Thursday, February 29, 2024

Barrier Peaks!

Over on Wayne's Books there is the first post on a playthrough of S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.

I played it, in parts, in elementary school . . . and I want to see how someone gives it justice in a modern playthrough. We certainly didn't back then, although I did a pretty good job coloring in some of the black and white pictures in the module on my original copy. Heh.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

How is Saethor's Bane doing?

Doug's Kickstarter for a DFRPG solo play adventure is going well. At the moment, it's at $18,169. It's stretch goal is $21,000 for full color. I don't think that will be a real obstacle - even at $10 for a basic pledge, adding another $2900 doesn't seem out of line.

Doug can probably speak better to how the curve of funding goes. But I'm thinking I'll be getting a full color PDF when it comes out.

I am debating upgrading to print . . . but I have 10 days to consider that. Maybe if a little more funding is needed at the end - I'm just trying to avoid shipping costs these days, as beautiful as the book that Doug releases are in physical form.

Please take a look at the Saethor's Bane campaign and consider backing it.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Available Henchmen for Felltower?

For a while, the PCs hired a lot of henchmen. A good number have been killed. But some are still around . . . given that we've had some sessions get nixed because people lacked the firepower and players to want to risk their paper men, I figured I'd take a roll call.

Still around for hire, so many years on:

Basher the Thug (who is 11 years older than he was his last delve!)

Larry the Crossbowman (who won't lightly trust a wizard again, let me tell you.)

Norman the Axe (who won't accept a contract without some written guarantees for replacement of losses)

Deadeye Slim

And not many others . . . Lew McTorchy and Marc Strawngmussel are still alive as far as I can determine.

Red Raggi is the big one, of course, but after two consecutive maulings (in other words, deaths) and the PCs selling his prized axe, he basically hung up his armor and went back to his law practice. Ragnarson and Sons Legal Services still has an office in Stericksburg, run by a partner, but he's not making a lot of delves.

I do need to generate some more henchmen when I get a chance . . . they might provide some help when hired. The players do tend to want them to stay around forever and ever, though, which tends to grind them down and kill them eventually. A few more volunteers might show, too, if the PCs start bringing home some real loot . . .

Friday, February 23, 2024

Friday thoughts & links

Links and thoughts for today.

- Still no time to write this week. Lots of prep work for work, basically. I enjoy my job but when I'm working and not gaming, I write less about gaming.

- Starting HP in D&D-based games is always a thing. We rolled when I first played back in the day. We may have re-rolled 1s, because I don't ever remember anyone with a 1. We switched to max HP at 1st level somewhere along the line. I've similar ideas to this one from Aeons & Augauris before,but instead of on your Prime Requisite it's usually based on CON, but that just makes a good CON score critical for all classes. I prefer to play a game with fixed HP per level, or peferably, no levels and just fixed or purchased HP.

This approach might really work for someone reading so I wanted to make sure it was seen.

- Doug's crowdfunded DFRPG solo adventure continues to fund.

Back in the day, we only used the term "solo adventure" for one player with one PC, actually. It wasn't even considered totally solo if you were bringing henchmen (which didn't see much use, honestly, until we were older). But that said, "one player, multiple characters solo" was a thing - UK5 Eye of the Serpent was one of those. Just an aside . . . so when people would brag that they "solo'd" some module - S1, S2, T1-4, etc. I'd always stick a mental caveat that, well, if "solo" was one PC but a pile of leveled NPCs and fodder you could expend . . . it was much like how the Sheriff of Rottingham fights a duel. "So, it's come down to this, has it? A fight to the death. Mano a mano, man to man. Just you and me and my GUARDS!"

- This is amusing. Rust monster pets are a thing waiting to happen.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

DFRPG Solo Adventure on BackerKit - Funded!

Doug's new DFRPG item, written by David Pulver, has funded on BackerKit:

The campaign link is here.

It's $10 PDF only, $20 (+ S&H) for PDF + Print, and $15 for PDF + VTT pack for Forge. I'm going for that last pack, because WTH I like Forge VTT.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

No Felltower Today

No Felltower today - we had two players, and two maybes, and it dropped to one yes and two maybes. We did not play.

