Monday, December 31, 2012

The Top 7

I stumbled across the top 7 role-playing games meme that was going through the gaming blogosphere recently.  I have read the following posts about their respective top seven games:
This type of stuff always interests me because it gives an inside look at what other people in the hobby were doing at the same time.  The summer of 1980 was when it all started for me.  I received the Holmes Basic Set and the three AD&D hardbacks from my uncle David.  I have played a ton of games since then but I am not going to do a separate list for games I played and games I ran.  Both lists would basically be the same but the games would occupy a different spot in both lists. 
1. AD&D: My buddies and I actually started off with Holmes and followed the references to the AD&D books I also owned.  We really liked the additional rules and restrictions offered up by AD&D.  It was pretty common for us to use D&D stuff with AD&D; it did not matter because it was all Dungeons & Dragons as far as we were concerned.  No one game got more play time from our group than this one.  I never moved up to 2E but I did game a little with 3E.

2. Palladium Role-Playing Game: Out of all of the stuff that has come and gone in my collection this is the one item that I wish I still had more than anything else.  This is the one game that made us all stop playing any form of D&D to play it instead.  It almost seemed like an upgrade to AD&D with the similarities in the rules systems; that made it easy to use stuff between the two systems also.I have the second edition around here somewhere but it just has not grabbed my attention like the original.     

 3. D&D: It all started with the Holmes Basic set but over the years AD&D got much more play out of our group.  We were under the mistaken impression that using AD&D meant we were playing a more "sophisticated" game.  I know, the folly of youth and all that jazz.  If I was starting a new campaign today I would probably just go with Moldvay or Holmes and some of the fan expansion material. 

 4. Talislanta: I stumbled across the second edition of the Talislanta Handbook and Campaign Guide on a random trip to the local game store.  We were instantly intrigued by the out of the ordinary races and campaign setting.  I always liked using one of the Gnomekin character options.  As cool as some of the more recent editions have been, I still feel like the slimmer manuals from that time were better at capturing your imagination.

5. Villains & Vigilantes: This was the first and in many ways still the best supers game I ever played.  V&V seemed to emphasize fun more than anything else.  This was the first game that had us actively building connections and relationships between various character and stories in the campaign. My old V&V folders are somewhere in storage with a ton of character write ups.  I would like to find them someday and post some to my blog. 

6. Marvel Super Heroes: I played quite a bit of the old Marvel Super Heroes game from TSR but I was not a big fan of the basic game.  It was cool because it was Marvel but I always felt like it was a little "too basic" in presentation.  When the Advanced Set was released, I became a big fan of the rules.  In fact, we used them for doing things other than supers.  There was a short GI JOE campaign that added a list of MOS options to the character creation process.  We had stats for a ton of the official characters also.  We also did a Transformers campaign. 

7. Nightlife: I do not remember much about this game other than we played several sessions.  I know it was one of those "monsters in the modern world" games but that is about it.  I believe it was released several years before White Wolf began the World of Darkness.  It remains the only horror type game that I have ever played but I would definitely like to try Call of Cthulhu.
There you have it - the top 7 games I have participated in as a player or game master.  I may be late in posting it but I made it.  

Sunday, December 30, 2012

[USR] [OUTBREAK RPG] Progress So Far...

I just had some thoughts about the OUTBREAK RPG running through my head so I thought I would post them.  I find that it is often a good idea to clear the thoughts so I can move on to other things.  Without further delay, here is where various parts of the design stand in regards to completion.
I really like the fact that USR is so rules light and should prove to be pretty accommodating to customization.  The two areas that I am focused on are the Attribute Dice and Specialisms.  Once those two sections are completed it should be easier to move on to other sections. 
World Fiction
I have started writing several of the fiction pieces that will be scattered throughout the book.  I hope for these fiction pieces to help set the tone and reveal a little bit of the campaign world at the same time.  All of the following pieces have been given a preliminary plot and structure; of course, all is subject to change.
News broadcast: I plan on opening the book with a transcript of a news report from a local TV station.  They think it is all a prank gone wrong that resulted in deaths.  During an update later in the news, one of the dead rise and attacks. The news anchors back at the station along with the viewers at home are left wondering what the hell is going on.  This could work well in a movie or television show but I am not sure how well this will work in the written medium.
Lab reports: The section on the virus and infected will have a few lab reports that detail the failure of the early designs and then the breakthrough that led to success. 
Various:  I also have some personal diary entries and general fiction that I am going to insert at certain points in the rulebook.  As time goes by there may be even more fiction added.
In all fairness, I can write a bit but I make no claims of greatness; simply put, I am not a professional writer nor do I claim to  If the fiction just does not cut it, then I will most likely drop it.  My plan is to post some of the pieces when they are nearing completion so I can get feedback.  Of course, at that point if anyone is willing to collaborate on the fiction or anything else then I am always open to that.
Groups & Factions

There will be several groups for the players to interact with - peacefully or not -  in the campaign world.  Some of the groups will be old while some of them will be new and formed in reaction to the reality of the campaign world.  Some of the groups are detailed below.
U.S. Military: The military will still be a strong force but will not necessarily be united.  The forces will be scattered among several strongholds throughout the continent.
Militias:  These groups will be formed in reaction to the world as it is now.  Some of them will be helpful to PCs while others will be neutral or even violent.  These militias will most commonly  be made up of former military personnel combined with other citizens. 
Gangs:  Some of the gangs will have put aside their differences in this world.  They will change their names along with their ways.  There will still be plenty of  gangs that hold on to their old prejudices and will be enemies.  This will show that humans can be just as dangerous as the infected.
CED - Church of the End Days: This is a new movement that will take place among survivors.  Members of this church do not believe any of the scientific rumors but believe that they are living in the biblical end of days. 
The biggest contribution to the game by these groups and factions will be emphasizing that strength is in numbers and the world is much too dangerous to attempt to go solo.
I just needed to get all of this out of my head so I could move on to other areas.  Hopefully, progress keeps going steady.              

