Thursday, August 31, 2017

New B/X Class: The Sssnakeman

I didn't really have any substantial news/commentary today (not that I ever do), so here's a class to be a snake wriggling around in someone's skin!

Snakemen are actually insanely long and thin parasitic worms who consume and hollow out their target's bodies in order to use them as their personal vehicles. However, they are exceedingly cunning and capable. Snakemen will consume everything in their targets' bodies except for the skin and the bones, taking up the space between. By contorting and twisting their little snake body, they can manage to move the body in a semblance of something natural.  However, this makes them very clumsy, so all snakemen subtract 1 from their Dexterity scores. Due to their lack of agility, snakemen cannot use small weapons and can only use two-handed weapons.
Actual Class Stuff
Experience/Levels: Snakemen level at the same rate as halflings.
HP: Snakemen have a 1d8 size hit die and gain 3 hit points per level at level 10 and so on.
Saving Throws: Snakemen have the same saving throws as halflings except Breath and Magic are switched because snakemen aren't good at dodging stuff and... um... their snakehide repels magic to some degree.

Monday, August 28, 2017

On Starfinder Stuff

Personally, I'm not going to buy a copy of Starfinder, because despite the various improvements from d20, I still enjoy OSR sci-fi, a la White Star and Stars Without Number. However, I will unabashedly steal some of the improvements for the d20 games I run (usually a PF/3.5e hybrid). Quite a few of the improvements had already made it into various people's d20 games already, but having Paizo use them in an official RPG made it seem more official I guess. Especially the new full attack rules looko pretty cool.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Update on RPG Products

I just finished up my project for Amora Game and a preview of the amazing cover for my personal project just came in, so I'll be spending most of my free time on finishing that up. Once the cover is finalized, I'll share it here and on Google+. On the Shoulders of Giants will be a primarily LotFP compatible product but will have Black Hack compatible versions of the classes for those of you on the rules light side of the OSR. Anyway, that should be done in a month or so hopefully.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

On the Defenders

I'm just watching the Marvel TV show, the Defenders, and I do have a few comments. Although it does have that fanboy glee on par with the Avengers that comes from watching all of the previous Netflix shows, the different shows just don't seem to mesh as much. Additionally, some of the fight scenes seem dull, lacking some of the spark from the individual TV shows. However, it does provide a host of potential plot points for new seasons of the shows and the story was pretty great, it just seems like they didn't utilize what made each character great as well as they did in their personal series.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Tenkar's Tavern Podcast/Other OSR News

Important news for OSR fans, the first episode of the Hero's Brew podcast just dropped on! Also, congrats to Lamentations of the Flame Princess for the three ENnies and the Judge's Spotlight that they got! Blood in the Chocolate definitely deserved the gold for Best Adventure but Veins in the Earth should've gotten gold instead of silver in my opinion... although Lamentations does use the silver standard...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

On the Fanzine Again

I'm still finishing up a few more pressing RPG projects in my free time, but the fanzine is still ruminating in the back of my mind. I'm thinking that it could be based around a particular set of OSR retroclones/old school material, perhaps just B/X or BECMI retroclones? Anyway, congrats to everyone who could make it to GenCon 50, hopefully I'll be able to go to 51 and here's hoping Blood in the Chocolate wins that ENnie.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

WIP Fanzine Musings

For the fanzine I've been considering making, I would have to make all artwork/writing donations but could make it PWYW on OBS and split all donations between the authors and artists through the OBS freelancer royalties tool. Then again, I would have to make sure that I would have enough interest in people making content for it, and a decent name for it. But, as I said previously, my On the Shoulders of Giants project, and Amora Game project, are taking priority currently. I should be able to expand on this within a couple weeks however.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

On Current Project Ideas

I just wanted to list the ideas and project seeds that have been incubating and fermenting inside my mind. The one I've actually been writing and working on commissioning artwork for is On the Shoulders of Giants, a setting heavily inspired by Kill Six Billion Demons and Guardians of the Galaxy's Knowhere. I'm also working on a freelance project for Amora Game and dreaming up a Egyptian/Weird West mashup setting for the Occult 7 Pathfinder modifications by Storm Bunny Studios. All in all, I've been pretty busy RPG-wise, along with trying to think of something good for Venger Satanis' adventure writing contest, and thinking about a PbtA game where you play as evil clowns a la It. Hopefully I can get a couple of these over the finish line. 😓 Of course, in addition to this, I've obviously been thinking about working on a weird fantasy fanzine (mainly for LotFP and other similar OSR systems)...

