Saturday, July 05, 2014

| On a shorter note

These Kingdom Death: Monster minis are just looking amazing, although I still have no idea if the game will be any good (which probably means it will not). Getting pretty excited to get them, look at them briefly, then put them in the closet. Too bad magnets will be verboten in my household for many more years, because it looks like the weapon/armor kits would magnetize well.

Pump, have you painted any of your cheesecakey KD minis yet!? That's a rhetorical question, I know the answer is no. But I think you should, so that I can get all jealous and then angrily demand that you paint my game set.

Other than that I only have ONE more game coming my way, which is a pre-painted, casual game called Golem Arcana. That one is actually starting to look pretty cool too. Then my long, self-inflicted kickstarter nightmare will be over.
Awesome! I'm glad you're embracing my lifestyle as an armchair roleplayer. The next step is get yourself a velvet jacket and a large snifter of brandy.

Long as we're talking games, figured I'd talk about 13th Age and what makes it look cool too. It's by a couple of long-time D&D guys (Jonathan Tweet is one of them, forget if he worked on 3rd or 4th ed.) It's a reimagined, streamlined d20 game that takes some of the best stuff from 3rd and 4th while eliminating a lot of complexity, while bringing in many interesting ideas of its own.

- One Unique Thing: At character generation you decide on One Unique Thing about your character. Ideally this is something that informs the campaign. Could be something like, "I'm the only surviving elf in the world," or "I'm the only man Prince Whatsisdick trusts around his sister."
- Skills. Skill are rad. Instead of buying points on skills you buy points in backgrounds and then apply those backgrounds whenever it's appropriate. You make up the background yourself and they can be  basic or fancy. For example, I take "Studied Blacksmithing with the Dwarves of Cavetown +3". Whenever I'm doing something I can justify as related to that background I get the bonus. That would cover obvious things like making a sword, but it could also apply as a diplomacy bonus when I'm dealing with lower-class, tradesman sort of dwarves. I probably know my way around Cavetown, too.
- Archetype relationships. So the idea is that there are 13 powerful individuals in the world of the game, called here the archetypes. There's the Archmage, the Priestess, the Diabolist, the Lich King, and so on. You have a relationship with one-three of these characters which you define at character creation with points that give you positive, conflicted or oppositional relationships with these characters right from the start. At the start of every session, for each of your relationship points you roll a d6, and 5-6 results in that archetype somehow becoming involved in the session. For example, if enr0n has an opposed relationship with the Diabolist and rolls a 6 at the start of the session, perhaps one of her demonic hit squads is coming for him while everyone is chillin' at the inn. Looks like it keeps the GM on his toes in terms of planning, but I think it has lots of potential.
- Escalation die. At the start of the 2nd round of combat, you place the most ginormous d6 you have access to on the table at 1, and advance it by 1 every round. This is the "escalation die" and the PCs (and certain monsters) use it as a bonus to all their attack rolls. In other words, as the fight goes on attacks become deadlier and whiffs get reduced. It also makes more sense to save your powerful one-shot abilities (dailies) for later in the fight rather than everyone blowing their load in the first couple rounds. There are also various abilities that interact with the escalation die (like things you can only use when the die's at 3+).

There's a lot more (really interesting class and levelling design, fast combats, narrative range bands a la WFRP 3rd rather than grid-based ranges) but this is already pretty tl;dr so I'll stop there. Would love to play it though (and all of the other games we've been mentioning)!

As is my way, I spent a few lunch breaks and train rides trying to convert Earthdawn to it. Didn't get too far but I might pick it up someday.

Friday, July 04, 2014

| Well, to hell with you all (actually just jr0n)

I had just ordered some new D&D stuff when I read your post on Dungeon World and wished I hadn't because then I went out and ordered Dungeon World!  I actually went to order it on Amazon, and the didn't have any in stock but I read some of the reviews and got fired up even more!  I read this review... : "This is a great system for pickup games. I want to pair it with the cluster system from Diaspora and the timeline building of Microscope to create a rich, player generated world and then go Dungeon Crawling." I naturally looked up Diaspora and Microscope and sort of picked those up too, sight unseen.

Amazon had none of them and DrivethruRPG only had the PDFs so I went to Indie Press Revolution and grabbed a print/digital bundle for each.  I dunno, I'm feelin the need to RP sometime and maybe just returning to basics (fantasy) with a simple system will get me going.  It sounds the Diaspora and Microscope combined with the Mythic GM Emulator might make for a fun vRP series of sessions.

jr0n: I hear that Dungeon World was a kickstarter?  Did you kick it?  Out of curiosity, do you know what goodies came with it?

EDIT: Since all the D&D Next stuff was pre-order, I just cancelled that shit for now. Looking forward to indie press goodness!

| Familiar characters

Id never seen this strip, but it's pretty damn funny:
Boys Night Out
(Oh then it gets deep - good read tho!)

