Retrosmack!

A black Magic Card for Star Wars (1977). Caption: Luck Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee and two droids to save the universe from the EMpire's world0-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.

Trickster started Retrosmack off with one of my favourite movies: Star Wars

For a long time I’ve been a fan of The Adventure Gamer, a blog in which Trickster played through each and every graphical adventure game ever made, in chronological order, and blogged about them. It was a solid successor to The CRPG Addict (Where someone going by the name Chet did the same with Computer RPGs.) As a result of my enjoying both of them quite a lot I’ve had links to them in my sidebar for some time.

Well, a few months ago Trickster tired of playing every adventure game; he wanted to play other genres, enjoy other types of entertainment. So he turned the blog over to the community and moved on. Well, I got busy shortly after that and fell behind in my blog reading, so it wasn’t until recently that I discovered that Trickster had started a new blog: Retrosmack. Starting in 1977, the year of his birth, he is blogging through what seems to be the most culturally important things to come out that year in several genres. Comics, games, TV, movies, books, the whole shebang. Each year he is picking items equal to the year – 1900, so in 1977 he will blog about 77 things. So far topics have included Dr. Who (Which I’ve become a much larger fan of since I met my girlfriend via it), Ogre (Which I recently bought at my FLGS and need to sit down and play), Shannara and the Atari 2600.

Now, that is cool enough, but Trickster thought up a cool idea on The Adventure Gamer: CAPS or Companion Assist Points. He wanted a way to reward people who helped him out, and punish those who gave him spoilers, so he created an imaginary currency. That worked REALLY well, with even those of us who don’t know adventure games being able to earn a considerable amount. However, it was a fair bit of work adding up all the rewards, managing trades, and so on. This time Trickster has automated most of the process using a bunch of wordpress plugins. Also, this time instead of spending them on forcing him to play more games, we can buy trading cards with them. They don’t do anything, but he figures the collector mentality runs strong in geeks, and he is probably right; I’d bought the Star Wars trading card before I’d even figured out what they were, what Smacks were and how to get more.

Anyway, I strongly encourage you to check it out. Trickster did a great job with The Adventure Gamer, and he is using every bit of writing experience he got last time here. He brought some of his very welcoming community with him, and is looking to grow it, so I thought I’d help him out. Once again, give Retrosmack a look: You won’t regret it.

Advertisements

Fun and Useful Google+ Groups

Most people think of Google+ as a failed social network. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: The RPG Community loves it, warts and all. It is great for running games online: I can have a community for my game, where I post summaries, art, handouts, character sheets, etc. Then I schedule the game in the community, and it has an add-to calendar button right there, and when the game starts it automatically creates a hangout which ties in to the excellent Roll20.

However, that isn’t what I’m here to tell you about today. I’m going to tell you about my two favourite Google+ communities.

(more…)

Things I learned at my last gaming convention: Don’t have fun at the expense of the party

Alright, so in my last post I covered what happened in my Sunday morning game. Now we are going back a little earlier, to Saturday Afternoon. Due to a cancellation we wound up playing D&D 4th edition, which I’ve not played in several years. It isn’t my favourite game, and I know the person I was playing with isn’t found of it, but hey, we decided to make the best of it.

So the DM hands us out characters, and I grab a half-orc ranger, and the guy I’m playing with gets an old, knight (Paladin) at the end of his career. Now, each character has a secret mission: Mine is the simplest: I have to either slay or bloody the head orc, or a certain number of other orcs…or betray the party, embrace the orcs and slay or bloody at least one PC. An interesting choice, I think, and carefully watch how the rest of the party treats me as we roleplay. My buddy had the mission to refuse all healing (Note: The DM pointed out that if he was unconscious he couldn’t refuse healing) and then die in battle, and being the only one to die in the adventure. Someone else’s mission was to reveal to my mentor (a half-elf) that she was the Elven mother he had never met, and I don’t know the rest of them.

Now, it being a 4 hour con game the DM cuts out a lot of the roleplaying to fit it in, which makes a lot of the missions pointless, since we have no time to get to know one another.

Then comes the first fight: It turns out there this is the fight with the leader of the orc army: I don’t have any reason to betray the party; no one has treated me badly, so I don’t have any animosity towards them, and we are winning, so why would I switch to fighting on the losing side?. So I stay with the party, and we easily win the fight. Not even many tense moments. Cool, lots of healing left, the Paladin is in rough shape though, but whatever. We go into the next fight, with a red dragon. A big red dragon.

I go nuclear and do 84 points of damage in the first round, but that taps me out of my daily and encounter powers, and I don’t really have much other then sit there and whale on the dragon after that. The fighter works his way around to flank the dragon with me and the paladin, so it takes a penalty if it breaths on us. None the less, it does, killing the paladin outright. Now, we’ve still got 5 people, and our tank is pretty much unharmed, and the cleric has all her daily and encounter healing abilities.

Now earlier in the adventure the fighter tried to leap through a window, as he liked to do odd and unexpected things. So, at this moment, when the best thing he could do was stay there and distract the dragon and try and draw fire, he decides that isn’t what he is going to do. What does he do instead? He leaps through a nearby window (gets a 20 on acrobatics) then runs past the dragon towards the party, leaps through another window (another 20) then as we all hold our breath and wait to see what he does….he runs off to safety, abandoning the rest of the party to die. So he did his odd, unexpected thing, which I’m sure he greatly enjoyed by leaping through two windows as a full-plate fighter, and abandoning the rest of the party.

Was surviving so he could see his wife and kids part of his mission? NOPE. He was an exiled knight whom hadn’t been back to the capital for years. A knight who was sent out to this monastery to learn humility due to his overwhelming arrogance and pride. A knight who was mentioned on all our character sheets as having grown into a brave and noble knight in his time here. So yeah, the DM is confused, the party is confused and now we have no tank (Defender in 4e parlance). I’ve got the most hitpoints, so I try, but I don’t have any abilities to draw fire or anything, just to hit the dragon harder. Meanwhile the dragon is breathing on us, everyone else is tapped out, and there are only 4 of us, so our damage output is way down.

We lose. At the end the dragon had 7 hit point left. If that guy had played his character at all like he was supposed to, or even stayed around to hit the dragon ONCE more, we would have won.

What makes this more of a demonstration of this principle is the game he did it in: 4th edition D&D, a game that, love it or hate it, is all built around teamwork. This is true in most D&D games, but 4e just plain doesn’t work if people don’t work together. As Penny Arcade and Weregeek point out, D&D is surprisingly like sports; everyone has to work together to win. He didn’t play as a team, we lost as a result, and it was really, really boring and frustrating.

My stance is always that you shouldn’t have fun at the expense of the group. This one guy decided to have fun, and as a result, 5 people were bored and frustrated. This leaves me conflicted: Would it have been OK to betray the group if they’d treated me badly? I think it may have been, if the adventure had been set up better. If I’d had the oppertinity to betray them in the final fight, and had motivation to do so (they’d treated me badly) I think it would have been a cool story we could have all enjoyed. Also, I get to keep playing, instead of having to sit out the rolelpaying between fights and the final battle with the dragon. As it was, they’d treated me well, so me betraying them, killing one PC and then running away in the middle of the adventure, leaving them to die against the dragon would have been really boring, as we saw.

