Saturday, November 22, 2014

Moving forward with Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition




After over three decades with AD&D 2nd edition I have finally decided to complete the switch to a new edition-sort of.

I announced yesterday to my friday night online gaming group that our current 2nd edition game has come to an end and on December 5th we will be converting to 5th Edition. With that announcement I finally end my relationship with 2nd edition. But were still friends, because frankly 2nd edition has yet to meet its match for sheer volume of settings.

the publishers of 5th edition have stated that they intend to avoid inundating their customer base with new books every month as they had in previous editions. Instead, it appears they are taking the "Mr. Coffee" approach to releasing new material- one slow drip at a time. Frankly , when it comes to my hobby, I love being inundated. 

Publish as much as you want. Of course, I'm not going to buy all of it, but I'm a big fan of choice.  And its because of that "slow-drip" approach that I will keep visiting my 2nd edition collections for late night hook ups. Al Qadim, Kara Tur, Ravenloft, Spelljammer, Planescape, Birthright, etc. they are still too sexy to just drop - especially when 5th edition is refusing to put out.

So next month I finally join the 21st century gaming scene, But, you never forget your first love.

Friday, November 07, 2014

You have nothing to fear, but...



I happened to catch this horror series back in 2008. It was a summer replacement show that only lasted one season, but several of the episodes were really good.  I just ran across "The Sacrifice" on You Tube, it was the first episode and my personal favorite. Check it out-



Saturday, October 18, 2014

Using Volo's guides from 2nd edition AD&D for 5th edition





I've read quite a few blogposts about folks using their 2nd edition AD&D Forgotten Realms material as a setting for the new 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. It makes sense to me given how much old Realms material I have around here.    Many of the folks point to the 1st edition of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting and others advise using the second edition specific setting. Amongst my favorite resources are the Volo Guides.

The Volo guides are like a Fodor’s travel guide for the Forgotten Realms there are five Volo guides to various sections of Toril and one guide dealing “With all things Magical”. The guidebooks are packed full of real places that adventurers frequent in games- taverns, inns, brothels, shops, and places of interest (like haunted keeps and such).  Just about every entry has some kind of hook ripe for development into an adventure.  Before you know it your characters will have a list of favorite places to stay and shops to frequent in between dungeon crawls and tomb robbing.

Volo's guides are also a wonderful way to plan out down time for characters. for instance, if a character in your game needs a suit of plate armor, you can quote a price from the players book and be done with it or you could tell the player that the best plate armor in the sword coast can be found at a shop called The Halls of Hilmer on the street of bells in Waterdeep, thus a desire for plate armor leads the character on a journey to the most fabulous city in the Realms.

I find the information in them much more useful than stat-blocks for Uber-NPC's that I'll never use in my campaign These guidebooks have become the most referenced material I have on the Forgotten Realms. And speaking of stat-blocks, the guides have very little in the way of rules or stats, it's all about the flavor and feel of the establishment or locale, which makes it a smooth transition to 5th edition.

You can find almost all of them at RPGnow (it seems that the guides to the North and Baldur's Gate II have yet to be released).

Volo’s guide to Waterdeep

Volo’s guide to the Sword Coast

Volo’s guide to the Dalelands

Volo’s guide to Cormyr

Volo’s guide to all things Magical

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Icewind Dale Enhanced Edition is coming soon!


I am a huge fan of the enhanced Edition Series of AD&D adventures that are being re-released by Beamdog. My sons and I have had many hours of enjoyment with these games. I'm happy to see Icewind Dale finally getting the "Enhanced" treatment. At the pre-order price of $19.99 you get a lot of game for your dollar.

Check it out at:
The Icewind Dale website









Friday, September 05, 2014

I'm finally home






You are the reason I've been waiting so long
Somebody holds the key
Well, I'm near the end and I just ain't got the time
And I'm wasted and I can't find my way home
                                                                                                                 Steve Winwood

Back in the late 90’s I heard that my favorite game was going to change, really change. Wizards of the Coast (WoTC) bought TSR and began a process to change Dungeons and Dragons in a radical way. They promised the change would be monumental and would make the game that I’d been playing virtually obsolete.

Now I had just moved to Hawaii, working a new job and seeing a beautiful girl who is now my beautiful wife.  So, though I had other things going on in my life, I still kept an occasional eye on my hobby and I watched the coming of the 3rd edition of Dungeons and Dragons. 

The players handbook gave me a disc to help me create my characters, but it didn’t work quite right (I was used to the Core Rules disc and expansion, so I had high hopes, but the 3rd edition software turned out to be garbage).  I bought a few 3rd edition splat books and even helped out with Living Greyhawk for a bit, but I just wasn’t feeling this game anymore.

