Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Frog Remains the Same

This is not much of a gaming post.  Actually it has nothing to do with gaming.  But it is inspired by another gamer, Christian over at Destination Unknown.  Seeing him working on his yard, messing with compose and always painting over tags on his wall.  So this was my day.  A few pictures of what I did and a few very cool pictures of my backyard.  I sometimes bitch about where I live then I take some photos, look at them and think what a beautiful place.  Anyway today was spent giving The Whisk a reading haven and a place to grow her spices.  I apologize for some of the picture sizes, but I wanted to get clear pictures.

I had to sand down some of the boards.  A lot of the boards.  I probably should have sanded the entire deck, but I didn't. 
A side view of my deck.  Those little posts in between are a pain in the ass to stain.  And you get a little sneak preview of our backyard.
This is the view The Whisk will have when she comes out onto her new reading haven.  Beautiful eh?  We bought some chairs the other day so now all I need to do it get to staining.
Oh yeah, here that scary ass frog.  I don't care that it is carrying a rose and has a little basket.  There is something very wrong with it.

I was out there staining for nearly 7 hours with an hour of sanding.  I had my iPod on listening to a soundtrack of Seether, Tom Waits, Ravenettes, Radiohead, some 50s tunes (for some reason 50s music is made for the summertime) Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Gnarls Barkley and many others.  I love my iPod.  Then I had a little heat stroke, but after nurse Whisk made me drink some nasty ass cherry juice I was up and staining again.  Here is the end result.
Deck is all stained.  If you were walking up my deck stairs this is what it would look like.  Don't step on the little inch worm to the right of the top step.  And in the back you can see the scary ass frog between the slats.
This is a view if you got drunk on my back deck and fell down.  But it still looks good from down here.
Again, those slats were a pain in the ass to stain, but I think it looks great.  This section is where the chairs and table will go.  And then on the railing imagine a couple of herb gardens.  Our kitchen is connected with the deck by a sliding glass door.  So if she feels like whipping up one of her concoctions she can just walk out onto the deck and get what she needs.  But I was thinking while I was staining that if we were attack by zombies these would make a lousy defense. 
And a couple pictures as the sun was setting.  With all the rain we've had everything is like green on steroids. 
I need to mow again.
And back to the scary ass frog.  Through out the day of staining and music and heat stroke and zombie attacks the frog remains the same.

5-31-11 Newbie Blogger Award

It's time again for another very well deserved blog to get the fallen knight award.  Now my next selection may be a bit bias, but that's okay I'm allowed.  And not to mention I just wrote about them.  The blog is a pair of artists who have graced the pages of multiple issues of Knockspell and Fight On!, Swords and Wizardry Core Rulebook, Surge of the Dark Wine Sea, to be released adventure Scourge of the Demon Wolf and they are helping make my Starter Adventures better.

Underworld Ink
 is the home of artists John Larrey and Jason Sholtis.  I've had the pleasure of gaming with both these guys and it was a hell of a lot of fun.  They are excited about gaming and it shows in their pictures.  So please take a stroll over to Underground Ink and check out the gallery of pictures they have on display.  Great work guys.  I look forward to seeing more pictures.

Monday, May 30, 2011

More Killer Pics from Underworld Ink

Jason and John over at Underworld Ink are creating great pieces for Starter Adventures.  Check out the Balan picture which was in On the Road adventure in the original.  Really liked how the aura turned out.  Every time I get an email  from them I get excited and can't wait to see what they've come up with.

Starter Adventure Status
Adventure 100% complete
Tavern 90%
Party Adventure 75%
Editing 0% complete
Layout 30% complete
Art 40% complete
Maps 0% complete

Its coming along and most of these won't take much to complete, but I do want to take my time to put out the best product I can.  Enjoy the pictures.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Proof of Alien Life

They are out there you know.  You have to believe.  So much space, it would be ridiculous to think we were the only ones.  I cannot argue the fact that it seems strange that the aliens are able to navigate across the universe only to crash into the earth, but they do seem to do that lot.  Maybe its all the radios, microwaves and cell phones.  Of course we didn't have that stuff when Roswell happened.  Hmmm, yeah we didn't have it til after cause we got it from the aliens!

