Sunday, March 23, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wargamer comics!

For those of you who would be interested but haven't yet heard, there's a new wargaming comic called Solo Napoleon.

I like it and am happy to advertise it here, because we need more good stuff in the world.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

40th Anniversary of D&D

For the 40th Anniversary of D&D, I played in my regular, twice-monthly AD&D game.

We couldn't find the stuff we had that we'd brought into the dungeon (but was taken off of us in a previous Half Party Kill (hereinafter known as HPK, as opposed to TPK).)

But we went back over the map, checked out every place we had been, throughout the entire (small) dungeon, and found the one thing we had missed. We found our MacGuffin, our lost gear, and some treasure they'd taken off of other hapless adventurers previously.

In short, it was good old fashioned dungeoneering that saw us through. Not skill rolls, not pleading with the DM, not any of that. Going over the same old ground to see what we missed (and burning up the torches so we could see what we were doing -- yes, we keep track!)

It's not the thrill of killing a Dragon, that's true. But it IS the thrill of thinking our way through the problem. And that's better.

Because that is what D&D is all about.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

At last!

Not only am I updating this blog again (well, this once anyway -- we'll see how it goes...), but Fight On! is back as well!

I've already flipped through the pdf, and there is a lot of old school goodness in here. Here's the press release:


Bloodied and staggered on the 66th level of Maure Castle, somehow, after a 2-year hiatus, we found the will to Fight On! This issue of our fabulous fanzine is packed with all the magic, monsters, mayhem, and miscellany you've come to expect to take your FRPing to the next level! Dedicated to Rob Kuntz, our fantastic authors and artists include Lee Barber, Patrick Farley, Jeff Rients, Gabor Lux, Peitsa Veteli, Kevin Mayle, Douglas Cox, Chris Kutalik, Jennifer Weigel, Kelvin Green, Tom Gordon, Michael Curtis, Sniderman, Calithena, Richard Rittenhouse, Hudson Bell, Michael Mornard, Baz Blatt, Jonathan Linneman, Simon Forster, and many more! Let's face it - no matter how old we get, Fight On! still punches harder than Ivan Drago wearing a Girdle of Storm Giant Strength. Grab your copy today!

You can obtain the TRULY old school dead tree print version here: 
www.lulu.com/shop/ignatius-umlaut/fight-on-14-20122013/paperback/product-21411537.html

and the formerly not very old school but now kind of old school due to the popularity of the Kindle and Epub fomats PDF here: 
www.lulu.com/shop/ignatius-umlaut/fight-on-14-pdf-version-20122013/ebook/product-21411519.html

Thank you for your time and consideration. Fight On!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Schroedinger's Game


For many months I've just been a player, not running anything. It's my default state, really. But every once in awhile I want to run a game.

The problem, of course, particularly for me, is that there are just too damn many great games out there! It's like Schroedinger's Cat. There is a large probability wave of different games I could run, but each time I move toward one, another calls out to me.

I have a few restrictions. I won't run AD&D (or 2e or 3e or 3.14159e, or 4e). I'd run D&D, and have, but not as a regular thing.

I've spoken about this in the past to a friend of mine who is both in my face-to-face AD&D game and also works with me. So last night at the game, while we were trying to decide what to do next ...


... a little background here. When last we left our intrepid heroes, half the party was down, either dead or dying. The rest of the party was trying to kill three will-o-wisps. Not the easiest of challenges.

One player had to drop out for a while for family reasons, which brings the group down to a more manageable 7 altogether.

And we kind of all agreed that things weren't going the way we all wanted them to, and we needed a change.

We all still have faith in our DM, that's not the issue. But interparty things have occurred.

We need a change, and we'd like something different to cleanse our palates ...


... So, one of the options was a Different Game System. And another was a Different GM.

I opined that if I were to run something, it wouldn't be AD&D. My co-worker shortly thereafter suggested that I run Champions (second edition -- it's the one I'm most familiar with).

This met with general approval, and before I knew it I had been shanghai'd.

The probability wave has collapsed, and the game is Champions.

I came home and dug out my vintage Champions gear, and am getting ready to run a few adventures using it for the first time in literally decades.

And I couldn't be happier!

Friday, June 1, 2012

And that's awl she wrote...

No, that's not a typo; that's a pun.

In last night's DCC game on G+, one of the characters had but an awl for a weapon. That was awl I needed to get the awl puns flowing. When he lost the weapon, I said: "He gave it his awl."

(There was another, but I've forgotten it.)

The great thing about G+ gaming is that nobody can throw dice at my head when I do that!

Yes, I'm mean to my fellow players. But they still let me come back...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Favorite Quote

Here's one of my all-time favorite Referee/GM advice quotes:

"The purpose of a referee is to present obstacles for players to overcome as they go about seeking their goals, not to constantly make trouble for them. This is a very subtle distinction, and many beginners have trouble with it."

Book 0: An Introduction to Traveller (p.12) written by Loren K. Wiseman


Now, there's just a whole multitude of goodness in those two sentences.


...to present obstacles for players to overcome...

Tricks and traps are obstacles. So are wandering monsters.

And the fact that the obstacles are for the players to overcome indicates that they should not be insurmountable.

(Although fighting may not be the way to overcome that particular obstacle...)

...as they go about seeking their goals...

Note that their goals are not necessarily your goals. You can design an adventure, but what the players do with it is ultimately up to them.

...not to constantly make trouble for them.

I've known a few referees who didn't get this point. There seems to be a lot of material out there of the "Let's screw the players!" variety.

I mean, I'm no saint. I've done it myself. It was fun, but not in a long-term way (and that particular game went away a long, long time ago.) I think we'd all be better off to remember this advice.



So, for the comments, what's your favorite piece of Referee/GM advice? I particularly mean from a published game book, like mine above, but I'd also be willing to accept something an 'older, wiser' referee passed on to you.

Phone lines are open!