Sunday, August 30, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 30: Favorite RPG Playing Celebrity

You can keep your Wil Wheatons and Vin Diesels and Stephen Colberts...this one was an easy pick for me:

Credit to Stezak for creating this image.

Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs has not only won all of the awards and accolades listed above, but he's a HUGE Dungeons & Dragons fan, and - by most accounts - is a completely selfless teammate and a gentleman to deal with.


#RPGaDay Day 29: Favorite RPG Website

Honestly, I don't have a lot of destination sites. As a reviewer, I avoid other reviewer sites, especially if it's a book I haven't reviewed, so their impressions don't paint my own.

That said, there are great resources all over the internet for games that I wind up stealing from, and I access almost all of that from my Google+ stream...so Google+ it is.

Friday, August 28, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 28: Favorite RPG I No Longer Play

Cheating again on this one and adding two:


I don't think I have ran this since my friend Kenny moved to Boston. Sad, really, given how much I love it.

The next one is...


I thoroughly enjoy the Cinematic Unisystem, and my favorite incarnation is the Angel RPG with the Buffy Magic Box supplement. Anytime I run this game, people tend to enjoy it, but it never lasts for more than a couple of episodes. I'm so frustrated I no longer even try. =/

#RPGaDay Day 27: Favorite Idea for Combining Two Games

More like a setting and a game, but Midnight was sure satisfying when I used Jeff Scifert's conversion to Savage Worlds.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Shadow Has Fallen...



This is not a review.

This is not a press release.

This is not solicited by Schwalb Entertainment in any way, shape or form.

This is my squeeing with fanboy glee at the release of Shadow of the Demon Lord in PDF.

Disclaimer: Using that link will provide me with a percentage of the sale at OneBookShelf sites.

Earlier in the month, I named this most most anticipated upcoming game. As of today, it is out digitally. I have only skimmed it, but I am very, very pleased. It is brutal, grotesque and over the top. You can roll up characters in minutes, literally, because the thing is overflowing with tables. I think the only thing missing is a random adventure generator.

I wanna run this thing very, very badly.

Things you should know:

- It is class and level. Those classes tend to fall in fantasy archetypes. You start at level 0. At level 1, you pick a Novice Path, which is a Magician, Priest, Rogue or Warrior. The options branch out at 3 and 7, and there are no Path requirements (so you can go a couple of levels as a Warrior, then become an Assassin, before ending you career as a Druid). The level scale is 0-10, but the promise of higher level range is coming in the future. If I counted correctly, there are a whopping 84 paths to choose from, from iconic roles like Ranger and Paladin, to odder choices like Exorcist, Shapeshifter and Technomancer.

- The game uses d6s and 1d20. The core mechanic uses a d20, but if you have Boons, you add a d6 to the roll for each Boon. If you have Banes, you subtract a d6 from the roll for each Bane. A lot of the random tables use 3d6.

- Characters have four main stats, rated from 1-20: Strength, Agility, Intellect and Will. They also have Health, Defense, Perception and Insanity.

- Races include Human and Dwarf, but also Goblin, Orc, Clockwork and Changeling, each with unique tables for character creation.

- The Shadow of the Demon Lord is a mechanic in the game that can have bizarre consequences in the world, from the dead rising to beastmen being more violent, to famine and drought...and worse.

- The world is provided in loose detail, to not bind you to too much "canon", and encompasses demons, dragons, undead, Elves ARE in the game, but you can only kill them, not be them. Just tossing that out there.

The game has a bit of a Warhammer/Diablo feel with none of the canon, and a slew of D&D5e style customization options without a ton of book keeping. I'm not telling you to buy it, but I'm telling you I threw a bunch of money at the Kickstarter and, with the first release, I am REALLY freaking pleased with what I have seen thus far. If I have time (which is a maybe, my plate is suddenly very full), I will try to review it. More importantly, I will try to run it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 26: Favorite Inspiration for Your Games

Random tables.

