Sunday, August 30, 2015

Felltower NPCs: Korric and Orrie (Updated)

A while back, we decided to start giving points to the NPCs who successfully complete delves with the PCs. It works out to 1 point per delve. Korric and Orrie, who were first rescued from the hobgoblins in the Caves of Chaos by the PCs in the very first session, are still active in the game. They're increased a bit in ability from their original versions.

Here they are, in their current levels of ability. Also, current spelling - Koric turned into Korric just to make it easier to remember which one had two r's - both have two r's.

Korric and Orrie

ST 13 HP 13 Speed 6.00
DX 11 Will 10 Move 5
IQ 10 Per 10
HT 12 FP 12
Dodge 8 Parry (Polearm) 10 Knife 8 Brawling (x2) 9

Dueling Halberd (13): 2d+3 cut, Reach 1,2* Parry U; 2d+2 imp, Reach 1,2* Parry U; 1d+3 imp, Reach 1,2*)
Large Knife (12): 2d-2 cut (C, 1) or 1d impale (C).

Traits: Code of Honor (Soldier's); Compulsive Carousing (12); Sense of Duty (Rescuers); Wealth (Struggling).
Perks: Reach Mastery (Halberd); Teamwork (partner).
Skills: Armoury (Melee Weapons)-10; Brawling-12; Carousing-12; Knife-12; Polearm-15; Sumo Wrestling-11; Stealth-12.
Equipment: This is their current loadout.

• Mail Hauberk, $230, 25 lbs. with Mail Sleeves, $70, 9 lbs. – DR 4(2).
• Heavy Leather Leggings, $60, 4 lbs., Gloves, $30, neg., Boots, $80, 3 lbs. – DR 2.
• Pot Helm, $100, 5 lbs. over Cloth Cap, $5, neg. – DR 7 (inc. Skull).
• Dueling Halberd, $120, 10 lbs.
• Large Knife, $40, 1 lbs.
• Misc gear, food, personal basics, sack, waterskin with 1 liter of water, etc. – 10 lbs.
67 lbs (just under light).

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Review: The Dungeon Dozen

I like to take the time to review game material I especially enjoyed. This is one of my favorites.

For more reviews, see my reviews page.




by Jason Sholtis
222 pages
$8.00 PDF, $28 hardcopy

The Dungeon Dozen is a book of tables. All based on the 1d12 (all hail the dodecahedron!) And all of the content - except possible the art - is available for free on Jason Sholtis's The Dungeon Dozen blog.

The tables are pretty much whimsical. They're not, generally, there for on-the-fly rolling to see what sounds the PCs hear or what the orcs are carrying. Or maybe they are, if you're really ready to improvise gonzo weirdness that springs from the results. Generally they are things that would do with some time and development.

But they are incredible inspirational. You'll want to use some of the customs of barbarian tribes, encounter some of the knights best avoided, stumble across the odd clues found in the dungeon, or have your ship hove into view of the city going through hard times. I could go on, but it's easier to just flip around on the blog and see what it's about. If you like what you see there, you'll appreciate having them all on your device . . . or in your hands.

You can also get a hard back from Lulu. In fact, I recommend that, especially when Lulu does a hardcopy sale. This is one of the books that's vastly better in hardcopy than in PDF.

It's extremely flippable. It's ideal for opening randomly and just reading all, some, or most of a 1d12 table. It's eye catching and entertaining. It's the kind of book where you re-read the stuff you come across that you've already read. I got a copy in hardcover and it's one of the best purchases I've made in recent years. I keep opening it back up, I keep it handy, I bring it to game to show my players (and then take away, to avoid distracting them with it). I open it at random and just read. And yes, I've used some of the material - never with an actual 1d12 roll, but still, some results are so inspirational I've just snagged them and used them to color my game.

Highly recommended.

Friday, August 28, 2015

My Latest DF book - Soon!

According to Dr Kromm's Livejournal:

"I submitted my final tweaks to the most recent GURPS Dungeon Fantasy volume from Peter Dell'Orto (peterdellorto). Look for that soon."

Hurrah!

