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Unboxing & Review – Cyberpunk Red – Jumpstarter Kit

Hello Readers

I know that the Cyberpunk Red Jumpstarter Kit has been available since late August. I only recently picked it up though. Well ok that’s not completely true. I got it about a month and a half ago but between work, life, gaming on many Sundays, and personal stuff I just have not gotten to it until now.

CPRed kit

As you may remember from other posts I am a long time fan of R Talsorian‘s Cyberpunk games… well all except for Cyberpunk 3. And it is best if we never talk about Cyberpunk 3.

For those who are interested in knowing, according to the FAQ for Cyberpunk Red the official timeline for the game goes as follows…

  • Cyberpunk (2013)
  • Cyberpunk 2020 (2020)
  • Cybergeneration’s Carbon Plague (2027 but did not have the results that created the Cybergeneration setting)
  • Cyberpunk Red (2045)
  • Cyberpunk 2077 (2077)

Personally I find this a very interesting move on everyone’s part. This means that anyone interested in playing a table top version of 2077 will have to homebrew a fair bit of stuff. But from a product standpoint it is going to establish a much more defined timeline and make each product unique and supportable on its own. In the end it will mean a lot more work for everyone involved in order to maintain the unique elements in each product. So I for one applaud the effort they are going to be putting into place for this.

Now then for the Jumpstart kit itself. As with any intro box that comes out these days you have incomplete rules. Incomplete settings. Sample characters. And gimmicks to entice gamers. Lets take a look at what we got…

  • Rule Book – An abbreviated look at the Interlock system that R Talsorian produced in the way back, with a few updated elements for the current edition. There is a short version of the classic Lifepath setup to give you a background. But not as much material as I hope they have in the full version. Also when it comes to Role related skills only the one for Netrunners gets detailed to any real degree. Lastly the combat system that was Friday Night Fire Fight has been slimmed down a little into Thursday Night Throwdown. Anyone familiar with FNFF will see what has changed immediately and my be just as appreciative as I was.
  • World Book – While this does have a lot of flavor material in it, I was sort of surprised and how limited the background material was for the world. That is mostly covered in a timeline format that leaves a lot of room to play with. The main focus of the book is on how the cyberpunk world feels. And that to me is very cool. When the full version of the game is published I hope they keep all this work in there, because that is an element that many games leave out. Lastly there is a pre-generated adventure in the book that should give you a look at how things can run in a cyberpunk game.
  • Pre-generated characters – Now then in most games you will get three to six characters. In this box you technically get thirty six. Now before you blow your stack let me explain. There are six character sheets. But each one has six sets of stats and you are supposed to roll to see which one you get when you play. You also get to use the Rule Book to roll up a lifepath for any one you use. So in theory you could say the number of characters are… well… huge. I am not going to count them out. Or you could say the characters are not pre-generated and they only provide a framework for six characters.
  • Cardboard punchouts and stands – The six characters, some thugs and a couple of cars so you can use them on the maps provided and really get a nice visual.
  • Maps – Encounter maps. Two double sided maps that are about 11×16. Easy to box and basic so you can help players establish where they are in a scene.
  • Custom dice – 4d6 and 2d10 that are styled up for Cyberpunk. With the classic CP logo for the 6 and the 0 respectively. Nice dice with a good look to them.
  • The box itself is covered with new color art and carries both the new R Talsorian Games logo and CD Project Red’s logo.

The only real thing that gives me any pause here is the way R Talsorian and CD Project Red are getting tied more and more tightly together. I have bad flashbacks of the Hero Games allied with Cyber Games / DOJ / Cryptic Studios era. Which did not have the most positive impact on Hero Games, but it kept them up and running. But going into depth on that will have to wait for another time.

If I was going to review this Jumpstart box by my usual game review standards I would have to give it the following numbers…

  • Overall Fluff – 4 – There is some good material and art here. It could be better, and it almost feels like something is missing without the old black and white art the older versions came with.
  • Overall Crunch – 2 – The rules are incomplete but you are warned about that up front. The parts missing though are kinda important.
  • Overall Mod – 3 – It is painfully easy to mix in older rules and run with it. Unfortunately to play anything more than the boxed adventure, you have to.
  • Overall Fun – 3 – This one is a swing for me because I am seriously jonesing for the whole thing, but I can have fun with what has been offered so far.
  • Total score – 12/20 – I have no doubt that given my love of the work that R Talsorian puts out that I will have to give a huge score for the complete game. However given that this is a teaser box this score is not bad. And lets face it, this is a tease. A dirty dirty tease that wants to whet our appetites for both the complete version (still no specific distribution date) and Cyberpunk 2077 (April 2020 last I checked).

Should you buy this product? Well that is up to you. If you are a long term fan like me it would give you a great look at where the game is going. If you are just waiting for CP2077 then it can give you a little insight as to what the game may include. If you like a complete game it may just piss you off. So there is a lot to consider. And you are the only one that can make that choice.

I hope you enjoyed this look at the Cyberpunk Red Jumpstarter Box.

Have fun out there and keep gaming.

Now gimme the dice… I need to see if the rules for Vehicle Zen still work to do extreme maneuvers.



