Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Out With The Old, In With The New...

This post will serve as a general update and retrospective look at the last year with a glimpse of what is coming in 2015.

Looking Back at 2014
I am pretty satisfied with most of my output during the last year.  I tend to take on too many hobby projects and I continued to do so during 2014.  Naturally, some of these projects stalled and some flourished.  I had planned to have a total of 450 posts by the end of the year but I fell short of that goal by 31 posts.  I had enough in draft to surpass that mark and be on the way to 500 but that is the way things turned out.  The combination of two factors led to a reduced output.  First, production demands at work picked up and required the work week to be increased to five and sometimes six days a week instead of only four.  I decided to transfer to the night shift to avoid day care and fix a situation with an unreliable sitter for the children.      

Looking Ahead to 2015
Moving forward with posting in 2015 I am going to try to narrow my focus a bit.  That is the goal but I will not be surprised if I fail more often than not at task.  The fact is that I am just really curious about other games and have a big time case of gamer ADD so it is likely to be a challenge to force myself to focus my attention on a short list of subjects and games instead of many.  I am aiming at 600 posts by the end of 2015. The information below will give a look at the subject of many of those posts; of course, there will be other subjects pop up from time to time.    

Miscellaneous Updates
I do have some ongoing projects I post about and some other subjects for posts that I have committed to continuing in the future.  The following can be considered a tentative guide to what is coming up ahead.

A Megaversal® Miscellany: This is my other blog covering all of the Palladium Books® game lines. I feel there is a lack of blogs devoted to their games so I started one.  I fell off track in updating the blog but I am going to try to do a modest one post a month for 2015.  Yes, that is a grand total of 12 posts but I hope to offer more.  I had envisioned this blog as a player driven resource for material usable with Palladium Books® games; kind of by the fans, for the fans.  Simply put, a place to showcase a house rule or new O.C.C. etc. without going through the approval and editing phases for official material.  If anyone is interested in contributing, please drop me a line and we can get the ball rolling.  I do not care if it is a variant rule, a new race, an alternate setting, or whatever.  The only requirement I have is that it maintains full compliance with their online policies.  My only role would be host and ensuring your post on the blog has all of the necessary "®" and "™" annotations and does not violate their policy.    

AiF Restatement Project: I am still working slow and steady on the Adventures in Fantasy Restatement document.  I want to make sure that this is “right” because it is not really my work but an unsolicited fan update.  Every effort is going to made to keep things by the book but there are some instances where the original editing was just atrocious.  In those instances, I am forced to look at other sources for the answers.  As soon as I get the players section of the rules complete I will post it up for some feedback.

Back to the Dungeon: I have some support articles and documents I am getting ready for this neo-clone role-playing game. I helped out a bit with some of the rules sections and had some ideas for other areas of the rules.  I want to support since I helped get it where it is at now.  I have also begun outlining some adaptations to a other genres; particularly, a science fiction version, a supers version, and a zombie apocalypse version.

Dragons at Dawn: I was able to track down a copy of this Arnesonian game last year.  I plan on at least a post covering my impression of the game.  It is a fascinating read so far and if inspiration strikes then I will try designing some support material.

Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG: I still think this is one of the best games out there now.  Reading this massive tome is fascinating and the dice chain is a real blast to mess with.  I have some ideas for a few resources to use with DCC RPG.

Perilous Journeys: I have the first edition of this game and the author, Jamie Hardy, is currently going through the rules working on a second edition.  I will clean up whatever resources I have for the current version but I am going to try to hold off on getting too far into the development of further resources until the second edition is released.  Who knows?  From the sneak peek I got at it the conversion work will not be an arduous task.
Robotech Reaction: I have started watching the series but I am not sure if I am going to stick with the plan and do a post after every DVD.  I am thinking that I may change to a post covering each series – Macross Saga, Masters, New Generation – and a post covering the bundle of extras.

S.T.A.G.E.: Short for Simple Tabletop Adventure Gaming Engine.  These rules are an experiment in a new direction for me.  In fact, I called in reinforcements and I am working on these with a partner.  I have played all sorts of games but I have very little exposure to the rules light or freeform rules systems.  I will work on them as inspiration hits.  When they are ready they will be available with a creative commons licensing if anyone is interested.

SteamCraft: I have some reference material I created that might need cleaned up a bit; it has been a while since I put some eyes on it so it is a good time to take a look and evaluate.  I plan on using this rules system for when I post adaptations of races, items, etc. from steampunk sources for my steampunk Saturday series of posts.

