to be writing this module around the same time that specific issue was being written. Which implies to me that the ties between TSR Inc. and Marvel Comics were pretty tight. Which gets really reinforced when you know that John Byrne the creator of Alpha Flight did the cover art for the module.

They also did something I was not sure was possible for a licensed publication at the time. TSR introduced two new characters. The new characters did not go into the actual comic book series. But they were created in a way that fit them both into the mythology that John Byrne and Marvel Comics had been putting together for Alpha Flight since their first appearance in Xmen 120 in 1979.

MSH xmen 120

Anyway the two new characters are Cascade and Kimara the Cloud Stalker. And Kimara actually is one of the Great Beasts, the biggest villains that Alpha Flight has on their hit list. Sure they are also spiritual forces of nature and evil. But hey yeah lets get supers to fight those too. 🙂

While the adventure is simple, Jeff Grubb was not at his most… discerning… when he wrote it, the adventure still feels like it could easily fit into the pages of one of the Alpha Flight comics at the time. Fast paced. A bit of a double if not triple feint as to who the real big bad is, and great ideas for follow up.

Now then while fun and mixed with favorites this module, just like everything else MSH RPG related, has some technical issues due to some of the rules just absolutely sucking. Most of that due to things like ranges and movement being covered in “areas” but no real definition of what that means space wise, and how it relates to anything on the sodding maps they give you. The other real challenge that you face is how they are trying in the module to tie things into other, more popular Marvel characters. Using villains from the Xmen, Iron Man, and the Hulk, instead of using the lesser known (at the time, well truth be told likely still lesser known at best) characters from Alpha Flight to try and bump up the attraction to others. However they fail to publicize that little detail anywhere on the cover. So it is unlikely that in its original release this module got the kind of attention that it could have. It also leaves you feeling like the module and characters were just sort of shoe-horned in. Regardless of that though it plays well.

So how are we looking number wise?

Overall Fluff 4/5 – Like all modules from the early 80s you get more crunch than fluff. But what fluff you get here is pretty good. The little blurbs about characters and villains feels comic booky, and the art in the interior, even though not by John Byrne, it has his feel to it so it feels like it is part of the comic books of the time.

Overall Crunch 2/5 – No new game mechanics in this module. There is the ongoing issue with ‘areas’ for space and ranges. And I dont know if it was because Alpha Flight was not that popular, abilities were sort of in flux in the writing of the comics, or the game writers were just not paying that much attention to the characters, but the stats and some of the powers just do not match up. Its easy to fix, but sort of frustrating.

Overall Mod 2/5 – This is one of those, I have to mod it, bits. You have to come up with a new method for ranges, and you have to come up with accurate stats if you are a fan of Alpha Flight. Just like every other MSH module though it is possible to run your own characters. Or add one or two of your own to Alpha Flight so you can be part of the team. In the end there is fun modding and there is required modding which dropped my score here.

Overall Fun 5/5 – Regardless of the bad points, this is a total fun win for me. Like I said earlier, two great tastes that taste great together.

Total Score 13/20 – Not a great score for something I really enjoy. But what the heck they cant all be awesome on the score. Just goes to show you that you dont always have to have the top rating to be loved.

Ok so thats it for today. Im out to make sure I am ready to take care of the little one.

Stay safe out there everyone. have fun, but stay safe.

Now gimme the dice… I need to see how many versions of Sasquatch I can merge into one character… Oh wait they already did that in the comics… shoot…

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Games for the young

Young gamers

 

Morning readers

So as you know from my last post my wife and I now have a little one in the family. And since I have a few minutes here before the next feeding of our little wiggly bundle of bloody cool I thought I would put up a question and ask for a little input.

You see even though the tiny one is just weeks old I am already plotting out how to teach the little one via the use of games. There are a lot of things that can be learned via games and so I thought I would start out by listing off a few, the appropriate age (or at least assumed age) and benefits from getting little ones to play those games.

I am going to be going outside of my usual RPG only format here, but RPGs are included.

I am also hoping that you my cool readers will honor me by bringing up games you have used to teach little ones. And even some that have been brought into the home just for their play value. I love getting recommendations and thinking ahead. So please don’t feel you have to limit yourself to any age category.

Memory – Classic matching game – 3 and up – Does just what it says. I did not put a link in this one because there are so many ways to play. Everything from buying a game to a deck of cards.

Prime Climb – Math board game – Grade 3 and up recommended. Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Prime numbers too.

Scrabble – Word game – Ages 5 and up for Scrabble Junior – Spelling and vocabulary.

No Thank You Evil – RPG – Ages 5 and up – Team work, story telling, creative thinking, problem solving.

