Sunday, March 24, 2019

Gamma pre-summary

We played Gamma Terra today, with a crew of (eventually) three people.

Some highlights:

- a lot more mimics were found, fought, and turned into piles of metal or metal twists.

- much loot was found, including a lot of purple injector pens, 10mm handguns, 40mm launchers, half-exoskeletons, medipacks galore, and more ID cards, advanced medical analysis tools (hula hoops) - and even some food and liquor!

- even more mimics were fought.

- we found out what the purple pens did.

- we hauled off a bubble car.

. . . and we buried the fallen Purists we found.

After the main session, we handled the postscripts of looting the bank vault . . . and taking control of the Princess. We couldn't use the Princess for what we wanted (a mobile shelter) but it was useful nonetheless.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Gamma Terra tomorrow

We're playing Gamma Terra tomorrow, so I've been reviewing our game sessions for today.

Last session, we found a teleporter, power armor, mimics, new ID cards, dead purists and some of their skull-rank-chips, a flying car, and some other tech.

This next session, we have to find a way to haul it all back home. And salvage a mimic or two. And whatever those squid-shroom "Octoshrooms" are.

I can't wait. It's been a bad year for getting off gaming sessions, and despite a short crew we'll get off a game session tomorrow.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Bonus Troll Adventure Seed

In celebration of the success of the DFRPG Monsters 2 Kickstarter, here is another Troll adventure seed:

The Troll Wars. Every decade or so, the Cold Fens begins to seethe with trolls in the hundreds, even thousands. They swarm out into the surrounding lands. The "troll wars" that result kill countless trolls but take an enormous toll on the kingdoms around the fens. Recently discovered writings have been discovered claiming this is due to an ancient temple to a "troll god" deep within the fens. If this temple can be cleared, exorcised, and expunged, the troll wars may finally end. Unfortunately, the trolls have already begun to mass in force. A group of intrepid delvers could sneak in and clear the temple and claim a rich reward. But if the trolls don't get them, perhaps the cold, stinking, disease-ridden fens will.

I'll add this to the Adventure Seeds post shortly.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The coming end of the Kickstarters

Both the DFRPG Monsters 2 and Citadel of Norovorn Kickstarter campaigns are almost over.

I'm in for the print book of Monsters 2 + the PDF.

I'm in for the PDF of Norovorn and the expanded grappling book, both in PDF.

Both campaigns have funded, but both can use a bit more help . . . and it's a great chance to get in on things you may have missed (like the DFRPG boxed set) or to support a writer-and-artist friendly company that makes excellent products.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The origins of Pathfinder Goblins

On an post really unrelated to goblins, Trollsmyth posted something about Pathfinder goblins.

I really like the art of Wayne Reynolds. It reminds me - favorably - of Jeff Dee's superhero-like D&D delvers. They were also posed in some mid-action scene fighting horrid monsters - and Wayne Reynold's stuff is the same.

His goblins, though, feel like the signature monster of Pathfinder even more than, say, his famous black dragon.

I have a bunch of the minis that I use for Doomchildren. I'd cheerfully use them as goblins, Pathfinder style, as well.


Because of this description of them.

"Everyone loves kobolds." I don't. I do like grinning cute death machines. Especially ones that remind me of the Goblins Sappers from Warcraft 2. "Kabooom!" WR's goblins are close cousins to those guys. I don't even like singing in games (or fantasy novels) but I like that song.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Adventure seeds updated - is there call for more?

As promised, I've been updating the Adventure Seeds post I made the other day.

All of the DFRPG Monsters Adventure Seeds

Right now, we're up to 11 creatures with adventure seeds. Two of them each have one additional adventure seed link from me and from Matt.

I'm curious how much people like these seeds. Is there call for more of them? Is this something Matt and I should look into? Or are inspiring little vignettes just not that exciting after a while?

Monday, March 18, 2019

Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser by Russ Nicholson

Russ Nicholson just did another image dump post on his blog. I like this one of the Grey Mouser (left, below Sheelba of the Eyeless Face) and Fafhrd (right, below Ningauble of the Seven Eyes):

Great stuff. And he's got a favorite from the Fiend Folio up there, too - one of the sources of inspiration for the bugbear in DFM1.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Lesser Lichdom & Wishing

In Felltower, I fold together some of the options from DF 9 Summoners, and most of the perks, etc. of Necromancers, into the Wizard template options. Basically I like the idea of Summoners and Necromancers, but I prefer them to be types of Wizards instead of their own templates.

Because of that, perks like Lesser Lichdom* are more widely available.

The perk is pretty specific - healing won't save you. You're already dead. I suppose if someone had a 300-carat gem spellstone of Resurrection I'd allow for that to work.**

The question is, what about wishes?

I've been known to pass out rings with wishes in them. Old school, ask-and-get one-second time to use wishes.

What if someone dies, has Lesser Lichdom, and uses a wish to undo the effects of dying?

On one level, it bothers me. It's a 1-point perk meant to get you 2-7 seconds of pre-death vengeance. If said vengeance (or running out of a trapped area, or stepping into a gate, or whatever) makes it easier for you to be brought back with Resurrection, fine. It's a valid use.

But having some extra time to get out of dying in the first place seems a bit . . . disappointing. It's not really the spirit of the "my goodness, he's still coming" or "I'll get you back for killing me" intent of the perk.

On the other hand, it's a wish. I don't hand them out like candy. You can't get them easily. They have great effects.

I think I'd allow a person operating in that limited window to use a Wish. You'd have to word it properly, but you could even undo that death check. It's no more or less than using a wish as an ersatz Resurrection anyway.

I'd be less generous in allow a broad-scale "I wish we were all safe and also I wasn't dying" or "I wish we were all healed fully" type wishes, though. You're dead. It's going to take a good chunk of what a wish can do - maybe all of it - to fit that. And wishes that ask for too much don't always take effect at all.

* And its Barbarian equivalent, Not Done Killing (Barbarians, p. 18)

** But they won't. They just won't.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Mercenaries Spies & Private Eyes Kickstarter

Thanks to Erik Tenkar for point this one out.

If you read Dragon Magazine back in the early to mid 80s like I did, you'll remember the ads for Mercenaries Spies & Private Eyes.

It always seemed like a cool game, although we generally played Gangbusters or Top Secret. I wanted to check it out for a long time.

There is a Kickstarter for it out now, all of $6 for the PDF and $18 + S&H for the book plus the PDF. It's a good deal if nostalgia (or desire for a non-GURPS Cliffhangers game, I suppose) is pulling at you.

Mercenaries Spies & Private Eyes

Friday, March 15, 2019

Reasons to try GURPS for Dungeon Bashing

I had a bit of a post written on why I think GURPS does dungeon bashing well enough to throw some money in on . . . but this post sums it all up better:

31 Reasons Why You Want to Pick Up Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game

It's a good list, and I can't disagree with any of it.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Future of GURPS?

I read this post of Sean Punch's with great interest, especially this bit:

"If you like or ever liked GURPS, and you want to see it go on to do new and interesting things, please support this campaign! It is a litmus of sorts:

△ If it funds, that will send us the message that we should support the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game and consider future campaigns for big, interesting GURPS books (in the traditional printed sense) and/or GURPS-based products (such as this one).

△ If it doesn't fund, we'll have to ponder whether there's enough interest in GURPS to keep it around as anything other than a series of PDFs once or twice a month.

So, not much on the line with the Monsters 2 Kickstarter except the possible future of GURPS.

For me, I could live with GURPS running on life support for a while. But eventually it would get hard - we'd be surviving on limited support materials, lack of resources for errata and updates, and fewer and fewer of my own ideas would hit print. It wouldn't be as fun as a living, thriving game. That's where DFRPG came from, and DF before that.

