Saturday, 20 August 2016

Happy Birthday Howard


The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear. And the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.

That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.

The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind.

Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places.

Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time.

I never ask a man what his business is, for it never interests me. What I ask him about are his thoughts and dreams.

Blue, green, grey, white, or black; smooth, ruffled, or mountainous; that ocean is not silent.

From even the greatest of horrors irony is seldom absent.

To the scientist there is the joy in pursuing truth which nearly counteracts the depressing revelations of truth.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

That old Roosevelt ploy

It has to be said, time travel does keep you on your toes. Twas the night before a critical World War II summit between Churchill, Stalin, Roosevelt and Roosevelt. Hold on a moment I hear you cry, bear with me. Our mission was to infiltrate the various security contingents of the Allies and ensure that the evil time travelling agents were neutralized so that the conference would happen when it was supposed to.

This did involve, in order, a lot of planning, a lot of spying, a lot of arguing, a lot of fighting a lot of killing, a lot of necromancy and finally a lot of hotel management. Basically you can't get the staff and when you do they're dead. Nevertheless we had the entire situation under control and were dutifully catering for Stalin's and Churchill's contingents in silver service style, when Roosevelt's party arrived we just presumed we had it in the bag with cigars all round.

Sadly however when President Roosevelt arrived it did indeed turn out to be the president in person but unfortunately the wrong one. It transpired to be Theodore, not Franklin, leaving us a problem that vast amounts of zombies couldn't fix. And this is where the large hole labelled Twap comes in as I had naively presumed that the presidents had been swapped against their wills as surely the integrity of the very president himself couldn't be questioned ? What was the point of being sent through time to ensure a meeting between the wrong presidents ? So in we charge to rescue old Theodore and return him and his fifth cousin to their proper pages in the history books. But oh no, not this Roosevelt. It turns out the politics can sink to even lower levels and the old bastard was in on whatever evil plan was being hatched. So a further fight ensued as we tried to subdue the president as well as his entourage which included a giant, automated killer teddy bear. Irony comes in several forms including murderous toys it would seem but we're now committed to a worryingly divergent timeline.

I'm still reeling and kicking myself at the same time if my character's dexterity allows it as who to trust in time travel. But of course it was the wrong question. Who do you trust in politics ? The answer has never changed of course.

No one.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Good Cop Bad Cop

As we are still in the midst's of ongoing Southern Rail transportation chaos, it has been difficult for a few members to get to the club both regularly and in anything like a normal time frame. GM Rob summoned enough spirits to continue his Numenera but GM Jack was hijacked on the buses last week  as they are taking a lot of strain locally from the rail network disruption. We did take the opportunity to have a crack at another random card game though, in this case, Good Cop, Bad Cop.

If  you like games of paranoia and allegiances then this one may appeal. Everyone starts with three random down cards that are either honest or crooked cops - the majority that you are holding determine your alignment. There is a KingPin card hidden in someones hand for the bad guys as well as an Agent card for the law enforcers and the aim of the game is to locate both of them and kill the one that is the head of your opposing faction.

Initially players can turn over one of their opponents cards and  in the investigation stages of the game - this is standard as the players slowly piece together who is on what side. Then as knowledge and possibly paranoia grow, players can then take guns instead of drawing actions or exposing cards. Among other things the action cards do things like change the order of play, interrupt the moves of opponents or my favorite 'plant evidence' when you can invert the allegiance of a player. As the guns come out then they get pointed at a someone but as people put more guns on the table as the game continues a Mexican standoff is created and whichever side's leader gets killed first (shot twice) ends the game.

Its fun and fast but to be honest its not very interactive initially as there is a long quiet stage when people mutter to themselves as they piece the picture together. You cant say anything as you dont know much for sure and nor do you know who is on your side. The play suffers from a lack of social element and the designers needed to have considered this as players share a faction, it would have been better for them to interact earlier on to increase the paranoia and build knowledge. However it passed the time quickly and even if a player gets shot and is out of the game, he still has a stake in watching his faction fight on.

