Saturday, April 06, 2013
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Sunday, January 06, 2013
... yeah...I know, right?! Plus also, I'm posting about it! HOLY CRAP!!
Actually what I did was I ran Star Wars, and I ran it proper, with West End Games' Second Edition Revised & Expanded. It's my preferred rules set, although there are others I deem worthy of the task but I digress.
Now...some of you are like masochists or bored or something and might read this AP report, so here is this AP report for you to read if you are like masochists or bored or something. It's in English, which I'm sure makes things amenable.
(These notes come straight from my own post-game record. I loves me some Evernote, you guys.)
This was the first scenario, which I ran with my buddy Jake and my wife. Jake played a bounty hunter named Jasper; my wife played a former Twi'lek slave girl named Narah Tei. They are both rebel operatives, and they have a starship called the Soccoran Sunrise.
Their contact in the Rebellion is Hix Belsar, who sends them to the planet Lambria to make contact with a slicer named Laal Spandau. Spandau supposedly had information that the Rebellion can use, but she can't transmit it, so the PCs have to go get it.
Lambria is an arid world on the Outer Rim, and it's just acquired an Imperial presence. There's a patrol cruiser in orbit and a facility that can launch TIE fighters. When the PCs arrive at the cantina ("The Grotto") where they're supposed to meet Laal, she's not there; a local miner named Targge tells them that Laal had been captured by the Imperials and possibly taken to a garrison nearby. Just then, Stormtroopers show up.
A firefight commences, and Targge is Stunned (2D minutes) while Jasper and Narah blow the crap out of the 3 Stormtroopers -- but not before one of them can call in reinforcements. An attempt to escape goes awry (the back door opens onto an alley with three more Stormtroopers, so the PCs close that door and go back the other way), and another batch of Stormtroopers had to be dispatched. Jasper carries Targge through the skylight and rolls a 1 on his Wild Die in so doing, causing it to shut down. He's still able to mess up some Stormtroopers from the roof, though. Narah takes out more Stormtroopers in the cantina and then gets out. Jasper tries to fix his jetpack and fumbles again! Finally they make an escape.
Deciding to get lost in the crowd, they head for the central market. Narah stays out in their landspeeder while Jasper goes into Ragno's Small Engines to get his jetpack fixed. Unbeknownst to him, the R1 droid in Ragno's employ is an Imperial spy, and it calls in Stormtroopers to capture Jasper when he comes back for his jetpack. The PCs still manage to escape (again), but this time, they are intercepted by biker scouts! Jasper los both of them and the party returns to the ship.
On the ship, Targge uses the comm to find out that Laal is still at the garrison, but is scheduled to be taken off-world in an hour. What will the PCs do next...?
That's where we left off, but now that my wife and Jake both have weekends free, we are in good shape to make it a campaign. And I hope we can, because after I finish this particular scenario, I have my sights set on something I've had for a long, long time...
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
This is happening tonight, maybe a 1.5 or 2-hour drive from where I live. Close, huh? Oh, and I was offered free tickets to the show.
As in, live one of your fucking dreams at almost no expense. These bands you've loved since you were in kindergarten?! See them live, here, go on, ya.
Can't, because I have a life now. Meaning, I have bills, and a job, and it's my wife's birthday today anyway and she just switched jobs and our income is really lean at the moment and gas costs money.
When I was in my twenties and I could run around and do stuff, there was no stuff I wanted to do. In fact, I would even say, and I quote: "I don't go to concerts because DEVO aren't touring anymore."
And it wasn't just concerts -- it was a lot of little things. Little opportunities, little risks never sought or found or taken. Many, many things for which I have the confidence or the opportunity but which have come much too late. Little experiences that make life life, not just existence.
Here's another one, gone forever. Tonight in Carmel Blondie will sing "Atomic" and "Dreamin'", and then DEVO will bust out "Human Rocket" and maybe even "Goin' Under" or "Devo Has Feelings Too"...
...and I'll be at home.
