Wednesday, October 16, 2013



A Squad for Fate Core mass combat!


Sgt. Sausage’s Suicide Sows
Everybody Wants A Piece
“That’ll Do, Pigs.”


Good (+3)

Fair (+2)

Average (+1)


Mild (2)

Moderate (4)



Grizzled Old Bastard
“After So Much Action, I’m Nearly Fried”
Never Gonna Give You Up
Well-Funded Via Pork Barrel Projects
Two Degrees of Kevin Bacon
Cybernetic Hamhock


Great (+4)

Good (+3)

Fair (+2)

Average (+1)


  • SAVING EVERYBODY’S BACON: When in the same zone as an ally, spend a fate point to create a defensive advantage that all allies can invoke immediately.
  • STIHL P.I.G. 900X: Your cybernetic hamhock has a retractable chainsaw which counts as Weapon:1.
  • WATCH THE STYS: Gain a +2 bonus when using Notice to create an advantage related to terrain on the field of battle.

...I like Fate Core.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

"D&D Is Terrible For Anything But Combat": The Myth Asploded


A lot of people will argue until they're blue in the face that the D&D rules, as written, offer so much emphasis on combat and so little on any other activity that the game is ineffective at incentivizing or even facilitating any activity other than combat. This position is totally and demonstrably horsefeathers, and I can prove it using no more than a copy of the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (published by TSR in 1991), basic reading comprehension skills and some words in English, because that's a good language to use given the circumstances. In addition, I will employ an overused internet meme as my abstract, because it'll be funny.



I used GIMP. I mean, for the picture. But for the real bitchslap in the face of my enemies I used mostly my eyes (to read) and my fingers (to type). I kept the latter out of the former because I ain't that stupid.


Oh, I found stuff, all right...

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Miscellanea Rotwang!ica

ITEM! -- I was totally gonna lay down a clinIc over on Reddit, but meh. Instead I spent tonight typing up notes from Saturday's playtest. That was time better spent; also, I discovered this:

A  New Wave song from a Spanish children's educational TV show, from the Movida MadrileƱa period...about the fall and influence of the Spanish Empire.

I...I can't...even...


ITEM! -- My downtime wasn't all down -- I had to stay alive somehow. And so, hey, look --I just found some stupid comics I made last year. You like my stupid comics, right? Here:

ITEM! -- Good golly, I can't wait until I can announce this thing. SO. JAZZED. UP. RAAAAAAWWWWWUUUGHGHGHGHHGHG!


Tuesday, June 04, 2013


Holy...! MAN! Have you heard about this?! I just did! Hear about it! I heard that

It's all so, so clear now -- if you want to avoid combat and focus on story, 

And plus also -and I never, ever, in over 38 years of being a human with social skills and roughly 25 years of having played various RPGs, noticed this- but it turns out that --! I am so, so, so glad that someone is willing to show me the light--to point out to me that --

-- hang on, I just thought of something. Waaaaait a it comes --

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition Does Not Suck.

Foreword: In reviewing this thing, it is painfully obvious that it's a rambling mess. Still, I'm in no mood to edit it, and I spent too long writing it to ditch now. If you find yourself struggling too much, please let me know in the comments and I'll do my best to straighten it out in a revised post. Thank you.

Remember way back when, when I blogged a little more often, and I wrote this one post where I was all, like, "Hey, I bet I could make AD&D 2nd Ed rock again"?


Hmm. Well, click this link and make some memories, then come back and continue reading. 

Back? OK, great! While you were out reading, I made some tacos, but I ate them all. Next time read faster, eh?

Aaaaaaanyway, part of getting my life more organized so that I can actually enjoy the damned thing, I've been running games at my locals (I'm spoiled, man, I got two FLGSes and I'm not banned from either one). I'd set up a game of Diaspora at Hall of Heroes, and wanted to run something different at Common Room Games. Something I'd wanted to do for a long time -- take a chance, aim high, go for the gusto.

So I made this poster and sent it to Phil and Oz:

I used Scribus and Inksascape. You can get some nice results outta those two, huh?
And they were, like, "Okay, just don't set stuff on fire."

'Cause you see, here's the thing. There's this one FRPG that all the kids are playing these days, and although I don't resent it (except for that one time, but that's not a story I want to tell), I do resent that the old games don't appear to get the love that they deserve.

Furthermore, there's a stigma attached to some of the older editions of D&D, and to this one in particular. Hell, I hated on it, too, in the day; I used to say that when I discovered Rolemaster, I "dropped second edition like a greasy fingernail taco"; in the late 90s, when AD&D 2nd Ed was at its bloatiest, I once described it as "a chimp in a diaper which no one is bothering to change".

Yeah, I can be cruel. I don't do it, because I know I can. I digress. 

But that was the thing -- I knew what was wrong with the game toward the end of its run: Bloat. Bloat, bloat, bloat. Too much cruft overlying the basics. So I thought to myself, "Well, hell, why don't I just go back to the basics?" That's why, if you look at the fine print on the bottom of that poster, you'll see this:

Fonzitude: Fundamental to ALL THINGS.
So that's a step in the right direction, I thought...but there was another monkey I could wrench....

Ever notice how many optional rules there are in 2nd Ed? Ever notice how all those optional rules are all optional? Ever notice how the real, core, central rules for getting your AD&D on are actually not that many, and that if you know what you're doing (which ain't that hard, really) you don't even have to use most of them most of the time?

I did. Or at least, such was the bold, mouthy thesis that I stated to myself, and so on Saturday May 11 I showed up at Common Room Games to defend it. 

