Monday, October 31, 2011

AD&D Poke-Creature

Since people can't seem to understand this...."how can a pokemon be used as creatures for your custom world?"

I went a head and picked a random creature card, and designed one based on the picture and what it says. I came up with a new monster. Of course you can change the picture to make it look a little more interesting, but I just used the card and put it down. This notion of Pokemon for creatures is not my idea, Chrispy originally came up with this idea. So he get's full credit for it. I just rolled with it.

SIZE: Small
MOVE: 30ft
ATTACKS: 1 (tackle/rollout)
DAMAGE: 1d4/1d6

Tepig are normally found, in groups of 6 or more, roaming around very dense forest areas looking for grass and flowers to eat. Tepig do not show any sign of hierarchy in their group as they seem to just eat and move on. Though the group is very loyal to one another, protecting each other if threatened in anyway.

Tepig will not attack, unless provoked. If attacked, Tepigs will attempt to warn their foe with a tackle, by taking its foe off its feet, doing 1d4 points of damage. If its foe continues its attack, the Tepig becomes more aggressive by using its rollout attack. The roll out attack is similar to the tackle, except that it does 1d6 points of damage as the creature rolls out of the tackle using its claws.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

D&D 3E is... Old School?

I was sitting around readings some posts today while I was snowed in today, here in PA. When a buddy of mine from a group I played in long ago, sends me an email. Asking me, since I am so involved with the OSR, podcasting and running a forums, " Isn't 3E (not 3.5E) considered old school now? It has to be, its almost 12 years old?"

My first response was no. Its not. But as I was typing back my response, I thought of some great questions to ask myself and others out there. First and for most... Why can't it be? It's past the 10 year mark, its out of print and shunned by its creators and most of the D&D fans out there.

If you are starting to scream here, just wait. Because listen to this. 12 years ago, 3E came out in 2000, which made AD&D 2E only 11 years old. At that point 2E was considered "Old School". Which everyone embraced as acceptable at the time.

Now the once big bad "Beast of 3E" is nothing more then a discarded puppy outside, is 12 years old. Should we not give it a break and allow it to be considered some-what old school now?


Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Avengers Movie - First look

Happened to hear the other day on Howard Stern that the preview of the movie was out, and it could be found on So I went and looked it up, and watched it a few times. The trailer is interesting, it shows all the characters they promised with all the same actors.. well Edward Norton is not playing the incredible hulk. Anyhow the trailer shows the team, gives a minor purpose how they formed the team to protect the world. The trailer shows some great clips, but doesn't really show why or what they are protecting the earth from. Granted I haven't read any spoilers or advanced news, because I wanted to watch the movie with out people's judgement or bitching.. such as I've already seen how people are bitching Nick Fury is not white. Who gives a crap, so what? its Ultimate Nick Fury, and Samuel L Jackson is a hell of an actor with loads of talent.

This kind of crap is what ruins movies, because we get these stupid ass geek morons, screaming its not exactly like the comic book they had under their pillow at night when they were 12, next to the penthouse magazines. Why can't people just watch and ENJOY the movie for the purpose of the entertainment it is? Sigh.

So who's the villian? My guess, is it is, Loki. Due to the ending we saw at the end of Thor movie, as the credits finished. But I could be wrong. What do you think?

This could be a great marvel super hero adventure. If you still play the game, how would you use this set up?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Why do we love to play AD&D 1E [OSRIC]?

Today, a friend of mine asked me, why do you like playing AD&D so much? Everytime we want to play a game, you said 1E [OSRIC]?

I've included OSRIC, because I like playing it as well.

My answer is, that AD&D brings me back to a time of gaming, where it was fun. Where I remember my biggest worry in the world was, "Can I stay up late tonight?".

OK, well that is great, so it brings back memories for me, but that isn't it. The game is simple, and gives players and dungeon masters the room to think, branch out, and imagine. Its a game where, just because its not written in the book, doesn't mean you can't do it.

On the latest recording of RFI Podcast (it is still being edited), we talked about Non Weapon Prof's and Skills. A listener wrote in saying how he liked it and it helped guide players to what their character's background is, and what they can do.

This caused me to go on a small rant, because why does a player need it outline for him, what he can and can't do. Just ask the DM! Why does a character need a set of skills a sheet of paper to say he is good at this or that?

Skills on a piece of paper do not encourage role playing, it only encourages a player to do only what's listed there. So if a player does not have a cook skill, does it mean he can not cook? OF COURSE he can, you are an adventurer, you've been out in the world, you know how to cook. You food may not be the quality of the local tavern or inn, but you know how to cook.

My final thought here, is, If its not on the sheet or in the book, make it up, try it. Your imagination is the only thing holding you back, not some silly written rule or skill saying you can or can't do it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Finally Home... Floodings...Evacs...

Not sure if too many of you know, but I live in the state of PA. In fact, I live right in the area of PA that the floods happened. The greatest flooding since 1972, called Hurricane Agnes. This time Tropical Storm Lee took out the area. The rivers rose as the rain came down, on us, flooding the bridges out, along with homes and various businesses.

I tell you, its a scary feeling when you wake up and watch TV from a hotel room, because your area is flooded, just to see if your house is still there and not floating down the river. Thankfully, my house was intact with no damage. BUT just a few houses down, a woman's house was destroyed by water, she was sitting outside her house, pulling out all her things on the front lawn. Things like TVs, lamps and laptops covered in a white muddy substance of the rivers remains. I helped her as much as I could today.

I have to thank the National Guard for coming into the flood zone and setting up blockades to help prevent the water from destroying other houses.

Its Just a scary thought, seeing on the news the local CVS drugstore or the local Dinner you go to is underwater and maybe gone forever.

On a lighter note, the proto-type for my DM Screen for the RFI Podcast, finally got to my house. I was excited to see something good come out of these last couple of days. You can check it out here on the website

Will update some more as time goes on. Just wanted to let you all know why I didn't update for a week.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Designing a game..

