|Cover art for Dune: Chronicles of the Imperium core rulebook|
Saturday, December 31, 2022
Chronicles of the Adventures in the Dune Imperium!
Friday, December 16, 2022
End-of-Week Poag (12/16/22): Warduke!
Friday, December 9, 2022
End-of-Week Fabian (12/9/22): Castle Ravenloft
Tuesday, November 22, 2022
|Just a group of happy sunbeams ready to feast and die horribly!|
I don't know how much you know about the Alien RPG by Free League, but you may have heard about its d6 dice pool mechanic in combination with its Stress and Panic system. The rumors are true, people! The system at its foundation makes for an excellent recreation of an Alien movie! Things start out calm in the beginning, and by the end, there's mahem, madness, and death galore!
I wrote up my own Cinematic adventure and used some pregens from other Alien RPG products available for free on the Free League website. Most of the people in my group are experienced players, but there were a couple guys who were new to roleplaying. I was determined to keep things fun and flowing, trying to avoid looking up the more detailed rules of the system.
Basically, you need to roll 6s on your rolls to succeed. If you fail a roll, you can opt to reroll but you have to increase your Stress level by one. For each Stress level, you roll a Stress die. If a one comes up on the designated Stress dice, you have to roll on the Panic table. Hilarity and horror ensues!
My scenario centered on a ship called the Bettendorf, and the PCs were passengers paying to get away from Earth to find new opportunity on the Frontier of known space. The PCs all had their own agendas that spiced things up (such as the scientist PC constantly scheming to make "space cocaine"). The first act of the session involved them plotting and scheming while waiting to go into hypersleep for the 180 day journey ahead. They interacted with the NPC crew a bit, including discussion with the captain's 14-year-old son about the book Space Beast, written by the character Robert Morse in Alien 3, the lone convict survivor at the end of the movie. Little did the PCs know that the Bettendorf, a Wayland-Yutani science vessel, was carrying all sorts of deadly specimens...
Act 2 of the scenario started with the PCs being rudely awakened from hypersleep by the ship's XO, Ava. From there, they encountered mutated abominations like those encountered in the Prometheus movie, a facehugger, a bloodburster like the one encountered in Alien: Covenant, and of course a classic Xenomorph! Heck, there was a secret android among the crew who saw the humans as expendable thanks to Company orders!
By the time they were fighting the creatures, the PCs started dying horribly and losing their minds to Panic. Let's just say there was a lot of fear-induced paralysis, screaming, tremors, dropped weapons, and other bad things. Of the eight PCs only three survived: one officer, a drug-addicted pilot who was beaten to a pulp, and a roughneck/space trucker type who selfishly escaped in the Bettendorf's single lifeboat shuttle by himself (the lifeboat could accommodate seven people). The officer, beaten pilot, and the 14-year-old NPC were taken prisoner by a crew of soldiers in a passing Union of Progressive Peoples' patrol ship (or "space commies" as I called them during the session). These three were hauled off to a "space gulag," and the Bettendorf was left to float in space for the time being, until some unsuspecting fools decide to go salvage it...
All that fun was punctuated by a friendsgiving feast of turkey and other seasonal delights! All told, it was a great way to game in the holiday season!
Sunday, October 2, 2022
Barrowmaze OSE Campaign 2022: Session 0
|Identities hidden to protect the not-so-innocent!|
Last December, I lamented about wanting to run a Barrowmaze campaign, and declared that "someday" I will see the look of apprehension in the faces of players!
That day has arrived! Yes, yes, I know that I've run bits of Barrowmaze before in other campaigns, but now I'm attempting an ongoing, at least once-a-month (twice a month if I can swing it), open-table style campaign. I'll run a session if there's at least two players (who will be able to run multiple characters). That's what happened this weekend: I had two players show up, and they ran two characters each, and also hired three retainers to supplement their numbers.
The players rolled up characters before the session, and I was able to explain some things to them before the session. So it was partly a session zero, which became a session "0.5" of sorts because we got some actual play in. I'll try to do a session recap soon! But in the meantime, I'm celebrating meeting some new players as well as bringing old friends into the mix. I'm also celebrating making my gaming aspirations a reality once again!
Friday, September 30, 2022
End-of-Week Otus (9/30/22): Green Devil Face!
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Stop Blanket-Blaming the Game Master by Seth Skorkowsky
Sunday, August 7, 2022
Basic D&D with Teenagers
Years ago, I tried to get my kids into D&D. I think any gamer parent worth their salt wants to make some attempt to pass on the love of the hobby to their offspring.
But one of the funny things about love is that it can't be truly faked. Sure, you can try, but just as with romance, you can eventually tell when someone isn't reciprocating the love of roleplaying.
I wasn't too heartbroken when it came to my kids being disinterested in tabletop roleplaying. The hobby is still fun for me personally, and different strokes for different folks, right?
Years passed, and along came Stranger Things, with its 80's nostalgia (even for those who were born long after that decade ended). The show has helped to buoy D&D into the popular consciousness as a viable pastime rather than just a joke. And lo and behold, my kids came to me of their own volition and excitedly asked me if I would run some D&D for them! Well, of course I obliged! In addition, there's a neighbor kid who wants in on the fun.
So my son, daughter, and the neighbor kid have been introduced by your truly to the wonders and horrors and Barrowmaze! I'm using the B/X D&D rules using a mix of products, including the original books, OSE, and Labyrinth Lord products/materials.