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A Different take on combat styles

Ok so last week I posted about martial arts in games. And I have to admit that I have been thinking about it since.

So I threw together something that is partly based on the Martial Arts styles in AD&D to cobble together something that might work for overall combat styles in RPGs. To be totally honest, this is currently an untested mashup of a few ideas that may or may not work at all. But I thought it was kind of a cool idea so I figured I would share it with my readers while I see if I can figure out how to really make it work.

To get it up and running let me lay out for you how the table works. Every fighting style has a Core. This is what the character would rely on most in combat. Next comes a Drive. This is what a character would look to do with their fighting. Next would come their Focus. This is what a character puts most of their effort into learning when developing how they fight. Lastly comes a Secondary Focus. This is the “Well my main is not working so whats my backup plan?” part of their fighting style.

Each one of these comes with a potential for a bonus to Defense, Offense, Movement, and then either a bonus to unarmed damage or maybe weapon damage or a spell slot. Now then just for added explanation, any time you see ‘Per Spell’ that could be replace with ‘Per Psi Ability’ or ‘Per Super Power’ or any number of other things.

So here is the base table that I set up…


Core Defense Offense Movement Damage
Unarmed 1 1 5 2
Weapon 1 1 0 Per Weapon
Spell 2 0 5 Per Spell
Defensive 3 1 15 1
Offensive 1 3 5 3
Balanced 2 2 10 2
Spell 1 0 10 Per Spell
Hand 2 2 10 2
Foot 1 3 5 3
Move 3 1 15 1
Lock/Hold 2 2 5 3
Throw/Push 3 1 10 2
Vital Area 2 2 5 3
Weapon 1 3 10 Weapon+2
Spell 1 0 10 Per Spell
Internal 4 0 15 1
Hand 1 1 5 1
Foot 0 2 0 2
Move 2 0 10 0
Lock/Hold 1 1 0 2
Throw/Push 2 0 5 1
Vital Area 1 1 5 2
Weapon 0 2 5 Weapon+1
Spell 1 0 10 Per Spell
Internal 3 .-1 10 0


Now then to show you how it would sort out with some of the classic Fantasy character types…

Fighter Defense Offense Movement Damage
Weapon 1 1 0 Per Weapon
Offensive 1 3 5 3
Weapon 1 3 10 Weapon+2
Weapon 0 2 5 Weapon+1
Totals 3 9 20 3
Rouge Defense Offense Movement Damage
Unarmed 1 1 5 2
Defensive 3 1 15 1
Move 3 1 15 1
Weapon 0 2 5 Weapon+1
Totals 7 5 40 4
Wizard Defense Offense Movement Damage
Spell 2 0 5 Per Spell
Spell 1 0 10 Per Spell
Spell 1 0 10 Per Spell
Spell 1 0 10 Per Spell
Totals 4 0 25 0
Cleric Defense Offense Movement Damage
Weapon 1 1 0 Per Weapon
Spell 1 0 10 Per Spell
Spell 1 0 10 Per Spell
Weapon 0 2 5 Weapon+1
Totals 3 3 25 0
Monk Defense Offense Movement Damage
Unarmed 1 1 5 2
Balanced 2 2 10 2
Hand 2 2 10 2
Internal 3 .-1 10 0
Totals 8 4 35 6

So this kind of breakout in my opinion is something that you could use to establish a lot of differences in how fighting would work. It is based on a point value structure that should make every combat style technically equal at the ground level. But also allow for customizing so you could build the archtype you wanted to see.

I would envision each of the areas coming with a skill or two as well that in a system like Pathfinder or many of the D&D variants. Additionally in a level based system you would have a choice at every level to add to defense, offense movement or damage but not to the degree that you would be taking a full secondary element again.

I dont really know. Maybe this is the start of a new game engine. Its been a while since I put one together. Maybe its an alt for D&D or Pathfinder. Not really sure where this is going to head, if anywhere.

Anyway I hope this raises some interesting ideas and questions for you all.

Now gimme the dice… I need to see how many strange ideas I can have before Christmas… hmmm, may need more dice than that…

Keep gaming and keep having fun all 🙂

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Martial Arts in RPGs


So it should come as no surprise to anyone that has read this blog for a while, or to anyone that knows me personally, that I enjoy martial arts. The vast and varied forms of personal combat that have been created around the world since humans have thought that deeply personal question, “How do I do a better job of smacking that dip $#!t over there upside the head?”

Now in the real world martial arts cover everything from bare handed styles, weapon based styles, exercise styles, and meditative styles. However in western fiction and in games, martial arts are most heavily focused on bare handed arts. As time marches forward the use of weapons styles has seen more growth in western fiction, but by and large they are usually still seen mostly in Asian mediums. Another thing that is common is the benefit of having unusual, and somewhat mystical powers that can vary from simply being able to stun an opponent to being able to cut through a spaceship.