Teenagers from Outer Space – RPG – Ages 8 and up – Team work, story telling, creative thinking, problem solving.

There are a ton of others out there. You will notice that I did not post anything that requires screens. Not that I am against screens, but I dont want to be reliant on them myself.

If you have any thoughts or ideas. Or favorite games you would like to share for the younger crowd please feel free to comment or message me directly and I will add them as comments.

Ok so the little one is starting to fuss so I had best go make a bottle up.

Have fun out there, keep gaming, stay safe ( wash your hands you) and…

Gimme the dice.. I need to roll up the number of oz of formula we will be going through today 😉

 

 

 

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Torg – Roleplaying the Possibility Wars – 1st edition – Review

Torg

Hello fellow gamers 🙂

So as of this post you will note that I am not numbering the reviews any more. While it was fun at the start, having lost track a few times and no longer really seeing a point in it I have decided to just stop doing it.

Sorry I could not get this out last week. And this one may be a bit shorter than I intended but I am still gonna get it going.

So I know a bunch of you will be asking “What the heck is Torg?” Historically speaking Torg was the first game that West End Games produced that used what would become their Master Book system. Hitting the shelves in 1990 it came as a boxed set that included a rulebook, worldbook, adventure book, a deck of drama cards and a d20. There were a lot of pages in that box and it was one of the earliest examples I can remember of a game product that could also be used to commit assault.

Story speaking Torg is a title. It basically means he/she/they who control reality. And in the game setting the candidates for that title are the main enemy. So pretty much anyone who has played an RPG is familiar with the idea of an alternate reality. Well in the Torg setting it is possible for realities to invade each other using the power of possibilities. When one reality invades another it creates possibilities. If a reality is rather mundane, like our own, it already has a bunch of possibilities that it has not used to develop its own unique environment. Apparently our earth, Core Earth in the setting is so freaking rich in possibilities that one Torg candidate alone cannot invade. Its just too much potential backlash. So the biggest bad in the setting reaches out to others who have the same goal of becoming Torg, and says lets all go get this place together. And they do. And you start the setting with six alternate earths invading Core Earth to try and force it to become like their reality. Winner would merge Core Earth with their earth and all our possibilities would end up adding fuel to their world. Sort of like the Borg from STNG but with a lot more diversity.

The game setting is put together so that you are playing after the invasions have started. And that is important. Because players can be from any of the seven realities in the game. Yeah you can be from an invading reality and not be on the side of the bad guys. And this is why some of the game mechanics that are in the setting exist. You see things like physics and magic change depending on which reality you are in. So super science is standard in one area, cybernetics in another, magic in yet another, and strange mixes in some. However in Core Earth it is all standard tech and no magic. You have to force reality to change. But the heroes (and a rare few villains) called Storm Knights, have the power to force their reality to work where ever they are. They burn personal possibility energy and so a magic user can cast spells in a cyberpunk world when they need to.

Each one of the different realities is actually very engaging and they created supporting books later to expand on them significantly over the materials in the core boxed set.

Those books are not the point of the review but at least you can see some of it here and dive in further if you like.

So how do they handle all of this mechanically? It does it in three parts. The first is that it has a standardized value table. This means that you can take a number from a stat, a skill, a damage value, weights, whatever and make it immediately comparable to something else. The die mechanic is using an open ended d20 roll. So things can get way out there just on the dice alone. The second is that heroes and main villains have possibility points. These can be spent to alter reality in varying ways. Changing die rolls, altering a scene slightly, and even asserting your reality so that you can use something or stop someone else from using a power or tool that does not work in your reality. The third is via the cards in the Drama Deck. These cards have two values on them, one for the Heroes and one for the GM. They look like this…

Torg Drama

So the orange part is for the GM and the grey part is for the heroes. Players will get a certain number of cards at the start of a session. GM controls the rest of the deck. And while players can add in a card at any appropriate time. The GM needs a reason to add something. Of course those rules can be bent or broken like any other. In the example card above the GM gets to complicate things for the heroes by forcing them into a different position and making them more tired. Where as the player side gets to add a bonus onto one of those open ended stat or skill rolls. The player can also use it to enhance one of two stats to have a sufficient ability to do something without a roll.

So how do things come together?

Honestly it is a little messy in the first edition rules. Not impossible to get through by any means but if you do play first edition I would suggest you be ready to go…. hmmmm screw it, it works like this now… off and on for a while. I am not the biggest fan of a system that uses multiple methods of determining random results. And I really am not a fan of using cards for the randomizer at all. But there is something in Torg that makes it all work. I have a funny feeling that in my case it is the fact that I am drawn to multi-genre environments like you can find in comic books or other games like Rifts. Mechanically its got a bit of chunk. Story wise I think its great because it is reality versus reality.

