Thursday, August 31, 2017

Wardlings Pre-Painted Minis from WizKids

WizKids announced Wardlings today, their new line of pre-painted fantasy RPG miniatures, created with younger players and their families in mind.

From the press release:
The Wardlings realm takes on a new twist to an otherwise classic fantasy world where kids are the adventurers. These fledgling adventurers gain their powers and abilities at a young age, allowing them to defeat the evil creatures in their world. Their powers, however, are fleeting. As the children grow, they begin to lose their powers over time. When they enter adulthood, most forget they ever adventured in the first place as everyday responsibilities take hold.


I like the boy/girl options for each class, as well as the companion gimmick.

Scheduled release for the line will be early 2018. 

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 31: What Do You Anticipate Most From Gaming in 2018?

We wrap up #RPGaDay 2017 looking towards the future: 

"What Do You Anticipate Most From Gaming in 2018?"

Short Answer: Friendship is Online

Long Drawn-Out Answer:  I'm a quirky fellow that has tracked my all of my gaming since a Paranoia game in the Summer of '89.  To make it even odder I've tracked my "Gaming Years" from October to September of the following year, so this question is nearer in my mind that most who are currently trying to find time to play the latest GenCon releases between now and Christmas. 

What do I plan on running for my 2018 "fiscal year"?

Counting down to #1:
  • #4 Savage Worlds Pulp - Season 3 of the Pulp game I run with my girls is scheduled to start in January, simply to accommodate my wargaming responsibilities, a desire to purchase new terrain, and a chance to run some different stuff this Fall.  The game will return to Egypt, with a few side-treks to jolly old England and perhaps a secret lair.  Will the characters heed the warnings that you "Don't Mess With the Zola?"
A return to Urban Intrigue...
  • #3 Savage Mousling Fantasy - I've got a number of Mousling-themed scenarios for the girls, hence the push back of the Pulp game. 
  • #2 My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria RPG -  I'm targeting a lot of MLP RPG with the girls, for more "Theatre of the Mind" role-playing, and so I can run demos it for most of Mepacon.  It is the one game Maja really wants to run, so I'll encourage that as much as I can. 
  • #1 Online Gaming -  We're just a few sessions into a 5th Edition D&D game on Roll20, but online gaming will probably become my go -to for dealing with "grown-up" gaming.  5th Edition D&D, Classic D&D, maybe expanding into Savage Rifts and Hackmaster. Still too new at this for long-term planning, but locking myself in the office for a few hours on Monday night, Yuengling Black and Tan in hand, has set some relaxing tones in the past few weeks. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 30: What RPG Genre Mash-Up Would You Most Like to See?

Almost there!  The penultimate question for this year's #RPGaDay was also the second hardest for me to answer:

Day 30: "What RPG Genre Mash-Up Would You Most Like to See?"

This one sent me down some pretty deep tangents.  I'll just cover the main points.

To quote the Barenaked Ladies, "It's all been done," and if it hasn't, there might be a good reason for it.  If I scour RPGnow.com enough, I might find a Vampire Mecha game, or a troupe based Steampunk Wizard game, but most "new" genre mash-ups are variations on an existing theme. 

So, upon my searches for previous #RPGaDay questions, I fell upon this gem:
I owned this book from West End Games back in the day, probably part of their $5 Pennsylvania fire sales that were epic on the local convention scene.  It was a pretty decent book that I mined for ideas, but it was long lost in one of my purges, but it sparked my next question?

Are there any good Pulp Sky Pirate games?

I see a lot of fantasy related flying pirates material, but not much for true pulp 20's/30's esque style flying adventures.  Crimson Skies is a bit overdone, and let's not mention SkyCaptain and the World of Tomorrow.
My first brilliant thought was that I just didn't want a classic sky pirate game, I wanted DuckTales!!!

And after four weeks of this endeavor, I finally looked up some episodes of DuckTales and despite my old GM Charles using some episodes for GURPS Humanx game back in the 90's, I realized that, beyond the catchy theme song (A-woo-hoo!) it wasn't what I had stuck in my head.

I stand corrected, I want a Tailspin game.
Maybe we can avoid the Disney licensing fees for a pretty obscure property (I assume more people could believe they could make money on DuckTales, Darkwing Duck, and Chip 'n Dale Rescue Ranger.  If you add Goof Troop to that list, I will have to cut you.)   Cool sea planes that don't completely venture into WW2 territory, anthropomorphic character in classic roles  from the silver screen, and perhaps the only Disney cartoon property that has the words anti-aircraft artillery in its Wikipedia listing. 

Get me a Tailspin game.

Or at least a sourcebook for the DuckTales RPG.  I'm flexible.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #21: (Talislanta) The Blue Lotus Clan

Our heroes, travelling across Silvanus in search of the missing windship Solanus-Pon for their patron Abn Qua, and magical purifiers so Tanasian wizard Kannex can get them back home to the Kingdom of Crosedes:

Rolf Wolfsblood:  Bald-headed barbarian from the Plains of Galmar.
Alexi - Sarista gypsy native to Talislanta.  Also returning to Durne.
Darius - NPC - Sarista gypsy and agent of Abn Qua.  Going by the alias of "Yuri"
Kane - monk of eastern mysticism with an odd elemental control of water.
Babette - Urban street thief swept up with the party when they teleported to Talislanta.
Norm Dingleberry - failed mushroom farmer, separately transported to Talislanta, by unknown means

40th of Talislandre 150 N.A. - Zanfir
Continuing their  journey on Equs steeds (a pony for Norm), the party discovered a man lying in a clearing.   They discovered that he was a guard that had fallen asleep on the Solanus-Pons when the thieves struck.  Magic and Morpheus powder were certainly used... by Tanasian Wizards

(Kane: Just like Kannex!)

He had remained hidden for a number of day until the finally found him and tossed him overboard. Luckily they were flying low and the trees cushioned his fall.  Kane healed up the sleepy guard and provisions given, and they left him in the clearing.

41st of Talislandre 150 N.A. -  Silvanus Forest
They encountered a wooded marketplace and  found a merchant that dealt in powdered substances, including Morpheus powder.

While the party questioned the merchant on his recent dealing, Alexi was caught stealing from the booth.  The merchant cursed out the group, and promptly pulled his wares into his wagon  locking a swinging door down from the roof.  Alexi and Yuri then started to dance on the roof of the merchant's wagon.  Alexi crashed through the roof onto the merchant. Yuri jumped down to grab a gruffan and threw it down the hole.  The scared animal immediately bit Alexi in the junk.
Junk-Biting Gruffan
Alexi nursed his wound while he opened up the door to the wagon, releasing the gruffan.  They ransacked the wagon, finding a large satchel of diamonds.  Rolf and Babette tied up the merchant, Fardain.  Through Babette's interrogation, Fardain admitted to selling a large shipment of Morpheus powder to the Blue Lotus Clan.  They left the merchant tied up, returned to their steeds and immediately left

44th of Talislandre 150 N.A. - Werewood Forest, Silvanus
The party finally located the Blue Lotus Clan.
They were quite pushy asking questions regarding the missing windship.  The Sarista from the clan were still friendly and recommend they talk to the mother of the clan, which required an appointment... and a healthy bribe.

*100 gold lumens later*

The Clan Mother told them that Tanasian Wizards under the guise of the Erythrian Cabal had the windship in question for part of their plans to build a flying city.  She admitted that the Blue Lotus helped them steal the ship, but further they worked alongside them, the more power-hungry the wizards obviously were.

"The Tanasian camp also has the  magical purifiers I've heard you seek.  Stop the cabal, seize the purifiers, recover the ship.  Darius has kept me updated."

44th of Talislandre 150 N.A. - Werewood Forest, Silvanus
The Blue Lotus led the party to the outskirts of the Tanasian camp and left them to their devices. They quickly pounced upon the camp, slaying individual wizards and causing general chaos. Creating distractions, they were able to rummage through the scrolls and research throughout the base.   Noticing a group of wizards heading down a side path, Rolf rallied the rest of party to follow them, ultimately leading them to the Solanus-Pon trying to take off.