It's far better to have a living, breathing game line in my opinion. It's no small thing, this $40K ask for a Kickstarter. It's asking, how much support does GURPS have? Right now less than 1000 people are in on it. Even that few would be enough to fund it . . . but it feels like such a small number who need to turn up. I hope it will get there. GURPS has been too good to be relegated even further back on the stove of SJG products. I hope you agree and get the book. Plus, Sean makes great monsters.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Draug Race

This is entirely Matt Riggsby's fault.

Draug Adventure Seeds, Supplemental

Draug Race. Some say the draug live only for vengeance. But some live only for competition. No living man has ever completed the legendary Muspelheim 500, a treacherous 500 yard race down a rocky mountain with lakes of lava on either side, bottomless ravines, and forests of twisted, dead trees. A team of delvers brave enough to chance the race - even win it - would gain immense fame. To win, they must beat a variety of racing teams of monstrous and undead types, including the mysterious draug, Lord X. The draugr racing team consists of a chariot pulled by four skeletal horses (treat as draft horses, p. B459, but with -2 ST, +1 DX, +1 Basic Speed, and Enchanced Move 1.5 (Ground Speed 18)) crewed by the draug racer lord and his bow-armed draug henchman, who won't hesitate to fire arrows from his Cornucopia quiver at other racers. Plot twist: Little do the delvers know it, but the draug racer is actually the long-lost older brother of one of the delvers, whose mysterious disappearance prompted said delver to adventure!

Now go back the Monsters 2 Kickstarter, eh?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Victory Lap for Gaming Ballistic: Unlocked!

Douglas Cole's Kickstarter for his DFRPG supplement, The Citadel at Norðvorn, has funded:


This is a well-earned success by Doug; I've said it before and I will say it again - he puts out high quality material and treats those he works with - and writes for - well.

I'm very happy to have come home to this particular piece of Kickstarter news. And the DFRPG Monsters Kickstarter is only $10K from funding, and $55K from the max-length book stretch goal. If need be, I'll kick in some extra for some extra monsters when the end comes.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Updates to the DFRPG

If you purchased the DFRPG in PDF, you'll have received an update note today.

It fixes two issues which I've have come up in game (as well as some others.)

One of them is the accidental flipping of the jump distance. In one place the books correctly state it's Move/2 or Jumping/4; in another, it says Move/4 or Jumping/2. It's the former, obviously, or anyone with a single point in Jumping suddenly jumps 6+ yards (it's DF, everyone is DX 12 or higher). But it's nice to see that fixed up.

The second is the regeneration rates of monsters such as trolls. Since regeneration rates are multiplied just like healing rates are for high HP, the rates listed for trolls, ice wyrms, etc. are off. They list the base rate, not the final rate. Those, too, are fixed.

Some other typos got cleared up, but I haven't spotted them yet. Presumably they didn't engender much confusion - they do not seem to have at my table.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Felltower's Moon

That's no moon, that's a potential adventuring location!

Actually, it's both.

The world that Felltower is on is very much like our own, and its climate and location is very much like northern NJ because that's where I'm situated. If I was running it remotely from Japan, it would have been a heck of a lot snowier in the winter and hotter and more humid in the summer.

Because of this, in general, the players can rely on real-world facts and real-world impressions of the world to determine how things are in the area in and around Felltower.

The moon, however, may be slightly different.

A long while back the PCs heard this rumor:

"There used to be a guy who swore he went down in the dungeons and through a magic door and came out on the moon and spat down on Stericksburg. He’s gone, now."

This either says something about this guy, or it says something about the moon and the physics of the atmosphere in the world of Felltower.

Either way, the moon is a potential adventuring location. I've designed it as such. It may be accessible through a "magic door," or by one of the gates that the moon phase is said to affect, or by direct flight (by Flight spells or otherwise), or by other means. But it's a place the PCs can go.

This is unapologetically thanks to Gary Gygax and his Up on a Soapbox columns from Dragon magazine. He had an NPC bamboozle a PC out of a lot of money for a moonshot catapult. As a result, the player gave up on the moon and no one went . . . and Gary had apparently stocked it up for adventure. Oh well.

It's also inspired by Wallace & Gromit, old bad movies that MST3K riffed on, H.P. Lovecraft's writings, and The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle. It might not be as silly as all four of those, but they did play into my desire to put a PC on the moon by the end of this campaign and return some of the survivors home safely.

I'm not sure I'll ever get to use my moon location, or how my PCs will get there, but it's a potential adventuring location. Because, why not?

Saturday, March 9, 2019

All of the DFRPG Monsters Adventure Seeds

Here are all of the Monsters adventure seeds so far, linked and excerpted:

as-Sharak Adventure Seeds (by Matt Riggsby, for a monster created by Sean Punch for DF2)

Fire With Fire. As-Sharak are cursed to kill those among the living who share their lust for power. While they are ruthless in their violent pursuits, there are those who perceive some morality in it, viewing the demons' victims as getting their just desserts. A quintet of as-Sharak – one of each type – have become proactive, venturing from their lair to destroy not only those who come to loot it but also those who might plan to do so. This category includes the heroes, certainly, but also many wannabe Dark Lords – and the as-Sharak have been killing a lot of them. If the delvers move against the as-Sharak, then along with facing monsters, they will be up against an order of holy warriors who see the fiends as useful scourges against other evils.

Look Who's Back. Fires are burning down houses belonging to Wizards' Guild members around town. Signs point to a powerful demon lurking underground. How long before it becomes apparent that the monster is an as-Sharak who used to be master of the Guild, who blames his former associates for the curse that befell him and is seeking revenge?

Additional as-Sharak seed from Matt Riggsby.

Bronze Spider Adventure Seeds (by Peter Dell'Orto, for a monster created by Sean Punch for DFM1)

Dungeon Repairachnids. Bronze spiders make great additions to megadungeons or other locations adventurers will visit repeatedly. Their presence can explain knocked-down doors being repaired, traps being reset, new passages appearing (or blockages closing passages), scratches and chalk marks being removed, and so on. Delvers hate anything that resets traps and fixes doors, so they’ll probably try to exterminate the spiders. Such actions are likely to attract the attention of whoever – or whatever – set the monsters their task in the first place.

Secret Of The Clockwork Spiders.
Finding the clockwork world where bronze spiders originated could be the culmination of a series of delves deep into the Earth. The secret to their construction would be extremely valuable. So would much of the techno-magical gear certain to be found there. Such a realm would have more than just bronze spiders – golems of bronze, metallic animals, and ornithopter-like bronze insects would guard their clockwork god and its worshippers.

Crushroom Adventure Spores (by Peter Dell'Orto, for a monster created by Sean Punch for DF2)

King Of The Crushrooms. Legends persist of sapient crushrooms. Mycologists, alchemists, druids, and wizards speak of the fabled Crushroom King, who leads a colony of “civilized” crushrooms. Making contact with the Crushroom King could bring fame and fortune. But the supposed location of the colony is deep within a huge series of caverns, past forests of fungi, spore clouds, and ordinary (nonsapient) crushrooms. Even if the Crushroom King exists, it’s unclear how to communicate with it or what such a being would want. Still, legends portray it as having great wealth, magical mushrooms, and spells for affecting fungi.

Capturing A Crushroom. The secrets of ambulatory fungus hold a lot of promise for magical research by local alchemists. Druids might also covet a captured crushroom, as a natural guard for a grove. Capturing a live, healthy crushroom (no nearly dead specimens wanted, please) would bring at least $3,000 from either group. The obstacles are steep: Crushrooms are neither small, nor easy to capture, nor rational beings delvers can bargain with – and they’re strong. Still, it is a big reward.

Demon from Between the Stars Adventure Seeds (by Matt Riggsby, for a monster created by Sean Punch for DFM1)

Between Stars. The stars are not right; the past few nights, they’ve been downright wrong. Cracks are opening into the Deep Night Between the Stars from which the Demons come. If the heroes don’t want to face ever-increasing waves of Demons and even worse Elder Things, they must step through a gap in the darkness and into a realm where the stars are only distant silver motes. The places between the stars are silent, very cold (Exploits, p. 70), and full of danger, but the adventurers have to find a way to ignite a new star, pushing back the darkness for a while.

