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Thursday, September 03, 2015

I'll be damned, it works!


Done properly, no can defense...




Monday, August 24, 2015

Dicey Tales Playtest. We still have Openings for European players



I want to thank everyone for their response to our Dicey Tales  playtest request.
Our U.S. playtest is full. 

We still have two spots open for our European playtest group. If any of you are interested it will be on Tuesdays at 12:00 noon Pacific Time (that’s 8:00pm London time).


Please PM me if you are interested in joining us.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Eeenglaaand!





That was one very funny part from an otherwise very forgettable movie.  I thought of it instantly when I saw the following trailer for a new BBC America series- The Last Kingdom.

I've been enjoying the abundance of historical and quasi-historical shows that have been popping up since the overwhelming popularity of  HBO's Game of Thrones.  It's just another fountain in the  "Geek Renaissance" to splash around in.



From the BBCA site:

The Last Kingdom premieres Saturday, October 10 at 10/9c. It is a contemporary story of redemption, vengeance and self-discovery set against the birth of England. This historical drama comes from BBC America, BBC Two and the Golden Globe® and Emmy® award-winning producers of Downton Abbey, Carnival Films.

Adapted from Bernard Cornwell’s best-selling series of books “The Saxon Stories,” by BAFTA nominated and RTS award-winning writer Stephen Butchard, The Last Kingdom combines real historical figures and events with fiction, re-telling the history of King Alfred the Great and his desire to unite the many separate kingdoms into what would become England.

Alexander Dreymon (American Horror Story) heads up the international cast from eleven different countries. Emily Cox (The Silent Mountain) stars as Brida, David Dawson (Peaky Blinders) as King Alfred, Rune Temte (Eddie the Eagle) as Ubba, Matthew Macfadyen (Ripper Street) as Lord Uhtred, Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner) as Ravn, Ian Hart (Boardwalk Empire) as Beocca, Tobias Santelmann (Point Break) as Ragnar the Younger, Peter Gantzler (Italian For Beginners) as Earl Ragnar, Adrian Bower (Mount Pleasant) as Leofric, Joseph Millson (Penny Dreadful) as Aelfric and Henning Valin Jakobsen (The Bridge) as Storri.

Set in the 9th century AD, many of the separate kingdoms of what we now know as England have fallen to the invading Vikings, only the great Kingdom of Wessex stands defiant under its visionary King Alfred the Great (Dawson). It is the last kingdom.

Against this turbulent backdrop lives Uhtred (Dreymon). Born the son of a Saxon nobleman, he is orphaned by the Vikings and then kidnapped and raised as one of their own. Forced to choose between the country of his birth and the people of his upbringing, his loyalties are ever tested. What is he — Saxon or Viking? On a quest to claim his birthright, Uhtred must tread a dangerous path between both sides if he is to play his part in the birth of a new nation and, ultimately, recapture his ancestral lands.

The Last Kingdom is a show of heroic deeds and epic battles but with a thematic depth that embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love, loyalty and our universal search for identity. Combining real historical figures and events with fictional characters, it is the story of how a people combined their strength under one of the most iconic kings of history in order to reclaim their land for themselves and build a place they call home.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Victor Frankenstein | Official Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX




This looks really interesting. I love movies set in the late 19th-early 20th century. For bonus XP see if you can catch the "Young Frankenstein" reference in the trailer.  From what I have read some of the folks involved in the movie worked on the Sherlock Holmes movies, which I enjoyed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Adventures on the 7th sea – Campaign specifics Part I

In any rpg campaign there will be "home rules" reflecting The flavor and tone of the campaign, the specific rule changes and, (of course) a Dungeon Masters preferences and prejudices- Adventures on the 7th sea is no different.  here are a few of the notes I have jotted down (all subject to change of course).


 Character Races
The races I chose for the campaign reflect what I consider to be the more “down to earth” races available in 5th edition (The exception being the Genasi). In my campaign the Elves stay in the Fey realms, though they do cross the veil from time to time and seduce the occasional maiden (Which accounts for the inclusion of the Half-Elf).

The Races available to PC’s are
Dwarf
Halfling
Human
Genasi
Goliath
Gnome
Gnome, Deep
Half-Elf
Half-Orc

Character classes remain as they are. however, the gods that clerics and paladins serve are of the Deities represented in the area.

Deities
The lists below are a sampling of the deities used in the 7th sea campaign. these are deities that were not covered in the current 5th edition of the players handbook.  As the player characters come into contact with other peoples I expect this list of Deities to grow.

