Monday, April 30, 2012

Lord of the Rings

Watched some LotR with the boys over last weekend and we started asking questions about what happened to who and how long had Gandalf been alive and well stuff like that.  Got me rolling on some good LotR RPG thoughts.

I played MERP and Rolemaster back in the day though I have long ago gotten rid of any of that stuff.  I think I still have the Decipher game lying about somewhere and I really should look at getting The One Ring RPG by Cubicle 7.  I also have seen some interesting material on using OD+D rules to emulate the world of Middle Earth.

I would look at doing something in the Third Age after Bilbo and Before the War of the Ring and the Fellowship...that sits firmly in the era that Cubicle 7 is targeting.  We shall see....

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The results....

((Thanks to Paizo and I think Bestiary 3...for the art))

Today the heroes decided to try and track the bandits...this worked for the first day but by the second they had lost the trail and were going to give it one more day....but that night a lone Thylacine attacked during the night when they only had one watcher watching.  Everyone but the Spellsword woke and when it was over the creature was dead and Lasheer the Elvish Warden was unconscious.

Heading back to the village they learned that his arm was in bad shape (we are still using the negative effects table) and needed a more expert observation.  One of the party rode to the town and retrieved a cleric who diagnosed him with torn muscles and he lost the use of his right arm. The player decided to retire the character and bring forth his cousin an Elvish Marksman...maybe someday they could afford to pay for his arm to be repaired.

The new group went out and almost in the same place were attacked by a Tatzelwurm, this time the Spellsword was paralyzed and Alexius the gladiator gave chase, the new Marksman and Bard tried to pepper it with arrows before they lost sight of it.  The assassin woke up and followed along, finally they tracked the wurm to it's lair and a battle ensued.  It ended with the assassin using a torch and burying it in the eye of the creature...

Quickly gathering up their companions they made a quick camp until morning and then headed back to the village.  They had recovered a potion and two a small amount of gold.

Next week they want to go back and see if they can scavenge the scales from the wurm... ;)

Now for something totally different...

We ended last weeks session with our ACKS characters and everyone seemed happy, and then I showed them their characters in Castles and Crusades terms and they agreed to "try" this.  Now my sons have played CnC before and kind of know what to expect, I believe this will be different for the others...but really not that different as they have played Pathfinder and d20 3.x.

The game will move on...I will post more later....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mapping Continued

I had some time so I hand drew a map, the map is 96 x 72 miles and consists of 20 villages and hamlets and two larger size towns.  There is a very large forest and four smaller ones, two rivers and a larger lake, there is also some hills no mountains on this portion of the map.  THIS is going to be what I use for the younger kids group from now on.  There is plenty for them to explore here and do.  I have some ideas on keying the locations to "encounter levels" so they don't get too far over their heads but we'll see, right now I'm excited about the look of it and where I can go with it.

On another note I got over 10 hours of sleep last night and feel better than I have in two weeks!!

Back to the drawing board sometime today....

Sunday, April 22, 2012


I am not a huge fan of the World of Greyhawk...just never got into some of the names that were used...didn't jive with me as a 13-14 year old.  Now I love the City of Greyhawk and I am thinking of taking it as is and using it as the large city in my world, north of where the player's are now.  The notes I have for my city place it near a river and a lake so I'm thinking that this would work well!

Now I have a lot of info on the city from my 1st and 2nd edition days so this should be a fun I just have to figure where I'm gonna put Waterdeep and Bard's Gate! ;)


The fight that the younger kids had yesterday was a real memorable one, as far as I was concerned.  There were 11 brigands on foot and one mounted, there were three player characters and three npc farmers.  The fight started with the PC's concealed and the farmers confronting the brigands....well after the first round of fighting one farmer was very dead and one was knocked to zero.  After two rounds the other farmer was down and out of the fight and the brigands were getting ready to pillage the farm, enter the player's.  It took 10 rounds but the PC's were on the winning side and only one of them was down and out, the other two had fought down to one hitpoint AND then the other two player characters had arrived from town.

The turning point of the conflict was when the Gladiator character, Alexius stood his ground and finished off five of the really was a great fight and his armor saved him from certain doom.  The other two PC's did a nice job but Alexius standing out in the open not running and not worrying about his outcome left an impression on the brigand lieutenant who managed to get away...

Now they have found out that the "Stag Lord" is the leader of the brigands and that he lives in the deepest part of the woods...will they go after him or do some scouting to see what else they can week will give us some more answers.  Next week will also be the beginning of us leaving the ACKS system and moving towards Castles and Crusades.  This was the player's decision and I am excited to see what THEY think about the differences...they have seen their characters and they all really were excited about the differences.

Ok enough for now...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Old School Gaming

Old School Gaming...I remember reading this a few years back and thinking really what is the difference...and then I started teaching my kids how to play, and it hit me, there is a difference.  The kids started playing Pathfinder with me...and we were having a good time until one moment while in a dungeon I had built I realized that I was depending on the kids dice rolls to tell me if they perceived something...not on their actions.  They were not figuring out how to approach a trap but just rolling and looking up and wanting to know was the roll good enough....ARGH!