A couple of years later I come to find out I’ve been trying to play the wrong game. I should be playing the 3.5 edition of Dungeons and Dragons. That 3rd edition crap was, for lack of a better word, crap.  So now according to WoTC, in order to play 3rd edition the way it was meant to be played I needed to buy all new 3.5 edition books and my 3.0 books could be used for kindling or to level out the work bench in the garage.

That was when I said goodbye to Dungeons and Dragons.

I looked at my three bookcases full of 1st and 2nd edition AD&D materials and resigned myself to make do with what I have.  I never looked back…

One of my secret reasons for having kids is to have my own ready-made D&D group, as my boys came of age I began ushering them into the mysteries.  However, my 2nd Edition AD&D campaign held little interest for them, we also tried Castles and Crusades but they didn't  care much for that either, and I have to admit I was just going through the motions as well.  In 2012 I heard from friends about a game called Pathfinder- so we played Pathfinder. We played in a Pathfinder Society Campaign all through the summer of 2013 and while it was a little too much bookkeeping for me, my boys loved it.  I’ve heard people refer to Pathfinder as D&D 3.75 which I suppose makes sense. And while it was rather heavy at times, there were things that I admired about the system. But it wasn’t my D&D.

This summer I heard the rumblings of the next great edition of D&D. Holding fast to my AD&D Core Rules Expansion discs I flatly stated that I had no intention of spending another penny on a WoTC product. I had weathered the storm that was 4th edition quite well thank you and I figured this too shall pass.  And I’d still be out there today if it wasn’t for the fact that WoTC did something inconceivable – they gave a free PDF of the core rules to everyone who wanted one.  I can say no to many temptations but “free” is a tough one to turn down.


So I downloaded the free PDF, then I read the PDF, then I printed up the PDF. I was gobsmacked. This new 5th Edition was wonderful. There’s just enough “old” for my Grognard sensibilities to be satisfied, and plenty of “New” for the Geek in me to revel in.  Of course its not perfect, but neither was my D&D. I never needed it to be perfect. I just wanted it to be fun.
 I’ve heard folks say that there is quite a bit from 3rd and 4th edition in it, I have to take their word for that, I wouldn’t know. What I do know is that it’s been close to 12 years for me wandering around looking for some “Old School re-hash” or “Indy darling” to give me the feeling of being on the cutting edge of a game that I loved so much.  I can finally stop looking and come home to D&D.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Finally...Knights of Badassdom!



Its finally out tomorrow through On Demand Digital.

'nuff said.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Rolling 20!





Back in the fall of last year I started a 2nd Edition AD&D campaign using roll20 and Google Hangouts.
Tomorrow we will be playing our 16th weekly session. I’m really enjoying the group of players that have joined. Everyone plays nicely and we all seem to get along.   My players stretch from coast to coast on the map and down to Brazil.

I’ve stretched my Roll20 legs and have participated in several other games and I’m in the midst of a playtest of The Lost World of Hador for Dicey Tales.

I’ve found the online play using Roll20 just as satisfying as face to face play, with the added bonus of not having to clean up after the game is over!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Dragon Magazine sweet spot: issues #251-#273




I've been gaming since 1978 and started buying Dragon Magazine from issue #48, but even though I bought Dragon regularly, the issues from the mid 200’s to the end of the magazine were usually purchased and put in the pile of “to be read”. 

At the time my pursuits were elsewhere (like trying to convince my not-yet-wife to go out with me), so the pile languished and at some point was boxed up.  I have the Dragon archive discs so I had the first 250 issues covered and have referred to them often. I continued to buy dragon out of habit, even though I wasn’t a fan of any of the later editions (my heart belongs to 2nd edition).


So the other day I was cleaning the garage and I ran across a box with issues #251- #280. And I discover that the majority of them are from the 2nd edition days (issue #274 was the first 3rd edition issue), which meant I had over a year’s worth of 2nd edition dragon magazines that I had never gotten around to reading! 

It couldn't have come at a better time, as my online 2nd ed. campaign is in full-swing. So now I’m having a great time, perusing my forgotten treasures.



Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Musketeers on BBC



The BBC is running a brand new series called The Musketeers. The first episode was Sunday night I believe. I gave it a couple of days to hit the torrent sites and downloaded it this morning. I enjoyed the premier episode. They take a few liberties with the original story, but nothing too off the wall (no flying airships, or any of that crap).  The fight scenes are done nicely, and I like the actors they've chosen for the Musketeers. I'll be following this one. For those of you willing to wait, it's due to hit BBC America this spring.

