Sunday, August 20, 2017

Water Cart from Things From the Basement

Things from the Basement has recently released a 28mm Water Cart kit for all your wargaming needs.

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 20: What is the Best Source for Out-of-Print RPGs?

Nostalgia in all its forms for #RPGaDay 2017 Day 20:

"What is the Best Source of Out-of-Print RPGs"

Enter the late-to-party Grognard, "Dagnabbit, I wish Crazy Egor's was all in his glory of the 80's and 90's you could get old-school modules affordably.  Heck, they even paid YOU a penny if you added a copy of Isle of Dread with your order."

Yes, I know Crazy Egor still exists in some form in the Rochester, NY area, but I feel a trip up there could never match up with the simply ridiculous inventory that we encountered in our epic road trip in the early 90's. 

Anyway, I've certainly left the Collector mentality after my great purge of 'Aught-Four.   Now married with kids, I don't have the budget to snag up the cool old stuff I still want, and I certainly don't have the time to use it in play.

I'm resigned to use two avenues to access my sense of nostalgia:
  1. eBay - This is not as awesome as it was even fifteen years ago.  Ridiculous opening bids and Buy-It-Now prices that make it cheaper to purchase a time machine and go back in time and buy it at retail. I still have a few saved searches that I check for deals (they still exist), but most of them are for miniatures.
  2. Auctions at local cons - I have the good fortune of having a local con (Mepacon) twice a year with solid auctions.  The auctions started as a con dealer hosting an "Everything starts for a dollar!" auction to a well-organized, standard part of the convention.  The dollar minimum still stands (outside large/rare items or charity auctions) and since it's fueled by attendees winnowing out their collections, it's a nice variety of stuff.  Of course, there's also a pre-auction buyout price that can be listed on the item, so a few of us might be known to prowl the area looking for deals.    Even then, I've given up a deal of a buy-out bid at, say ten dollars, only to pick it up in the live auction for three.  No signed copies of 70's Chainmail, but I have rebuilt my Rifts collection for Savage Rifts for less than a sawbuck.  
Plus that Russian copy of Scrabble I snagged is a conversation starter....

Saturday, August 19, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 19: Which RPG Features the Best Writing?

Another #RPGaDay 2017 question that made me go, "Hmmmmmmm...."
Day 19: "Which RPG Features the Best Writing?"

I can think of quality publishers, a sourcebook of note, but I had to think long and hard into the past, only find the answer in the immediate past for some of the best writing in a rulebook I've seen in quite some time.

The My Little Pony Tails of Equestria Storytelling Game.
Yeah, you can stop laughing.  This game makes your favorite game appear to have been written by dyslexic monkeys with hooks for hands who typed it up in the middle of Grand Mal seizure. 

Now that I've offended everyone, let me explain. 

This type of book needs to cover three groups:  the Pony fanatics, kids and their parents, and the general role-playing crowd, and it successfully writes to each group at the same time, without talking down to them or going over their heads. 

This has some of the best explanation as to what an RPG/Storytelling game is, solid examples on how mechanics should work 99% of the time (without persevering on the 1%), and almost calming advice to those who want to run a game.

The kicker is character creation:  With only one quick breeze through of the book, I was able to conduct full character creation with my six and eight-year old daughters in just a few minutes, because the section was so well structured that my eldest could pop between the required chapters to look up talents and quirks.  Page numbers for other sections and basic explanations that make an experienced gamer admire its simple elegance was the apparently the mission of the writers/editors. 

I'm willing to compare it to my Savage Worlds Explorer Edition, because (a) the kids love playing Savage Worlds and (b) the similarities between character creation and mechanics are oddly comforting (Maja, my eight year old, realized that all by herself).  So, while portions of Savage Worlds are wildly in-depth, it's not the multiple options available for character advancement that turns Maja off,  it's the lack of internal organization and reference points so she can compare and contrast. .

And their version of "Bennies" blows the lid off anything Savage Worlds does.

I was planning Mousling Fantasy games using Savage Worlds, but I figure a few more sessions under our belts, and I could easily set  up under My Little Pony.

Heck, I assume after a few more read through and me teaching her what a basic story outline is, Maja will be ready to GM her first RPG any day now, and I'll be forced to run Mouslings if I want a chance of GMing something.

Friday, August 18, 2017

More Flip Flops Than a Jimmy Buffet Concert

This week, I've found myself on too many late-night phone calls and typing away at the computer. No big news right now, but since I haven't had time to venture to the painting bench, I'm calling a few audibles.

  • Monday night is the online 5th Edition D&D game I'm playing in. Two sessions in and we've vacillated between a SyFy Channel Disaster Movie and Grey's Anatomy, with a few travelling montages out of Milo and Otis.  I'm not complaining at all.  
  • If Jeff, our DM, cancels, I think I have a few interested parties for some random one-shots/playtests that I've been fleshing out from the blog's back-catalog of drafts.  If I want Terraforming Mars: The RPG, The Bloody White Baron of Mongolia, or George and Ike's Excellent Mexican Adventure, this might be a good avenue for it.  
  • I had great online conversations with Nate (Norm Dingleberry) and Hoyce (Talis Makolin) to help flesh out final episodes of the Ballad of the Pigeon God. I still need to talk to Steve (Echelon), for his recollections, but the framework of those final days has been confirmed, and a few juicy details that I forgot after nearly twenty years.  I foresee the weekly episodes every Tuesday morning extending into July of next year.  
  • I'm putting Rat-na-Rock on the far back burner of projects, alongside my Lost City and "Home" D&D campaigns.  The Frost Giants are still getting painted up.
  • The 27th Leinenkugel Gnome Infantry are back up on the queue and more gnomes after that.  
  • As God as my witness, the German Colonials and Treasure Chests will get finished.  
  • Still trying to figure out my four hours of "grown-up" games to run at Mepacon.  Worst case, I may run more My Little Ponies Friday night.
  • My Reaper Bones 4 pledge got dropped down to a $1 (Wave One).  Things are weird in the world right now, and I have have little under a year with the pledge manager to add what I finally decide on.  Plus Macrocosm Miniatures is having a one-week Kickstarter the end of August and it will end at the same time.  
  • Michael's is currently clearing out their Spring/Summer Gnome & Fairy Home lines and has the Halloween and Christmas themes up (Thanks Mike for update!)
And while I figure out all of this, I'm trying to reconstruct the campaign map based off of all the campaigns I ran plus, the Epic of Aerth as the base...   Minor spoilers for the post-Pigeon God map. 

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 18: Which RPG Have You Played the Most in Your Life

Day 18: "Which RPG have you played the most in your life?"

Short Answer: AD&D 2nd Edition
Long Answer:  I was ramping up to become a DM right at the onset of 2nd Edition.  I embraced it wholeheartedly. I eschewed splatbooks and weird plot devices. I fumbled through the narrative based sourcebooks.  I did everything short of physical violence to avoid Skills & Powers.

I embraced THAC0 willingly and lovingly and 2nd Edition became the main staple of my gaming diet throughout the 90's.  If it weren't for Hackmaster during the great d20 debacle, I would have easily returned to it through this day. Hell, I still have open invitations to not one, but two 2nd Edition campaigns, if I ever had the time.

I've tried 3rd, I laughed wildly at 4th, and 5th gets pretty close to 1st/2nd with all the modern nuances, but I still have THAC0 progression and xp monster tables memorized after all these years.  

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Gnome Action Over at Spoils of Wargames

After accumulating the necessary forces, Spoils of Wargames has successfully run a Gnome Wars game!!!

A great assortment of figures, a nice variety of terrain, and a totally sweet battlemat from Cigar Box Battlemats .

Well done!

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 17: Which RPG Have You Owned the Longest But Not Played?

Day 17 of #RPGaDay brings up or another challenging question.

"Which RPG Have You Owned the Longest But Not Played?"

It sounds like an easy question, but after thirty years of owning RPG material, I've cycled/purged/edited my collection so often that it took awhile to remember what edition was purchased when. 

I would have loved to list something truly old-school like Top Secret or *gasp* Star Frontiers, but I believe everything went with the great moving purge of Aught-Four.

The one item that survived the purge that I have yet to play was The End: Lost Souls Edition for d20.
The End was one of those games that originated infamous "BANNED FROM GENCON!" press, but the concept was simple.

The great plagues, blights, and wars foretold in the Bible have actually happened. With the world plummeting into sudden doom, the Rapture occurs, people simply disappearing without a trace. Most of the mighty have destroyed themselves, the righteous have ascended into heaven, and the meek (the PCs) have inherited an Earth that God has forsaken.

The early sessions are scavenger/survivor in nature, the characters finding dwindling supplies and allies, as man turns on himself.   And the absence of God does not mean that the Supernatural no longer hides in the corners of man's eye.  Rather, it has attacked the works of man in two ways.  Nature itself has gone into overdrive, striving for a "Return to Eden."  Man's works are decaying at a rapid rate.  Libraries are turning to dust in months, structures rotting or crumbling away as the plants assault the abandoned structures.  And if the flora isn't a big enough threat, the rumors of giant wolves ravaging the countryside certainly deter those looking to travel for a new life. 

If that's not enough, truly supernatural entities still reside on the Earth, forming armies for a certainly nefarious purpose.