So yeah, long story short: Think about others when you decide your characters actions. Is what you are about to do going to ruin the game for everyone else? Are we going to walk away from the table thinking “What a dick!”? Or will you’re betrayal read like an epic tale, spun by bards?

Anyway, I hope I didn’t meander about this too much.
Until next time, stay geeky
–Canageek

Explaining Intellectual Challenge in RPGs

Alright, #RPGChat had an interesting discussion today. We were having a discussion on time management at the table, when when Iserith said “Ask yourself, “Would this be in the Director’s Cut or on editing room floor?” If so, it doesn’t get table time. Move on.” I pointed out that RPGs are not movies, and some things can’t be glossed over, for example the planning sequence. This appeared to confuse everyone there, except Iserith him- or her- self. Everyone else was very confused by the fact the players would need a plan and why you couldn’t write it in afterwards.

Lets take an example here. Lets say we are running a spy RPG, and there is a house with McGuffin that needs to be ‘liberated’ from a strong room on the 2nd floor. Outside is a guard dog, there is a guard who makes rounds of the house all night, and 4 more guards sleeping on the ground floor. The party knows all this, and has a blueprint of the house.

Now, how does the party get it? Sneak in through the window? Which one, front or back? Front is further from the guard, but there is a chance of being seen. How will they get past the guard dog? Drugged meat? Distraction? What about the patrolling guard? How will they escape afterwards? Will they spend some time scouting tonight and risk the McGuffin being moved, or go in and risk bumping into a guard’s route they didn’t plan.

All this has to be decided by the players. I typically leave the table so that I don’t get confused by draft plans, or subconsciously change what will happen based on what they will do. That lets them plan knowing what happens next will be fair; If there is a guard by the left window it isn’t because I know that is the one they are going to break into. In this type of game the plan is essential, as I don’t have any way for them to get in to the house in mind. I just set out the problem, it is up to them to provide the solution.

If the players can change their plan retroactively, then where is the challenge? Hindsight is always 20/20 or better. “Of course we remember to arrange for an escape car” takes the challenge out of making the plan, and thus diminishes the reward you get at the end. Now, I’m not hardcore on this point; I do like rules that allow players to have common sense items in their car or on there person, particularly in modern day adventures. Also systems that have a “GM hint roll” function, to prevent frustration if the players get stuck (Call of Cthulhu’s intelligence check is often used for this at my table).  I’ll also make up details I hadn’t thought of on the fly with an eye towards making the game more interesting, rather then planning things out to the nth degree like a good stimulationist GM.

So why am I writing all this out? To show people that this modern narrative gaming trend isn’t the only way to play, that there are alternatives, and that you don’t have to put up with their snooty assumptions about what is fun. Yes, Narr games are what the cool kids are playing, with their Leverage, Apocolypse World, Smalllville, Coretex+ and FATE. These things can be fun, but there are traditional games which can be even more fun, and more satisfying for the right type of person. Knowing you overcame something with your wits and intelligence is incredibly satisfying, and isn’t a feeling a narrative game can produce, since you can always alter things to give yourself and edge. When I played Dresden Files our thief used a Fate Point to have a window in the building we were sneaking into unlocked.  That isn’t nearly as satisfying as figuring out the way in yourself, in that you just toss a chip on the table and you win. So, give it a try. Challenge yourself, taste victory by your own hand.

Until next time, stay geeky

–Canageek

Published in: on December 13, 2012 at 7:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Why I donated to Desert Bus For Hope and Child’s Play

This entry is a bit different from my usual blog entry. For one thing, I’m not usually fighting back tears. My brother has cancer. He is 21. At the end of his first year of university he started to get really sick; losing a lot of weight, and some psychiatric problems that he’d never had before. It turned out he had what they thought was a non-cancerous brain tumour. After half a year of radiation therapy it had shrunk enough to be operable, and they removed the parts pressing on his brain, and we thought it was over.

When I found that out it was the best day of my life.

This fall he started having those problems again, and they found the tumour is back, and cancerous. He is now undergoing chemotherapy. The outlook is, he tells us, really positive, and hopefully he will only have to do 3-4 months of twice a week chemo. I’m still more scared then I’ve ever been in my life. Last time I was optimistic, everything seemed good, he could beat this. This time…I’m terrified out of my mind. I can’t do much to help him, aside from chat with him about movies and such, stay up with him when he comes home on the weekends as he is a night owl.

One thing I can do is give a bit of my money to charity, to hopefully help others.

I just finished giving some money to Child’s Play, via Desert Bus For Hope.

Desert Bus is the creating of a Canadian comedy group called Loading Ready Run. They play the worlds worst game for about 5 days, the exact amount of time determined by how much money for Child’s Play they raise. Child’s Play is a charity started by the webcomic Penny Arcade (Often NSFW) that gets video games for kids in hospital.

I am not sure exactly when I started watching Desert Bus; I *think* it was Desert Bus 1, as I remember it being a new thing, it was in a basement of some sort, and recall something about the camera and an elastic band. I didn’t watch much, as I had exams, so I can’t be sure. Anyway, I enjoyed watching, but never donated money as I preferred to give to places that funded research, like the Canadian Cancer Society. This made sense to my scientific Asperger’s brain; you could save more people that way. That has changed now, as I’ve seen what a comfort having a game can be.

Last year my brother was sick enough that he had to drop out of classes on medical leave. He tried to develop some hobbies to fill his time, but he didn’t have much energy, and as the radiation sickness got work, enough focus. He started out reading a lot of books, but rapidly found he couldn’t concentrate enough to read for long periods. He became a movie buff, something he has kept up; He made a list of every movie he wanted to see, and as of early last summer he’d watched something like 130 of them. However, you can only watch so many movies, or so he tells me. He spent a lot of time playing games. During the summer while I was in BC he became a huge fan of Mass Effect and beat the first two several times, to get all the options; he was really looking forward to the ending, and once told me that he really wanted to finish the radiation by the time it came out, so he’d be healthy enough to play it. (He did, beat it 3 times, and was pissed at the ending). The first game I remember talking to him a lot about was Skyrim. He was playing that about the time he moved back home, playing a Wood Elf sniper. I made a Breton mage and we spent a fair bit of time talking about the game, but he got sicker, and didn’t have the energy to focus on it. Then he moved to other games, I don’t remember them as well, as I didn’t play them. Racing games I think? Some sports games? I recall some XBLA arcade football game that he played a lot of back on the N64, and a golf game. A lot of League of Legends (he plays support).

Anyway, games were one of the things he could do a lot, except when he was at his most sick. He could lie on the couch and play on the xbox, even when he couldn’t walk very well, though his left hand shaking restricted the type of games as I recall. It was one of the few things I could talk to him about, since I understand games, even if we don’t normally like the same genres. I…I want to give other kids some of that comfort, now that I’ve seen how much that helped him. That is why I gave to Child’s Play. I’m not saying you should, but you know, if you have some extra money, instead of buying a game for yourself why not send the Desert Bus guys some cash? If you want to give to some place to help treat other people with cancer, that is also cool.

Thank you to anyone who does give money.

Sorry this was so long, I’m not thinking very clearly, and don’t have the strength to reread and edit it.