What does this look like by the numbers?

Overall Fluff 3/5 – So while the story is great, and the presented character templates have some very cool quotes, it can be a bit messy and disjointed at times. The quality of the art varies a lot in the box set. You have a few pieces that look mind blowingly cool. And several that look more like someone tossed ink on a page and someone thought it looked usable in an RPG for some reason. Overall not bad bad, but not great.

Overall Crunch 3/5 – As I mentioned above the rules can get a bit chunky. Not because the rules intention is bad, but because it is poorly written. You can figure it out with a little effort. But you can also home brew quickly to cover.

Overall Mod 2/5 – Having said what I did about the rules I am pretty sure that folks would feel I would put the mod value higher. Well even though you can create even more realities to invade with, and you can mod rules to make them fit your groups play style, I have to score it lower because due to the rules you are going to have to mod at first. I have never found someone who could just run it as is right out of the box. Being forced to mod and being able to mod are two very different things to me.

Overall Fun 5/5 – Ok so I may seem to be a little harsh above. But even with all the challenges, I have a ton of fun with this game. Somehow the multiple mechanics work for me. Somehow being forced to mod the rules at first worked for me. Somehow it all came together and it had always been a blast when I have had the chance to play.

Total Score 13/20 – Not the highest score I have given my any means. Is it a game that I can recommend? Yes, to certain players and groups. Not to everyone by any means. The ‘you got peanut butter in my chocolate’ crowd will be good with it, but the ‘no no no, everything has to be separate on the plate, not touching at all’ crowd might find it too blended to handle.

Ok so thats the review on Torg. Just remember that you and I may have a difference of opinion, and to your point of view I may be full of crap. So please take a look for yourself, read for yourself, and figure out if you like it.

Now gimme the dice, I need to see if I can get game engines to invade each other and determine who is the Torg of the dice… but who will be Core Earth… hmmm.

 

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My Current Game – The table top

Howdy all

Ok so this one is going to be a little strange for the folks that know me. You see most of the time I am running a game for table top I will at most whip out a wet/dry erase vinyl map and go to town mapping things out as needed and just run with or without minis and working diligently to make sure it is cleaned up as we go.

This time things are a little bit different.

So a while back my awesome wife got me some dry erase dungeon tiles. And to be honest I have been itching to use them ever since she got them for me. And this current game with the epic dungeon is just the sort of place to take advantage of them. Ok so it started with these…

Dry erase tiles 10 inch

So shortly after getting these, and knowing I wanted to do something with them I started looking more and more at some of the minis that are out there… and I have to say some of them are kind of awesome, and prices for the current generation are actually pretty incredible. Things like these…

That unpainted mini is a sample of the Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures, Unpainted, and one of the many prepainted minis packs that you can find for Pathfinder Battles. Painted or not the minis look great. And you can find them single or packed in boosters on the main and after market.

And then I started to realize that I might need to do something more than use the 9×9 dungeon tiles… So I went to Amazon and got these so I could shape the terrain a little better…

Dry-Erase-5-inch-Dungeon-Tiles-Graystone-Pack-of-36-B075X1Z2F5_740x

And then the big moment comes. At the end of the holiday season one of my wife’s friends who is playing with us gave us a gift certificate for Hero Forge so we could make a couple of completely custom minis… my wife’s design for her character looks pretty cool to me…

Demon Girl

And so I ended up going… ya know what… screw it. I have not had a really well shaped dungeon session since my friend Xenzirril went and ramped things up years ago. So I figured I would see what I could get to sculpt out the rooms I was going to be putting together…

And this happened…

So yeah there are products here by Mantic in their Terrain Crate series, and from War World Gaming. I selected these four items because it gives me a ton of versatility to set up dungeon sections and make some unique features come together to suggest things but not have to set up everything. I can make dining halls, out door festivals, inns and other things with just a few items and still use the dry erase markers to fill in details.

Now then the folks who know me best know I have never really gotten into minis all that much. I mean from time to time I have had several. But I have not really made them game essential for anything I was doing. Heh, I still remember fondly playing D&D with Dan and Mr. Armstrong  using basic graph paper and thumb tacks and hole punched dots with the first letter of our character names on them being the way to work the tactical miniatures for a game. This… this may change things though… 🙂

I just thought it would be fun to share the latest step in gaming I have been taking, and then I can say that if you go over to the Resources for Gamers page in my blog you can find links to Hero Forge and WizKids to look into the miniatures, and I am pretty sure you can find your way to Amazon for everything else I have shown here.

I hope that everyone out there is having fun and playing games to their hearts content.

Now gimme the dice, I need to see how many d4 can fit in these wells…

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