The group boarded the sky and fought in horrendous combat with desperate sorcerers  The Cabal's leader piloted the skyship into dangerous maneuvers just above the treeline of the Werewood, tossing all the occupants to and fro.

While Kane was using water magic to push wizards overboard, one of the "rogues" finally got a good shot at the Cabal leader and he tumbled away from the helm, sending the windship into a spiral.  In their last few seconds of life, Rolf and Kane slew the leader and braced for a horrible impact.

...that never happened.  Despite getting jostled around, bruised and battered, the windship ultimately was pulled out of the freefall and set to a level course.

Standing behind the helm was a dwarf, bedecked in a leather cap with goggles strapped over his helmet, tongue sticking out the side of mouth, trying to keep the vessel level, and not doing too bad a job of it.

Norm had found a calling greater than mushroom farming.

1st of Zur 150 N.A.  - City-State of Cymril, The Seven Kingdoms
By hidden skill or outrageous luck, Norm managed to keep the Solanus-Pon above ground for a slow journey back to Cymril.  The wizards were turned into Cymrillian authorities, Kannex got his magic purifiers, and Abn Qua worked another mission of the party's into greater fame for the merchant.

DM Notes:  Another adventure with a half-finished journal entry, I did my best to embellish it... realistically.  This is the adventure that proves Norm's usefulness to the everyone, even if it started as complete luck.  This is also where his classic headgear came from, even if it was peculiar to traditional D&D.   

This would be the last adventure with most of the party together.  Late Summer vacations messed up schedules and future scenarios rely of two or three characters to reach the goal.  

Next: #22 - The Lake of the Prismatic Lotus

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 29: What Has Been the Best-Run RPG Kickstarter You Have Backed?

We have come upon day 29 of  #RPGaDay: What Has Been the Best-Run RPG Kickstarter You Have Backed?

I'm more of a miniatures guy when it comes to Kickstarter.  If I see greens or a reasonable production run, I'll bite.

I'm far more fickle with RPGs.  Writing, artists, editing, and printing are all gigantic landmines, even for experienced crews.

I was initially going to go with Scavengers.  I was quite happy with the campaign, the rewards,  the communication, and I'm delighted with every piece of Travis Hanson art on each page.  However, I only requested the core pdf with none of the stretch goals.  I got my pdf seven months late and I was fine with that.  However, the campaign stretch goals have finally been fulfilled after two years.  That borders on old Chaosium Kickstarter territory.

With my skewed nostalgia corrected, I must first give a general shout-out to Golden Goblin Press.  I've backed three of their campaigns and all three have been excellent.  Good communications, delays are counted in weeks, sometimes days, and each item is a quality product.

Specifically, I give props to the De Horrore Cosmico scenario book for Cthulhu Invictus.  Great rewards, great communications, with estimated delivery of April 2015 with the book arriving prior to GenCon (perfectly acceptable with 30 years of waiting for other gaming books).
And because I look out for my fellow gamers, even though I wanted none of the stretch goals, everything that was promised (including a short-story collection) was shipped out by September 2015, and Oscar Rios was busy cleaning up missing orders, missing items in October.   The other Goblin Goblin campaigns were closer to their target dates, but stretch goals lingered on a bit longer. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 28: What Film/Series is the Biggest Source of Quotes in Your Group

Here's one of the softball thrown at us for #RPGaDay:

Day 28: "What Film/Series is the Biggest Source of Quotes in Your Group?"

Dude, if you've ever read this blog before, why did you even click on this post to see the answer.

Monty Python

Accept no substitutions.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

(Kickstarter) The Legion of Steel by Macrocosm Miniatures

If you're going to pique my interest with a Kickstarter, unintentionally combine two of my nostalgic interests for your project.

Macrocosm Miniatures did just that on some early promo e-mails, mentioning "Legions of Steel" (my favorite sci-fi minis game of the 90's through today), then revealing that was title of their latest Sq.... Space Dwarves.  My only concern was, keeping the pledges and shipping reasonable, and with The Legion of Steel 28mm Sci-Fi Space Dwarves, they have.

While the sculpt quality is as excellent as ever, the Legion as a unit are far more "professional soldier" minis than their previous Digger Corp KS.

They are also offering some pretty cool auxiliary units, including some kickass space elf corsairs, space cyclops, and some 40mm aliens that are a mix between space orangutans and HR Puffenstuff.
They are offering the Digger Corp minis as optional add-on, and the stretch goals include artillery, and an armoured scout car.

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 27:What are Your Essential Tools for Good Gaming?

Day 27: "What are Your Essential Tools for Good Gaming?"

Yes, I know some are searching out the elaborate gaming tables, key dice, dice towers, custom GM screen or lucky con t-shirts (now con belly shirts after years of weight gain plus shrinkage).  After nearly thirty years of playing, I don't get impressed by elaborate spreads:

My basic player demands:
  • Comfy, upright chairs.  The whole cushy couch is not conducive to paying attention or rolling dice.
  • A table.  Even a coffee table to roll dice on is an improvement over no table at all. 
  • Food/Beverage - Pretty Generic, nothing too spicy or smelling too strong.  A session with a dinner break must be declared before we start gaming.
  • Minimal distractions:  My group is 3,000% into the kid zone, so barring removing the kids from the state, they will eventually show up at the table.  It's inevitable, so we should pause the game for a time to address the tyke in the room.  Ignoring them will just escalate the situation.
  • And bare gaming necessities. Dice/books/character sheets/GM Screen as needed.  I haven't needed a gaming vest and lucky hat since Origins '96.
Not the actual design of my favorite button on my old gaming vest, but it will do...

Saturday, August 26, 2017

New D&D Survey From Wizards of the Coast

Wizards of the Coast recently announced a new D&D Survey for gamers, young and old, to take.

And in similar news, I'm wildly happy I could take this most recent survey and select options about actually playing D&D in my (very) recent memory.  A far improvement from the previous years.

Apathy of the New Releases (Sep '17)

ViscountEric's Want List 
Reaper Miniatures
War Dog (RPR 77422) .......................................................................................   $2.79
Yeti Warrior (RPR 77435) .................................................................................    $3.49
Halfling Cook (RPR 77462) ..............................................................................    $2.79
The Bones 3 figures are getting solicited individually, as well as the remaining boxed sets from the Kickstarter.  The July through October releases have $10 worth of minis that I want out of the Core Set that was $100 on Kickstarter.  I've chosen wisely. 

My Imaginary Store (The Peg Leg Gnome) List
ALC Studio BVBA
Jim Henson's Labyrinth: The Board Game Deluxe Game Pieces ........................ $100.00

Asmodee
Conan:  Khitai Expansion ..................................................................................... $59.99
Nomads ................................................................................................................. $29.99

Catan Studios
A Game of Thrones Catan:  Brotherhood of the Watch ....................................... $79.99

Corvus Belli
Infinity:  Beyond Icestorm Expansion Pack ......................................................... $49.00
Infinity:  Beyond Red Veil Expansion Pack ......................................................... $49.00

Creative Goods Companies
Catan Embroidered Resource Caps ..................................................................... $24.00
Clay, Grain, Ore, Sheep, Wood

Days of Wonder
Ticket to Ride:  First Journey - Europe ............................................................... $34.99

Fantasy Flight Games
Mansions of Madness 2nd Edtion:  Streets of Arkham Expansion .................... $59.95
Star Wars Age of Rebellio - Cyphers and Masks HC ........................................ $29.95
Star Wars Dawn of Rebellion HC ...................................................................... $39.95

Games Workshop
Talisman ............................................................................................................. $59.95
Talisman: The Blood Moon Expansion ............................................................. $24.95
Talisman: The Dragon Expansion ...................................................................... $39.95
Talisman: The City Expansion ........................................................................... $39.95
Talisman: The Harbinger Expansion .................................................................. $24.95
Talisman: The Reaper Expansion ....................................................................... $24.95
Talisman: The Woodlands Expansion ................................................................ $39.95
Codex: Space Marines HC ................................................................................. $50.00
Datacards: Space Marines .................................................................................. $15.00
40K First Strike Starter Set ................................................................................ $40.00
40K Know No Fear Starter Set .......................................................................... $80.00
Path to Glory ....................................................................................................... $35.00