Merely fucking existing.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Unlock the secret voice
Give in to ancient noise
Take a chance a brand new dance
Twist away the gates of steel
Now twist and shout
The earth it moves too slow
But the earth is all we know
We pay to play the human way
Twist away the gates of steel
A man is real
Not made of steel
But the earth is all we know
We pay to play the human way
Twist away the gates of steel
The beginning was the end
Of everything now
The ape regards his tail
He's stuck on it
Repeats until he fails
Half a goon and half a god
A man's not made of steel
Now twist and shout
The earth it moves too slow
But the earth is all we know
We pay to play the human way
Twist away the gates of steel
A man is real that's how he feels
It's the (literal) theme song.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Monday, September 17, 2012
THANKS...to everyone who took the time to come by and read any of Parts 1-6 of "254.13.26", my cyberpunk serial short story. It meant a lot to me to be able to write something that long and with that much focus and dedication again, and even more to know that someone cared enough to want to read it.
APOLOGIES...to anyone who came looking for Part 7, because even though it is complete, you'll notice that it's not here. In fact, none of it is here. Why isn't any of it here...?
HEADS UPI once made promises, promises you knew I'd never keep -- but control has enabled the abandoned wires again...
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
I WASTE THE BUDDHA WITH MY CROSSBOW
TO FIND OUT WHAT THE WHAT-WHAT!
Where the hell have I been, man? Last post on May 28? Really? WHY?!
In summary: Moping, depression, ataraxia....and then, ADHD medication.
You knew it; it was clear. It was clear even to me, and I'm dense as uranium. Finally I told my doc that maybe I oughtta, and she said, "Yeah, probably."
Evidence: Exhibits A, B and C below. See those? Those are links to parts 1, 2 and 3 of a serial I call 254.13.26, a cyberpunk tale of that setting I've been yammering for over a decade. The one I could never nail down, the one that I always thought I could put into words but never actually could?
These are just the first three parts. There will be more, but this ought to get you started. They're exactly the kind of cyberpunk story that you would expect from me, Dr Rotwang!. Want more? Come back soon. Don't want more? That's cool, we're still friends.
CONTENT WARNING: Profanity, Violence, Profanity, Blood, Atheism, Profanity, Gibsonian Cyberspace, Cussing, References to New Wave Music, Profanity and Willful and Knowing Misuse of the First Person Present Tense.
Oh, wait, you want the official soundtrack, too....?
Monday, May 28, 2012
|"You'd better watch your mouth."|
What is important, though, is that TSR’s The Adventures of Indiana Jones Role Playing Game has earned a bad reputation which it does not at all deserve. It’s a serviceable, rules-light RPG on a par with that publisher’s Conan game, now known as the OGL game ZeFRS (Zeb’s Fantasy Roleplaying System).
Quit laughing at me. And stop doing that eye thi--
Fine, you can do the eye thing. Just so long as you keep reading and gimmie a chance to lay this down. OK? No, I am not craz-I SAID I AM NOT CRAZY. PUT DOWN THE PHONE.
PUT IT DOWN!
Thank you. Now sit still and let me provide my evidence.
IT CAME PRETTY WELL-LOADEDThe Adventures of Indiana Jones Role Playing Game (hereafter TSR Indy) is representative of Tactical Studies Rules’ mid-1980s streak of chart-driven role-playing sytems, with very streamlined rules, simple task- and combat resolution and low barrier to entry. The basic set, published in 1984, was a boxed set containing the rulebook, a pamphlet with props and character sheets, some fold-up cardboard figures, a GM’s screen and a grid printed on thin card. You also got 2 d10s and a crayon, because that is how TSR rolled back then.
It did not include character creation rules, it’s true; but I’ll get to that in a moment. Trust me, I’ll cover this.