Oh, I also wanted to say thank you to the Loading Ready Run people. There have been some really dark days recently, and on some of them your videos helped me smile again, thank you.

–Canageek

Rune-X Session 2

Alright, I’ve not felt much like blogging as of late, but I did manage another session of Rune-X. I tried to work in a bit more narration this time. I think it may have been a mistake trying to do a semi-parody of dungeoncrawling while running my first real dungeon crawl. We shall see- I have another session shedualed for Sunday afternoon with more players.

### Log session started at Fri Jun 17 17:59:28 2011 ###
[17:59:28] Channel topic is: Fight for fame and money in the reality TV show RUNE-X!
[18:12:29] Canageek|2 [~Canageek@OWIRCN-ebfed2a1.vc.shawcable.net] is now known as TheDM
[18:14:27] <@TheDM> So, to recap you had arrived and gone straight to the dungeon complex, a fortress or abode, since abandoned by its rulers, presumably slain when the great war sweat through the pre-industrializatoin valley
[18:15:04] <@TheDM> You proceeded into the first hallway and found a slain group of people outside the inner door
[18:15:43] <@TheDM> Your score for the dungeon will be determined by how much treasure you take with you when you leave, how much of it you explore, and what challanges you overcome while inside
[18:16:11] <@TheDM> The audiance at home is watching by scrying, and you all have recived a small earpeice piping the narrators commentary into your ears
[18:16:14] fudgebob [~fudgebob@27B34E.4FEA8A.0EDFA7.B2D00D] is now known as Eel
[18:16:22] <Eowyn> Not when we leave for the night I hope?
[18:16:26] <@TheDM> So far it has been theme music- there has not been much to say
[18:16:48] <~Canageek-OOC> Hmm? What was that in respons to?
[18:17:04] <Eowyn> The score for the dungeon
[18:17:35] <~Canageek-OOC> No, though total time taken may be a factor
[18:18:06] <~Canageek-OOC> Any questions?
[18:18:15] <Eel> *examines door
[18:18:38] Eowyn [~AndChat@OWIRCN-df1377d8.sub-174-252-115.myvzw.com] is now known as Ada
[18:18:42] <~Canageek-OOC> Ada/Eowyn: do you have the map?
[18:18:57] <Ada> I’m just trying to reconcile that with the plan to leave the dungeon at the end of each play session
[18:19:17] <Ada> I know where it is.
[18:20:02] <~Canageek-OOC> The formula isn’t public, but speculation has been that it takes into account amount of time healing from wounds vs adventuring time, and number of times you had to leave to heal
[18:20:16] <~Canageek-OOC> The end of session is the direction yelling ‘cut’ basically
[18:20:30] Ada [~AndChat@OWIRCN-df1377d8.sub-174-252-115.myvzw.com] is now known as Eowyn
[18:20:52] <~Canageek-OOC> However people had to go suddenly last time, and you’ve not been to town yet- was hoping to get to town before the end of this session
[18:20:53] <Eowyn> Well, I should be able to keep healing time to a

[18:23:22] <@TheDM> Correction, there is no door- just  a set of stairs leading up to a 4 way intersection
[18:23:47] <@TheDM> You’d partailly looted the bodies as I recall, shall I go over that again?
[18:24:04] <Eowyn> (Do the stairs take up one square or what?)
[18:24:17] <Eowyn> We’d want to finish looting them.
[18:24:19] <~Canageek-OOC> Less then 1 square
[18:25:16] <@TheDM> I’ll recap all the treasure to make sure we don’t miss anything
[18:25:18] <@TheDM> Body #1—A human fighter, slumped against a wall. His broken sword, sheared off about eight inches above the pommel, tells the story of his demise. The body has been stripped of any armor, and there are no items of value on the remains, other than a belt pouch containing 5 gold pieces (g.p.).
[18:25:30] Canageek-OOC [~Canageek@OWIRCN-ebfed2a1.vc.shawcable.net] is now known as Narrator
[18:25:42] <~Narrator> A voice murmers in your earpeice
[18:26:13] <Eowyn> (Silver pieces as I recall)
[18:26:15] <~Narrator> “Tragic, you all remeber what happened this this brave band in episode 4, don’t you? That WAS quite a struggle they put up, too bad it all came to naught.”
[18:26:23] <~Narrator> “Lets hope that this group does better!”
[18:26:28] <@TheDM> OOC: Yes
[18:26:38] <@TheDM> (Silver, not gold)
[18:26:44] Eel throws away the useless sword “Pity, I could have used that”
[18:27:20] <@TheDM> Body #2—A human magic-user, impaled against a wall: The killing sword, still thrust through the body, is lodged in the wall, which has a large section of wood at this point. When the sword was removed, the body will crumple to the floor, exposing a blood-stained carving. The carved letters form the word “QUASQUETON” in the “common” language.
[18:27:54] <Eowyn> … which I made a note of
[18:27:57] <~Narrator> “Quite clever of Eel to remove the sword right away, I wonder if they will determin the meaning of that word….IN TIME!”
[18:28:02] <Eel> … peers up the stairs “Eowyn, shall we… go on with the show?” *winking
[18:28:22] <@TheDM> The sword, upon being removed, proved worthless, since its handle is very loose and the overall quality of the weapon is poor.
[18:28:46] <Eowyn> “As soon as we finish looking these remains over.”
[18:28:51] <@TheDM> The body was bereft of any items of great value. The magic-user’s robe, now bloodstained and ruined, has a pocket and within it is a purse containing 2 s.p. and a  pouch full of garlic buds
[18:29:12] <Eowyn> (I had stowed those with my spices)
[18:29:15] <Eel> (( I hates it when TheDM gives oh so vague clues
[18:29:32] <@TheDM> OOC: As I recall that was were we got to last time
[18:30:23] <Eowyn> (( Sounds about right ))
[18:30:55] <@TheDM> The next body you find is a human berserker/fighter by  his dress, obviously a guard who defended to the death. The body is sprawled on the floor, and a broken wooden shield lies nearby. The body has no armor on it. There is no weapon on the body or nearby, nor are there any other items of value on the remains.
[18:31:47] <~Narrator> “Such a pity that so much of the last groups gear was taken by the victors– I wonder if our intrepid adventures will get far enough to see it used against them?”
[18:31:54] Eowyn checks her own armor and gear to s[18:29:32] <@TheDM> OOC: As I recall that was w[18:32:42] <@TheDM> It is, the guards appear to be local hires, using very a mix of cheap locally made junk and castoffs of the armies that marched through here
[18:33:26] <@TheDM> The final body lying at the foot of the steps is another human berserker/fighter guard. This body, with a bashed head from the blow of a war hammer, lies on the floor face down. There is no armor or weapon on the body except for a small sheathed dagger on the belt. The belt is very ornately decorated leather, which would appear to be worth something, except for the bloodstains ruining its appearance.
[18:33:29] <Eel> “Hmmmm. Poor pickings for us”
[18:34:09] <@TheDM> You can see another body lying just east of the intersectoin
[18:34:13] <Eel> “Want that, Eowyn?” *offering the dagger & belt
[18:34:27] <Eowyn> “Sure.”
[18:34:34] <@TheDM> OOC: Ada: Fill in the ‘door’ you drew on the map to make stairs and it should be prefect
[18:34:34] Eowyn examines the dagger.
[18:34:56] <@TheDM> OOC: Do you want to map in past the intersection or head back to town? I know it is late where Ada is
[18:35:15] <Eowyn> OOC And the intersection is immediately after the stairs?
[18:35:31] <@TheDM> Yes, just 4 steps leading up to it
[18:35:38] <Eowyn> (( Only 9:35))
[18:35:49] <@TheDM> *2 steps
[18:37:15] <~Narrator> ((Alright-The passage goes 80 feet forward befor hitting a wall- you can’t see which way it turns at that distance with the poor light
[18:37:24] <@TheDM> Errr
[18:37:30] <@TheDM> The passage goes 80 feet forward befor hitting a wall- you can’t see which way it turns at that distance with the poor light
[18:37:52] <Eowyn> And to the right and left?
[18:37:55] <@TheDM> It goes east & west at least 10 feet in either direction, but you can’t see more without going up the stairs
[18:38:21] <@TheDM> There are 2 doors on either side of the north passage immediatly after the intersection
[18:38:44] Eowyn scribbles.
[18:38:51] <Eowyn> Got it.
[18:38:56] <@TheDM> A passage to the east immediatly north of that, and one to the west right after that
[18:39:10] <@TheDM> SO, with the intersection at 0:
[18:39:22] <Eel> “We go up, you cover our left, I cover our right… so there won’t be any surprises. That ok, Eowyn?”
[18:39:34] <@TheDM> Doors EW +1 square, +2 W passage, +3 E passage
[18:39:35] <Eowyn> “Sure.”
[18:39:47] <@TheDM> You head up the stairs?
[18:39:47] <Eel> *nods
[18:39:56] <Eel> yes, as planned
[18:40:04] <Eel> wait!
[18:40:08] <@TheDM> You carefully step around the bodies, trodding on the dried ….
[18:40:08] <Eowyn> That is reversed to where you said the passages were
[18:40:12] <@TheDM> Oh
[18:40:33] <@TheDM> West is the southmost
[18:40:39] TheDM got E & west confused
[18:41:13] <Eowyn> ((Too bad I don’t have white-out))
[18:41:30] <@TheDM> OOC: Might I recommend pencil? *sheepish look*
[18:41:44] TheDM might not tell you some passages and such until you are closer and such

