Thursday, August 31, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 Day 31

What do you anticipate most for gaming in 2018?

Hooray! It's finally here. The last day of RPGaDay 2017. About damn time, right? I'm not really aware of any projects coming up for 2018 other than possibly the Savage Worlds core book, fantasy companion, and horror companion getting a facelift. I'm anticipating a great year of gaming and making new aquaintances and friends through the Nerds-International Google + community, Flippin' Tables Google + community, and Fantasy Grounds conventions. These online communities have been great to meet new people and help me expand my game writing. My eyes have been opened to new game systems that I might have otherwise passed over because of the excellent people online. There are artistic, creative, and talented people all over the world who are available to chat with over the internet and I would have never had the opportunity to learn from had I not discovered Google +. I look forward to more games in 2018.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 Day 30

What is an RPG genre-mashup you would most like to see?

I would love to see a Savage Worlds StarWars mashup with some comedy. I will call it Spaceballs. Well, maybe I'd call it something else but you get the point. My friend Eric mentioned he'd like to see more comedy included in RPG's and I wholeheartedly agree. The last game I ran was Fuhgeddaboudit! and we laughed our asses off the whole time. When I looked over at the other table at the game store I saw people looking our way and I couldn't help but think they wanted to jump ship and join my game. That made me feel great. Comedy will always be welcome in my games and I wish more RPG's would incorporate it into theirs. There's even room in Cthulhu type games for some lighthearted comedy. Just don't go overboard, otherwise the game will never have that horrific feeling it's supposed to feel like.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 Day 29

What has been the best-run RPG Kickstarter you have backed?

This would have to be the very first Kickstarter campaign I backed. Robert Schwalb's Shadow of the Demon Lord set the bar high for my expectations of Kickstarter campaigns. He pumped out stretch goal after stretch goal like a mad man. There were so many that it got to a point where I didn't know if I had received all of the PDFs so I asked Rob if he could send me a list of everything released. He was very responsive and sent one to all the backers via a Kickstarter update. Then when my hardcover copy showed up at the door, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he autographed the books also. Unfortunately for me, I now have high expectations for Kickstarter creators. I have backed 37 projects as of today and got burned on only 1. Yup, it happens and puts a sour taste in your mouth. I'd say I'm going to be more careful about who I back from now on but I don't think I'll really pay much attention to who the creators are. If I like the product then I'll probably back it. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 Day 28

What film/series is the biggest source of quotes in your group?

This really depends on the game we're playing. If we're playing Ghostbusters then guess what movie we quote. Most of the time I find myself quoting a famous Cimmerian, "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of thier women!". Otherwise we pretty much quote movies we've seen recently. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 Day 27

What are your essential tools for good gaming?

The most essential tools would be the rule book, dice, pencil, paper, and a good attitude. If you show up to a game tired or in a crappy mood then the game won't be fun and you might even ruin it for others. You need to reschedule the game if you're running it or just tell the GM that it's been a bad day and all you want to do is beat up some bad guys. That lets the GM know you won't be role playing much that session and they can try to leave you alone.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 Day 26

Which RPG provides the most useful resources?

Now this is a tough one and not because there are very few but because there are so many to choose from. Pretty much any RPG in a digital format provides the best resources for me. I like to be able to copy and paste text, photos, and tables into Fantasy Grounds or just to separate them so I can use them as player handouts. To single out one in particular is very difficult. I would say the best ones also allow me to get my imagination going and provide lots of plot hooks. It doesn't even have to be established plot hooks but a single sentence in a book could spark an entire adventure. At the moment I'm reading Ashen Stars by Robin D. Laws from Pelgrane Press and it is really good at showing the GM how an investigation is constructed and goes into detail of how to incorporate your players personal arc within an investigation or case as it's called in Ashen Stars. Robin did such a good job writing this book, I'll have to give the nod to Ashen Stars.

Friday, August 25, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 Day 25

What is the best way to thank your GM?

Well, when I run a game I don't expect anything in return. I GM because I like to do it and because it's fun. If you really wanted to thank me then just being a friend is enough. Maybe you could just say thanks for running the game or if you really wanted to get me something then a gift card for DriveThruRPG or Office Depot would be greatly appreciated. When I run a game in person I always try to have stuff to give to the players to keep and printing up the extra materials isn't always cheap.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 Day 24

Share a PWYW publisher who should be charging more.

Well this one is easy. I've been purchasing products from Just Insert Imagination for some time now and I think I've got most of what they have produced but they definitely should be charging more for their Pay What You Want items. Eric Lamoureux and Morne Schaap have been putting out some Plug and Play adventures that are all PWYW. These adventures are awesome and perfect for a convention. My favorite has to be Fuhgeddaboudit! Everything you need to run a one shot Savage Worlds game is included. It has pregenerated characters with secrets to hand out to the players, 3 maps, 2 new setting rules, mafia slang cheat sheet, and a great story with 9 scenes.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 Day 23

Which RPG has the most jaw-dropping layout?

