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.

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