THE RULES ARE PRETTY SWEETThe game rules themselves are pretty straightforward. Your character has a set of Abilities (Strength, Movement, Prowess, Backbone, Instinct and Appeal), rated 1-100; you roll equal to or less to succeed. Success comes in one of 6 degrees, determined by looking at a chart -- but mind you that it’s a smaller chart than the Conan and Marvel Super Heroes games boasted, which is neat.
|"Oh, yeah. There are rules, too."|
Characters have Knowledge (i.e. Skills) which let you make Attribute rolls to accomplish specific types of tasks (having Sailing Knowledge lets you sail a boat, navigate using the stars and so on, while Entertainment helps you get jobs in show business or can even double your Appeal under certain circumstances).
There are no Hit Points -- there are levels of damage, with different effects based on the type of attack that dealt it (a Serious Wound from Wrestling is much different from a Serious Wound from a Firearm, as you can imagine).
There is a nice flow chart for running chases (more on that in a little bit, too), some rules on NPC interactions, hazards, things like that.
Oh -- and these are easy to learn, because --
THE ORGANIZATION IS BAD-ASSIt’s a cool idea: you read a section of the rules, and then play a short solitaire scenario right after it. Finish that, and you read another section; the next solitaire encounter follows from the last one, and so on until you have a complete adventure right in your rulebook. (The adventure, by the way, is called “The Ikons of Ikammanen”; if you are some kind of big damn nerd, then you recognize that title from Marvel Comics’ Indiana Jones book.)
You don’t just learn the rules, though; you learn to run the game, and at a certain point in the process you start running it for another player and teach him or her the rules. Eventually you run out of rules to learn but you still have plenty of adventure to get down with, and there’s a sub in it. That’s cool. But you know what else?
THE GRAPHIC DESIGN IS KICK-AWESOMELook, I’m just gonna show you:
|...in case the topic wasn't clear.|
This is what a two-page spread looks like. It’s clean, it’s dynamic, it’s got a mook’s hand crossing the center line...got your jagged edges and your weird black marks...
Now look at this one:
|Damn straight, Harris- uh, Ha- um, Rick Deck- er, Indy!|
I think I made my point. But speaking of holes...
HOW DO I MAKE A CHARACTER?Oh! Ha! Ha ha ha...!
Well, you can’t. You have rules for creating villainous NPCs, but not heroic PCs. Oh, you can play Indy, or Marion, or Short Round or Willie Scott or Jock Lindsey or Wu Han or Sallah. Buuuut....
OK, maybe the designers assumed that you wanted to play an Indiana Jones adventure game, not a...Frank...Lamm...Landers adventure game. Fair enough. But let’s say that you do want to play a Frank Landers adventure game.
You are hosed.
Unless you went back to the store. And really you ought to.
|That's a Caldwell, by the way.|
IJAC1If you’re thinking that I am not crazy, and that the much-maligned TSR Indy is undeserving of the crap it gets and you want to get it, you really ought to get yourself a copy of the Judge’s Survival Pack as well. This was pretty juicy stuff, too -- not only did it come with a bunch of extra fold-up cardstock miniature props (including a Nazi truck) and a wiggy “Combat Calculator” for...stuff, it had some kicked-up chase rules, two new chase flowcharts, a random ruin generator, some sample real-world ruin maps, sample hieroglyphs, and --
-- let me take a brief moment to discuss the chase flowcharts.
LET ME TAKE A BRIEF MOMENT TO DISCUSS THE CHASE FLOWCHARTSOne of the coolest ideas in the TSR Indy game was the idea of the Chase Flowcharts. As I mentioned before, the rulebook gives you one to start with, and it’s pretty swank. It’s a highly-abstracted flowchart of circles and connectors and stuff. The flowchart is coded to indicate intersections, distances and potential hazards; in addition, most of the circles had a label, to be referenced by individual scenarios later on. That way, one scenario might say “The chase begins at E and ends at L” and another “The bad guys start at A, the PCs at H, and both need to get to M” and so on, so that the flowchart could be re-used ad infinitum.