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Wow, that was a great video!

Dungeon World's another neat rolls-have-consequences game that I read recently. The core mechanic's pretty simple. You basically always roll 2d6 + a modifier (usually -1 to +2).
10+: you succeed
7-9: you succeed, but with one or more complications
6 or below: you fail, there are consequences, but you always get XP for failing.

There's more to it than that, but that's the gist. Supposed to be a cool game and it's made to play on the fly.

We should have an RPG day sometime soon.
That was a great video!

| D&D Next Inspiration 
110 pages! That's kinda awesome. I expected a 10-page pamphlet or something.

| D&D Next

Da roolz:

Welp, it's kinda a the same but with some kinda interesting, kinda fun tweaks.  Its still 6 stats, AC, DC, and D20 based with + for being proficient or skilled in something.  They simplified the skills, and didn't talk about feats in the basic set, so I can't comment on those.  All in all, it feels like D&D meets AD&D.  Sort of like 3rd ed, with a tiny bit of 4th ed mixed in, but distilled down to D&D (if any of that makes sense).

It's very D&D in that its mostly focused on combat for the system, nothing new there.  I've seen plenty of arguments for/against making RP systems that facilitate non-combat systems and why they are good and bad.  Some say leave the system for combat and let the players roleplay the rest, some say they want some system that rewards players that want to create and spend 'character points' on non-combat abilities.  I don't know where I fall.  I like having a system that I think creates dynamic action, be it combat or otherwise, and leaves the rest up to the players - this is sort of that kind of system, but without a lot of new things to add dynamic or interesting stuff (at least with the basic rules, which is expected).

I ran through the rules and found the following tweaks and changes:

 - Inspiration: sort of like good role-playing points that can be given by the DM to the players that they can spend on little perks in the game, or given to other players as high-fives as well.  The basic rules didn't get too into them.

 - (dis)advantage: Probably the biggest change to the whole system, mechanically, and saying that's quite a stretch.  When you have the advantage, you roll 2D20 and pick the higher, when you are disadvantaged you roll 2D20 and pick the lower.  I can see working for advantage a huge part of the system and might add some speed to encounters, unless you have disadvantage in which case it could take forever...

 - Background to characters: there are templates and some randomization within each template that sort of helps dictate your character vision and roleplaying choices.  Like a D6 roll to determine a character flaw might result in "when given the choice between my friends and money, I will usually take the money".  I like the idea and just quickly picking a choice from the 4 charts in each background really did give me a quick sense of what roleplaying that character might be like.  It was simple and I like it.

 - Spells use # slots by level (ex. Four 1st level spell slots) that can be used for any memorized spell from the appropriate level pool.  So for example, I have Fly and Bigby's Crushing Hand memorized as my 2nd level spells and I have 4 2nd level spell slots - I can cast either one 4 times or any combination thereof; the spells are not 'burned' as I use them,  just the slots.  You get cantrips that can be cast as much as you want and at anytime, and you can cast lower level spells using higher level slots for greater affect (ie a 9th level fireball is more effective than an 8th level fireball, and 5th level is the basic level of the fireball spell).

 - Proficiency is a + gained at a flat rate per level which is applied to things you are proficient in.  So attacking with an axe, and you are proficient? You get a +2.  Attacking with a sword and you are not proficient?  You get a basic attack +0.

 - Casters determine saving throws for their own spells, the formula being something like 8 + (proficiency) + (ability bonus).

 - I don't think I see any negative modifiers, everything is a positive modifier throughout.

And that's about it for what's really different from what I remember 3rd and some of 4th ed being.  There's a bunch of details on skills and some class abilities (like if a certain fighter has a shield next to a friend and that friend is attacked, then the attack is at a disadvantage), but nothing that is really new, just additional rule definitions.

I'd certainly play it because it's instantly familiar and easy to pickup and would allow us to get stuck right in without much overhead, confusion, or doubt.  I sort of thought the same about DCC, but there is certainly some weirdness baked into that (admittedly AWESOME) rulebook with the Zocci dice and different, unique systems for each class.  I think since it's SO familiar and SO simple (or at least simple because it is ingrained in each of us) it could easily be houseruled to allow for the fun stuff that I am looking for these days - interpretation and gradations on dice rolls a la Star Wars/WFRP 3rd ed.

I'm excited to hear what you guys think!

PS I didn't really read the whole thing. I skimmed it all, not the spells, or skills, or equipment, and where I noticed a change in language or rule name I read it.
So the free, basic PDF of D&D 5th goes up later today. I'm excited! Not that I'll ever play it but I'm interested to see what they come up with. Supposedly it moves pretty far from 3rd and 4th ed.