I suspect we will be in for a few more weeks of travel madness so keep a card game handy just in case...

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Let's Quest !!!

One of our newer questers, Alice, casually dropped into conversation last week that she had just binged watched Dan Harmon's latest series, Harmonquest on SeSo. Dan Harmon is the creator/writer of the critically acclaimed Community series the first 3 seasons of which are absolutely outstanding - the only series I have ever watched when I have literally  fallen out of my chair laughing, so it stuck in my mind when she mentioned it. There are a lot of youtube channels that explore whether a  role playing game is media viable and longstanding campaigns that have a reasonable subscriber base are on going, but the missing element in all of these is an animated backdrop.

Like the cutaway scenes in Family Guy or the Ricky Gervais Show, absurd and surreal scenarios can instantly be given depth and context to engage audiences onto a level playing field and often to hilarious effect as, as we know, role players often miss some of the little things when thrown into the fray, like, 'oh, I forgot my head is still on fire'. Not only are farcical hilarities exposed when a given session is depicted, but also the ludicrous plans that party concluded were a good idea at the time. Whilst the animation has not had a huge budget available to throw at it, it does just enough not to detract from the show.

The GM, Spencer,  keeps a constant upbeat tone in order to play the commentator and mediator as well as the npcs, which he does admirably given such new ground and whilst his presence is essential it is neither overbearing nor lackluster. Spencer frames the situations concisely and rarely intervenes except when time presses to close an episode. Given there is a guest spot each week that can vary somewhat between those people who have never played before to those who either love the genre or are from an acting background, whilst some of the guests perform bravely in an albeit bemused way, those that pick up the idea quickly are absolutely wonderful to watch, but all of them give it a shot. The rotating guest spot also means that by the end of each session the adventure must sadly lose a player, which presents its own regular mini feature to look out for.

I would say that it is a bit of a rough cut gem as it doesn't always flow, definitely experimental in places, but just like any cast in its first showing, the players start to warm to each other by the middle of the adventure and the characters backgrounds define the players actions well by the end of the series. The live audience of course dont have the benefit of the animation so they can be subdued at moments but it is clear that they know the nature of the game and cheer on the highs and lows of the adventure.

Given a tight budget and a longstanding culture to draw from, I do hope that we will see more adventures to come.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

I don't like you either

Despite the hours that roleplayers can spend arguing over an encounter or solving a situation there are equally as many occasions where you have to think on your feet. This is often amusing as it is exciting as when you inject magic users into any given dilemma the possible outcomes can range from the surreal to potentially universe threatening. As from my last post, the Strike game last week revolved around the all time classic bar fight. In fact I would say its almost an unwritten rule now that when a role playing party enters a drinking establishment then someone must end up with at least a broken nose before the party leaves. Its a bit like the fabled Samurai myth that before sheathing a weapon its must have drawn blood, even that of the owner if necessary. So yes, I would go as far to say that it is a matter of honour for the seasoned player.

The bar scenario in the (currently WWII) time travelling Strike eventually boiled over from a room full of drunken spies and bodyguards. The different factions all had their personal guard there ahead of a pivotal meeting but we knew that at least some of them had been infiltrated by time travelling Nazis, or those who backed them. The brawl however escalated quickly out of control as in this particular bar fight, not only was everyone armed, but they also comprised of a mixture of trained special forces and military personnel who have, broadly speaking, no qualms about pulling out weapons over dinner.

Cut to the chase, during the fight at least someone in the fray shouted "it must be Strike" so we at least know we haven't just slaughtered a room full of innocent people, but either way we abruptly had a room full of dead bodies to deal with when, at the same time, we heard the senior officers coming down to see what was happening. Well, being a necromancer and suddenly needing a room full of amicable people pretending to be drunk , all I could do was reanimate all the bodies and quickly sit them at the tables and bar. Keeping them talking we told the officers that everything had calmed down and that we would sort it out - hoping that they wouldn't notice their soldiers starting to gnaw on each other or shuffle around a bit too absently. Whilst I think we have got away with it so far we now have 20 undead minions to look after and a bar bill to pay.