2024 has not been good for gaming for me so far! We've played only one game session in the first two months . . . and our next one might not be until sometime in mid-March unless we get lucky on the next weekend I'm open to play.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Friday Roundup

Some posts I enjoyed this week, and other things.

- Doors, Our Greatest Nemesis? My players would probably agree.

- So an expensive book is on the way containing very early D&D stuff? Hmm.

- Free Traveller? Tenkar says there is. I think I have those books already, but free is free.

- Not a lot otherwise this week . . . in theory, game is on Sunday! Let's hope so.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

What kind of GURPS posts would you like to see from me?

I haven't been posting as frequently, because we haven't been playing very frequently. That cuts down on my Felltower posts and I end up doing other things - like playing video games - or non-gaming things, which don't get posts here.

I do have an idea for a series of posts, but before I get started, I figured I'd ask the people who read my blog - what kind of GURPS posts do you want to see from me? More Melee Academy style posts? Rules discussions? Potential house rules? Spell modifications? NPCs? Something else?

I feel like I need a theme of material I know is of value to get posting about while I wait for our next session.

So what do you GURPS fans want to see from me here?

Monday, February 12, 2024

Pathfinder: Kingmaker video game silliness

I spent a little time yesterday and today goofing off with Pathfinder: Kingmaker, with my LG Paladin (Holgar Carlson, of course.)

It's a fun game, but it has a few really amusing things that come along with being a video game.

- One NPC gives you a quest to help track down some poachers. You see, he needs evidence that someone is poaching . . . and proof to give to the guards. So you know, I, the BARON, go find the proof for him to give to the guards. Okay, I'm Lawful Good, so it vaguely makes sense . . . although I'm empowered as Baron to pass judgment without "the guards" helping. It was even funnier when Molly, my LE Monk, was my PC. Why would a Lawful Evil Baron not just exercise her right to believe this guy and execute the criminal if I wanted to?

- We stumbled across a few bandits while travelling. I wanted to try using a Fireball scroll with a character who needed a skill check to use it. We stood in plain sight of them, a short distance away, as she read the scroll over and over until finally it worked. We somehow achieved surprise and got a surprise round on them.

No, I'm not kidding.

- there are all sorts of cool magic items with cool powers. I have to look them up in an online guide, because in-game I can't find out what they do. So I Alt-Tab to my browser and look them up. It's just annoying. And it means you can't just stay fully immersed in the game.

- We fought a really nasty group of organized foes, and one of my characters got mauled. We needed to rest up before the final fight. So I left, rested, did a side quest, and then came back . . . and the organized foes ignored the fact that someone had massacred their gate guards and half their garrison and just waited for us to come back days later to finish them off.

They clearly hadn't read How to Defend Your Lair.

Still fun. But video games aren't TTRPGs.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Felltower & the Rules for Monsters

When I run Felltower, I generally play using the DFRPG rules set, with some additions from GURPS Magic, GURPS Martial Arts, and GURPS Basic Set.

But I don't strictly follow the rules, even when I have not house ruled a particular rule to work differently.

Monsters are a great example.

I do monster writeups for myself first, and basically note whatever I think in important and useful in case I can publish it. In actual play, I'm bound by my intentions for what the monster does and what makes sense, rather than the letter of the abilities I put down on paper. If they clash, my intentions win. I'll edit the stats later to reflect what I think should actually better reflect how they play. Ultimately, it's about how I intend them to work.

It's not like the players get to read the monster writeups I use, so they won't be led astray. They will if they depend on a letter-of-the-rules interpretation to make something work, though, and meta-knowledge of the system to base it on. If they use in-game experience and some real-world guessing they'll likely be better off.

Rest assured the ones I wrote up for publication are supposed to work as written. But in my games, they're not always finished writeups . . . and I'm reluctant to share my notes until I know how they should work.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Links for 2/9/2024

Here a few things you might not want to miss this week:

- Trollsmyth is thinking about one-roll combat. Not one-roll attacks, but one-roll combat. Like a wargame, in a way, where you settle an enagement for both sides with one roll.

