Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Why is Mariah Carey on the cover of my D&D supplement?

I was reading an article in the May 2006 Sharkbytes newsletter, where game author Shane L. Hensley goes off on the newbies in the industry and The Open Gaming license. He delares that

"Everywhere you looked D20 Gamemasters were
saying "only official WotC books" could be used in their
campaigns. Who could blame them? Some of the stuff out
there was absolute crap, and the easiest way to sort through
the chaff was to just stick with WotC, which was (supposedly)
play-tested and certainly better thought out than most of their

I didn't play D20 back then, but I remember those days well, including the onslaught of "Crap". Flimsy supplements with huge pricetags. I particularly remember the Avalanche press books with their busty sword babes.

Now, I cant say that the Avalanche supplements were crap. I never used them in a game. but the reviews i've read online aren't great. But then again I recently learned that many online "reviewers don't actually play many of the games they review. But that's another story.

What I do know is that all the young gamers would drool at the covers and the moms would just shake their heads as they watched their little men fall for the oldest marketing trick in the book.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Motivational Monday

Thanks to RPG.net

Saturday, September 23, 2006

PDF's rule!

Today I went with my wife on a shopping trip to Target, as usual I took along some reading material knowing that much of our visit would be in departments that hold little interest to me ( I can only spend so much time scoping out the toy and electronic aisles).
I had a copy of the new Ultimate Power supplement for Mutants and Masterminds. On our way home from the store I realized that I didn’t have the book with me. It turns out while loading the van with our purchases I left the book in the cart. We turned around and went back; luckily I found it still in the shopping cart in the parking lot. If it was a print copy I could have been out &36.95 + tax. Since it was a PDF, I would have been out the price of a binder and the trouble of printing it up.
So yes of course, nothing beats holding a real book in your hands. But the argument for PDF’s just earned a +1 in my book.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Free Games!!

Some of you older guys might remember the dwarfstar games from the 80's.
Jeff from Jeff's gameblog just turned me on to a place where you can download copies for free!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Monday, September 18, 2006

Motivational Monday

Thanks to the folks at RPG.Net

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Inner world of Skartaris -Part 2

I finally finished my rendition of the Map of Skartaris from Warlord Annual #4 (1985). Here are a few notes taken from that issue in regards to the map.

" It is not a map of the whole inner earth, but only that part of it which has been fairly well explored by Travis Morgan in his travels. There is much more to Skartaris...this map represents only a small section of that world."

“Various cultures often have their own names for places… The Desert of Sorrows, for example, is alternately called “The Great Desert” and the “Chyron Desert” by different tribes of people. The Haunted Mountains are known to some as the “Magic Mountains,” and so forth.”

“Krystovar’s map shows only the major city-kingdoms and does not include every little town, village, outpost, or camp throughout the area. And though the map shows some known towers, temples, and ruins, it is by no means exhaustive.”

“Except for mountains, deserts, and seas, most all of Skartaris is jungle. Those places called “forests” on the map are only arbitrary borders on one large continuing jungle, named for various reasons. In some places such as “Shadow Forest” the jungle is denser, while in other places, such as around the city of “Groniko,” the jungle peters out. But it is an ever-present form of terrain throughout Skartaris.”

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Inner-world of Skartaris - part 1

The other day I mentioned on the Savage World board that The World of the Warlord from DC comics would make a kick ass setting for Savage Worlds. with that in mind I have set forth on yet another project. I took the only published map of Skartaris (from Warlord Annual #4) and started to map it out using the AD&D core rules software mapper. I know there are better mappers out there but for some reason I like this one, even though you can't export to any graphic in the known universe. I'm half way done. I used Snag it for the various screen captures and then put it all together in photoshop. I still have the other half of the world to go. and then I might try to pretty it up a bit.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

D20 and M&M

I had a couple of friends over late Saturday and tried to DM my first 3E game.
It isn’t half bad. I like getting rid of the THAC0, all the flatfooted, threatened squares, and tactical movement is going to take a bit of getting used to. We ran a simple first level game using core book characters, nothing fancy. I can imagine what a challenge a higher-level game with players who want to bring in characters from 100 different supplements into the game would be. The prestige class thing is like the 2nd edition kits on steroids. I said a while back that 2nd edition AD&D was created for the DM’s and 3rd Edition D&D was created for the players. After reading through the books and playing a session, I stand by that statement.

Everyone who games knows that the D20 system and the OGL has allowed anyone with a computer to publish campaigns and supplements. What I'm finding out now is that a good 80% of that stuff is crap. And from what I understand from D20 veterans was that it was much worse back when the system just started. One of the companies putting out a very decent product, in my opinion, is Green Ronin. I have been looking over their Mutants and Masterminds series for the last couple of days. When I get enough D20 experience under my belt from D&D3E M&M will be my next stop. I just picked up M&M Golden Age. If I cant get the D&D Meetup guys to stop suckling off the D&D teat, maybe I can at least get them to transition to another D20 game. Don’t get me wrong I love D&D, it’s just that it can’t be the ONLY game I play. If I can get a Golden age M&M game going then at least I can get a good pulp fix that way. Jeff R. suggested that I get real good at one system and then run a whiz-bang game at a meeting to generate interest. So I'm taking his advice and setting that as my long-term gaming plan.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Motivational Monday

Thanks to the folks at RPGnet.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I can now say I've been published several times

For those of you who just cant get enough of my rantings and ravings here, you can pick up this months Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine #118. I have an article in the "Lost games safari" column, covering the classic Pacesetter game "Chill".