Goodman Games
Fifth Edition  Fantasy #11  The Archmage's Lost Hideaway .............................. $9.99
Mutant Crawl Classics:  Grakk's Rad Dice ......................................................... $24.99
Mutant Crawl Classics:  Kilra's Glow Dice ......................................................... $24.99
Adventurer's Almanac (RPG System Neutral) .................................................... $24.99

Iello
King of Tokyo: Halloween 2017 Edition ............................................................. $19.99
King of Tokyo:  New York King Kong Monster Pack ......................................... $ 9.99

Kobold Press
5th Edition:  Courts of the Shadow Fey ............................................................... $24.99
5th Edition:  Streets of Zoebeck ........................................................................... $24.99

Konami Digital Entertainment
Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Circuit Break Boosters
Yu-Gi-Oh!  TCG  Legendary Dragon Decks

Mantic Entertainment
40mm Movement Tray Pack ................................................................................ $17.99
50mm Movement Tray Pack ................................................................................ $17.99
Kings of War- Edge of the Abyss Summer Campaign Book ............................... $19.99
Battle of the Glades Two Player Battle Set .......................................................... $79.99

Modiphius
Conan: Dice Set ..................................................................................................... $19.99
Conan: Player's Guide ............................................................................................ $18.00
Freeway Warrior 1:  Highway Holocaust ............................................................... $19.99
Space 1889:  London Bridge Has Fallen Down ..................................................... $  9.99
Space 1889:  Marvels of Mars ................................................................................ $19.99
Star Trek Adventures RPG: Core Rulebook ........................................................... $57.99
Star Trek Adventures Core Rulebook Collector's Edition ........................................ $76.99
Star Trek Adventures: GM Screen ............................................................................ $37.99
Star Trek Adventures: Command Red Dice Set ........................................................ $22.99
Star Trek Adventures: Operations Gold Dice Set ...................................................... $22.99
Star Trek Adventures: Sciences Blue Dice Set .......................................................... $22.99
Star Trek Adventures: Next Generation Starfleet Deck Tiles .................................... $37.99
Star Trek Adventures:  Klingon Warband Minis Boxed Set ...................................... $49.99
Star Trek Adventures:  Next Generation Minis Boxed Set ........................................ $49.99
Star Trek Adventures: Original Series Minis Boxed Set ............................................ $49.99
Star Trek Adventures: Romulan Strike Team Minis Boxed Set ................................. $49.99

Monte Cook Games
Cypher System RPG:  Unmasked HC ........................................................................ $44.99

Osprey Publishing
Bolt Action:  Campaign:  The Road to Berlin ............................................................. $30.00
Frostgrave:  Ghost Archipelago - Fantasy Wargames in the Lost Isles ....................... $30.00
Frostgrave:  Ghost Archipelago - Accessory Pack ...................................................... $20.00
Gaslands: Post Apocalyptic Vehicular Combat ........................................................... $19.00

Paizo Publishing
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game:  Hell's Vengeance Character Deck 2 .................... $19.99
Pathfinder RPG: AP - Ruins of the Azlant Part 4 - City in the Deep .......................... $24.99
Pathfinder RPG: Campaign Setting:  Construct Builder's Guide ................................ $22.99
Pathfinder RPG: Module - Cradle of Night ................................................................. $24.99
Pathfinder RPG: Flip Mat - Sunken City ..................................................................... $14.99
Pathfinder RPG:  Pawns - The Ironfang Invasion Pawn Collection ............................ $24.99
Pathfinder RPG:  Player Companion - People of the Wastes ....................................... $14.99
Pathfinder RPG:  Ultimate Wilderness HC .................................................................. $44.99
Starfinder RPG:  Pawns- Alien Archive ....................................................................... $44.99

Pelgrane Press
Timewatch RPG:  The Valkyrie Gambit ....................................................................... $14.95

Reaper Miniatues
Bones 3 Core Set ........................................................................................................... $190.00
Bones 3 Graveyard Set .................................................................................................. $80.00
Bones 3 Mythos Set ....................................................................................................... $50.00
Bones 3 Stoneskull Expansion Set ................................................................................. $80.00
Mal'al Drakar the Dragon Tyrant Boxed Set .................................................................. $149.99
Obsidian Crypt Boxed Set .............................................................................................. $29.99
Didn't get a chance to snag up Bones 3 on Kickstarter?  Moping about the "lack of value" in Bone 4? With these prices, it's a reality check.

Troll Lord Games
5th Edition Adventures:  A10 - The Last Respite ............................................................ $ 9.99
5th Edition Adventures:  A9 - Beneath the Helm of Night .............................................. $ 9.99

Wizards of the Coast
Magic the Gathering:  Duel Decks:  Goblins vs Merfolk.
Magic the Gathering:  Unstable Boosters
It's been awhile since they had silver bordered cards in the spirt of Unhinged and Unglued
Magic the Gathering: Explorers of Ixalan ......................................................................... $64.99
Magic the Gathering: From the Vault - Transform ............................................................ $34.99
Magic the Gathering: Gift Pack ......................................................................................... $19.99

Wizkids
D&D Fantasy Minis:  Icons of the Realms Classic Creature Box Set ............................... $79.90
Heroclix:  Train Station/Train Yard Map ............................................................................ $19.80
Marvel Heroclix:  X-Men First Class Booster Bricks
Marvel Heroclix:  X-Men First Class Dice & Token Pack (Modern) ................................. $ 9.99
Marvel Heroclix:  X-Men First Class Dice & Token Pack (Time Displaced)  .................... $ 9.99
Marvel Heroclix:  X-Men First Class Fast Forces ............................................................... $16.99
Star Trek Attack Wing:  Federation vs Klingons Starter Set ............................................... $44.99

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 26: What RPG Provides the Most Resources

Day 26: "What RPG Provides the Most Resources?"

Let's be honest here, I have seen some new games come out that are 300+ pages, yet there are no resources inside for players or gamemasters.

And then you look at Rockerboys and Vending Machines.  It lays out how to create a character, how the mechanics work, and how you generate an adventure.  It's so comprehensive on two little pages that I think I could probably pull off a freaking Shadowrun campaign with nothing else.

I've had so many books full of crunch for my olden days of gaming, but very few of them provided any advice or ideas on how to use that crunch.

For me the greatest game resource would be the AD&D 1st Edition Dungeon Masters Guide.

The first edition DMG does not have great writing.  High Gygaxian is an acquired taste, but it simply requests high adventure and drama generated through the mechanics, not "the story."

The DMG is chock full of great resources, but the average player doesn't know how to take advantage of them. The Appendices in the back of the book is everything you need.  You need a dungeon that doesn't need to be ecologically sound?  The random dungeon generator is perfect.  Need a random wilderness map? Hell, my entire World of Georic setting from 1989 to 2001 was created using the random terrain table.

Of course, a novice DM very early on is going to make a simple determination that not every dungeon dressing on the random chart is necessary (especially when medieval items fall within an Egyptian-style tomb) but you can run an all-out fantasy crawl using randomization.  It's going to to gonzo fun, but you should figure out by session two or three that constant factors that get randomly rolled should have some campaign significance.

Players have gone on months' long wild goose chases for much less. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Spartan Games Closes Its Doors!

In a stunning press release today, Spartan Games announced that they are ceasing operations.

Spartan was the publisher of Dystopian Wars, Dystopian Legions, and Firestorm Armada.  Despite an active Kickstarter campaign (now cancelled) that was only a few hundred Pounds away from reaching it's goal, they claimed challenging business conditions in the miniatures wargaming market, as well as health issues of a key board member for the decision.  
At this point, I need to put on my ViscountEric, former retail manager, hat on, and not that I would have written off the Spartan Games as part of the stock in my (imaginary) game store in 2013.  I don't like being right about a company I had no stake in, nor any bad experience with, but an aggressive expansion on multiple lines for products only a handful of people in the States knew about made me extremely nervous.  I've seen it before, and I've mentioned the same thing in this year's Apathy of the New Releases columns for companies that can't even make it through distribution.

