Sunday, March 30, 2014

Blog Update: Getting Organized

This post is just a quick update to inform all interested parties that regular posting will resume shortly.  I have had a few ideas about bringing some organization and structure to the posting here and I think I have found a decent amount of features to bring some focus to the topics.  I have come up with labels such as Steampunk Saturday and Toldara Tuesday to show what general topic a specific post covers.  Some of these features will be weekly while others will be sporadic in their use.  That does not mean that posts on those days will only covers those topics but it does mean that posts with a label attached such as "[Steampunk Saturday] Web Series Episode 1" will match the topic.  I will still make general gaming posts at whatever time.  I am not participating in the A - Z challenge this year but good luck to all of the participants.  I will see you all around shortly when regular posting continues...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

March Madness Obscure Game Blogging Challenge Part 5

I fell slightly behind so I decided to just go ahead and wrap this up in one mega-post of the remaining entries.  I do believe I am burned out on doing these daily challenges in one form or another.  The issue is not with the content - I like reading the answers from everyone else - but that I am just in the mood for something else.  Don't expect me to participate in these month long challenges for the near future.  I am sitting out the A - Z challenge also.  I may return to them at some point but I am looking for other subjects to post about currently.  Hopefully, my answers haven't bored anyone to tears so far.  Here are the remaining entries.

March Madness Obscure Game Blogging Challenge Part 5

17. Which RPG has the best high tech rules? Why?

I usually play fantasy but I do have a few favorites from outside of that genre.  I am going to go with Gamma World for the best high tech rules just simply due to that Artifact diagram you could roll against to attempt to discover the proper use of any technology found.

18. What is the crunchiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?

The crunchiest RPG I have played would most likely be Champions.  I found all of the number crunching to be fascinating.  I enjoyed the level of customization available in the characters and their disadvantages, advantages, perks, power modifiers, etc. but I also hit the problem of having too many options.  While I enjoyed all of the varying possibilities I had issues moving from concept to final design.

19. What is the fluffiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?

I am completely at a loss on the answer for this question.  I am sure that I will think up something shortly after posting this on my blog.

20. Which setting have you enjoyed most? Why?

I think the best answer for me would be Talislanta.  Regardless of what the ad says there are still a few races that would qualify as “Elves” but that is not the point.  Talislanta is truly unique and different from the myriad pseudo-Medieval campaign worlds available.  There are air ships, unique races, alien artifacts, and all sorts of other weirdness to keep you interested.

21. What is the narrowest genre RPG you have ever played? How was it?

My answer is going to be Paranoia.  I thought it was absolutely great and it is one of the games I really need to purchase.  How fun is playing a member of a team full of “Commie Mutant Traitors” that are looking to find “Commie Mutant Traitors” while trying to hide the fact you are a “Commie Mutant Traitor” from the rest of the team?  If you get discovered and terminated you have six clones waiting to take your place!  Are all of them traitors? GOOD TIMES!

22. What is the most gonzo kitchen sink RPG you ever played? How was it?

No doubt about it – RIFTS is the most gonzo kitchen sink RPG I have every played and it is brilliant!  Sure, I hear some of you moaning about “Palladium blah blah blah” or “Kevin is a …” or “Don’t they send out C&D letters to all their fan sites” but RIFTS is awesome!  Come on, what’s not to like?  The setting is a world with dimensional portals opened up allowing all sorts of other dimensional beings loose on a post-apocalyptic Earth!  The last big standing human force of resistance is the Coalition States that people seem to love or hate depending on how they view them.  There is magic, monsters, steampunk, dinosaurs, vampires, alien intelligences, other dimensions, and a list of other genre mash-ups longer than your arm!     

23. What is the most broken game that you tried and were unable to play?

I can not recall ever being in this situation.

24. What is the most broken game that you tried and loved to play, warts and all?

Again, I would have to say RIFTS is the most broken game that I have tried but I love to play it, warts and all.  Sure, the rules can get in the way at times.  I think the best part of RIFTS is the setting.  I always make sure the setting and story over-ride whatever wonky rules issues may crop up.

25. Which game has the sleekest, most modern engine?

I do not concern myself with this issue when I am picking out a game.  I am going with “no comment” or “non-issue” on this one.