I can't wait to see it, either. I mean, I've seen it, but there is "pre-production review" and there is "my book, published." I can't wait for others to see it, either. And for people to start to tell me how wrong I did it.* Okay, maybe not that last part, but I am excited about the rest of it.



* Which usually means, "If I wrote the book - which I didn't, and wouldn't - it wouldn't have been that way." ;)

PvP

There is a very interesting post over on Power Score about PvP in D&D.

I've played in some games, not fantasy games, where PvP was common. Players and their characters had different motivations, different goals, and very different approaches to those goals. Net result? Lots of character death. I personally caused a lot of them. Maybe the most, person for person - I know I killed or had killed at least three characters (two belonging to the same guy, one a drop-in try-out player who left behind an extremely messy, unreliable, plot-disrupting, and dangerous PC.) It didn't generate any bad blood because we went into the game knowing PvP was part of the deal.

I recall my friends talking with some admiration about how one guy really got the point that Vampire wasn't D&D when he got the other vampires killed for his own personal benefit. It was that moment of realizing, hey, wow, we're dead and he's right, we're not a party of friends but a cluster of temporary allies.

But we've lost players, permanently, to PvP issues - even when one of them was driven to PvP by external domination (via Enslave spell, specifically) by an NPC "ally" of the group who realized fracturing them up and killing them was more affordable than paying them. Even with a logical in-game excuse that the player couldn't control (he rolled badly when it mattered, got captured, got Enslaved), it was still enough to damage the group.

For that reason we generally take a founding idea of the game that it is either pro- or anti-PvP. Pro-PvP doesn't mean we have PvP. Our pirates campaign was pro-PvP, but I can't recall any incidents. It's possible a PC shot an NPC or something (everyone had a lot of PCs and player-controlled NPCs), but I don't remember. Had it happened, well, these are pirates - bound to get some internal crew stresses. Anti-PvP games - our default stance - means you don't go against the group. You always find some reason - in game, on your character sheet, or whatever - to not go PvP even if it would result in PvNPC conflict. Sense of Duty is a common one, as are twists on disadvantages that make valuing your allies a means to an end in the game. The guy with Greed might pocket stuff without informing the group, or make deals for money when the group as a whole would prefer something else, but might also justify the group on the grounds that "These guys help me make so much more money that I did on my own!" That kind of stuff.

As a GM, I'll still happily use domination-type powers and possession-type magic against PCs, but I'm much more inclined to make it short term and immediate. My players don't seem to mind beating down the guy who has been mentally dominated by the King of the Vampire-Lich-Trolls or evil god as much as they mind thinking any normal, non-combat interaction over a longer campaign might a PC turned against the party.

PvP can be fun - it's extremely fun in video games, Munchkin, Paranoia (it's not nearly as much fun without PvP), every board game we play except the occasional co-ops, etc. But it comes with enough stress that we leave it off by default. Don't bring an assassin to the party with the paladin, and don't bring a wizard-hater to the wizard-happy party, and don't make a loner for the group game. Not if I'm running it, anyway. It's just easier for everyone to relax and enjoy the game that way, we've found. We're up for PvP but it's got to be a basis for the game.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Pegasus JS-2 tanks

So I had a whole bunch of gift cards with tiny, random amounts of money on them. I recently found out Amazon.com will let you buy Amazon.com gift cards for yourself using other gift cards, from 0.50 and up. So I emptied all of my cards, and with some of the proceeds I picked up this:



I was looking at these for a while, because it's such a good deal for two tanks. They also fit the time period of the other vehicles I have assembled - '43-'45.

One thing that surprised me was the hard plastic molded one-piece tracks. I'm not sure how I'll cleanly get the cut marks off the tracks where I had to clip them from the sprues. But I will manage somehow - a file will do, it's just not going to look as nice as soft plastic tracks can.

I'm going to start putting these guys together ASAP. I figure the best way to go is do them line style - one step at a time, alternating tanks. Once I get them together, I'll take some pictures and review the models as a whole.

I actually think the JS-3 (which didn't see WWII service) is a much cooler looking tank - it's that first tank that looks like the later T-64/T-80 tanks. But they had these, and I do like the JS-2.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

30 Second Magic Item: Shiv of Speed

This is for Tin Shorts, since he apparently is asking for this kind of thing.