Instead of diving into all of the details about martial arts themselves, I wanted to discuss a few of the game systems that have incorporated bare handed martial arts and a little bit about the mechanics of how they have done so. Now then not every game engine includes bare handed martial arts. And in many cases that is because the setting is not seen as appropriate for them. For example, Victoriana has the skill of Fisticuffs. That skill is intended to simulate bare knuckle brawling that would eventually become boxing. Given the setting and the intended flavor of the game adding more martial arts skills would not really fit the feel of the setting. While the sword and fencing skills in the game are by definition martial arts, they are not called out as martial arts as that combination of words has, for many, taken on the meaning of bare handed fighting.

So what are some examples of how martial arts have been built into games?

In Champions (Hero System) there have been two versions of martial arts. As the game engine is point based I will describe it that way. Originally you would take a look at your characters Strength score. That score would tell you the base cost for your martial arts. For that you would get added multiples to your base damage and access to the martial dodge maneuver. By spending more points you could add more multiples to your damage. For example if your character has a strength of 20 (base damage is 4d6), it would cost you 20 points to get base martial arts. For that cost you could now do 1.5x (6d6) your base damage with a punch, and 2x (8d6) your base damage with a kick. By spending an added 10 points you could now do 2x (8d6) damage with a punch and 2.5x 10d6) damage with a kick. Later they would use an alternate Hero System mechanic that would allow you to buy individual maneuvers and then added damage levels for any maneuver you purchased. For example if you spent 4 points on a strike (you get to say if it is a punch, kick, elbow or whatever) that gives you +2 to defense,  and adds 2 dice to your base damage (lets stick with the Strength 20 from above) you are now doing 6d6 damage with that punch. For every 4 added points you spend, every martial maneuver you know gets to add levels to their effect. So if we spent that same 30 total points here that we did in the initial system we could either have a bunch of maneuvers or fewer maneuvers with more effect. If we just had that one punch, spending an additional 12 points (closest you can get to 30 without going over) on added levels it would now be adding a total of 6d6 to your base 4d6 damage so you could do 10d6 and get a +2 to your defense. The later system has been a lot more popular with the players and has stayed in place since the BBB (4th) edition. With that fourth edition they added lists of maneuvers that would replicate specific styles. And you even had the ability to create your own.

In Cyberpunk 2020 a martial arts style is represented by a single skill. This skill would likely cost more to purchase and raise up than other skills as each skill has bonus’ to maneuvers and effects. So for example Karate costs 2x what a regular skill would cost. And for that cost you get to add +2 for your attack and damage when doing a strike or a kick and you add +2 to your rolls to block attacks. So if you have a character with a 6 Body and a 6 Reflexes and a 6 Karate skill, you would be able to roll your d10 +6 (Reflexes) +6 (Karate) +2 (Karate bonus) to hit with a punch and rolls a d6/2 +6 (Karate) +0 (Strength bonus) +2 (Karate bonus) to damage. If you just had brawling you would get a d10 + Reflexes + Brawling to hit, and a d6/2 +Strength bonus for damage. The rules for what bonus’ stacked together to equal what kind of cost multiple are a little vague. So it is kinda hard to create your own style, but it can be a lot of fun too.

In Palladium’s Ninjas & Superspies martial arts are something everyone has. Some are more useful than others, and some are crazy powerful. However all of them are something that is chosen at character generation and then they level up with the character. So you start out with some basics, like attacks per round and a list of strikes and maybe a special ability or two. But all of that creeps up as you gain in levels. The most basic of these martial arts are seen in every Palladium game there is, and if you have a GM that is comfortable with it you can actually transplant the more stylistic and specific arts to the other games as well. The fact that Palladium created their Rifts world to allow characters from every one of their games to exist there at the same time meant that when they added Ninjas & Superspies the first time they actually had to go back and revise some of the arts because they ended up making characters that were far too powerful in Rifts. Some characters can actually have more than one martial art in the game, and in the original version of the game one character class could actually start out with three. But you have to track all your abilities separately, and can only chance from style to style at the start of any combat round. So if you are in a situation where a single ability in one art can save you, but you cannot use it until you change styles, your character risks dying because you cannot change over.

In the classic Rolemaster game martial arts are designed with a collection of skills. Just like anything else in the game, from tracking to magic, martial skills of any kind are based off of the level of skill you have developed. Primarily the martial skills are divided into two categories, strikes and throws. But when you add in other skills like Adrenal Moves (for more than human effort in physical tasks) and some of the movement spells you can create movie style martial arts. That will take very high skill levels to accomplish but it can be done. And working to get a character to that level can be really rewarding. The biggest challenge with the system is that they have divided the two basic skills into four separate categories. And you have to level up all four to get the best effects. If you look at strikes, if you have 30% in category one you can get about 15% in category two and nothing in three or four. So if you are going to make a dedicated martial artist you need to invest a ton of skill levels in just these eight skills and it will severely limit your ability to level up anything else in the game. In the end it is kind of like saying… welllllll we dont want to say not to martial arts, buuuuuut they really dont fit here so lets make it hard as #ell to get them.