And I have proof.  Look at this.  So what I found it at a pet store in the fish aquarium section.  It's really real.  There is a big hole in the back of his head where someone must have hit him with a pipe.  Look at those orbital sockets and extended nose.  If that's not an alien than red isn't a color and water isn't wet. 

And I swear it glowed a little in the dark.

Don't talk to me about tin foil hats, Illuminati, diet pop, or sleestak.   This is really real.  They are out there.  They are here.  I've got the proof sitting on my desk right now.

Sleestak Sunday, Early Edition

This sleestak is having a ball.
The staycation continues so I thought I would get my Sleestak Sunday done early.  I don't remember this red ball episode.  And it's wearing a necklace.  Must be a 3rd season episode, I have the first two on DVD.  It looks happy with its red ball. 

Today we head to Ohio to the bookstore.  Our Borders closed so now we drive over an hour to get to the closest.  Don't get me wrong, B&N is a good store, but Borders is my store.  Going to get some writing done there, drink a javanilla and scout around and take a look at some stores.  Going to google to see if there is a gaming store nearby.  Have a good Sleestak Sunday, find your red ball and have fun. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Layout for Starter Adventures

It's late here.  Nearly 2:30am and I'm nearly finished with the entire first draft of Starter Adventures.  Red Bear's Tavern is nearly complete.  Just a few more room descriptions and my map mock up needs sent to Rob.  I have to get all my map mock ups to Rob.  Jason and John are very busy artists, but I sent them a few suggestions of what I would like to see.  Jason is working on a cover which I am excited about.

As I am writing this I have been thinking of how to lay this puppy out.  I am a keep it clean, two columns, right and left justified kinda guy.  No fancy fonts.  Two at the most in the manuscript.  But I am thinking with the pictures and mini maps I might just keep it a single column.  I will play with it a bit once it gets closer to layout time, but never too earlier to consider options.

The pros of the single column is I have a lot more room on the page to place maps and pictures.  Do some text wrapping and subtle framing to accent and still get all the information included.  And if you are looking at the manuscript in PDF form on a reader or computer you can scroll down without having to go back to the top on the same page once you read the 1st column.

The cons of a single column format is it doesn't look as professional to me.  I guess I am so used to seeing a two column format that's what I expect to see in a gaming product.  I think most of us expect that.

Just some late night thoughts as I consider my next release.  Have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rusty Battle Axe Presents : Game Mastering In Second Position

Years ago I was taking guitar lessons with this amazing guitar instructor when this little life-changing episode happens:
We are playing the blues, with me taking the lead,  and he says, “Now switch to second position.” I stopped playing. I had no idea what he was talking about. And I had no idea that this would be the most pivotal moment in my guitar-playing life.
I had become very adept at playing the minor pentatonic scale—throwing in double stops, ghost notes, bends, etc. etc.—but all in the first position. I didn’t know there was a second position. Or a third. Or a fourth. Or a fifth.  And so he taught me these four new positions—same scale, different starting points, and told me to play those and NOT the first position. Not playing the first position was like losing my ability to speak and to express myself. I fumbled around on the guitar like I had been handed it for the first time. It was frustrating, aggravating, heart-breaking. I wanted to quit. And yet, after a few weeks, I found that I learned new ways to express myself and my playing made several huge leaps. But the initial move from first position to second position was like learning to play guitar all over again, frustrating and disorientating.
I had a similar experience as Game Master this past Monday. To be sure, it was not nearly as dramatic as frustrating as the guitar experience. Our Monday session was, in fact, a fair amount of fun. But I was definitely out of my comfort zone. First position game mastering for me is that approach to play that has come be called “sandbox.” I had never even used a module (not one) until two years ago…all I had was a big made up world with made up people, places and things.
So now I am GMing for Dwayne, Rob and Tim and I decided to try something very different for myself—to not only use modules—but a complete adventuring arc. We are using “Splinters of Faith” from Frog God Games. It’s good stuff, but very different stuff than I am used to. Second, nay, third position stuff for me.
I am probably more casual about my gaming than many who prowl the blogosphere. Gaming is less an obsession and more of an escape, one of the few activities when I completely lose myself and my cares and simply have fun. But I found it difficult to lose myself with a different approach to GMing, knowing that if the players miss the Thing A and Thing B and Thing C in Module 1, there is no point in even opening Module 2. And I am already losing sleep about them getting to Module 3. Trying to find ways to help the players achieve clarity while avoiding blatant and constant railroading is going to be an interesting—and new—challenge for me as GM. Despite the bit of anxiety, I am pumped about the challenge and even more so about the payoff that might come from gaming from a different angle. I don't try to be the best RPG player, GM, etc...I just play to relax, but I am thinking that once I get used to this, GMing in "second position" will be just as much fun and I'll be the better player for it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How Many Coins in a Coffer Revisited