Speaking of bills, thanks to GM Bill for running his stopgap 618 adventure - not a game I know much abuot- but I'll have chat to him next time, though unbelievably he has implied that it too may involve time travel. We have had a few new lovely members recently and are hovering around a possible regular third game if interest holds so plenty of seats to be had in various universes at present, past or future.  GM Rob also continues his Numenura thogh havent had any reports of a bar fight as yet.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Always time for a bar fight

Its a bit of a weird co-incidence. Although weird is a somewhat relative term when it comes to role playing scenarios.....and role players for that matter. It would appear then that the Numenera players are also tinkering in time travel technologies albeit as much over the players heads as it is in the game of Strike. This is going to involve a lot of complicated and confusing pre game chatter as the weeks go by as for my part, I am always interested in what general approach the GMs take to the fundamentals of cause and effect. I always think it likely that there is a universe collapsing paradox laying at the heart of such plots or possible time quakes cascading forward chasing parties into alternate futures. Either way a great deal of care will need to be given to the temporal footprint of adventurers in any given context, or the future wasn't what it was supposed to be.

Words fail me literally as I am reminded of Douglas Adams point..

"The major problem is quite simply one of grammar, and the main work to consult in this matter is Dr Dan Streetmentioner’s Time Traveller’s Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations. It will tell you for instance how to describe something that was about to happen to you in the past before you avoided it by time-jumping forward two days in order to avoid it. "

Personally my character is just along for the ride but I am secretly hoping that in fact both games are set in the same universe, just billions of years apart - it opens the real possibility that the GMs can swap groups for an episode as we go on missions in each other's timezones. However with respect to well laid plans, we should really concentrate on cocking up our own game before moving onto someone else's.

Following on from last weeks Strike episode of time travelling Nazis, we find ourselves in 1943 at a meeting of the great powers, German, Soviet and American. It's a week before a pivotal summit and we are all hanging out at the same hotel bar with the other delegations' security details, trying to pry information out of each other by seeing who can drink the most. All the characters are tired, paranoid and  inebriated. This is only going one way...

In the Numnera in GM Rob's very own words:

"the party seek an ancient and mystical key the time-travelling wizard from centuries in the future identified as a thing called a "fuse" to stop a giant metal being transmitting nightmares to the population of the nearby town. They have found this key in the possession of some goat-like creatures who killed the priests guarding it. Finding their camp at night, the party plans their attack."

OK, so goats, wizards, priests, keys and metal things. Got it. So if anyone out there has has experience with time travelling killer goats then we would appreciate a few pointers.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

World of Romans

I have heard it said  that sometimes too much knowledge is a bad thing. Generally speaking I am a huge fan of not being ignorant and I have a high esteem for those working in the fields of teaching and research. I can see that knowledge under duress can be a difficult situation, i.e. where torture may connect someone with the wrong end of a variety of secrets as well as medical instruments but it is equally the case that  you are not going to escape a grizzly ending whether you divulge classified information or not. It is more the case that the burden of some decisions can leave you wishing that you didn't know what you know but I suspect that this is really about the office you hold at the time, a lesser of two evils or perhaps or having to enact laws that leave little choice in an outcome. The difference between fault and responsibility will often mean that the blameless will shoulder the burden for the people they are responsible for despite what they may know or indeed those that have to sacrifice themselves for the greater good just because they know it to be for the best. Life isn't fair, but we know this already. 

But role playing can take this dilemma into extra dimensions, literally, and not to ramble on too much further without a cause, the scenario set for us in GM Jack's Strike adventure does serve to keep all this in mind. The point is Time Travel. At this point in history the party seem to be on both sides of an ancient battle fought between the Celts and Romans. A foregone conclusion from whatever perspective you may be looking at it from but unfortunately from our perspective it appears that we are also up against some Time Travelling Nazis who have brought tanks to the battle. So a bit like undead steam powered, Nazi zombie robots, the steam punkish scenario is already brimming with B movie action and hilarity.

