Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Intended Hiatus

So I realize that I've dropped off the map yet again and that while no one has any reason to believe this I am actually sorry for this. I had high hopes the last time that I restarted this blog that I'd be able to keep up with it. Unfortunately life and extraordinary amounts of overtime have killed any desire I've had to actual make coherent posts and I'd feel bad posting the normal stream of consciousness drek that seems to pour out of my keyboard when I don't have the wherewithal to do up something more structured.

However I've got a week off of work coming up for the holidays and I'm going to try and write up some blog posts. Between plans for a few games to run, stuff for Myganos, some podcast and product reviews I'd like to do, and the fortnightly D&D 5e game I'm part of I'm planning on at least attempting to build up something of a buffer for myself. Hopefully that'll work and I'll be able to stay ahead of the curve as far as posts are concerned.

That being said in order to build up  a buffer I'm going to have to go intentionally radio silent for awhile. Don't expect anything out of me until mid January at the earliest, more likely February.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Games I'm Working On

An overview of all the games I'm currently working on.

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The first, and probably the biggest, project I'm working on currently is Myganos. It's my main homebrew world that I've been working on in fits and starts and in various forms since high school. A lot has changed in it since then though at this point I think it's basically settled into it's final form. It still needs a lot of detail work though the big strokes for the main play area have been figured out for the most part. Currently the plan is to just make the setting and mostly worry about rules after I get the setting parts figured out. Since this isn't always possible for various reasons (mostly stuff like magic that are very rule dependent) I have settled on running it with GURPS so I can help describe bits of the world better. The plan is to run it using base GURPS that I've heavily borrowed from the Dungeon Fantasy RPG to help simplify. If nothing else the Exploits book is a good resource for the normal kind of things that a D&D style group of adventurers get up to rather then combing through the core set and various Pyramid magazines.

The biggest thing here is going to be buckling down and detailing the play area including a map and the various factions that exist within it. Writing up a brief world overview document is going to difficult as well since I know I tend to ramble and if I want people to actually read this thing I'm going to need to pare it down to essential information. I can always give out more stuff if they get interested in it.

Myaganos also exists as a D&D setting though not everything comes across as well if I run it that way. I think it works best as a setting for Adventurer, Conqueror, King System because the differences between the playable races are a bit more pronounced than in a normal D&D setting and the different racial classes help to emphasize that within the core rules.

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Next I'm working on a Shadowrun game set in Denver rather than the default of Seattle. Honestly I'm not sure why I'm making life more difficult for myself by choosing a city other then one of the ones they've spent a lot of ink and paper detailing but I really like how central Denver is to the rest of North America and the interactions between the various signatories of the Treaty of Denver, the Great Dragon Ghostdancer, the Free Spirits that have set up shop there due to his influence, and the various mega-corps make me happy. This'll be set in the same continuity of the last game I ran with the events of that game pushed back a year or so and the new game set almost a year after that and the trouble it stirred up. I still have two of the same people playing so I'll let them play the same PCs if they want to, it'll save me from having to come up with new plotlines for them. :-p

Most of the work here is going to be getting a decent map of the city together that is both detailed enough for both me and the players to use but vague enough so that neither I nor they end up dealing with information overload. I think there's an old City of Denver boxed set for 2nd edition Shadowrun which I should look into despite the fact that I'm going to be running 5th ed and that box is set before the arrival of Ghostdancer. It should at least provide me with some good info that I can use as a base, maybe even a map I can scan and alter to update it. After that I'll need to do at least basic write ups for various gangs and other groups that are in the city and quick overviews of what the various movers and shakers are up to.

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The third game I'm working on is probably going to be a Traveller game set in some version of the default setting. Honestly this is the one that I've done the least amount of thinking on since it's the one that I expect to be voted for the least. I'm going to bill it as playing the game that Firefly was based on and while that would've gotten a lot of support from one of my former players he moved to Philly so that's not really a factor any more. I do know that I want to use the Mongoose version of the game and that the plan is to have the expanded options books (High Guard, Merchant Prince, and the like) other then that I'm not sure. I know I'm planning on doing the "default play style" where the PCs are folks living on the edges of society working to keep their boat afloat beyond that I'm really not sure. I know there's a few different versions of the setting that I need to read up on and that for the most part the default setting is the Spinward Marches but other then that I need to do more reading.

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The last thing I'm working on as a personal project that'll show up here periodically is converting the original setting of Warhammer Fantasy into the RuneQuest 6/Mythras system. It's something I tried to do on the fly years ago and it frankly didn't work. I got some of it to work okay and as long as I wasn't trying to force two different magic systems to work together everything went alright but the game fell apart since I didn't actually have the requisite system knowledge for either system to make it work right.

I still like the idea of running in the Warhammer Fantasy Old World and I still think using RQ6/Mythras to do it is the best option but...well I think I need to actually spend more time converting stuff from the first setting into the other system to make it work. We'll see how this ends up going since to do it I'd like to get the updated Mythras version of the core rules since I've got the older RQ6 version and while they're supposed to be compatible I'd like to work out of the core book that I know my players can buy a copy of if they decide they want to. (Especially since I think they included errata into the newest printings.)