I have to say, I've been undertaking the task of trying to do a retro style spy game. What I have completed of the game is not what I thought it would be. I set out to write a spy game, like James Bond rpg or like Top Secret rpg. After writing it out, and getting 100 pages in, I figured before I add anymore detail, let's have some people read it. After the readings and advice, I chopped out most of what could have lead to "too much reference to James Bond", I hacked it down to 50 pages. I Stripped out all the references to almost anything, except a general reference to the word spy or secret agent.

What I did notice is that while the game is not focused 100% on being a spy game, it is what I like to call a nice little barebones system that can be used to play ANY type of game.

So I put this theory into effect.

The system, is basically a D100 or percentile system, with an "edge factor" multiplier, in which the GM uses to increase or decrease the number. The harder the action the lower the player has to roll.

The play test group, was assigned the task of creating 3 types of characters, spy, fantasy, and sci-fi. Then play a game with each character.

After a few play sessions, and various notes, it seems it can be done. The easiest two was the Spy/Modern & Fantasy games. The challenge came with the Sci-fi game, as they wanted to do things like space wars. After some tweaking and a whole 16 pages of just game tweaks we came up with a barebones "Sci-fi" add on to the game.

Basically, I am going to run with a barebones system, with addons to it, that you can grab if you want or you can just get the barebones and do the work yourself. Your call.

A map.. one of mine?

So its like 0130 hrs when I am typing this up. Why? because I've been up all night trying to learn InDesign so I can layout my game I am designing. InDesign is a pain in the butt. But while going through my notes and stuff, I found this little tidbit. Not sure what I would have used it for... So I decided to put it up here, see if anyone else can use it?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

PDF's at the gaming table... Annoying or Useful?

First off let me start by saying PDF's at the game table is very very useful. I know, I know, damn kids and their new technology! But hear me out first on this, why its so great.

1. You can easily search for things in a pdf, because most readers have a find function, and it will bring you to the exact thing you are looking for.

2. You can carry all the books in your collection with you, inside one device.

3. Moving around is easy, You device, your dice, paper & pencil.. (or would you rather a large backpack full of books that is about 50 lbs?)

Its that simple, you click the device on, open the PDF, search for what you want, read it, click off the device.

I know you are saying that its battery powered or your netbook has to be plugged in and it takes up space.. Nope.

It takes up just as much space as having a pile of old books sitting at the table or on the floor infront of you.

The battery will last. Most netbooks can have a powerlife of 10 to 12 hours of STRAIGHT use, the iPad has about 8 hours, the Galaxy tab has about 6 to 8hrs.

So if you take these devices, close it or click it off, they can last days at a time.

Think twice before you laugh at the guy who brings an iPad to the table for his books, because if you think about it, he isn't the one lugging a giant bag around with him full of books.

One last note, PDF's are usually cheap to pick up then an actual book.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

D&D Editions and my Thoughts

Someone said to me the other day, what do you think about XX edition of D&D, or what do you think about playing this... Well, I decided to post up how I feel, based on the Core books..

#1: 1e. It was fun, still is fun, has just enough rules to give you rules, but still gives you room to let you control the game as you see fit.

#2: B/X. I had a lot of fun with this game, I still enjoy playing it. I like to go back to this when I want a simple fast flowing game. Rules aren't important and if something comes up, roll a d6.

#3: BECMI. Really falls into the B/X, the only other thing I enjoyed out of this, was the immortals, it was a different pace, and a new world. Loads of fun.

#4: 3e/3.5e. I admit, when 3E came out, I was lured into it, and had fun. It seemed like I could make up characters at first level that could do things I could never do before. But after a year of playing, it lost its sparkle, and it left me saying..."No". Then WoTC dropped the 3.5E. Nope. didn't go there.

#5:Pathfinder. Yes this gets included, because its D&D with a different name. After hearing great reviews, I took a look at it. While it was still 3.5E rules, they took it to another level, the feel of the game was rather interesting. I've played in a few games. I enjoyed it.

#6 2e. What can I say. I hate the THACO system, I liked the charts from 1E. I also didn't like the renaming of everything because of the stupid parents rights groups and the churches hounding on TSR's doors. Gary was already gone from the company, so it wasn't AD&D anymore. Played in a lot of games with my friends, still. Wasn't in love with it. But at least the core was somewhat 1E like. Once the 1000 books of anything and everything came out, I walked away.

4e. Tried it, didn't care for it. I really tried, but everytime I played it was like playing a video game, everyone could do something, and it made other classes feel worthless to play. The books were nicely done, but still shiney new books isn't enough.

#8: 4.5E. Yes, this was what they did with that redbox. They stole the old Mentzer red box with art, slapped a new logo on it, and called it D&D RedBox with a cut down and streamlined edition of 4E. Lame. Frank Mentzer's comment on the Save or Die Podcast was funny, "I like the box". was all he said about it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Jim Holloway Art... on a t-shirt!

So I stumbled across this today when looking for some artwork for my game. A Jim Holloway Art on a t-shirt. To be precise, the artwork from B4: The Lost City! The site is done by the artist himself, so if you wanted to know if your shirt was legal. The answer is yes! OK some new gamers might not know who Jim is, so quickly, I did a google search for people out there, and a wiki link came up.

Jim Holloway has continued to produce interior illustrations for many Dungeons & Dragons books and Dragon magazine since 1981, as well as cover art for The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror and Dungeonland (1983), and Mad Monkey vs. the Dragon Claw (1988), the Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space boxed set (1989), Ronin Challenge (1990). He has also produced artwork for many other games including Chill (Pacesetter Ltd), Paranoia (West End Games), Tales from the Floating Vagabond (Avalon Hill), Sovereign Stone (Sovereign Press), and others.

So what's better is if you search through the cafe-press site, you will see more of his artwork that he did, that you can throw on a shirt or mug. How cool is that, having a mug with the B4 artwork on it or a mouse pad with some classic Star Frontiers ships blasting at each other, at the office!

Go to his homepage and click on the shirts, mugs and more link and then pick out your artwork for cafe-press!

Either way, its a win, win here. Check it out!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bonus Points and you!

Bonus Points are a reward given by the GM to Players for in-game and out-of-game achievements.

Bonus Points are rewarded at the discretion of the GM, and should be given out very rarely.

Normally a GM would give these points out to players that go above and beyond the call. Such as excellent roleplaying, figuring out a tough riddle or doing something that so un usual, you have to just give it.

