Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Game of Thrones Season 2 and ducks.

As I happens I've have only watched the first and second season and to be honest whilst I will watch the other seasons at some point I am inevitably losing sympathy with all of the main characters and clans. They all seem to be either stupid, greedy, petulant, sadistic, juvenile or short. To be fair I wouldn't class short as a character flaw but its an irritating reason to sympathise with someone though I do understand the risks of inbreeding.

Nevertheless the Season two I am most excited about is in fact our own. The Song of Ice and Fire restarts with our own House Bequis fighting and clawing for their rightful place in the World. I don't recall a motto or coat of arms although I'm sure its been discussed; I would vote for "Backstabbing for Honour". There may be better ones.
House Bequis also gets development points for its Homestead by way of experience although its always difficult to decide between a new hedge or pond. If I recall I think we have a pond, with ducks.
Which, in my very clever journalistic style, leads me to the second announcement that we begin a new campaign in Glorantha. For everyone wanting to get into a new game at the start, now is the moment. Welcome to...

GM  Rob has the following précis
It'll use a pre-written adventure with a pre-genned group set around the city of Pravis. The players characters will mostly be people from the Rubble, the ruins of the ancient city that surrounds the modern city and contains the various non-human races such as the elves or broo that shelter around the city. The party consists of 4 humans, 1 elf (who are *very* different from Tolkienesque elves, being living trees more akin to the Sylvari in Guild Wars 2) and 1 broo (a reformed member of a race of goat-like creatures twisted by a trinity of dark, chaotic gods into violent raiders and monsters).

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Frothing Dwarves are best avoided

The second chapter of the great Warhammer Saga is drawing to a close; whilst our demonic dagger is down its definitly not yet defeated. Whilst we are loking forward to a jolly epilogue where we slap each other on the back and pose for a group photo, there is a little more to be done. Having dug out the last adversary she narrowly missed the full force of a beserk Dwarf and managed to slip away under her fate point. I suspect we may see more of her in the next chapter. Neverthless, one exorcism ceremony in a graveyard and then its home for tea. We shall see I daresay.

If there are people out there thinking about coming back to the club on a more regular basis then now is a good time as the Song of Ice and Fire will restart and also, depending on numbers another game will begin -Ive offered an episodic Stargate if people cant commit to a regular slot or I have a Middle Earth adventure if there are enough regular people. Other GMs may also have something they would like to run so watch this space for a decision soon.

I have a long history with the Middle Earth as it was really reading Lord of the Rings that kept me out of trouble as a teenager so the RPG was an instant fix for me. I later got into the more administrative Rolemster, it's bigger brother, but somehow managed to absorb it all. My preference these days for a LotR is to use the core book and some of the Rolemaster books as options - the Arms Lore and Spell Lore and some of the RMC character classes. A pure LotR can be a little dry I find but additional options can make it much more enjoyable without cannabalising in the original legacy too much. I wonder if JRRT would have had time to write it if he had got into roleplaying first...