Lords Of Night. Refugees are fleeing their villages. The night, they say, is taking their livestock, their families, and everything else. And there’s a pattern. Vicious shadows are clearing a ring around a remote-but-legendary shrine, cutting it off from the outside world. A number of highly intelligent Demons from Between the Stars are preparing to assault the temple and destroy a center of power that can be used against them. The only path to beating them is through them.

Doomchild Adventure Seeds (by Peter Dell'Orto, for a monster created by Sean Punch for DF2)

Doomchildren Gate. Shockingly small bands of doomchildren have launched suicidal raids on the border fort near an old dungeon. The doomchildren have been destroyed each time, but where are they coming from? The local ruler wants that question answered and the doomchildren plague ended. Deep within the dungeon, perhaps a megadungeon, is a long-sealed gate to the realm of the demons (Hell?). It’s leaking – slightly – allowing doomchildren through a handful at a time, and must be resealed. If the delvers aren’t careful, attempts to close the gate could actually open it wide, allowing a larger force of demons to pass through. Alternatively, the gate might need closing from the other side, allowing bold heroes to travel to the demon realm itself for some real adventure.

Children Of The Doomed. The presence of doomchildren usually means the presence of demons, demon-worshippers, or foolish wizards who dared too much (and died in the process). This time it means all three. A wizard friendly to the PCs accidentally summoned a pack of doomchildren along with the peshkali she intended to conjure. The peshkali and doomchildren killed her and are loose. Only the heroes can clear her house of demons. Plot twist: The peshkali is downright maternal toward “her” doomchildren.

Draug Adventure Seeds (by Peter Dell'Orto, for a monster written up by Peter Dell'Orto for DFM1)

The Lord’s Bodyguards. Buried within a local dungeon is a dead lord and his bodyguards, all equipped with excellent armor and weapons, all with rich grave goods – and all victims of a great curse that has made them draugr. One was the beloved ancestor of a powerful and wealthy family; they’d like him laid to rest (read: destroyed) and his grave goods retrieved, and they’re willing pay triple the value for them, intact. What should be a simple kill-and-loot mission has three complications: First, there are 33 draugr, all used to fighting cooperatively. Second, the grave goods are the bodyguards’ delicate gold jewelry, which is vulnerable to fire. And third (which the family doesn’t know), thanks to the curse, Turning doesn’t work within the confines of their hall of crypts. Delvers will need to be very tough – or very clever – to succeed.

Draug Challenge. A draug haunting a barrow nearby is known for challenging warriors to single combat. A group of delvers could defeat it, but a local lord has put up his magic sword as a reward to any warrior who can destroy the thing single-handed.

Gargoyle Adventure Seeds (by Matt Riggsby, for a monster created by Sean Punch for DFRPG Monsters)

Getting The Words Right. Architects will tell you that gargoyles should be called “grotesques,” as proper gargoyles are defined by the presence of a spout. Architects should shut up. Someone is responsible for new strains of gargoyles: Some can spray a strong jet of water; treat as the Water Jet spell (Spells, p. 71) at an effective skill 15, along with Innate Attack (Breath)-15; others spit acid, doing 1d-3 corrosion damage (see Exploits, p. 65, for further effects) per die of knockback. Surely alkahest-spitting gargoyles are not far behind! Are gargoyles selectively breeding themselves to acquire greater powers? Have they appealed to a gargoyle god for blessings? Is a wizard doing it?

Undercover Gargoyle. Gargoyles can’t convincingly disguise themselves as flesh-and-blood mortals, but some bright ones have figured out how to conceal themselves as statues, pillars, and so on. In fancier rooms, including temples and palaces, they can hide in plain sight (Quick Contest of Vision vs. Camouflage-12 to spot) to strike when least expected. But don’t smash the Grand Temple’s new statue of the Great God Zorg!

Lich Adventure Seeds (by Peter Dell'Orto, for a monster created by Sean Punch for DFM1)

The Lich’s Bargain. No lich is truly good, but they aren’t all inherently hostile to all delvers. The typical lich desires magical power and knowledge, and some will trade riches, knowledge, or even assistance to get it. Approaching such a lich is tricky – liches rarely lack lethal defenses – but potentially rewarding.

The Master Of Lost Lore. The Wizards’ Guild needs the details of a particularly important magical ritual, which are in a unique book possessed by an especially evil and powerful lich. The monster is protected by veritable army of skeletons, zombies, demons, and spheres of madness, and a pack of hellhounds – all deep within a trap-filled dungeon. The Guild is offering a rich reward to delvers who return the book, and a bonus if they destroy the lich; what they neglect to mention is that the lich is actually the Guild’s former leader. The lore sought is that of how to become a lich . . . and the current guildmaster is getting on in years. If the PCs are bold enough to talk to the lich first and discuss their mission, it will counteroffer a reward for the assassination of the master of the Wizards’ Guild!

Rock Mite Adventure Seeds (by Matt Riggsby, for a monster created by Peter Dell'Orto for DFM1)

The Underminer! Rock mites are said to be living tools, drones used by a hidden civilization. Many tools can be weaponized. Properly organized, rock mites constitute a strategic threat, and someone may have figured out how to control them. Like an army of sappers, they can undermine not just the walls of settlements on the surface, but entire towns. When bits and pieces of the heroes’ town start falling into holes in the ground, they need to stop the whole thing from going under. The PCs must work to bring back not a key hostage or two, but an entire temple that has sunk beneath the earth.

Mine Tailings. Rumor has it there’s a population of rock mites that doesn’t just eat rock, but leaves behind metal. A scholar wants the heroes to track down colonies of rock mites and confirm the report. They’ll have to get up close to a lot of rock mites, gather samples of their bodies and the rubble they leave behind, and hope that the ones they’re looking for don’t leave behind toxic wastes.

Spirit Guardian Adventure Seeds (by Matt Riggsby for a monster created by Sean Punch for DFRPG Monsters)

The Spirit Moves. Spirit guardians can be formidable, but at least they’re limited to one place. Usually. A spirit guardian attached to a forest may find its domain expanding when the forest grows. And when the forest is controlled by a mad druid with the power to make the trees march, the spirit guardian goes with them. If a group of delvers could just get to the druid, they could stop the moving forest’s weird rampage, but every step of the way, the quest is complicated by a spirit trying to push them out. And things could get really bad when the forest rolls up the slopes of an extinct volcano and the spirit’s attempts to pummel them start to do cutting damage (from the jagged shards of obsidian whipped up from the ground) rather than crushing.

Troll Adventure Seeds (by Peter Dell'Orto, for a monster written up by Peter Dell'Orto for DFM1)

The Troll Wizard. Delvers attempting to exterminate a local troll infestation have come back from the fens reporting a fireproof troll that tossed around spells when attacked! A troll wizard holds great potential as a source of both danger and reward – trolls like loot, and a troll wizard would certainly have some in its lair. Of course, the troll might not be an actual wizard, but a cleric of some unusual trollish god (or even a friendly god). Worse, a troll druid would be very difficult to deal with in a wilderness setting. A spellcasting troll might make a good noncombat encounter, if it isn’t hungry and the adventurers are brave enough to speak instead of attack.

The Giant Troll. A rare few trolls grow to giant size – start with the stats for a giant and add a troll’s traits. Such a monster makes a great guardian for a MacGuffin, a powerful magical weapon, or a rare bit of treasure. And it’s certain to have at least a couple dozen normal-sized trolls nearby as flunkies!