I may wait a bit to see if the impressive discounts from sites like Miniatures Market grow larger after the weekend.

New US Sailors ALMOST Available

Bob Murch of Pulp Figures posted some pictures of the newly sculpted US Sailors on Facebook.
Painted by Dave McKay
These bad boys are looking at a late October Release.

He also added PMX05 (Mexican Federale Rifles) and PMX11 (Ol' Muley the Prospector) to the Western/Mexican Revolution Line on the website. 

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 25: What is the Best Way to Thank Your GM?

We're getting to the end of the #RPGaDay 2017 experience, so they threw me a softball.

"What is the Best Way to Thank Your GM?"

Show the Eff Up as often as you possibly can. 
Seriously, most of us aren't running games for grand accolades, players fawning all over us, or wild gifts of Skittles and jerky.

Show the Eff Up.

Player attendance has a much greater effect on GM continued performance than anything else

If your GM is running an awesome game, you are probably already doing everything he needs to continue down the road to success.  The best reward is simply continuing to show up and do what you're already doing.

Now, what if you can't "Show the Eff Up?"  Communicate it to them as soon as humanly possible.    A one-time cancellation  can be remedied quickly.  With a heads up, short term departures can be alleviated, heck, two weeks notice or more for someone to leave for a college night class, family responsibilities, or that seasonal part-time job at the Sizzler you've always dreamt of, is plenty for a good GM to get you into a workable position for future considerations.
I'd run B&B for my players in a heartbeat.  They'd love it.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Fall-In! 2017 PEL Has Been Posted!

After much hemming, hawing, and gnashing of teeth, the PEL for Fall-In! is finally up.
Player Registration runs from September 4th through October 13th.

I will immediately comment that the expanded event number, including the military hour in the event needs to die an instant but very painful death.  If you have trouble looking up an event from the traditional format, which has the event time right below the event number, the new format will make things even worse.   Avalon Hill rulebook flashbacks, anyone ?

FYI: The traditional gnome games were submitted late.  I'll post them when they appear on the update PEL.

Here's the list of events that piqued my interest:

F: 147:09 Lafayette Escadrille - Whisky And Soda - 
Theme Friday, 9:00:00 AM, 3 hrs, Players: 11 GM: Roxanne Patton Sponsor: None, Prize: None
Period: World War I, Scale: Other, Rules: Check Your Six
This scenario is taken from Brian DeWitt's Colorful Skies book. While station on the Flanders front in mid-July, 1917, Raoul Luftberry, leader of the Lafayette Escadrille found a flight of D.IIIs practicing formation flying over the German's airfield. This is the first of two scenarios to be run consecutively. Favor will be given to successful pilots in the second scenario. Children under 17 welcome with playing adult.

F: 338:09 The Hsiku Arsenal 1900 
Theme Friday, 9:00:00 AM, 4 hrs, Players: 4 GM: Cliff Brunken Sponsor: None, Prize: None
Period: Colonial, Scale: 28mm, Rules: The Men who would be Kings
Admiral Seymors assault on the Chinese Arsenal. An International force of British, Americans, French and Germans attack the Imperial Chinese Army. kids under 14 must be accompanied by an adult

F: 278:09 Congo - Exploring The Dark Continent 
Friday, 9:00:00 AM, 3 hrs, Players: 6 GM: Don Hogge & HAWKS Sponsor: None, Prize: None
Period: Colonial, Scale: 28mm, Rules: Congo
Africa, the dark and mysterious continent, what adventures await those bold enough to venture into the vast jungle? Come and lead a column in search of fame and fortune, or defend your homeland from bumbling European explorers. Gamers under the age of 1 are welcome with an adult

F: 227:10 Sky Galleons Of Mars 
Friday, 10:00:00 AM, 4 hrs, Players: 12 GM: David Kasper & NOWS Sponsor: None, Prize: Trophy
Period: Victorian Science Fiction, Scale: 28mm, Rules: mod Sky Galleons of Mars
The wanted pirate Tor Tougot has been found and the British send a quick strike fleet to eliminate the pirate threat. The only problem is the Martian vanguard fleet has shown up to do some gun trading

F: 148:12 Lafayette Escadrille - Should-Be-Dead-Club -
Theme Friday, 12:00:00 PM, 3 hrs, Players: 12 GM: Roxanne Patton Sponsor: None, Prize: None
Period: World War I, Scale: '1/144, Rules: Check Your Six!
This scenario is taken from Brian DeWitt's Colorful Skies book. Transferred to the Verdun front the previous month, the squadron experienced its heaviest fighting here. On September 24th, the morning patrol lead be Luftberry wound up in a 'hot fight' with a large formation of D.III's. This is the second of two scenarios to be run consecutively. Favor will be given to successful pilots of the first scenario. Children under 17 are welcome with playing adult

F: 158:14 Picnic Panic Walk Up Demo (Kid Friendly)
Friday, 2:00:00 PM, 1.5 hrs, Players: 8 GM: Ben Rubin Sponsor: Age of Eagles, Prize: Prizes Awarded Period: Fantasy, Scale: 20/1, Rules: Picnic Panic
Come try Picnic Panic, the game of ant warfare. Command a tribe of ants, each with its own unique abilities and advantages, as you wage war over a treasure trove of candy left by careless humans. Play as the noble firstborn, the strong horned ants, the undead black ants, or the hard fighting, hard partying nomants. Eat the candy you capture and leave with a coupon for our booth. Fast-play, easy to learn introduction to the hobby. Adults welcome with playing child. No ticket required.

F: 102:15 Home Before The Leaves Fall - Axis And Allies WWI 1914
Friday, 3:00:00 PM, 5 hrs, Players: 10 GM: Bryan Leshinskie Sponsor: None, Prize: None Period: World War I, Scale: 20mm, Rules: Modified Axis and allies WWI
They said this will be the war to end all wars... They said the boys will be home by Christmas... And how WRONG they were.... Come join veteran gamemaster Bryan W. Leshinskie as he guides you through WWI. You will experience what it was like to command large armies in pitched battles that raged across the map of Europe. The Axis and Allies WWI game was enlarged and expanded to make this happen. Not one poker chip will be used. And this game will have hundreds of figures to include cavalry. All are welcomed to play with no one ever turned away...

F: 222:16 Mein Zombie - Can You Survive?!? 
Friday, 4:00:00 PM, 4 hrs, Players: 8 GM: Kenny Noe & ODGW Sponsor: None, Prize: None
Period: Future, Scale: 28mm, Rules: Mein Zombie Come play Mein Zombie!!
Great game for all, 8 yrs old and up!! The Zombie Apocalypse is upon us! Join a band of survivors try and reach a safe extraction point. However to get there they must travel through zombie territory and survive roaming hoards of zombies. The ever present fear of being eaten alive or bitten and becoming a zombie yourself! Rules Taught/Beginners Welcome.

F: 335:18 The Sand Dunes Of Zwartfontein (German South-West Africa, 1905) 
Friday, 6:00:00 PM, 4 hrs, Players: 6 GM: Roy Jones Sponsor: Age of Eagles, Prize: German South-West Africa Figures Period: Colonial, Scale: 25mm, Rules: The Sword and the Flame (Modified)
The Herero War is over - the Nama Wars have begun! The alliance between Nama leader Hendrik Witbooi and the Kaiser is shattered! A combined Nama force of Witbooi troops and those of Simon Kooper confront the Germans at Zwartfontein. The Germans have mobile mountain guns, but the Nama have some tricks of their own. From the forthcoming scenario book "The Nama Wars". More at: www.hererowars.com

F: 267:19 Assault On The Evil Temple 
Friday, 7:00:00 PM, 4 hrs, Players: 6 GM: Robert Schaible Sponsor: None, Prize: None Period: Fantasy, Scale: 28mm, Rules: Frostgrave
Two teams of wizards race to an ancient temple complex that has recently begun summoning demons and other nefarious denizens of the lower planes. Magical spoils and fame await those brave enough to explore the temple and end the evil threat. However, a sinister presence may have something to say about any interlopers trespassing on the sacred grounds. Will you venture forth and claim your prizes and stop hellspawn, or will you end up a victim of the foul creatures or enemy warbands seeking the s Apprentice wizards under the age of 12 welcome with a playing adult.