In the Street Fighter Story Telling Game the mechanics are similar to other White Wolf games, but with a slight twist. Instead of having a martial arts, brawling, dodge or other such skills you have a category of abilities called Techniques that cover punching, blocking, focus and others. On top of that you will have Special Maneuvers that can give you specific attacks, dodges or other special abilities. What you do in the game is select a specific martial art first, and that will set your characters basic Willpower and Chi, and then give discounts on specific Special Maneuvers. The fun thing here is that just because you have a specific style with specific discounts on things, you do not have to just take those abilities unless something is described as exclusive. And to the best of my knowledge there are only a few, like six of the special abilities that are exclusive to any one art. What is really cool is that it is not hard at all to create new special maneuvers. And you can simulate just about anything you like with them. In terms of compatibility with other White Wolf products Street Fighter characters are kinda like Wizards in D&D products. Starting characters are pretty easy to slaughter, but when they get up there in experience you have to get really lucky to touch them with anything less than one of their own.

With the 3rd edition of D&D martial arts (unless you were a Monk) became a mater of matching up the right Feats. But I had a lot more fun with the old AD&D Oriental Adventures version. Now then with AD&D before Oriental Adventures empty hand combat was the provenance of the Monk and the Monk alone. But when they added Oriental Adventures they added a system for martial arts that you can move into any of the AD&D games of that generation. Any character of any class can spend a proficiency  slot to get a basic martial art. That martial art is built with three factors. A form, a principal method, and special skills. The form and principal method are the basis of the form and you get those for the spending of the first proficiency slot. Now then normally a proficiency slot could be spent for a single weapon skill, or a non weapon skill that you would then get a bonus to like tracking or cooking. However that single slot gets you a lot with a martial art. It gets you attacks per round, an AC bonus when you have no armor on, base damage, and the primary maneuver type. Every special maneuver can be purchased with a single proficiency slot there after. And since they are all ranked you need to get all the rank 1 abilities before you get any rank 2. Funny thing is you could build as many base styles as you wanted and take all the bases you wanted. And since the ‘Barbarian’ class had the most proficiency initially you could start out with a barbarian that starts the game with a ridiculous level of skill while the more civilized classes were much more limited. A combination that I still find incredibly amusing.

Ok so that is a little bit, about a few ways that bare handed martial arts are set up in role playing games. This is by no means an exhaustive list of how things are done in RPGs when it comes to martial arts. They are all over the place and in soooo many methods of application that it is sort of intimidating to think about all of them.

Tell you what, how about you all tell me about the systems you like and that you hate so we can compare notes?

Till then, gimme the dice, I need to get my N&S Thai Kickboxer back out and see if he can still kick a dragon to death in Rifts…

Peace out, keep gaming, and think for yourself.




Not really a Game Review… more of a Flashback

So dear readers, I know not how many of you may remember back in the day, but in 1979 Bantam Books started publishing Choose Your Own Adventure books (CYOA). Similar to an RPG but without the dice or other random resolution features. You reached a point in the story and made a choice to go in one of possibly several different ways.

They were really popular and it surprisingly took a couple of years but in 1982 TSR started publishing their own CYOA books under the Endless Quest moniker.


While the first few books were based directly off of their classic Dungeons and Dragons line of role playing games. It did not take long before they decided to make a few that were in support of their other wholly original games like Top Secret, Star Frontiers, and Gamma World.


Then in 1984 CYOA books got a bit of an upgrade when the Lone Wolf adventure books started getting published where you added an actual character sheet, and a few random elements into the CYOA method and made them even more like an RPG.

Well TSR was not to be outdone and so they started publishing their own adventure game books under the Super Endless Quest blazon.

EQ Super Set

When they started doing the Super Endless Quest… later just called the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Adventure Gamebooks… they also got the ok to do one of their biggest licensed products Marvel Super Heroes. They had been doing licensed books already with Conan. But the big surprise came when they teamed up with Steve Jackson Games and published adventure books for Car Wars.


Now then being a bit of a collector when it comes to these things, and being a bit of a nostalgia freak I was thrilled a few years ago to see that the original CYOA books were coming back into publication. So I was wondering what would happen with the Endless Quest series. So far what has come out in 2018 and 2019 has been a total of six books that I know of that are similar to the originals, but in my opinion since they are trying to make things 5th edition specific and supportive, it makes it a little more challenging to have fun with. On another note the original creators of the  Lone Wolf series have released an app for your smart devices that you can play out the original ten books of that series. It actually has a character tracker, random roller and everything.

Now then these books, and I know I am focusing on TSR products here, were all over the place. And I did not even touch on the Adventure Hearts materials that TSR published, or the fact that there were books published in the UK and Europe that never made it into the states, for an assortment of reasons. And to be quite honest I don’t have the time or the resources to go into every variation of CYOA or Adventure Game Book that is out there. But I dont have to.

If you are interested in checking out more titles or if you have some of the old Adventure Books but do not have the character sheets then I want to suggest you check out Demain’s Gamebooks page. The owner of that page has put a ton of resources together to set up a pretty much global database regarding these books and you really should take advantage of it.