Monday, August 7, 2017

Jeremy Whitson's "RPG Generator"

Someone (Jeremy Whitson) over on /r/RPGDesign just posted about an "RPG" generator that they finely crafted. While not one hundred percent true to the name of an RPG generator, I found it generated great ideas, and really got my gears turning. It actually generates a name, a theme, a setting, a core mechanic, and names for a few important stats. While not an entire RPG is created, with a little bit of elaboration, I definitely think the generated ideas could be turned into full fledged role playing games. Again, kudos to Jeremy Whitson and look at the thread on Reddit for more information.

RPG A Day: Day 7

What was your most impactful RPG session?
As I tend to play RPGs to get away from reality and just have some fun in a make-believe world, I can't say that any RPG session I've run or played in has had that much impact IRL, except for a few instances where cheating or foul play temporarily soured the game, but nothing really permanent has occurred in a session.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

RPG A Day: Day 6

You can game every day for a week. Describe what you'd do!
Assuming I could pick to play whatever I wanted, regardless of the wishes of my group (they don't know what they want!), I would play the following games:
Day 1: Fate Core - Setting based on using the blood of fae as fuel/dieselpunk
Day 2: ACKS - Based in my WIP setting, On the Shoulders of Giants
Day 3: The Cthulhu Hack - Everyone roll under Wisdom; you all are insane!
Day 4: Pathfinder - Standard dungeon crawl/hack-n-slash
Day 5: ACKS - Continuation of Day 2
Day 6: Paranoia - You don't have high enough clearance to know.
Day 7: Savage Worlds Deadlands - I just really like and haven't been able to play it unfortunately.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

RPG A Day - Day 5

What RPG cover best captures the spirit of the game?
I would have to say, out of all of the RPGs I've seen in the game store or online, ACKS' cover matches the spirit the best. It represents the darker side of the game along with providing cool imagery that you can display to your players when you plop it down on the table and say "Look at the cool book I have and you don't, I'm so much better than you!" I mean, it looks professional...

Friday, August 4, 2017

RPG A Day - Day 4

What is the RPG you have played the most since August 2016
Currently, the RPG I have played the most is d20. I say d20 because I've been using a mashup of OGL Steampunk, Pathfinder, and Dungeons and Dragons 3.X, as well as a couple things from d20 Modern. I tend to take the same approach to d20 that I do with my Old School RPGs, a few drops of everything makes the soup better. That is, I just take my favorite materials from everything I own and use it all together.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

RPG A Day Catch-up

I forgot about this and am trying to catch-up now.
Day 1: What published RPG do you wish you were playing right now?
I currently wish I was playing my custom blend of OSR goodness (ACKS + LotFP + TBH + Basic Fantasy). Technically all of the components are published, even though I do combine them into a Frankenstein mishmash. I like the domain system from ACKS, the specialist from LotFP, the simplicity of TBH, and some of the refinements from Basic Fantasy.
Day 2: What is an RPG you would like to see published?
I would like to see an RPG that took more inspiration from Invader Zim, Jules Verne, and Re-Animator. Wait... that's what I'm working on... Slightly less self-promotion wise, I would like a non-Savage Worlds Low Life RPG, maybe Basic Roleplaying, B/X retroclone, or some other system.
Day 3: How do you find out about new RPGs?
I trawl the Twitters, Google+, occasionally, Tenkar's Tavern, and lots of other sites. Most of the time I just look at my favorite designers' posts on G+ though. However, I typically look for gems that have already been published instead of new games, although I do back a Kickstarter now and then. Reddit is also a great source, especially r/RPG and r/RPGdesign. I found out about The Happiest Apocalypse on Earth, a Kickstarter project for a PbtA RPG, via r/RPG.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Review of Rebirth

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the PDF in order to make this review but I was in no way involved in the creation, and didn't fund the Kickstarter.

Background: Rebirth is set in a land where there was an oppressive theocracy where the High Prophet of Aluss would force the people to live in poverty. However, seven warlocks summoned a demon and utilized this power to bring the dead back to life. This gruesome act drove the gods from Kreyo. I do have one comment about this part: "there was seven who came together, their names lost to time" versus "each nation named for the necromancer who forged it from the ashes." If the necromancers' names were lost, how were the nations named after them?

The Nations:
Sar'gon: Lawful nation full of bureaucracy and controlled by enforcers
Nahrun: 'Haven for knowledge' found in the mountains
Narcon: Reminiscent of steampunk, focuses on science and technology
Reuce: This nation reminds me of Re-Animator, and the RPG supplements, The Chaos Gods Come to Meatlandia and Necropunk. It seems to have a heavy focus on mutilating experimentation.
And remember, that was one of the lawful nations.
Kreuul: Gladiatorial meritocracy where you earn your status in the arena
Daerrus: Nation based heavily around slavery
Fae'ell: This is the most interesting of the nations to me. Fae'ell sacrificed a priest and serves as a god for his nation in a theocracy.
All in all, the nations are kind of a grab bag. Some of them are heavily thematic and I really enjoyed the description, like Reuce and Fae'ell, but others seem sort of like filler, like Sar'gon and Daerrus. You may feel differently though.