[18:42:34] <@TheDM> ((Everything you drew last week was described correctly))

[18:44:24] <Eowyn> Uploaded the newer map, with scribbled out corrections
[18:46:35] <Eowyn> I may do a fair copy later, and put a pencil in my gaming binder
[18:46:56] <@TheDM> OOC: I could recomend arrows showing the real passages, sorry about that
[18:47:13] <@TheDM> OOC: Also there is a body just E of the intersection you can see
[18:47:18] <Eowyn> Added
[18:47:40] <@TheDM> Are you proceeding into the intersection?
[18:47:44] <Eowyn> The body is to the direction Eel said he’d cover
[18:47:48] <@TheDM> Ok
[18:48:05] <Eowyn> I believe so
[18:48:21] <Eel> “move!” *whisper
[18:48:32] Eowyn moves
[18:48:48] <@TheDM> You carefully step around the bodies, trodding on the dried blood of those whom have already died for the amusiment of the masses, silently hoping for a better death for yourselfs. Emerging warely into the intersection only the sound of your footseps on the stop floor greet you, echoing hollowly down the hallways.
[18:48:48] <Eel> my area clear, Narrator?
[18:49:34] <Eel> “I wish I bought a flash-bang… it would have been more dramatic” *laughs
[18:49:36] <@TheDM> To the east lies the dead body of a dwarven warrior, a trail of blood leading back to the battle site at the bottom of the stairs
[18:50:23] Eowyn checks to the west
[18:50:48] <@TheDM> Each passage, east & west extends 30′ from the intersection before making a right angled-turn to the south
[18:51:04] Eel kicks the dead dwarf, checking if he is alive or booby-trapped
[18:52:03] <@TheDM> The dead dwaf shifts out of the posture he was in with the sickening sound of dead meat
[18:53:14] <Eel> seeing the east passage is clear, Eel squats down to start the body search
[18:53:16] <@TheDM> No traps go off, and the dead dwarf appears to be well & truely dead
[18:53:31] <Eel> “East wing clear”
[18:53:57] <~Narrator> “Isn’t that horrible folks? You think that these adventures would have more respect when their bodies could soon join the deceased on the cold stone floor!”
[18:54:14] <Eowyn> “Nothing apparent to the west.”
[18:54:31] <@TheDM> In his right hand he still clutches his war hammer, and it appears that he crawled, wounded,to this point, since a trail of dried blood leads back to the battle location. A sack turned inside out lies alongside the body, now empty.
[18:54:48] <@TheDM> Armor has. been stipped from the body, although the fighter’s helm is still on his head. This headgear, however, has a noticeable dent in it which will make it unusable and thus worthless.
[18:55:43] <@TheDM> !roll d100
[18:55:43] <@ChanServ> 47 == 47
[18:55:49] Eel examines hammer
[18:55:58] <Eowyn> ((Is that a one-handed or two-handed hammer?)?
[18:56:28] <@TheDM> Eel: As you kneel to search the body you find a small smear of blood leading to a chink in the wall
[18:56:52] <@TheDM> !roll 1d2
[18:56:52] <@ChanServ> 2 == 2
[18:56:56] <@TheDM> 2 handed
[18:57:36] <Eel> *examines chink
[18:57:44] <Eel> … carefully, eyeballing not touching
[18:58:15] <@TheDM> Inside you see a flash of gold, looks circular
[18:58:15] recursive_faults [~hitokiri@OWIRCN-3e3de74c.res.rr.com] has joined #Rune-X
[19:02:36] <Eel> (( hello, recursive_faults, glad to see you here :)
[19:02:57] <@TheDM> Eel: What are you doing about the gold?
[19:02:59] <Eowyn> “What’s that, Eel?” *whispering*
[19:06:22] <Eel> “I don’t know… but it is… shiny!”
[19:06:31] Narrator pipes music over your earpeices
[19:06:37] <Eel> “Should I? Get it, I mean?”
[19:06:45] <~Narrator> ((http://radio.otherworlders.org/listen.pls  ))
[19:07:03] <Eowyn> Can you fish it out without putting your fingers in?
[19:08:36] Eel takes out his knife and tries to pry-out the shiny thing
[19:09:52] <@TheDM> It takes some work, but you eventually fish out a large golden ring, coated in blood
[19:10:00] <@TheDM> The ring is not thick, but it is solidly made
[19:10:23] <@TheDM> You can make Culture(Dwarven) checks at default
[19:10:45] <@TheDM> Or any skill related to jewlery or similar you can think of
[19:10:51] <Eowyn> !roll d100
[19:10:51] <@ChanServ> 87 == 87
[19:10:56] <Eowyn> Nothing
[19:12:15] <Eel> “Can we detect if it is ‘magical’?” *tries not to guffaw
[19:12:40] <@TheDM> OOC: Magic is very well known in this setting, FYI
[19:14:03] <@TheDM> OOC: But I don’t think either of you have the ‘Detect Magic’ spell
[19:14:34] <Eel> OOC: that’s why he was laughing… no detect magic ;)
[19:14:51] <~Narrator> OOC: Ahhh, I thought you’d gotten the impression it was a low magic setting
[19:15:13] <Eowyn> OOC Yep, but if the ring breaks its leg I can heal it!
[19:16:17] TheDM waits to hear what you do next
[19:16:34] <Eel> “Can you read the inscription, Eowyn?”
[19:16:41] <Eel> *hands it back to Eowyn
[19:17:08] Ina [~G.Vegt@OWIRCN-661d2d7c.solcon.nl] has joined #Rune-X
[19:17:13] <@TheDM> Eel…How did you know it had an inscription?
[19:17:29] <@TheDM> It does, on the inside the band in bold, deeply cut runes
[19:17:35] Eowyn cleans the blood off the ring.
[19:17:55] <Eowyn> “I don’t know Dwarven.”
[19:18:33] <@TheDM> You are not sure it is in Dwarven, though that would be logical. Either way you can’t read it
[19:18:51] <Eel> “Ok. I’ll try it on then… I am a human Detect Magic device” *winks
[19:19:24] <@TheDM> The ring is much too large for your finger, and does not resize. Nothing happens expcpt some of the dried blood rubs off on your finger