In thinking about doing a review for these books I found out that I really could only rate them in some of my usual categories, and since there are variations on how they are made and how they play out, with or without character sheets, and other concerns, that the only rating that really maters in the end, is Fun…

So in rating this game medium I have to give it a 5/5 for fun. I know professional book reviewers back in the day gave them 3/10 to 6/10. But to be honest those folks were usually comparing CYOA books to fantasy and sci-fi novels by their most revered authors. So comparatively speaking yeah they may suck as a literary masterpiece. But that was never what they were meant to be. They were meant to be fun. They were meant to take you on a little adventure. They were meant for the little ones. In the flesh and inside us. And to be honest they were meant to help folks learn to take the consequences of their choices… unless they cheat… ahem… hummrmmm… yeah… yeah don’t cheat…

Anyway I am really hoping that in whatever format publishers choose, be it digital or print, or even both, that these ideas make a comeback. CYOA books are fun, and really can be a great way to help little ones learn about choices. They can also be a great way to introduce them into the idea of gaming.

Ok then. We end up here with a high score, something fun, and a bit of a prayer that they come back in force.

Hope you all have a great week. Keep gaming, and keep making up your own mind. Don’t take my word for it, figure out what you think is fun and run with it.

Now gimme the dice, I need to see if I need to go to page 33 or 97 next.

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Tales from the Game Table – You dropped what?!

Been a while since I did one of these.

So for the last few months my wife and a friend of ours have been playing Shadowrun. I tweaked the timeline a little so that I could set up a few things for some in game shenanigans. Little did I expect though that the two of them would be successful in pulling off the stunts they did.

To be quite honest I had set up three occasions on which there could be a TPK in one night unless they were very lucky or chose to avoid the situation entirely. A dark luck was with them.

As many players of Shadowrun know, unless you are set up in advance big risk may not always equal big reward. And usually when you get the big reward someone is waiting to take it away from you. Well these two actually managed to not only get the big reward, but then built on it by selling things to interested parties. So yeah this is building up quite nicely to get a TPK just from their own actions… So what do they do to really escalate things …

They bought a tank.

Lets say that again… slowly.

They. Bought. A. Tank.

Then they bought a way to transport it.

Now then folks who play in my games know that I have a reward style that is usually along the lines of “Yeah you can get that… here let me make a few notes about everyone who would find out about that and want to mess you up for it…”

And then for giggles they had street kids paint it up with … with… seriously this is messed up… Hello Kitty… They covered a tank in images and the standard colors of Hello Kitty.

Oh it gets worse.

As they are not a corporate or military power, I had put a timeline into place that would mean they were getting raided and having all these toys taken away from them. I wanted to build up the drama. However they decided to leave the Seattle Metroplex. They were using a refitted… well the best way to call it out would be a zeppelin.

There are other story bits about them evading detection and using multiple flight plans and spoofing transponder codes, but eventually they get to their target. Chicago. In the timeline we are running Chicago is Bug City and its nasty inside the walls.

Do you see where this is going?

They para-drop the tank, and some supplies and fuel… into Chicago. They told me their flight plan and how they wanted to fake out the military watching over Chicago. They succeeded. The thing is, from their flight plan I had come up with a couple of places they could drop the tank. Then I let the dice handle it.

They made Chicago worse… Read things about Bug City, and the Universal Brotherhood in Shadowrun reviews and history sites. And you will see how hard that little statement is to fathom. They made… Chicago… worse…

Ok so I know what you may be thinking. That I could have put a GM Fiat in place at any time. I could have shut this down and taken away toys. I let it go and now I am paying the price.

To a certain degree, that is true. But I have a lot of fun racking all this sort of stuff up and then springing something epic out that will give them a run and they can feel it is all worth the build up even if it does kill everyone.

Ok so gimme the dice… I need to roll up some consequences….

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FOUR! – Yeah there is more to it than just the number…

So todays post if brought to you by… Questions from readers… flash backs to a good friends posts… and the number four.

In regards to the questions from readers that has been mostly around “Dude if you play so many games do you have a favorite/top ten?” In regards to the good friends posts, Dan over at Dan on Games did a series of Pick 6 posts a while back, and I have to say I was always impressed by the fact that he did not bow to the masses and go top five or top ten, but picked six of his favorites to talk about. In regards to the number four, well I am going to be duplicating my friends style a little bit, and doing come best of work but I am going to use the number four as my driver.

My plan is to post four lists of top fours and maybe come back to them again at some point in time and do additional four fours… four… fore!!!!!… four score and seven sodas ago our fridge was full… ahem… anyway…

So lets five… ahem… dive… into four top four lists…

Classes / Professions / Roles

You may wonder why I did this combination. And well that is because not every game uses classes. Some use templates, some use roles or professions to define skill sets, some just say the heck with it and let you do whatever you want. So I am trying to cheat and blend it a bit.