Werewolf Adventure Seeds (by Matt Riggsby, for a monster written by Sean Punch for DFRPG Monsters)

Pack Hunting. The cunning of werewolves isn’t limited to moderately intelligent hunting tactics. A particularly clever pack are moving in the direction of becoming super-predators, taking over and cultivating the upper levels of a dungeon in order to draw in wealthy and powerful delvers. In human form, they’re spreading word that there’s a lot of treasure to be found, and salting the neighborhood with a bit of recovered loot. In wolf form, they lurk throughout the dungeon’s upper levels, keeping an eye on anyone who enters and sometimes rounding up herds of the less-intelligent monsters found there, hoping to overwhelm adventurers without exposing themselves to danger. They’ll try to push particularly tough treasure-hunters to deeper levels. If the delvers and more formidable monsters found on ever-deeper levels don’t kill one another, the pack can move in to finish off the weakened survivors and take both sides’ loot!

These are all in support of the DFRPG Monsters 2 Kickstarter.

I'll update this post as more are posted up, so eventually when the Kickstarter is all funded up and the books are out, we don't need to look all over the place for those posted adventure seeds. All of these were work for hire by SJG, and belong to them.

Friday, March 8, 2019


I asked a while back, and I received:

Diablo on GOG

I'll wait for it to drop a bit in price - I'm too busy to get immersed in it right now - but I will get that and play it again.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

More adventure seeds for DF, and Doug's Kickstarter

Two bits today.

First, they put up some adventure seeds by none other than Matt Riggsby:

Demon from Between the Stars Adventure Seeds

Had Matt not chosen them before me, I'd totally have included the Twinned Temple as a Demon From Between the Stars adventure seed. But you have to step aside when Matt Riggsby has an idea; it's bound to be better.

Second, Doug had a post about his Kickstarter and the DFRPG one. I'm linking to it because, if you want to support the Kickstarters and the DFRPG, it's important that you take a look. I'm a lot of things, but a social media-posting, forum-reading, gamer-recruiting type I am not. If you are, step up and help out if this is your bag.

Thursday is Back the DFRPG Kickstarters Day

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

DFRPG Monsters 2 + DFRPG Reprint Kickstarter

Yesterday Steve Jackson Games launched this Kickstarter:

Short version: It's for a second Monster book for DFRPG, plus a reprint. You can order PDF, print, or both of the Monsters 2 book and the DFRPG boxed set.

Long version: For the long version, go check out the campaign.

I'm in for one copy of DFRPG Monsters 2; I may go for a second copy. I'm not sure I need a third boxed set, but I'll keep my options open and talk to my players about what books we need more of.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Want vs. Have Time For: A tale of two Eastern Front games

This is the wargame I want:

Gary Grigsby's War in the East

It tracks down to the man, the gun, and the afv.

You have to deal with supply. Command radius. Chains of command. Conversion of rails from German to Soviet gauge. Positioning of air forces.

Units are tracked for morale, fatigue, equipment. You can break them down into regiment sized formations or build them back up.

All of this put together by one of the masters of computer wargaming, Gary Grigsby. He hooked me in hard with Kamfgruppe back when I was a teen.

Even a four-part three-turn playthrough of a very small scenario - the encirclement of the Russian forces north of the Pripet marshes and the taking of Minsk - involves more than an hour with someone sliding through the UI and decisions like a pro.

Imagine taking the whole of Operation Barbarossa from June 22nd, 1941 until completion.

I'd be in heaven . . . if I had that kind of time. I really don't, these days. Not that I had $80 to spend on a game when I was younger, but man, I'd have been consumed with this game in my teens or college days. These days? No. But this is the game that I want.

This is the wargame I probably need:

Drive on Moscow

Turn-based, but phases turns back and forth. You have to pick and choose what you run.

Units are based on abstract strength levels.

Control is by zones, not hexes.

Air power is abstracted.

The whole thing seems like it would take less time than a single turn of War in the East.

This is what I have time for.

I may end up getting it, next time it's on sale (and after I've finished my current project.) But it's not, deep down, what I want. It's what I have time for.

There is a metaphor or a deeper meaning or something in here, but really, it's also just as I say - what I want I don't have time for.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

More Orcs of Felltower

An incoming storm wiped out gaming today - so no Gamma Terra nor any Felltower.*

Oh well. So I did something I haven't done in a while - finish some minis!

Here are six more orcs of Felltower:

They're 90% done, have been given a magic wash of brown and acrylic floor cleaner. Next up is a final coat of white onto the shields, which I want to look freshly painted. Then it's matte sealer when the weather turns warmer and less humid.

They're part of sets from Black Tree Minis. There are two others like them, but armed with some wide-bladed swords that I just don't like very much. So they're on the workbench getting weapon swaps.

For now, these white skull shielded orcs will fill in the places in the ranks of the slain in Felltower. Or bulk out their numbers, either way.

* We have enough locals for a game, but with the snow slated to come early-ish, no one wanted to risk it.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

CRPG on AD&D spells

I liked reading the CRPG Addict's blog on compute role-playing games. Looking back at his older posts, I found this one about various AD&D spells in the Gold Box games.

Gold Box Spells and Their Uses

It's an interesting look at some AD&D spells and how they work in CRPGs. Some spells just suck in any game - Burning Hands has never not been a waste, for example. Others are overpowered everywhere - Fireball and Sleep, for example. On Sleep, he's got this great quote:

"If magic was real, "Sleep" and "Hold" would be outlawed by the Geneva Convention."

The lists only go for the spells in the Gold Box games* and thus doesn't have every spell or every level. But it has the real gems of AD&D, and this description of Fireball is priceless and accurate:

"Fireball. Perhaps the most useful spell in the game, or at least the one I like the most. Does 1d6 per damage for every level of the caster, and over an enormous 37-square area indoors. When I face a large group of enemies all bunched together, I get tingles. Enemies often make saving throws for half-damage, but even then it can disrupt every enemy spellcaster and soften them up spectacularly. It never gets old."

Yeah. It never gets old.

* Of which I only ever played Pool of Radiance, twice through.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Shin Kicking in Armor

So, this:

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One Minute #BREAKDOWN: a #wtf #Medieval #BINK! #KO! . Ok. What are we doing here #lol. Of course I love #Combat. And #History is pretty cool, it has much to teach us. But, #wow, we #human beings are a freaky bunch. Enjoy The Hostilities My Friends. . Pls follow @robinblackmma for 400 #martialarts Breakdown videos this year. Kindly tag a friend who will dig this and always feel free to share. Much Love. Thank you so much for watching these and sharing them with yer peoples. These are my life’s work and I’m so grateful that you enjoy them. Much #Love. . . . . . . . . . . #mma #ufc #kickboxing #boxing #armour #armor #sword #knight #gameofthrones #dungeonsanddragons #montypython #fight #fighting #weapons #fitness #fitnessmotivation

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This is just amusing. In case you wondered if kicks can, in fact, work in armor . . . yeah. Yeah they can. Both an armored kicker and an armored target. It's a good combo, too, using the threat of the blade as an opener to allow a shin kick to the head. That in turn provides the cascade of openings necessary for everything that follows.

One thing games don't model that well, generally - including GURPS - is the impact damage of attacks. That headgear provides a lot of DR against blades, axes, etc., but armor is necessarily good for cushioning the brain from impact. I suppose you could D&D-type games, with AC, do this better - if you can land the blow effectively despite the armor, you do and effects ensue. A middle ground like Rolemaster - you might stop a crit but not stop a blow and still take concussion damage - might work better here. It's an interesting issue. So often we think "kick in armor" and might picture a booted foot trying a front kick on a steel breastplate. Then you see a shin kick to the head where the rigidity of the armor is no boon for the victim and see what a kick can do sometimes.

Fun, fun stuff. I'm not likely to watch matches of that sport. But I will look for highlights sometimes. That's one right there.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

GURPS Steampunk 3: Soldiers & Scientists

There is a new GURPS book out.

