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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rolemaster backgrounds

Rolemaster had the background roll you could make when you created your character. This roll could give you a magic item, such as the equivalent of a +1 sword or a ring that casts a spell once per day. I think this was a really good idea. I'm wondering why it was never incorporated into D&D or any of the OSR games, though. It seems a natural fit for many campaigns.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Comic store fails...

Having seen Dredd a few days back, I decided to go to the local comic stores to buy a graphic novel and read it, since I haven't read anything Dredd in years. Gah, what a fail!

First comic store had no Dredd comics at all. The counter guy said nothing was available through the distributors, though some collections would be coming in maybe next month.

Second comic store had some old issues and even a few old graphic novels. All were marked up over cover price as collectibles. Blah. I'm interested in Dredd, but not that interested.

Giving up, I went over to the Barnes & Noble to look at books. They had a paperback with three old Dredd novels collected in it, all three Judge Dredd Complete Casefiles (collections similar to the black and white Marvel Essentials books), several issues of the Judge Dredd magazine, and a new Judge Dredd graphic novel (with werewolves). And I have a membership there so I get 10% off.

So, big chain store that only has a couple bays of comics has tons of Dredd stuff available, at discount. One comic store has nothing Dredd at all. The other comic store has some old stuff marked up over cover price. Guess who got my money?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dredd (2012 movie)

I watched the new Dredd movie today. It was actually pretty good, though a bit more gory than I care for. Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby both were excellent, as were most of the bad guys. There were a few unnecessary extra gory deaths, but if I remember the comics right, that happened a fair amount in them.

The movie definitely had the right atmosphere. It was quite obvious that gangs were the day-to-day enforcers, but that Judges were feared (and kind of admired) by the general population. The tech was awesome (especially the pistols, which had voice commands to select ammo type).

I was kind of surprised that Karl Urban did not show his face even once. He always had his helmet on. I'd heard this before, but I really figured they'd find a way to have his helmet off for at least a little bit.

Olivia did a great job as a psychic. The movie is mainly about her first day on the job. I really liked how the movie dealt with her first field execution, and its affects on her. I won't go into detail, but it did not avoid the fact that she is judge, jury, and executioner, and she is aware of just what that means.

The bad guys were decent, though definitely more gangbanger punks and not some supervillain, like many comics movies would feature. 

Overall, I recommend the movie, at least on DVD, for any gamer. Dredd fans will likely be pretty happy with this, as well. My only issue is that I think the ultraviolent deaths early on weren't really necessary. As the movie went on, most of it was toned down, but early on, be ready for some gross deaths and corpses.

I saw the movie in 2D. I really, really wish the studios would stop wasting money on 3D. Guess what, I will not watch a 3D movie. I don't need the headache. Sadly, the movie is apparently a flop, and the 3D is likely part of the reason. Overall, I'd give it a solid 7 out of 10.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Afro Samurai - which rpg?

I really, really like the Afro Samurai anime movies. In each, an unarmored warrior using a katana takes on guys with chains, swords, bows, rocket launchers, and even mini-guns. And he wins. His toughest opponents are also sword-fighters, of course.

In any case, I haven't been able to figure out the "perfect" game for running this. It would have to have fast combat, and while people die quick, the heroes generally get beat up but win. And quite possibly are completely healthy only one day after getting shot to hell (though they usually are wounded and staggering, but still able to defeat any challenger).

Hero would work, but it's way too cumbersome. I suspect just about any supers game would work, in all reality, but none really jump out at me. Gurps might work, if the damage and combat systems were tweaked for cinematic results. BESM and OVA would work, though neither really is a perfect fit. I'm guessing there exists some game that would require very little work to get this right, but I'm not sure what it would be.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hero/Champions lots for sale

I'm going to split this up into 2 lots so it should be more affordable:

6e Lot $90
Hero System Basic Rulebook: NM
Fantasy Hero: NM
Star Hero: NM
Champions: NM
Champions Universe: NM

Prices include shipping to the continental USA. I can ship to Canada, Alaska, or Hawaii, but you'd have to add $10 to the price. Most of the 6e books are hardcover.

Interested buyers please contact me at buter1 at yahoo dot com. Thanks!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Goblin hordes should be more dangerous

For D&D, it just seems to me that goblin hordes should be something terrifying to everyone. Instead, a group of six mid-level adventurers could probably kick their butt. Most people work around this by including ogres and hobgoblins, but I think it would make more sense that even though goblins are little runts, if you have 200 of them rushing at you, you shouldn't just yawn and tell the mage to nuke them.

I might be able to pull it off if I had a bunch of self-made goblin mages, and a bunch of archers shooting a thousand arrows. It seems kind of goofy, though, as any decent-sized group of humans will have more than enough leveled adventurers to slaughter the little green guys.

I know this would work fine in Gurps or Runequest, but it just bugs me a bit that D&D kind of falls flat on such an obvious situation.

Friday, September 14, 2012

WotC republished 3.5

Apparently, the books are now in stores. All errata is supposed to be included. I'm likely going to pick these up, as I personally liked that edition (though it is far from perfect). It will be interesting to see the illusion spells, as they were heavily errata'd.

Also, Blackrazor covered this, and basically reminded me that the reprints were being done.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Don't use RPGNet

Seriously. RPGNet is somehow still the big dog when it comes to rpg forums. However, it's moderation is draconian and extremely biased. The mods regularly break their own rules, but ban anyone who is not popular if they say something even mildly bad about anyone else.