Totally and completely and without fail. I love using random tables and just figuring out how to make it work. Heck, I made random adventure generators for Marvel SAGA for this reason

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 25: Favorite Revolutionary Game Mechanic

So for Favorite Revolutionary Game Mechanic, I'm going to go with the Fate Deck from Marvel SAGA, with a list of reasons why.

  • It provides a nice mix of randomization, combined with resource management and decision making. Each character has a variable hand of cards, based off of their experience level, and uses that to decide what to do and when to do it, generally attempting to match up their actions with the cards in their hand. Why?
  • Trump. If the card you play matches your active ability, you Trump, which means you get to flip over the top card of the Fate Deck and add it to your total. If you Trump again, you keep adding. It can make for some truly explosive moments in-game.
  • Pushing. As part of that resource management, if you need just a little something extra to put you over the top on an action, you can Push. You Push by spending a card and adding it to your action total, but not redrawing it, to simulate the exertion of the effort...because sometimes you need to hold that gate just a little longer so the last civilian can slip through...
  • Edge. Probably my favorite mechanic of all. The great equalizer. Every character has an Edge score. They can play any number of cards equal to, or less than, their Edge score before playing their action card. What does that mean in play? Say She-Hulk has an Edge of 2 and a Hand Size of 4. She's holding the 2 of Intellect, 8 of Doom, 6 of Agility and 4 of Agility. If she wants to punch someone (Strength), she knuckles down and uses the 8 of Doom (giving that card to the Narrator to use against her later), but she can also add that 2 of Intellect, giving her a 10 to go with her Strength of 17 (for an action total of 27 - Impressive).  Now Captain America, who has a Will of 12, wants to calm a rioting crowd. His hand includes the 3, 4 and 7 of Doom, the 6 of Will and the 4 and 6 of Strength. He can dump the 3 and 4 of Doom, plus the 4 of Will to set his score of 23...before playing the 6 of Will to push it to 29, which also Trumps! Captain America is very resourceful in SAGA, and Edge can be more important than cool powers and high scores.

    See kinda why I love Marvel SAGA?


Monday, August 24, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 24: Favorite House Rule


Probably my favorite house rule was  one that I did not invent, and that's the Master Class rules for Marvel SAGA. See, skills in Marvel SAGA have three levels: Unskilled (default), Skilled (Reduces the difficulty by four) and World Class (reduces the difficulty by four and makes any non-Doom card a Trump). The Master Class rules added another step in there, between Skilled and World Class, granting an additional Trump suit (physical or mental, depending on the base attribute for the skill) to allow for guys who were better than skilled, but not World Class. Really, that's about all the variance I really need in a skill system.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 23: Perfect Game For Me

This is another that's not going to surprise anyone:


How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

1) Perfect price point. $10 to buy into the game, which is flexible enough to run multiple genres almost out of the box (and certainly with the supplemental material).

2) Fantastic setting support, including my favorite RPG setting (Deadlands, if you missed that post).

3) I love the power curve, which allows characters to become strong and capable, but without destroying verisimilitude in the world as they become devastating world destroyers like they do in other games (why do level 20/30 characters in some D&D games listen to ANYBODY again?).

4) I know how to "bend" the system to accomplish what I want, 95% of the time. The only other system I've felt anywhere near as comfortable in that regard is the Cinematic Unisystem.

5) I have personally ran fantasy, horror, westerns and supers with it, and each game managed to feel familiar, yet mechanically distinct.

6) I love building characters for it. That's part of the reason I did the Savage Worlds Characters Are All The Same series, and why I have repeatedly done "Half-Dozen Heroes" posts various settings.

7) The proof is in the fun. We have a blast with the game, and I have rarely had a bad session.

It is perfect? No. Can it do everything? Maybe, but sometimes you are bending it to the point of breaking if you do, and there's other games that can handle it better. But if you told me I could only run one game forever, then I would grab Savage Worlds and be set.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 22: Perfect Gaming Environment

This one is simple really...anywhere my players are and my books are easily accessible. Generally, this means my dining room table. I can be comfortable, have the family around doing the things they want to do, my players' kids can play with my kids...nothing fancy at all.