The Judge’s Survival Pack added MORE such charts, for indoor (multi-level!) and outdoor (city or country!) chases, plus some more rules for stunts and shortcuts and the like. These rules are a little hard to parse out at times, but once you get them you won’t let them go. The flowcharts can be re-purposed for other games, by the way; I speak from experience.
-- CHARACTER CREATION RULES
..take up about 12 or 13 column-inches on the printed page. They are simple, straight-forward and I have no earthly idea why they were not in the main set.…...man, I haven’t written a blog post in a long while.
Stop making fun of this game. It’s solid, it’s easy and it’s very likeable. So cut it out, already.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Yyyyyyeeeeeeaaaaaahhhh...that sounds about right. It has that ring of futility about it. Futility, and rage. Yes! there is rage. There is rage and--and--and--
Thursday, January 26, 2012
“BECAUSE THEY’RE COUSINS” -- Character CreationAs mentioned before, all PCs in The Dukes of Biohazzard are cousins. Them’s the rules. In fact, let’s call them PCs, or “Player Cousins”. They don’t have to be first or even second cousins, but cousins they must be. Because they are all kin to each other, they stick together, cover each other’s butts and stand up for the family name.
Or not. Whichever.
What You Is?As you can well imagine, gamer that you are, there’s no shortage of booger-headed mutant freaks in this game. Player Cousins may choose to be relatively normal baseline humans with virtually untouched genes just as easily as they can decide to be real weird-ass Rob Bottin nightmares. Possibly, PCs can just lie somewhere in between--call them “genetic scratch-and-dent” cases. If you’re making a character, choose this level of messupedness now. NOW! GO ON, CUZZ! YEEEE-HAAAW!
By the way. The choice you just made has no mechanical benefit or detriment other than to guide you on how to spend your dice, which you get to do in this next section, called--
Fixin’ To Get ReadyJust as in reg’lar Mini Six, all PCs start with 12D for Attributes and 7D for Skills and Perks. The Attributes are the same as always, but with different names, like so:
SkillsMost skills from Mini Six are likewise available, although most having to do with technology more advanced than the carburetor in a Dodge Charger are going to get real lonely.
Wrasslin’ (Heftin’): Not just a form of combat but also a performing art, Wrasslin’ is an important skill to have in the post-apocalyptic thigamaplace here. A good wrassler is not only a formidable opponent in a fight, but can also be an imposing presence in social encounters. In some places, a good wrassler has certain social advantages, too...
Stillin’ (Brainin’): As fossil fuels are no longer available (having all been consumed during the war...did I mention that?), citizens of the post-apocalyptic whatchamacallit must rely on alternative fuel sources, both for survival and for trade. Ergo, Stillin’ is the ability to make combustible fuel out of whatever biomass is available. It can also be used to make hooch, which can also be used for trade or entertainment. Don’t drink and drive, kids.
PerksOf these, there are more. How else you gonna trick out your Player Cousin with, like, eye lasers and stuff? (Note: “Eye Lasers” is not an available perk. I am a liar and a jerk.)
Muscle Car (2): You have a muscle car. It’s whatever color, make and model you want, and it can be decorated as you please. A Plymouth Duster with an airbrushed Virgen De Guadalupe would be nice; maybe a lime-green AMC Machine with...I dunno, like, how about an elephant stencilled on the hood? That’d be different. Working door latches are optional. NOTE: Two PCs may each contribute 1 die to this Perk, and thus receive joint ownership of the car.
Gams (1): Ooooh, you is a sexy cousin. Gain +3 to all social interactions with other sentient beings who are not repulsed by you. Also, you can wear cut-off denim shorts without looking like you’re walking on cottage cheese hot dogs. Note that “Gams” need not be restricted to female cousins, nor does its other form, “Pecs”.
