"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Monday, April 30, 2012

DCC Adventure Imagery

I don't know very much about Goodman Games' Dungeon Crawl Classic RPG but I do love the layout and imagery of the covers for the adventure modules…

They strike me as very pulpy.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad

Last night my son and I watched The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. I love that movie.

It reminded me of an old post that JB made on Single Encounter Adventures. I love the fact that the Cyclops and Dragon are only overcome by setting up favourable circumstances and not just hack'n slash.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dogs of W*A*R - Black Ops

A couple of weeks ago my home group was scheduled to meet and play our ongoing Rise of the Runelords campaign. However, it turned out two of players were going to be unable to make it so instead I quickly prepped a Dogs of War game using the first mission of Call of Duty - Black Ops as the premise. The characters were part of a special ops team sent into Cuba to assassinate Castro just as the Bay of Pigs invasion begins.

Based on how my players go behave in the D&D campaign, I planned the game to be a rip-roaring, shoot'em up with gun fights and car chases. However, the players instead made a faceman, a sniper and a leader/driver. The faceman started the game by easily talking their way past the first two scenes which I had planned.

After the first two scenes the characters had met a leader of the Cuban resistance and had received a dossier containing intelligence gathered on Castro's location.  At this point I stole the idea of the Planning Stage from John Wick's spy game "Wilderness of Mirrors".

The players were able to tell me what information was in the dossier and what their plans were. For every detail they gave me about Castro's location the group earned an Exploit Point (basically a hero point in DoW). For every 10 minutes they took planning, I took a villain point that I could use to make one part of the intelligence from their dossier incorrect.

Instead of going in guns blazing, the group came up with an intricate plan to infiltrate Castro's safehouse as Russian Army officers. My villain points were used to great effect so that there was already a Russian general in the safehouse and that the "Castro" in the safehouse was a double. Great fun ensued.

While everyone (myself in particular) had a great time, one lesson I learned was to be more direct in terms of the feel/genre I am going for in a one-shot such as this. While I had testosterone-fuelled, gun blazing adventure in mind, the players were thinking clandestine espionage.

Edit: I seem to be having trouble getting the hang of this new blogger. I missed putting a title in each of the three most recent posts.

What is Going On

My home group has been playing Paizo's "Rise of the Runelords" adventure path using 2nd edition for the past couple of years. We are just now getting to the home stretch in the campaign. It has been a great experience. The group has evolved over that time until we have settled on stable group of five. They are a great bunch and I am hoping to keep this group together for a long time.

The group is a mixed bag of experience. K-Slacker and I are definitely from the old school, two other players are mostly 3.5-era gamers and the current campaign is the first for one player. As such, each comes to the table with a certain bias and set of expectations.

The adventure path itself has been fun. I have been enjoying the process of trying to hide the rails from the players and reacting to their actions. I have also been enjoying the process of converting a series of adventures designed for 3.5 back to 2nd edition. It has re-taught me a number of things that I had forgotten about 2nd edition. As an aside, while my heart belongs to B/X I have played more 2nd edition than any other edition of D&D.

Using an adventure path has also kept the work load to a minimum. Which is great as, you might remember, I am the father of two kids whose schedules just keep getting busier. Prep has been very easy, the support from Paizo and their forums is great, and the adventures themselves have been fun and memorable.

However, while hiding the rails from the players has been fun, there are definitely rails. Which increasingly becomes a drag.

As the adventure path begins its home stretch, I am beginning to think about what the next campaign might be. I want to try to give the group, specifically the 3.5-era guys and the new guy, a real "old school" sandbox and also develop a campaign that is an open table with more flexibility for attendance. The first thing that came to mind was to try to redo my Northern Marches campaign but then I also thought about revisiting the City of Thieves idea I had. Honestly though I am worried about the level of player agency required for a good sandbox and if some of the members of the group are up to it. Also, I am lazy and a little leery of the effort.

I am going to pose both to the group (and maybe include as un-yet fully formed idea for a third) and see which they would prefer. I will post the final decision here and hopefully use the blog as a place to develop my thoughts about the campaign.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Underground Con 2012

Hello folks,
The Calgary gaming convention Underground Con is on June 9th, 2012. K-Slacker who is a friend of mine, attended last year and had nothing but good things to say.

I have signed up to DM Castle of the Mad Archmage using OD&D.

K-Slacker is GMing a game of Tempora Mutantur:
By KBR. The Fall has long since wiped out civilization, leaving the planet's surface a savage land of radioactive waste crawling with mutant creatures, and forcing the few survivors underground. Your community has endured through the long years since the Fall, its inhabitants sheltered safely beneath the earth. Until now…

'Scavengers' they call you. You and the other volunteers are being sent above ground to salvage whatever you can from the ashes. Armed only with your wits and the weapons you find, you must travel through this less-than-inviting real estate on the surface.

Stay alert! Fierce radiation storms can blow up at any time, causing all kinds of nasty mutations. And hordes of marauding monsters are roaming around just waiting to make you the snack du jour.

Few have made the journey, and even fewer have survived. Can you?

Tempora Mutantur is a minimalist rules-light post-apocalyptic RPG. Pre-Gens will be provided! You can learn more about it at: http://tempora-mutantur-rpg.blogspot.com.