My daughter the budding visual artist has been doing character portraits for her own PC as well as for her brother and the neighbor (here's her character, the magic-user Gylbart the Gallant):
I'll be checking in soon with some highlights of our sessions!
Saturday, July 9, 2022
Cold Dread Hand Campaign: Session One (5/14/22)
The Cold Dread Hand campaign begins in 1489 Dalereckoning during the ninth month, known as Eleint or The Fading. As the first session opens, the characters find themselves on a trading ship called Icedancer. Their destination is Icewind Dale, the harsh and frigid lands north of the Spine of the World mountains.
The party is travelling north because of growing rumors of a supernatural cold that has settled over Icewind Dale. Varhauth (Player Jim) of the Wolf Tribe of the Reghedmen barbarians seeks to discover the fate of his people in the face of the rumored unrelenting eternal winter. Also, there are tales that the people of Ten Towns (a cluster of settlements in Icewind Dale) are eager for brave and capable souls to help free them from some strange supernatural power that has engulfed their homeland. This means they are willing to pay handsomely for those who will aid them.
(Note: the party has come together within the last six months, having met as adventurers on the Sword Coast. They’ve developed some semblance of group cohesion and perhaps some trust, but there is still much they have to learn about each other.)
Traveling with Varhauth are Darvalla the half-orc ranger (Player Derek, who was absent but his character was played by Jim's son), Dresmorlin the half-drow monk (Player Dan), Kelxim Fiddlelob the gnome rogue (Player Jay), Faeron the elf wizard (Player Pat), and Dorian Stonewright the dwarven cleric (Player Sean, who was absent, so Dorian was incapacitated for the session by sea sickness, true to dwarven stereotypes).
The Icedancer is slated to stop at Luskan before heading on to the oceanside settlement of Fireshear, which is the party's ultimate destination. They intend to travel overland from Fireshear to Brynn Shander, the largest settlement in Icewind Dale. From there, they will seek news of the Wolf Tribe.
The captain of Icedancer is a human male named Geth Helder. He is a sullen, ill-tempered man, tall, thin, paunchy, and unimpressive overall. As the ship comes within sight of the cliffs and walls surrounding Luskan, the PCs notice four small specks in the sky flying toward the ship from the direction of the city. They alert the crew, who begin to shout "It's the Iron Legion! Iron Legion! Prepare for battle!"
As the specks in the sky get closer, the PCs see what look like four kite-like contraptions in the air, with two humanoid figures hanging underneath each contraption. Faeron casts acid arrow at one, damaging one of the flying devices (the acid eats away at the material of its wings until it eventually crashes into the water). As the gliders pass over the Icedancer, one of the riders throws a device onto the deck. The device turns out to be a bomb of some sort, and it explodes with great gouts of flame and smoke. Then, four of the riders drop onto the deck (one from each glider, as if each still needs a pilot).
Friday, July 8, 2022
End-of-Week Nicholson (7/8/22): Kobolds and Troglodyte!
Friday, June 17, 2022
End-of-Week Nicholson (6/17/2022): Goblins!
Friday, May 20, 2022
Monday, April 25, 2022
Thursday, March 31, 2022
Cold Dread Hand Campaign: Session Zero Reference
So, yeah, got a new campaign going! Feels good to be back in the GM's chair, after pandemic and such have kept me away. But now is the time to begin anew, and I'm eager for a good, long campaign ahead! My players are as well, my group of old friends who I've adventured with both at the table and in the wide world beyond.
But enough of waxing poetically nostalgic! In lieu of a face-to-face session zero, I'm laying out some initial considerations here for player (and public) reference:
- We're using the Castles & Crusades rules.
- Characters are starting at 3rd level.
- We have at least six players, with the chance for one or two others joining in at times.
- As busy adults, it's hard for all of us to get together. But to try and establish some consistency of play (rather than only get together very infrequently, which can kill campaigns), we've agreed to settle on the best date possible for the most people once a month. As long as we have a majority of players (i.e. at least four) able to make it to a session, we still have the session. This will give us at least 12 sessions a year for the campaign (with the hope that we can add in more over the course of the year)
- Sessions will be as long as we can make them, to make the most of our play time.
- Those who are unable to make a session still earn XP for their characters. However, the present players are in charge of how (if at all) they divvy up any coin, treasure, items, etc. gained during play to absent players.
- Save the fudge for the Jersey shore (sorry, colloquial joke)! Seriously, though, there will be no dice fudging. If PCs die, they die. New characters start at the same level as the dead character, but at the minimum XP for that level. The rest of the PCs in the party must decide what to do with the dead character's remains and personal effects.
Monday, February 28, 2022
End-of-Week Art Post (2/28/22): Tieflings for Castles & Crusades?
Friday, January 28, 2022
End-of-Week Art Post (1/28/22): The Legend of Vox Machina
Anyone going to watch The Legend of Vox Machina? I'm going to check it out.
Just off the top of my middle-aged brain, but I don't think I've watched a D&D-based cartoon since...well, the old Dungeons & Dragons cartoon from back in the old days (unless I'm forgetting some other animated offering based on the grand old game). I mean, there's HarmonQuest, Disenchantment, and even Adventure Time...but those were perhaps inspired by D&D and fantasy roleplaying in general. Vox Machina is, I suppose, official "sanctioned" by the owners of D&D at the moment, right?
Anyway, I say we give it a try! Why not, right?