Sumerian Gods
God
Alignment
Domain
Symbol
Enlil, Ruler of the gods
NG
Tempest, War
Pickaxe
Enki, God of Rivers and Oceans
LN
Nature
Ibex
Inanna, Goddess of Love and War
LE
Life, War
Shepard's staff
Ki, Goddess of Nature
N
Nature
Iris
Nanna-Sin, God of the Moon
CG
Light
Jet black axe over the moon
Nin-Hursag, Goddess of the Earth
N
Nature
Blue-white diamond
Utu, God of the Sun
CG
Light
Radiant sun disc


Babylonian Gods
God
Alignment
Domain
Symbol
Anu,  God of the sky, Ruler of the gods
LN
Tempest, Nature
Gold sun partially blocked by a gray cloud
Anshar, God of darkness and the night
CE
Trickery
Black Sphere
Duaga, Ruler of the devil world
LE
Death
Ruby Mace
Girru, God of fire
LE
Nature
Fire enwrapped axe
Ishtar, Goddess of love and war
N
Life, War
Female hand grasping a blue crystal rod
Marduk, God of cities and storms
LN
Knowledge, Tempest
Blue-white diamond
Nergal, God of the Underworld
NE
Death
Dark-skinned man holding a jet black shield
Ramman, God of Storms and Thunder
N
Tempest
Lightning bolt through a storm cloud



Aegyptian Gods


God
Alignment
Domain
Symbol



Anhur, God of war
CG
War
A cord
Apshai, God of Animals
N
Nature
Praying Mantis
Geb, God of Earth
N
Nature
Earth Hieroglyph
Seker, God of Death
NG
Death, Light
Hawk headed mummy with an Ankh in his right hand
Serket, God of venomous creatures
N
Life, Trickery
Scorpion tail
Shu, God of the Sky
LG
Nature, Light
Female hand grasping a blue crystal rod
Tefnut, Goddess of storms and flowing water
LG
Tempest, Life
Lioness Head
Konshu, God of the Moon
NG
Life
Crescent Moon


And coming soon...







Monday, August 17, 2015

The Bastard Executioner - New show coming to F/X September 15th


It looks interesting. Definitely some filler for my DVR at least.









Sunday, August 16, 2015

Adventures on the 7th Sea - Origins of a campaign



I've been itching for a while to try a different type of fantasy adventure campaign than the standard western flavored campaigns I've run in the past. I've always loved the Sinbad stories so I figured I would try using the Middle East as a starting area for my campaign. Taking a further step I decided to incorporate the  Changa's Safari stories by Milton Davis.


Looking though my gaming library I pulled out my copy of Gary Gygax's Epic Aerth supplement for his Dangerous Journeys RPG. Epic of Aerth gave me a great starting point as it's basically a fantasy Earth set in an alternate reality. Many of the names and locales are the same but with just enough of a difference for the players to know that they are not on a historical earth, this also allows me the freedom to ignore earth history when convenient for me and silence noisy players when they whine about some nit-picky fact from actual ancient history.


My system of choice has always been Dungeons & Dragons, and with the recent release of the 5th edition I decided to take a stab at this new campaign using the new rules. For a campaign name I decided of "Adventures on the 7th Sea" since I expect most of our game time spent adventuring in the Indian Ocean region.




I'm hoping to run a campaign where the heroes are a combination of merchants, adventurers, and explorers.  Though there will be dungeon crawls and tomb raiding I want there to also be a bit of commerce going on as well.  I plan on giving the characters a Dhow and a crew and allow them to manage their crew and ship as well as how many torches and iron rations they are stuffing into their back packs.


I realize that this type of campaign isn't to everyone's taste but for a group that's interested in this type of gaming I'm hoping it will prove fun. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sword Coast Legends


Nerdgasm time.

My thanks to Bert for giving me the heads up on this. This will definitely be on my "Must buy" list for 2015.

Looks like it's 5th Edition and has the official D&D stamp of approval!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Now I get it (sort of...)



I knew that back in the day Marvel sold off a bunch of movies rights to several studios, but I never completely knew who got what. I found this today and it helps simplify things a bit. Also take into account the various studios got not only the heroes in those titles but also the villains (like Doctor Doom), titles (like Mutant), and associated non-super characters (Franklin "Foggy" Nelson).  and ,as with everything in life,  there are notable exceptions to these rules (like Quicksilver, who is a Mutant and an Avenger).

An online friend just sent me a more updated graphic.




Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Star Frontiers /5th Edition D&D conversion




I just ran across a 5th edition conversion for the TSR Star Frontiers game. Star Frontiers has always been a favorite of mine. Unfortunately I've only been able to play it a handful of times in the last 30+ years that its been around, but thats about to change. Thanks to Micheal Long a blogger on Tribality who wrote a great series of articles on converting Star Frontiers to 5E D&D. The articles have been gathered up, expanded on, and published in issue 11 of Frontier Explorer.

Star Frontiers /5E is a perfect mini campaign for my players to explore when we are ready to take a break from slaying dragons but still want to stay with the same ruleset. Many of the old modules are online and there has been  a great deal of fan support for Star Frontiers over the years in the form of at least two publications that I'm aware of - Star Frontiersman and Frontier Explorer.

 I really hope Micheal continues the series and adds more support for his 5E conversion. For now, a hearty thank you Micheal Long for your efforts!

Monday, December 08, 2014

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.