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So there's that. Hopefully I can limit myself to doing these things and keep on point for it rather then harrying off to tilt at other gaming windmills. That's the plan anyway.

Monday, November 13, 2017

A State of the Blog Thing

A lot's changed since the last time I wrote in here.

For one thing that game I was talking about never happened. Stuff kept coming up for everyone involved so it just kept getting postponed until finally I just accepted that we weren't going to play.

So I began retooling it as a free-for-all hexcrawl kind of thing. I was going to pull from the West Marches games and other internet famous hexcrawl and mega dungeon games. The plan was to get it to a playable state and then run it using the new Dungeon Fantasy RPG recently released by Steve Jackson games at my FLGS. It's powered by GURPS and I think it would've been a nice change from the D&D and Pathfinder games that were getting run there. Unfortunately the company that owns the building they operated out of decided to jack their rent up which, when combined with a slow holiday season last year, means that they had to close their doors at the beginning of this past September. RIP The Enchanted Badger, the best damn gaming store that this town's seen in the years that I've been part of the gaming community.

Now I'm back to writing it up to play with a smaller and more consistent pool of players, hopefully with some guest players periodically. I'm back to planning it out in GURPS as well since I'm currently playing in a D&D 5e game run by one of the other members of my group. It's her first time DMing a game (or maybe her second?) and the first time most of us have actually played 5e so things can be...rough sometimes but it's fun. I kinda wish there was a bit more RP at times but to be fair we're all pretty rusty and this is a fairly straight forward dungeon crawl so whatever.

I'm going to try and properly resurrect this blog as well. Right now the plan is to do play reports for the game I'm playing in that'll post every other Monday, since we play every other Saturday. On Wednesdays or Thursdays I'm going to do some game design stuff, mostly geared towards the fantasy game I'm planning on running, though it might be for other games too since I've got system ADD pretty bad and I'm hoping that this'll be a good way to help curb it so I can stay focused.

So that's the plan, hopefully I can maintain output consistently enough that I'll feel comfortable enough to push myself to expand the audience for this thing. Maybe even submit it to the GURPSday Thursday thing that Douglas H Cole does on Gaming Ballistic.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Choosing a Game System and You, or More Accurately, My One Sided Conversation with Myself to Try and Figure Out What to Run

Like I mentioned last time I will hopefully be running a game gain sometime in the near future, and that while I'd like run GURPS running something we all know the basics of pretty well might be a better idea. This leaves either World of Darkness or some variation on D&D as games either everyone already basically knows or I know well enough that I can teach them without breaking a sweat. I settled on some variation of D&D, mostly because I could then perhaps get my players to do a switch over to GURPS at a later date with the same characters but rebuilt for the different system.

The next step was the figure out which variant of D&D to use. The game has spawned countless revisions, hacks, clones, and imitators and I own more then a few, not to mention all the ones available online for free or right next to it. After talking to a couple of the potential players (one of them a gaming gear head like me) I decided against going for d20/3rd/Pathfinder for this. There's just too much material out there for it and despite being able to run the game from heart after it being the go-to system for almost a decade of my gaming I decided that something a little more self contained was the order of the day. I also decided I wanted to run something I owned a dead tree edition of since generally I dislike electronics at the gaming table if it can be avoided so something I can only get as a pdf where the legality of printing the dang thing out is iffy tends to get sidelined in my mind. So now I get to pick between the newest edition of D&D (which I'm pretty sure is officially 5th edition but honestly I'm not sure since the ocean adjacent magi had talked about getting rid of edition numbering for...reasons) and the estimable Adventurer, Conqueror, King System (here after known as ACKS) from Autarch.

When I'd originally thought about this I was leaning heavily to ACKS since I really like the system and it's low level lethality, and the fact that most of the classes (especially the racial ones) map up nicely to the kinds of things that exist in my homebrew world Myganos. However after going over both I think I'm leaning more towards using 5e. Sure the racial classes don't exist and I might have a minor rebellion on my hands when I say there are race/class restrictions but honestly stuff I was afraid of (mostly starting power level and equipment) doesn't seem to be as big a deal as I'd feared. Especially with the wealth of homebrew material out there, not to mention the Unearthed Arcana articles, it seems like I'll be able to tweak the game to suit my desires. It might not be the "core"
game I was thinking of when I headed down this path, or even when I started writing this blog post) but the fact that the books are being sold in out FLGS and I think at least one of the potential players already owns at least the PHB, 5e might be the way to go.

So there we go, assuming this game gets off the ground I'll be running 5th edition Dungeon & Dragons in my homebrew setting of Myganos. Next up is gathering resources to tweak the system as needed, and trying to keep my desire to tinker to a minimum. Also writing a bit of fluff for the races and classes to give the players ideas about how they fit in and function in the world.

Monday, May 15, 2017

And we're back?

Since it looks like I might be running a game again sometime in the near future I'm going to try and restart this blog as a public place to noodle on my world building, game designs and planning, and possibly start reviewing products I've got? We'll see about that last one, if it happens it'll be ridiculously infrequent or possibly just me babbling about mostly out of print games that I've collected over the years. I'll probably start posting about my LARPing as well since that looks like my wife and I are going to start that up again and this seems like as good a place as any to talk about it.