So you are saying, "Ok. So how many can I get? and what can I do with them?"

  • Easy, you can get upto a max of 3 points at anyone time, the points expire after the next gaming session.

  • After each session is over, everyone secretly votes for the best player of the night (can't vote for your self).

  • The GM will reward the other 2 points as he sees fit.

  • There is only a total of 3 points given out in one session.

What can a player use them for?

  • A natural 20 hit (can do this once per game)

  • Reroll any dice/die roll once, but have to keep the new results. (can do this 3 times)

  • Get out of one's own death (can do this once)

  • Heal half hitpoint total (can do this once)

This is what I've toyed around with in the past, and I've gotten some good results from players, as they seem to enjoy the little rewards, and have fun spending them at just the right time.



Friday, August 26, 2011

How to get the kids into RPGs

A simple answer has been found, and Lego is your answer. Yes, Lego! Lego has come up with this really cool mini rpg game called Heroica. Its a simple lego build board, with various challenges on the board, such as monsters, rocks, and gold.

The game has one 6 sided die, that shows combat, movement and other results.

As you can see, there a couple of dots to show movement and a sword/skull for combat.

The game is played in turns, as each person moves, and if their path is blocked by a monster, they roll the die to see if defeat it or lose health points. The cool thing about this whole process, is you can find gold along the way or for defeating a monster. With this gold you can buy various things, such as weapons. Each character has a special ability if the special face is rolled on the die.

So you are saying," Great, so my kid will learn to love mini games, not AD&D or classic". But you are wrong, you can use this and tweak it a bit. First play the game a few times as written to get the kids into it. From there you can change the rules, by adding a d20 for combat. Order more lego parts and craft out a mini dungeon crawl, and use it as visual for the kids as you start describing the scene for them.

For instance, when they roll to move, instead of just doing the one, two , three space count and move the mini. You as the GM, can say, "You slowly creep down the dungeon hallway, as you can smell what you can only think is a wet dog a head of you."

For combat, use classic or Advanced rules, but act out the fighting so they are interested.

The goal Heroica is to be the first out of the scene, but you can change it, everyone must survive to win!

What do you think? Does Lego hold a gateway for us?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Making the Players Map the Dungeon is a Waste of Time..

So check this out, this is normally what happens in a game session, between players and a DM. Doesn't happen all the time, but it happens to DM's that often like to creature their own magic, instead of following a module.

DM: The passageway continues another 60' south. Following it, you come to a
T-junction, the perpendicular corridor running east-west.

1: Was that 60' from where we're standing, or 60' from the
door?DM: Which door?
Player 1: The door
on the east wall.
DM: You mean west wall? There was a door to
the north and one to the west.
Player 1: That one
(indicates door on map with eraser tip)
DM: Yeah. 60' from that
Player 1: OK. I got it. Which way,
Player 2: Let's go west and see if this
DM: No objections? The party goes west, travelling
another 40' before approaching a large, square 40' chamber. (Blah, blah, blah
room description)
Player 1: Wait, does the other corridor
intersect this chamber?
DM: Other corridor? There's no other
corridor. There's only one way into or out of the room as far as you can
Player 1: The long corridor with the spiders. It runs right
through this room.
DM: No it doesn't, that's clear on the other
side of the dungeon.
Player 1: Not according to this
(shows whole map)
DM: This is all wrong. You've got this all
Player 3: Man, you are the WORST

Player 1: No, I'm the ONLY mapper. I don't
see anybody else ever volunteering to do it.
Player 4: So he's
the worst AND the best. Where did we go wrong?
Way back here at this intersection. This whole part of the dungeon is supposed
to come off of the north passageway, not the east

Player 1: I thought we went east there. I said
we should go east.

DM: I thought B. said north
(pointing to Player 2)

Player 4: (To Player 2) Did you
say north or east here? I thought we were going south, toward the
Player 2: What here? (Points to map) I don't remember,
that was like an hour ago.  
Player 1: No we said away
from the noise, you were refilling the chips.

Player 3:  CRAP! 

4: I'm going to catch a smoke while we figure this out, that

DM: Sure. Everybody take 5. I'll redraw it the
way it's supposed to go.

Player 3: (To Player 1) Dude,
you suck.

Player 4:  Piss off. You do it.

Screw it entirely. Don't sit there and quote how far and how long, just allow the players to imagine the dungeon in their minds. If a player starts mapping, tell them to stop, and put it away. Players mapping takes away from the flow of the game. I personally HATE I am trying to describe the scene and set it up to get.

"How far was that door?"

"Was it a wooden door?"

"The room you said was about 100ft, was that a perfect square a circle?"

WHO CARES. Just play. Just go with the fun, I as the DM will tell you were you are, what is happening. If minor details need to be given, I will draw it out.

Also, you might be saying, "Well how will we find our way out?" 

That is simple, I simply allow the players to be able to backtrack their movements with a few wisdom check rolls. Depending on the pace of the game, if its been a really slow paced game, I'd move things along by just allowing them to recall. But if they are blowing through the dungeon and easily getting around, then its time for dice rolls.

Simple as that. If a player wants to map, sure they can map, as long as they don't ask questions.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Happy Birthday H.P. Lovecraft!

Happy Birthday, with out this man, we would not have the great stories and myths we have today. Like him or not, this man knew how to write.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Adding a little Sci-Fi into AD&D!

Well last night, I was sitting around, thinking of ways to
design a cool game for my group. A thought came across my mind, after running
my mini-adventure at gencon. A little bit of Sci-fi added to the game could be
awesome, as I  made up an item on the fly
for the game to make it a bit more interesting.

It was called the "Power Gauntlet" and what it did
was shoot a "laser" streak that would randomly hit an enemy of the
wearer of the gauntlet.

The Gauntlet had 5 gem like stones on it, which would slowly
fade in color as the player used it. The player did not notice it really, nor
did I spend much time explaining it. He was happen with the fact it randomly
just destroyed the orcs.