 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Once more into the breach!


I have assembled the bare bones of my Northlander 2nd edition AD&D Campaign.

The campaign will be on a fantasy world of my creation, heavily influenced by Celtic, Norse, and Finnish cultures.  We will be playing on roll20 using Google+ Hangouts.


The campaign will start on October 4th at 5:00 PM PST. and hopefully continue on a weekly basis.
I'm looking for 6 players.
for more info check out this link:

https://app.roll20.net/forum/post/355153/northlander-2nd-edition-ad-and-d-campaign-friday-nights-starting-10-slash-04-slash-2013-at-5-00pm-pst#post-355153

Monday, September 16, 2013

I haven't had a good rant in a while sooo...



So I started using Roll20 to look for games and possibly run one or two of my own. 

I figured, here is a world where I can connect with other players from all over and play the games that really interest me.  I have a bi-weekly table top game with some friends and my boys, but it’s Pathfinder. I’m by choice more of an old school guy, and I have an itch for playing pulp era games that has never been satisfied.
 I’ve got the time, I’ve got the desire, and I have the rules.  But here again, I’m having a hard time finding players.  

I see a posting for a game and I sign on, we play one great game and then…poof-(work, family, school, etc.) raises its ugly head and the game ends.  

So I take matters into my own hands and post up an ad for a game. I get dozens of responses telling me how cool the premise sounds and how they would love to play buuut…
It’s too early in the day.
Too late in the day.
They live in Iceland.
Wrong day of the week.
Wrong week in the month, etc. etc. etc.

!*&$#&*! Frustrating!!!

I have $150, 00.00 in gaming rulebooks & material and no one to play with!

I did find a nice 2ed. AD&D game on roll20 last week.  I hope it lasts.


Rant over.

By the way, this is the game I'm looking for-




Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Because this is how I Geek!

I'm playing in an online 2nd edition AD&D game this weekend. It's set in the Forgotten Realms so I figured I'll resurrect a character from my old Living City days Mr. Wu, my bad-ass Fire Elementalist. But then I figured it's a new millennium so I should update things a bit.

So here is Mr. Wu's daughter Xiao-xing.



  
A buddy of mine did most of her accouterments.  Check out her wands, and here is a close up of some of the potions she carries.


Monday, September 09, 2013

New Tarzan, Pellucidar,and Carson of Venus strips...and More!


I just wanted let you all know that the official Edgar Rice Burroughs site has authorized several new Web-Comics to be produced. Tarzan of course, but also a few other titles that dont usually get much attention.
These are brand new weekly strips by subscription. The cost is only $1.99 a month.  for that price you get access to all six of the current strips with more anticipated in the future.  The strips feature stories and art by top-flight comics people like Roy Thomas (Conan & JSA) and Chuck Dixon (Batman & The Punisher).
I subscribed the other day and I'm loving it. 

Go to:

Friday, August 09, 2013

Changes for the Evil DM


We are in a bit of a reorganizing phase at the Evil DM Productions side of things. 

Dicey Tales will no longer be published as a periodical.

With the advent of the new Barbarians of Lemuria Mythic Edition being released, Dicey Tales will take this opportunity to use the new system and be released as a complete game. The BoL Mythic rule set will power the Dicey Tales roleplaying game.  Dicey Tales will retain all of the flavor and excitement that made it a fan favorite, but with more content.

Legends of Steel will also be seeing a make-over with a new BoL Mythic rules edition. As a part of the Pulp genre, Legends of Steel will fall under the “Dicey Tales” banner. The new edition of Legends of Steel will also be fully re-worked to fall in line with the BoL Mythic engine, and will also have new content.

The Lost World of Hador will be released as a supplement for the Dicey Tales RPG.


More information will be forthcoming at the Dicey Tales web site, the Dicey Tales Google plus Community and here at the Lair of the Evil DM.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Tried Roll20 and loved it.


I’ve always been a gamer with eclectic tastes. Of course I love my Dungeons & Dragons (you never forget your first). But I also love Top Secret S/I: Agent 13, GURPS old West, Justice Inc., Birthright, Star Frontiers, Pacesetter's Chill and Time Master and yes, Spelljammer.

The problem for me is that I have never been able to find any groups that want to play in those worlds. When I started exploring the internet in the 90’s I discovered hundreds of people who shared my enthusiasm for these “other” games, the problem was they were spread out all over the United States and the world (who the hell knew Montreal was a gaming hot spot?).

So there we were. We knew of each other but that was it. Maybe a few play by Email games. But other than that, my immediate problem of no Pulp gamer's in my neighborhood was still there.