I’ve been thinking about the space/weight capacity of carrying coins. If the players come upon a dragon horde of 500,000 assorted coins the players can’t just grab them all and head for the nearest town. After reading the article “How Many Coins in a Coffer” by David F. Godwin from Dragon magazine #80, which is full of cubic centimeter, weight in grams for the various metals and enough math that made my head hurt. But after reading, and the coincidence of me having to roll a ton of coins I’ve decided to make it as simple as possible, 10 coins = a pound. Please no arguments about math. I have a very low tolerance for such nonsense.

So a 20 pound sack can hold 200 coins, 40 pound sack can hold 400 coins. In these cases it’s the weight not the space it takes up. For something like a portable hole or bag of holding it would be how many could fit, not weight. Portable hole at 10’ by 10’ by 10’ and using the square inchage and generalizing that that 4 coins can fit in a square inch. A 10’ square room has a total of 1,728,000 square inches, times that by four that means if the coins are stacked perfectly 6,912,000 coins could fit. But they aren’t going to be stacked perfectly so I guesstimate that you lose 15% space through tossing coins in so that would leave room for 5,875,200 coins which I would round up to 6 million.

So a quick calculation of coins that takes up space if weight doesn’t matter. Like the big ass treasury chest. Again we are using the assumption that 4 coins will fit into a square inch.

A 1 foot square box can fit 6912 coins stacked well round up to 7000. Messy 5872 or 6000.

I’m going to say an average coffer is 8” by 11” by 6” would hold 2000 coins.

A small chest is 18” by 12” by 12” can hold 10,000 coins.

A large chest 48” by 36” by 24” can hold 160,000 coins.

As stated above sacks, bags and backpacks are limited by weight more than space. Exceptions being the magical items that specialize in storage. Enough math for the day. It hurts my head.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Trial of the Ghouls


I just was digging through some old stuff.  Very old stuff.  Found a few pieces of poetry that I got a good chuckle from.  This one is I believe the first poem I wrote for a module of mine.  hehe, read at your on risk.

Trial of the Ghouls
Screaming ghouls celebrate their feast
in the graveyard dining on the deceased.

This a custom of these creatures
the remains in bloody pools.
This what they call
the Trial of the Ghouls. 

I warned you.  Think I was 14.  Maybe.  Give or take 2 years.  I thought it was funny.  I have no idea what it means I just always liked the title.  Still do. 

Kick Off to a New Campaign and the Difference of Character Concept and Character Play and This Has Become My Longest Title Ever.

It started.  Last night around 6:30.  Fantasy Grounds did not crash and the only technical glitch was some echoing in Rob's mic. 

So there we lay in the virtual world, me as Rolondo the bard, Rob as Agnar the illusionist and Dwayne as Brother Dani (pronounced deny) the cleric started in the campaign face down in the dirt from a sleep spell.  Rusty as the chaotic evil GM made sure to describe that their were flies in our mouths.  A caravan was hit hard by bandits.  We were fortunate to be in the fringe when we went down and escaped the spear in the chest while you sleep maneuver. 

Before I go further this is where I discovered the concept of my character was not going to fit in with the others as well or still unsure how Rolondo would fit in.  Sure I can play my guy as planned, but it would take a lot longer to get things done.  The first few sessions in figuring out how these characters are going to mesh together.  Or even if they will.  I want to enjoy what the GM is developing and find a cooperative relationship with the other players, but still be an individual. 

Other people have different ways to play, but I prefer to have a cooperative group.  That's not to mean I don't like tricking or sticking it to another player once in a while.  But for the most part I want the party to be a team that works together. 