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Music to get massacared by

Warren was good enough to run a one off DnD Next by way of a filler game last Thursday. I'm not familiar with the system though I am guessing that its designed to be a more accessible version of the D&D lineage. I only remember playing the original D&D and then Ad&D 2nd ed which seemed to complement each other very well as entry level and complex respectively. The evolution beyond 2nd ed drifted out of my perception for years until the D&DN game last week.
As I understand it the sequence of the D&D games is listed at the end of this post. I'm sure someone will correct me if its wrong. Don't blame me, I just plagiarised it from another post.
Nevertheless most of the session was spent rolling up the characters, which, whilst a bit formidable for a one off, is a game in itself and always a good way to get a an intro to a new system. Much of it seemed familiar and the new character sheets are covered with icons in an mostly successful attempt to stop you from writing the wrong thing in the wrong box. Once you know what to look up where, the personalities start to come through. I like the new Warforged race; a 'species' of sentient golems if you will - mass manufacturing fallout from the last wars - think medieval Terminator.. "Eyel be backe".
Still, our little session took place in the bustling market square of Balders Gate no less. We only got a few rounds in before we had to stop but it was in the middle of a indiscriminate attack that had erupted whilst we were calmly browsing the wares of presumably highly reputable merchants. For some reason I forget it did get us thinking about the best music to get massacred by. "Don't stab me now" by Queen got wide appeal but I've always liked "Underneath the Archers" by Flanagan and Allen.
Here is a picture of Frasier rolling up his DnDN character. Whilst it may look like a genius at work he has in fact completely lost the plot here and just colouring in the sheet, I also think he is thinking of a duck for some reason - perhaps a lost cry for an old Runequest character...
D&D Lineage
OD&D - The original game had only three classes (Cleric, Fighter, Magic User). Cleric spells up to 5th level, Magic user spells up to 6th level. Every attack except for certain monster abilities did 1d6 damage if it hit. There wasn't a lot of difference between characters in terms of combat capabilities. Characteristics didn't have many modifiers.
OD&D plus Greyhawk Supplement - The Greyhawk supplement transformed OD&D into a form of older edition D&D that is recognizable by most gamers today. Characteristics have more modifiers and exceptional strength was introduced. Variable damage dice for different weapons and creatures was introduced. The number of spell levels increased.
Holmes Edition, B/X D&D, Mentzer D&D - Similar to OD&D plus Greyhawk including selected elements from other supplements, with the rules rewritten for clarity and organization. Playing a Race meant playing a class. For example a Dwarf used only the Dwarf Class. Both B/X and Mentzer were divided in distinct books that focused on a specific range of levels. Later the Mentzer version was combined into the Rules Compendium. The biggest difference between these rules and AD&D was found in higher level play. Mentzer D&D had specific rules for running domain, mass combat, and even becoming a immortal i.e. god.
AD&D 1st Edition - OD&D plus Supplements plus Strategic Review articles are combined, rewritten, and organized into a three book set. One of the reason behind this edition was to standardize how D&D was played to make running tournaments easier. The most popular version of older edition D&D. Bonuses for characteristics roughly go up to +4 and are capped at 18 except for exceptional strength.
A lot of extra details are added in Gygax's distinctive writing style. Some section are poorly designed or understood like the unarmed combat rules, initiative, psionics, human dual classing, etc. While other are widely adopted, classes, races, spells, magic items, etc. Characters select a race and a class. Non-human race can multi class which involves splitting experience between multiple classes. Non-humans were generally limited to a max level (often low).
AD&D 1st Edition plus Unearthed Arcana - This version shifted the power level of the game upwards by allowing increased level limits for non-human, new classes that were slightly more powerful, and weapon specialization for fighters. Later AD&D hardback books (the two Survival books) expanded the use of non-weapon proficiencies as a skill system.
AD&D 2nd Edition - Still basically AD&D 1st Edition but the rules have been reorganized and rewritten for clarity. Some content like half-orc, demons, and assassins were removed or changed due to media pressure. Character customization was expanded by using non-weapon proficiencies as a skill system and by allowing characters to take kits that confer various benefits. Combat has been redesigned to overcome the issues with initiative and unarmed combat that were part of the previous edition of AD&D.
Because of the success of Dragonlance, much of AD&D 2nd Edition run was focused on customizing the rules for specific settings or themes. TSR released a lot of different settings like Dark Sun, Birthright, and others.
AD&D 2nd Edition Skills and Powers - Player's Option: Skill and Powers introduced several rule systems that allowed extensive customization of a character.
D&D 3rd Edition - The first edition created by Wizards of the Coast, 3rd Edition took the idea of Skill and Powers and developed a cleaner system for customizing characters by designing the classes so a level of one class can stack on top of another class. A single level chart was introduced and a each level a character could take a new class or add another level of a class they already had.
In addition feats were added to allow character to further customize their abilities. A true skill system was introduced and integrated into the game. The underlying d20 system worked by rolling equal too or higher than a target number and adding various bonus. This was used across the game in a standard way. Problems developed at higher levels as the number of options increased to the point where players had a tough time resolving their actions.
In addition, when various supplements were combined, characters could be built that were considerably more powerful than other combinations. This version was also noted for releasing the d20 system under the Open Game License, which ignited a vigorous third party market.
D&D 3.5 Edition - This edition featured only small changes to the core game (and was mostly-but-not-entirely compatible with books written for 3rd Edition), but had its own extensive line of supplements which magnified the role of feats, prestige classes, and multiclassing in character customization.
This version of D&D is still the baseline for many D20 games still in print and active development, notably the Pathfinder game by Paizo.
D&D 4th Edition - This edition is a completely new game with only a few game mechanics carried over from the 3rd Edition. It has a simple set of core rules and defines all character and monster abilities as exceptions which are described in standard terms. Higher level combat has been simplified, and class has been designed to have specific roles in combat. Every classes has a diverse set of combat options to use. The use of a battlegrid and miniatures is part of the core rules. Classes and monster generally have a high fantasy flavor. There are multiple ways to heal centered on a new mechanic called healing surges. Combat takes noticeably longer than any prior edition except perhaps for high level 3rd edition combat. While not present at the game's launch, this edition is noted for popular use of on-line computer tools, particularly an online character builder that integrates content from all the supplements. Wizards of the Coast originally intended to create a "virtual tabletop" as well, but the project was never completed.
D&D Essentials - This was an alternative set of core books for 4th Edition, with simplified classes intended for first-time players. Essentials was designed to be cross-compatible with 4th Edition, with different versions of the classes usable side-by-side.
D&D Next - Current Version

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Antiques Roadshow

I remember watching antiques road show on and off for my entire life. There is always the moment someone realises that they have a national treasure that they have been using as a tea cosy for generations and of course the adamant collector of the full star trek set of chess pieces, crestfallen when he realises they actually shipped several million of them worldwide.

I can't however remember any particular episode where a presenter became possessed by a demon inhabiting a given article and tried to eat any of the general public. At least not on camera. This is of some solace to us as a party as we have only apparently two thirds of a demon left in a dagger we are trying to disenchant. I must admit to attempting an administrative solution to our quandary by suggesting that the Warhammer system does indeed round down on occasion and that, applying the principal, we could simply round down the demon to zero and defeat the incumbent evil using no more than basic mathematics. My plan did not gain traction.

So, we are currently in a graveyard doing a sort of ceremonial rehearsal, as you do, current problem being that several ghosts and demons inhabiting the facility do not know a practice run when they see one.

Here is a picture of Warren and Jon with things completely under control.