Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Back from the Dead! - Yet Again!

I have never stopped playing RPGs but I have been extremely slack about updating this blog. No posts for over three years? Uggh... I am running a campaign now for a couple of friends again so I will try and start posting some details about it, my thoughts on the state of RPGs today, etc. Maybe I will even manage more than one post a year for awhile...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Playtesting D&D Next with Two AD&D Grognards

I had the opportunity to run the Caves of Chaos D&D Next playtest on Sunday for a couple of old friends. They have both been playing RPGs for 25+ years and they both still play only 1st Edition AD&D for the most part. The results were interesting.

The session lasted about two and a half hours and we got in four separate combat encounters. One player ran the Fighter and the Rogue and the other player ran the Wizard and the Cleric of Pelor. I made the conscious decision not to use maps or minis. I thought that non-combat and combat situations flowed pretty smoothly. I have run 3.0 and 3.5 D&D in the past and the rules systems were very familiar for the most part.

The only snag came when the PCs fought the 'boss' creature of the cave system they were exploring. They ganged up on him and I was unprepared. With no minis and no attacks of opportunity as crutches, I failed in my narrative description of combat and allowed them to dog pile on the boss creature and take him down. The only consolation was the fact that I made some awesome rolls and dropped both the Fighter and the Wizard. The rest of the party cleaned up the remaining monsters. Unfortunately that took four more rounds and the Fighter failed three of four saves and died. The Wizard hung on long enough to be stabilized with a healing kit. The PCs were out of magical healing by this point. We wrapped the session up at this point.

The players had a decent time. I think they were surprised the most by the generous healing rules and the Fighter's Reaper ability "You're telling me he still deals damage on a miss?" I am sure that I screwed up a rule or two, but I think that I did a fairly good job of running things. I had a decent time too, but my feelings about the game system so far are just sort of *meh*. The game feels a bit like 3.0 D&D Lite. There is not a lot of flavor or unique bits the make the system shine. Of course, I realize that this is an early version with only 1st level pregens. I am prepared to give it a chance and I will definitely check out future playtest releases.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Back From the Dead

After an eternity away, I have finally gotten off my a$$ and decided to return to the blogging fold. Things on my mind lately include HackMaster 5th Edition, the Adventurer Conqueror King System and DNDnext.

I have actually started to cobble together the start of a campaign using the realm creation rules from the ACKS rulebook and a starting map using the excellent and free Hexographer. No idea if I will ever get to run the game but it has been fun creating the map. I might try to run it using Google+ hangouts if I get the interest.

Here is a quick preview of the map of the campaign start area at 6 miles per hex. Nothing special, but here it is.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Castles & Crusades Demo in Chicago

I will be running a demo of Castles & Crusades at Galactic Force in Chicago on this Wednesday, July 21st.  The fun starts at 6 PM and one lucky participant will walk away with a copy of the Castles & Crusades Player's Handbook.

If you are in the area, please drop by and join in.  I will give a quick introduction to the rules system, followed by character creation and a short dungeon delve.  If you have never played Castles & Crusades, I think you will find it to be a fast playing fantasy RPG with none of the fussiness of some other systems.  See you there!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fantasy Flight Games Gets It

I have been watching Fantasy Flight Games with much interest over the past couple of years.  Their recent announcement of the Deathwatch role-playing game and the promotion surrounding it made me realize - they actually get it.

What do I mean?  First of all, take a look at the introductory adventure for Deathwatch that FFG released for Free RPG Day.  Unlike those released by some other companies (which I won't name), you can actually play this one with no other materials.  Dice, pen and paper are all you need!  And it looks great!  You didn't manage to get a physical copy from your FLGS?  No problem.  You can download the PDF right HERE.  What?  You just want a web version to read on  your laptop or fancy new iPad?  Try the version HERE.  Fantasy Flight Games gets it.

Let's say that you are interested in Deathwatch but want more information.  That's fine.  FFG has posted a short, professionally produced video HERE that gives you an overview of the game from the designers and some glimpses of what's in the book.  Filled with previews of the book's great art it looks like it would also be a great (and free) promotional tool for a game store as well.  Just set it up on a loop and let it run.  Fantasy Flight Games gets it.

Is all this not enough for you?  Do you want a FAQ for the game?  Extra pregenerated characters for the free introductory adventure?  Previews of the rulebook?  Try the game's website HERE.  I know I might be coming off sounding like an FFG fanboy, but I can't stress enough how much this impresses me.  Why don't other game companies spend this much effort promoting and raising their customers' awareness of their new games?  I have no clue.  I'm just glad that FFG does.  They get it.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Hexographer is Cool

I recently purchased a license for the Hexographer program and it is pretty darn cool.  I have zero artistic talent and I have still been able to create some quick maps that while they aren't exactly cartographic masterpieces, don't look too terrible.  While the user interface isn't completely intuitive, I still find it much easier to use than any other mapper that I have tried.

The advantages to Hexographer are many.  The basic version is free to use online and the pro version costs less than ten bucks right now for a year's license.  The program is also written in Java and so it should run happily on almost any platform.  I have successfully used it myself on both PC and Mac machines.

You can use the program to generate maps that are reminiscent of the old D&D 'gazetteer' series of modules, but that's not all.  You can also generate maps of cities and even star maps for sci-fi games.  If you are particularly adventurous, you can even import your own symbols (at least in the pro version).

Also exciting is that the author is planning to release another program called Dungeonographer that promises to do for dungeon maps what Hexographer has done for overland maps.  I can't wait!

Below is an example map that I literally banged out in five minutes.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Another Kind of WhiteBox

I got sick of waiting for my copy of the Swords & Wizardry: WhiteBox to be delivered so I picked up a copy of the Castles & Crusades:Collectors Edition boxed set from Troll Lord Games.  So far I like it - a lot.  I will reserve final judgement on the rules until I get to conduct an actual playtest, but at first glance they are a masterful example of concise writing.  You get a rules set that looks and feels like old school D&D, but is much more unified with the addition of the SIEGE system.  I can't believe I hadn't picked this set up until now!