13th Age is the shit though. If we ever get in the mood for a non-DCC d20 game I'm running that for sure.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

| Oh, Venkman, I mean elzar, I'm sorry (that I don't have a spare Mac)

But if I did it'd be yours! What are you looking to use?

I like looking at the little activity monitor on Minecraft to see when people logged in! Is that creepy? My house is the weird multicolor one on the bedrock platform. My daughter was asking for features and I'd put em in. Then she wanted to to visit each of the animals on the platform several times. It was easily the most fu I've had playing!

| Annnd....

 - Oh my good god, how did I let an offer to paint/play Blood Bowl on the blog go without comment?!?!?

Yes! Yes! A thousand times, YES!  Denis I will play Blood Bowl with you!

I really wish Dreadball caught on, because I have, like, A TONNE of stuff... and another Kickstarter lootfest coming in the mail for then next Dreadball iteration.  C'est la vie.

 - Finished Wolfie.  It was fun!  Somewhat short, really pretty, no mecha hitler, and room for a sequel.  I think the size of the game was definitely for the assets rather than length of play.  It's a very modern take on a very straightforward and old-school kind of FPS. Outside of shoot, alt-shoot, duck, lean, jump, and run, there is a gun that lets you cut holes in stuff that you recharge with charging stations vs. ammo; otherwise, ach iz all de same (but in a good way).  NOT worth $60 to me, but I'm good with the $30 I paid for it.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

| Slay-yah

Anyone have an old Mac they would be willing to donate (or trade for games!) to the Elzar Makes and App Fund?  I've got a few app dev for non-programmers books and I wanna try my hand at it, but I needs me a Mac to tinker.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

I've been resisting getting any Steam stuff so far.  But all this talk of gaming...

I really liked Dishonored as well.  Dug the setting and mood.  I was also annoyed with the scroll wheel.  I ended up using the numbers for the weapon swap and remapped the wheel button as my choke, because apparently I was using that a lot.  Though I felt really, really bad choking that maid out.  I found her cowering in the kitchen.  Didn't have an option to be a gentleman and lock her in a closet or something.  So I went all WWF (WWE) with the sleeper hold.

I heard Wolfenstein was a huge download.  Do you know if it's because it's a long game or just large asset files?  It's set in an alternate history 60's right?  Will there be a Mecha Hitler?

I don't know if anyone is into civ games, but I'm very excited about Beyond Earth.  It's basically Civilization in spaceeeee!  Alpha Centauri is one of my favorite games.  I fire it up regularly now and then.  This is almost like an updated remake.  It's coming out this fall (squee!).

| Wolfenstein FTW

Well, I started playing Dishonored while Wolfie was downloading and it was awesome!  I like all the Thief sneakiness, the side quests, the spells, etc. however it start to get overwhelming with the left/right hand buttons, the scroll wheel that changed weapons in both hands on the same wheel, etc.  I took one of the early side quests for that Grandma chick outside of the first light gate so I had to infiltrate some doctors house which was AWESOME!

I really liked finding the combination to the safe, how looking at the chalkboard updated your journal notes and I like all the stories from the books you find and the chatter (like between the maid and the guard on teh second floor and how they were to marry, etc. - BTW, I knocked em both out and put them in the Dr.'s bed so at least they have that going for them when they wake).

And THEN Wolfie downloaded and it is waaaay fun to play.  I'm running it on a laptop with a pretty cheesy video card, but it's good enough to run the gameplay and rendered cut scenes however it chunks during the cut scenes that use actual gameplay, if that makes any sense.  The graphics slow waaay down and the sound get waaaay out of sync, to the point where you hear the conversation finish before the models start slowly moving their mouths, then you have to wait for like a slow minute while the video catches up.  It's kind of a drag, but I remember that happening during both Batmans and I got over it.

I think it also requires Win 7 or 8 64bit, so that's a drag.  I fortunately have a low end 64bit lappy, so bully for me!

I also picked up Might and Magic 1 -7 for $4.99 on GOG.  It includes all maps, manuals, and guides, so that's fun!  I've already fired up MM2 and am busy killing friars and beggars in the streets of Middlegate.
I don't know why I aggressively hate UPlay too, but I do. It ALWAYS feels obtrusive, like OBAMGAY, amirite?
- Ann Coulter

I eyed a bunch of those Steam games recently but I'm so beyond backlogged, I didn't bother getting any of them. I did grab on iOS Star Command which was this over-hyped space game that looked like FTL but with better graphics. When it eventually came out, people were so underwhelmed. (Plus, I think you had to pay $10 or $15 bucks on Kickstarter for the iOS app - now it's 99cents, biatch!) All the hype long past, I pulled the trigger for a buck and it's OKAY. At first, it felt awful, especially when you compare it to FTL. But it's a totally different game, and once you except that, it's not bad.