26. What RPG based on an IP did you enjoy most? Give details.

Without a doubt, the old FASERIP Marvel game was a big hit with the old gaming group.  We converted a lot of our old V&V stuff over from that campaign and we liked the Marvel system so much that we used it for other genres.  I remember using the rules for G.I. Joe and Transformers and I believe we might have used it for other stuff but I am not sure.  Those are two folders of old stuff that I wish I could find.

27. What IP (=Intellectual Property, be it book, movie or comic) that doesn’t have an RPG deserves it? Why?

There are numerous Intellectual Properties that I think should have an RPG based around them.  Honestly, many of those can most likely best be realized as a supplement to an existing game system.  Maybe I missed it but I would have thought a supers game featuring the characters from the various IMAGE COMICS would have been spectacular.  I used to really dig Supreme and Youngblood and several other titles such as Wet Works.  I would have bought an IMAGE COMICS based supers game on the spot. 

28. What free RPG or what non-English RPG did you enjoy most? Give details.

I have yet to use it but I am fascinated by the complete DIY philosophy in the F.U.D.G.E. rules.  It always fascinates me reading through that book.  I really need to get something done with it.

29. What OSR product have you enjoyed most? Explain why.

The OSR product I have enjoyed the most is Swords & Wizardry: Complete because it feels like the perfect match for the complexity level of the old AD&D/D&D rules mash-up we used to play in my old group. 

30. Which non-D&D supplemental product should everyone know about? Give details.

I am generally a “core book and adventure modules” sort of guy so I do not buy a lot of supplements.  I really can not give any constructive advice on this one.

31. What out-of-print RPG would you most like to see back in publication? Why?

I would like The Fantasy Trip to be brought back in to publication.  I never owned it but I have looked over all of the rules.  I would have liked to have seen a revised and updated TFT rather than the G.U.R.P.S. line.  In my opinion, TFT gets it done with a whole lot less clutter and I like that a

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Teaser Post from A Megaversal Miscellany

For anyone interested in my other blog, A Megaversal Miscellany, I have posted a teaser for the first article. I am nearing completion on the first draft and will continue on with revisions after that.  Whatever you read in that post or below is definitely subject to change.  For those that do not feel like following the link right now the teaser post is re-posted here.


“I remember when this whole mess started up almost a year ago.  There were reports coming in on the news about a case of cannibalism or some sort of ritual murder.  At first, it was just one report and then more stories started circulating on the news. A short time later the reports started getting even weirder. 

The reports started sounding like something out of a horror movie.  People were saying that people were getting bit and then coming back to life after they died – ZOMBIES!  As I heard more of these reports I couldn't help but think it was all a bunch of bullshit.  I mean, c’mon, everybody knows the media likes to hype up these stories to get all of the idiots out there glued to the damn boob tube.  I swore it was a practical joke by some college kids that just got way out of hand.  It had to be, right?

It didn't take long for me to find out just how wrong I was about this whole situation."

To be continued....


It is not much but I do not know how much I will change in the revision process.  This is just the opportunity to give a small taste of where I am going.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

March Madness Obscure Game Blogging Challenge Part Four

March Madness Obscure Game Blogging Challenge Part Four

13. What horror RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

I have little experience with horror games.  I should have played Call of Cthulhu for no other reason than I was in the hobby at the time it was introduced and I tended to buy up just about every new role-playing game I came across at the time.  I probably should have played Chill at some point for the same reasons but I never did. I did not even participate in the Vampire: the Masquerade craze that would happen years later. 

The one horror game that caught my eye during a visit to the game store was Nightlife. I do not remember a whole lot about it except that it was a game featuring monsters as player characters.  There were several types of monsters – werewolves, vampyres, wyghts, inuits, and more – and they were called kin if I recall correctly.  Some wanted to live in harmony with humans while others wanted to enslave or kill humans.  The game focused a lot more on combat and high action adventure instead of the social aspects of the World of Darkness games.  From the reading I have done it seems that a lot of people played WoD that way anyway.

I lost the game while I was in the Army.  One of my brother’s guests made off with some of my gaming materials that I had collected over the years.  I recently remembered this game and discovered that Noble Knight has some bundle deals available that give you the core book plus several supplements for like $50 total so it is a great deal. I plan on putting in an order soon…        

14. What historical or cultural RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details

I have no recollection of ever playing a historical or cultural RPG so I have no good answer for this one.

15. What pseudo or alternate history RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

I also have no recollection of playing a pseudo or alternate history RPG so I can not give an answer to this question.