Power Gauntlet

Alien Artifact

5 Gems Power (20 uses - Alien recharge only)

To Hit: Roll standard missile attack + 3

Damage: Varies

Special: See Description

Appears to be a large humanoid gauntlet with gems on it.
Once the user places it on, it can not be taken off until it runs out of
charges. Each Gem contains 4 charges (20 total), and the gems will fade in
color once the charges are used, to a dull grey. Upon a successful hit, the
player rolls a d6 and the DM compares on the chart.

1 - 1 enemy takes half damage

2 - 1 enemy takes full damage

3 - 2 enemies take half damage

4 - 2 enemies take full damage

5 - 3 enemies take full damage

6 - All enemies take half damage

Then the player rolls 2d6 for the damage of the
"laser" blast. The DM can describe the blast however they feel they need to. Have fun with it!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Designing a DM Screen

So I've finally found a source to print out some quality GM screens. I have a friend working on a kick ass art for the panels, while I am designing the inside. Once I get it in, I will take some pictures and see who wants to buy one.

Friday, August 12, 2011

How to get your players into some RolEplaying, instead of RolLplaying.

Many have wondered in forums and even asked me, How can I
get my players more involved in some roleplaying, instead of just having that
generic dungeon crawl with Bob the fighter.

Method 1: Gold!

Players love gold. Plain and simple. Its the reason most
players use for their characters to be questing. So why not when your players
come into town, have a carnival being held. Throw in a few carnie games where
the players still can roll some dice. Hold a simple non lethal damage boxing
match with an animal. Throw in a gypsy fortune teller. Perfect chance to
roleplay. If the players don't bite on the fortune teller, make it look
interesting. Have people coming out of the tent cheering and celebrating as if
they won something. Do it over and over as players look around. Sooner or
later, the curiosity bug will hit them. When it does, its your chance to shine
as a roleplaying DM. Have a wacky lady, in front of a table with a deck of
cards, a crystal ball, strange incense all around the room with dim lighting.
Once the player sits down and gives say a copper for their luck, you can
roleplay out some clues to your adventure. Its up to the player to write down
these things or ignore them.

Method 2: The old hermit in the woods deal

Here is another chance for a DM to shine. Give your hook for
the adventure, but make sure you leave it so that the player characters have to
seek out the old hermit that no one has seen in a long time for some help with
a map of the dungeon they plan on going to. He knows the secrets (or is he a

Have your players seek him out, and convince him to help the
group, and give up the information. A group that threatens the old hermit will
get nothing, because he has nothing to live for as he says. Killing him will
gain nothing, because only he knows the secrets and must draw them out for the

So there is two tips for a DM, What ideas do you have to share with us?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cleric Spells, How do they get them?

There was an interesting quesiton brought up in the forums about Cleric spells. The question asked was

Do they (Clerics) automatically know all spells for the level they are, but only can cast what the memorize? Or are they like magic users and have to copy from scrolls or the like?

Interesting question. Now, we all know from playing any edition of D&D that Magic Users, study a book, or research a spell. Then they memorize the spell for the day to use it, and once they do, it is cleared of their mind and the process starts over again.

But what about Clerics?

They pray for their spells is the answer everyone gives.

But how do they actually know what spell is what? How do they know what to say and when to say it?

I have always thought that a Cleric, would pray for that spell, and it would just "pop" into their mind.

That was good enough reason for me, up until I saw the post. Then it had me thinking, how does it really get there, and how does a Cleric know the words.


Plain and simple, the cleric prays for the "will" to change things and in return their god grants them a small amount of power to change the world or the things around them in the world.

So with that said, I'd like to hear what everyone else thinks.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Gencon -- Running games in small amount of time.

So people have asked, "What's the best thing to run at a convention, that will fit into a 2 to 4 hour time slot, and not run over the time slot or leave the players with no end."

Simple Answer. One Page Dungeons. There is various contests on the web, called one page dungeon design contests, and hundreds of people send in dungeons crawls. Some with good stories, some with no stories. The best thing about these, is its on ONE page and you as the DM can just pick them up, print them out, read it in 10 minutes, and then start jotting down notes on the back.

Now you are saying, "well, how do you know it will work?" I used this method in many cons so far, including Gencon.

As a DM, you have to control the flow of the adventure. IF you see your players racing through the adventure, throw in some roleplay encounters, or some random rolled combat.

OK so you don't like on the fly. Then on the back of your sheet, add some notes for things you can use incase of this or that.

Always be ready.

Keep it original, and keep it old School!

Links to help:

-The Evil GM

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Quest for the Book of Sorrows ended…for now?

So as it stands, the last episode or session for the Quest for the Book of Sorrows actual play campaign has been recorded. It's been a fun run, but all good things have to end at some point. Personally, I'd like to continue this game, with these characters. I know quite a few people will be sad to see the group fade away, but I think a break is needed. I do know that not all the players want to continue with the characters at the moment.
I don't want to give away much about the actual recording as I sit down to edit so it can be placed up on the site. I do want to say that they do not call me the "the evil DM/GM" for nothing. Listen in and see what happens as Trask gets what he deserves and Regnor sounds a bit different, but just as equally funny. Time plays a factor, and do things really happen or just in the mind of one?
Listen in and find out.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A screen is needed!

This is topic that often leads to me getting annoyed, but hey it needs to be covered.

Should a DM have a screen in front of them to hide their notes and rolls?

I favor yes.

But let's first cover the reasoning behind the people who don't use a screen, and I notice people do this more in later editions that earlier editions.

The main reason I've heard or read was that "they like to keep their players informed and the rolls honest."


They believe it keeps the game fair and balanced. Where the die rolls is what happens.

This method will sometimes get your well planned game in trouble, or even ruin the fun for players, because you will kill them.

The old school method (and my method) and this was even stated in the books for DM's to use a screen to roll behind, so you can fudge numbers when need be. Because seriously as a DM, wouldn't you want to roll that D20 and get a 20, with your last player standing with 5 hit points and say, "fumble! DAMN!" or have it out in the open roll the 20 and have to kill the last man standing.

Which do you pick?

I know I'd pick the screen method so I can fudge the roll, because while its fun to kill characters, its not fun to wipe out a group and have to start over.