Friday, September 08, 2006

Athena Voltaire

I originally picked up an issue of Athena Voltaire a while back. I enjoyed the hell out of it! But then it disappeared. Apparently the comic company went under. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the character and the series has been given new life by Ape Entertainment. I am hoping Athena is here for the long haul this time around. This series just cracks with adventure (see the free preview pages). I mentioned finding out about the Savage Worlds RPG the other day. The world of Athena Voltaire would make a fantastic setting for a Savage Worlds pulp campaign.
The guys at Ape entertainment should definitely have lunch with the guys from Pinnacle entertainment, hell, I'd buy lunch just to have a seat at the table and hear the brainstorming!

And by the way, Athena Voltaire isn't the only cool offering from Ape. The Blackcoat and U.T.F. are also titles well worth checking out for Pulpy coolness. They also have webcomics and...awww hell just go there already!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Big Show

I’ve been a gamer since 1978. I’ve gamed just about everywhere, from foxholes in the Army to the beaches of Hawaii. But I have never been to the “Big Show”-Gen Con. Today at work the mail clerk came in with a package for me. I wasn’t too surprised since all my eBay stuff comes to the office. But this time the package wasn’t an eBay purchase it was from my buddy Chris. Chris went to Gen Con this year and he took the time to fill a swag bag for the Evil DM.
Wow. That blew me away. We never talked about it, I never hinted at it. It was total karma from the goodness of this guy’s heart. The bag was full of online coupons, pins, cards, mini games, stickers, comics (Conan!) and of course Gen Con DICE! I was like a kid in a candy store, as I sat at my desk “ooing” at all the shiny goodies. Everyone in my office thought it was the coolest thing, and it was! Chris even had the foresight to get TWO sets of all the Conan stuff. I’ve never been to the big show, but for a few minutes today I was there in spirit.
Chris is an online buddy. I can’t even remember where or when we first met but we have been gaming online, talking action figures and hanging out for a couple of years now. Chris is one of the reasons why the internet is cool because without it I would have never met him. You have to deal with the occasional Troll and Creep online, but you also get to meet guys like Chris who make it all worthwhile, thanks dude!

Savage Worlds

I’m usually a bit behind the curve with the newer games, mostly because my days of buying everything on the “New this week” shelf at the game store are long past. So while “Savage Worlds” isn’t new, it’s new to me.

I picked up a PDF of the revised core rules the other day and have really been enjoying it. I enjoy PDF’s up to a point but generally I get the print version when I can. But I must say this is one of the best PDF efforts I’ve seen.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sunday Score

We went to the American Cancer society discovery shop today. It’s a thrift store but a very high-end thrift store, all the volunteers are well of elderly women who are very particular about what they offer at their store. about 40% of all the donations are passed on to the local Salvation army. But despite their discriminating eye, the prices are no higher than any other Thrift store. this is the place where I found a complete set of MEGO Knights of the Round Table figure for $15.00 each. Today while perusing the book room I found a copy of D&D for Dummies ($4), a first edition DM guide ($2) and a brand spanking new copy of the 3.5 player handbook ($7).

It looks like fate is taking a hand. One of my biggest gripes about D&D 3E was the cost of the damn books. And to add insult to injury 40 minutes after I bought the 3rd edition Core rules WOTC declared them obsolete and told us we had to switch to 3.5 suddenly almost $100.00 worth of books (PH, DMG, Psionics, MM and three splat books) became totally worthless.

I suppose the Gaming gods are cutting me a break by letting me find a PHB for $7, and though I resent the fact that they felt they had to throw in a Dummies book on 3E, I still bought that too. Hell, I even bought the old two dollar 1st ed DMG (I felt it was my duty as a Gamer).

Friday, September 01, 2006

Kicking and Screaming

About a week ago I attended a local D&D Meetup. There were about 4 tables worth of folks ranging from early 40’s to early 20’s and even a couple of honest to gawsh girls.
I wasn’t really prepared to play, I just wanted to scout it out and see what kind of turnout there was. On one hand I was please to see so many people, on the other I was dismayed to see that D&D3E was the only offering. I have dozens of games, quite a few I honestly haven’t played in years. I was hoping to find SOMEONE interested in say, a game of GURPS, CHILL or any kind of Pulp game. But all they wanted to play was D&D.

Later that evening I thought that maybe I’ll meet them halfway. So I posted that I would be willing to run a D20 game (Conan, Adventure, Masque of the Red Death, Mutants & Masterminds, Sidewinder, Etc,) at the next Meetup if there was any interest. Three days later I had 20+ views but no responses (the audacity of it all!). It looks like if I ever want to game again I need to get out of my Ivory Second Edition Tower and join the rest of Gamerdom at the 3rd edition altar.