I play exactly no Steampunk at all. But I launched a crossover GURPS Steampunk / Space: 1889 / GURPS Voodoo game way back when. It sadly didn't really keep going due to the mix of players just not being able to get to game that often. But we had wonderful PCs and I wish we'd had the wherewithal to keep it going.

Partly out of longing for that lost game - and my joy in Space: 1889's background - has kept me interested in GURPS Steampunk. Another book has hit the digital shelves.

I didn't playtest this one but I did get some Additional Material credit. So I got that going for me.

Short version: I like it. I probably won't use it, but I wish I could.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Ghosts of Saltmarsh

The latest D&D book announced is another throwback to 1st edition AD&D plus later additions:

It includes stuff pulled from - or perhaps all of -

U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh

U2 Danger at Dunwater

U3 The Final Enemy

. . . all three of which I've run and enjoyed. I'm not certain I will pick this up, but it's tempting - those modules were great fun, and the 5e update book Tales of the Yawning Portal was excellent.

It adds some nautical rules for D&D5, which makes D&D5 a bit more attractive - I like pirates, I like being able to run ships in games.

I'll consider it, but I wanted to get up a post and get to looking at it. I'll probably break down and get it, I tend to do that with these beautiful D&D 5th edition books, especially ones that give me more of the 1st edition feel I like to play with.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Lost in the Depths of Felltower

I was just going over some game notes, and came up with a quick list of major and storied items lost in Felltower.

I still need to get the full list of gear lost with Vryce, Hjalmarr, etc. in the depths. But this is a start:

- Gram aka Balmung aka Sigurd's Sword, dragonslaying bastard sword

- Shieldslayer, shield-breaking axe

- Valmar's Sword, a glowing longsword

- Sterick's Plate Armor

- Inquisitor Marco's Mace

- Gem of True Healing

- Iron Ring of Endurance

and I'm pretty sure there are a good six to eight other items that were gained, then lost, in Felltower.

That's a good bit of loot - and most of it in all in one place. Sadly with a beholder and a pile of gargoyles, but it's there.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Highlander Club

This isn't fantasy gaming, or GURPS, or anything of that sort . . . but it's Highlander-related, and bound to be quoted at our gaming table from now on (especially "fearsome but misunderstood," which is pure gold.)

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Short Posting Break / Writing Update

I'll be taking a break from posting until, most likely, Monday 2/25. I'm finishing up some writing, and I have a professional certification this weekend that requires a lot of my attention. I simply cannot assure myself of time to post, so it's easier to just come out and say I won't.

As for writing, I've finish and will shortly submit my short writing project. Hopefully I'll be able to reveal what it is soon.

I'll get back to my longer, due-soon writing project as I can, which probably also means next week. I don't want to rush back into it, as I need the bonus for Time Spent on my Writing skill.

For GURPS-y entertainment in the meantime, go watch Doug's Kickstarter and keep hitting F5.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Random Links for 2/20

Here are some posts I found especially interesting this week:

Erik Tenkar's Fantasy Trip Legacy Edition - if you went for the TFT Kickstarter, you may get some of these, too. Neat. I'm still not wowed by the system, but SJG does put together nice boxed sets.

The Oozy Goodness Series over on Echoes from the Geek Cave looks at one of my favorite monster types - oozes, slimes, puddings, and so on. You know, like in this whole book that I adore:

People like bundles, and charity bundles especially, so I figured I'd pass these on:

Monday, February 18, 2019

Amplifying the Signal: Norðvorn Kickstarter

You probably saw this, but if not:

The Citadel at Norðvorn: Feb 19 at 10am on Kickstarter

Per Doug: The Citadel at Norðvorn is a mini-setting for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG. It consists of three major settlements, many small villages, at least one ruin, and two primary sources of conflict: The Hunted Lands to the northwest of The Palisade, and the Endalaus Forest, to the north and east of Audreyn’s Wall.

Return to Norðlond, a Viking-flavored world with its own history, culture, and expectations. Visit as an outsider, or fresh from a victory rediscovering the Hall of Judgment.

I'm going to back this, even though I don't really like Vikings that much. And have no intentions to ever run it. Mostly it's because Doug makes really good products, and has a perfect track record for follow through. Simply put, he never puts out material that's less than excellent, and it always comes out. He over-delivers. It's going to be worth a look if you're interested in Vikings or DFRPG. If you like them both, just jump right in when it comes out. I'll update this post and post a link after it goes up.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

A Stack of Corpses This High . . .

Last game session, we were talking about Felltower a bit before we did our Gamma Terra game. One the subjects that came up was casualties. The discussion about them isn't germane to this post. But in thinking about that, I idly took a look at the casualty list again. It's pretty big.

The lowest point player character on the list is 250.

The highest point is 534.

The fastest anyone died was session 1.

The longest lasting player character lasted almost 100 sessions and had delved for 7 years (2011-2018).

There are 31 PC names on the list. Many are multiples.

There are 40 NPCs on the list. Only two - Brother Ike and Red Raggi - are multiples.

That's a total of 71 killed in action in Felltower in 113 delves. That's 0.628 casualties per session. On a PC basis, it's 0.274 casualties per session. Obviously, they clump, and range from 0 to 19 per session. The most PCs killed in one session was 8.

So if I'm doing the math correct, for every 10 delves, it's likely that about 6 characters die, of which 2 or 3 will be PCs. That's about 1 PC death every 4 sessions, along with 2 and a 50/50 shot of losing another (2.5 lost per 4 delves.)

That's pretty awful.

Is Felltower (and its sister side locations) that lethal? Yes. I'm going with yes.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Busy Writing

Since I spent my spare time today writing for pay instead of blogging for fun, I figured I should put up an update on my writing projects:

New DF Book - the is preceding well. I'm a bit behind where I expected to be, but mostly it's a matter of putting in the time to catch up. It's all either written already but in totally non-SJG format, or it's formulated in my head, with only a couple of exceptions. Those I know what I want to do with but the words haven't fully formed up yet.

New Quick Project - I was asked to knock off some short material on a tight deadline. It's SJG work, again, but I can't even hint what it is beyond that. But it's going to take up the rest of my free time this weekend. Not because of length but because I've got only a bit of it.

Basically, I've paused one, despite it being a bit behind where I want it to be, to do another one. Then I can get back to the original project.

I really do miss having a schedule that had me working early, and then home most of the morning. That's my prime writing time, and the loss of that has really put a cramp on the amount of words I can get out. Still, my non-gaming work is significantly better than it was before (and I get to teach a lot more martial arts) so it's a good overall tradeoff. But the times when I used to have my creative juices really flowing are now occupied by other work.

And yet since I so often draw on my Felltower game for inspiration and ideas, I at least get to conflate game prep with paid writing - or at least paid writing brainstorming. Pro Tip, one you could have learned from Gary Gygax back in the day with Greyhawk - write based on your own games. It's a great time saver, and the playtesters are the dead PCs of your gaming buddies! Hurrah for future zombies!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Things I Like to Read: some Rangers of Shadow Deep AARs

I've been really enjoying reading this series of AARs over on Plastic Legions:

Rangers of Shadow Deep

It looks like a reasonably fun skirmish game - which I like, not that I get to play them other than rarely.

Plus his terrain, both scratch built and what looks like from kits, is incredible. And it's just him playing by his lonesome. The rules detail - down to the rolls - makes it all the more interesting to me. Very cool.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

What's the right way to play DF?

TL;DR: However you choose.

If you read my blog, and read my blogroll, you'll find game summaries for a number of GURPS games centered around DF and fantasy gaming.

If you read all of those summaries, you'll probably notice that we don't all play DF the same way.

Which of them, if any, is the "right" way?

Obviously to me, the answer is all of them.

We all seem to run DF differently.

And it's all good.

I really do enjoy reading summaries of games that run differently than mine. And none of us are wrong to run our games the way we and our players find to be fun.

I may get the last word, sometimes, either out of sheer willingness to keep hitting "Reply." Or because I often turn my own game material into books of monsters or rules. But it doesn't matter for those games.