F: 302:19 Combat Patrol: Star Wars
Friday, 7:00:00 PM, 3 hrs, Players: 6 GM: Gregory Priebe & HAWKS Sponsor: None, Prize: None
Period: SciFi, Scale: 28mm, Rules: Combat Patrol
Come learn the ways of the Force or embrace the power of the Dark Side as players battle for the fate of the galaxy with the new Combat Patrol Star Wars supplement. Rules will be taught. Padawans under 14 are welcome with the participation of a playing adult.

S: 260:09 Epic Conflicts Of The Ancient World: An Intro To Triumph! Fast Play Rules For Ancient And Medieval Battles
Saturday, 9:00:00 AM, 2 hrs, Players: 8 GM: David Kuijt Sponsor: None, Prize: None
Period: Medieval, Scale: 15mm, Rules: TRIUMPH! Fast Play Rules for Ancient and Medieval Battles
Take on the role of Caesar, the Great Khan or Pharaoh of Egypt and lead your forces against your brutal enemies as you battle your way across four different matchups from Biblical, Classical, Dark Ages and Medieval times. This walk-up game opportunity FOR WHICH YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE REGISTERED (just walk-up if you see an opening) introduces players to the fast-play TRIUMPH! ancient and medieval rules. Play one game or play a dozen. TRIUMPH! tutors are on hand to help introduce you to the game, teach and answer questions. Rules are easy to learn and will be taught. Armies provide

S: 301:09 Doctor Who And The Pirates Of The Cyberiad Main 
Saturday, 9:00:00 AM, 3 hrs, Players: 6 GM: Christopher Palmer & HAWKS Sponsor: None, Prize: None Period: SciFi, Scale: 28mm, Rules: GASLIGHT
Can the Doctor enjoy a nice restful trip to a sunny Caribbean island in the early 1700's without something going wrong? It seems that Pirates have arrived to plunder the town, and they've brought some unusual stowaways: a group of Cyberman have hitched a ride after their spacecraft crashed in the ocean; and they're looking for new recruits amongst the local population! Children under 14 welcome with a playing adult.

S: 123:10 Scandinavian Showdown - Sweden, 2018?
Saturday, 10:00:00 AM, 2 hrs, Players: 4 GM: Robert Franklin Sponsor: None, Prize: None
Period: Modern, Scale: 1:285 micro, Rules: ThunderBolt!
Russia uses its annual Baltic Fleet exercise as a cover for the 336th Guards Marine Brigade to assault Gotland Island. Securing Gotland will prevent the Nordic Battlegroup from reinforcing the NATO countries of the eastern Baltic. Russian airborne infantry must stand against Swedish Strv 122 MBTs and Strf 90 IFVs long enough for the arriving T-80s to clear the beachhead. Rules will be taught.

S: 159:12 Picnic Panic Walk Up Demo (Kid Friendly)
Saturday, 12:00:00 PM, 1.5 hrs, Players: 8 GM: Ben Rubin Sponsor: Age of Eagles, Prize: Prizes Awarded Period: Fantasy, Scale: 20:1, Rules: Picnic Panic
Come try Picnic Panic, the game of ant warfare. Command a tribe of ants, each with its own unique abilities and advantages, as you wage war over a treasure trove of candy left by careless humans. Play as the noble firstborn, the strong horned ants, the undead black ants, or the hard fighting, hard partying nomants. Eat the candy you capture and leave with a coupon for our booth. Fast-play, easy to learn introduction to the hobby. Adults welcome with playing child. No ticket required.

S: 336:12 Panzer Kids Battle 
Saturday, 12:00:00 PM, 2 hrs, Players: 6 GM: Will Reynolds Sponsor: Age of Eagles, Prize: Dice
Period: World War II, Scale: 28mm, Rules: Panzer Kids
Kids tank battle on the eastern front between the Germans and the Soviet Union. A kids game run by a kid for kids. "Panzer Kids introduces wargaming newcomers to the miniature wargaming hobby through basic rules simulating World War II tank battles. " Kids Game.

S: 189:14 O, Morocco! Oh, No, Morocco --  
Saturday, 2:00:00 PM, 4 hrs, Players: 12 GM: Howard Whitehouse Sponsor: None, Prize: None
Period: Colonial, Scale: 40mm, Rules: A Gentleman's War
Morocco at the turn of the last century. As the Sultan plays with mechanical toys the western powers fight for influence as bandits raid, marines land, the Foreign legion invades. Beautiful American women and dodgy businessmen seek exotic adventures. Camels spit. It won't end well. Shiny 42mm toy soldiers and a whimsical game in the spirit of H.G. Wells.

S: 210:15 Yankee Go Home 1917 -
Theme Saturday, 3:00:00 PM, 16 hrs, Players: 16 GM: Peter Panzeri Sponsor: None, Prize: None
Period: World War I, Scale: 25mm, Rules: "Black Jack Rules
AT the height of this Russian Civil War, US troops are deployed into North West Russia. Can't the yanks survive the Red's onslaught? It ever they help the Whites?

S: 160:16 Picnic Panic Walk Up Demo (Kid Friendly) 
Saturday, 4:00:00 PM, 1.5 hrs, Players: 8 GM: Ben Rubin Sponsor: Age of Eagles, Prize: Prizes Awarded Period: Fantasy, Scale: 20/1, Rules: Picnic Panic
Come try Picnic Panic, the game of ant warfare. Command a tribe of ants, each with its own unique abilities and advantages, as you wage war over a treasure trove of candy left by careless humans. Play as the noble firstborn, the strong horned ants, the undead black ants, or the hard fighting, hard partying nomants. Eat the candy you capture and leave with a coupon for our booth. Fast-play, easy to learn introduction to the hobby. Adults welcome with playing child. No ticket required.

S: 116:18 G.I. Joe Vs Cobra Battle Of Springfield 
Saturday, 6:00:00 PM, 3 hrs, Players: 6 GM: Jayson Gardner Sponsor: None, Prize: None Period: Pulp, Scale: 28mm, Rules: Where Hero's dare pulp rules
The GI Joe team, Americas covert special missions force moves against Cobra, a ruthless terrorist organization who stated mission is to take over the world. Who have set up a base of operations in Springfield USA circa the 1980s. Join this silly pulp game based on the comic book series GI Joe a real American Hero

S: 269:18 Gorilla My Dreams, I Need You 
Saturday, 6:00:00 PM, 3 hrs, Players: 42831 GM: Christopher Johnson & HAWKS Sponsor: None, Prize: None Period: Pulp, Scale: 54mm, Rules: VALLEY OF THE APE Word has spread that a fortune lies hidden deep in the jungle, waiting for someone to simply pick it up! There are only a few of problems: (1) it is located in an abandoned temple which is dangerous to get to; (2) many others are after it the same as you, and they are not likely to be very friendly; (3) rumor has it a giant, ferocious beast of some kind stands guard over the treasure.
Valley of the Ape?????  I love it!

S: 332:18 Assault At Liewenberg: Hitting The Main Line! (German South-West Africa, 1904) 
Saturday, 6:00:00 PM, 4 hrs, Players: 6 GM: Roy Jones Sponsor: Age of Eagles, Prize: German And Herero Figures  Period: Colonial, Scale: 25mm, Rules: The Sword and the Flame (Modified) German sailors took a beating in their first assault at Liewenberg. But now the sailors have more men, high morale...and a Revolver cannon! Herero riflemen, however, still hold the high ground. And they fight concealed behind nearly impregnable rock. Somebody - German or Herero - is definitely going to get hurt at Liewenberg. From the scenario book "The Herero War". More at: www.hererowars.com.