This is were when a character is first developed it can be a rough sketch or have a forty page background.  Either way its hard to know how to play your character until you see what the others developed.  In old AD&D terms, you can't be playing a paladin type if you have two others playing assassin and evil cleric type characters.  Either they change or you change or maybe the GM has developed a situation where the players will need to cooperative even though they are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Anyway, right now I think we are all figuring out our characters and how they fit in this new world.  Right now we only know how bad the road dirt tastes and the Village of Lessof.  Back to the game...

Brother Dani wanted to bury the dead, but we had no shovels, but that didn't stop him.  I wasn't about to ruin my mandolin playing hands by digging them into the hard dirt and stone, but I wasn't against the idea.  Plus during this conversation I found a little my quirk my character has, he corrects their word usage.  In a nice way.  They kept calling the animals who eat the bodies carrion.  It was corrected.  Anyway i volunteered to go to the village and get shovels.

The village was a run downwith some interesting NPCs.  Rusty had me cracking up a few times.  While exploring the village I found another quirk of Rolondo, he over thinks stuff.  He tried to correlate what was going on in the village to this old tale he knew from a child. 

The three plot lines we have going currently are:
1. A chicken stealing fox.  Agnar caught it and brought it back to the village and that's where we left off.
2. I decipher some ancient script on the alter in the church.
3. And of course the bandits that hit us. 

The point I made when we were tracking the bandits was what would we do if we found them?  We didn't fare so well the first time.  And there were a lot more of us then.  Mostly everyone else was killed. 

So that was our kickoff session.  With the fox caught and a celebration looming I'm thinking things are going to get hectic real quick. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sleestak Sunday

It's Sleestak Sunday.  And I did not get rapturized.  I found this sleestak drawing over at Mindsiphon.  Love Rob's work.  This sleestak looks like it it belongs in Hyboria.  And I love that you can see the cave up above.  I can almost see Holly's red and white shirt and Will's ego.  Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Since the Rapture is Upon Us...

I thought I do what I think is cool in gaming right now.  Because tomorrow may never come, unless your bad than you have a little extra time.  At least you'll be able to catch the final Harry Potter movie.

These are in no particular order, just as I think of them and this is by no means a complete list because my memory is more sieve than hard drive these days. 

DungeonMorph Dice these things are excellent.  I remember watching them when they had just met their fist goal to do one set of dice.  They are now flown past their 3rd goal and have gathered over $19,000 in backers.  My god, 19k.  I think that's great.  And two of my favorite dungeon morphers are leading the way, Dyson Logos and Risus Monkey.

I've already written a blog about the One-Page Dungeon contest.  I still need to do a couple of reviews on the winners and the other one pagers I liked and swiped for myself.

The Underdark Gazette's weekly newsletter of what is going on in the world of the OSR and gaming in general.  James works his ass off each week to put that out for all of us to catch up on things we may have missed through out the week.  I'm always surprised at how much I miss. 

Another James who works his ass off.  Mr. Raggi who continues to do his way.  I appreciate the work and the balls it takes to start your own company and get your product into the stores.  I dabble with adventures and sell PDFs and hope to sell some print copies soon, but James has taken this to the next level, hell the next couple of levels. 

Johnathan's passion for pie and a hell of an artist. 

Hill Cantons's cake position and his top 5 worst old school blogs.

I've enjoyed watching Christian's battle with his backyard, passion for gaming and the kick ass food he makes for his players.  Not to mention his One Square Equals One Foot magazine.

Satyre's never ending supply of taverns and inns.  He's got a ton of them!

Underworld Ink, Jason and John helping me with my next project.  Their work is really making a storm giant sized difference in it and much appreciated. 

And not the last, but sort of...my gaming group.  Rob, Dwayne and Rusty, very cool guys that make killing thing that much more fun.

Enjoy the Rapture everyone.  See you on the flip side...

Friday, May 20, 2011

New Toys

Yesterday Ivy went to get Wiggy food at our local tractor supply store.  Yes, we live in rural Pennsylvania and we actually have two tractor supplies in town.  *Insert cow tipping joke here*  Anyway, while she was dog food shopping she bought me these very cool toys.