I like to think of a DM as the host of a party, and your players are a guest. As the host you provide the place, the entertainment and ways to get food/drink. As a DM, you do the same thing, you provide the places (the starting town/Quests), the entertainment (hooks, plots, NPCs, Monsters..) and ways for your players to socialize (shops, taverns..Etc)

Honestly, how much fun is it going to a party where there is three chairs out and a bowl of popcorn out, with the host ignoring you?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Obsessive-Compulsive Dice DisOrder (OCDD)

Here is a topic that comes close to everyone's heart while gaming, their dice and how they are treated. Now I've been gaming a many of years and never once did I ever feel the need to follow such steps or be this protective of my dice. Yes, there are people who are very protective of their dice and to the point of throwing out a dice set if someone else touches or uses the dice.

There is a known (sickness?) called Obsessive-Compulsive Dice DisOrder (OCDD), that almost 90% of gamers have. This disorder can go as far as people lining up their dice in a certain order before the game, during the game, after the game to make sure the dice roll well. I have seen people accidently misplace or lose a die, get very upset to the point of shaking and in tears trying to find this die they lost.

Myself, I have my bag of dice, which I have my favorite set of it, its my black and dark gold set. I normally pick out that set of all the dice and place it to the side of the rest of the dice to use during the game. I don't get upset if the dice mix up with other dice or the dice is touched by someone else. The only thing I worry about is that I don't lose the dice. IF I do happen to misplace the dice, I get annoyed, but I just sub in another die. In fact you will hear me during games, often switching out dice as I get bad rolls, just to change it up a bit.

I had a friend who I used to play with that, if you touched his dice and he would flip out to the point that he would get violent, start swearing and even physical. This person even would question the group if he had a bad night of rolling, saying "Someone touched my dice didn't they?"

Wow right?

Here is another thing I've seen people do and often read about.. I lose my dX, what do I do with the set? Retire it? Replace the dX ? I don't want to use a "broken" set, (It is broken because one of the dice are missing.)

I am sorry, I just don’t see it. I have dice, and I just swap them around and use them as needed. There is no magic in the dice, there is no special thing about it and certainly if X touched it, it will not roll well for me. The roll and fall where it falls based on various formulas and angles, much of which I could careless to talk about.

So, basically my point is, people seek some help, and just enjoy playing the game and don’t obsess over special dice.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Suspense of Passing notes!

OK, well I am back, decided to focus on my new IT job to get into the swing of things and then come back posting like a madman!

Anyhow....Passing notes..

This is a great tool a DM can use during their game, this not only can be used to keep a group focused, it can be used to add a level of suspense to the game, possibly some mystery.

Why does this work?

Well think of this, you are playing a in game, there is a little lull in the game, and suddenly you see your DM, hand a small note to a player, in which the player reads with a small smile and then response with a quick nod yes or no.

Your first thought?

"What was that? Why did he get a note and not I? What was written on that note? Should I worry?"

Those questions will be the ones going through the heads of your players, and will more than likely get your game moving or back on track.

Most of the time you can write almost nothing that makes sense, or something silly. Most players will get it.

Typical things I or any DM can write on the notes:

1) You notice....

2) You hear....

3) You find...

And the best note of all

4) Read this and look back at me with a smile, say yes, hand paper back.

Use #4 when you really need to do it, especially if you see your group arguing about something stupid and the game is getting off track and you really have nothing to throw at them. Of course the typical monster attacks the group can be used, but that is not very creative.

So there you have it, some tips about using notes and keeping the group’s interest. What do you do?

Monday, March 28, 2011

How does Wonder Woman look?

So here is our first look at how Wonder Woman will look in the new TV series.... once it was a movie, but now its a TV series...Oh well. I wanted to see a movie, but I will take a show... will it be like the short lived Bionic Woman? Let's hope not.

Warner Bros. Television has provided us with the first image of Adrianne Palicki starring as the title character in the new NBC pilot "Wonder Woman," from executive producer David E. Kelley ("Boston Legal," "Ally McBeal," NBC's "Harry’s Law"). The pilot was written by Kelley, who also serves as executive producer with Bill D'Elia ("Boston Legal," "The Practice," NBC's "Harry’s Law"). Jeffrey Reiner ("The Event") is directing. Based upon DC Comics characters, "Wonder Woman" is from David E. Kelley Productions and Warner Bros. Television.

Friday, March 25, 2011

DM Tips: Distractions and Breaktimes

Distractions and breaks during the game can be a pain, especially those that break up the flow of the game to the point you lose the mood.

So what is a DM to do?

Well there are a few simple things a DM can do to keep the peace, and the game moving along. As the DM, decide how many hours your adventure will be, from there you can decide what to do. So for example let's say you decide you wanted to run a game this Saturday, from 1pm to 8pm, which is 7 hours. Now you're thinking "wow that's seven hours!" It is, but you have to think, will you be playing the whole seven hours? More than likely you will not and be breaking in there for lunch/dinner and I am sure a few bathroom/smoke breaks.

So here is what I like to do when running a game for say that 7 hour time period.

When the group arrives, ask them what time everyone would like to break for dinner and how long they would like to go for. Some players will either go for a normal dinner time hour and more than likely ask for 15 to 30 minutes. Some people like to order their food, which is fine and when it gets there, break for the meal. There are some players who like to play while eating. I don't recommend this as something any group should do, because I feel those 30 minutes away from the game are good thinking and reflecting time for the players. Also it gives the players a chance to think about what to do next, as well as it gives the DM a nice needed downtime break. Every DM needs a few moments to himself to think, plan things, and read up on what's next. OK, we got that down

But what about breaks?

Everyone needs to go to the bathroom, and we know some gamers smoke. So my best advice is to check with the players every hour and ask them if they'd like to pause for bathroom or a smoke. This is not saying that you are not allowing people to run to the bathroom or go smoke on their own, it's just you are suggesting a certain time.

Why do I bring up this issue?

Well I was in a group many years ago, where 80% of the group was smokers, and it came to the point that every 20 minutes or so the group was breaking for a smoke and the break was lasting 15 minutes. So it was safe to say that we were socializing more then playing, which is normally fine, but when you are sitting down to play D&D, and looked forward to it all week, it gets annoying.

How did we solve this?