That is it.  Happy Gaming to all in the New Year and I look forward to seeing your new posts!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Robotech Protoculture Collection

I discovered the Robotech animated series some time in the mid 1980's if I recall correctly; of course, there might be a few years leeway on both sides of that time because it has been that long ago.  I know people out there like to kick the corpse of the 80's around but it was a great time for cartoons.  Shows like ThundercatsVoltron, Thundarr the BarbarianSilverHawks, Transformers, and The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers all serve as great examples of the available shows.  

I fondly remember my buddies and I making sure we put aside time to watch all of these shows.  Then one of us stumbled across Robotech after school one day.  I do not remember exactly where in the series we started watching but it was not the beginning.  I do remember quickly walking home to catch new episodes because only a few minutes would be missed that way; riding the bus would cut into a large chunk of the episode so that was out.  Other than feeling like it was a cartoon that treated kids as serious viewers instead of babying them I can not recall a lot of information from the show except for the following.
  • The names Rick Hunter, Lisa Hunter, and Max Sterling. (I think?)
  • The Veritech fighter jets that could transform into a robot form and another form.
  • The bad guys were called the Zentraedi.  I believe they had a giant and a micro form.
  • There was another Robotech series that had motorcycles?
I know that does not sound like much but it really has been that many years.  I know all of us watched it and enjoyed it quite a bit and I would think about it many times over the years.  I have seen some of the sequel shows and the Robotech Role-Playing Game was the very first licensed role-playing game that I purchased.

I have always maintained an interest in the show and was surprised when I ran across some episodes at Wal-Mart during a visit.  It was obvious that they were somewhere in the middle but I bought them anyway. I watched them and decided to get some more but I needed a place that stocked the earlier episodes so I could catch up.  I did a little bit of digging and then visited Best Buy and ran across the Robotech Protoculture Collection boxed set.  The collection includes all three series - Macross Saga, Masters, and New Generation - spread over 14 DVDs.  Typically, there are 6 episodes on each disc with the exception of the first disc of New Generation containing 7 episodes.  That makes a grand total of 85 episodes.  There is also a 7 disc collection of Extras related to each series plus toy lines, commercials, and other items of interest.  

I was lucky because it was the first weekend that the Digitally Remastered Extended Edition was available for sale and Best Buy had it deeply discounted.  I know I paid $29.99 when it sold for something like $79.99! I hurried out to the car and read the following summary on the box before heading home. 

"1999: A massive alien battlecruiser crash lands on Earth in the midst of a bloody global war.  With the possibility of a more perilous threat looming, the human race puts aside their differences and collectively undertakes the arduous task of rebuilding the spacecraft, redubbed the SDF-1, to defend the Earth should its extraterrestrial masters come to reclaim it.  Eventually, the alien Zentraedi invade Earth to collect the SDF-1 and the technology it contains, forcing the inexperienced crew, including hotshot pilot Rick Hunter and war hero mentor Roy Fokker, to launch the battlecruiser into war - a war that will cross generations, stretch across the farthest reaches of the universe and turn ordinary soldiers into extraordinary heroes."  

Of course, I started immediately viewing when I got home and have watched it several times since, right? Actually, that did not happen.  I got distracted and threw it up on the DVD shelf and there it has sat for years.  Oh, I have loaned it out a few times and received some feedback from others but I have never sat down to watch it all until now.  I am going to watch it from start to finish taking it one DVD at a time.  The plan is for each DVD to get a post in reaction and recollection.  The next post will begin with the Macross Saga DVD 1: Episodes 1-6.  Stay tuned.

For anyone that has not seen it, here is a video of the opening Robotech sequence.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Simple DND

As I was browsing the internet the last few days I stumbled on to the Simple DND blog during my journeys. The tagline, "Reviving old D&D with a modern twist", really does a great job of explaining the effort in a nutshell.  If you like simpler rules or just want to check out an interesting take on the rules then visit the site.

SteamCraft Sale at DTRPG!

For anyone looking for a steampunk game or the chance to complete their SteamCraft collection, then now is the time to head over to DriveThruRPG for the 70% off SteamCraft Sale!  During this special offer you can pick up the entire pdf line for $11.45 before tax!  That will get you the core rules and every adventure released so far; you might as well throw in the free GM Screen and get everything.  The details of the sale and products are available on the SteamCraft section of DTRPG. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Classic 4E from Necromancer Games

On February 28, 2009 the following post was made by Clark Peterson to the Necromancer Games forums:

"OK guys. I am getting ready to jump into 4E (and Pathfinder too, settle down). 

Here is my plan: I am going to create "Classic 4E": a set of alternate content for 4E to replicate the old school way of playing D&D. It will work in conjunction with the 4E PHB. 