16. Which RPG besides D&D has the best magic system? Give details.

I really do not know how to answer this question.  I usually do not play the spell-casting type characters when I play a fantasy game.  That does not mean I never play a spell-caster but I tend to stick to the more martial type characters. I think I am going to refrain from answering this question.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Controversial or Fraudulent Kickstarters

A quick post interrupting the March Madness Obscure Game Challenge and then I will return to the scheduled posting...

Over at there is a list of fraudulent or controversial kickstarter projects that anyone curious about contributing funds should read.  There are some familiar names on the list and I can see that I dodged a few bullets myself. I am just spreading the word about this for anyone interested.  I have also added a link to my Links page.  

Friday, March 7, 2014

Be Careful Out There...

In case anyone is waiting for me to continue with the March Madness Obscure Game challenge, regular posting will return shortly.  I haven't posted because I've been out of it for the last week with some sort of gastrointestinal bug going around.  Beware! If you should get it, then all strength and energy will be drained.  This is the first day since Monday that I haven't rotated my time between the bedroom and the bathroom.  Just typing this is making me a little drowsy....ugh.  Another day or two and posting will continue...

Monday, March 3, 2014

March Madness Obscure Game Blogging Challenge Part Three

March Madness Obscure Game Blogging Challenge Part Three

9. What superhero RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

I am going with a wishy-washy answer on this one and claiming a tie between the Marvel Super Heroes and Villains & Vigilantes superhero RPGs. The old school design of V&V held a lot of the appeal for our group.  It was also the first superhero game we tried and continued playing on a regular basis.  We really got into the character and world background aspect of the game.  We had several interconnected characters, organizations, an ongoing history, and we even created our own books of villains similar to the old Enemies books for Champions.  The Marvel game was great for some of the same reasons.  The main attraction was being able to compare and contrast our heroes with the official stats of Marvel Comics characters.  We did not go all out with the campaign information for our Marvel games but we did actually use those rules for running a G.I. Joe campaign and also a Transformers campaign.  If I am ever able to find all of my old V&V and Marvel game folders I will have plenty of cool stuff to post…     

10. What science fiction RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.

I have owned a few science fiction RPGs but I never have played any of them more than once or twice.  Most of my straight up science fiction gaming has been done with a board game or a PC game.  I really have not had enough science fiction RPG experience to give a meaningful answer to this question.

11. What post-apocalyptic RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

I am a big fan of Gamma World over several of the editions but I could never get a long-lasting campaign with any of the first three editions.  The post-apocalyptic RPG that I have enjoyed the most would have to be RIFTS from Palladium Books.  I just remember how cool I thought everything was when I flipped through the manual for the first time.  It felt like stuff sprung off of the page – Cyber Knights, Juicers, Crazies, the Coalition States, ley lines, the Xiticix, and more - and jump started my imagination.  I immediately related this world to playing in something similar to the world of Thundarr the Barbarian from the Saturday morning block of cartoons I used to watch.  In short, I felt like RIFTS took all of the promises of Gamma World and fulfilled them when we played.

12. What humorous RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.

I have played more gaming sessions of humorous RPG systems than I have of science fiction RPGs so I can give a definite answer to this question.  I enjoyed the one or two sessions of Teenagers from Outer Space that I ran for a group of friends but it is not my favorite humorous system.  One of my buddies, Justin, ran a great game of Paranoia that I enjoyed more than any other humorous RPG.  There were plenty of clones sent in to replace the original characters - I'm sure that is normal - that always seemed to die under the goofiest of circumstances. Typically, one or more of the player characters would take out one of the others or doom the entire group by upsetting the Computer or someone of a higher rank.  

Sunday, March 2, 2014

March Madness Obscure Game Blogging Challenge Part Two

Here is installment two of the Obscure Game Blogging Challenge with the next four questions.  I think if I do anymore of these challenges in the future then I will definitely do the combined posts.  It makes for better and more convenient reading; it also does not tie up the blog for an entire month.

March Madness Obscure Game Blogging Challenge Part Two

5. What other old school game should have become as big as D&D but didn’t? Why do you think so?

I believe that Palladium Fantasy should have become as big as D&D but did not for several reasons.  First, there was the familiarity between the games.  If you had played one of them then the other was much quicker to pick up because they were similar in many areas.  They were both class and level based fantasy role-playing games after all.  Second, Palladium Fantasy seemed to offer more of everything that A/D&D offered.  Palladium Fantasy had more than the traditional six ability scores, many more classes to choose from, and many more races to use for player characters.  Third, Palladium Fantasy only required this one book to get a game started while AD&D required a bare minimum of two books and D&D required the purchase of a new boxed set of rules to keep going up in levels.  Those are the biggest three reasons why I think Palladium Fantasy should have become just as big as D&D.  I do not have the second edition of the game but the first sure did capture our imaginations for quite some time.  .