Muated Up (1-3): You have a beneficial mutation, and you can even use it. This is purposely left vague, because I’m less keen on lists of powers and more into makin’ stuff up. So just describe the mutation (Third Leg, Cat Eyes, Tobacco Spit Gland) and what it does (bonus to balance rolls, see in the dark, spit a stream of foul ichor at a target within 15’) and you’re golden. But hang on, here are some rules of thumb:
- Each die you spend on this Perk grants either a +3 bonus to a logically-related roll or set of rolls OR 1D of effect in damage or whatever
- You can’t have more than 3 mutations of mechanical consequence
- If you have a 3-die Perk, then you are Mutated Up Something Fierce and must describe yourself as such
Monday, January 23, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
That's a toss-'em-up between the Pyrurse, The Adventure Funnel and something I've probably forgotten. Yeah, that's not a single. You wanna fight?!
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Monday, January 16, 2012
I gotta wonder, 'cause every time I read about how D&D: The New Hotness is supposed to bridge all editions, I think of how Castles & Crusades...kinda...um...
...does that already.
Am I the only one? 'Cause, dude, I can slot any an' alla that D&D stuff into C&C, since C&C doesn't particularly care what edition your character is from as long as you have stats, a level, a class and an idea of what that class means.
Has anyone else thought of this? Am I alone?!
AM I INSANE?!*
*ANSWER: Yes, but not in a rifle-and-clock-tower way.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
The rules felt clunky; I can't tell you how, but something felt wrong, even though it was all familiar. I started to feel the way I felt when I dropped the game ("like a greasy fingernail taco", as I used to say) in the first place. More than once that night, I hanged my head and shook it and muttered, "I can't wait until Third Edition comes out."
Then Third Edition did come out, and I loved it, and I was the first person at my FLGS to buy a copy at the midnight release party, and I loved the new game and I playes it and played it and then got sick of it and screw that noise.
Only, now and then I pull those old 2nd Ed rules offa the shelf, 'cause unlike the 3rd Edition stuff, it's all still in my house, and I crack them open and I get to looking at them and I go, "Huh".
...and all those feelings of crusty old dislike start to flake away, and my stance towards the old tomes softens; I start to see things in there which I always knew were there, but I see them now in a different light.
It's almost as if...as if--
2nd Edition was virtually my introduction to D&D (it was not my first RPG; that honor belongs to Star Wars). I had a copy of the Red Box, but as far as I was concerned, that was just as a preview of The Real Deal. I got in on the ground floor on it, too, as this preview booklet came home with me from the comics shop on the day I decided to take the plunge.* Once I got the PHB and the DMG for Christmas, I spent the next few weeks absolutely devouring them, ferreting out every rule, studying every procedure and absorbing, absorbing, absorbing.
Not all of it made sense--minute-long combat rounds, what?!-but all of it made magic. I got ready, and I made it happen.
Eventually the magic wore off and I picked up Rolemaster 2nd instead, and then years passed and hi, I'm Dr Rotwang! and this is my blog.
So it's easy (in fact, too easy) to dismiss my increasing 2nd Ed jones as mere nostalgia, rose-colored glasses. But look, man, I don't roll that way. I see its warts and all. I see the good and the bad, and now and again I run into a blog post that serves to remind me of what I'm looking at (and thanks for that, Mike Hensley). Now I am ready for real.
Before I started running AD&D, a schoolmate and gaming buddy cautioned me that it was a difficult system to run, and that I would have quite a challenge in front of me, and that he knew all this from experience. I saw through him; he was blowin' me smoke to aggrandize himself, and possibly to intimidate me. In a sense, though, he was right--but not for the reasons that he wanted me to believe.
Don't ask me how...
...but I understand this game now.
And I want to run it again.
*I used to go to Waldenbooks and gawk at the games section, and the AD&D books always looked so...I dunno, so advanced. The sight of those austere orange spines stood like a fence behind which only the mighty could stand. Those orange spines were The Guardians of The Big Time, and I wasn't ready.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Monday, January 09, 2012
Yeah...I don't believe in any gods, but I make kind of an exception for Eris Discordia. I don't believe in her--
|"I'm a scientist, Ranger Brad..."|
--what, the WotC thing? Naaaah.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
...man, you oughtta. Trust me. This is some stuff, babies.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Troy Allen had seen a lot of SF that I had never heard of. He was older than me, and sometimes it seemed like his past had taken place in a long-gone neverwhen lost to me through time.
"I'm not familiar with that. Was it a TV ser--"
"Aw, maaaaan! You haven't seen Damnation Alley?" Alan Rice, too, seemed to know of this distant wonderland; he was the one who introduced me to Troy, after all. Maybe that's where he found him.
Troy smiled, a big-ass goofy smile. He may have squinted with delight to have another shiny memory to share. "It was a post-apocalyptic movie. They had these vans, see, with the wheels...."
He and Alan went on with this little bit of my nerd education (nerducation?), there in Troy's grey-lit room in a little house somewhere in Harrodsburg, IN. I couldn't tell you where it was, now.
Troy, man. Troy knew a lot of stuff, and when he told me about stuff like this the gleam in his eyes and the glee in his voice made me want to fall in love with them, too--these ephemeral things that I knew I'd never see, these obscure and unknown tidbits of my geek heritage. I'd written them off, though, as things of another world, never to be seen by me.
Standing in Troy's room on a cold winter day ca. 1990, I would never have dreamed that, when babies born that week would finally be able to get legally blasted at a bar, I would be idly browsing the DVD selection on the Monroe County Public Library's Bookmobile and that there, in orange and yellow, those words would stare back at me, plastic monolith of mystery revealed.
Troy doesn't read this blog. But if he did, I'd say to him: "HA, HA HA HA HA -- LOOK AT WHAT I FOUND!"
Monday, December 19, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
The game was titled "Mandingo".
It was diceless, and the characters were described like this:
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
I've known about NaNoWriMo for a few years now. I even have the book, "No Plot? No Problem!". I know that I can write, and should do so more often.
I also know that I am a perfectionist, and that I try too hard and shoot too high most of the time.
I need to stop doing that, and this blog has always been about that. I need to step it up, though--I need to give myself that deadline, that freedom, that push.
I just learned to type a few months ago. You know, home-row touch-typing? Since our first family computer in 1989 and up until this Summer, I had always been a (very very fast) hunt-and-peck typist. It was fun and it was funny, but touch-typing is a hell of a lot cooler.
I'm putting it to use.
I don't have a plot, but I have a theme. Well, something like it, anyway; what I have is a loose concept, kind of a feel, kind of a...vibe. I thought of it the other day, driving home from work. I like it. It's comfortable. It makes little sense and that's how I like it.
I'm gonna write something funny, weird, bitter-sweet and rambunctious. I'm going to play absurd fantasy games with my late childhood, the end of my teens; I will be following the same path that Walter Hill followed when writing Streets of Fire, as told to us by Wikipedia:
According to Hill, the film's origins came out of a desire to make what he thought was a perfect film when he was a teenager and put in all of the things that he thought were "great then and which I still have great affection for[.]"
In other words, I'm going to write my late teens the way they should have been, with robots and alien gods and ridiculous misadventures and all the crazy stuff that never really happened, couldn't happen and would probably break the cosmos in some way or another if it did happen.
Done rambling. See ya in 30.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
|Seriously, dude. Seriously.|
So...you're talking about the card system, and how you determine initiative with said cards, and that, for such purposes, "S" stands for "Standard Scene" and "D" stands for "Dramatic Scene". Okay, so what's that mean? Well, you also say that Chapter 3 of the Rule Book explains the difference...but then Chapter 3 of the Rule Book plainly states that it's only going to concern itself with Rounds.
Look...dude. I'm not stupid. I can suss things out, okay? I sort of do that kind of thing for fun. So I'm kind of up to the challenge of, you know, trying to figure you out, but then I look at how damage gets listed like "3 Wounds 7K" and --
-- I really don't feel like it's worth the effort.
I'll keep your cards; I can use those with D6 if I want to. The rest of you?
|Dr Rotwang! is very disappointed with you, Shatterzone.|