[19:19:33] <Eel> “… just watch my back, Eowyn, and heal me if I get cut in half!?!”
[19:19:38] <Eel> “… or worse!”
[19:19:45] <Eowyn> “Will do.”
[19:19:55] <Eel> “Drats!”
[19:20:21] <Eowyn> “Maybe it’s a keepsake, I wonder if he has family that would want the ring.”
[19:21:19] Eel looks at Eowyn’s fingers, shakes head “Nah, too risky. Medics are much too precious”
[19:21:43] <Eel> *shrugs “Where to now, stalwart buddy?”
[19:22:12] <Eowyn> “West?”
[19:23:51] <Eel> “West it is… lead on”
[19:24:04] <Eel> “No, wait… I’ll take point”
[19:24:12] Eowyn proceeds carefully behind Eel.
[19:24:26] <~Narrator> You reach the end of the passage with no incident
[19:24:36] Eel trods forward carefully, shotgun ready
[19:25:21] <~Narrator> It extends 130′ south of your position, with a passage east 70′ south
[19:26:25] <Eowyn> East? That would go back towards the passage with the alcoves.
[19:26:40] <@TheDM> OOC: Yes, East
[19:27:24] Narrator [~Canageek@OWIRCN-ebfed2a1.vc.shawcable.net] is now known as Canageek-DM
[19:27:29] <Eowyn> (( Oh right, we did go up slightly)
[19:27:56] <@TheDM> Slightly- only a foot or so. 2 steps.
[19:28:06] <Eel> “Be carful with the mapping, Eowyn… I get lost easilly”
[19:28:41] <Eowyn> “Will do.”
[19:28:56] <@TheDM> So, are you heading south?
[19:29:18] Eel raises an eyebrow at Eowyn
[19:29:20] <Eowyn> “I’d like to go south, then east.”
[19:29:38] <Eel> “Going”
[19:29:48] <@TheDM> One second
[19:30:01] <Eowyn> Hmm… maybe that passage hooks up with the strange walls in the alcove
[19:30:15] TheDM is cross-refrencing
[19:31:33] <@TheDM> The passage to the east extends 10′ then ends in a stone door
[19:33:04] TheDM waits
[19:33:27] <Eowyn> “If you don’t open it I will.”
[19:35:31] <Eel> *opens with a hard yank!
[19:36:23] <@TheDM> The door grinds open to reveale the alcoves you saw earlier
[19:36:38] <@TheDM> There is no handle from the other side of the door, and indeed no way to tell there is a door there at all
[19:37:01] <Eel> “Was this some sort of murder-hole?”
[19:37:10] <Eowyn> Except that it looked strange to me from the other side.
[19:37:31] <~Canageek-DM> Yes, though you couldn’t put your finger on it
[19:37:38] <~Canageek-DM> (1 point off from what you needed as I recall)
[19:39:39] <Eowyn> ((I should get to sleep soon))
[19:39:54] <@TheDM> OOC: Alright, then lets call cut and let you head back to town
[19:40:01] Canageek-DM [~Canageek@OWIRCN-ebfed2a1.vc.shawcable.net] is now known as TheNarrator
[19:40:33] <Eel> (( ok
[19:40:50] TheNarrator ‘s voice murmers in your ear: Why don’t the two of you head back to town? I’m going to have some more delver’s join you there in a day or so and would make things easier if had an inn room or somthing to meet up in
[19:41:16] <Eel> *comms* “Okey”
[19:42:01] <@TheDM> You make your way back, easy from this spot as you can just go through the secret door. However that will leave it open, as there is no way to close it from the other side. Do you take the shortcut or go the long way?

[19:42:54] <Eowyn> I don’t care
[19:43:03] <@TheDM> Eel: ?
[19:44:59] <Eowyn> OK, we’ll close the door to leave less sign that we’ve been here and exit the long way.
[19:45:30] <@TheDM> Alright, you treck back to town. You find it is a very small town, mostly comprised of old feildstone houses
[19:46:08] Eel follows Eowyn lead
[19:46:52] <@TheDM> For the most part it looks like it was pulled from the last century, but then and again there is an anacronism- a feild laborur wearing an undershirt and combate fatigue pants, a truck tire used as a flower planter
[19:47:06] <Eel> “Should we look for the Shop or the Tavern, Eowyn?” *grins
[19:47:19] <@TheDM> The town seems poor, but stable- you don’t see anyone fat, but no one seems to be starving to death
[19:47:44] <Eowyn> “Tavern first. Want to share a room? Cheaper and we can watch each other’s backs.”
[19:47:57] <@TheDM> You get a number of curious looks as you walk through town, and a group of children shadow you down the street, pointing and whispering
[19:48:02] <Eel> “Agreed”
[19:49:03] <~TheNarrator> You quickly fine a small hostel, more of a bed and breakfast due to the low amount of traffic the town recives. It is howerver just down the street from the bar
[19:49:52] <@TheDM> The women who runs it loosk suprised to see you, but quickly names a price of 1 s.p/week/person
[19:50:25] <Eowyn> Does she seem inclined to haggle?
[19:50:53] <~TheNarrator> You notice the stoicism or perhappes reticism the region is known for when she doesn’t ask any questions about your strange dress or reason for visiting
[19:51:14] <~TheNarrator> Eowyn: Is is hard to say, roll a social skill of some sort
[19:51:25] Eel flashes a smile at the lady
[19:51:36] <Eowyn> !roll d100
[19:51:36] <@ChanServ> 30 == 30
[19:51:59] <Eel> … sometimes impresses, sometimes depresses ;)
[19:52:15] <Eowyn> Perception would make it, trade wouldn’t

[19:53:21] <@TheDM> You think you would have a better chance at haggaling if you were not heavily armed and appeared in town suddenly, loooking like trouble, but don’t think it is impossible

[19:53:56] Eowyn tries to signal to Eel to bargain
[19:54:33] <Eowyn> (If the DM were still here)
[19:54:50] <Eel> ((lol
[19:54:59] TheDM is
[19:55:11] <Eel> !roll d100 convince Madam
[19:55:11] <@ChanServ> 40 == 40
[19:55:27] <@TheDM> Eel: Is that a pass with a -10 penatly on your skill?
[19:55:47] <Eel> (( I don’t know. where is the link again for my charsheet, TheDM?