Well we used the methods I've described here, and as the DM I talked to the group and said, listen, "I understand the need to smoke, but we need to cut it down a bit." They agreed it was a bit much, and did agree upon taking breaks at a certain time, or if they REALLY needed to get up, they did.

What do you do?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tips for the New GM (or DM).. How to start...

One question that keeps coming up to me is, how did you get started as a DM/GM? Also what tips can you give me to be a better one in the old school games? How do you handle changing things if a player goes this way and you planned that way?

Well, first I would like to say, I am by far the leading expert in being a DM. What can tell you is that I have over 20 years experience under my belt as a DM or GM.

OK, so you have a group you are playing in, and your DM is starting to feel DM burn out, which happens to most people after a while. You decide you want to step up to give that person a break. First things first, ask yourself this one important question, "CAN YOU MAKE A DECISION UNDER PRESSURE AND QUICKLY?" and "DO YOU THE RULES WELL ENOUGH?"

These in *my* eyes is the key factor for being a good DM. If you can pull these off, your games will draw the players in and keep the flow of the fantasy going. Its OK to look up something in the book if need be, but only if its truly needed, otherwise move on. Remember, you are the DM, you control the game, make a decision in your mind that is fair, and will keep the game going.

OK you want an example to further nail this in. You are the DM, you come up to a situation where the fighter wants to dive across the table and grab the large gem out of the hand of the guy who is displaying it. Well, what does it say in the book for this? Nothing really, especially for B/X or AD&D 1E, you can flip through the book and maybe find something close to it.... 10 to 15 minutes later of paused gaming OR you as the DM can say, "OK, fighter roll 3d6 and get under your dex and you will be able to leap across the table and grab hold of the gem..." Fair enough, players are happy, keeps the flow going, and makes for an exciting roll.. DM is also happy, because it didn't break the rules of the game.

Far as tips for being a better DM at old school games, the best advice I can give on that subject, is if you can role play a situation out, instead of rolling dice, then use that.

An example would be, a Magic User is searching for a magical gem in this creepy old house, he found a possible lead of it being in this old creepy dusty study. You as the DM describe the study in as much detail so the player can form an image in their minds, and allow the player to ask questions to help further form that image. You described the desk, and the MU, decided that is where he wants to start. So he says, I will search the desk. A good response for an old school DM would be, "How? Tell me what you do?" Then the player will describe his methods to searching the desk. Modern day games would have stopped at I search the desk, as the DM would simply say, roll dX.

Last thing I'd like to cover is, what happens if the party goes X direction, when you planned out Y direction, or the Party went to room 12 where the big bad is, instead of roaming the dungeon like you planned?

Its very simple, just move things around. You are the DM, right? Only YOU know where things are in your adventure, right? OK so move it.

So if the players go direction X, let them, have them travel that way, and have direction X lead into direction Y down the road.

If the players go to room 12 where the big bad is, move him. Push him to room 20. Very simple, players will not know, only you will know.

One last tip I can give you before I stop this, is never, ever railroad players or tell them "No you can't do that."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Finally back in town...

Its amazing how a week off of work, and a last minute decision takes you to Vegas. I had a great trip, gambled a bit and wondered, is Vegas this busy all the time? Apparently no, I happened to pick Spring break week, and on top of that, it was St Pat's day the same week, and to top all this, it was the biggest week of March Madness... Well I got through it, and got to see some wonderful shows, such as the Criss Angel Show. Then meet up with DM Chrispy, who was kind enough to bring me to a local comic book store where there was tons of old D&D book.. While there was no D&D book worth buying, I did pick up the Black Book of In Nomine or the Satanic/Demonic In Nomine, for a steal, as its worth almost close to $100 something. In case you have no idea what In Nomine is..

In Nomine is a modern roleplaying game in which the players take the part of celestial beings – angels and demons – as they struggle for control of humanity and themselves. The celestials, powerful though they may be, are merely pawns in a much larger game being played by their Superiors, the Archangels and Demon Princes. Based on the best-selling French RPG by the wonderfully diabolical Croc!
Great game. Check it out! Sorry for the short review post, but I wanted to give you guys something...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Flash Back Friday, OD&D Ad!

Check this out, an old add to buy the basic set from TSR for levels 1 to 3...Ah...look at the price... I dont think you can purchase any D&D books for that cheap anymore. Look an enjoy, just don't print it and send it in, I'd imagine you will get nothing... but who knows :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Road... Head? WHAT?

What the hell.. stumbled across this picture, and could not stop laughing, especially the fact that it was actually on the road, and not a joke. It was used for a promo in Texas for when the movie came out... I think I'd more then likely have to pull over if I saw this, because I would not stop laughing... thoughts?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Conan Movie teaser is out... wow... really?

Well as it looks the new Conan movie will come out this summer, and here is one of the first teasers out there for it. All I can say is, either this will be so awesome that it blows your mind or really bad. I am leaning towards really bad, what do you think?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

OSR Magazine OUBLIETTE.. awesome!

Already on issue #5, I just stumbled upon this little gem called Oubliette magazine, and its offered for free as a pdf download. Now the publisher says about his magazine the following:

 "A magazine for old school fantasy roleplayers. Written for Labyrinth Lord, but also ideal for use with any Basic/Expert/Advanced original or clone, with little or no adjustment required. A compilation edition of the first four issues of Oubliette is also available on Lulu and offers a 35% saving against the total cost of the individual issues. The preview pages give the full contents of the magazine along with a couple of sample pages. In PDF form every issue of Oubliette comes with a bundle of supplemental materials. Print customers can get hold of these by E-mailing with your LULU order number and I will send you a voucher for a free PDF download of all the supplemental material for the issues purchased.."
It has a great bunch of advice and articles about old school gaming and even rehashing things from the past you can use for gaming today, that most people forgot about. For instances, there is a section called "Monster Club" and the author talks about The Monstermark system, designed by the late Don Turnbull, original published in White Dwarf Magazine. With out giving away too much about it, but its a calculation that combines how many rounds a monster can survive, with the average damage it can deal per round. OK you are saying, "OK so what? I remember that from 1979", The difference now, is that the author revised it for Labryrinth Lord and changed it slightly. How? Read it and find out!

