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Friday, September 30, 2011

DC Reboot - Supergirl

Supergirl #1

The story begins with an asteroid shower very similar to Superman's. Some undefined organization (I'm guessing SHIELD) tracks it. Supergirl pops out of an asteroid in Siberia. She isn't sure what's going on and at first thinks she is dreaming. Then she gets attacked by guys in power armor.

It's a pretty action-packed issue, but with little characterizations that are fairly revealing, showing Supergirl's thoughts as she is trying to figure out what is going on.

The art was very good. I thought Supergirl's outfit was pretty good. The armor suits looked cool.

I liked the issue. It is mostly from Supergirl's point of view, and she is confused, and so was I. I'm sure things will be cleared up next issue, but it would have been nice for there to be some kind of ID for the power armor military guys.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

DC Reboot - Justice League Dark

Justice League Dark #1

This series forms a Justice League variant that deals with the occult. The members apparently will include John Constantine, Zatanna, Deadman, and Shade. Madame Xanadu is in this issue, though I don't know if she will be a member of the League or not. Same with some girl named June Moone, though I suspect she is just a fulcrum point.

Enchantress has apparently gone insane is the "villain". The regular Justice League attempts to deal with her but get smacked down. So various magical superheros are magically pulled together to form their own team.

The artwork was very good. The first issue is really just setting stuff up. Some things happen, but mostly, the reader is left guessing. It's obvious that the team's formation will cover several issues.

I liked this comic. It wasn't amazing, but it was pretty good. I think issue #2 will have to be read before I can really decide if this series will be great. I will buy it to make sure. I will definitely be picking up the graphic novel, and I might subscribe to the regular issues.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

DC Comic Reboot - Catwoman

Catwoman #1

The comic starts in an action scene. Selina then meets her fence, who I assume will be a recurring NPC in this series. She then goes undercover at a Russian mob party, looking for information on items to steal. We get to see a little bit of her backstory, as she meets someone she knew when she was younger.

Then Selina and Batman meet. I won't post spoilers, but I think many long-term Batman fans will either be really excited or kind of annoyed. I fall in the annoyed camp.

This comic was ok. That's about all I can say for it. It had some good parts, but I think the Batman scene was just fan service that doesn't feel right.

I was a pretty big fan of the Catwoman series by Brubaker and Cooke back in 2002. So I had high hopes for this series. If that series was released today, I'd be excited about it. Too bad it wasn't.

The art was pretty good. Not amazing, but no badly drawn scenes, either. I might buy the graphic novel, but that's pretty iffy. I think most people would be safe avoiding this comic.

DC Comic Reboot - Aquaman

Aquaman #1

Aquaman is in Boston at the start of this series. Apparently, he grew up there. He's also become bulletproof. I'm not sure if this is brand-new, or something that came about in the last few years.

It's an interesting story, taking square aim at many of Aquaman's critics. The robbers laugh at him, the cops make jokes about him, and a blogger tells him he's second-rate. And yet, he wants to remain on land and defend humanity. I'd say he's a stand-up guy.

I also love the bit where he goes to a seafood restaurant and orders fish and chips, and the whole place just stares at him and tells him he can't do that.

And Cthulhuesque deep ones are the apparent new bad guy that he will have to deal with soon.

The artwork was really good. Really, some of the best I've seen in the #1's.

The story was excellent, and was written by Geoff Johns. I will definitely be buying the graphic novel. I'm strongly considering subscribing, as well.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

DC Comic Reboot - Men of War

Men of War #1

Or, more realistically, Sergeant Rock #1. There are two stories in this, the main story about Sgt. Rock, and an unrelated mini-story in the back. This is the same format the old Sgt. Rock comics always had, so I think it's kind of cool.

The main story is about Corporal Rock joining some kind of insertion unit and parachuting behind enemy lines to recover a captured Senator. It is set in the modern day Middle East. The original Sgt. Rock is mentioned as this one's grandfather. The group is on their mission when a superhero blasts through the area. The superhero causes lots of deaths, and appears completely out of any kind of military control. The soldiers don't know what he is, and are even wondering whose side he is on. In the end, Rock makes Sergeant.

The art was really good, and the story was interesting. It really makes you think about what happens when a superhero decides to jump into an active warzone on his own without talking things over with the military first.

The mini-story is the first of a 3-parter on a Navy SEAL team in the Middle East. The group is on a black op when they get attacked by a sniper. The story and characterization were ok. I was a different writer than the Sgt. Rock story. There was a lot more explanation than felt natural, for SEALs who supposedly know each other and know combat. I know it's aimed at explaining things to civvies, but it didn't feel right. It was also a different artist, who was ok, not great.