[19:56:26] <@TheDM> You started with 28, so you fail
[19:56:4[19:56:44] TheInnKeeper [~Canageek@OWIRCN-ebfed2a1.vc.shawcable.net] has joined #Rune-X
[19:57:02] <~TheInnKeeper> No- you look like trouble enough, I need the money to cover any damage you hooligins cause!
[19:57:36] <~TheInnKeeper> That reminds me, I’ll need a 5 silver damage deposit from the yer husband and yer, split however yer want
[19:57:52] <Eel> “What?!?!”
[19:58:12] <Eowyn> “Here’s a silver. I’m only paying for the nights I sleep here, mind you, but I’ll be in and out often enough to make at least a week.
[19:58:23] <~TheInnKeeper> You’ll get it back when you leave, minus whatever you break
[19:58:25] Eowyn digs out the 5 silver from the treasure.
[19:58:26] <Eel> (( do we have enough money?
[19:58:28] <~TheInnKeeper> No explosives in the house
[19:58:49] <@TheDM> OOC: Should, you found 5 silver in the dungeon
[19:59:04] <@TheDM> OCC: You suspect you could get her down to 3 silver or so bargening
[19:59:19] <@TheDM> But if you fail when she is already suspecious it could have consequences
[19:59:37] <Eowyn> “Here, but I need a receipt.”
[20:00:12] <Eel> “Ack. Lets just pay-up and sleep… This lady is too much hassle”
[20:01:45] <@TheDM> Alright, you pay up and have a room
[20:01:50] <@TheDM> she takes your money and gives you a recite in large, crude writing.
[20:03:07] <Eowyn> In between sessions I’ll see if anyone sells detect magic casting
[20:03:27] <Eowyn> But I won’t be surprised if the town is too small
[20:03:58] <Eel> (( hehe
[20:04:00] <Eowyn> And I’ll sell or trade healing to anyone who needs it, until the other delvers show up
[20:04:17] <@TheDM> There is a general store that sells dry goods, milk and fresh meat from the surrounding farms, and a few cheap firearms, but people are not exactly spilling information at you just yet
[20:04:21] <Eel> (( good game. looking forward to the next episode
[20:04:32] <@TheDM> Alright, that should make you popular, we can discuss it next episode
[20:04:38] <Eowyn> Okay
[20:04:54] <Eel> good idea, Eowyn
[20:05:00] <Eowyn> I’ll set my rates to what they can afford
[20:05:33] <Eowyn> Sort of a healer’s instinct… get to town, patch people up
[20:05:56] <Eel> OOC: I think Eowyn is a Lost, Amazing Race, Survivor expert ;)
[20:05:57] <@TheDM> Alright, sorry if I’m loosing focus here- 8 pm and I’ve not eaten since lunch. I wanted to get this wrapped up before Ada went to bed
[20:06:00] <Eowyn> Thanks for the game, guys
[20:06:11] <Eel> thank you, TheDM and Eowyn :)
[20:06:23] <Eel> no combats yet!
[20:06:37] <Eowyn> Or traps
[20:06:44] <@TheDM> Nope, though I had outlined one in my notes that I forgot about as an opening
[20:06:45] <Eowyn> Go eat!
[20:06:48] <@TheDM> Fixed it
[20:06:52] <Eel> we have beginners luck
[20:06:54] <@TheDM> Alright, get some sleep dear freind
[20:07:05] <Eowyn> Thanks, my friend
[20:07:06] <@TheDM> Yep, however it is an easy enoucnter to move :D
[20:07:08] Sent part request, waiting for reply…
### Log session terminated at Fri Jun 17 20:07:08 2011 ###

 

Update on my online summer game

So as you may have guessed from my review of Dungeonslayers, I will not be running a game of it this summer. I’ve gotten into a GURPS game on Wednesdays, but well, I have weekends free. However, I forgot how much 1.5 hours in transit and 8 hours of work a day took out of you, even if you have free time, so I’m going to have to limit what and when I’m capable of running.

1) I have been looking at what system to use. So far I’ve looked at FUDGE, ‘Warrior, Rogue & Mage’ and both Red Box Hack and Old School Hack. None of them have seemed to be quite what I am looking for, though I would like to place some FATE & FUDGE. The current front runner for my summer game is GORE. GORE was designed to be an eldrich horror game, in the sprite of another game I play a lot. However, it uses a more D&D like magic system and is freely available, so I think with some house rules it could make a good, if high danger, dungeon crawling game. Additionally, it is simple enough that I think I could convert old D&D monsters to it- Since it is % based I could just make a D&D character of the appropriate level and see what that monsters chance to hit would be, then use that.

2) I’m still interested in the following ideas from my planning post– I’m having less energy after work then I thought, so some of them are not as feasible. Basically I don’t know if I have the energy to run the Dimensional Hopper game and Tangents is definitely out- I don’t have the energy for the planning either of these would take. I’m also less sure of the Megandungeon based ones until I get my feet under me- I’m thinking I could start a standard game with smaller dungeons, and if it goes well move it into a megadungeon. On the plus side, if we use GORE then we could include guns in the X-Crawl based settings if we wanted.

I know what times I can do this at now: Friday night post 7pm, any time Saturday, or Sunday night, ending no later then 9pm, all Pacific Time. I don’t get hope from work until 6 most days, later on many, and that leaves me just enough time to shop, eat and relax a bit before I have to go to bed.  This allows me to move things along a bit, as I have narrowed down the times to the point I feel fine taking applications to join in and suggestions on what to run.

3) I think Google Wave, Maptools, IRC or similar is more my speed right now. I don’t have a webcam or a decent mic, so yeah, voice seems like a bad choice.

So yeah, there are my current plans for an online game. I’m willing to look at other free gaming systems, and if I do use GORE it will be with some houserules (Probably more skills, might use pointbuy. It has rules for gaining HP already, but I will have to look at the system more. I also might tack on a simple XP system, as ‘when you finish the adventure’ doesn’t work in megadungeons.

So, is anyone interested in playing? Leave a comment! Ask questions! Please!

–Canageek

Dungeonslayers: A Review

I have now run 3 games of Dungeonslayers and thought I would write up a review. The first two games went quite well, however some problems were uncovered in the third game.

All of the games I ran started with the sample adventure included with the core Dungeonslayers rules, the third went on to a second adventure. Minor spoilers of these adventures will be included in the review, as I feel I need to describe the situations the players were in to accurately describe the problems encountered.

The first game was run via IRC, with 2 players: A fighter and a black mage. The players quickly understood the rules and went through the first two encounters without issue, and had some trouble with the fight with the spider. After this session I was highly enthusiastic about DS and spent a great deal of time trying to find others to play with. I ran this one as a X-Crawl like game I’ve dubbed X-Slayers, adding in commentary and whatnot on the fly. This worked quite well.