The fun thing about charging around blowing up tanks and trying to level the odds in an future-historic field of battle is that its all too easy to be caught up in the action and forget that decisions we take now are going to have profound effects in the future. Anyway, we have a secret weapon - a horse, who's secret ability is that it can't talk! ....confused ? a cunning plan ? does it know more than it is letting on ? Can it convince the Romans that we aren't spies ? Unlikely at this stage I feel....

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Kickstarting Games

So some of us are returning from out annual holidays about now and there are some ancient voices whispering on the winds of email foretelling that they may also soon return to claim their rightful seats at the role playing tables. In all respects the forces are gathering and we have two challenges to be met by brave and wise gamers, both actually from kickstarters.

GM Jack is running a STRIKE! A kickstarter that had 418 backers raising 9192 canadian dollars is targeted to deliver fast action combat with exciting twists. Created by Jim McGarva the RPG Drivethru responses are good so far. Here is the spiel to give you a flavour.

What sets Strike! apart?

Every roll is 1d6. This makes it fast and easy to learn, teach, and play.

Setting agnostic. Strike's exciting combat and surprising twists fit smoothly into any setting.

No boring failures. When you don't succeed there's a twist: maybe you get what you want or maybe you don't, but either way something interesting happens that changes the situation.

Non-binary resolution. Despite the simplicity, there are four or five distinct possible results on every roll, not just Success or Failure.

Speed! Because of the simplicity, and helped by other tweaks, the game runs very quickly. Combat only takes 20-30 minutes, even at high levels. The system supports players taking risks and gives characters interesting options without being burdensome and pulling you out of the game to crunch numbers.

Character creation is simple too, and there are no false choices. Now instead of spending time trying to spend points and sorting through endless lists, you can just pick a background to give you basic skills, pick a class and role, do a little bit of customization and get to playing.

Variety without complexity. Combining your choice from ten classes with any of five roles gives you fifty unique options that will each play very differently from one another. Re-skinning guidelines help you create exactly the character you want with ease.

Also Gm Rob is starting his Numenera. Augmented with beautiful artwork it will be interesting to see if the games mechanics are as equally impressive as the backdrop.

Step a billion years into the future—into the Ninth World, where the remnants of previous civilizations’ technologies are indistinguishable from magic. Based on Monte’s Cook’s Cypher System, a new RPG system that focuses on story and ideas over mechanics.

I will post back with some of our club's experiences of it after its been running a couple of weeks. Definitely my favourite video tho so come along and let yourself go.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Selling your imagination

As I am technically on holiday and not sure what demons  are being summoned at the club I took a quick browse of Kickstarter for the first time in earnest. Facebook is profiling me as a role player among many other things I am sure and drip feeds me curiosities to the extent that I have actually pressed a couple of extra buttons today and my word there is a lot of stuff going on.

A couple of noteable noteables are either in prototype or have now closed but Fogbound is one that caught my eye. Defaulting to Cthulu as my go to post imperial fix I have also enjoyed Space 1889 as a Victorian romp but Fogbound could turn out to be a winner particularly as its underpinned by 13th Age mechanics. Here is the facebook link to Gareth Clegg's  page, he is looking for artists a present if any of you can put more than pen to paper.

Hunters Books, publishers of Outbreak: Zombie Undead have diversified their portfolio and kickstarted Outbreak: Deep Space. A horror/Sci-Fi RPG, which I think there is a gap in the market for as aside from the Alien series, nothing else immediately springs to mind in the genre. Whilst  Outbreak:Undead did not get a great review on they have said that their deadlines are a little more forgiving on this project and the ratings on drivethru are a lot better. 

Finally, this guy is nuts. If anyone works out what he is on about then let me know...

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Summer recess

Though we are a most wise and lumiable council of role players, games architects and live action artisans, we do talk a lot of bollocks occasionally. Some of the more astute subscribers to this tome may have deduced this already but formal gibbering has now begun regarding the upcoming cycle of new games.  Out of respect to mad geniuses here is a link to a review of Heroquest that must be forceably shown to everyone interested in tabletop sports, even sabbuteo (Do they do subbuteo DnD miniatures ?)