  1. Rouge – Sneaking in and getting things done without anyone being the wiser. Also being the trickster. Pick Pocket and Put Pocket skills galore along with breaking into places no one wants you to be. There are versions of this in every game system, and I love almost all of them.
  2. Brawler – I have made so many versions of this class by multiclassing, or just sort of building it in points. But Pathfinder actually put it together and did it well by mixing their Monk and Fighter classes together. Basically a bare knuckle fighter, who has a very fluid fighting style. Much like a Monk but without the alignment restrictions and the set special abilities. You can do the same in supers games by making a light brick with martial arts.
  3. Investigator – Much like a Rouge, but this is also the brainy character like Holmes and other detectives. This is the guy who can sneak a little, fight a little, and is likely five steps ahead of everyone else when the story comes into play. Also they have a tendency to notice things that no one else would find.
  4. Transmuter – Now then in D&D and in Pathfinder this is a specialty school of Wizard. However there are other classes and professions that have a similar set up. The general idea is that you are making one thing into something else. If its Alchemy or magic or even psi, somehow you can make things into other things. You also frequently are a master/mistress/alternate gender in charge entity who can buff team members like no other… well save for maybe a cleric.


In many games there are races other than human that you can play. And in many cases you can even play races that have traditionally been seen as monsters. In other games your race and your class are the same thing. Without going to that path of character types, races that I enjoy playing most would top out with…

  1. Mutant – I had only thought about mutants in supers and scifi for a long time until Windriders on the Jagged Cliffs was published for Dark Sun in AD&D 2nd Edition and then suddenly the idea of mutants in Fantasy was something I could not get enough of. So I dont care what the base race is… lets see if we can get a mutant version of it.
  2. Goblin – It was hard not to put Goblins at #1. But then I remembered that there are mutant goblins too and so I had to give in to putting Mutants up top. There are so many DMs, players, and fiction writers who see goblins as nothing more than cannon fodder that it frustrates me. Maybe its my nature in taking joy in supporting the underdog. But I find goblins really cool. And Pathfinders use of them has really only bolstered my opinion of them.
  3. Half Dragon – Half Dragon Half Goblin mutants… oh yeah we are getting there now. But seriously, dragon bloodlines in other species says a lot to me about how romantic dragons can really be. Or at the very least they are like one night stand folks… or Zeus… hmmm… But as to the race itself I really enjoy the blend of raw power, perceived nobility of a dragon and the fragility of the non-draconic side.
  4. Human – Yeah I am serious here. There are so many times in so many games that players and game masters just kinda go… hmmm humans… yeah lets skip that. I think its from the fact that most of us play humans in the real world and so they want to get outside of that. But that is part of what makes them so fascinating to me in gaming. I can play something totally alien to the rest of my party by just being human.


When it comes to facing off against monsters there are so many options out there that you have to have a few favorites to fight. It may be the glory, it may be therapy, it may be oh so many things. But you have them none the less. My top four favorites to face off against are…

  1. Dragons – If this needs an explanation then we should not be talking.
  2. Kaiju – I have loved ‘Zilla and his kine since the 70’s. Adding them into games started for me with the Tarrasque, then in mecha games as organic mechs… sorta. Recently Pathfinder even put them in to their main game materials as a species. The giant beasts with vast power that you will likely never beat in a straight up fight, but you have to out think them or make them beat themselves. Or just get out of the way.
  3. Gnomes – Yup I still hate gnomes. I derive great pleasure from making them extinct in any game world I show up in. #$%^ing gnomes…
  4. Super Villain Thugs – Ok so not really sure if this counts as a monster, or a minion, or something else with an M to it. But seriously when I am in the thick of a supers game and the boss bads thugs come calling…. mmmmmmm thug bustin’. Gotta love it.


I know this one limits things in regards to types of games but in games where magic abounds you can usually cast spells. And some spells are just so fun to cast, and you can use them so creatively that, well I am pretty sure that everyone has a few favorites they like to cast themselves, or see what others can come up with when they use them in game…

  1. Polymorph Other – D&D 3rd Edition- Ok so this spell was cheap and fun. I have literally turned enemies into toast and let another player eat said toast. OP and so many strange things you can do with it. I never got to try my darkest idea of turning a Vampire into a miniature sun… but hopefully some day.
  2. Grease – AD&D 1st edition- Ok so why did I call out fist ed AD&D for this one… well in that version first printing, the spell created not only a slick surface, but it was actually grease and it was flammable. And the area you could coat with it was huge. So yeah, you figure out where the fun is in this one.
  3. Mystic Fulcrum – Rifts Ultimate Edition – So this one may seem strange, but this is a buff spell that allows the recipient to lift 50% more than you usually could. It also stacks. It is also pretty cheap. It is also at a low level. Palladium rules, if you can lift it you can throw it. It also does not mater when you are lifting if you should be able to lift it. You can stand in quicksand and lift a tank. It is a sweet little bit of a reality bend.
  4. Call / Dismiss Deity – Call of Cthulhu 6th edition – Ok so… This is actually a modification that came from earlier editions of a collection of spells that can call up specific deity level entities. And they call out that sure there are other entities that can fit into this mold other than the specific ones listed and that you can go ahead and create more spells as needed. But seriously, this is the “I am not screwing around” level of spell that no other game really would offer up. I mean why cast a fire ball or summon a demon. Thats right I am calling up a god and then if I have enough sanity left I am sending the SOB home.

Ok so that is four top fours. I hope you have enjoyed and if you feel like commenting bring up some of your own, or tell me why I am crazy for the ones I have listed… or if you are feeling generous in your compliments go ahead and tell me that I have captured your favorites too and that I am genius.