Z: 300:10 Zorro And The Nefarious Deception 
Sunday, 10:00:00 AM, 2 hrs, Players: 8 GM: Duncan Adams & HAWKS Sponsor: None, Prize: None Period: 19th Century, Scale: 28mm, Rules: Blood and Swash
In 1820 southern California is on the fringe of Spain's imperial authority. Here, greedy and ambitious men plot to plunder peasants and rancheros alike to fund their plans for their personal empire. Tonight in the small pueblo of Los Angeles the local posada is the scene of the fruition of one of those plans. Will the outlaw Zorro be able to discover and defeat the nefarious deception in time?

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 24: Campaigns: Set-Length or Open-Ended Play?

Woo-hoo!  Now we're scraping the barrel for a good portion of the gaming community with Day 24 of this #RPGaDay 2017.  Good thing there are alternate questions available for those people.

Day 24:  "Share a PWYW Publisher Who Should Be Charging More"

PWYW is "Pay What You Want," an option available for online content on RPGNow and DriveThruRPG.    You can pay a million dollars, you can pay nothing, you can pay anything in between, the choice is all yours. 

The only PWYW product that I ever thought of paying money to is The Village on the Hill.  A clean concept that is certainly worth paying a buck or two. 

In order to justify people coming onto the blog and reading this, I'll be one of "those people" and pick an alternate question. 

"Campaigns:  Set-Length or Open-Ended Play?"

I'm not losing my grumpy tone on this one *yelling at a cloud*

Perhaps it's the Old School sensibilities I learned from the area gamers I hung out with, but dagnabbit, you played as long as you could with the characters you had and you liked it!  One-shots or trying out a new system was one thing, but you progressed with your characters until they died out or everyone agreed to stop playing and start something new. 

I'm in awe of and give pity to, those people who proudly proclaim, "I have a campaign for *XXXXX* that lasts six sessions!" 

Have they ever met another gamer, much less 3-6 more?  If you can get through half of your GM Agenda in the first session, you deserve the key to the city (of polyhedral dice).

And I've run into enough GMs who try to be practical, "Once they overthrow the El Presidente running the Banana Republic the campaign will be over, should be a couple of months, nothing crazy."

Sure, those are the people I talk to two years later and the PCs are fighting African Communists in the Mountains of Tibet, probably not looking into El Presidente's Secret Tibetan Bank Accounts either.

My advice:  Give 'em what they want until they tell you otherwise.  Games are a precious commodity.  Don't shutter the mine while there's still a vein of quality ore left.  

Now, if the canary in the cage is dead, get the hell out of there and don't look back...

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Pug Dogmen from Alternative Armies

The good folks over at Alternative Armies continue to tempt every type of animal lover towards their Flintloque and Slaughterloo lines.

I'm already familiar with the Dogmen of Ostria, but now they've sculpted a select breed of soldier:  The Von Mohnblume Line of Pug Dogmen, available for pre-order.


#RPGaDay 2017 Day 23: Which RPG Has the Most Jaw-Dropping Layout?

I know we're all supposed to be Kumbuya during #RPGaDay, but I am seriously not the proper demographic for Day 23:

"Which RPG Has the Most Jaw-Dropping Layout?"

My biggest confession of this month?

I absolutely despise everything about "Modern" RPG Publishing, especially the layouts.

Seriously folks.  Black ink on white paper, some token artwork, and keep the sidebars chock full of appropriate info, and I will buy as many products of yours as you can produce.  I am certainly not the gamer demographic everyone is targeting.

Full-color, glossy paper, eye-popping extravaganzas?  Your sixty dollar book will find its way to my local con's auction in the next six years and might fetch five bucks.  Easy to read content is better than luxurious fluff.

We're having the same problem in the wargaming (non-GW) community: super fancy $50 rulebooks when the content couldn't hold a candle to something as basic as Laserburn.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #20: (Talislanta) Would You Like to Touch My Peaches?

Our cast of Characters navigating the world of Talislanta:

Kannex - NPC - Tanasian Wizard who accidently transported a classic D&D brothel into the world of Talislanta.  Desperately researching a way to get a brothel full of women, the brothel's proprietor, and an adventuring party getting increasingly hostile to him back to their home world, as the adventurers try to obtain the components necessary for such an impressive spell.

Rolf Wolfsblood:  Bald-headed barbarian from the Plains of Galmar. Returning from an arduous journey from the Underground Highway of Durne.

Alexi - Sarista gypsy native to Talislanta.  Also returning to Durne. Suffering odd effects from some toxic material encountered in the side caves of the Underground Highway.

Ashe - highly skilled elven ranger, enjoying the fact that hated elves in Crosedes have pointed ears, just like all the races of men in Talislanta.  Currently recovering from "Talislanta Pox" aka, the Talislanta Rhinovirus.

Kane - monk of eastern mysticism with an odd elemental control of water.  Also returning from Durne.

Babette - Urban street thief swept up with the party when they teleported to Talislanta.  Recovering from Talislanta Pox.

29th of Talislandre 150 N.A. - Back at the The Pleasure House of Duane Alberhold, Cymril
Babbette was finally feeling better, sitting on the porch, as Rolf, Kane, and Aleix return from their journey.  They said nothing as they walked into the brothel, climbed the stairs, and and initiated the ensuing ruckus occurred near the door to Kannex's room.

A bit later, Rolf emerged out onto the porch.  He sneered at the the useless young thief who had tried to pick his pockets back a lifetime ago in Hydincall.

"We need purifiers from Sylvanus.  Ashe is better, but Kane fell ill on the road back.  You good enough to not get any of us killed?"

Babette nodded.

"Good, we're taking fucking windships from now on.  Abn Qua should be able to afford them."

32nd of Talislandre 150 N.A. - Back at the The Pleasure House of Duane Alberhold, Cymril
Packed up and provisioned, the group travelled into Cymril city proper to board the windship Solanus-Pon.  Upon arriving at the windship docks, they discovered that the windship had been stolen while still in Zanfir, along with all the equipment of the mercenaries and guides Abn Qua had hired!  Abn Qua's agent arrived at the scene and offered a handsome reward to investigate the theft (it was Abn Qua's ship, after all.)

Within hours, the windship Silver Moon was procurred to take them to Zanfir.

36th of Talislandre 150 N.A. - Zanfir
Silver Moon reached Zanfir just before nightfall, unloaded some cargo, and travelled overnight to Zandria.

37th of Talislandre 150 N.A. - Zandria
They party arrived in town and began buying drinks for the breakfast crowd at the taverns, overtly looking for information.  They found out from one of the dockguards it had been a magical theft.  A cloud of morpheus dust rolled in, knockng the guards out.

During lunch a strange character came up to their table and asked "Would you like to touch my peaches."  Most of the party was caught off guard, or misheard the Sarista's question, but Rolf simply sighed and nodded, "No they are quite rotten."

Rolf introduced their cotact in Zandir, Darius, to the rest of the party.

"No kind sir, Darius is a wanted man, You should call me "Yuri!" *OVERTLY OBVIOUS WINK*

"I understand we must go to Silvanus.  The theft of the Solanus-Pons has made travel difficult here, No windship, but I will buy Equs for each of you.  Very easy to ride.

They walked to a local stable together.  "Yuri" spoke with stable owner and handed him a large payment for five Equas, strange reptilian looking horses.
With bit and bridle on each each steed, they rode off.  Yuri glanced back one last time, and pulled a familiar sack of coins from beneath his cloak, "I suggest we leave tonight... immediately."

38th of Talislandre 150 N.A. - On to the road to Silvanus
The Equs proved to quick and reliable steeds.  Rolf even managed a crack a smile with the hijinx and stories of Alexi and Yuri. While resting over lunch, they heard a rustling in some nearby bushes.   Pouncing to action, they encountered a dwarf, much like the ones from their world.  He wiped his nose, leaving a trail of snot on his sleeve.  He extended his hand towards Rolf and said, "Would you like to touch my penis?"

Babette:  "He did say peaches, right. In the language we speak back home?"
Rolf:  "He speaks Trade Common, thief, but he certainly did not say peaches."
Kane:  "NORRRRRRMMMMM!"