Saturday, December 29, 2012

[USR] OUTBREAK RPG - Ideas & an Outline

This post contains my initial ideas about the design and layout of the OUTBREAK RPG.  Of course, all of this stuff is subject to change.
The rules will open with a transcript from a news report or a 911 call from a hysterical citizen screaming about zombies.  The news anchor/operator will be skeptical but by the end of the conversation it will be clear that something is not right.  This should continue on in other sections or at random spots in the book with a lab report, a police report, a journal entry or whatever else seems appropriate.
Included in the introduction will be a subsection on What You Need that will cover the same list in USR and also point people to the USR core.  I am making a supplement to the rules, not replacing them.
Character Creation
Players will be free to create a character that is appropriate for the modern world in a zombie apocalypse.  There will be examples of how to assign the Attribute Dice and Specialisms to come up cops, teachers, scientists, detectives, military personnel, and other character types.  There might even be the option to play a character somewhat similar to project Alice from the Resident Evil movies.
The Campaign
This section will cover various aspects of the game world.  This section will include a short history and background of the game world, information on weapons, equipment, encounters, the virus, and other information as well.   
Weapons & Equipment
A list of weapons and equipment stats will need to be provided.  Of course, the characters will also be scavenging for weapons, ammo, and fuel in many situations so there should be some scavenging tables.
Not only will the characters have to contend with monsters brought to life but also other survivors.  Some of these other survivors may not be "good guys" so that could lead to conflicts. 
This section will give details about the monstrosities the characters will encounter during the game.  What the general populace believes to be zombies are actually the result of an experiment by a weapons manufacturer.  There will be various types of bio-weapons with zombies being the most basic type. 
The Virus
This section will explain about the development of the virus and what specifically led to the outbreak.  At this point, I am thinking that there were several weapons manufacturers in a heated competition for government funds.  One of them got a significant advantage which led to one of the others looking for revenge.  It took years but they were able to get an insider into the leading manufacturer and sabotaged one of their plants - instant zombie epidemic.
This section will also explain how the virus is spread, how long it takes for the infected to turn, and the probability of a positive outcome from being infected.
The Antidote
Is there one?  The rumors of such a substance will definitely be the motivation behind some game sessions.
There will be several organizations at work behind the scenes in this campaign.  This section will detail the creators of the virus, opposing organizations, militia groups, safe havens, etc.
The plan here is to have several adventures in this section that will start a campaign shortly after the initial outbreak and progress up to the epidemic over several sessions.  The characters can learn rumors in some of these sessions and may hear about safe zones that they may attempt to reach, antidotes, or some other information that will serve to spark further adventure.
That seems like a good start for now.  I am sure that I forgot something somewhere but I will get more detailed in the coming posts...

Friday, December 28, 2012

Coming Back... / A New Project

I have had low output on this blog for the last few weeks and the reason is that I just needed a break from pretty much everything.  I finished the latest semester of school and found out the courses I need for next semester are all full; I am actually pretty glad about that so I can take off the next semester to recharge my batteries.  I have also had the last two weeks off of work due to our Christmas shut down at work.  That has gone a long way to getting caught up on overall rest.  Simply put, I just decided to step back from all of my extra activites for a short time since I was off work and out of school so I could get a few things done that I have been stalling on and just plain relax.  
Now that I am refreshed, I have the itch to get back to posting and developing projects that I have floating around in my head.  I have come to one conclusion about my gaming posts - I am going to take a step back from fantasy for a short period.  I have the itch to look into other genres and I just need to do something new for a bit.  One of the projects I have been thinking of is a zombie game powered by the USR rules.
Outbreak (or maybe Contagion).
A role-playing campaign powered by the USR system set in the time of a zombie apocalypse.  I am going with a campaign idea heavily inspired by Resident Evil but not exactly the same.
What The Characters Know
Zombies are loose in the world and they have no idea why.  Popular theories include magic, aliens, the end of the world, and experimentation among others. 
The Truth
The "zombies" are bio-weapons engineered for use in war.  There is nothing supernatural or otherworldly about them. 
Playable Characters
Players will have the choice to play citizens, teachers, cops, and other normal citizens.  There will also be military personnel and special government agents; of course, some of them will have hints about the truth of the outbreak.
There it is in a nutshell.  In upcoming posts, I will layout some of the USR rules adaptations for playing in this campaign.  More to come... 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Star Trek Into Darkness - Official Teaser (HD)

I know the original New Trek movie probably divided the Star Trek fans pretty sharply but I enjoyed it tremendously.  I have always been a fan of the original series and was really interested in seeing this new vision.  I thought the casting was perfect and enjoyed the change of pace from the other films.  Anyway, here is the teaser for Star Trek Into Darkness with the full trailer out on December 17th.  There is a big debate among the fans over the villain - is it Khan, Gary Mitchell, a reimaged combination of those two, or someone else entirely?  So far, my money is on Gary Mitchell but I guess I will have to wait until May 2013 to find out...