Archive for August, 2012

Feats for Crypts & Things

August 28, 2012

Almost forgot that I did up these simple feats for Crypts & Things, modeled on the Swords & Wizardry Whitebox feats I did a while ago (here).

Here’s the PDF.  Enjoy.

D&D Without Magic

August 26, 2012

Maybe you’ve heard of an old RPG from the late 70’s called Heroes.  It’s set in a fictional Dark Ages setting, but is otherwise historically accurate, or at least more so than your typical fantasy RPG setting.  I first heard about it a few months ago and have been quite curious, though old copies of the game are very expensive (thankfully they’re working on a new edition, here, coming out this October).

It did, however, get me thinking about a grittier, fantasy-lite version of D&D (or, more likely, one of the clones such as Swords & Wizardry).  A game that keeps many of D&D’s tropes, but removes all the magic items and spells.  Some of the fantasy elements might be retained, such as fantasical races and monsters, though they’d have to be rare and live in isolated or well hidden areas…you couldn’t have an orc jumping out from behind every tree and rock.

The PCs would be fighters, rangers, thieves, barbarians and such.  There’d be warrior priests/clerics as well, though they wouldn’t perform divine miracles.  At best, they might give ‘believers’ a psychological morale bonus.  Scholars would replace wizards, using their extensive education and honed intellect to help the party.  Perhaps some kind of ‘magician’ class that used parlor tricks to frighten superstious peasants, or swindle the gullible.  And bards, though again no spells or ‘magic music.’

In most D&D campaigns I’ve played in, literacy was pretty much assumed for all PCs, even barbarians and ranger-types.  No so in this game.  Scholars would be literate, and know advanced mathematics; priests/clerics have a higher chance of literacy, but most characters would not be able to read or write and would probably only know simple math.  There’d be a lot of ignorance and superstition…and discrimination, too.

This would be a much dirtier world, with greater instances of disease and famine.  Infection would be a very real risk.  And it would be a far more oppressed and corrupt world than your typical fantasy campaign, with lots of douche bag nobles running around being dicks to everyone (think Game of Thrones).  And lots of taxes, something rarely dealt with in D&D:  road taxes, bridge taxes, gate taxes, treasure taxes, you’re-walking-on-my-land taxes.

Living in the modern world, we’re used to having lots of stuff.  This, however, would be a materially poorer world, for not only does it not benefit from industrialization, it doesn’t even enjoy the benefits of magic (not to mention the depressing effects of greater taxes, oppression and corruption).  You wouldn’t be able to walk into just any village and buy some rope and a horse (possibly their only horse)…though maybe someone could make some rope for you, in a few days.  If you needed a lot of gear you’d probably have to go to a city, or at least a large town on a major trade route.

Most of the PCs probably wouldn’t be able to get plate mail and swords, these being way too expensive and probably legally restricted to the nobility.  Most PCs might have to make do with leather armor and simple peasant weapons, like spears, axes, clubs, flails, hammers, slings and the like, though a lot would depend on the setting.

So, I’m just tossing ideas around here.  I’m not trying to create a historically accurate RPG.  Just a game that uses many of the generic convetions of D&D, covering ground that’s usually ignored or glossed over in D&D, where you can’t rely on magic to save your ass when you’re in a tight spot.

Reaper Bones Kickstarter – Last Day

August 24, 2012

The Reaper Bones Kickstarter project is getting down to its last day.  So far it’s garnered $2.3 million in pledges!

Here’s what a $100 Vampire level pledge gets you:

That’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 plastic minis, and still climbing.

Reaper Miniatures Bones Kickstarter

Deep Space Mining & Salvage Co., S.C.E.

August 23, 2012

Ready for space adventure?  Then join the Deep Space Mining & Salvage Company (S.C.E.)

Moisture farming got you down?  Interstellar crime syndicates on your tail?  Want to see the galaxy and make a killing while you’re at it?  Then join our team of motivated, professional Salvage Associates and get ready for a galaxy of adventure!

We provide all the training and equipment you need to succeed.  We’ll even set up exciting and profitable assignments for you.  All you need to do is show up, make money and have fun!1

DSM&S Co. is a Sovereign Corporate Entity (S.C.E.), meaning that in deep space you can do pretty much anything you want.  Really.  You’ll have unfettered salvage rights for any ships or technology you encounter; unrestricted mining rights for billions of unclaimed worlds just waiting to be strip mined; and first contact trade rights with any alien species you discover.  And if one of our competitors tries to horn in on your action, you can legally blow them out of space!2

“Wait,” you’re saying.  “I don’t have a spaceship.  How can I take advantage of this spectacular opportunity?”  Don’t worry, we’ll provide a spaceship for you.3  You and your hand picked team of salvage professionals will be outfitted with a basic ship which you can gradually modify and improve as you prosper.  Your ship will come with everything you need to spend months and months4 at a time exploring deep space, making lots of money.  It even comes with its own A.I. personality matrix.  It’ll handle all the boring stuff, like maintenance or selling all that sweet space swag you’re going to find, so that you don’t have to.

So what are you waiting for?  Sign up today and explore the galaxy, meet strange new life forms and exploit them for fun and profit!