Now gimme the dice, I need to see how many top fours I can roll up… hmmmm, maybe a top four dice…

Have fun, play safe, and keep thinking for yourselves.

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Whats in your Library?


Morning readers

So this post is going to be a little short, but, it could be a very fun one.

Earlier this week I was asked by someone for the umpteenth time how I am able to process all the games that I know how to play, have played, and likely will play in the future.

To be totally honest, I have no freaking clue.

I have friends that have played their entire lives in a single game engine. I have others who have played a few different engines or stick with a single publisher and run through everything they create while watching game engines evolve or as they create new ones to make new products. I know of a few others like myself who seem to devour everything that comes out and play whatever suits them and the folks they are playing with at any given time.

I know that in my physical library there are over thirty game engines that are represented in, well more games than that. In my PDF library there is even more. And that does not include the games that I have played that are not currently in either collection due to any number of reasons.

As to why, well, for me it is fun and I enjoy it. I enjoy seeing how all the different mechanics make different kinds of stories possible. I love seeing how far I can stretch and bend rules so that I can try and make them do things they never intended to do. I an fascinated by the players of different games and what makes them stick to a single game or branch out into many many games.

It is also awesome to me that there is no RIGHT way to game. There is no one REAL set of rules that need to be used to have a good time. There is only one real rule to all of gaming and that is to have fun. Mash things up the way you want, ignore the rules you dont like in a game engine and add the ones that make things work better for you and your gaming group. There is no reason to play multiple games, or use multiple game engines if you dont want to.

There is a concept my wife talks about a lot when she is writing for the Snarky Witches site called Gatekeepers. The people who will stand there and say “Well if you are not doing it XXXXX way you are not really doing it.” The same kind of people exist in gaming. “If you are not playing XXX using version XXX you are not really gaming.” And ya know what, they can go #$%^ themselves. Fortunately, in my experience, they are few and far between.

I wanted you all to hear that so that you know with what I am about to ask there is no intent to judge. There is no desire to mock or ridicule. That these questions are being asked because I am really interested, and I sort of hope that you may bring something up I have not considered and even if you bring up a game I have not thought well of before, maybe you can give me a new perspective.

I want to know what games are in your personal library. Right now what do you have on file or on your shelves? And what games would you love to have there that you do not?

And if you feel like it, tell me why. What is it about that game or those games that you love?

I would love to hear from you all.

Ok so time to go, getting ready to do some Shadowrun. Keep gaming and keep having fun folks. 🙂

So gimme the dice, I need to see how many games can fit on the head of a pin.


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Additional Resources



Howdy Readers

So as I had mentioned previously I wanted to add another main page that would contain resources for gamers. Links to shops, apps, community resources and the like. This listing is by no means a complete listing of everything that exists that gamers could use, but it felt like a good starting point.

Resources for Gamers

Now one of the ones that I have, its down at the bottom, is something that could get a lot of attention from folks just trying to find out what games exist, and get a little info about them. Demian’s Game List. It is one of those resources that if you have gone looking for material like what I have added to the last couple of page additions to the blog you might wonder why I did not just link people to this page and call it done. Well the reason is that even with Demain’s page having super cool resources like THIS (didnt trust the link explanation – the link goes to a specific set of books that were published by TSR in the way back for Car Wars as choose your own adventure books. Anyone who knows about them knows that they were published with a character sheet for the character you are reading about in the book. Anyone who has collected those books knows that on the used book market if those character sheets are in place the price of the books goes through the roof. And Demain’s pages have all of the character sheets in PDF form. Not just for the Car Wars books but for almost all of the Choose Your Own Adventure/Super Endless Quest/Adventure Gamebook[Car Wars, Marvel Super Heroes, others]/Lone Wolf series that came out at that time. That means you can get all of the character sheets and not have to worry about collecting the books at full collector price… well unless you want them at that level of completeness, me I just get them to play them through again) not every page on the net is going to carry the same information. And I am hoping that my readers will contribute URLs and descriptions to some of their favorites so I can add them to the list I have here. That way we, working together, can create another new and flavorful destination on the net.

Anyway, there it is, short post this week.

Everyone keep having fun and keep gaming, and remember that what you enjoy in games is up to you. So never take a reviewer at their word until you have played it yourself.

Now gimme the dice… I need to roll them all… yessss… alll the dice…  to see how many sites are out there with stuff like this…


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The Village in the Middle of Nowhere

No where

Hello readers.

I wanted to look for a moment at one of the biggest tropes (well in my mind at least) in all of gaming. Now then while the writing is going to focus mostly on fantasy settings, you can in fact see this in every genre that is out there.

So the adventuring party comes out of the woods and they see before them this tiny little village. (Space port, town, fishing village, lone tower, Jedi outpost, and so on… you get the idea)

Strange thing is in this little village there always happens to be one of a few things going on.