It will contain the classic races--elf, dwarf, half-elf, halfling, human, gnome, etc. No dragonborn, no warforged. Now, that said, if you and your DM want to use that content from the PHB you can. 

It will contain the classic classes--fighter, ranger, paladin, rogue, cleric, druid, wizard, monk, as well as some 3E favorites such as the barbarian and bard. 

It will have some rules changes: 

--things will not be tied to the grid, they will be done in feet. 
--there will be no more hopping around the grid teleporting, but movement in combat will still be stressed 
--the old powers that have to do with things other than combat will make their return 
--spell memorization will return in a fun new way 
--powers will be more limited for the classes, but more useful. Not every class is a wizard 
--alignment returns (optionally) 
--buffing is not forbidden anymore. 4E took away buffing spells. I dont mind putting them back. 

I want to do this the way Paizo is doing Pathfinder. I want to develop it as a community. I will soon be opening a "4E Classic" forum with a thread for each class and race etc. We can post incremental updates of our rules compiled as a pdf as alpha and beta. The final version will be available as a pdf and perhaps in print as well since people love thier printed game books. 

But I want to develop this together. 

So what do you think? 


I read those words and my interest level was pretty high.  I had already decided to go with Pathfinder after buying the 4E PHB, DMG, and MM rule books.  I could tell that 4E was moving in a different direction than I was interested in at that time.  The goals of this project seemed more in line with what I was interested in from my D&D gaming.  I would continue to check in from time to time to see what kind of progress or suggestions had been made. 

Further down in the thread is a proposed Classic version of Smite Evil:

Smite Evil [Classic] Paladin Attack 1                                                                                                                                                         
Your weapon shines with holy radiance as you strike your evil foe.
At-Will • Divine, Radiant, Weapon
Standard Action Melee weapon
Target: One Evil creature
Attack: Strength vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Strength modifier radiant damage. If you marked the target you gain an additional bonus to the damage roll equal to your Wisdom modifier.
Increase damage to 2[W] + Strength modifier at 21st level. 

Even further down the thread is a proposed Classic version of Magic Missile:

Magic Missile [Classic] Level 1 Wizard Spell
A missile of magical energy flies unerringly to its target
Encounter  Arcane, Force, Implement
Standard Action Ranged 100 ft. (20) + 10 ft. (2)/3 levels
Target: One creature within range and in line of sight per missile
Attack: Automatically hits the target unless target has total cover or total concealment
Hit: 2d4 + Intelligence modifier force damage per missile
Increase damage to 3d4 + Intelligence modifier force damage per missile at 21st level.
You fire an additional missile at 6th, 12th, 18th and 24th level when you cast this spell. If you fire multiple missiles you can have them strike a single creature or several creatures. A single missile can strike only one creature. You must designate targets before you check for resistances or roll damage.
Special: You can use this power one additional time per encounter at each multiple of 3 levels, i.e.: 2 times at 3rd level, 3 times at 6th level, 4 times at 9th level, and so on, though never more than once per round. [Note: this may be deleted if a spell point system is used, which it appears will be the case]

On page three of this same thread Elton Robb suggested the following changes to the Classic version of Magic Missile:

Magic Missile [Classic] Level 1 Wizard Spell
A missile of magical energy flies unerringly to its target
Encounter  Arcane, Force, Implement
Standard Action Ranged 100 ft. (20) + 10 ft. (2)/3 levels
Target: One creature within range and in line of sight per missile
Attack: Automatically hits the target unless target has total cover or total concealment
Hit: 2d4 + Intelligence modifier force damage per missile
Increase damage to 3d4 + Intelligence modifier force damage per missile at 21st level.
You fire an additional missile at 6th, 12th, 18th and 24th level when you cast this spell. If you fire multiple missiles you can have them strike a single creature or several creatures. A single missile can strike only one creature. You must designate targets before you check for resistances or roll damage.
Special: You can use this power once a day.

Why the changes?

I feel that 4e borders on Superheroic. There's a good case for this, and Superheroism is too high an austerity level for classic play. Reducing it to once a day while maintaining it's machine gun effect makes it a special "main gun" type power (akin to the Wave Motion Gun in Leiji's classic Manga -- Starblazers). This will make it precious to the wizard, as the wizard won't be overpowering the fighter. It makes the magic more limited in this case.

