Saturday, August 25, 2012

More About Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG

In my recent post, Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG = D&D Perfected, I gave my initial reaction after browsing through the core rule book for the DCC RPG.  I had planned to explain my reasons a bit but life was extremely busy and demanding at that point.  Things have calmed down now so I will present the reasons I always intended to include in my original post. 

The Artwork
The cover of the DCC RPG grabbed my attention as soon as I first saw it up close.  I immediately flipped through the book to see how the rest of the art looked.  I was relieved to see a complete lack of the dungeonpunk style of art that bacame dominant during the third edition era.  I do not think that dungeonpunk was bad BUT I never felt like it represented the kind of fantasy I was interested in playing with all of the spikes, pockets, chains, and other unnecessary accessories and trinkets attached to the armor of the people in the illustrations.  I had high hopes after just a quick flip through of the rule book.
The Back Cover Text
After flipping through the rule book I turned it over to read these words:
 "You’re no hero.  You’re an adventurer: a reaver, a cutpurse, a heathen-slayer, a tight-lipped warlock guarding long-dead secrets.  You seek gold and glory, winning it with sword and spell, caked in the blood and filth of the weak, the dark, the demons, and the vanquished.  There are treasures to be won deep underneath, and you shall have them.
I immediately started thinking of the day that my uncle David passed down his Holmes Basic Set and all of his AD&D rule books to me.  It was the summer of 1980 and it was quite a bit for an 8 year old kid and his buddies to take in but we did get up and gaming shortly after.

The Funky Dice
In addition to the standard range of polyhedrons, the DCC RPG also uses the d3, d5, d7, d14, d16, d24, and d30.  It seems that people are divided on these funky dice; some people are dead set against them while others really dig them.  I was a little skeptical of them at first but I really do think the funky dice add an extra dimension to the game.  They are not a gimmick but are actually used in a cool way to assess penalties to tasks.  For instance, your character might suffer a -2 die step penalty under certain circumstances so you would roll a d14 instead of a d20 on the attempt.  The DCC RPG brings back the sense of wonder we all felt when we first learned of the other sizes of dice outside the d6 found in Yahtzee, Monopoly, Risk, or other such games.
The Character Creation Funnel
Each player generates as many as four 0-level characters.  The funnel is the process of separating the wheat from the chaff and determining which chbaracters will go on to adventure further.  It is expected that atleast some, if not most, of your 0-level characters will not survive.  I have always wanted to use 0-level play in my games and now I have official rules for it.

My Campaign
I noticed as I was flipping through the rule book that my ideas for my campaign are actually better represented by the DCC RPG system so I am going to use it to power my campaign world of Toldara.  The start was delayed by a bit but it will begin soon.  This post is just the timp of the iceberg and I will put down more thoughts about DCC RPG in future posts.

More later...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

ECW - The Argument Against...

In my last post I talked about the ECW retrospective DVD.  In this post, I give an opinion that is solidly against ECW and the hardcore wrestling scene - Jim Cornette.  I don't always agree with what he says but I am always entertained.

Further thoughts are included in this video.

I think Mr. Cornette brings up many good points BUT who is that in this video doing work in ECW?

Food for though...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Rise and Fall of ECW DVD

I am off on a professional wrestling tangent for this post.  I may delve into some more posts about this topic because I was a huge professional wrestling fan at one point in time.  I mainly skip it these days but I will stop for a few minutes while I am flipping through the channels. If someone invites me over to watch a Pay-Per-View event then I will more than likely show up.  I must admit that professional wrestling is just all around not the same anymore at all.  I loved it from the late 70s to the early 90s - when kayfabe was still in effect - but now that Vince McMahon is the undisputed king of the dung heap the state of professional wrestling is in a shambles.  Like the old timers say, "A polished turd is STILL a turd."  That is a quick background and my current opinion of the professional wrestling industry so now it is time to move on to my thoughts on ECW.

Before I go any further, I need to make a few things clear.  First, I was aware of ECW at the time but I was not a regular viewer.  I did not have cable because I was a young married soldier in the Army with little to no disposable income.  Second, my knowledge of ECW comes from the DVD, The Rise and Fall of ECW, and from YouTube and other sources.  Third, I am only discussing Extreme Championship Wrestling and not the precursor Eastern Championship Wrestling or the revival (read as "abomination") known as WWECW in wrestling circles.

I found this DVD at Wal-Mart  and bought it since I was always interested in seeing more about ECW.  This 2-Disc set has a company retrospective on the first disc and 7 matches on the second disc.  The first disc starts in the days of Eastern Champinship Wrestling when they were part of the National Wrestling Alliance.  Eventually, Eastern Championship Wrestling is folded and Extreme Championship Wrestling is born.  This is a new era of reality tv type wrestling that smacks you in the face and caters to the adults instead of the children.  The DVD continues to tell the story of how the company got a TV show, started doing pay per view shows and finally folded. 

