Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Post-Apocalyptic B/XE Playtesting Session No. 2

Or how I was trying to run a heist, and then my players went full on Rambo...

Continuing from last session, the party had just pulled up next to a giant ship suspended on tank treads. They jumped inside and met the two new party members, who were also trying to rescue people who were kidnapped and taken onboard. One was a motorist who had grenades and a hand cannon, and the other was a gladiator who used a crowbar. The inventor and marksmen were gone, so I said they would just continue driving the car alongside the battle yacht while the party explored it.
Representative of the pseudo-Vikings
The party first entered the engine room, where they beat up on the person shoveling coal into the modified train engines. They managed to do this without attracting suspicion. The cardinal sent his follower up the ladder to check on the second floor and saw three pseudo-Vikings in a distillery/brewery. They threw a grenade up and ignited the, fairly potent, brews. The cardinal then used a (human) leather jacket scavenged off of the stoker to beat off the flames while the party escaped into the next closest room. They promptly freaked out when it was full of storage tanks for 'guzzoline' and scrambled up to the third floor, which was where all of the water tanks were stored.

They bashed holes in the floor below and poured the water from the tanks down into the gasoline room, trying to stop the fire from spreading and igniting the gasoline tanks. They then hurried over to the other room on the third floor, the kitchen. The cardinal informed the chef of the fire and the chef hurried up to the fourth floor, the cabins. There were eight Norse cosplayers in this area, so the gladiator dragged the chef down back to the third floor. The monkey tried chucking his dagger at the chef but just ended up hitting the gladiator in the back.

The cardinal used his morphine to recover from the battle with the stoker and cut the ladder preventing the Vikings from coming down to the third floor. The motorist then tried to throw another grenade.... before rolling a natural one and TPKing the entire party, except for the cardinal who used his follower to take the blow for him.

It turns out, grenades aren't the answer to every combat. Besides that, the system held up quite well and I think all of the party held up well in comparison, but I should add an AoE exception clause for the follower's ability to take a blow.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

First Playtest Session for Post-Apoc. B/XE

I just ran the first playtest session for a post-apocalyptic booklet for Gavin Norman's B/X Essentials I'm working on. All in all, the system seemed to hold up, with a few minor cracks, but I did have some problems with timing.

Due to my players not necessarily being familiar with the system, which I'm not very concerned with, they did take a while trying to optimize their vehicle, and obsessing over rationing gas, which I am concerned with. I'm definitely considering using a usage die type thing like from The Black Hack to try to simplify keeping track of fuel, at least as an optional rule. I'm not sure keeping track of every last drop of gas is great for the aesthetic or the cinematic feel I'm hoping for.

Currently, the party consists of a marksman, a monkey (read: mechanic), an inventor, and a cardinal. The cardinal's player is still trying to figure out how they want to play an evangelical type, but really seems to like the vibe of the class. But the rest of the party is still trying to figure out how they want to use their class abilities and what their class selection means for the character.

We ended just as the party was heading towards the first combat, so that should be fun.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Patreon and Extinguish the Sun #01

I just released Extinguish the Sun #01, the B/X & OSR zine I've been talking about for a while. It's available in print and PDF on the Apollyon Press storefront and in PDF on DriveThruRPG. I do make marginally more money selling the PDF on the Apollyon Press store than DriveThruRPG due to varying royalties between sites and the print copy does comes with the PDF. The PDF is $2 and print is $3 plus shipping.

I also started a Patreon to help create more issues of Extinguish the Sun.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Magic is No Fun; or How Magic is Like Welding

Magic is pure, unadulterated thought-stuffs, pushed out of the wizard's mind into the world of things. This is dangerous, as concepts don't want to interact with things and stuff, they want to be shielded inside sentient minds. They will leap from existence in the real plane to the shelter of any sentient being's brain. But then they will burrow inside your brain like a wild animal during a monsoon, seeking shelter at any cost.

It is never safe to look directly at a spell, the eyes are the window to your soul and to your mind, and the path of least resistance. Magic must be looked at through your peripheral vision or in a mirror, never directly.

Looking directly at a spell is like offering an invitation, handing your neural pathways to the spell like a bundle of fresh candy floss to a child. If you are lucky, the spell is weak and will dissipate. If you aren't, it will root around and get comfortable, leaving you a gibbering mess, repulsed by all magic until the psychic energies finally drain away from inside your skull, leaving you a shade odder and much more neurotic than you were before.

Inspired by Arnold K.'s GLOG wizards and Thuvia, Maid of Mars.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Spinning Plates

My current writing work style is to work on one project for as long as I can before draining my 'idea well' and then to start a new project. Then after I have a few projects up and going, I'll go back to my first project. This inevitably leads to a lot of stillborn projects, and a few projects I can never get back to, so I'm going to do a progress report on the projects I'm currently working on:

Unnamed Island Hex Crawl; published by LotFP: ~20% done; I have the map drafted as well as the introduction and a selection of the more dynamic hexes.

Back in Green; Troika! zine: 80% done; getting some editing/playtesting feedback and going to have to commission some artwork

Extinguish the Sun; B/X & BECMI fanzine; 90% done, waiting on a couple pieces of artwork before publishing issue #1

Trampling of the Terrible Tortoise, The; 50% done; small (16pg) B/X Essentials module with artwork by Ian Hagan heavily inspired by Shadow of the Colossus; currently have a basic map and several room descriptions

Unnamed FASERIP Neoclone; 10% done; a retroclone of Marvel Super Heroes but set in a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk setting heavily inspired by Thundarr the Barbarian and Ralph Bakshi's Wizards

Unnamed Bizarro Novella; 5% done; I just have a rough outline for this.

Phantasmagoria; Sword and planet DCC setting; 20% done; I have all of the classes done for this.

Out of these, Back in Green and Extinguish the Sun are both already almost done, I signed a contract to make the hex crawl so that's 100% going to be finished, and I already have an artist for The Trampling of the Terrible Tortoise, so those will definitely be done. The FASERIP neoclone is probably 25/75 on ever seeing the light of day, and the novella is almost certainly not going to. Phantasmagoria is probably 50/50.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Bards are Agent Smith


The eternal battle of Law and Chaos, the movements of the planets in the void of space, they're all just steps in a cosmic ballet. You are the only person aware of the music of the spheres that this cosmic ballet is set to, and you are entrusted with making sure that good experiences tragedy before triumphing over evil, pleasing the ballet's empyrean patrons (A.K.A. the players). If they knew about the music, they may loose their way and step out of line, so you must do anything to prevent that from happening.

In this take on bards, they are attempting to make sure that the players accomplish their mission while never finding out about the massive play (of sorts) that they are taking part in. Their magical powers come from having their actions harmonize with the celestial music that drives everyone else's actions. From this, they can vastly increase their natural abilities, and sometimes even perform wholly supernatural acts. If ever a PC finds out too much about what's driving their actions, than it is the bard's job to make sure that the PC doesn't think too hard about the implications, or to stop that particular line of thought in its tracks.

TL;DR: Bards know about the 4th wall and want everyone to put on a good show for the players.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

OtSoG LIVE

On the Shoulders of Giants is live here: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/232175/On-the-Shoulders-of-Giants-LotFPCompatible. I'm still finishing up the DCC-compatible version (I've had very little free time and DCC classes are more time consuming) though.