Just some goofiness on a Friday night.  I have a very great wife who allows me to play when I need to play.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Got a Question

Been mulling around a how to handle oil flasks.  The kind you light and lob and hopefully catch something on fire.  Using it for lanterns is for sissys.  I've looked around, but haven't found anything satisfying.  Would prefer to keep the rule simple.  So I am asking, whaddaya got?

Thanks ahead of time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Starter Adventures Update

Finally got serious and began working on Starter Adventures again.  I've competed the the first drafts of all the cleric and fighter adventures and three-forths of the way done with the magic-user and thief adventures.  I need to send some preliminary drawings to Rob for maps and the manuscript to Jason and suggestions for artwork.  I've decided to add a small one-shot adventure to the end.  And I think I will flesh out a starter tavern.  Does anyone have enough taverns?  Anyway, just a quick update on my next project.

Oh, and I think Rusty will be doing a series of blog posts here about musical instruments.  I think it will be cool and glad he will do it at the Manor.

And double oh, I've added all my recent gaming purchases and I am getting scary near $500 for the year.  

Start of a New Campaign

Last night Rob (Bat in the Attic), Dwayne (Gamers Closet), Rusty (formly of The Rusty Battle Axe) and I got together to work out the kinks of Fantasy Grounds 2 and to finish our characters.  Rusty will be GMing using a home brewed version of Castles & Crusades.  He said he was very excited to GM us, but I am sure that wore off as the night went on. 

Gaming over the internet is great because you can still get together with your gaming dudes, but one of these sessions where the files are downloaded, the new GM gets some play time with fiddling with all the new contraptions of FG2 is critical.  The will be Rusty's first time using FG2 as a GM.  He has a good instructor with Rob, and an excellent peanut gallery with me and Dwayne chastising him if he makes a mistake.  Overall I think we got the major kinks worked out and filed downloaded.

So far I have my bard Rolondo.  Who despite Dwayne's insistent does not go the way of Elton John.  Dwayne is playing a priest.  And Rob has got himself an illusionist.  Bard.  Cleric.  Illusionist.  We are so dead.

We are going to need to hire some front line fodder before too long I am sure.  Rusty is using the Splinters of Faith adventures from Frog God Games, the S&W version.  I'm not sure how brutal the series is, but I am sure it will leave us with a few nasty bruises and scars. 

Rusty did a lot of research on instrument of the time.  I am trying to get him to do a guest blog and post about the instruments.  I think it would be interesting and helpful.  So if you would like to see the blog let Rusty know by leaving a comment saying, Rusty, don't be a slather ass and write a blog for cry'n out lout.

Next we begin our new adventure.  It will be fun exploring a new world with a new GM and finally get to play with Rob and Dwayne.  Rusty is a clever fellow and I am sure he is going to have lots of surprises for us.  Can't wait!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Damage Sale, Go Get Some!

Today I took advantage of Joseph Browning's damage sale over at Expeditious Retreat Press.  He's selling some of his books that have some flaws.  I've had A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe for a long time and it continues to be on my heavy use self.  This is one of those supplements that go into the classics category for me.  But, that isn't in the sale.

Here's what I got, Malevolent & Benign, Advanced Adventures #13: White Dragon Run, and Advanced Adventures #12: The Barrow Ground of Gravemoor.  These are print copies.  So with shipping included all of this cost $20.  Done.  Thanks Joseph and thanks James at the Underdark Gazette.  Really looking forward to getting these.  Always love looking at gaming stuff as you can see my grand total for the year climbing into scary heights.  

One-Page Dungeon Winners

This year's One-Page Dungeon Contest has ended with the announcement of 15 winners.  My entry did not make the cut, but after sobbing uncontrollably for over an hour I'd like to congratulate all the winners.  These guys have set the bar very high.  These adventures are great.  Imaginative, professionally presented and most of all, fun.  There are several familiar names on that winners list like Dyson Logos (this guy cannot stop winning contests, he is a machine), Greg Gillespie, artist Kelvin Green, Mike Monaco and Stuart Robertson who used the same creative layout for his recent hit, Weird West Roleplaying Game.  Congrats to all the winners!  All of you did a fantastic job.  I plan on going into more detail of each winning entry.  And some of the ones that did not win that I liked.

Like every year there is a free PDF of all the entries and a free PDF of all the winners. I downloaded my copy and plan on using quite a few of these in my own world. 