I then ran a second, in person, session of DS. The party consisted of two black mages and a fighter. The party handled the first two encounters without issue, and again liked the quickness of combat. I ran this game straight out of the rulebooks. The only problems came from the poor ordering & layout of the DS rulebook, which made things hard to find on the fly. On the otherhand, I was pretty new to the system & this will hopefully be fixed in 4e.

My third game ran over the course of an afternoon and we got my further. One player arrived significantly before the others, and after rolling up a fighter we started the dungeon at my request, as I knew the first fight was very easy and I thought teaching the players the system one at a time would be simpler. He easily handled the rats in the beer cellar and levelled to level 2. Then the second player arrived. We quickly made up a gnome race for him (Dwarven racial
traits + elven stat choices) and he made a black mage. The players then entered the wine cellar and easily took out the rats, though the black mage took some damage. The players took easily to the system, and things seemed to be going well. Both players increased in level at around this point. The third player arrived and rolled up a white mage, healed the black mage and joined the adventure. The party explored the dungeon in a roughly clockwise direction, clearing out the weak rats before attacking the final battle, which I think is a good choice and probably a result of a good map. However during this time they levelled up to 3rd and 4th levels. The fighter put the vast majority of his stat points into defence, quickly getting into the 15-16 range. Given the rats low attack I could basically do no damage to him, so most fights involved him standing in the door of the rooms and the rats attacking him en mass 2 or 3 at a time, which the black and white mages casting spells past/at him. Even the final fight, were the small rats bypassed him and attacked the spellcasters did not offer much of a challenge, though this was in part due to poor dice luck on my part. There was a final fight with the spider, which I did a tiny bit of damage to the black mage, but at this point they were 4th & 5th level, the white mage having caught up to the black mage, and it offered little challenge. There was also a fair bit of confusion with the web attack of the spider: Does it stop the player from moving from location to location? Or does it paralyses them? Can spellcasters use magic while paralyzed? The game does not say they can or can’t. I would lean towards can’t, but a web makes me think of
trapped in place at the feet, not unable to move at all.
We then started a second adventure, Dungeon2Go #2: Tomb of the Witchking. The combats in this adventure have seemed much more challenging, so I think the ease at which the part went through the first adventure had to do with how quickly they levelled up on the rats. The players got through most of the adventure, which was primarily trap and puzzle based.

Based on this I’ve found a few points about the system I would like to mention:

-I very much like the combat mechanics: They are fast and simple, though critical hits took my players a bit to understand.

-Attack magic works just like an attack, so this also works pretty well.

-Most rounds the white mage had very little to do, having only 1 spell (Healing Hands) and the fighter not taking much damage. This is partly the players fault in my opinion for not taking a ranged weapon, even when offered one. This would hopefully improve with time as the characters get more spells.

-However the unlimited amount of healing makes damaging traps outside of combat pointless. This was very clear in the 2nd adventure as there were many of these present. These are a genre convention of the dungeon crawling genre and Gygaxian dungeons, so I would like to include them. I could go to deathtraps, but those have always felt unfair and cheap to me.
To put this another way, combat in Dungeonslayers is entirely tactical: Almost all consequence of the combat are negated at the end of it, therefore each and every combat is either a challenge in and of itself, or simply a source of experience for the characters. I prefer there to be at least some strategic elements: In D&D that is how much damage you take and how many spells you burn. Dungeonslayers does have some spells with long refresh times, however it remained a very tatical game, which appears to be a trend in RPGs.

-The identify spell, which gives all of the information about magic was used heavily by my players to bypass traps, as they would use it on statues and whatnot to find triggers, command words and whatnot. I’ve started compartmentalizing magic, like computer code, but I’m thinking of making it only work on magic items. When I write my own adventures I’ll also make more touch triggered traps to discourage this tactic, or magic traps that are protected by physical traps designed to hit those that try and read the instructions.

At this point I will include some comments from the player of the black mage,as he is quite well spoken and has phrased certain things better then I am able to:

“Well, ultimately any game comes down to two things. What you INTEND for the game to be like… And what the rules make the game like. The ethos of the game seems pretty straightforward. Going for a relatively high-fantasy setting, something akin to a rules-lite D&D but with their own added twist. Rules lite OLD D&D, make that.”

I agree with this: The game feels like fantasy, and it presents what it wants you to do with it very well.

“Solid ethos established. Definitely a strong high-fantasy setting, as established by the kind of spellcasters that they’ve made a pinnacle part of the game. For a system that goes for non-Vancian magic, this is actually one of the ones I’ve liked the best. Instead of relying on things like magical energy or whatnot, the spellcasters just have a limited capacity to hold the shape of a spell within them. They can then use it as often as they like. It’s novel, it’s refreshing, and it feels fairly good. There are problems with it in the system and with the magic system in general, but those can wait for a moment.”

I agree with this as well, and originally the magic system was one of the things that drew me to the game. I liked that spell casters would have something to do every round, and the spell delay times and system of switching from spell to spell seemed like a great idea. I found it a touch boring in my first couple of playthroughs, but figured this would improve as the players levelled up and got more spells.

“It’s nice to be able to roll a 1 and be happy about it.”

I can take this or leave it, I find the critical system a touch annoying, but that is a minor gripe. I do find the fact that since a 20 is always a failure, and you only add a second die when you need to roll 21 or higher makes there no practical difference between defence 19 and defence 20. Again a minor gripe.

“While classes specialize in particular leading roles, you can kind of think your way through most problems that you don’t have the skills for. It definitely encourages planning over rushing in.”

I did notice this a bit, though I think any well-run game can do this, regardless of system.

“Combat is relatively fast-paced and a comfortable fit.”
I have said this several times, though it is nice that the players agree with me.

However:

The Bad:
“The magic system, for all that it felt novel and fresh, needs some work. If you only get to learn so many spells, early decisions will be painful later in. This can be countered by spending ‘feats’ (edit to be whatever they’re actually called), but this punishes the wizard in a way that the fighter doesn’t get.”

I agree with this. I also noticed that it would be virtually impossible to have a decently versatile spellcaster who also knows a high level spell: A 20th level wizard who knows a 15 level spell can only know one or two other spells, and you have to delay taking big spells for levels and levels after you get then if you want to avoid ‘unlearning’ other spells. One of my favourite parts about classic D&D is the wizards constantly looking for more spells, and one of the
things I was looking forward two was a system that doesn’t punish you for memorizing ‘mount’ instead of ‘fireball’ or ‘haste’.

“Although this is more a complaint with the mods we played than the game itself, it does seem as if the game favours people who are familiar with fantasy RPG tropes. While this isn’t inherently a bad thing, As it rewards genre familiarity, It does tend to punish newcomers, which is not inherently a good thing in such a game.”

I think this is the sort of thing that the sample adventure should be for, and to some extent it does. It has a really hard to find bit of treasure, some easier to find treasure and similar things. Smart adventures should then notice that treasure can be hidden and look for more. I don’t really see a way around this, other then having players well, play more.