All hail BardicBroadcasts
Sir, you are a Legendary Artefact

GM Bill may have another session to round off his 13th age and there are a couple of us on holiday at the moment so stray role players may just have to cope with wacky board games for a week or two. Last week we thoroughly enjoyed a game of Skulls which is a sort of cross between poker and voodoo. Many of these modern fringy tabletop games are enormous fun and are ideal to pass the time in a bar between adventures.

Upcoming I believe we are gaining traction in bullying GM Rob to open a Numenara game; a kickstarted and uniquely imagined world of SciFi that will appeal to anyone intrigued by unconventional narratives. I hope the gameplay is as stunning as the artwork.

Equially GM Jon has offered a Savage Worlds filler, which if it is anything like his previous games will be great fun. GM Kryzs has put forward a Changing breeds and GM Bill has a bag of Indie options also including a 13 Age. I also poked GM Jack who I think could be blackmailed at a push to run something. So all told lots of options depending on who turns up but just like selecting a new pope, there is a lot of smoke and dagger at first, out of which will arise a new order of gods and demons.

So come along and join a cult of your choosing!

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Last chapter

The MERP has now ended in a style of its own. Whilst I had thought the session would be a 30 minuteish round off, most of the hard work having been done, the party still managed to faff it out for the full two hours. Unbelievable. They had just entered the Ancient Kingdom of Angmar where the Witch King presided over affairs during his reign. As corruption devoured him, he had constructed a Nexus between the planes of the living and  the dead for his work as a necromancer, where the party simply had to turn left and burn the book. However our Tom Cruise Mage, interested on who the book liked the most, decided to simply throw it off the side of a mountain to see where it would teleport back to. Unfortunately, it decided not to teleport anywhere.
Off we go then. Two more Golems were on their tail made their presence felt, although to be clever about it I made them flying bone Golems rather than clunky stone Golems to stop this incessant use of stone to mud. Sadly for me however our mage had sneaked a peek at the book earlier and had picked up some nice evil Flesh Destruction spells on which lists he managed to find Break Bone, literally disarming one of them. Very clever I suppose. However the fight started to turn into a bit of a sit com as the Golems were after the book and not the players so they tried to fly off down the cliff. Panicking, both the mage and animist managed to climb aboard a golem each and a sort of unearthly merry go round/ frogger game ensued as the Golems went flying back and forth with magic users on their backs. Cut a long and bizarre story short, they did eventually dispatch their mounts and get to where they were supposed to.
Sadly they had faffed me out of time so a few surprises didn't happen but I did get the chance to offer them unlimited immortal power and a kingdom of their own, rather then burn any books, but sadly, they did stick to their quest and the peoples of Middle Earth can once again get on with their 4th Age.
A mightly enjoyable adventure I would say more so because of some considerable off roading plotwise but as its a club game I had to draw down the curtain eventually. If it was a home game then I suspect that they would be riding those Golems off into the distance. In fact I suspect they would never have left Minas Tirith in the first place, being duly sidetracked by a particularly interesting piece of cheese. Anyway, here for whoever may find it is a glorious freeze to mark our adventures in Middle Earth etched by our very own Fade.
GM Bill is also putting his Bronze Age Mythological 13th Age game on timely pause so more news on the new GMs later, but if you have been out of the club habit for a while then now is the perfect time to put it back on again so come along and have a drink with your favourite geeks!


Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Necromancer Slippers

The game is afoot in the MERP as the players finally  encroach on the lair of the Witch King. As mighty and feared as the Nazgul were, as a GM one has to address a significant amount of detail in order to maintain a certain level of ambience and context. It consequently means that I have had to give some thought as to the layout and décor of the habitat of said undead. Now I get the impression from the Lord of the Ring books that the Nazgul were trapped in the very throes of death yet sustained in unlife, tortured, with no choice but to scream in torment to enact the will of their Dark Lord. But in all of this melodrama would they not have had some respite in the little things? A comfortable throne to sit on or perhaps a nice pair of slippers for the evening. The point is that I have had to determine the living arrangements of a long dead and forgotten King. But of course the clue is in the question as not actually being alive does mean that living arrangements are sort of missing the point somewhat.
So Nazgul habitats exhibit the presence one would expect from former Mage Commanders of  great evil armies and also the regal but wasting décor of long lost palaces; their bodies having long since corrupted away reflects in their now abandoned fortresses and the lands over which they governed.
The party have thus entered the ruins of Minas Ithil and whilst the stone tower and battlements have remained standing, the interiors have all collapsed. Our party worked their way up an immensely long winding stair to the summit of the main watchtower. From here stood four doors; two leading West and South outside to a viewing balustrade, one magical but closed to the East and one open to a glowing corridor to the North extending beyond the physical limits of the tower itself. Our mage did attempt to open the door to the East as he had accidently been reading evil books earlier in the day that he shouldn't have and picked up a very powerful 'undoor' command. But like anyone wielding great power that is suddenly thrust upon them quite late in the evening, mistook undoor for unlock and vaporized the aforementioned gateway and its lintel, the tower roof groaning structurally in reply.
Still, building regs notwithstanding they party have skipped down a magical rabbit hole and are now somewhere else entirely....

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Bathtime is definitely over

OK, so, correct me if I am wrong, but last week I blogged about the curious obsession our Mage had with sailing and other associated water based activities. Obviously he was something like a fish in a previous life, and, depending on the enemies waiting in the rest of the plot, may have that experience again. However this is not Spelljammer.
To be fair despite his passion for sailing, snorkelling and demolitions, last week did see the sinking of a pirate ship. I had hoped that the party would go head to head with the bad guys in swashbuckling style which would have ended in a face off between good and evil mages. However, in the special forces world of underwater wizards, the ship and crew were first deprived of their point guards, then their ship, then their wits, then some of their loot and finally in many cases their lives. Once the pirates had nowhere to float due do to repetitive mystical hull failure then there was no option but to abandon ship, gather what loot they could an bugger off. Alongside other harassments, the bottom line is that once a pirate has no ship then technically he is really just an unshaven thug looking for a panto.
However, as I felt the party were getting away with far too much subterfuge, another couple of Golems turned up to hassle them. It was at this point that our other mage decided that of all things, going sailing was the best idea. Unbelievable. So off we go, other mage jumps on the party boat and launches into his apparently true calling. Five minutes later he is covered in rope and the ship is gently rotating away with the tide, and despite protestation of "Surely I know something about boats" we start random anchoring procedures, almost ripping the bow off. There was a method in the complete madness though as whilst one golem was taken out quickly, the other waded out towards the mage and, as it swam as well as any other brick, couldn't really do much other than position itself directly  below the hull on the river bed. So there was a sort of underwater Mexican standoff. Eventually the boat was brought back into shore, followed by a golem unceremoniously splodging through the silt, at which point the other mage cast mud to stone in true mafia style and left a flailing construct stuck in concrete to watch the ebbing and flowing of the tides for all eternity. Perhaps we should have called this a 'plan' in retrospect but I'm still not clear on whether to award experience or take it away.
Either way, bathtime is now definitely over.