For the second year in a row Alex Schroeder has taken up the challenge to run and coordinate this contest.  And like last year has done a fantastic job.  So please, if you enjoyed the contest, downloaded the PDF or think he's just stylish, drop him a line of thanks.  Here's my thanks to you Alex, again, fantastic job. 

Let's not forget all the judges.  I plan on going through something what they did just to see how difficult it would be to select their favorites.  But it's a problem you like to have.  It takes a lot of time to go through all the entries.  

And then to all the gracious sponsors who donated products to the winners.  I know when I won last year it was great getting all those extra bits of gaming.  Loved it.  I threw my ballcap in this year and donated 3 copies of Knowledge Illuminates and Rob threw in a PDF and print copy of his Majestic Wilderlands.  There are so many good prizes, not to mention the $200 cash. 

To me, the One-Page Dungeon contest is the best example of the OSR, or what the spirit of gaming means to me personally.  You have a ton of creative people offering up these amazing pieces of work, you have people donating their time to judge and coordinate the efforts and then you have the sponsors who donate their products.  I dunno, but I think that's about the coolest thing in gaming there has ever been. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

5-15-11 Newbie Blogger Award

Time for another Newbie Blogger Award winner!  It's been a while since I've given one away.  But I found another very worthy addition to the group.  This blog has a little bit of everything and it's only been around since April.  He's got stuff about Fudge Dice, which has me convinced I should get some, discusses his conflicts on magic and has a couple interesting entries about combat.  Not to mention his sketches of Ravenloft and the stylish and useful High Heels of Resistance.

So everyone please meet...
Elbuagnin and visit his blog Curse of the GM.  Please visit his site and take a stroll around.  He's got some great stuff and he'll bake you brownies...not the little creatures from the monster manual.  Join his blog, say hello and let him know we all carry the curse.

Sleestak Sunday

In Sleestak We Trust

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Blackmarsh Winners

Eh, you Canadians who won it, that would be Mr. Robson and Logos, I sent them in the mail today.  I apologize for the delay.  I actually thought I sent them out last week, but I failed my saving throw vs. things I thought I did, but did not.  Enjoy the books guys.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Spell Frequency

For the world/system I am developing I want to give the magic system a kick.  Which I already did by implementing a spell point system I heavily borrowed from HackMaster, but tweaked it enough to make it flexible.  The one think I want to add, something I've been considering, but not acting on, is developing a spell system where there is a spell frequency.

The standard Vancian system has these spells and all of them are available to every mage.  I want to have a system where not all spells are available.  Some spells are uncommon, some rare.  Spells then become treasure or trade worthy if you find the right ones.  Plus, this may give the player's mage an surprise spell his opponent was not expecting.

The great thing about this system is I can implement it to fit in with my alchemy system and have similar rarities with alchemical formulas.  My recent purchase of the Wizard Spell Compendiums Vol. 1-4 is going to be a huge help.  Those will be the base for it and as I go I will make a few of my own, but its a huge advantage of having all those available.  Now I just have to buy the cleric version of them.  My total to the left is going to sky rocket!  So if anyone has them and looking to sell them drop me a line.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Homemade Dungeon Tiles

Check out my friend Dwayne over at the Gamer's Closet.  He's made some very cool homemade dungeon tiles.  Those are cool.  

Possible Beginning of a Campaign

It gets ugly sometimes in the night.  They wait until the darkest hour before they move.  The damn things are impossible to find in the day.  We've hunted them, used our best hounds and trackers, but we come up with nothing.  Each night they return. 

Last night it looked like the night sky moved and collapsed on us.  They blotted out the moon and stars.  Silent.  Until they attack.  That's about the only way you know where they are.  The sound they make.  That god awful purring noise that rumbles through the air into your ear.  After each attack it takes a couple of hours for my ears to stop aching. 

The smartest of us have studied the wounded ones.  When we kill one they vanish into this fine dust that if you breath in will choke you to death.  The live ones are difficult to contain because they can morph their form.  I've seen them with wings, eyes, exposed organs, horrific faces and a mixture of all and more. 

The soldiers call them the Shadow.  It seems too simple of a name.  The scholars call them demons.  I can't argue that, but I think their origin is from, well, out there.  Beyond my knowledge.  I think that's why we can't find them in the day.  There is no way that many could hide.  They're hiding out there, somewhere. 

