Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Economic Stimulus, from a gaming perspective

I don't like most of the newer games I see out there. I've tried 4e D&D and was not impressed.

Yeah, sure, I'm just a curmudgeonly old fart. But that's my problem, not yours.

So, anyway, I decided to use my state tax refund to stimulate the economy a bit, gaming-wise. I've ordered stuff from both Amazon and RPGNow, so that I either have now or will soon be getting:

* Empire of the Petal Throne. I've always wanted this game, just to see what all the fuss was about. Got it as a download (the only way I'll ever be able to afford it), along with the maps and the first issue of the Tekumel Journal (or whatever it's called). It'll probably take a whole ink cartridge to print the silly thing out, but we'll see. I might not need to print the whole thing.

* Through Dungeons Deep. I remember reading this book out of the library once upon a time, back in the 80s. It seemed to be more about D&D than AD&D (which is what I played at the time), so I never sought out a copy for myself. But now I really want one, so I'm getting one.

* Game Night, a novel about gods doing a bit of gaming, by Jonny Nexus. Jonny was the guy behind the Critical Miss online fanzine for dysfunctional gamers, which was brilliant. So I have high hopes for this novel. Hey, anything to help out a fellow gamer, right?

* Space: 1889. I dunno, I've just always loved the whole Victorian thing. And the whole Mars thing. So when you mix the two, hold on! This is a game I've always wanted, but couldn't afford back in the day. I'm glad they're reprinting them, but I doubt if I'll buy any of the supplements. Again, we'll see.

I may or may not review any of these here in this blog. Who knows? But I'm happy to be getting them. I'm doing my bit to support the economy, at any rate.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

R.I.P. Bahb the Draftee

Turns out, we didn't continue on in the Ruined Monastery.

So, Kesher rolled on a table that I believe he got from Jeff's Gameblog, one that determine's your character's fate if he was left in the dungeon last time.

And Bahb the Draftee didn't make it out. So sad.

On the other hand, it gave me a chance to play my new character. But first, a little background:

In light of Men & Magic, Page 8, Other Character Types:

"There is no reason that players cannot be allowed to play as virtually anything, provided they begin relatively weak and work up to the top, i.e., a player wishing to be a Dragon would have to begin as let us say, a "young" one and progress upwards in the usual manner, steps being predetermined by the campaign referee."

I hereby present:

Player Character Balrog:

AC: 2
Move: 6/15

Table of Levels:
Hit Magic Immolate
Level Experience * Dice Resistance ** Damage ***
====== =============== ====== ============= ==========
1 0 1 5% 1d4
2 2,500 2 15% 1d6
3 5,000 3 25% 1d6
4 10,000 4 35% 2d6
5 20,000 5 45% 2d6
6 35,000 6 55% 2d6
7 50,000 7 60% 3d6
8 100,000 8 65% 3d6
9 200,000 9 70% 3d6
10 300,000 10 75% 4d6

* I used the same progression as the Magic-User; this is obviously negotiable.

** Calculated as against an 11th level Magic-User; adjust up or down by 5% for each level difference. Thus a first level Balrog (MR 5%) against a 5th level Magic-User (-6 levels) would be 35%.

*** Only if a hit is scored with the whip, so the opponent can be brought into immolation range, or if opponent is already in contact.

(Good thing these buggers don't use magic, eh?)

I named him Sneerglaw, which a friend of mine pointed out only yesterday was Walgreens backwards. (We were passing a Walgreens at the time).

He was a lot of fun to play. Got to immolate a couple of times (I may need to restrict that in number of uses as well as just damage, but for a sandbox game like this, it seems to be working okay.)

The elf wiped out an entire warband of orcs with but a single Charm Person spell.

Basically, we had a great time. In three hours of gaming we defeated all of our foes (except the Wight; we ran from it). We also got a pretty good map made.

We were exploring Under Xylarthen's Tower, by the estimable Jeff Rients of Jeff's Gameblog fame (which you really should check out if you haven't already -- it's one of the best).

Best of all, the whole party survived.

Can't wait until next time!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Weekendy gaming-ness

(I was going to say "gameyness" but that sounded way too wrong...)

On Sunday I will again be participating in Kesher's Otherness game, up at The Source.

Tomorrow, Herself and I are having people over. This will be the first time we've done so in...well, ever really. No, I tell a lie: One time at our last place we had a couple of people over.

So, we're kinda new at this.

It's just one couple, and the women are good friends who don't see enough of each other. The guy I kinda know, but haven't really spent any time with. But Herself informs me he's a gamer, so it's all good. I'm sure we'll find something to talk about while the women are doing their thing.

I'm just a bit nervous (as well as bored out of my skull at work, where it is glacially slow).

Anyway, I have Sunday to look forward to. Bahb the Draftee lives! But whether I can say that on Monday or not -- now, that's the question...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I Survived Con of the North

I didn't run anything. I only played one game.

Okay, let me clarify a bit: There's a guy from a local game store who runs a drop-in drop-out D&D 3.5 game at all the local cons. I first encountered this two years ago, at MarsCon. I started a bard (at first level, naturally) and by the time that con was over, he was 3rd.

Well, going into this con he was 4th; coming out, he just made 6th. But that was at 10:00 pm on Sunday.

(I later calculated that I spend 28 hours in the game this weekend. And 26 hours in the hotel NOT in the game...)

Overall, I had a good time. I had hoped to make 6th level, and I did.

But I did rediscover the thing that I don't like about 3.5 (and I hasten to add that this is not necessarily a problem with the rules as written, it's more a problem with me):

It brings out the rules lawyer in me.

Now, I was raised by a pack of wild rules lawyers, back in the early 80's when I got started playing AD&D. If there was a rule, somebody could quote it (I got really good at the rules for two weapon fighting...)

One of the rules I loved best was the one at the very end of the DMG, about how the DM is in charge of the game and should make it his own. We all discussed that, but rarely applied it. We pretty much played by the book.

But there were arguments about rules! Even back then, we argued. (I think that could be the appropriate collective noun for roleplayers. You have a pride of lions, and a murder of crows; well, you could easily have an argument of roleplayers...)

And this weekend, I found myself falling back on the old ways, of reading the rules whenever anybody didn't know exactly how something worked -- the problem is, then I'd want to beat the offending party over the head with the rule. Not very social, I know. And it wasn't even my game, so it really wasn't my place to do I tried not to.

But there was this one guy who really ticked me off. I got into a bad mood and it stayed through most of Monday. (But I'm feeling MUCH better, now!)

Anyway, that's my con report.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Con of the North

Con of the North is a local gaming convention. No panels, no cosplay, no GOH; just gaming. By gamers for gamers.

I never have my act together in time to definitely say that I'll run something. Last year I pulled a dungeon out of thin air and ran OD&D for some people, but that's about it.

I hope I get in the Holmes game a guy I know is running, but don't yet know. Also, the 3.5 game I often play in should be running, so there will be something. But I'm not sure exactly what.

Anyway, gotta pack; we leave tomorrow and I wanna sleep late.