6. What non-D&D monster do you think is as iconic as D&D ones like hook horrors or flumphs, and why do you think so?

I am going to go with the big guy, Cthulhu, on this one.  Yes, he was in the original version of Deities & Demi-Gods before the legal issue but he is much bigger than that one appearance.  Cthulhu was used in the most famous of H.P. Lovecraft’s work as well as the Call of Cthulhu RPG.  There have been countless novels inspired by the Cthulhu mythos and he was used in an episode of the Justice League animated series; sure, he was called “Ikthulu” but that was him.  There have also been several heavy metal bands with songs such as “Call of Kutulu”, “Necronomicon”, and others.

7. What fantasy RPG other than D&D have you enjoyed most? Why?

My group of friends had been playing A/D&D for some time and had tried a few other fantasy games but nothing grabbed our attention like the TSR games until Jamie showed up one day with his latest purchase – the original edition of the Palladium Fantasy Role Playing Game.  We gathered around and started flipping through the pages and were immediately excited about giving this game a shot.  After reading enough of the rules to play we got started with character creation and started playing soon after.  Flame me if you want, but we felt like Palladium Fantasy was a “deluxe edition of A/D&D” because of all the variety – there were more abilities, more races, more classes, etc. – and this book was all you needed to play.  We actually put aside our A/D&D games for a long stretch and played no other fantasy games except for Palladium Fantasy.  Plus, it was the first campaign where the majority of my participation was done as a player instead of a Game Master so that was a big bonus in my book.

8. What spy RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.

I have never actually played a spy RPG.  I guess you could technically consider Paranoia as having some strong spy possibilities if you wanted to; I did play that a few times.  I owned original boxed set of Espionage from Hero Games.  I found it in the used section of a hobby shop for $1 and I picked it up.  I did do a little bit of reading from it but I was not interested in “mundane” games such as this at the time; I wanted fantasy, science fiction, or something else.    

Saturday, March 1, 2014

March Madness Obscure Game Blogging Challenge Part One

I am participating in the March Madness Obscure Game Blogging Challenge but I am not devoting a post a day to it throughout the entire month.  I will post several times throughout the month and each one will have several days worth of posting.  Here is part one...

1. What was the first role-playing game other than D&D you played? Was it before or after you had played D&D?

I am not absolutely certain which role-playing game was the first one I played other than D&D.  It has been a lot of years since the early 1980s so I can only make a best guess on this one.  I know my brother got Star Frontiers soon after I got started with D&D.  I do recall not being thrilled about the game.  I thought one or more of the races were kind of silly and I was hoping for something more in line with Star Trek at the time. The other possibility is the second edition of the Villains & Vigilantes superhero role-playing game.  I was absolutely thrilled about playing this game.  In fact, V&V was one of the most played games in my group of friends.  I started with D&D and moved on to other games; I played one of these games after playing D&D.

2. What was the first character you played in an RPG other than D&D? How was playing it different from playing a D&D character?

I can not answer this question because I do not remember; it occurred 24 years ago. 

3. Which game had the least or most enjoyable character generation?

I am sure I will get some heat from this one but I find the least enjoyable character generation process in games such as GURPS or Hero System products.  Both of these systems offer a wide variety of customization and you can truly build just about whatever character concept you imagine.  While I think it is great and I am astonished at the selection, it tends to overwhelm me.  I will get bogged down in the character generation process and it will grind to a halt.  Maybe if I get more experience with one of these systems…   

I think Traveller provides the most enjoyable character generation process.  The mustering out tables generate a somewhat realistic set of bonuses and what other game has the option of dying during the character generation process?

4. What other role-playing author besides Gygax impressed you with their writing?

I have always enjoyed the writing of Steve Jackson whether it was in the old microgames, magazine articles, GURPS, and his Game Design: Theory and Practice manual.  The manuals never seemed like another set of boring rules and his personal recollections are something I always find interesting.  I have to give kudos for the writing style of GURPS because it could have easily turned into something textbook-like in nature.  I always get the feeling that he is still thrilled with the hobby and being in the business of providing games for the hobby.