  1. Nearby there is an abandoned temple/fort/tower, that needs exploring.
  2. Nearby there is a monster/warren/tribe of…/troupe of…/bandits that needs to be cleared out.
  3. Nearby there is a wizard/priest/necromancer/scientist/alchemist that is making life hard on everyone or is downright evil
  4. Nearby there is a hidden treasure/artifact/spaceship that the party can have for the taking.

And in the village itself there is always…

  1. A retired adventurer/wizard/soldier/captain/priest who has a mundane role but is willing to recount their tales.
  2. A servant of evil or three who report back to whatever is out there so that unless you suss them out ahead of time no one will be surprised by the party’s arrival.
  3. A young hero to be who wants to help out the party but has so little in the way of skills you take most of your time keeping them from killing everyone and alerting the bad guys to your exact location.
  4. A secret hidden connection from the village to the nearby whatever that will only be revealed by going to said location and then using it to get back to the village. Its survival from that trip is dependent on the GM.
  5. An arrogant adventurer who should be about equal to the party and who will help you for a price but always assumes that they are better than everyone in the party because they are (insert title here).

And should you fail to explore whatever is near by you can assume…

  1. Everyone in the village suffers by being turned to evil/by being killed/by being enslaved.
  2. Whatever is nearby will expand to use the village as a staging ground for whatever comes next.
  3. The local ruler will be unhappy and you will become hunted/fined/run out of the kingdom.

But if you succeed you will…

  1. Get three bucks.
  2. Have a discount at the pub for a night.
  3. Maybe get lucky with a bar being (maid/man/alien horror… whatever)
  4. Have earned an enemy for life from the dark forces you have stopped, whatever they may be.
  5. Gain the special do hickey that old man blah de dah had hidden away for just such a group of heroes that would have made a real difference in facing whatever was nearby but now that we have made that run its kinda useless.

Personally speaking I happen to think that small villages in the middle of no where are actually the most dangerous adventure location in gaming.

I mean I have gamed with a number of groups who have gotten into the mind set that if you see a lot of thick cobwebs you just apply flame and move on. No real need to fight the giant spiders or whatever else is hidden in the webs. Just burn it out and if any treasure survives that is great. If not, no big loss.

I have been starting to think that serious game groups should treat villages in the middle of no where the same way. I mean you know you are not going to get as much out of the time you spend in that village as the effort you put into it. So just go into the village, find out the location of the whatever it is that is near by. And then burn the village to the ground.

Really… that way you do not have to worry about the betrayer. The wanna be hero cannot follow you and cause trouble. If the old mans do hickey would really help it should survive the fire and you can find it before you go. And should the local ruler find out the village burned to the ground with no survivors you can always say it what the whatever it was nearby and that you struck in vengeance to take them out on behalf of the village.

Some would say this would make the adventurers evil.

I would ask, how would that be any different from a band of racially motivated haters (orcs, goblins, space elves… whatever) breaking into the home towns (caves, warrens, outposts, asteroids ya know) and slaughtering them because “Oh they are xxx so they are the bad guys and we have to kill them because… well… they are the bad guys…”

And dont try to sway me with the ‘generations of hate’ or ‘created evil’ or ‘corrupted by dark powers’ arguments. They are all justifications for the ‘heroes’ being break in artists who rarely leave survivors to testify against them should things come to trial and seem to be racially driven to bring about some kind of genetic purity, and to force their religious philosophy down the throats of others.

I mean if you are going to be the hate crime guys anyway, why not just take it to its logical conclusion and remove those racial and philosophical barriers and burn the village to the ground too.

Besides, its in the middle of no where… who is going to miss it?




And that is my rant for the day. Hope you all enjoyed.

Remember to keep gaming, have fun, and try to make up your own mind on what makes a hero.

Now gimme the dice… I need to see how many people live in this village…


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Update to Gimme The Dice


Hey there readers

So some of you may know that my usual goal when I am writing things is not to set up traffic to a game publisher but to inform and hopefully entertain.

I have been thinking though about all the things I have written about and could write about and have decided that I need to add a couple more pages to my blog.

The first is a page that will have roleplaying games that I enjoy, their publishers web page, if the game is currently in print as of 9/8/19 and if you can get PDF copies of the books for that game online, legally, as in not through a file share site. This page is in place now here.

The second page that I will be adding is going to be about online services. Sales points, die rollers, character sheets, maps and so on. I am still trying to figure out how to grid the information and be able to give a brief description without falling into my usual verbose nature. For this one I am also reaching out to say “HAY! You got anything like this you want to offer up?!” Rules here are that the site cannot be offering up PDF copies of books in a manner that is not endorsed by the publisher. Which means a ton of file sharing sites are off the list, and some that offer up things so out of print no one is even sure if there ever was a publisher… yeah cant do that either.

As to why I am doing this… well I have thought about it for a long time. And my main goal with this blog is to inform and entertain. And I keep telling readers to get out there an make up their own mind. And I know it is not that hard to get out there and find stuff all the time, but I figure if I can make things a little easier for seekers, then why not do it.

Anyway when I have a good set of materials in a readable format I will be putting out the construction sign again and the new page will be added.

For now though gimme the dice, I need to roll a one D everything to see how many games I missed putting up in the page here

Have fun, game hard, and think for yourselves 🙂