 Then in 2009 came Google Wave. At the onset many of us were trying to figure out ways to game using Wave, but before you knew it we were waving goodbye to Wave.

 In 2011 we were all introduced to Google+. Here again the Gamers rushed to figure out how to use this for gaming. Luckily a few talented guys out there figured it out. Now up until this time some people had been playing in various forms of Virtual Table Top (VTT) or Skype. I found a couple of VTT’s and I even bought one called Fantasy Grounds (I have yet to figure it out, much less use it). But the thing with many of them is that you had to pay for them and then have the players pay as well.

 With Google+ folks figured out how to use the Hangouts feature. A couple of these groups combined and created a program called Roll20.

 Roll20 has combined their program with Google+ Hangouts to create, in my opinion, the most user friendly VTT available.

I had a great time playing the Hollow Earth Expedition Pulp game on roll20. I had a couple of hiccups, but that was due to my connection rather than the application. Because I committed to play Hollow Earth  first, I had to regretfully pass on a Star Frontiers game, an Al Qadim game, and a Pathfinder Society Scenario, all on Roll20.

 Now my problem is how to fit all these games into a schedule. Hell, I might even find a group interested in playing the  Tales from the Floating Vagabond Game.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

A New Hope Bundle

Rick Hershey is a member of our RPG community and has produced material for a number of games. His wife Tristan has been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. Rick and his wife have four children, so you can imagine times get tough and bills pile up. There is currently an effort by Fat Goblin Games and RPGNow to help Rick and his family. They are offering a PDF bundle of games and accessories worth over $400.00 for a $25.00 donation to help out one of our own. To help out please go to A New Hope Bundle. Thanks folks!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hollow Earth Expeditions meets David Acosta (seven years in the making)

Seven years ago I posted that one of the games I really wanted to play was Hollow Earth Expeditions. Thanks to the Google+ Hollow Earth Expedition community and Roll20, I may finally have a chance to roll those funky Ubiquity dice and kill a Tyrannosaurus rex with my trusty Colt .45 (or maybe not). Here is a couple of glamour shots of my Character David Acosta.
David was a Major in the Army He served in an Engineer Battalion in both the Philippines and Nicaragua, as well as Stateside. he resigned his commission (Though he's still a Reservist) and started working for the Government as a Civil Engineer. He is extremely intelligent- possessing not only degrees in Engineering but also in History. He is especially fascinated with the Engineering marvels of Ancient Rome. He is considered an expert in his field. For more information on David, please refer to his semi-completed Character sheet below.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How I spent my summer vacation (My summer romance with Pathfinder)





I have three minions, one in College, one entering High School, and the third in Middle school.
Summer vacation usually means I have to find something for the two younger ones to do. Last year they tried their hands at water polo. I had forgotten how rigorous ans physical that damn game was, it's like aquatic rugby. (props to all you Water polo players out there).

This summer  the boys demanded something less rigorous.   I found that one of the local game stores was sponsoring Pathfinder Society (PFS) games.

PFS is everything the old AD&D Living City was and more. you create a Pathfinder character using their sanctioned character creation rules and then you play in modules tiered to your characters level. The modules are the same for most levels they are just tiered so that the fierceness of the opponents is somewhat in line with the abilities of the players to kick their asses.  The rewards are tiered as well so that a player in a lower level tier may get a Mithral chain shirt, a character in a higher tier will get a Mithral chain shirt +1.

PFS games at this store are mostly held in the evenings. But there are also games held around noontime on Mondays and Tuesdays.  I was afraid that it was going to be a hard sell to "She who must be obeyed", but it wasn't at all - the price was right (free) and I would be there with them (yer damn right i'd be there with them-Woo hoo!).

I convinced the boys to play regular fighters. One of my boys is playing a Dwarven Warrior with a penchant for axes. The other is playing a fighter specializing in archery. Nothing fancy, just a guy with an axe and a guy with a bow. Now that the two of them have a few levels and a ton of feats under their belts they are serious ass-kicking machines. The armored Dwarf is like a Sherman tank and the archer is a sniper with a .50 cal rifle.

We've been having so much fun that my oldest son has joined us during his summer break. He and I  play a supporting role as a pair of Bards. Mine is a Keshite who's specialty is stand up comedy,using Yo' Momma jokes to belittle our foes and inspire our comrades. My oldest is a Vudrani who is a true Sitar Hero.