Battletech: Alpha Strike has the best layout I've seen in awhile. It has a clean border around the pages and an edge index. I wished more publishers would do this. It makes it really easy to find the chapter your looking for without going to the table of contents. Unfortunately Battletech: Alpha Strike isn't an RPG. I only mention it because it is the best layout I've seen in awhile. For RPGs, I'm gonna have to go with Mutant Mechatron. I've only got the alpha version so it could change before it's finalized. It has a simple page border that's color coded. Red edges mean its for players and blue edges are for GM's. As a matter of fact I like all of Free League Publishing's page layouts. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 Day 22

Which RPGs are the easiest for you to run?

In order to answer this question, I think we have to look at the person running the game. When I run a game I'm more of a rules light type of GM. Most of the time when a question pops up about a rule I'm unsure about at the table I'll do one of two things. First would be to make a snap decision. Just make up something on the spot and go back and check it later after the game. The second would be to have the player who asked the question look it up in the book while I move on and keep running the game. This way we don't get bogged down with rules and everyone has fun. With this GM mentality in mind then I can say most RPG's are fairly easy for me to run. As long as the system isn't too crunchy then it should play well enough for me to make snap decisions. Some systems lend themselves more so than others to ease of use. Savage Worlds is one of those systems. I keep coming back to Savage Worlds in my posts not because I'm a fan boy of the system but because it is an easy system to learn, play, and run.

All you have to do is look at how the items and actions are structured within the game and you'll see that most of the time all you really have to do to make something easier or more difficult for the player characters is give them a simple modifier. As an example, I want to make a combat encounter more difficult, so instead of just describing the scene as normal throw in some environmental factors. Lots of games account for these things but in Savage Worlds is as easy as just saying -2 to the roll. Dark outside, -2 to see the bad guy. The room is filling with smoke from the fire your NPC started, -2 to see and make a Vigor roll to not choke on the smoke or take Fatigue.

Let's say you want to make a rare item that your players can find. It's as easy as looking at the equipment tables in the core book and adding a +1 or +2. Yeah, but it's still a Glock 19 with just a modifier added. Well you can describe it as a Glock 19 with target sights and an extended barrel, or you could say it's a high tech phase shifting disruptor which is better than a normal non phase shifting disruptor. I would be very careful about adding additional dice to the weapons though. Usually +1 is good enough and +2 is awesome! Remember that shooting in Savage Worlds usually only requires a 4 to hit.

You can do the same thing with special powers and magic. Just change the descriptor of the spell to make it unique to the setting you're playing and if you want a more powerful spell as the characters gain rank then make an Improved spell. Set the rank requirement to Veteran and add a +2 to the effects. When you look at the way the game works, it'll make sense to you why so many people keep coming back to Savage Worlds once they have played a few games.

Before I forget, make sure to check out The RPG Brewery's Twitch channel tomorrow night. Jamie is starting a test run of Cthulhu type games with two of his friends. They will be starting session 0 of either Trail of Cthulhu or Call of Cthulhu where they will go through character creation. Also, go join the Nerds-International Google+ community. It's a great collection of podcasts, live plays, blogs, and other nerdy stuff. Click the link below.

Monday, August 21, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 Day 21

Which RPG does the most with the least words?

This has to be Savage Worlds Deluxe. At only 160 pages it not only gives you rules to play a game but it also gives you some adventures to run as well. This rule book shows you how to build your own game by explaining how to change trappings to fit the theme of your game. It gives you rules for vehicle combat and chase scenes along with the normal movement and combat for your player character. This RPG really gives you lots to work with and it's written so that almost anyone can understand it. If you want fantasy, science fiction, horror, super heroes, wild west, modern, and many more, Savage Worlds can do it. This is one of the few system that can play just about anything and do it well. It truly is Fast! Furious! and Fun! Give it a try sometime and you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 Day 20

What is the best source for out-of-print RPGs?

I think the best source is DriveThruRPG for digital copies. Sometimes you'll be able to find hard copies of what you're looking for on Ebay but don't get your hopes up. There's a local game store near my work that seems to have damn near every RPG on the market. I might check there but usually they only have newer stuff so I think I mainly go there just to browse. Very rarely I'll send the publisher an email asking if they still have any copies of an RPG available for purchase. Usually they don't but I have been able to get one publisher to make it available on DriveThruRPG. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 Day 19

Which RPG features the best writing?