Overall, I liked the issue. I will probably buy the graphic novel when it is released.

DC Comic Reboot - Detective Comics

Detective Comics #1

Batman vs. The Joker. Could this series have started any other way? Heck no! It was a decent story. Most of the pages were fight scenes. Batman is not a super martial artist in this, which I like. He's still tough in a fight, but the Joker comes quite close to defeating him.

The cops and the Mayor are after Batman, considering him a rogue vigilante. Chief Gordon is still his friend, and the bat signal is used.

The art was a mix. I liked everything except the new Batman design. It looks like Bruce Wayne has invested heavily in steroids. Not a good look, at all.

Overall, a good issue. I will buy the graphic novel when it gets published. It's not worth a subscription, to me.

DC Comic Reboot - Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing #1

Another excellent comic. The story is creepy, with birds and bats falling dead out of the sky, and an old dinosaur skeleton coming to life and creating zombies. The main character is working as a construction worker, after leaving his biology lab. He had been Swamp Thing, but doesn't remember much of his time as the monster. He meets Superman, since Superman is trying to figure out what is going on. There is no big battle, but this issue sets up the upcoming issues very well.

I really liked the art, except that the artist gave Superman a fat face. It just doesn't look right. Other than that, it's fantastic throughout.

I give this series a thumbs-up, as well. I will definitely buy the graphic novel when it is published.

DC Comic Reboot - Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad #1

This issue is basically how the team gets started. It's a bunch of supervillains being used to take out targets for someone in the government. Each of the team members had a bomb implanted in their skull to guarantee their cooperation.

I liked it a lot. The initial team includes: Harley Quinn, Deadshot, El Diablo, King Shark, Savant, Black Spider, and Voltaic.

It's very dark. Harley comes across as much more psychotically evil than the goofy evil she's usually portrayed as. Batman makes a minor appearance with Deadshot. King Shark is just nasty, chomping someone and yelling "Meat! Meat! Meat!". El Diablo feels like a fire-using thug who still has a code of honor.

Each of these characters gets a mini-story saying how they got captured. Not all of the Squad got mini-stories this issue, I suspect they will get theirs next issue.

The art was very good. Harley got a new costume, which I don't like as much as her old one, but it's still good.

I really liked this comic. I may actually subscribe and buy each issue. If you like the darker Batman or Punisher stories, you'll likely love this.

DC Comic Reboot - Action Comics

I'm going to be sorta hijacking my own blog to post about the various DC #1 issues that I'm reading. I'm tired of posting here and LJ for stuff that's kind of related.

I'm only going to buy a few of the #1's, and then wait for graphic novel compilations. Comics are too damn expensive! Seriously, $3 or $4 an issue, all of which are less than 30 pages?! Just wanted to post my impressions of the ones I've read.

Action Comics #1

Superman! He can leap tall buildings and can be hurt if he gets hit hard enough. This seems a flashback to the early 30's version, and I like it. He fights a crime boss, and has Lex Luthor attempting to capture him. The police are also trying to arrest him. Apparently, he is once again the worlds first superhero, so the law really doesn't know how to handle him.

I liked the story. It had some nice action, and introduced many of the main characters (Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane also appear). The comic really needed an extra 5 or 10 pages to develop things, though. The story just jumps forward instead of smoothly progressing. I suspect this will be a fault of the entire line, as there really just aren't enough pages available for good storytelling.

The art was decent, not great. I wish they had used a better artist on this line, as well. I liked Superman's and Jimmy's look, but Lois and Lex both looked a bit off. Just my opinion, though.

In all, I recommend this issue to anyone who likes Superman. I hope the writing quality remain high, and they can figure out how to deal with so few pages per issue a little better.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Templar for S&W: WhiteBox

This is a sorta-paladin for WhiteBox.

Templars are armored priests. Most Templars have a patron deity or serve a particular religion. Feel free to make up the details, if your Referee doesn’t use a particular mythology for the campaign you’re playing in. Regardless of the details, you are a champion of your faith and moral alignment. You might be a sinister witch-hunter, an exorcist of demons, or a shining knight of the faith. Because most of a Templar’s abilities are oriented toward healing and protecting, Templars tend to play a support role during combat, backing up the front line, but able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the party’s Fighters if need be—at least for a while. As a Templar grows in power and reputation, he might establish a stronghold for his faith: a fortified monastery, a soaring cathedral in the wilderness, or whatever strikes him as the best way to protect and serve his flock of acolytes and peasant followers.