CASE IN POINT - Cessna used to be sorta level-headed. Now he is just as big a hyprocrite as the other weasels who "bear the burden of moderating such a busy site".

I HIGHLY recommend that, if you are a gamer, try either RPGSite for general gaming stuff or Dragonsfoot for older D&D and Paizo Publishing if you like 3e/Pathfinder. Don't help out the Big Purple. If you do try it, avoid Tangency or the D&D forums, or you'll probably just get banned in a week for breaking some ridiculous ruling.

(I got banned several years back for opposing the Tangency Hivemind. I only bring this subject up because of the derailing/bullshit contest that happened in the Lords of Olympus thread).

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Female Armor sucks (College Humor)

Definitely worth a laugh, especially if you've read any of the hand-wringing, women are abused by gamers, threads on the various rpg forums.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Dungeon Dozen

I don't really support advertising other sites, but I wanted to point all of you towards The Dungeon Dozen . Jason Sholtis is posting new random tables almost every day. There are around 200 of them there now. Many of them are very good. I actually hope he makes a book collecting them and publishes it (then again, maybe he has and I just don't know about it).

In any case, if you run any type of fantasy game at all, you owe it to yourself to spend some time reading that blog. If you don't come away with dozens of cool plot ideas, I will be very surprised.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Legends of Steel: Barbarians of Lemuria edition

I recently reread "Legends of Steel: Barbarians of Lemuria edition". I really like this game. It's basically the original BoL game, but set in a more normal swords and sorcery setting, with actual mammals. The biggest problem I have with the original is that it is extremely lizard-centric.

The system is quite light, being roll 2d6 over 9 to succeed. Characters have four stats (Strength, Agility, Mind, and Appeal). They also have four general abilities (Brawl, Melee, Ranged, and Defense). Finally, they choose four careers from a list. All these categories are rated from 0 to 4 (-1 is possible, but I would strongly recommend against it). Character toughness is rated in Lifeblood, which is basically hit points, which is equal to 10 plus their Strength.

Careers add their score to any related action (soldiers improve combat, physicians can heal, and sorcerers can use magic). It's very open, and I expect career ranks to get used quite a bit in play.

Characters also gain Boons (stuff like Nightvision and Disease Immunity). Flaws are also available (including stuff like Fear of Fire and Combat Paralysis).

Characters also have Hero Points, which allow them to get rerolls and other benefits in game. They automatically start with 5, and can trade some in for additional Boons.

Combat should be fast, though I think Armor is a bit too limited. Then again, high Armor values will make characters very hard to hurt. The Armor system is based off of the original BoL rules, not the version found in BoL 2e (which came out after this book).

I expect most combats will be over in a few rounds, as long as armor is limited.  If heavier armor becomes common, combats will take longer, but I'm not really sure that's a bad thing.

The magic system is pretty vague. There are guidelines for three levels of magic in sorcery, priestly magic, and alchemy. Level one spells are fairly easy to cast, but limited in scope. Level three spells are hard to cast, but can be very effective. The GM is going to be largely responsible for what he will allow or not.

Sorcery looks to be geared towards summoning demons, blasting heroes with lightning, etc. There are possible side effects that can deform a sorcerer (especially the level three spells). Sample requirements like casting times, taking damage, etc., are also provided.

Priests also have access to spells, and they have to make sure they don't anger their god. The GM should have a list of Domains that the god is concerned with. Spells in these domains will be easier to cast for a priest (he rolls 3 dice and keeps the best 2 results). Priest must perform sacrifices, meditations, or similar actions to placate their god.

Alchemists largely create their spells ahead of time. They make items such as potions, artificial arms, flying machines, and golems. More powerful items are harder to create (including potions).

There are rules for villains and rabble. Villains will be very similar to players in power (and they get Villain Points). Rabble are basically easily defeated mooks, which is appropriate for the genre.

The system fills the first half of the book. The second half details the continent of Erisa. A color map is featured on the back cover of the book (and a black and white expanded version is included in the text). The world has a very Conanesque vibe. Lizard men, sorcerers who summon dragons, a large empire on the brink of collapse, slavers and slaves, etc. I think it's well done, though I would personally use this game with the Mongoose Conan supplement "Road of Kings", which details Hyboria. For those looking for a relatively normal S&S setting, it's pretty much perfect.

There are two short adventures in the back, which help show what the setting is like. Either will be easy to use in most S&S settings, though.

Regarding the book production, I have the hardcover version from Lulu. The binding is great, and the hardcover is quite tough. The paper is good, and the text is easy to read. A do believe the game needs another proofread, as there are a number of typos found throughout the book. Overall, it is a well-made book that should last years.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

NCSoft axes Paragon Studios and City of Heroes

News story here

I played City of Heroes for several years. I finally stopped a few months back, mainly due to playing the new Star Wars (which is really good). In any case, I figured Paragon was working on CoH2, and would release it in a year or so. Guess I was wrong. NCSoft fired a good chunk of the employees, and will be shutting down the CoH servers before the end of the year.

Let this be a reminder to everyone: You do not buy an MMO game (or even something like Skyrim or Diablo 3, that requires an internet connection). You are merely renting it. At any given time, the servers can be closed and all of those hours you spent creating your perfect characters are gone. Just like that. So take time to go outside and meet some real people and become friends. (I can only imagine the nerd explosion if the WoW servers got shut down with only a few months notice).