Robert Schwalb's Shadow of the Demon Lord has been the best writing I've seen in an RPG in a long time. It doesn't read like a text book and he gives vivid and exciting descriptions. He also puts out so much content that I'm amazed at how quickly he does it. It seems like sometimes he's got a new product out weekly but recently it's slowed down to monthly. At one point I was trying to scoop up everything he wrote but I just couldn't keep up. Robert Schwalb is definitely worth a read if you get the chance.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Husk: Wrath of the Swarm Review

It's review time. Yesterday a friend of mine sent me a message asking if I was going to use Husk to run a game. I said what is this Husk? Then he sent me a link to DriveThruRPG and when I saw the image I said oh yeah I remember seeing Nathan Carmen post this on Google+. I must admit, I was very skeptical about purchasing this product because it seemed a little overpriced from what the product description says. I think the words "This Setting Kit provides an outline of a setting" threw me off more than anything else. At $4.00 for 23 pages the pdf will cost me $0.17 per page which I thought was a little high. So when my friend messaged me, I thought about it more and decided to buy it. I'm glad I did. These 23 pages are really good. Wait, I think I just got tricked into doing a review on this. I won't forget that Eric.

You are resistance fighters and only 30% of the populace is left. It's a dog eat dog world where only the strong survive. The alien bugs have invaded and all but wiped out the world's military organizations. There are 6 factions of resistance groups left and you belong to Unity.  This group seeks to unify the human race against the invaders. You may or may not face off against the other factions. That's up to you and your GM.

Within the pages you get 4 new edges, 2 new hindrances, 2 new setting rules, an adventure generator, and a great bestiary with 7 wildcard human NPC's, 2 human Extras, and 14 alien NPC's (6 of them are wildcards). This product is labeled as a kit for an alien bug invasion setting and it is exactly that. It is a toolbox of great ideas and beasts. I highly recommend buying this pdf if you're interested in any type of science fiction. Best of all, it's for Savage Worlds and it's only $4. Go check out Husk: Wrath of the Swarm.

This product has given me a great idea for FG-Con 11, the online convention for Fantasy Grounds. It happens to be starting on Friday, October 13th and continues to October 15th. Yep, you read that right, its on Friday the 13th this year. Word is that they're trying to do a theme for it. Hopefully I can get into a Trail of Cthulhu game. If not then maybe I'll run it myself. Anyway, I'm going to use this kit to perhaps run a Starship Troopers game. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

RPGaDay 2017 Day 18

Which RPG have you played the most in your life?

I think the game I've been playing the most in my life is pretending to be a responsible adult. I've been doing that for 20 years now. After that it would have to be Dungeons & Dragons. Take your pick of the system. The only one I haven't played is 4th edition and not because I think it sucked but I was busy with life and didn't play RPG's during the time it was out on the shelves. In fact, I started playing RPG's again when 5th edition had just come out. My most memorable version though is AD&D when my older brother DM'd for my friend Brian and I when we were 8 or 9 years old. I think he was just testing stuff out on us to see how to screw his friends in the dungeons but that's ok because I got to spend time with my big bro. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 Day 17

Which RPG have you owned the longest but not played?

Stars Without Number from Sine Nomine Publishing written by Kevin Crawford is most definitely the one I've owned the longest and not yet played. When I was first getting back into RPG's over five years ago, I picked up this free version of the game. I think I fell in love with this game when I saw the RollPlay Swan Song Youtube video live play by itmeJP. Adam Koebel did a fantastic job of bringing his version of the game alive. I've always been a sucker for science fiction and this one really struck a nerve with me. If your'e not familiar with it then I suggest you at least get the free version here and read it. There is also a Kickstarter campaign going on right now for a revised edition which I am a backer.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 Day 16

Which RPG do you enjoy using as is?

All of them and none of them. I think you should play the game according to the rules at least two to three times before trying to make any changes. You really need to give the system a chance, then you can make up your own house rules. After playing my RPG's, I don't think there is one that I haven't made up rules for. No RPG or system is perfect so I have to modify it to my liking. This is the way it is, and forever shall be. If I had to choose one that I use the least house rules, then it would be Numenera because I haven't played it yet.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 Day 15

Which RPG do you enjoy adapting the most?

Photo courtesy of Terry Hansen
Savage Worlds is by far my favorite system to adapt the most. It is really easy to come up with something rather quickly. Your general thug NPC will have a d6 in everything and only have 1 wound. The big bad guy shoud have one or two d8's with the rest at d6 and he has 3 wounds. This also depends on what stage of development the player characters are at. The bad guy should be a challenge and have henchmen around in the final battle. I've found that 5 scenes is a good starting point for a 3 hour session. The number of scenes you will go through is highly dependent on the players at the table. Some players will role play more and extend a scene longer than you anticipated while others will run through to get to the end. Usually after watching a good move I'll say to myself, how can I savage this movie into a game? I think that is the ultimate compliment someone can give to a game designer. When was the last time you watched a movie and said, how can I D&D this movie? If your'e like me then that has been very rare.