Rules: Rebirth uses a percentile based system, similar to Basic Roleplaying and its derivatives. It also incorporates critical success when a 01 is rolled, which is quite more rare when compared to natural 20s, and seems to be more powerful, and critical failures on a 100, which is the opposite. To determine initiative, you roll a d10 instead of a d100 and add your intuition attribute. It is interesting to me that they start talking about combat rules before introducing the attributes, and could be off putting. Action in combat is measured in events, which are similar to both a move and standard action in DnD 3.5e, but you get three of them. Using more of your moves affects your defense score, which does make sense. Base movement is 20 feet and fro some reason free strikes, which are similar to attacks of opportunity, are detailed in the movement section.  There are three saves, that do differ from the norm: forceful, intuitive, and enduring. To determine a save and attacks, there are fairly long formulas. For example, here is the formula for an attack check: [50 + (2 • character level) + (misc. bonuses) + (attribute affiliated with weapon used for attack)] – (the defensive
score of the target). And remember, this is all before a lot of the core mechanics are explained, as in I hadn't read that this was a level based system. Besides it being fairly math heavy, combat seems fairly standard.

Attributes: The nine attributes are separated into three 'trees': body, mind, and spirit, something I play with doing in some of my games. The three Body attributes are: Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution. The three Mind attributes are Will, Wit, and Wisdom. The three Spirit attributes are Charisma, Attunement, and Tenacity. The most interesting of these are the two nonstandard Spirit attributes, Charisma and Tenacity, as the Body attributes are the regular ol' physical attributes from D&D and Will, Wit, and Wisdom aren't very ingenuous either. In order to generate attributes, you select a primary, secondary, and tertiary tree. This determines how many d4s to roll to determine an attribute and what bonus you get on relevant skill checks.

Skills: Skills too are divided into Body, Mind, and Spirit. While each of the skills does have a little bit of nice fluff, there aren't really any truly unique skills to be found. To determine a skill check's goal, you do the following: [(total skill ranks) + (affiliated skill attribute) + (misc. modifier) + (character level)] – (any given negatives). Again, a tad math heavy, but it is just addition/subtraction this time. Again, the level system still hasn't been fully described, although it is stated that you can't have more ranks in a skill than 10+your level. It seems like this would make leveling a large power upgrade, as your level is involved twice in skill rolls.

Reborn: This is, IMO, the most interesting part of the book and where the flavor shines through. It contains interesting classes and finally details how you level up! There is a 20 level max. Every nation has two base classes that every character begins as. I do have one comment, and that is the distinction between base and advanced class is not as clear as I would like it to be, and you have to read the text to find out.
Sar'gon: Politician and Enforcer
Nahrun: Bard and Archivist
Narcon: Botanist and Tinkerer (Note that it calls the Tinkerer the Tinker once)
Reuce: Medic and Abomination (This section is definitely amazing! I love the Abomination class in particular)
Fae'ell: Fanatic and Paladin (The chaotic nations are in a different order than the introductions for them...)
Kre'ull: Gladiator and Scavenger
Daerrus: Merchant and Slaver

General Gifts: These are abilities that can be chosen regardless of your class, quite similar to feats from Pathfinder/3.5e. None of them seem really unique though, which is quite a loss in my opinion, due to the quite flavorful setting.

Weapons/Armor: There isn't a massive table of different weapons, but there are tables of weapons based on if they are piercing, slashing, or blunt and what size they are. With the armor, they also just have large tables of what the different statistics are based on what they are made of and their size. Although this isn't as bad as some games, I do find that it is a tad excessive.

Legendary Artifacts: Here's another section where the flavorful setting really signs through, like the sword of Gaustul, where a priest of Fae'ell believes himself to be capable of challenging his god and the sword channels that priest's soul.

Items: This item goes over all sorts of equipment that you might have in this setting, from smithing tools to grenades. Nothing really shines through here.

Divine Creatures: This section shows the spirits who are remnants from before the necromancers drove the gods away. Every one is unique and has a great description. This section ends the book on a decent note as well.

TL;DR: I would have to rate this a 3.5 stars out of 5 unfortunately. Although the setting is amazing, the system itself reads to me like an unholy combination of the d20 system and Basic Roleplaying. However, I would love to rip out my favorite parts of the setting, especially the nations and divine creatures, into a more rules light system, like Savage Worlds. So, if you want a great setting, this is amazing, but I think the creators should have gone with using a system under the OGL, like Fate.

Here's the Twitter and Facebook accounts for the game: