Friday, January 31, 2014

End-of-Week Elmore (1/31/14)

This week, Larry serves up some halfling cheesecake! Hope your gaming is plentiful and fulfilling, dear readers! Until we meet again, happy roleplaying, ya'll!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Question: how early have you introduced kids to roleplaying?

Hello all. So, the question of the day is: how early have you introduced kids to roleplaying? I ask because I've started talking more and more to my kids, ages five and seven, about the hobby. They've been asking about it more as they've gotten older: "Dad, what do you do when you go to 'game night'? What game are you playing?"
So, I've been considering an attempt to sit down with them with one of the Basic D&D sets, probably Mentzer's Red Box rules. I've thought about trying to explain the game to them, help them create some characters, and maybe run a short session or two. I'm expecting to do a lot of hand-holding throughout the process, given their ages.
I believe the Basic D&D sets are recommended for ages 10 and up. But I think I can at least make an attempt to show them the rudiments of the game. What do you think? If you've tried to roleplay with kids younger than the recommended age for the RPG, please let me know your experiences. Thanks!

Friday, January 24, 2014

End-of-Week Elmore (1/24/14)


Monday, January 20, 2014

Here comes the D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge!

Blog writing challenge haters, prepare to hate! Starting February 1st, the d20 Dark Ages blog is hosting what blog owner Stelios V. Perdios has dubbed the D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge! I'm in! How about you? Er, if you're a blog writing challenge hater, then don't answer that... As for everyone else, hope you join in!

Friday, January 17, 2014

End-of-Week Elmore (1/17/14)

"It's my duty to give a wish to that booty!"
Heh heh, you naughty naughty genie! While the hero's back is turned, you're putting the moves on his lady-friend! Well, she seems happy to see you, though. Is she doing a belly dance for you? Hips don't lie, my lamp-bound friend!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Ulfberht: The Masterwork Viking Sword

So, for her Christmas present, I got the wife Netflix. Actually, I got the wife a Bluray player with WiFi AND Netflix. I'm a nice husband.
Anyway, I of course will benefit from the purchase because, you know, I live with her ;-)
Last night I decided to see if the History Channel's Vikings series was available. No dice. Boo!
However, my search for the word "vikings" yielded an unexpected result: a Nova special that discusses a rare type of Viking-era sword called the "Ulfberht." This type of sword is renowned for it's very un-Medieval level of craftsmanship, in that the steel that was used for the Ulfberht swords was very free of impurities. So whereas most Viking-era swords would break due to the poor steel, the Ulfberht was infinitely stronger and more flexible.
About the name: it's speculated that the name "Ulfberht" might be the name of a smith who created the first such sword.
This whole thing made me think of the "masterwork" version of weapons you find in D&D, which invariably cost more and, sometimes, might even grant a bonus to hit due to their quality. I also found it fascinating to think that, according to one comment in the Nova special, a sword that could bend and not break would have seemed magical to the majority of people in that age. Pretty cool.
The other cool thing is that the steel the Viking smiths used to make the Ulfberht was probably from the Middle East. That means they made the trek the entire way by river to get the good steel. Even more coolness right there.
You can watch the whole Nova special online here. I suggest you take a look!

Friday, January 10, 2014

End-of-Week Elmore (1/10/14)

The illo above makes me think about everybody's favorite series featuring immortal dimension-hopping royalty: the Amber books by Roger Zelazny!
And by extension, it makes me think about the successor to the Amber Diceless RPG throne, Lords of Gossamer & Shadow!
I'm going to make it a point to delve into the Lords of Gossamer & Shadow rulebook and start doing a read-through, and will start posting about the game here on the old blog. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Obsession of the Week: The Prose Edda

I first learned of Snorri Sturluson in college, when I took a class on religion and mythology. It was the first semester of my freshman year, and the class was at 8 AM. For an 18 year old kid, that's basically the crack of dawn. I managed to stay away for most of the classes, thankfully (though there were days where the same classmate was waking me up at the end of the class). It was a wonderful class, and one of the required readings was Sturluson's Prose Edda.
You may have noticed in my post yesterday that I've become enamored with the Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok RPG. As is my wont, I've become obsessed with all aspects of the object of my obsession. This means that I absolutely had to dig out my copy of The Prose Edda from my home library. The copy of the book I got for that college class (lo those many years ago!) is still in good shape. I can't wait to dig into those tales again! If you haven't read The Prose Edda, treat yourself to this telling of Norse mythology!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Are you ready to Ragnarok?!

Yep, it's darn cold in the Eastern United States today again, including the realm of South Jersey, in which I dwell. But I wonder how cold it would be if some gargantuan cosmic wolf swallowed the sun.
Yes, I'm talking about Ragnarok! Why am I thinking about it? Because Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok is on sale at RPGNow! In particular, the PDF is 50% off for the next few days (frankly, you can get the hardcover for a lot less on Amazon...just saying...)
I've been intrigued by this RPG for some time now. It might be time to take the icy plunge at last. Does anyone out there have any direct experience with the game, especially actual play? Inquiring minds want to know! I'm also very interested to learn more about the use of runes instead of dice to play the game.
Well, hope to hear from you. In the meantime, I'm going to go set myself on fire...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Another tour with The Black Company...

So, as part of my usual frenetic shifting between reading materials (thank you so much, ADD), I've decided to go on campaign again with The Black Company. It's been a while since I last journeyed with them. I really love the beginning of the first book, during their dissatisfying stint in Beryl, then subsequently meeting Soulcatcher and heading north. However, I feel that the tale bogs down a bit when they reach Oar. But I suppose that part of the story gives a good glimpse into the infighting between the Taken, and the beginnings of the doubts that the Company has about their new employer, The Lady.
Have you read about the deeds of The Black Company? If so, please share your memories of the tales, what moments/scenes might have stuck in your mind, etc. Also, have you ever gamed in the world in which the stories are set?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Basic D&D and Greyhawk, anyone?

OK all you Greyhawk fanatics out there. Is it blasphemous for me to say that I'm thinking about using Basic D&D to run a Greyhawk campaign? Should Greyhawk, in your minds, only be run using Advanced D&D? I mean, I know that the most famous D&D modules set on Oerth were for AD&D, right? But weren't at least some of the Basic D&D modules placed originally in Greyhawk (or retconned to be so)? 
Keep in mind I'm a poor D&D history scholar when it comes to this stuff. That's due in part to laziness and also because of limited time that I'd rather use for other activities. So, therefore, I'm putting it out to the organic computing hive mind that is the blogosphere!
Anyway, no matter what you all have to say out there, I personally am thinking that Greyhawk could be just fine as a setting for some Basic D&D action. I suppose one could argue that any setting could be a Basic D&D setting...but for some reason, considering the use of, say, Forgotten Realms with Basic D&D seems, well, not so good! I guess that's just me.
In the recent past, I used Greyhawk as a setting for some sessions of a Castles & Crusades campaign I dubbed "Altered Oerth." The "altered" part came in the form of some changes to the setting, such as a trimming down of the pantheon of gods, and other modifications. That campaign, like others I had going, is on an indefinite break, of course. Ultimately, I found Greyhawk to have a lot of potential, even though I've always had more of a liking for Forgotten Realms over the years.
So, I'm looking forward to your thoughts, if you care to share!
A HUGE CAVEAT related to all of the above: I'm still forging ahead with my gaming hiatus in 2014/the foreseeable future, so these "plans" I have for another campaign are sooooo so very theoretical. I just can't stop my mind from running over scenarios for roleplaying. It's the ongoing addiction, people. I'm sure you can relate.

Friday, January 3, 2014

End-of-Week Elmore (1/3/14)

A VERY snowy day today in the Northeastern U.S. So snowy here in good old South Jersey that work was closed! Unlike the chaps in the above illo, however, I didn't do any tracking in the tundra. I did a lot of shoveling, though. If you're reading this and you got a similar white weather gift, I hope you've been able to dig out as well! Have a great weekend, and roll some dice for me if you get a chance!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My RPG Personal Profile

To start the new year off, I've decided to *GASP* jump late onto a certain bandwagon started by (I think) Tim Brannan over at The Other Side blog. Or maybe it started on Monsters & Manuals. Oh well. Without any ado, here's my personal RPG profile:
I'm currently running: Nothing. As anyone who's read this blog of late should know, I'm taking a bit of a break from actual play in order to work on some big old dreams, pertaining to a new career. A different sort of adventure, as it were. But the blog is going to be an outlet for my gaming fantasies. That sounded weird, now that I re-read that. ;-)
Anyway, over the past few years I've run campaigns of varying lengths in the Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, and even a bit in Rob Conley's Points of Light setting. The rules I've primarily used were Castles & Crusades and Labyrinth Lord.

I would especially like to play or run: I would like to run some steampunk or cyberpunk action someday, probably using Savage Worlds. Then there's the possibility of using my shiny new Lords of Gossamer & Shadow book to run a diceless RPG game in the grand tradition of Amber Diceless!

...but I would also try: WotC's "next" version of D&D! It's a big event this coming year, no one should be able to deny that. Whether or not you see this 40th anniversary D&D event as a big blessing or a big apocalypse is another matter...I for one am remaining optimistic, though my readings of the playtest packet find me uninterested in using the new rules to run games.
I live in: In South Jersey, in the shadow of Philadelphia!
Two or three well-known RPG products other people made that I likeThe Five Ancient Kingdoms RPG created by Jonathan Becker of B/X Blackrazor fame (have to do a proper review of that someday), as well as his B/X Companion. Close to my heart is the Castles & Crusades Player's Handbook, with really brought me back to the table-top armed with an awesome set of rules.
Two or three novels I like: Neuromancer by William Gibson, Dune by Frank Herbert, The Gunslinger by Stephen King.
Two or three movies I like: Big Trouble in Little China, Mississippi Burning, Dead Poet's Society.
Best place to find me online: Right here on the old blog!
I will read almost anything on tabletop RPGs if it's: open-minded. If someone is being a grumbler about the hobby just because they don't want change, then I'm not interested.
I really do not want to hear about: How the "damned kids these days" don't play the game "right."
I think dead orc babies are: really a silly argument. BUT, this sorta ties into something I want to discuss coming up shortly. It's going to be related to an older version of D&D, a re-read of those older rules, and the question of heroism in connection with said older rules. Stay tuned.
Games I'm in are like (link to something): Pretty much this. Because my regular group gets up to some pretty inane antics. We aren't afraid of retreating expeditiously, and in general like to be very pragmatic...perhaps to a fault.
Free content I made for D&D is available: on this blog, though there's not too much of it I'm afraid. Probably the most significant would be my house rules.
There were a couple other items that I thought didn't apply to me, so they've been deleted. Anyway, enough with this silly, self-indulgent exercise that I've used to get my first post of 2014 out the door. Hope you all had a happy new year celebration, and we'll meet again soon!