I had three players. There was a fourth, I was told, who wanted to show but couldn't make it. No problem. I had a guy who'd played a lot of 2nd Ed, a guy who played it a long time ago, and a guy who had never played it at all. 


I put operation "Keep It Simple, Sucka" into motion by handing out character sheets and saying, "Don't fill these out all the way. SERIOUSLY. Roll your stats, choose a race and a class, take full HP for first level and only look up mods necessary for combat or spellcasting, whichever. Grab a weapon and some armor. The rest can wait."

Because, really, it can wait. You don't need to know your Resurrection Survival chance until -- when? WHEN YOU DIE AND GET RESURRECTED. Do you need to Bend Bars and Lift Gates at the tavern? NO. What's your chance of Spell Failure? Max # of Henchmen? Loyaty Base? Reaction Adjustment? Until you cast a spell, need a posse or run the risk of pissing somebody off, WHO CARES.

We started playing. It was all role-play for the first twenty minutes, maybe more. When they got to the dungeon and rolls became necessary, then we filled in the things that were missing on character sheets.

..and I never used rules that we didn't need to use. 

It worked a charm. Seriously. We were having a blast, just playing, exploring the dungeon, being in character, poking at mysteries, interacting with the world and each other. We dipped into the well of rules when it was either fun or necessary, kept the game moving and got a good feel for how to play the game according to our individual and group tastes. 

If anything remains hinky, it's THAC0 -- but I contend that it can be a hassle because although it's simple in theory (roll 1d20 plus modifiers, compare to [THAC0-target's AC]), it's potentially non-intuitive in play. Add to that the fact that there are other ways to use THAC0 to calculate hits (hit succeeds if [1d20+mods+target AC+THACO] =>20), and it becomes somewhat inelegant. You can always roll and do the math in your head and announce the AC that you hit ("My THAC0 is 18, and I rolled a 12 with modifiers -- I hit Armor Class 6"), but then the DM has to compare that number to the target's ACTUAL AC and remind him or herself that AC improves downward. That, I think, is something that your group just has to standardize as well, and keep on moving.

Hopefully, the event (which has had a second session and is scheduled for a third) also served to demonstrate to players familiar and unfamiliar that 2nd Edition, like I keep saying, does not suck. It may have more than you need is some cases and less than you want in others, but it's not the poop-splattering craptacle that lots of people make it out to be. SO THERE.

In addition, copies of the reprinted rulebooks got sold, thus I paid my dues to my local. Which is kinda funny, 'cause I didn't even know the reprints were coming out yet. 

ADDENDUM: HATERS GONNA...UM...THAT THING THEY DO. this point, there are two arguments that can be made against my defense of the game, and I am ready to dispute them:


Yes, yes you can. Exactly. You are correct. Good point. And thank you for making it for me, because that's my point too. It makes no sense to talk trash on AD&D for all its rules and bits and bobs and crap, because it's like any other game: Those rules are there in case you don't know what else to do, or want a specific way to do something. In all other cases, keep on truckin'. You showed up to have wacky fantasy fun with goofy dice, not to obey someone or something; if you want to do that kind of fantasy fun, become a Gorean or go to church. 


Look. The very fact that you are playing AD&D means that you've come to the table with a set of shared assumptions. You're assuming that you can play elves and humans and dwarves; you're assuming there will be dungeons, possibly dragons, and hit points and Armor Class and fighters and wizards and thieves; you're all in agreement that, at some point in the game, you'll need to make saving throws, and that spells will work a certain way and so on. You show up knowing that, I show up knowing that, and we brought our rule books because the rules talk about that. We're grown-ups and creative people, and we can trust each other to collaborate on some sword-and-sorcery make-believe adventures either with rules or without.

(In case you couldn't tell, this argument pisses me off. Seriously. It pisses me off a lot, not only because I can't tell if it's a false dichotomy or a straw man fallacy, but also because it assumes that I am too fucking stupid to know what I'm doing. I do know what I'm doing -- that's why I showed up to be the fucking gamemaster.)

Q: How Is The Playtesting Going, Doc Rotwang!?

A: Pretty well. I've only done two playtest sessions so far, and they've focused on a specific character creation notion, but both times it went well and the players have given me some great feedback. Plus also, at the last one, they really liked this:

Muy ochentas, ¿no?

It's just the one that I made up for playtesting, but you never know. It might have legs, so to speak.

That reminds me. I gotta bug Chris again soon.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Better Living Through Chemistry, Part III -- Control Has Enabled The Abandoned Wires Again, But The Copper Cables All Rust In The Acid Rain

WAIT! Didja read Part II first? How 'bout Part I?

More drama! Admit it, this is like gamer Honey Boo-Boo. Click through, ya Lookie-Lous.

Better Living Through Chemistry, Part II - Duty Now For The Future

Okay, so -- here's why "254.13.26" got pulled. I'll try to be brief.

And I will fail.

Better Living Through Chemistry; or, What The Hell Happened Last Fall

NOTE: The following blog post 

  1. is long;
  2. serves only as the first part of a longer thing;
  3. assumes that someone cares enough, or is at least curious enough, about Dr Rotwang! and his life-stuff to know that anything even HAPPENED last fall; and
  4. believe it or not, actually does have to do with gaming.
You've been disclaimed. Disclaimed. Er, it's been disclo--YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Star Wars D6 Character Sheet!

Hey, kids! I made a character sheet for Star Wars 2nd Edition Revised & Expanded. Get all clicky and you can have one, ya crazy kids!
G'wan, geddit!

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...