ECW seems to be a very divisive topic to a large majority of wrestling fans.  The fans of ECW were almost fanatical and cult like in their devotion to the company; there was a group of fans that would show up every week and try to sit in the same seating area for the shows.  The crowd did not just watch the show but they participated in it by chanting "E-C-W" when the wrestlers pulled off amazing moves.  Since this was an adult show, the violence was pretty intense.  Wrestlers were getting slammed through tables AFTER THEY WERE LIT ON FIRE, slammed onto thumb tacks thrown on the mat. jumping from 20 feet above the ring onto their opponents - it was just insane seeing the moves that these guys would pull out in a match!    For a glimpse of some extreme action, watch this video:
The crowd would also bring pots, pans, oars, and sorts of other things that the wrestlers would go to the audience to grab and use in the matches. You can not get that sort of interaction at a WWE event!  If a wrestler messed up a move, the crowd was waiting to chant "You Fucked Up!".  It was a completely different atmosphere at an ECW event and I am sorry to say I never got to see it live.

I know that the ECW style is not for everybody and there is nothing wrong with that at all - different strokes for different folks and all - but if you are a wrestling fan and want a promotion that is about the product in the ring and not "sports entertainment" then you should check out some ECW.  If it was so terrible then why did wrestling legends such as Terry Funk, Bam Bam Bigelow,  and Sid Vicious decide to work there?  It ECW was "Extremely Crappy Wrestling" as Jerry Lawler put it then why did the big two companies raid their lineup in search of new talent?  In all honesty, ECW was the first victim of the Monday Night Wars that took place between WWE and WCW. 

The DVD closes by having various wrestlers state why they thought ECW was special.  Finally, Paul Heyman closes with these words, "You cannot achieve success without the risk of failure. And I learned a long time ago, you cannot achieve success, if you fear failure. If you're not afraid to fail, man, you have a chance to succeed. But you're never gonna get there unless you risk it, all the way. I'll risk failure. Sometimes, half the fun is failing. Learning from your mistakes, waking up the next morning, and saying 'Okay. Watch out. Here I come again. A little bit smarter, licking my wounds, and really not looking forward to getting my ass kicked the way I just did yesterday.' So now, I'm just a little more dangerous."


Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Hunger Games Blu Ray

We had planned to go see The Hunger Games at the theatre but no one was available to watch the kids so we skipped it and waited for the DVD release.  We did not get all crazy and go pick it up at midnight  last night or anything like that.  The dog needed out this morning so I went and picked it up with the few groceries we needed for the coming week.  The kids were still asleep so it was the perfect time to watch the movie.
 Both of us have read all three of the Hunger Games books.  It started with Stacey and then she got me to read them.  In contrast to the Twilight series, I probably would have read the Hunger Games without any recommendations; it would have just been a matter of "when".  Regardless, I am glad that I read the books because I did enjoy them quite a bit and will read them again sometime. 
I was a little concerned about the film adaptation because I recalled the film adaptations of other books such as Eragon.  I enjoyed not only the book Eragon but the entire Inheritance series.  The film adaptation of Eragon had a really good cast but it was a definite dud as far as adaptations go.  The film was quite a bit different from the book and had some glaring omissions.  I would have liked to have seen a series of films but I am sure that there will be no further movies. 

How was the film adaptation of the Hunger Games?  I thought it was excellent.  There are some differences from the book but nothing near as drastic as Eragon.  The world of PanEm is represented in very good detail and does not look like a set or some corny stage props.  The cast was terrific and very appropriate for the descriptions in the novels.  The only question I had was about the appearance of Haymitch because I thought he was supposed to be older.  Stacey pointed out that he is probably the right age but is supposed to look older due to all of his drinking.  The movie has a nice pace and I never felt bored while watching.  Finally, the violence is there but it is done in a non-grotesque manner and does not glorify it either. 

In a nutshell - THUMBS UP!     

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

[Kickstarter] SteamCraft: A Steampunk Tabletop RPG

I have been pretty impressed with Perilous Journeys because it took the concept of Lejendary Adventures and made it much easier to comprehend and use; for anyone that is interested, more information can be found at their website.  I have not been to their website in a while so I decided to visit earlier.

I was surprised to learn that they have a new game - SteamCraft - that they are trying to get into distribution in game stores.  All of the information about the kickstarter can be found on the StreamCraft Kickstarter page.  The game sounds interesting and the rewards for backing  include custom dice, signed books, and even some custom steampunk goggles.  Give it a look... 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Silence Will Be Broken Shortly...

I have not updated in a short while - a longer absence than I would have liked - but that is about to change shortly.  The summer semester is over and work has calmed down a bit but the main reason that I have not been active in the blogosphere is that I have occupied with my 5 year old son, Ethan.  It has finally been confirmed that he has autism. I have been getting educated about what to expect and ensuring that everything is in place when he starts school next week.   Everything seems to be falling into place so I will be posting again on a regular basis.