Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#RPGaDay Part 3: 21 to 31

21) Favorite Licensed RPG - Perhaps Mouse Guard or the original Marvel Super Heroes.

22) Best Secondhand RPG Purchase - Dragonlance 5th Age, which is a great system which I picked up relatively inexpensively. I also purchased the Rules Cyclopedia well before it started to be hugely overpriced on Ebay.

23) Coolest Looking RPG Product/Book - I do not own The One Ring, but the artwork I've seen paging through it is gorgeous. I've also always really loved the starship artwork and schematics in Traveller... just because I like those kinds of deck plan drawings. Car Wars artwork has also always been a favorite for me.

24) Most Complicated RPG Owned - Probably GURPS. I don't have any of those overly complex games from the 80's and 90's like those from Palladium (RIFTS) or Iron Crown (Rolemaster). I technically own a second hand copy of one of the Middle Earth Roleplaying books, but never even really cracked it open except briefly to browse, so I'm not counting it.

25) Favorite RPG No One Else Wants To Play - My group of players doesn't usually have too much difficulty trying something new, but the issue usually comes up when no GM is willing to run a system they don't already know/understand. The players are almost always willing to try a new system, but the few GMs are not so much. Mouse Guard is at the top of this list.

26) Coolest Character Sheet - I don't have an opinion. I tend to like functional over flowery.

27) Game you'd like to see new edition - Boot Hill might be a fun one to resurrect, although I suppose Deadlands could technically be used to play a "straight" version of the Old West instead of a Weird West. Star Frontiers might be fun to revisit as well.

28) Scariest Game - I've never played an RPG where horror was executed very well... but I also haven't played many horror RPGs. So I don't really have a good answer for this one.

29) Most Memorable Encounter - I talked about this one in the Most Memorable Character Death. There was also a fun Red Dragon encounter in that same campaign, but the details are a bit foggy after 20 years.

30) Rarest RPG Owned - I have a copy of the 1974 White Box D&D "donated" by my brother.

31) Favorite RPG - D&D will always be king. It opened the world of RPGs to me and I'm excited about the 5th edition… but, I will also always love some of the other old, but great games on my shelf like Paranoia, Car Wars, Gamma World, etc…

Thursday, August 21, 2014

D&D 5e: Player's Handbook Art - Quick Critiques

Disclaimer: This started out as a general critique of the Player’s Hanbook, but the art seems to have gotten under my skin, so this article focuses mainly on the artistic oddities in the PHB. Your mileage may vary.

In general, I’ve liked the art direction of the new edition. However, on paging through the book for the first time, there are number of foibles that really bother me. (Further disclaimer: I actually love quite a lot of pieces in the book... but it's always the stupid little stuff that annoys me to no end).

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Let's Talk Sixth Edition!

Turbo Turret
Turbo Turret
No, not D&D this time... CAR WARS.

Did I fool you?

Steve Jackson Games brought a bunch of their Car Wars Classic reprints to Gen Con this year and apparently sold out in the first day. I'm sure they are kicking themselves that they didn't bring at least 2 to 3 times more product. This was not the "Sixth Edition" promised in the OGRE Kickstarter, but was a reprint of Classic from the early 90's (which is considered revision 2.5?).

#RPGaDay Part 2 - 11 through 20

Continued from #RPGaDay Part 1...

11) Weirdest RPG Owned - I don't own a "weird" RPG, per se, but I do own a few odd source books for a normal RPG, namely GURPS IOU. IOU is a little weird, but mostly satirical. I have downloaded Lamentations of the Flame Princess, but have not played it. Also, since it's really just a darker variant of D&D, I don't consider it particularly weird.

12) Old RPG You Still Play / Read - Paranoia It's still fun to peruse the rule book and old adventures longing for a GM that will run it for me.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

D&D 5e: DM Basic Rules Quick Critiques

Wizards of the Coast updated D&D Basic yesterday.

In a word: Awesome!

I'm extraordinarily happy that Wizards of the Coast has decided to walk this path. I'm almost certainly going to buy the Player's Handbook [done], Monster Manual and Dungeon Master's Guide [because that's just what I do…], but it is fantastic that the option exists to hook new players in.

Now for the quick critiques. I haven't digested all of the new DM Basic document (essentially the Mini Monster Manual) but I have noticed a few oddities that I thought I'd mention.

Friday, August 8, 2014

D&D 5e: Fixing Rapid Low Level Advancement

There has been a fair amount of discussion in the level advancement in D&D 5th Edition. One particular comment on Google+ that stood out to me is "Blink and you'll miss it." 

The comment was specifically noting that the early levels 1 through 3 fly by so quickly that you won't even notice before you are level 4. Even advancement through level 5 is fairly quick.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

#RPGaDay Part 1 - One to Ten

I don't always have the freedom to post once a day, so I'm going to have to knock out the blog roll topic in 3 posts.

Still have my books from 1979-ish
1) First RPG Played - I posted about this very topic over a month back. I think it's a funny read so check it out. I'll wait.

For those who want to skip the gamer story, my brother started me out with OD&D (white box) sort of... But that incident doesn't really count. I really learned how to play with a combination of the Holmes blue book and the AD&D Player's Handbook. I consider AD&D my first RPG because we really weren't playing the Holmes rules.

2) First RPG Game Mastered - While I am almost certain I DM'd for some of my friends at an early age, I remember almost nothing from those pre-teen AD&D games. I have a vague recollection of running part of X2 Castle Amber, but 30 year old memories are not coming easily to the surface.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

D&D 5e: Minions Rise Again!

In a previous article, I discussed a two-hit minion variant for both 4th and 5th Edition D&D. Today, I will take a step back to introduce the minion mechanic into the 5E rules. Although I reference 5e monsters and use the D&D stat blocks, the ideas in this article are equally applicable to any OSR system.

In 5th Edition, monsters have special traits that are denoted below the challenge rating in the stat blocks. Wizards of the Coast hasn't given an explicit name to this section of the stat block, but it corresponds to "Traits" in the 4th Edition monster stats, so I will use that nomenclature for now.

To correspond wth their 4E cousins, 5E minions have a trait that allows it to avoid damage unless it has been directly hit with an attack or a spell. They do not even take 1/2 damage where others normally would (one could tweaks this if it feels like too good of an advantage).

In terms of relative strength, I decided that a minion should not quite be as combat effective as its non-minion allies. This also roughly corresponds to the power tweaking minions get in 4th Edition D&D. If the normal creature is fairly strong or dexterous, I might step their attributes down by one level. Similarly, the grunt may not have quite as good armor as his full strength kin, so I might adjust his AC accordingly. EDIT: After some discussion, I lowered the XP from 50 to 25 for minions (25% of the original monster XP).

Other Owlbear musings