Friday, January 23, 2015

Tommy's Take on Deadlands: Hell on Earth Reloaded Companion

To my view, a setting companion should be something that contains nothing that you NEED, but stuff that you might WANT. Seem like a fair guideline? This book aims to do just that for Hell on Earth Reloaded.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mass Combat for D&D 5th Edition

So, I like D&D 5th Edition. Quite a bit, actually. However, it's not perfect, and it does have one glaring hole that I love to put in my games these days: Mass combat.

I love Mass Combat. I love the idea of big army fights, but abstracted down to manageable levels, rather than putting the RPG session on hold to play a miniatures wargame. I love this concept so much that I managed to work mass combat scenes into my last two campaigns (Necessary Evil and Deadlands Reloaded). Mass Combat rules were one of those things I really hoped would be in the 5e DMG, but was not present, unfortunately...so when I was staring at a scenario that could easily break out into mass combat (Episode 6 of Hoard of the Dragon Queen), and the DMG wasn't a huge amount of help in this case, I put my thinking cap on...and went back to what had worked so well in the past:

I dug out Savage Worlds.

No, I didn't suddenly convert the game over to Savage Worlds. I love Savage Worlds, and I'll get back to it soon enough, but there's more than a few things that it does that has, and can, help me in D&D5e.

Like Mass Combat.

Unfortunately, Wounds and Bennies and Knowledge (Battle) don't immediately get along with D&D. I was looking at a potentially uphill battle...until I remembered that Shane Hensley had applied those same rules to a system that didn't have a leadership-style tactical skill, and the system also had a hit point system.

And so I dug out Army of Darkness from Eden Studios, written by Shane Hensley and featuring an adapted Savage Worlds Mass Combat system...and I went to work with the two books in hand, as well as the D&D books, and kitbashed in the following system (which got a playthrough Saturday night, and went pretty well):

D&D 5e Mass Combat Rules
Adapted from Savage Worlds and Army of Darkness rules by Shane Hensley

Friday, January 16, 2015

Tommy's Take on D&D 5th Edition Monster Manual

Monster books for D&D and D&D-like games are kind of a thing. No real surprise, then, that the second core release for D&D 5e proved to be the Monster Manual.
Here there be monsters...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

And The Winners Are In!


Folks, last year's contest was...anemic, at best...it kinda cast a dark shadow over the whole year for me, with the seeming lack of interest and overall dip in blog traffic.

This year saw a record shattering 109 entries, and this year's Top Six is already the 6th most read post in the history of my blog. Additionally, the response to my other posts have been pretty amazing, so I am trying to get back on my Tuesday-Friday blog schedule and pump out not only reviews, but Tommy's Thoughts on some RPG topics and maybe some homebrew stuff...so thank you to everyone that reads this blog.

Next, a point of clarification: The D&D Player's Handbook was never a prize entered in the contest. Unfortunately, I was unable to secure prize support from Wizards of the Coast on that one, but I never predicate my Top Six on publisher support...I believe that's disingenuous, even if it means I have fewer prizes to give away.

So, that being said, our five winners are, as determined by the Invisible Castle dice roller:

Accursed - Thomas Shook
ETU - Rich Spainhour
Fiasco - Mike Dale
Firefly - Empress
Tianxia - Greg Kerner

Thank you again to everyone that entered this contest, and to my wonderful sponsors: Melior Via, Pinnacle Entertainment, Bully Pulpit Games, Margaret Weis Productions and Vigilance Press...this is my favorite thing to do every year, and if I had more prizes to give, I would give every one of you a prize!

Finally, thank you so much to everyone that still reads this little blog. I do this for the love of the game, and it always thrills me when someone tells me I helped introduce them to something they never heard of or never would have tried on their own.

Here's hoping for a productive 2015!

Tommy

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tommy's Thoughts: In Defense of GMPCs

First off, let me preface by saying that I'm pretty sure there's nobody out there that actually hates the idea of using NPCs, but its all in HOW they get used.
Tanjlock Sarlon - but you can call him Marty.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Tommy's Take on Cold Steel Wardens

How do you like your heroes? Deeply, deeply flawed? Less Captain America and more Punisher? Less Spider-Man and more Daredevil? You can probably bend your favorite superhero RPG to that accomplish that feel...but sometimes you want a game that will do it for you.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

D&D Hoard of the Dragon Queen Actual Play: The Inn of Lost Heroes

Getting caught up on our actual play write-ups for those who are into such things...this is the continuation of our Hoard of the Dragon Queen game, except I decided to slot in the Labyrinth Lord adventure Inn of Lost Heroes.

No dragons here. Except the Dragonborn.

The previous posts are presented below:

Friday, January 2, 2015

Tommy's Take on Sertorius

Fantasy is not an underserved genre in the RPG community...so the key for any fantasy RPG is simple: Are you going to try to siphon off a part of the Dungeons & Dragon fanbase (lapsed or otherwise)...or are you going to bring something new to the table?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Tommy's Top Six of 2014 and Birthday Blog Giveaway

It's that time of year, in which I look back on the games I reviewed and played over the last year, and I pick out the six that were, in my opinion, head and shoulders above the rest, and worthy of your dollars.

The rules, as arbitrarily decided by me: 1) Only one product per publisher. 2) My primary exposure to the product has to have been between December 1st of last year through November 30th of this year, regardless of publication date. I don't watch my TV shows on the same day, or even week, that they air and I don't always buy and/or read books immediately upon release. 3) I can't have any involvement in the production of the book.

I have done this four times before:

Tommy's Top Six of 2010
Tommy's Top Six of 2011
Tommy's Top Six of 2012
Tommy's Top Six of 2013

This year, I have even put my money where my mouth is and purchased physical copies of all six books on my list.

Spoiler Warning: These are my Top Six.
Here they are, in alphabetical order, with six reasons why I selected each:

Thursday, December 4, 2014

And now...The Bamfsies!

I was recently recruited by Mike Lafferty of Fainting Goat Games and the Bamf! Podcast to join the governing body of The Bamfsies, alongside Cam Banks, Chris Helton and Dan Davenport.

What are the Bamfsies? They are a fairly light hearted award series for Superhero Gaming, which all of the above, plus myself, have a love for. We already have the Hall of Fame up, and voting is ongoing right now for your picks for the Gamer's Choice award. We're going to attempt to coordinate a podcast for the awards next month, so you should get your vote in for your favorites NOW.

Gold star if you can guess my Hall of Fame selection without looking.