Friday, January 31, 2014

Blog Hop Challenge: D&D's 40th Anniversary!

Stelios V. Perdios at d20 Dark Ages is doing a blog hop challenge for February.  Each day will be an entry about D&D; how you got started, how it has affected you, etc.  Seems like a cool idea.  I hope I can figure out the html thingy.  The last time that I did any programming VGA monitors were state of the art and games still came on floppy disks.

Anyway, D&D has been a big influence on me.  I'm stoked for this challenge.  Here are the questions:

For more info check out Stelio's blog.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Kick-Ass Music for Your Gaming!

I dig heavy metal.  Nothing puts me in the mood to slay dragons and ogres like power chords and guitar solos.  Recently I discovered a band from Canada called Scythia.  If a bunch of 20th level Pathfinder bards formed a band, it would be Scythia.  They play a fist-pumping sound that has been called "folk metal".  Lots of fantasy themes abound.  Check out their video for the song "Bear Claw Tavern".

In honor of their upcoming album, here is my homebrew class for the favorite old school role-playing game of your choice.

Bear Warrior - Variant of the fighter

There exists a clan of bears that have mastered the speech of man.  They are ferocious warriors, often hired as mercenaries.  They use no weapons save their claws but they manufacture armor that is superior to the work of men.  Their strength is legendary, but their temperament unpredictable.

Treat a Bear Warrior as a fighter with the following changes:

+3 to strength
-3 to charisma

Hit die - d10

Weapons permitted - claws only (1d8+1).
Armor - unarmored bears are tougher than humans, therefore treat an unarmored bear as having leather armor.  Bears may only wear Bear Armor.

Bear Armor - Bear armor is made specifically for bears.  It is individualized and can only be used by the bear that it is made for.  Bear armor gives the wearer -2 [+2] to their AC.  Bear armor requires regular maintenance.  At the end of a session, the character must pay 5% of xp earned in gold to repair their armor or it cannot be worn.

Other rules - Bear Warriors can use tools, open doors, etc.  Their claws act like human hands.  However, bears shun human weapons as inferior to their natural strength.  Any bear using a weapon takes a -2 penalty.  GMs should also consider not awarding xp to bears who continue to use human weapons.  Bears may be hired, but may never hire henchmen or have followers.  Bears speak common and can also speak to animals.

Thanks to Scythia and Philip Pullman for inspiration.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

New Year’s Resolution: Support my FLGS!

I think the title sums it up; in 2014 I am going to make a conscious effort to buy more products from my local game store.  I like Amazon a lot.  I like my Kindle.  Plus, what gamer can resist buying the next hot rpg core book for $25 off the cover price?  But I really like my local comic and game store.  I truly believe in supporting businesses that do a great job.

My FLGS has great climate control, which many game stores seem to think is optional.  The owner is friendly and orders anything that I ask him to.  He has tons of cool comics.  Also, there is no substitute to browsing through physical product in a store full of cool nerd merchandise.

So this year I vow not to rush to Amazon for every game purchase.  I will not be enticed by pseudo-free shipping offers (which is now offered on orders over $35?  What the hell, Amazon).  I will pay the MSRP on quality products and support a store that enriches my community.  

If you are in the area stop by:

Excalibur Comics and Games in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

There Will Be an Openquest Sci-fi Game!

Role-playing games with simple rules are something that I appreciate more as I get older.  A good sign for a game is being able to explain it and start playing in about 15 minutes.  Openquest is a game based on the BRP/D100 system that has prided itself on its simplicity.  One thing that draws me to the Openquest system is that it is percentile based; whenever I have to make a call as GM that is not covered in a system’s rules, I usually think of it as a percentage anyway.  You can read about Openquest and download the 1st edition rules for free.

There is a Kickstarter going on right now for a sci-fi game based on the Openquest rules.  The game is called River of Heaven and it is set about 1000 years from the present.   I am getting a Dune mixed with Eclipse Phase vibe from the setting. The first chapter is available for preview and it gives ideas for running in various other times. It looks like you can use the rules to run anything from cyberpunk to Star Trek.