-Players level *very* quickly. In one day of play we were at 5th level or so. While I don’t think this is a bad thing, it meant that my players burned through the first adventure at way higher level then it expected. I think that rat XP needs to be reduced to 5-10 XP and Giant Rat XP needs to drop to 10-20. I think that 5XP for the rat and 10 for a giant rat would be much better. I think I might also add a house rule that each successive fight with a monster grant 1 less XP as you learn less from it. However that would require players to track how many of each monster they have killed, or at least how many battles, so it is not an ideal solution. Due to the XP system I found that fights with a lot of weak monsters were far less challenging then one large monster that could hurt the fighter, while at the same time granted far more experience. Reducing the XP for each additional creature in a group after the one that gives the most experience might be a good idea.

There we go, my first review. Sorry this post is so late, I got caught up in work and the associated 3000 km move.
Until next time, stay geeky!

–Cangeek

Ideas for my online game

As you all probably know, I am planning on running an online game this summer. I am not officially recruiting yet, as I am unsure of my schedule once I start my job, and that seems like an important thing to know. However, I love writing out game ideas, so I thought I would set some down here.

Idea #1: “XSlayers” (Ie Dungeonslayers meets X-Crawl) I’ve blogged about this one a lot before, specifically when I first mentioned my summer game. To recap: The players are sports starts who descend into short, premade dungeons before a live and televised audience. A Master of Ceremonies runs the show,  providing live commentary, flavour and possibly altering the dungeon as the players move through it.

Idea #2: “Megaslayers” This is very similar to idea #1, except that the players move through a large megadungeon. A megadungeon is one of those giant, many levelled complexes with perhaps hundreds of rooms in it, where the players will never truly “clear” it: New monsters will move in, old ones will leave, and monsters may well migrate as the players kill others and create vacuums within the dungeon. This is set in the same world as number 1, but instead of being a short sports event this is a weekly show. Players still are in a modern setting, but instead of being in a small dungeon 1-page dungeon style affair they are in a long megadungeon, and thus can play monsters off against one another, retreat to the surface, will have to rest in the dungeon and conserve resources.

Idea #3: “XSlayers Classic”  This would be like idea #1 except that instead of going through an adaptation of a one-page dungeon or something short that I cook up the part will go through an adaption of a classic adventure. Probably an old TSR adventure, but I can take suggestions provided players promise not to use out of game knowledge to their advantage. This could very well branch into “Megaslayers Classic” if a longer adventure like the Temple of Elemental Evil is chosen to.

Idea #4: Straight up Dungeonslayers: If the modern-reality TV dungeon idea is not popular then I could go with running a traditonal fantasy version of Dungeonslayers.

Idea #5: “Dungeonslayers Classic”: If people like the idea of mixing Dungeonslayers and classic D&D adventures, but do not like the idea of the modern-dungeon crawling then I could do that to.

Idea #6: “Megadungeonslayers” Again, Megadungeon+Dungeonslayers but no modern.

Idea #7: Dimensional Hoppers: Another idea that I have blogged about before, this game would involve the players travelling across dimensions in search of a way home. Each dimension will be part of a slightly different genre and tech level for a highly episodic feel, but with (hopefully) continuing characters. I would be using a variant BRP system.

Idea #8: Dungeonworld/The Sargasso of Dungeons: Really I can’t think of much to add to this, except that I’d probably use Dungeonslayers, or if I can’t get support for that something like Warrior, Rouge & Mage or a retroclone. This one could be modern, fantasy or some combination of the above.

Idea #9: Tangents. I recently found the Tangents book for Alternity and discovered that it has a really cool adventure series in it. I would be willing to run this with the caveat that players either have to make their own characters or use a premade one from the adventure, as I don’t have enough experience to help them with it as I do the other systems.

I think I’m the most interested in running #1,#3 and #7, followed by #4, #5, #8 and #9, but if I get a bunch of enthusiastic players for any of them I think I’d catch the enthusiasm myself pretty quickly. Also it should be noted that while I listed a bunch of megadungeon ideas they all rated pretty low on my list: This is likely because I’ve not run enough dungeons yet to create a good atmosphere in most of them, and have them react organically to events in the dungeon. The Sargasso would be an inherently random place, so I think it might work more easily… That isn’t to say I wouldn’t try, which is why I listed them. Ideas which I really like, but am unsure I could run, like this idea I have for a game set on a Spacehulk/Sargasso of Death setting I haven’t listed, as I am sure I could run it, but can’t think of a system I am comfortable enough with and that has enough creatures for me to stock it with.

So, does anyone have any feedback on these ideas? Would anyone be interested in playing in one of them? Questions on bits of the setting that seem unclear? Just want more details on one or more of them? Please leave a comment!

Until then, or next time, Stay Geeky!

–Canageek

Blog Recommendation: From the Sorcerer’s Skull

I planned to write this post months and months ago, however universities came along and tackled me, held me down and beat me with knowledge and group projects. On the plus side I now have a totally awesome summer job (nuclear chemistry, including monitoring radiation levels reaching the west coast from Japan), an undergraduate thesis position for next year (NMR studies on protein-small molecule interactions), a working knowledge of polymer chemistry, some useful tidbits about analytical chemistry and some interesting tidbits about physical chemistry and some really useful lab experience.

However, I did not set pen to paper (or bits to memory) to bore you about my academic studies! I came to recommend unto you a most awesome blog: From The Sorcerer’s Skull.

The single best thing about this blog is the amazing setting known as The City and its Strange New
World
. It is really hard to describe what the city is, and no one post really describes it very well as it has mutated and evolved since the first post on it. I think I shall describe it as thus: Take a large amount of well aged noir, the good stuff with lots of hard shadows and harder men and blend that into a homogeneous mixture with a slight excess of pulp action. Add just a touch of steampunk, the origional politically motivated stuff, not the off-brand ‘aesthetics only’  lite dreck. Now mix this all heavily with traditional D&D tropes as a binder to give it structure, and ice with mythology and nonfiction as desired. Add nuggets of horror and sprinkle liberally with weird fiction. Enjoy. Here are some early example posts: Weird Weapons, Weird War; This post shows the much more modern technological level of The City and a lot of the weird adventure. Dungeon, American Style: City Lost, Canyon Grand has an interesting take on the Grand Canyon, which in the world of the City is filled with monsters. Oh, did I forget to mention that The City’s geography mirrors our own in many ways? Except sprinkled with the fantastic, and often is closer to how people several hundred years ago thought the world was like, not how it actually is. For this reason I strongly suspect that the world of The City is hollow, though I don’t think this has been stated yet.

There are also other sections of the blog: An old setting from before The City, Warlord Wednesdays which talk about an old comic (I will admit to skipping those ones), and a number of other posts on various and interesting topics. Which brings us to the next most impressive part after Trey’s creativity: The sheer number of posts he churns out. I mean, often over 25 posts per month! Almost one a day! It is nuts. I can sometimes manage one a week, but Trey? Trey is a machine! A creative, good post writing machine!

My final point is less tangible: Trey seems like a nice guy. When I posted about my friend who was having some trouble, he and a couple of other readers went and offered her best wishes, and I know he posted at least once after that. From what I can tell she is doing a fair bit better now, though things are still very rocky, and I really appreciate him doing that. Anyway, why are you still here? From The Sorcerer’s Skull is about a thosand times better then my blog! Go read that!

And until next time, Stay Geeky!

–Canageek