Shiv of Speed - this dagger is made for nefarious no-good-niks who pull knives on people and shiv them.

for S&W and Old-School Clones: You always gain initiative on any round you use this dagger. You may declare you are using the dagger after initiative is rolled, and drop another weapon in favor of it. It strikes twice per round, but must strike the same target twice. For all purposes it is a +2 dagger.

for GURPS: This small knife can be readied automatically on your turn as if Fast-Drawn. It gains you Extra Attack (Multistrike) which must be used for this weapon; both attacks must be against the same target. You strike first in any situation of Partial Surprise, and, if using Speed-based initiative, are considered to have a Speed higher than any other combatant for purposes of determining Initiative. It is Accuracy +2 and Puissance +2, both Power 20.

There, maybe that is useful for you Tim. I thought that up pretty much as I wrote it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

More Random Memories of the Very Old Days

I wrote a post much like this before, called Random Memories of the Very Old Days. But I got to visit my friend, editor, and five-time writing partner Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch this weekend, and we were chatting about what it was like getting gaming stuff when we started out gaming.

So here are some more random memories.

You Got What Was Available. Pretty much, what was in the stores nearby was what you had to choose from.

Not all stores would order stuff for you - and for me, being a pre-teen gamer, "you" did not include "me." The first place I recall ordering stuff for me was what is now Timewarp Comics & Games. Otherwise, it was what was on the shelves. They ordered stuff in, and it sat there until it was purchased. People didn't necessarily differentiate between Basic, Expert, original D&D, and AD&D. So it was all jumbled together, and there wasn't any clear attempt at maintaining a line.

This could be good - I got Eldritch Wizardy, the now-called OD&D supplement, for a few bucks off the shelf of a gaming store. AFAIK that was my first OD&D purchase, followed closely by Blackmoor. Now I have them all.

This could be very good - Ogre and Car Wars were prominently displayed and easy to get.

This could also be very bad - I never saw a single Judge's Guild product until much later, although I remember ads for them in Dragon magazine. We saw Role-Aids stuff, but I wasn't (and still basically am not) terribly impressed by them. They weren't "official" either, would meant we couldn't point to any external authority to justify using them. That was important either as a young kid trying to convince other young kids your rules were the right rules, or when dealing with the occasional older kids who didn't want to game with you either.* Not only that, but I got Fiend Folio before the Monster Manual, at least partly because the Jamesway I bought it at didn't have the Monster Manual. I wanted it more, but I also didn't have the other one around - I remember being really excited to get to take a look at my uncle's copy much later on. It was this mythical tome.

Mail Order Hobby House - I ordered stuff from the Mail Order Hobby House starting sometime later. I'd save up, make the order up, get my mom to write a check for the amount, and send away and wait 4-6 weeks for the stuff I ordered to show up. No drop shipped or POD or Amazon Prime in those days. Sometimes it would come with a refund because stuff wasn't available. Sometimes it would come with a bill because something increased in price since I ordered it. I vaguely recall not paying them $1.~ I owed near the end, or not getting that amount back in overpaying - I can't recall which.

Dragon Ads - Another way to get stuff was mail order from companies advertising in Dragon. I have a couple issues with stuff cut out for that reason. That's how I got my back issues, although I ordered too late to get Dragon #69 (with the Astral Plane adventure featuring Githyanki) and got a refund check for that issue. I also got at least one SJG supplement that way, but for the life I me I can't recall which one. It might have been GEV, maybe. Or Shockwave.

Pre-Painted Minis. I don't know who was doing them, but you used to be able to get four figure packs of pre-painted lead minis. I have what's left of one wizard, now, who I re-painted all blue with enamel paint at some point. I don't know why, either - maybe they didn't seal right and the paint flecked off? Who knows? I tended to mistreat my toys.

That's your random old memories for today.


* If the gaming blog-o-sphere seems a little high school sometimes, with cliques and name calling and spite posting with the names filed off, it's still better than the pre-junior high stuff I lived through in actual reality. Gamers were marginal in school, and we marginalized each other. Hurrah for internecine conflict.
I think I've told the story about how my first scheduled settle-this-after-school fight was over gaming, with another gamer, right? No? Maybe some other time . . .
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