Moving on to another example, the author goes on to write about "The Vampire and Alternative Rules for creating terrifying Labyrinth Lord Vampires.." The article is very solid with a way you can make a vampire, giving examples and the method used for generating one. Its an interesting read, as he generates a sample character, gives the background, stats and even shows you all the charts he used for the Vampire.

With 48 pages of awesomeness packed into one issues, plus little comic strips, I give this magazine issue I've read a 5 out of 5. Good tips, good advice and each article is very well fleshed out in at least two pages, some going as far as 5 or 6. Check it out and support the OSR!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Big Eyes Small Mouth.

Here is another game that I stumbled into like 10 years ago, and it was a fun little system. It was produced by the now defunct Guardians of Order, and is owned by White-Wolf now. Anyhow, great little system that uses 2d6 for everything. Simple stats and simple skills. "Big Eyes, Small Mouth" (typically abbreviated BESM) is a highly flexible roleplaying game system, although created with anime in mind--it's title playing off the stereotypical character design of anime and manga--it can be used for almost any type of roleplaying game setting or genre. The stats in BESM, which represent your characters innate abilities, are as follows:

BODY- Body represents everything physical about a character. Health, strength, endurance, dexterity, and speed--anything related to physical activity--are all covered by the Body Stat.

MIND- Mind represents everything mental about a character. Mind represents the ability to learn, make judgements, solve puzzles, and be aware of dangers in the surrounding area.

SOUL- Soul represents everything qusai-spiritual about your character. Self confidence, willpower, focus, fate and balance with the universe are all covered by the Soul Stat. Most things relating to the supernatural and things that tax a character's inner strengths or morals relate to the Soul Stat..

When creating characters, players get a number of points (assigned by the GM, based on the power level he or she wants in the game) to assign to stats. Stats can never go above 12.

There is also a list of skills for your character to have, as well as other speciall things a character can do, like "special power", depending on the type of game your GM wants to run.

Combat in BESM is pretty simple and its a three step process:

Step 1: Initiative
Step 2: Character Actions (Attack, Defend, Other)
Step 3: Resolution (Assign Damage, Heal, Finish Combat, Other)

Here is a character sample named Morpha

I didn't get to play it that much, but from what I remember it was a fun little system, and it can be used to play ALMOST anything you can thing of with all the stuff put out by it. Check it out, BESM 2E.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

TMNT! Its Turtle time!

A little show, about these cartoon turtles who mutated into human like sized ninja fighting machines debuted on CBS, it was called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It started as a 5 part mini-series in 1987, then exploded into a regular Saturday morning cartoon, and finally was on 5 days a week with new episodes. The cartoon went for 10 seasons, lasting until around 1996 causing a crazy in the USA, with shirts, lunch boxes, more comic books, and then finally a bunch of live action movies.

Now comes to the RPG, which was out BEFORE the "turtle crazy". The TMNT rpg, was written and sold in 1985 by Palladium Books, while the comic books were being produced here in the USA.

I remember this game fondly as a boy, picking it up at the local gaming store, and thinking, "wow, this looks cool". Spending hours of fun in the summer of '86, at my friends house everyday, playing the hell out of this game.

It was so cool, I remember saying, "you could play D&D, but as animals, and you could be NINJAS!" The system was a bit wonky, but we figured it out, as I played through my Dog like character named "Chuff", beating up on various baddies my friends made up. Then we stopped.

Time passed as we forgot about the game.

Then, there was the cartoon.

I remember going to school that Monday, and finding my friends with a young boy excitement in my eyes, because of this new cartoon that I saw Saturday. In fact we all saw the cartoon, and decided to put our D&D on hold, to play this again. We played as the cartoon fueled tons of adventures as now we had "The Shredder" to fight against. Our adventures always involved our little group, helping out the turtles, who often got kidnapped or went missing. Ahh.. the good old days..

Well, its back, as today, it arrived in my mailbox, for only the price of $3.00USD and condition was excellent. I am very happy about it, you should find this book and give it a whirl!

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Normally on Saturdays, decide to put up a funny picture or some type of chick picture, but not this week. I was on and saw the trailer to the "new Thundercats" cartoon. Yeah, you heard me, the new one. The cartoon I grew up with as a young teen and loved, has come back. WHY? Because everything comes back, because no one can figure out a single good original idea on their own. Its one thing to mess with movies and do remakes, I can deal with that, because its interesting..sometimes.. BUT CARTOONS IS WHERE I DRAW THE LINE. Give me a break, leave it alone and create something better... Why not creature something based off the Thundercats... like someone new found the Sword of Omens...Nah, that wont sell.

Why don't I like it? Because its an attempt at studio executives to recreate what they loved as kids for profit, because the kids of today are spoiled beyond belief. If its not new and flashy, or on an iPhone or what not, the kids wont like it. I just love how these 8 year olds are walking around with cellphones, and playing on facebook, and acting like an adult. They are 8, go play video games, or play with Lego, or go outside.

This cartoon... I couldn't even watch the full trailer as it made me want to puke. I've included it on this post so you too can vomit all over what was part of your childhood.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

GMs -- Having troubles with roleplay ideas?

I bought this book at Betacon last summer and never looked at it more then once, I actually bought it because, it was in the auction, and the money went to charity for helping kids with cancer. So I tossed it onto my pile of books to read if I was sick. WELL, that time has come, I've been sick so I pulled out this book, made by Last Unicorn Games (LUG for short), called Star Trek The Next Generation (TNG) Narrator's Toolkit. By the way, in case you are wondering, LUG is no longer around, as Wizards bought them out. (BOO!).


LUG has produced two "Narrator's Toolkit" so far, one for the Star Trek: Then Next Generation setting and, more recently, the one for the Original Series setting (TOS). I can't speak about the TOS book, but I can speak about the TNG one. Narrator's Toolkit is full of useful tips for writing adventures and running a game. The book is written well, organized well and in some parts it will make you smirk (especially if you are a Trekkie).  The best part of this book, is that its not rules mechanic heavy, or quote various things from the core book of the game. Which means any advice you get here or ideas you are presented, could help run ANY GAME. There is sections are on how structure your adventure, where things should go to, kind of like a little mini-story board that directors use when first looking at a script to shoot film.