It was unsure how he arrived in Talislanta, but the dim-witted Norm Dingleberry had found his way to the forests of Silvanus in Talislanta.  Given that  he had spoken more Trade Common than his entire previous adventure with Kane, the monk was impressed.

Impressed enough that he vouched for him a capable fighter...

Okay, Kane outright lied.  But, he had his own provisions, and his own steed, a weary looking but servicable pony called Mytomek, and seemed eager to adventure.  They washed the snot off the dwarf and everone continued on their way....

DM Notes: We have begun "The Jewel of Fortuna" from the Sarista sourcebook for Talislanta.   Bigger for the party is the sudden addition of Norm Dingleberry, last seen in Episode #14: "The Shattered Circle."  As time and dimensional travelers, they either seem like geniuses or utter morons, and a dwarf nitwit that can barely speak Dwarven, much less Common, fits one of those categories.

NEXT #21 - The Blue Lotus Clan

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 22: What RPGs are the Easiest to Run?

We begin the third week of #RPGaDay 2017 with "What RPGs are the Easiest to Run?"

The not so short answers:  Anything I GM is Easy.  Savage Worlds, D&D, Hackmaster, GURPS, PbtA, if I'm running the system, it's because I've picked up on the concepts and can easily related them to any new players.

Fun side story: I've seen plenty of rules-lite/improve heavy systems clunker down in the midst of combat, for a number of reasons, usually more in the player/GM spectrum.  I managed to run the entire G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chieftain in Hackmaster in four hours and fifteen minutes.   Did I mention that the PCs tripped the alarm early on, and outside of half-hour slog-fest when they did get pinned down in a room for a bit (It's f20 gaming, it happens.), they were able to break through and have a gripping, frantic running battle through the caverns beneath the steading?  I don't have the exact casualties on hand, but they went through more than a dozen encounters, which, if they were playing other appropriate f20 games, would take numerous sessions for even the hardcore players I know.  At 10:15 that night, the PCs were walking away from the burning steading with the chieftain's head in their possession, the end credits rolling, and the players taking their first deep breaths in hours.  If you know your stuff, any RPG is "easy."

That being said, if I needed to run something RIGHT NOW and have it be easy and awesome, it would be Risus

C'mon, a handful of  d6's, a scrap of paper to write down stats, and we're game for an adventure in the Horrible Dungeon of the Imminent Random Encounter, Supernatural Space Adventures Based Off of Comic Book Movie #15619, saving the village from the adorable rampage of dire pugs, or a simple trip to the convenience store to grab chips and queso.

Risus gives me the basic framework to make it happen.

Heck, those first three ideas could happen on the way to the store *spoilers!*  The expired salsa is probably behind it all, but all fingers point to the guac.

Thanks #RPGaDay, I have the plot for the my next Illuminati University game!
"I left my coupon for the queso back at the house..."
EDIT:  When the list comes out for #RPGaDay in July, I start knocking these bad boys out early for three reasons.  First, my schedule in late August is particularly crazy, and I don't want to get this far in and not finish the experiment. Second, I don't want other people's answers to influence my measly thoughts, no matter how much better they are. Finally, I don't game enough that the sessions might radically alter my answers.  

However, last night, our friendly 5th Edition D&D game was cancelled and who came to the rescue with a filler game?   *THIS GUY*

And what did I run?  Risus. Although, despite all the talk above about comic books and queso, it was a hard sci-fi game.  Characters were part of the early Mars colonists, just starting to terraform the planet.  Outside a few botched rolls that transformed the Strategic Program Advisor (aka "Mars Commissar") into Steve Urkel, the game was run entirely straight and it worked great.  

It was only the last five minutes when I revealed Nazis and a White Martian grabbing the commissar in some caves beneath the surface that things were guaranteed to devolve into B-Movie status we love so very much whenever we get the chance to play again.

Monday, August 21, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 21:Which RPG Does the Most with the Least Words

Day 21 of #RPGaDay 2017 shows that I'm still hip with the trendy, small press games.

"Which RPG Does the Most With the Least Words?"

That goes to a recent discovery for me, Rockerboys and Vending Machines

Character creation, mechanics, artwork AND a cyberpunk adventure generator, for FREE? Aces in my book.

Yes, I know, it's a hack off of Lasers and Feelings, which is a boat load of fun, but the adventure generator for cyberpunk just feels more fleshed out L&F.  It can be argued that the cyberpunk source material and inspiration can be a bit more varied, but every L&F actual play I've heard, regardless of story generated, sounds exactly the same.   

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Water Cart from Things From the Basement

Things from the Basement has recently released a 28mm Water Cart kit for all your wargaming needs.
$6.50

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 20: What is the Best Source for Out-of-Print RPGs?

Nostalgia in all its forms for #RPGaDay 2017 Day 20:

"What is the Best Source of Out-of-Print RPGs"

Enter the late-to-party Grognard, "Dagnabbit, I wish Crazy Egor's was all in his glory of the 80's and 90's you could get old-school modules affordably.  Heck, they even paid YOU a penny if you added a copy of Isle of Dread with your order."

Yes, I know Crazy Egor still exists in some form in the Rochester, NY area, but I feel a trip up there could never match up with the simply ridiculous inventory that we encountered in our epic road trip in the early 90's. 

Anyway, I've certainly left the Collector mentality after my great purge of 'Aught-Four.   Now married with kids, I don't have the budget to snag up the cool old stuff I still want, and I certainly don't have the time to use it in play.

I'm resigned to use two avenues to access my sense of nostalgia:
  1. eBay - This is not as awesome as it was even fifteen years ago.  Ridiculous opening bids and Buy-It-Now prices that make it cheaper to purchase a time machine and go back in time and buy it at retail. I still have a few saved searches that I check for deals (they still exist), but most of them are for miniatures.
  2. Auctions at local cons - I have the good fortune of having a local con (Mepacon) twice a year with solid auctions.  The auctions started as a con dealer hosting an "Everything starts for a dollar!" auction to a well-organized, standard part of the convention.  The dollar minimum still stands (outside large/rare items or charity auctions) and since it's fueled by attendees winnowing out their collections, it's a nice variety of stuff.  Of course, there's also a pre-auction buyout price that can be listed on the item, so a few of us might be known to prowl the area looking for deals.    Even then, I've given up a deal of a buy-out bid at, say ten dollars, only to pick it up in the live auction for three.  No signed copies of 70's Chainmail, but I have rebuilt my Rifts collection for Savage Rifts for less than a sawbuck.  
Plus that Russian copy of Scrabble I snagged is a conversation starter....

Saturday, August 19, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 19: Which RPG Features the Best Writing?

Another #RPGaDay 2017 question that made me go, "Hmmmmmmm...."
Day 19: "Which RPG Features the Best Writing?"

I can think of quality publishers, a sourcebook of note, but I had to think long and hard into the past, only find the answer in the immediate past for some of the best writing in a rulebook I've seen in quite some time.

The My Little Pony Tails of Equestria Storytelling Game.
Yeah, you can stop laughing.  This game makes your favorite game appear to have been written by dyslexic monkeys with hooks for hands who typed it up in the middle of Grand Mal seizure. 

Now that I've offended everyone, let me explain. 

This type of book needs to cover three groups:  the Pony fanatics, kids and their parents, and the general role-playing crowd, and it successfully writes to each group at the same time, without talking down to them or going over their heads. 

This has some of the best explanation as to what an RPG/Storytelling game is, solid examples on how mechanics should work 99% of the time (without persevering on the 1%), and almost calming advice to those who want to run a game.

The kicker is character creation:  With only one quick breeze through of the book, I was able to conduct full character creation with my six and eight-year old daughters in just a few minutes, because the section was so well structured that my eldest could pop between the required chapters to look up talents and quirks.  Page numbers for other sections and basic explanations that make an experienced gamer admire its simple elegance was the apparently the mission of the writers/editors. 