That's a great thing about gaming. Even so many years down the line, if the way I run and enjoy games is or isn't like the ur-games of Arneson and Gygax, whatever. We've taken the ball and run with it and we're enjoying it.

What prompted this? Just me thinking about how my commentary about Death Vision and Unfazeable here and at the Castle Whiterock summaries might be seen as criticizing a game. It's not. It's clearly a fun game that the players enjoy. I just want to engage in the connection a comment affords, and try to make my own game better by seeing what I'd find to be issues before they come up. It's not really me vs. another GM, or our game versus their game. It's purely constructive in intent.

All of that said, the correct way to play Eyes of Death is as amoral haters of everything who lurk in places with good vertical retreat room and plenty of cover vs. arrows. Anything else is wrong. Otherwise, we're good.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Random Gamma Terra Facts & Notes

We've learned a lot of little things in Gamma Terra.


The War was May 1st, 2322.

It's, as far as we can tell, 2562.

We don't know what day of the year it is, but we've been out of the bunker - we, the original five* - for 142 days. The additional troops have been out since a few weeks after that.**


We've hit a fairly bewildering variety of technology. It's a weird mix of 70s-vision future tech and modern visions of technology. Computers with giant disks and blades, plenty of keyboard interfaces with green-on-black displays, etc.

Some highlights:

- Duralloy, an impenetrable metal that absorbs force

- Transport gates (which means my goal of getting into orbit isn't unrealistic, there must be a gate to an orbital weapons platform somewhere!)

- Idiot-proof medical pens

- Will-powered lasers (not my favorites)

- Disintegration grenades

- Anti-grav

- neural-directed military and law enforcement equipment

And 8 generations of androids.


So far we only know that the Bal'Kree have their own language, and some of us know some of it.

We haven't found much use for our other languages; we really need a Latin speaker, based on how much we find. We're hoping one of the new guys will speak it.***

Lots of races seem to speak their own languages. We got around in Boomtown thanks to a telepath and a 20th Homeland person.


We've encountered/know of:

- Purists - former 20th Homeland, now an army with an anti-mutant bent. Hillbilly being a mutant now doesn't endear this group to him.

- Restorationists - folks dedicated to restoring the wonder of the Ancients. Sometimes helpful.

- Army of the Bear - mutant animals who follow a mutated bear.

Random Bits

There are a half-dozen or so bunkers of the 20th Homeland. Many of them are in Purist territory and are the basis of the Purists.

Midden is the current name of Michigan, which the Bal'Kree say is from "Mitten" for the shape of the land. Michigan, really.

Bear Lake is north of the great forest, and north by a bit from where that Airbus was supposedly going to take us:

I'm sure I'm missing a lot of bits, but I may have to keep up a "Gamma Gazetteer" and this will make a good start.

* Barbie, Caveman, Hillbilly, Princess, Short Bus.

** Fatbox, Love Handles, Momma's Boy, Oinker - and a mess of fools who followed Lt. Newb.

*** One of our potential players studied Latin, so he may as well take it on his PC. I regret taking Spanish and not Japanese, if only because I speak way more Japanese personally and I like using that skill.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Unfazeable & Death Vision

This post springs from a comment I made on a Castle Whiterock game summary.

I've already proposed nerfing Death Vision and making it more of what I feel it should be - an information spell with offensive capabilities - instead of what it is - a broad, irresistible mental attack spell that works on practically anything at all.

But the game summary I linked to above reminded me of something I'd left out - Unfazeable.

Unfazeable should also provide immunity to the stunning effects of Death Vision. It doesn't cause mental stunning due to confusion, or distraction, or puzzlement, or anything of that sort - it's from fear. It is "chilling" and you need to "shake off the effects of the spell." Yet Unfazeable says you are "exempt from Fright Checks," that it is "incompatible with all Phobias," and that Intimidation "does not work on you."

None of that sounds compatible with something "chilling" bothering you.

Me, I chalk up the lack of mention of Unfazeable in Death Vision simply to the wording of Death Vision being unchanged from 1986 (GURPS Fantasy 1st edition, 1st printing). Back then, you had no Fearlessness, no Unfazeable, and even no Fright Checks. It couldn't account for a new advantage, and wasn't modified to do so.

Monday, February 11, 2019

GURPS Gamma World, 20th Homeland - Session 18 - Unknown #2, Part I

Days 142 since departure from the bunker.

"Barbie" - demo/EOD
"Hillbilly" - medical specialist
"Love Handles" - demo/EOD
"Oinker" - demo/EOD
"Short Bus" - computer programmer

In reserve:
"Caveman" - demo/EOD
"Fatbox" - demo/EOD
"Momma's Boy" - computer programmer
"Princess" - cryptographer/sniper

When we last left, we were cleaning up in Muskegeon. We accomplished some downtime activities - mostly healing, resting, gear maintenance, etc. plus fixing loose ends like the Princess and the bank.

We'd decided to next hit "Unknown #2" - a sort of above-ground structure with significant underground elements deeper than Softie's (our warbot) ground-penetrating radar could penetrate. We gathered up the Tomorrow Men who were ready to go, and went.

We arrived at what looked like a two-story build with a mast, with one "pod" like extension on one side, and two on the other. The structure was completely grown over, with dirt piled up. We fired up the Bunny Scope - which Oinker borrowed from Princess - in X-ray mode and spotted a hatch in plus hatches into the attached pods that we dubbed "bathyscopes." We quickly cleared one of those off and forced its door open. Inside were rows of seats and an inside airlock hatch. We forced that open with some work and went inside.

It turns out we didn't have very good lights, just our helmet lamps and glowsticks. We'd clearly forgotten to loot powerful flashlights from the big superstore a few sessions back during Operation Top Hat. We had to make do. Luckily Hillybilly has some night vision, but it was still slow going exploring.

We moved through the "building" and found it barren of fixtures, mostly, and the walls and floors and ceilings were scoured of paint, etc. and the doors had their card readers scoured to the point of uselessness. The doors were flimsy, however, so Hillbilly simply kicked them down. After a few minutes and kicked doors we came to a room with a desiccated naked human corpse on the ground, a "chest" the size of a steamer trunk, and a cabinet. The group searched the room while Hillbilly checked the corpse.

It was a human with a tattoo of the 20th Homeland - a brother - but also that of the Purists - so a fallen brother. Meanwhile, Love Handles explored the far end of the room. Something slapped into him, an explosion of jam-like stuff that let off a cloud of grey "smoke." With his superior gas mask (which we all have) and top-end NBC gear (Caveman, Love Handles, Hillbilly) nothing happened. He backed off and tried to smear it off, but it didn't work, until Short Bus tried water (he's our chemist, for what it's worth). That helped clear it off.

The corpse had been killed by a neck slit and its left arm was messed up as well. Hillbilly took its chip, which Oinker scanned for with the Bunny Scope. Perhaps he's got a higher rank, and if not, we can see who he was.

We checked the chest, as well, which had a swipe card reader. Hillbilly swiped our long list of cards through it - nothing. It had a glass-like top but it had gone translucent with whatever scoured the inside of the structure.

A little bit of door-kicking, chest-we-can't-open-finding, and empty-cabinet-checking later, Love Handles got hit from the darkness with a globule of something smokey. Oinker scanned with the Bunny Scope, however, and spotted a weird mushroom-cap thing with octopus tentacles with an open end hanging in the upper corner. It flicked a globule of "stuff" at the group. Oinker shot it three times and dropped it.

We dubbed them "flingers" but later "Octoshrooms" (which coincidentally is what the GM named them.)

We continued to search the "building" and it quickly became clear it was a mostly-buried spaceship. We found a room with dead computers and a vine-obscured curved window. Aha, it's a ship.

