Friday, July 17, 2020

Random Friday Roundup Post 7/17/2020

More random stuff for Friday.

- Bruce Heard has an interesting take on memorizing spells in D&D-based games. Essentially, you reserve some of your daily spell slots for later, and then memorize the spells you need then:

Delayed Spell Memorization

- My post on the difficulty of hiring NPCs in town, specifically sages, has really expanded in the comments thread. You can find a wholly developed Bard character, several ideas on social disadvantages, the benefits of a limited pool of disadvantage points, and more.

Hiring Sages when Everyone has negatives

- I very rarely bring up fiction here - quite on purpose, this is my gaming blog, not a reading blog. But I just ripped through a re-read of The Dragon Never Sleeps, which has some really fantastic elements for a very non-Star Wars-like space opera. Unless you assume the "ku" are "jedi" because they're trained warrior types, I suppose. Like Glen Cook books in general, it's heavy on the characters and light on the technical specs, so don't expect much detail on equipment. You do have fast and slow space travel, competing Houses, lots of planets, aliens and "artifacts" (made-to-order living beings), and replication technology with memory backups - great for PCs. Highly recommended. FWIW I have both the Nightshade version and a much older paperback; I recall hearing the Nightshade edition was revised in some way but I honestly didn't notice anything different. So I might be recalling that incorrectly. I'd say "On to the Starfishers books next!" except I read all four all right before this. Maybe Darkwar, I finally read the short story that caused them to be written.

- These summaries of the Tomb of Annihilation make me want to buy it and run it. I won't run it, I have nothing like the time to run it, but it would be a fun read based on how it's playing for this group:

Setbacks in the Tomb of Annihilation

The arm sacrifice would be largely meaningless in a GURPS Magic-based system ("Okay, just do it and you're down an arm until we get back to town") but the sacrifice of a PC to avoid a TPK was very cool and would be a sacrifice anywhere.

- Warren "Mook" Wilson is working on GURPS for a VTT:

Setting Up Foundry VTT For GURPS

I'm reluctant to spend money ever, I mean, on a VTT I haven't experienced in actual use, but I do know Roll20 isn't cutting it despite all the work my players have put into it. More native GURPS support would be great, especially if I can turn elements on and off.

So I'm paying attention but not deeply so at this point. Maybe when there is something I can touch and feel and play with, for free, I'll take a look. My gaming is all VTT right now and even post-pandemic it will become so at some point in the future, so finding a good one for GURPS would be useful.

- I need to put up an update on War in the East. It's going slow. Long story short is, I clearly overextended a little in the middle and trusted a pile of dug-in Romanians to keep the Crimea sealed off a bit too much. I'm actually getting pushed back hard and fast in those areas, with the Romanians just cracking under the slightest pressure and the Soviets applying very strong hammerblows. My supply situation is terrible and I'm short on trucks and I can't see a good place to loot trucks from my divisions to deal with it. I'm using all of my rail capacity to shuttle division from Army Group North to Odessa to try and keep the Soviets from retaking much of the south. They're in terrible shape supply-wise, despite sitting in Leningrad getting supplied by ship and rail alike. I still hold a chunk of Moscow and despite pressure to the north I can't see me losing it just yet. I guess I should have halted my drive earlier and dug in? Looking back I didn't really have a better spot to stop. The only bright spot is that although much of the Finnish forces withdrew, those that I have got a massive increase in their offensive firepower during the icy months, so I'm actually advancing around there. Hard, hard game. It's only mid-December and I think I have like 3-4 months of winter-like conditions to cope with over 5-day turns. Maybe I should have checked off "reduced blizzard effects." It's not too late, but that seemed cheap. But it's utterly brutal how bad it can be. A good example is I had a panzer division with ~275 AFVs attack a Soviet brigade that moved up next to it, at around 18:1 odds or so . . . I lost 25 AFVs and had over 75 damaged and out of service to push the Soviet brigade back. Months earlier that would have been 2-3 AFVs damaged or lost and a shattered (destroyed) brigade. I may have effectively lost the whole campaign a half-dozen or so turns back when I took Leningrad and failed to maximally shift forces to the south to buttress that area and by my failure to extend rail lines in the center fast enough. We'll see, I guess - but it does means turns take time as I try to, desperately, maximize my ability to survive the next turn.

- Re-running modules? If I listed only the AD&D modules I ran multiple times, I'd probably only cut this list in half. Maybe less than half.

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