I'm willing to compare it to my Savage Worlds Explorer Edition, because (a) the kids love playing Savage Worlds and (b) the similarities between character creation and mechanics are oddly comforting (Maja, my eight year old, realized that all by herself).  So, while portions of Savage Worlds are wildly in-depth, it's not the multiple options available for character advancement that turns Maja off,  it's the lack of internal organization and reference points so she can compare and contrast. .

And their version of "Bennies" blows the lid off anything Savage Worlds does.

I was planning Mousling Fantasy games using Savage Worlds, but I figure a few more sessions under our belts, and I could easily set  up under My Little Pony.

Heck, I assume after a few more read through and me teaching her what a basic story outline is, Maja will be ready to GM her first RPG any day now, and I'll be forced to run Mouslings if I want a chance of GMing something.

Friday, August 18, 2017

More Flip Flops Than a Jimmy Buffet Concert

This week, I've found myself on too many late-night phone calls and typing away at the computer. No big news right now, but since I haven't had time to venture to the painting bench, I'm calling a few audibles.

  • Monday night is the online 5th Edition D&D game I'm playing in. Two sessions in and we've vacillated between a SyFy Channel Disaster Movie and Grey's Anatomy, with a few travelling montages out of Milo and Otis.  I'm not complaining at all.  
  • If Jeff, our DM, cancels, I think I have a few interested parties for some random one-shots/playtests that I've been fleshing out from the blog's back-catalog of drafts.  If I want Terraforming Mars: The RPG, The Bloody White Baron of Mongolia, or George and Ike's Excellent Mexican Adventure, this might be a good avenue for it.  
  • I had great online conversations with Nate (Norm Dingleberry) and Hoyce (Talis Makolin) to help flesh out final episodes of the Ballad of the Pigeon God. I still need to talk to Steve (Echelon), for his recollections, but the framework of those final days has been confirmed, and a few juicy details that I forgot after nearly twenty years.  I foresee the weekly episodes every Tuesday morning extending into July of next year.  
  • I'm putting Rat-na-Rock on the far back burner of projects, alongside my Lost City and "Home" D&D campaigns.  The Frost Giants are still getting painted up.
  • The 27th Leinenkugel Gnome Infantry are back up on the queue and more gnomes after that.  
  • As God as my witness, the German Colonials and Treasure Chests will get finished.  
  • Still trying to figure out my four hours of "grown-up" games to run at Mepacon.  Worst case, I may run more My Little Ponies Friday night.
  • My Reaper Bones 4 pledge got dropped down to a $1 (Wave One).  Things are weird in the world right now, and I have have little under a year with the pledge manager to add what I finally decide on.  Plus Macrocosm Miniatures is having a one-week Kickstarter the end of August and it will end at the same time.  
  • Michael's is currently clearing out their Spring/Summer Gnome & Fairy Home lines and has the Halloween and Christmas themes up (Thanks Mike for update!)
And while I figure out all of this, I'm trying to reconstruct the campaign map based off of all the campaigns I ran plus, the Epic of Aerth as the base...   Minor spoilers for the post-Pigeon God map. 

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 18: Which RPG Have You Played the Most in Your Life

Day 18: "Which RPG have you played the most in your life?"

Short Answer: AD&D 2nd Edition
Long Answer:  I was ramping up to become a DM right at the onset of 2nd Edition.  I embraced it wholeheartedly. I eschewed splatbooks and weird plot devices. I fumbled through the narrative based sourcebooks.  I did everything short of physical violence to avoid Skills & Powers.

I embraced THAC0 willingly and lovingly and 2nd Edition became the main staple of my gaming diet throughout the 90's.  If it weren't for Hackmaster during the great d20 debacle, I would have easily returned to it through this day. Hell, I still have open invitations to not one, but two 2nd Edition campaigns, if I ever had the time.

I've tried 3rd, I laughed wildly at 4th, and 5th gets pretty close to 1st/2nd with all the modern nuances, but I still have THAC0 progression and xp monster tables memorized after all these years.  

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Gnome Action Over at Spoils of Wargames

After accumulating the necessary forces, Spoils of Wargames has successfully run a Gnome Wars game!!!


A great assortment of figures, a nice variety of terrain, and a totally sweet battlemat from Cigar Box Battlemats .

Well done!

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 17: Which RPG Have You Owned the Longest But Not Played?

Day 17 of #RPGaDay brings up another challenging question.

"Which RPG Have You Owned the Longest But Not Played?"

It sounds like an easy question, but after thirty years of owning RPG material, I've cycled/purged/edited my collection so often that it took awhile to remember what edition was purchased when. 

I would have loved to list something truly old-school like Top Secret or *gasp* Star Frontiers, but I believe everything went with the great moving purge of Aught-Four.

The one item that survived the purge that I have yet to play was The End: Lost Souls Edition for d20.
The End was one of those games that originated infamous "BANNED FROM GENCON!" press, but the concept was simple.

The great plagues, blights, and wars foretold in the Bible have actually happened. With the world plummeting into sudden doom, the Rapture occurs, people simply disappearing without a trace. Most of the mighty have destroyed themselves, the righteous have ascended into heaven, and the meek (the PCs) have inherited an Earth that God has forsaken.

The early sessions are scavenger/survivor in nature, the characters finding dwindling supplies and allies, as man turns on himself.   And the absence of God does not mean that the Supernatural no longer hides in the corners of man's eye.  Rather, it has attacked the works of man in two ways.  Nature itself has gone into overdrive, striving for a "Return to Eden."  Man's works are decaying at a rapid rate.  Libraries are turning to dust in months, structures rotting or crumbling away as the plants assault the abandoned structures.  And if the flora isn't a big enough threat, the rumors of giant wolves ravaging the countryside certainly deter those looking to travel for a new life. 

If that's not enough, truly supernatural entities still reside on the Earth, forming armies for a certainly nefarious purpose.   

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game 30th Anniversary Edition!

In an amusing twist, it appears that Fantasy Flight Games will be releasing the Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game 30th Anniversary Edition.

That would be the West End Games d6 version of the RPG.

The original rulebook and sourcebook will be printed with higher quality standards than the originals and packaged in a stylized slipcase.

MSRP is $59.95.

My Reaper Bones 4 Update and Want List

We're about halfway done with the Reaper Miniatures Bones 4 Kickstarter, and despite a significant amount of "meh" with the selections, I've found myself looking at more add-on items.

No matter if it's a 100 minis or a foot tall dragon for the "Core" pledge of $100, I really haven't had a need for any of base sets in Bone I-IV.  I'm what you might call an "a la carte" type of guy.   At this point in the campaign for Bones 3 (money-wise.  Bones 3 was only 18 days long!) , I was looking at three items (and duplicates thereof)

  • Frost Giant Warriors (2 sets, 4 warriors total) $20.00
  • Mouslings (2 sets)  $20.00
  • and the Mystic Circle $15.00
To be honest, I ended up snagging the one group of Mouslings and the Circle with the Kickstarter pledge and added a lot more in the Pledge Manager through the following year. 

This time, one of the expansions is singing to me with a sci-fi siren's call, and I don't even play sci-fi right now!

And the regular add-ons hit the same demographics as last time:
Giants:

 More Giants:
 Mousling Equivilants:
 And cute widdle dwagons that my girls will still want to paint with their uncool father, even in the Spring of 2019.

That's $94 before S&H!  Thank God I'll have a few months to tack extras on via the Pledge Manager.

And if this Kickstarter stays to form, they will open up the "a la carte" option to the core set before it wraps up.  Methinks a few pig pumpkin carts are in order, plus some awesome femal warriors.  


We have another million dollars or so of stretch goals before this ends, so I might be even further trouble.

Of course, for the record, I'll include the very recent controversy about Reaper's employee participating in "questionable political discussions" on a personal social media outlet.  Some people have over-reacted and become outraged, pulling their pledges, others are over-reacting and become over-defensive, and the truth lies somewhere in the middle.  A tempest in a teapot compared to other factors happening around the country and around the world, and according to the campaigns numbers, people may have pulled out in protest, but not in numbers to affect this slow-crawling mid-campaign juggernaut.

More importantly, where are  the Mouslings already?