Night is coming again.  Half of us are dead including the duke.  Now we hide.  There is no defending ourselves except to hide.  Barricade the windows and doors and wait for the sun.

Monday, May 9, 2011

New Campaign Character Creation

I decided to roll up my character for Rusty Battle Axe's new campaign starting next week.  I downloaded and went through all rules and trying to get an idea of what I would like to play.  We are using a home-brewed version of Castles & Crusades as the rule-set.  It looks like he would like us to roll 3 sets of stats using 3d6 and then pick the one of the sets.  Now this is my own thing, but I prefer to roll black dice for high numbers.  White ones for low.  When you use the same die to roll or high I think it confuses the dice and messes up the mojo.  Here goes.

Set 1     Set 2     Set 3
14          13          7
9             9           15
10          10          11
6            13          16
7            8            10
6            9            10

Well, I don't think I have to debate much on which set.  Set 1 I could be a nightcrawler merchant, but not much else.  Set 2 is not bad...for a pig farmer.  Set 3 with the 15 and 16 win out.  The 7 makes me nervous, but that's okay.  I can arrange the results in any order and then I get to add 4 bonus points to the stats.  But first I need to see what class and race I want to be before I start fiddling with that.

Rusty has 11 classes, Archer, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Illusionist, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue (no to be confused with Rouge which is totally not the same thing, but continually spell it this way), Swashbuckler and finally the Wizard.  Since I can't be a bard I am leaning...hold the phone...NEWSFLASH...this email just in.  I can be a bard.  So I will be a bard!

Now a race.  There are four races to choose from; dwarf, elf, human and goblin.  I'm half tempted to play a goblin which I never played, but think I will stick to a human bard.  Besides goblins get a -1 to charisma and I need that for a bard.

So I will be playing a human bard.  Now it's time to arrange those stats and add the 4 bonus points.

Stats               New Stats
S: 10               10  
D: 11    (+2)    13
C: 10               10
I: 15                15
W: 7                 7
Ch: 16  (+2)    18

I was originally going to go to 17 on my Charisma, but 18 gives my +3.  I thought about jacking up the intell to 17, but decided it might be handy to have a bonus with dex.  So I sacrificed having a +2 in intell for a +1 in dex.  My wisdom is a lost cause.  I figure it will be a good role-playing device to be unwise.  Gives me a little insight into my character already.  How ironic.

Hit Points at 1st level are 1d3+3.  Roll...I'll start with 5 hit points.

Argg, just noticed the bard is on the highest experience table.  I need 2500xp to get to the next level.  What kind of holy cow crap is that?  This is unfair.  This is unjust.  My god, what do I have to do to get a fair shake?  Actually, I like having the highest one in a way, slower advancement is preferred.

That's all I can do right now until I get more info from Rusty.  I like the versatility of a bard.  And I am so looking forward to composing the obnoxious bawdy poems, songs and sayings I can come up with.  But before I go.  I've just come up with the perfect name for him.  Everyone, please meet the newest human bard....Rolondo!

Gaming Road Trip and a Start to a New Campaign

Our old gaming group was together again in person.  All except Rusty, but we'll catch up with him later this summer.  We got together and had a board game night.  We ended up playing Munchkin (read more about it here) for the first time.  I had the starter pack for about a year and finally was able to break it out.  It was a blast.  You'll see the result in the left hand column of my running total of the year. 

On Saturday we went on a game store road trip.  The three of us hadn't gone on a road trip for nearly twenty years.  We went on a pilgrimage to the Warzone Matrix in Cleveland.  I love that store.  It's like an archeological dig into gaming's history.  Just layers and layers of gaming stuff in every corner.  I found a set of the Spell Compendium's I've been looking for and after a little wheeling and dealing I got the set for $100.  Which was great.  Then I ended up buying 3 Munchkin accessory packs.  Yup.  Damn you Munchkin!

The second store we hit was...well it pretty much sucked.  After an amusing encounter in the parking lot with two 'dudes' trying to move a truck that was blocking everything the game store with a huge reputation was underwhelming.  I guess if I was into Magic the Gathering and it did have a bunch of board games, but as for role-playing stuff, D&D and Pathfinder.  There were a few other core rule books for other systems, but the owner said the only thing he sold were Pathfinder and D&D. 

The one funny note was there was a cork-board with gamers looking for gamers.  One guy's ad looked something like this.

Me: 30 year-old gamer, Teacher, Not Smelly
Looking for: RP gamer, adult, Not Smelly

The last night we were together we got to play a mega game of Munchkin with all the additional packs I bought.  You need to be a professional card shuffler to play it once you have all those cards added in.  It was a good weekend of gaming. 

Rusty Battle Axe is feeding us information about his campaign he will be running us through.  Still trying to decide what I want to play.  I actually considered playing a bard for the very first time in my gaming career, but don't see that on the list of classes.  Looking forward to exploring a new world and see what kind of trouble I can get to into there.  I'll probably blog about my character selection process.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sleestak Sunday

It's Mother's Day.  So get your mom something nice.  Take her to a fashion show and get the latest in sleestak fashion.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Players in the Sandbox

There has been a lot of talk of sandbox campaigns lately and most of them have been written from the GM’s point of view. I thought I would write this one from a player’s point of view. Having been a player in a sandbox campaign for over 30 years I thought my experience may help GMs and players who are starting to explore the sandbox campaign.

The most important thing for a player in a sandbox setting is to communicate with the GM what you want to do. Ask the GM for as much information as you can get about his world. Learn it. So when you start playing you aren’t stumbling around or saying the infamous “Well if I knew that, I wouldn’t have done that”. If you know enough of the world’s background you’ll be able manipulate things more in your favor.

Communicate after the session, if your party is deciding what to do let the GM know you plan on exploring this area or dungeon “That Ghouls of a Diamond Mine adventure sounds cool. I’ll be heading there next session”. That way the GM can prepare. Even if the party doesn’t go directly to the adventure at least it’s ready to go. I found this very helpful for the GM.

Take notes. Have at least one party member keep notes because you are going to meet a cast of characters in your travels. The GM may forget or just made the NPC on the fly. As a player you may find the NPC more interesting and plan on using/interacting with them in the future.

Being a player in a sandbox campaign means you need to take an active part in the world and not just standing around waiting for things to happen. If your GM is halfway decent there will be plenty of options to choose from. Many beginning players get stuck because there are too many choices and they’re afraid to make the wrong choice. Just pick one you like and plow forward.

Sandbox style is not for everyone. Some groups like to roll dice and kill things. Module hopping is a blast. For a short term campaign than it’s good to have a story arc with a beginning and an ending. But if you have the right players and GM and a lot of time then with a sandbox you can shape worlds. But the cool part is not just that you’ve shaped the world, but the next set of characters get to go through that world you shaped and that is very cool.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Campaign Conclusion

Last night we concluded out 16 month campaign going through Rob Conley's Majestic Wilderlands.  And what a conclusion it was.  For the grand finale we fought a god.  Or sorta god guy.  He was very tough.  The great thing is it felt organic that this was not forced.  We'd been building up our power through levels and items and each one seemed to have a purpose for this final fight.  We defeated this god on earth and banished him into the abyss.  But not without some hilarity on the way.  Rusty Battle Axe stunned the god with an artifact we'd been constructing through adventuring and political alliances.  But this god had a butt load of zealots so we needed to get out of there fast.  Dwayne and I teleported away while Rusty was to teleport the god to our safe house then port himself in.  Well, he rolled a 1 when he teleported the god so we lost the god for a while and had to search for him.  That was fun.  But it was a great campaign and it was a lot of fun and I got a character I will remember for a while and bore other gamers with retelling his fabulous adventures.  Like right now.

But our gaming group is not done.  No.  No.  No.  There is gaming to be done!  No rest.  Rusty is going to GM the next campaign.  He'll be using a home brewed version of Castles & Crusades.  Which I am psyched about because I have had those book for a long time and this will be the first time I will use them.  We plan on using next week to create our characters and discuss the world.  We've asked Rusty to for go family interaction and going to work so he can provide us with information about his world and how it works.  I'm looking forward to bumping around in someone else's world.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sleestak Sunday

Sammy and Wiggy take a short nap after a long discussion about how they would eat Cha-Ka.