Eventually finding the logo S.S. L.E.O.N.I.D.A.S. confirmed that. We eventually found more Octoshrooms (which Oinker shot, and one got slashed up and killed by Hillbilly left-handed.) We found one of them around a corner, and Short Bus tossed a grenade of Hillbilly's and blew it apart. They were worrisome but didn't do any harm.

We climbed up the elevator shaft in the building - actually just a shaft with rungs to climb . . . for zero G, or some kind of anti-G? Yes. We reached the top and found a bridge, with live computers. And an Octoshroom, which flung goo at Oinker. Oinker claimed he felt like he was telepathic, and could sense the Octoshroom. He thought "peace" at it, and told Hillbilly - who had a bead on it with a pistol - not to shoot. And it flung good into Hillbilly's visor.


Eventually Oinker decided to shoot it, once we groaned that it was clearly not friendly. He shot it a few times and killed it.

We split up, leaving Short Bus with Love Handles to play around with the computers, and the rest of us explored. We some rooms with dirt in them - spillage from damage from the ship crash-landing here like some piece of Stewart Cowley art.

We found aft of the ship a docking bay with an overhead iris - overgrown, based on how we couldn't see it. Under it was a three-seated UFO-looking vehicle sitting on the floor. Aha, a flying car, finally! Loot if we can get it powered up, or even if not. We'll need Softie to blast open the iris - easy with her laser batteries - and then tractor beam it out.

In any case, we found other chests we couldn't open but no more Octoshrooms and no more trouble.

Short Bus got the computers working, and found out L.E.O.N.I.D.A.S. stood for Law Enforcement Operations Neural Induction Dynamic Armor Squadron. Yeah, they strained for that one. We're on a PAG Helipad Compsite Carrier, 62' x 553' x 198', 52 crew, 20 "parasite drop capsules." Three of those left, it seems. The last log entries - system or otherwise - were May 1st 2322. That was Day 1 of the war. The war lasted only three days, so these guys didn't miss much.

We gathered back up and decided to head down as far as we could. That turned out to be a third level. We quickly explored that, and found two staircases down to a 'tween decks area. One was crushed and inaccessible, the other held two Octoshrooms up in corners. Oinker shot one, but it wasn't harmed and dirt flew around. He decided that seemed odd, and re-acquired the other one and shot that. (I think Hillbilly ran up and slashed it, and briefly got goo'ed at this point.) It died . . . and Hillbilly was briefly telepathic. He could sense the group, and that one of them was keeping a secret. (Dun-dun-DUUUUNNNNN!) Hillbilly tried thinking at Barbie but couldn't communicate. Who has a secret? Well, now Hillbilly does too.

We found another shaft down, and took it down all the way. We found a large open hold with broken catwalks. Below was a glowing hemisphere - a forcefield - with four corpses in front. Behind it was a weird electrical generator (maybe.) We left Oinker in overwatch - he likes high places - and climbed down with a mix of climbing gear and catwalks.

At the bottom we found those four corpses were skeletons clad in white plastic-like armor, three identical and one officer-type. The armor was damaged, as if by repeated combat, and inside were skeletons. They had the markings of 20th Homeland and the Purists on them (that one being a DNA helix of barbed wire.) We searched them, and Hillbilly found a hidden side compartment on the left leg of the officer type. He had a gold coin commemorating "Atlanta Triumph 128 N.E.", 13 gold chips, a white ID card with four silver dots on it, and a gravity knife. On the others we found two red ID cards with 3 black dots - all clearly high-ranking cards - and six pens - 2 red, 1 white, 3 purple. For now, Hillbilly took those, along with their chips, carefully separated so we know who was who.

In front of the force field, though, was a stand with a laptop on it. The screen still glowed green-on-black, and showed this:

Great, a puzzle. Short Bus checked under and around the laptop to see if anyone had taped the password under it. Nope. So we puzzled away at it for a good 15 minutes or so. We hit on "Infinite" or "Infinity" and "Universe" but they didn't seem to fit. Then Short Bus said, "I think it's something like Future, but it's too short. Maybe 'Tomorrow.'" As he said that, Hillbilly said, "That's it." Love Handles figured out what numbers that would be on a standard keyboard layout, and tapped that in as we backed off a safe distance.

The shield came down.

Behind the shield were three suits of power armor! Two were clearly out of service, but one was fine, and plugged in.

We also determined the force field generator was portable. Well, movable. Okay, loot. We started to take that apart as Love Handles dealt with the armor. He eventually got off his MOPP gear and helmet and pulled on one of the helmets after figuring out how to get it off. He popped it on and found it had a neural interface, but he couldn't operate it until - according to the unit (labeled a Law Enforcement Operations Neural Induction Dynamic Armor Suit) he needed to be synched up by a medical professional. Hillbilly said, "Me, I can do that." Love Handles clearly didn't believe him, so Hillbilly explained that's he's a medical specialist, knows how to operate cutting-edge medical technological devices, and we live in a subterranean medical facility with androids that Hillbilly learned that skill from. So it's not like we can't do it. We discussed the suits and decided we needed all three - one to use, two for spares - and that Short Bus probably is the one to get it as he's our point man. Probably. If not, Barbie since he doesn't have any NBC gear except a gas mask.

We moved on to the "electrical generator." Long story short, it had a screen and a swipe card, and projected a shimmering field between two poles. So Hillbilly swiped the white-with-silver-dots card. And the "field" showed a ruined train station labeled Bear Lake. A transport portal?

We tossed a glowstick in, and that was fine. So we put a stick on a rope and tossed that in - and pulled it back just fine. So we sent Oinker through with a rope around his waist. He was fine, and we could hear him muffled as if through a wall. So Hillbilly and then Barbie went through.

The place stank of death. Of corpses. We moved ahead and found a bricked-off tunnel, presumably walling off the dead, and light coming from a side area. We headed there, into a waiting area, and climbed up into sunlight.

We found a ruined town, overgrown by forest, with a smashed-up robot covered in vines and ruined buildings. One building had a picture of three men in power armor (not Law Enforcement Operations Neural Induction Dynamic Armor Suits) with one foot each on a fallen bear, with Purist logos. Ahah, Purist town or Purist victory mark. We presumed we'd find a mass grave behind the bricked up tunnel.

We also found three horses - two big, one pony-sized - with eight legs. Oinker went to talk at them, but they didn't talk back. He wanted to take them, but we reasoned with him about how it wasn't possible to get them through the portal and up through the ship.

We used Hoopslayer to get some choice bits from inside the robot, took a snapshot of the wall picture, and opened up the brick wall a bit, expecting to find victims of the Purists. Nope. We found dead Purists, with signs of disease. We bricked them right back up after taking a snapshot or two. Might help us later.

We went back through the portal.

Hillbilly buried the skeletons in the dirt on the bottom floor, with help from some of the guys, although we took their gear and armor. There wasn't much to put down as a marker, so when we come back down Hillbilly will bring something from above to put down in each place so it's clear what's been done.

From there, we hauled up one of the broken suits. Short Bus and Oinker stayed behind the guard, as we'd left five levels unexplored.

Love Handles led, Hillbilly dragged the armor, and Barbie did cleanup. As we came to one area, though, we found a door Hillbilly had kicked down was back. We'd decided the Octoshrooms had illusion powers of some sort, so Hillbilly told Love Handles to shoot into a corner. It did, but nothing happened. So he kicked down the door.

And the door morphed into liquid metal and formed a metallic silly-putty arm and grabbed him around the neck. Mimic! Oh no! (YESSSSS!)

It started to crush him between his trauma plates like PB&J. Hillbilly dropped the armor and drew Hoopslayer. Barbie shot right past Hillbilly's head and into the thing, wounding it. Love Handles tried to escape but couldn't and instead just tried to keep it from crushing him. Hillbilly tried to slash it, but it dodged, pulling Love Handles to the ground. Barbie aimed. Hillbilly jumped onto both of the fallen. Barbie shot the mimic again, and then Hillbilly slashed and stabbed it. It was hard, like metal, but Hoopslayer deals well with metal. A second or so later Hillbilly finishes slashing it up. It died, peeling back with the coloration of Love Handles's armor and NBC suit. It was heavy, and when an angry Love Handles kicked it he hurt his own foot.