This book is almost a how to help with GM'ing book for anyone. I'd high recommend picking this up if you see it in the bargain bin or at an auction. Well worth the money and for $0.55 on amazon! Check it out!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Being Sick, is good?

So this past week I have been sick, with the flu. Yeah, sucks doesn't it? Well what can one do besides cough, sneeze, and blow one's nose? Work on your DIY projects. So far I've managed to make a travel sized B/X set of books, above is my Marsh/Cook Expert Rules, bound and smaller! Why? I don't know, I needed a book I could bring around that wouldn't fall apart and wanted something smaller to fit in my bag with out taking up a lot of room. Blam. This works out great! Both books are small and take up less room, and wont sperate on me like the originals. Perfect book for travel and toss around at the table. So after some research on the web, and speaking to Rob at, I began working on my mini DM screen. So keep tuned in to see the progress of that, its coming out well so far. I've already designed the inside with the charts and various things I wanted on it, now I need to figure out what graphics I wanted on the outside.

What else did I get done? Well, I was able to jot down the ideas for the end of the Book of Sorrows Campaign.. yes its finally over, Sadly. I am going to miss the game and the characters, but the players are interested in moving on and coming back to the characters again.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Name of Names

How important is a name for a character? VERY. I think the name of the character, sometimes makes the character. Does a character named "Bob" or "Steve" really sound like a great warrior or a powerful wizard? OF COURSE NOT. So let's take the time to gather up some ideas for names, shall we? Well first things first, you can always go online and google, "character name generator". First glance gives us Fantasy Name Generator, which will give you a few options... go through it and have fun! Now, let's say you are over a friends house, and they don't have internet (GASP!) access or they don't allow it at the table. You can think of various names and take bits and pieces of things. For instance, let's say you are playing an Elf, and you are like, what do I call him? Easy, Elven characters generally have a name that 3 letter with a ' and then the rest of the name. So pick a random letter such as T and start putting together words... Tel... Tak.. Tir.. let's go with Tel and now we need another name... nock, nick, nome, wind.... Tel'Nok. Hey that sounds cool, let's use it. What tips can you share?

Friday, February 25, 2011

combat is too hard? lol

Some newer players looking back onto AD&D 1e or B/X D&D, are unsure how the combat system works. Maybe because they are used to the way the AC system works in 3E and 4E. Their system is ascending for better while old school is descending for better AC. The question I often get is "how do I know if I hit?" Well in 1E, players were not really allowed the information of the "to hit" numbers, thus why it was printed in the DM Guide. Players were only to, roll add or minus whatever number, and tell the DM. The DM who had the AC and the to hit chart would compare. B/X gave the players a little two hit chart they could see when building their characters, so players had an idea that what roll would hit what AC .
I've never played in an old school game where the DM gives AC out at all. Generally by the "hit or miss" theory, a player figures out what it takes to score damage on the monster at hand. This is how it should be.. but I think 3E introduced an era of Laziness on the part of DMs. Now I am not bashing 3E or 4E, but for some reason, DMs started giving out the AC, and I noticed this, as when I was in these group, players would automatically, when attacking, say, "AC?" and the DM would tell them. I've know players to get annoyed at at DM who said "just roll"

So I guess its up to the lazy DM to enforce the proper rules..

Anyhow, onto how to figure out if you hit. Basically its simple. The player rolls his D20, adds/minus' whatever modifier and gives the DM the final result, the DM will them look at the combat matrix chart for whatever character class, and see if that number hits the armor class. Its a basic cross reference thing. With sometime a DM can just know what number hits what for what class.

"That's stupid, why do that, everyone should have one method!"

No they shouldn't not everyone was able to fight with a weapon the same way. A Magic User doesn't know how to swing a sword or handle a dagger like a trained fighter would. A cleric may train a little to be in battle, but their main focus was in casting spells given by their god, spreading the word of their god through worship and then beating the hell out of things in the gods honor. A thief is used to sneaking around, trying to figure out a way to attack someone, so their focus is ways of sneaking around, using the distraction of the fighter beating on the foe, for a chance to get a perfect stab in.

I believe the reason the various hit charts slowly went away as the editions increased was to make things simpler for the DM and the players. I know with 3E and the D20 system they were trying for a faster combat system and one that a player or a DM could easily figure out if it was a hit or a miss. I don't think it really made it any easier, it just made certain classes "boring" to play. Such as a fight became so boring, as they had one great thing going for them, they could jump into battle and beat the hell out of things, hitting more then everyone else, but the "one hit system" 3E introduced took that away. Now a wizard or rogue can hit just as easy as a fighter can.

All I can say, is oh well. Long as you have fun, enjoy. Don't bash my system I grew up with, that was "rules lite" because you don't understand it or think D20 rules are better.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Playing in the Sandbox...

So let's talk sandbox games.. What is a sandbox game? Well, basically its a game that a DM/GM designs for players to travel around in and do whatever they want. Problem is, most DMs do not know how to handle this type of environment. Why? because its to "on the fly" for them. I know DMs who have been running games for 30 years who can't handle this. Can I handle this? Yes I can. My proof? Listen to the Book of Sorrows campaign podcast I host. 95% of that is on the fly DM'ing.. I gave the players the hook, they followed, and they got a general direction and I made up things as it happened. The only things I designed before game was various homemade creatures, such as the Pumpkin people or the ZapFox (once the game is over, I will post the stats). So what tips can I give for DMs who want to DM this style?

1) never railroad your players
2) give a hook for the players to follow and keep them following it.
3) be ready to name an NPC ( a list of names help)
4) be ready to describe details of something the players are encountering.
5) let the group talk amongst themselves and roleplay if you get stuck and need to think a minute.
6) taverns or inns are the perfect place to play in, as you can always make up something from a fight, to someone stealing something or as simple as there is a ton of rats in the basement.
7) for dungeons and describing rooms... think of various places you've gone or think of scary movies, and the places people run into that killer.
8) steal ideas from other DMs. There is a buttload of actual play podcasts out there, listen to a few (if you can tolerate the bad audio), jott down a few things and twist it with your warped thinking.

We'll talk more about this in the future....

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