I know I failed hard at the "D&D Thirty Day Challenge". January was a rough patch that I won't go in to unless someone asks but suffice to say real life ate me and has only recently released me enough for me to have the extra mental and emotional bandwidth to even think I might be able to keep this up. I did end up with a new-to-me car out of the ordeal which is nice, and I'll probably start the Challenge again but I'm not sure when. Anyway, back to business-

Like I was saying, one of the couples is moving into a bigger place with a guy from the FLGS and they'll have a spare room so we will hopefully (fingers crossed) be starting up a new game again! *cue the triumphant music*

First some logistics to help me organize things in my head. The current plan is the do a month or two of weekly gaming on Saturday nights or possibly Friday nights. After that we're going to switch to aiming for two games a month since we've proven time and again that we can't keep a weekly game together for very long. Ideally this'll happen once a fortnight but there will be some flexibility built in so when the inevitable conflicts arise we'll be able to shift things and hopefully still get two games in that month.

That leaves what we're going to be playing. I honestly would like to just jump into a GURPS game because that's a system I've wanted to run for literal years and have never managed to get father than getting everyone's characters made. One of my potential players brought up the fact that none of us have gamed in the last year so it'd probably make more sense to run something we all know relatively well already though, ie some flavor of D&D or something World of Darkness. After some thought I think I'm going to go with D&D because I've been wanting to do some fairly straight forward fantasy gaming and my World of Darkness stuff always ends up being a slightly surrealistic horror show with ghosts, demons, Mythos inspired insanity, dream-prophecy, and kinda oddly placed bits of mundanity for the "simple to get us back in the swing of things" game we were talking about. [Also if I play my cards right I can "encourage" a conversion to GURPS at a later point....]

Tune in next time for me arguing with myself about if I should run Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition or Adventurer, Conqueror, King System; the pros and cons of both for what I want to do with the game, and the thrilling conclusion of my perhaps too open display of my particular brand of insanity!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

D&D Thirty Day Challenge! Day Three

Day Three of this thirty day challenge and the topic of discussion is:

Day 3: Favorite PC Class
Like I said yesterday my favorite class ties into my favorite race for the most part, though with a night to think on it I'm a little less sure on what it actually is to be honest. My initial reaction was to say my favorite class is any kind of fighter-mage that's available. One of my first characters ever properly made from an actual rule book and not the half made up rememberings of my friend and first DM was an elven fighter-mage. Something about the image of being an accomplished warrior and a powerful wizard fired my imagination. I don't remember what level I ended up getting to with him, though it honestly couldn't have been that high. I do remember when I managed to learn lightning bolt though, that was a lot of fun. This love of the fighter-mage character concept is one of the things that spured me into looking into GURPS actually. The free form point buy system and the way the core Skill magic system works let me build a fighter-mage that was still a badass instead of mostly just being a half-assed fighter and a shitty caster.

Here's where my indecision comes in though. Because as much fun as I had playing elven fighter-mages in 2nd edition, duskblades in 3rd, and bards with one of the more martial archetypes in Pathfinder (I only ever played 4th for one short set of games and I was an eladrin wizard, and I haven't been able to play 5th yet) most of what I ended up playing were clerics of one stripe or another. Between the ability to wear heavy armor freely and their available weapons (especially if you played a cleric to a war god) they often made better fighter-mages than the classes built specifically around doing that.

D&D Thirty Day Challenge! Days 1 & 2

Decided to do a writing challenge to try and get myself in the swing of actually posting regularly. To that end I tracked down something I've seen around the internet "The D&D Thirty-Day Challenge (Revised)!" Since there's only 30 prompts and 31 days in January I was holding off to start this the second but I missed it yesterday so I'll start it today instead. So, without further ado here are the first two days of this writing challenge.

Day 1: How You Got Started
I got my start in a slightly convoluted way compared to some other people that I know. I started off reading TSR "Endless Quest" books (It was the first one, Dungeon of Dread actually.) and reading a motley assortment assortment of 1st and 2nd edition books from the library, none of which I could tell the difference of since I had no frame of reference for anything other than the game these books described sounded amazing.
Then queue up fourth grade when a new kid in my school saw me reading one of these coveted library books and mentioned to me that he and some of his friends from where he'd moved from had played D&D a lot and did I play? A couple of bus rides later we figured out that we actually lived in the same trailer park and we were playing cobbled together games without dice or sheets or anything. It was entertaining and were soon making our character sheets and stealing dice from board games to play with while we made weird systems to approximate all the other types of dice from small piles of d6.

Day 2: Favorite PC Race
I had to think about this one for awhile but I think I finally settled on elf for my favorite race. The whole magic and fighting thing just appeals to me on a basic level and this choice ties into my choice of Favorite Class for tomorrow. The lengths that Tolkien went to when developing the ur-example of fantasy elvish languages really gets my inner geeky tinkerer as well.

So that's days 1 and 2 done. Tomorrow I'll post number 3 and hopefully this'll be something I can keep up for the rest of the month.