Moving on to page 4 of that thread and there is even another proposed change - this time by phoenixfeather - to the Magic Missile:

Magic Missile [Classic] Level 1 Wizard Spell
A missile of magical energy flies unerringly to its target
At-Will  Arcane, Force, Implement
Standard Action  Ranged 100 ft. (20) + 10 ft. (2)/3 levels
Special: You can use this power a number of times per day equal to your Intelligence modifier (minimum 1), but only once per round.
Target: One creature without total cover or total concealment within range and in line of sight per missile
Effect: 2d4 force damage per missile.
You fire an additional missile at 6th, 11th, 16th, 21st, and 26th level when you cast this spell. If you fire multiple missiles you can have them strike a single creature or several creatures. A single missile can strike only one creature. You must designate targets before you check for resistances or roll damage.
Special: This power may not benefit from modifiers or abilities that affect damage rolls. 

I still find it all a fascinating read.  It has become even more interesting to me since I have found a co-worker friend of mine that is unloading all of his 4E books for a steeply discounted price.  I now have quite a collection but I still have not played rules as written or otherwise.  One of these days I am going to have to give it a test run.  

It seems that all discussion of Classic 4E has been dead for some time now.  Honestly, I do no think it was going to be an easy fix of whipping up a quick document of a few pages to use in conjunction with the 4E manuals.  I am pretty certain that it would have required another manual of several hundred pages to get it to work once you started assembling information on a Classic 4E version of races, classes, spells, powers, etc. 

It is a shame that this project just stopped and was never completed.  It was easy to see that there were people interested in seeing the results.  I know that Clark Peterson gave it up but does anybody know if a dedicated group of fans continued this work?  If so, does anybody know the secret handshake to qualify for receipt of this material.  Yes, I know about some of the proposed 4E clones games and I have information on them.  I am just curious about this particular project.   

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Star Wars: Episode VII Trailer - George Lucas' Special Edition

It's bound to happen!

LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens Trailer

I have no doubt there will be a LEGO Star Wars Episode VII game so there might as well be a LEGO movie trailer also...

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Teaser

I am somewhat surprised by the lack of attention received by the recent unveiling of the Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens teaser.  In case you have not seen it, here it is.

I have watched it several times and I have a few thoughts about the trailer.  The storm trooper in the opening scene is obviously different from the clones in the previous movies.  My first thought was that it was someone using the armor as a disguise but they could be using new clones or even several sources for the clones now. The little rolling droid, the background equipment, and the woman riding the speeder type transport had the appropriate Star Wars look so nothing is jarring from a visual standpoint.  The scene with many storm troopers seems to show varying heights for some of them so this could be further proof that there are many different clones instead of just one man cloned repeatedly. I am not sure what to make of that light saber.  Is it malfunctioning?  Is it the best work that person could do?  I just do not know.  I like the fact that the X-Wing fighters looked ragged and showed signs of use and battle.  The rolling sequence with the Millenium Falcon kind of gave a cockpit feel to the scene.

Those are my thoughts on the teaser trailer.  I will get to see where I was right and where I was wrong in December of 2015...   

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Zombies for Your Viewing Pleasure

Zombies and the zombie apocalypse have been riding a wave of popularity for quite some time now.  There have been many movies about zombies - 28 Days Later, Warm Bodies, Shawn of the Dead, Diary of the Dead - ranging from the serious to the comedic.  Even if you do not watch it there is no doubt that The Walking Dead is a certified hit for AMC.  It is so popular that The Talking Dead airs after the episodes and a spin off show is in the works.  This has also led to SyFy showing Z Nation and recently picking it up for a second season.  I usually check for web series in genres that I enjoy but I had not previously checked for zombie apocalypse type web series until a short time earlier tonight.  I have not watched any of these series but if you are curious then you might want to check out some of the shows listed below.

Dead Road: 8 completed episodes out of planned 11 are available for viewing.

Vitamin Z: Season 1 - 8 completed episodes.

The Zombie Apocalypse: 2 episodes; scroll down a little bit to see the episodes available.

The Last Stand: 5 episodes.

End of World: Just a trailer so far...

Chronicles of the Dead: A large collection of episodes, teasers, and behind the scenes videos.

I have not watched a single episode of any of these shows yet.  I just linked to them as I ran across them and will view them later.  Has anybody reading this watched these?  I am sure there are even more zombie apocalypse web series out there.  Do you have any recommendations?


Thursday, November 20, 2014

SteamCraft Kickstarter Loot!


I was surprised when my wife got home with the mail in hand yesterday and I discovered that my rewards for backing the SteamCraft Supplements Edition Kickstarter had arrived.  I received the Wake the Dead introductory adventure trilogy in a combined format, the Shadows over Newport Neo-Victorian Gothic Horror Supplement, and a GM Screen.  I had not originally opted for the GM Screen but they threw that in because I had helped out with some feedback several times.  Pretty cool move!  I have some reading to do and I will post on these items in more detail at a later time...