The Kickstarter is to commission art for the game as the manuscript is written.  Art can add wonders to the feel of any game, so I am pulling for this one.  They have already met their first goal and they are now working towards stretch goals for even more art and full color art.  

I dig sci-fi games and I think our hobby will be richer with this addition.  Plus, D101 Games is being smart with their Kickstarter by using vouchers to avoid being stuck with high shipping costs and giving every backer a pdf as soon as the Kickstarter closes.  Check out River of Heaven.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sign up for ConTessa!

I have many memories from my youth of sitting around with my stacks of rpg books wishing for someone to play with.  I lived in a very rural area in a state that required teenagers to be at least 17 before they acquired their license, so my access to gaming groups was limited. I created GURPS characters who would languish inside the box.  I even once used Palladium’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game to run a solo miniatures skirmish between my Triceraton and Federation  miniatures.  Ah, if only I had a regular group back then.

Thank goodness the internet exists for gamers today.  People can set up games and play with literally anybody anywhere in the world at any time.  Which is why I want to encourage people to sign up for ConTessa, the free 3-day online game convention from February 7-9.  ConTessa’s events are run by women and anyone can sign up for the games.  Stacy Dellorfano, the event’s creator, just gave an interview to the Roll for Initiative Podcast.  Go give it a listen to learn more about this cool event, or you can check out ConTessa’s website.

If you are a female gamer then create and run game (hopefully something sci-fi!).  If you are any type of gamer then sign up and play something.  Online gaming is great.  You can try games you never get to play, meet people from all over, and have some good gaming fun while remaining in the comfort of your own home.  Hopefully I’ll see some of you there.

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Year in Comics

Collecting comics is one of my other geek loves.  I have bought many comics this year; some have been good while others have been meh.  There are a few books that stand out.

Red Sonja, published by Dynamite.  Writing by Gail Simone and art by Walter Geovani.  

I picked up this series because I am a huge fan of Gail Simone.  Her run on Birds of Prey made me give a hoot about a gang of DC b-list heroes.  I was curious as to how she would tackle a character who was mainly famous for wearing a chainmail bikini.  The series is smart swords and sorcery.  It has good art, goood action, and good writing.

Future Foundation, published by Marvel.  Writing by Matt Fraction and art by Mike Alred.

I picked up this series because one of my favorite Marvel heroes was going to be on the team (She-Hulk!)  Mike Alred’s art has a great silver age meets Raw magazine feel.  The storyline is comic and lighthearted.  The Fantastic Four have disappeared and have left a replacement team to look after the Baxter Building.  What I like most about this series is that it is not afraid to be funny. I think Marvel comics are best when they use liberal doses of humor.

Ghost, published by Dark Horse.  Writing by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Chris Sebela and art by Ryan Sook.

I picked up issue one and I will definitely be adding this series to my pull list.  This has a superhero meets supernatural vibe that makes me want to run a Call of Cthulhu+Mutants and Masterminds game.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, published by IDW.  Writing by Katie Cook and art by Andy Price.

I don’t read this one.  Honestly, I don’t.  My daughter is crazy for it.  This series is great because my wife and daughter are just as excited for my trips to the comic store as I am.  My daughter has so many issues I’ll be needing to buy her a longbox.

Back Issues

2013 was officially the year of the back issue.  I picked up some cheap comics at a used book store and was hit by a wave of nostalgia and zany writing.  For example, I did not know that the Fantastic Four ran into a girl named Valeria Von Doom who claimed to be the daughter of Dr. Doom and Sue Storm!  I have now been spending more time searching for older comics than following the new stuff that is coming out.  I am trying to collect the full run of Marvel’s Rom: Space Knight.  I am also picking up first appearances of certain characters, such as DC’s Captain Carrot.  I have been gaining inspiration for my Pathfinder game from old Marvel Conan comics.  Back issues have been filling a need in my comic reading habits.

What’s up for comics in 2014?  I’ll keep raiding the back issue bins but I am also curious about the Honor Harrington graphic novels.  Keep reading and Excelsior!