My boys are getting older and their varied interests are becoming apparent, so seeing them all at the same table,working together and having fun is priceless.
Best Summer ever.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Trying to love Pathfinder


     The following was a Google+ post a few months back. It serves as a preface to tomorrows post:

A few months ago a good friend of mine suggested we get our kids together to game. He had been playing in a Pathfinder Society group at one of our game stores and wanted to run Pathfinder for us.

I was a little apprehensive since I tried Pathfinder several years ago and found that, at the time, it was too complicated for my boys. I suggested Castles and Crusades, but he had a Pathfinder campaign module all picked out and was itching to run it, so we went with Pathfinder.  It turns out the boys enjoy it, I’m okay with it and I’m trying to like it more cause soon it will be my turn to run something. 

     I don’t mind saying Pathfinder is a bit overwhelming, with all its situational rules, conditional rules, advanced combat feats, stacking on feats and then traits and more.  I think part of the problem is that my buddy and his daughter started in Society play where it seems players start grooming their characters at first level for eventual stardom at higher levels. They will take three levels of this and then switch classes to something else in order to get a certain advantage later down the line. Frankly without my Hero Lab program I would be totally lost.
    
 I mentioned this to another friend and he laughed and pointed out that I ran AD&D Living City and GURPS games and there were plenty of rules and power gamers trying to break the game there as well.  Point taken.
      
 So I’m reading the Pathfinder rules, reading the world-book, and basically trying to fall in love or at least start to like the system.  There is a lot to admire, especially the job they did with the world, they threw just about every sub-genre of fantasy in a blender and made it work smoothly.
    
 It’s clear that in my corner of the world Pathfinder is the now and near future of gaming. I have tried to get AD&D, Castles & Crusades, and Dicey Tales games going online and in real life and find only one or two people even vaguely interested. But someone mentions playing Pathfinder and the crowd starts forming.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

3D Virtual Tabletop for Ipad and Android


I run across a lot of crap while looking for useful apps for my Ipad. 3d Virtual Tabletop is one of the best gaming apps I've seen. I've used it myself and it works great!

http://www.3dvirtualtabletop.com/index.html

Friday, July 19, 2013

Google +


I've made several efforts over the years to get involved in Facebook, but I could never really get into it.  I'm not sure what it was but Facebook just didn't work for me.  I did re-connect with a few friends from the past, which was cool, but all the poking and prodding that Facebook did to encourage you to post, answer "friends", play farm and Mafia games, and all sorts of other nonsense was a big turn-off.

By contrast Google+ pretty much leaves me alone. I've also noticed that G+ is becoming increasingly popular with my fellow gamer's. Gamer's and other nerdy types such as myself seem to have gravitated towards Google+, and with the recent addition to communities, interaction with folks who share you interests has become a wonderful addition to the various things G+ does. Below are the communities I currently belong to.


As you can see the majority of my interests on Google+are skewed towards gaming. So if anyone is trying to reach me on Facebook, chances are it wont happen. But if you stop by the Pulp gamer's international community, I'll be right there at the door to let you in.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Guarding Kalas

I was going through a new purchase I made for my Castles and Crusades game: The Town of Kalas.
I'm very impressed so far. I was reading one of the suggested uses was to have the PC's join the town watch and find adventure as lawmen. This suggestion intrigued me because Kalas is a trading town with a diverse population of human and non human inhabitants. I started thinking of the Hawk and Fisher novels by Simon R. Green that I enjoyed immensely, I remember he had a "Special Wizards And Tactics" unit for major threats to the city, he also had a "Godsquad" That specifically worked on the Street of Gods, and kept the various temples and cults from killing each other right out on the street.

My boys already have established characters in the game, but I want them to start some back up characters in case these happen to bite it. also, it would help them explore other character classes.  I'm thinking this will be a fun way to advance their back up guys.



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Legends of Steel Barbarians of Lemuria & Dicey Tales Bundle sale!


Legends of Steel Barbarians of Lemuria & Dicey Tales Bundle sale!
From now through Monday, November 26th  at RPGNOW you can get the PDF versions of the Legends of Steel Barbarians of Lemuria edition, Dicey Tales #1 and #2 for just $20.00!
Legends of Steel gives you all the rules for the Barbarians of Lemuria (BoL) system and the ready-made Sword & Sorcery campaign world of Erisa.
Dicey Tales #1 and #2 expand on the BoL rules to include new pulp inspired Careers, as well as Boons & Flaws, firearms, vehicles, rules for mysterious powers, and pulp-style technology which will allow you to play just about any genre of Two-Fisted Pulp excitement.
In addition to the core rules and Campaign world of Erisa, this package provides you with 4 Sword & Sorcery adventures and 3 Pulp action adventures!




Friday, November 16, 2012

Sunday, November 04, 2012