We moved on.

We found another room that had just about one or two too many pieces of furniture now. So we backed up and decided to shoot them all. But wait, we couldn't all aim in the room. So Hillbilly tossed in one of the homemade frag grenades. BOOOM! Ping-ping-ping-ping. Something moved. So we threw in another. Again, BOOOM. A mimic came tumbling out. It died moments later. Love Handles shot it with his little silly M16, while Hillbilly cut it with Hoopslayer and Barbie shot it with a man's gun, an M14. It died and turned into a big metal twist. We'll take that, eventually, for analysis.

We ended at this point because there may be more mimics, and we do want to explore the rest no matter what.


We ended early-ish because of possible bad weather rolling in to our GM's home area. Our plan is to finish up the SS L.E.O.N.I.D.A.S. next game session, then get back to DF for a bit. We plan to explore Unknown #1 after that, and then Ottawa after that.

This was a very revealing session - either a massacre or a mass burial of plague victims (and we'll need a full medical scan ASAP, now), a transport portal (!), a suit of power armor (and spare bits), a force field, Purists, a new style of ID card . . . seriously, this has been a treasure trove already. Literally in terms of valuable loot and figuratively in terms of information.

We need to figure out the date in "N.E." We have clues - if we can determine how long ago those guys died.

I'm excited by the gear we found, the cards, the info about the Purists, and also the opportunity to roleplay a bit. We've got a Soldier's Code of Honor and a Vow ("I do solemnly swear . . . "). Hillbilly will cheerfully shoot the living hell out of the Purists, but they're still brothers and you bury your fallen brothers. We'll bury that other guy on the surface - Softie can disintegrate a hole, and we'll cover him with the dirt we dug of the ship, and mark him somehow. Seems fitting.

Roleplaying note - Hillbilly has Bad Temper (15). I've never rolled that. I know when I'm mad. I don't need the dice to tell me to be mad or not to be mad.

MVP is still under discussion, but I voted Short Bus. Oinker and Barbie and Love Handles all did stuff. And my guy Hillbilly was very useful - strong enough to break down doors without a roll, killed a lot of things, carried a lot, had some useful ideas - but that Force Field was a showstopper. Not for Short Bus. And that got us the best armor we've heard of. MVP.

Next session should be fun. This one was.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Gamma World pre-summary

We had a fun session of Gamma World today.

I'll have the summary up tomorrow, but for now:

- we explored some of Unknown #2;

- we found a strange species that may have some telepathic powers;

- we found a nice suit of armor;

- we found out more about the Purists, and some Purists;

- Hillbilly killed things with Hoopslayer;

- we tested out some homemade grenades brewed up by Love Handles and Oinker;

- we solved a puzzle (okay, mostly it was Short Bus);

- and Oinker talked to at animals.

We didn't get to finish Unknown #2, but we'll do that next time. We did very well overall. Details tomorrow.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Preparing for Gamma Terra

Tomorrow is game day, and we're up for Gamma Terra.

After a fair amount of discussion, based on real-world and game-world concerns alike, we settled on exploring "Unknown #2." I can't locate it on our map:

Or on these.

Our reasoning for seeking out "unknown #2" are mixed.

"Uknown #2 is in the UP, and Softie can take you there. Her scans see a structure above ground of decent size, and her GPR (which she will admit is not great, though it was enough to detect your subterranean medical lab) sense something much larger below ground - maybe another buried facility of some kind, purpose unknown. (Her pre-war databases indicate that there was nothing of particular interest in that part of the state...) " - andi jones, our GM

That sounds pretty interesting. Unknown #1 sounds cool, too, but it's outside of Softie's area of operations. So that's probably soon but immediate.

Real-world, some of the areas we have special interest in - not the least of which are The Arsenal, Ottawa, and following up on Barbie's weird visions, somehow.

But two of those - The Arsenal, and Ottawa - will take a significant amount of prep time for the GM. So much so that it possibly would have pushed game back out weeks or months.

And also out of game, exploring subterranean locales full of danger and loot is fun. I really like doing that, with swords and shields or with SCAR-Hs, Will-powered lasers, and Torc Grenades.

In game, it's easy enough to justify Unknown #2.

It's within Softie's range, so we can approach it quite safely. We still can't figure out when Softie can actually engage anything. She's basically been more like stealthy transport than what I visual a warbot being like. But even so, it's useful to leverage her as transport. And it's also really useful for us to hit long-abandoned and unexploited (maybe) locations.

As an overall strategy, my/Hillbilly's goal is to free the rest of the 20th Homeland and get them set up as a civilizing force. We'd be the sharp point of the spear for that force. Also, we'd ideally deal peacefully with anyone we can reasonably deal peacefully with. But also I'd like to vacuum up all of the pre-Shadow Wars tools we can - weapons, medical gear, etc. So small places we can effectively explore and exploit are well worth doing now, before our actions make doing such a little more difficult. You know, like when we get into a big war and that takes dozens of sessions and impinges on our opportunities until it's won.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Lt. Colonel Kilgore, or, I love the smells of minis in the morning

I love this mini and this paint job:

He's done up over on tasmancave.

It's a great sculpt and a great paint job. It just makes me happy. I was going to post something else, but, no, this. Tonight it's this.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

GURPS DF supplement writing update

I'm still working on that GURPS DF supplement I mentioned a while back.

Here is a brief update and some hints:

- You've seen elements of this book in play in DF Felltower. Not a surprise, I'm sure.

- Some bits of the writing involve elements from a previous, non-DF game that inspired my own DF game. And some of the monsters in DFM1. They haven't all been encountered in Felltower, but they are there or are accessible from there.

- I'm a little behind schedule on writing. Not behind SJG's schedule, but behind where I expected to be. Since our next game is GT, not DF Felltower, I should have a little more time to write this week. I intend to use it to catch up to where I think I need to be - another 2000 words ahead (or at least formatted properly) of where I am.

- The real trouble, as always, is ensuring I'm putting my oddly phrased notes and shorthand rules writeups into SJG's format and into readable, useful English. And just like the last sentence, this can involve too much passive voice and near run-ons.

- Once that's all done, poor Sean Punch has to edit it. This will result in a lot of rewrites and corrections, but I think my oddly phrased English is getting more and more odd. I already regret how much time I will make him spend on this.

- There is a definite Felltower theme going on with this book, and I'm enjoying that very much. That game has brought me many hours of fun. I'm hoping this book brings some of that fun to other people's GURPS games.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Tanks & Historical Battles on YouTube

I'm steadily running through some video series on YouTube, mostly brushing up on history or just enjoying myself hearing things I mostly already know.

This blog is mainly about RPGs, but it has a small but important sideline of talking about tanks. If you want a good tour of tanks, weird and famous alike, check out the "tank chats" from The Tank Museum in the UK.

It starts with #1 and the A-13 Cruiser, and they start out very short. As they go on they generally get a bit longer, which I like.

You can skip right to the Tiger I, featuring that Tiger you saw decapitate some poor schmuck in Fury, but then you'd miss total freakshows like the Praying Mantis or a tank with a searchlight for a main "armament." I'd love to see more details on the hows and wherefores, but what they do is quite good.

If historical battles are more your speed, BazBattles has a nice series. I'm a bit unsure of his pronunciation, after seeing his Sengoku Jidai series. "Imagawa" is "Ee-mah-gah-wah" not "Ee-MAH-goo-ah" so I'm not sure the others are any better. But it's helpful to have a visualization of battles even if it's a reasonable guess not a certain depiction.

It's enjoyable stuff. I figured I'd pass it one since it's what's occupying part of my time that I spend not blogging.
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