- A review of N4 Treasure Hunt, which features 0-level characters who achieve 1st level as they adventure. I enjoyed this one a lot, and we used it for AD&D and for GURPS a few times.

I stole one of the idea from it - the twisted wish - in Felltower.

- Here is a look about an alternative to Battlesystem for 1st edition AD&D mass combat. The article he mentions, "One Roll, To Go" was extremely helpful in semi-mass combat in my campaign back in the day.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Assorted GURPS Magic / DFRPG Spells questions and answers

I'll use this post to track all of the weird spell rulings I make that don't otherwise have a home.

Does Wizard Eye have 360 degree vision?

No. It has a facing just like any other character would; if you want 360 degree vision cast the appropriate spells on someone.

How much concealment does See Secrets eliminate?

I cap concealment penalties at -10, so it cancels -10. As always, you must be able to see to take advantage of this spell; a secret door will stand out clearly, but if it's behind a curtain it will not, because the curtain breaks your line of sight.

What temperature do Fireball spells burn at?

It doesn't matter - we resolve it all by HP of damage vs. DR/HP of the targets, and the usual rules for setting things on fire (Exploits, p. 68)

Monday, February 5, 2024

Early Champions Bundle

There is an early - 1st, 2nd, and 3rd edition - Champions Bundle over on Bundle of Holding.

I'm considering getting this. The regular, not expanded version.

I own almost all of the Champions books in the original mix - maybe all of them, I'm not certain about one enemies book. I don't own the screen. All of them are paper, not PDF. I own almost all of the adventures - I'm only missing Stronghold, that I know of.

I didn't get the play very much Champions back in the day . . . but getting the 1st edition boxed set was extremely formative in my gaming experience. I just loved making up super heroes and super villians, and plotting a potential game. I just couldn't get people on board . . . they either wanted to play Marvel or DC superheroes, but not both, and usually not their own made up ones. Plus I'm not as good at plot and story and character as I am at mechanics and open settings and game balance, so I don't think I'd be a great GM. But I loved the system and deeply enjoyed making up NPCs. I liked the adventures, and read them several times. So this is very much in my nostalgia wheelhouse. The question is, do I need them on PDF?

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Felltower - a little work

I did a very small bit of Felltower work today:

- I updated the VTT.

- I updated the rumors. There are only 8; the PCs just haven't done very much so I don't have a lot to comment on. Plus I think we're getting to the point where people accumulate them but don't really act on them, so they're almost a distraction more than a valuable way to feed information (not always clearly or accurately) to the players.

- I made sure my maps and notes are in order.

Next game is - tentatively - 2 weeks from today. We haven't confirmed it yet.

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Saturday Long Read: Lich Van Winkle on Story

If you've got a chunk of time (like, ACOUP blog post chunk of time), this is a worthy read:

Yes, you ARE telling a story.

But you aren't composing a novel or reading a script. (Not during an RPG session, anyway.)

As someone who lived through a lot of this - with "hack and slash" becoming pejorative, then back to "story" becoming pejorative, and numerous ricochets between, I was interested. It's a long read but worth the time.

These days I play loosely plotted, hack-and-slash games, but I'm okay with it being a story. Most of the dumb and fun setting details we have - Cornwood, the Iron Church, Dwarven as a dead language, etc. - emerged in play but provide the details to the story of the sack of Felltower that helps make it interesting. I don't go for backstory beyond a sentence, maybe two, but front story? Sure, it's not great literature or a prize-winning novel, but it's a story nonetheless. And my "war stories" posts tend to get a lot of hits and comments. Go figure. People want to follow along with the story of my minimally-plotted game. So this resonated with me.

Friday, February 2, 2024

Random Links for Friday 2/2/2024

Fun stuff from around the net and blogs. YMMV.

- This Jon Petersen post is fascinating - D&D turns 50, and hit points and to hit rolls turned 200.

- Nice Swordfish II model!

- I put an update in this Hasbro D&D IP post - basically, Hasbro denies this, according to PC Gamer. We'll see where it all ends up eventually.

- The Giant Groundhog of Felltower saw its Animated Shadow and it says early spring. I'm hoping we'll get some games in before the frost drops off.
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