Friday, September 22, 2023

Friday Random Links for 9/22/23

A few links for Friday.

- We're playing Vic's Felltower Adjacent game Sunday.

- Bret at ACOUP takes a look at Baldur's Gate armor, and thus D&D5 armor.

- Random Rumor tables are part of the fun of Felltower. Where did they begin? Lich Van Winkle takes a look.

- A brief look at the World of Greyhawk (1983) boxed set. I had both, and I liked the second one better. It was more useful, in my experience, than the other when I ran games in Greyhawk. Had they come out in reverse order the original would have seemed like a downgrade.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Adding Balanced later?

Just thinking about the various weapon prefixes, it's generally clear that most of them can't be added later. You can't make your bow into an Elven bow later on. Your mace can't become Dwarven through some add-on. It's way to late to make a weapon Fine.

Balanced is a little tricky. Changing the balance of a weapon is possible. I'm not saying trivial, but changing a hilt, modifying the shaft, adding or changing the weight of a secondary point, etc. would probably work for many weapons, given a properly made weapon in the first place.

I'm thinking it's not going to be cheap - not as cheap as one that's been properly balanced in the first place. Probably changing +6 CF instead of +4 CF as a retrofit would work.

I'm going to put that in front of the group and see if it flies.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Fantasy General comments

I was able to get through my tough fight in Fantasy General, and I got my combat groove back. It's a pretty simple game.

It's a good game, but I find with the turn limits given, a lot of units become more marginal. My main killers are Sky Hunters, Heavy Infantry, and Light Infantry, pretty much in that order. I use a mix of everything, but cavalry are useful for ranging around but tend to get mauled by infantry when attacked instead of attacking. Bombardiers are helpful, but they're too vulnerable to enemy Sky Hunters. Archers are great in a support role, but light infantry are faster and heavies can use Forced March and quickly outpace them. You can't just advance in a big wall of infantry backed by archers, in my experience. Healers are so useful as support troops that I don't upgrade wizards past that level because the higher level types attack but can't heal . . . and healing battered units is a good way to keep the pace of an offensive without missing a few turns getting away from the enemy, resting, and then moving back.

I'm enjoying it but I feel like I could probably do just as well with a force more centered on just a few unit types.

I'm rolling through the campaign now, though, after getting past coming back to the game in the middle of a large, vicious battle with a tight time limit. I paid a price in a few units to win that but now I'm rolling solidly now.

Monday, September 18, 2023

DCC #100 arrived!

I just got a shipping notice today . . . not terribly long before I got a delivery notice from the USPS. This will climb to the top of my reading list as of this weekend, when I should have time to open it up.

It was pricey once the shipping kicked in . . . so I better run it to make it worth it!

Looks good so far!

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Felltower Regrets 1 and 2

A big pair of regrets I have with Felltower are as follows:

1) I didn't make the upper levels and surface area a starting area for beginning delvers instead of using the Caves of Chaos.

2) I didn't add a lot more connections between the upper levels and one another, and then to the lower levels from there.

Let's look at those in turn, as a lesson to would-be megadungeon GMs.

1) One issue I've encountered again and again is the need for side areas for starting groups to explore. But I started the game with the Caves of Chaos because it was the fastest way to start.

The downside to that is that there is always a temptation to go look for a "side area." There is always a pull toward going back to the Caves, or the Lost City, or the Cold Fens, or some unknown additional location. It's a fallback, and a megadungeon game works best when the megadungeon is the main pull. Given a chance to play again, I'd burn my ships at the shoreline and commit the group to the megadungeon and nothing else.

That does mean more work - you need to have basic details for everything the PCs can get to in the first session or two before you start and furiously map and prep ahead of them. But in the end it should be a better game.

2) I made the top level of Felltower a little too tight. Yes, it was meant to be a fortress and had chokepoint entrances. But it should have expanded behind that to 3-5 ways to pass between each and every level for the top few levels at least, and a central way down to the deeper levels accessible from the start. I had one for the top few levels, but it would have been better to allow it access to even deeper levels - I could have used magic to restrict access deeper, instead of doing a Wizardry-inspired pair of staircases (although Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord used two elevators.)

Allowing for more too-and-fro access would have resulted, in my opinion, in a better delving experience and less "we can't go there!" b.s.

Just a couple of thoughts on Felltower for today.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Fantasy General - trying to restart my saved game

I gave Icewind Dale a spin, but I wasn't really enjoying it. I had fun back in the day but it's not what I want now.

What I do have, partly played, is Fantasy General. I got stuck on a big, big battle, big enough that getting back into it is rough. I figured I'd just give it a go, starting tonight.

I'm out of practice enough that I'll likely get mauled pretty badly - it's a tough fight. I might lose some of my best veteran units in the process of victory. But I am not playing in Ironman mode. I will just give the battle a playthrough and win at all costs - and then save the results. I'll reserve the right to go back and play the battle again and try for better results. It's tough to take a break from a game that requires a bit of player skill and has long-term costs to pay for errors made today.

Just try to win the battle no matter what seems a good way to break back in, without starting over.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Friday Random Links & Thoughts - 9/15/2023

Weekly roundup.

- I've mostly back on a regular posting schedule. I'll be trying to keep it up.

- Next game is in about a week and change. It'll be Vic's game again.

- HANS posted about Bergmann submachine guns.

- A character for the Psi-Wars game. I'm looking forward to reading session summaries.

- The End of Calidar. I left D&D/AD&D earlier than it came out, so I don't carry a lot of nostalgia for it. I like flying ships and whatnot, but clearly the fanbase isn't large enough to sustain the game. That's too bad - and I know it's something true about some games I like now, too. They have insuffienct critical mass . . .

- I played a bit of Icewind Dale . . . and it wasn't as fun as I remembered. I'll leave it off to the side for now and concentrate on other work.
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