1Fun is entirely subjective and not in any way guaranteed.  There is a small but real possibility of death from explosive decompression, asphyxiation, radiation poisoning, xenological encounters, laser burn, coworker violence or other unforeseeable events; a reasonable person might not consider such events to be “fun.”

2Applicable only in deep space.  While in civilized space all rules, regulations and laws apply.  Any employees, agents or contractors of the Omnitech Corporation encountered in deep space should be terminated on sight.

3Additional charges and fees may apply.

4Deep space tours may last up to 12 months at a time.  DSM&S Co., and its affiliates, are not in any way liable or responsible for instances of space madness or other psychological maladies or afflictions incurred by associates while on extended assignment in deep space.

Osombie

August 21, 2012

A few months ago I posted on a movie called Osombie: The Axis of Evil Dead, about Osama bin Laden coming back as a zombie.  Well, I got my Kickstarter copy of the movie a couple of weeks ago and finally had a chance to watch it.  It was about what I expected it to be:  roughly SyFy channel level of quality (maybe a little better), filled with the usual zombie movie imponderables like the group splitting up in the face of overwhelming numbers of zombies and zombies coming out of nowhere and then disappearing again.

Mind you, I’m not complaining.  This is what I expected, and it delivered wonderfully.  And at least the hot chick with the sword survived (Tom Boy, played by Danielle Chuchran).  However, I wish the scene with the gunship blowing away zombies at the end had been a bit longer, but I guess you can stretch the FX budget just so far.

If you like cheesy zombie movies you should check it out.  And if you don’t feel like dropping $15 for the DVD (or whatever it costs) don’t worry, I’m sure it will be a SyFy Channel original in the not too distant future.

Redshirts

August 20, 2012

I recently finished John Scalzi’s new book, Redshirts.  It’s basically a satire of Star Trek and pokes some good fun at many of the narrative convetions of sci-fi television shows.

While I enjoyed the book (and finished it in just half a day), I was still a bit disappointed in it.  You see, about half-way through the book it becomes very ‘meta.’  I don’t want to drop any spoilers, so that’s all I’ll say about it, except that I think I would have enjoyed the book more had it just been a straight forward satire of cheesy sci-fi television shows (similar to Galaxy Quest), though I realize Mr. Scalzi was going for something a little deeper than just poking fun at Star Trek.  By comparison, however, Old Man’s War and Ghost Brigades were more interesting books, in my opinion.

One other thing, I thought the first half of the book would make for a fun, dark humor Paranoia-style rpg.  The PCs are redshirt ‘extras’ who go on dangerous away missions and try to avoid dying in horribly spectacular ways…possibly by sacrificing other redshirts in order to save themselves.  Or maybe it’s more like OD&D, where the redshirts are level 1 nobodies who die easily and have to work their way up to bridge crew status, thus increasing their longevity.

Reaper Bone’s Kickstarter Update

August 18, 2012

My posting has dropped off the last couple of months, but the last week was especially slow because I was visiting old high school buddies in California.  But I’m back and hoping to post more frequently.

In other news…

The Reaper Miniatures Bones Kickstarter project keeps on truckin’, beating its stretch goals almost daily.  A $100 Vampire level contribution nets around 140 miniatures now, and there are plenty of optional packages you can add as well.  The project ends this Saturday (Aug 25).  If you’ve got a $100 you can spare this is probably one of the best deals for miniatures you’ll ever find.

Cheers!

Bourne Legacy

August 13, 2012

Saw this last night.  The events of Legacy unfold concurrently with the events of Bourne Ultimatum, though Jason Bourne doesn’t really make an appearance.  I thought Renner, Norton and Weisz all did great jobs.  Plenty of action and violence, comparable to the third movie (though some people may think that’s a bad thing).

My only complaint, I thought the ending was kind of abrupt.  One minute they’re in an epic chase, the next they’re sailing off into the sunset (that’s a bit of a simplification, but only a bit).  I would have liked for there to have been more closure, but I guess they need to save something for the sequal.

If you enjoyed the other Bourne movies, you should enjoy this one as well.

Reaper Bones Kick Starter

August 5, 2012

Click on me!

Many of you may have already heard about the Kick Starter project Reaper Miniatures is doing for their Bones line of plastic minis, but I’m going to flog it anyways if only for my own selfish purposes.  You see, they’ve blown all their stretch goals out of the water, and each time they do they add a few more minis, or options for minis, to the project.  If you’ve got a hundred bucks you can spare, Vampire level nets you around 93 miniatures (so far).  They’ve got 20 days to go, so it’s conceivable it could be 100 minis or more for Vampire level by then…that’s a dollar a mini, a great price even for plastic.

So head on over and make a pledge so we can all get some great, inexpensive minis. 🙂  Cheers!

Swords & Stichery blog

August 2, 2012

Just wanted to point out a cool blog I’ve been reading for a while now, called Swords & Stichery.  Space Nazis on Carcosa, cybernetic dinsoaurs and all kinds of very evocative, imaginative setting material.  Needles does the kind of gaming I wish my group liked to do.  If, like me, you like gonzo style old school gaming, you should check it out.


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