Hit Dice: 1d6/level.
Armor/Shield Permitted: Any.
Weapons Permitted: Any melee weapons. No missile weapons, other than oil.

Templar Class Abilities

Cure Disease: Beginning at seventh level, once per day Templars can cure disease on one individual.

Healing Hands: Templars can cure themselves or an ally up to three times per day. Each use of this ability heals 1d6 + level hit points. For example, a fourth level Templar would heal 1d6+4 hp each time he uses this ability.

Holy Aura: Templars have an aura of holiness that affects undead, demons, and other supernatural evil creatures. These creatures suffer a -1 penalty to hit and to save while within 10 feet of the Templar.

Immune to Disease: Beginning at third level, Templars are immune to all diseases.

Immune to Poison: Beginning at fifth level, Templars are immune to all poisons.

Smite Evil: When fighting undead, demons, or other supernatural evil creatures, Templars deal an extra 1d6 damage per successful attack. This damage affects monsters immune to normal weapon damage.

Religious Stronghold (9th level): At ninth level, a Templar character may establish a stronghold and attract a body of loyal (or perhaps even fanatic) men-at-arms who will swear fealty to him.

Templar Advancement



Hit Dice

Saving Throw









































Sunday, September 18, 2011

Published OSR game or modified OSR game?

I wonder how many people use a published game like BFRPG or Swords & Wizardry mostly as-is, with maybe a few house rules. Or how many take one of the OGL texts and make their own homebrew game that they and their friends use, without actually publishing said game?

I'm mostly into BFRPG at this point, with my own houserules supplementing it. I'm kinda toying with just making a big rulebook, with all my houserules just folded in, so everything is in one book. I wouldn't publish it, as I personally think the OSR field is already over-crowded, but I'd have a couple paper copies for use at the table.

By doing this, I'd also be free to make some more extreme rules changes, that I didn't include in Sword & Board, as I wanted that book to be more supplemental to the main ruleset.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Alternate Elf for OSR games

Requirements: CHA 9
Prime Requisite: CHA
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: 10

Elves have pointed ears, and are thin, fey beings. They are very diverse in appearance, much like humans, and there are said to be different kinds of elves in distant locations. They typically weigh about 120 pounds and are between 5 and 5 ½ feet tall. Skin color ranges from pale white to green to brown to pitch black. Hair color includes blond, brown, black, red, green, and blue.

Elves can wield any weapon and use any armor. An elf must have at least a 13 in Charisma in order to get the +5% to experience. They must have a CHA of 16 to get the +10% bonus.

Elves have infravision to 60 feet, and have keen eyes that allow them, when actively searching, to detect hidden and secret doors with a roll of 1-2 on 1d6. When in a forest setting, they have a 50% chance to successfully hide and move silently.

Because of their connection to nature, elves are completely unaffected by the paralysis ghouls can inflict.

Due to their magical nature, elves can use any magic-user item (including scrolls, staves, wands, rings, etc.), as if they were a magic-user of equal level. Elves suffer no penalty for using magic-user items while they are wearing armor.

Elves can speak their alignment language, common, elvish, gnoll, hobgoblin, and orc.

Reaching 9th Level: Elves can establish a stronghold in a natural setting, such as a forest or glen, when they reach 9th level. Rather than impose upon nature, this keep must blend seamlessly with it. Because of the elven connection to nature, within 5 miles of the stronghold all ordinary animals will be kind and helpful to elves. This helpfulness includes the ability to warn of dangers and pass information, or even messages to others nearby. However, in exchange, an elven ruler must always defend the animals within this territory.

Elven rulers can hire members of other races in the capacity of retainers or specialists, but only soldiers of elven stock may be hired.

Elf Level Progression
Experience       Level   Hit Dice (1d6)
0                      1          1
2,035               2          2
4,065               3          3
8,125               4          4
16,251             5          5
32,501             6          6
65,001             7          7
120,001           8          8
240,001           9          9
360,001           10        +2 hp only *

*Hit point modifiers from constitution are ignored.

Elf Attack Values
Elves use the Fighter attack value.

Elf Saving Throws
                Breath                   Poison                   Petrify                   
Level     Attacks                  or Death                or Paralyze
1-3          15                           12                           13      
4-6          13                           10                           11      
7-9          9                              8                              9      
10           7                              6                              7      

                                             Spells or
Level     Wands                   Spell-like Devices
1-3           13                         15
4-6           11                         13
7-9            9                          11
10             7                          9