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Plane Sailing

Yes, forgot about this one until everyone reminded me last week; the road to the negative plane is paved with good intentions they say. More to the point, it is one thing to have a good idea but it is quite another in having the skills or charisma to carry that idea out. Take for example our Tom Cruise/Mage character class player who, not being content for the party to adventure along a river bank with their horses like any other party decided it would be a much better idea if he teleported himself fifty miles back up river to fetch a boat whereupon the party could then presumably take their time, enjoy watching the scenery drift past, perhaps do a bit of fishing and quaff the occasional Riocha. Not really fully absorbing this the rest of the party shrugged their collective shoulders and off he popped.
Now mages are traditionally brought up within stone towers, bent double squirreling over ancient books and straining under dim candlelight for many years- exactly what boat handling and navigation skills they would acquire during this period I am unsure. In fact I would go as far as to say I was a little sceptical. So here is a GM's perspective on the events.
Mage teleports, makes his casting roll and doesn't end up inside a brick wall. Ok so far.
Standing in the docks at Osgiliath. he asks 'OK, so can I see a boat?'
Mmm ok player makes a perception roll and finds an old boat on stocks in a warehouse. GM rolls to see if the boat is seaworthy, smells of prawns or will instantly sink. Made a reasonable roll so it will float but the rigging is not set. However as the Mage is in fact a Mage, he has no idea about this.
'Cool! Teleport the boat into the water !'
OK, makes his teleport roll so the boat doesn't end up on the opposite bank and hey presto boards as its shiny new captain.
'Off we go then!'
Nick rolls his seamanship. This is where the issues begin - not a great roll, which is mostly irrelevant as having spent no time on anything even resembling a boat, the roll is versus a sheer folly modifier. In other words if he randomly plays with stuff is there a quantum chance it all starts working. No is the answer surprisingly.
So Nick makes another roll to see which side of the Osgiliath bridge he is on. Makes it annoyingly enough as we could have been looking at some sort of wonderful docking attempt with a stone bridge, however he is on the right side of the seaway as it happens. Off we drift. And drift is the correct word. Having failed all attempts at rigging, navigation and boat handling, the boat gently moves out into the river and rotates slowly as it meanders down river. A couple of days later he eventually floats past the point where he left everyone, but of course its the middle of the night and he hasn't the faintest idea where he is. The other mage in the party thinks he saw something on the river so wanders down to the bank and whispers "Is anybody there?". A quarter of a mile away, Captain Mage happily journeys onwards counting the stars. Getting towards dawn, the coastal relief start to look very unfamiliar at this point and so remarkably he gets the boat to the shore, secures it and walks his way back upriver to the party, all of whom now decide that its probably a good idea to keep using the horses.

What a delightful waste of time.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Disdyakis Triacontahedrons

From time to time I do review the tools of the trade, principally dice of course as there is, to be fair, quite a wide opportunity for creativity in the market and occasionally beautiful sculptures bordering on artwork.
Let me say now that the D120 is not one of these items. What in gods name needs a D120 ? The manufacturers are of course not stupid and are producing to demand but I cant think from my addled memory what mechanic involves 120 in any system I have come across. I do know I roll a ot of dice for things like fireballs, falling damage and scalar multipliers for when a Deathstar shoots a hobbit but nothing consistently in the D120 range. The sales pitch reads:
"The ultimate fair dice allowed by Mother Nature (i.e., mathematics)! The d120 is based on a polyhedron known as the disdyakis triacontahedron. Each face is an elongated triangle. These dice are perfectly numerically balanced, with the same sums for numbers around vertices of the same type. The dice are available in white, black, red, blue, and green.
 The d120 can be used as a dn, where n is any proper factor of 120, including all of the dice in a standard seven-dice polyset."

 Good luck to them I say.
I have also come across the occasional player with metal dice and given the passion I have for gaming I would consider splashing out on something a bit special. Beyond a certain weight of course other factors come into play as I wouldn't want to damage equally expensive roleplaying systems by rolling pointy steel over them. Also it has to be said that I am not getting any younger but there may come a day where I will struggle to lift something made from cast iron. Might be a case of getting nurse to roll for me. There is a kickstarter actually at
What is interesting about this, and their products do look great I think, is that they say that they use processes that date back 5000 years! I do know that Pythagoras must have been a role player in waiting circa 500BC as he was theory crafting his perfect platonic solids well in advance of the D4 as well as being heavily into mysticism, so unknowingly did much to lay the groundwork for the RPG systems of today. Shame he never played Age of Empires. However I am not sure what roleplaying options there were over 5000 years ago, other than to play additional caveman modules but perhaps the foresight of our ancestors caused them to create the dice ahead of their time without knowing what they were for; which came first, the D20 or the RPG ?