Finally we started playing some good old Holmes with some Mentzer thrown in and then recently ACKS was released from Autrach and the fire caught with both groups of kids that I run.  Now it has been a bit of older teens have started catching on and they have asked me to run them in Castles and Crusades...we'll see.

The younger kids pre-junior high, are still working ahead we might look at going back to just some basic Holmes with some house rules but we'll see.  I know this...I won't be starting a Pathfinder game anytime soon as a GM...I am enjoying not breaking my back carrying the rulebooks.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Young Kids versus Brigands...

After almost a full month off the young kids group is going to have their battle with the brigands that have been robbing and pillaging the outlying farms.  This is going to be a rough battle because numbers are not on their side and if the characters who are present start having a rough time...then the farmers who are gathered might not back their play.

One of the young people is not happy with his character and wants a change, so that might be on fatality BUT we will let the dice decide.  I am excited about the prospect of the fight and hope the kids enjoy it no matter what the outcome.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Moving forward....

The group did a nice job yesterday discussing the aftermath of their doom and one of the player's pointed out that they were actually just knocked they might have survived.  I shrugged and asked the player to make a death save...she rolled an eighteen and I agreed to let her character live.

We have testing next week but the week after they want to continue with a Basicesque game and we will be picking up in the port town of New Haven, I will be running the dungeon out of the Holmes Blue Book and we shall see how that turns out.

The group as it sits right now has essentially two Rangers...if any of my readers wants to offer suggestions, I'm all ears.  The players are more than happy to let me make their characters for them.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New Beginning: AGC

Today is the beginning of a new group for the AGC kids at the high school after last weeks TPG minus one.  Today will be about character choices and what they want...kind of characters they want to play.  I hope that they are still getting the feel for what old school gaming is like.

We have roughly five sessions left before the end of the school year and then I say goodbye to three seniors who have been with the group all four years one senior who joined this year leaving me with three sophomores, juniors next year...

I will post more about what they chose to do...

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Alright got to play Ghosts of Albion today from Eden Games.  Now I have known the author Tim Brannan for sometime as our older kids were in daycare together, going on something like 8-9 years now.

We had a new character at the table today to join the other three of our characters that have been played for quite some time now...and we had a blast!  The story was interesting and of course the three characters have gotten to know each other well but we have our own secrets still and our own stories...

I don't want to give too much of the story away in case Tim changes his mind about running at GenCon or if I take up the mantle again and try and run it for him...let's just say that again the title does help clue you in on what is happening in the story.

Once again Valerie, Otto (David) and Mason were able to save the day with some help from their new companion John (the Yank).

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Call of Cthulhu cont'd....

This is set in the more conventional 1920's - 1930's London and it is for Trail of Cthulhu but it is a great resource.  in Trail of Cthulhu is a good game as well and it has some nice features over CoC but I will get into that in another posting.

Bookhounds gives you some great resource and background material for chasing down books that might be needed for your fact it turns the idea of finding a book into a whole hook itself.  THE best part though in my opinion are the blown up maps in the back of the book of London, yea you could probably find them on the net now but to actually be able to look at and hold them just felt better.

The different types of book shops that are detailed are not overdone and making one the home base for your investigators is something that I thought would need to be done...a very good book for a very good variation of the CoC game!  ((Trail of Cthulhu offers a conversion table for CoC so it wouldn't be hard to use these together at all!))

Friday, April 13, 2012

Victorian Era London

Getting a chance to play Ghosts of Albion this weekend and I am stoked about it, get a chance to play a character that I get to play like once every three years.

I also will be researching some this weekend just because I am feeling the vibe of Cthulhu by's gonna be a good weekend.  I will post more on Sunday night or Monday for sure for sure.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Secret love...

Ever since 1983 I have had a secret love affair with Call of Cthulhu, I have kept up with the different editions and even some of the attempts to convert it to different systems.  True20, Savage Worlds, D20 and Gumshoe to name some that I have come to own.

I have played it in the modern setting, I have played it in the roaring 20's but I have never played CoC by gaslight.  When I heard a few months back that this was coming out I was ecstatic  because as much as I have kept CoC a secret my dark secret is Victorian Era gaming!  This is the Reeses Peanut Buttercup for me, and I have not had a chance yet to read through this I will be reading through it this weekend and I am trying to get my print copy as well. ;)

Hopefully more of us out here will be picking this up, I am going to try and get into some CoC games whenever I can.

I will post more about this down the road...and Tim if your reading we really should do some translations of some characters...hint hint hint! ((Sorry for the insider message.))

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

TPK Minus One

Oh the Desert Troll struck and struck hard yesterday...I used the troll as is out of the manual and though my dice have been luke warm yesterday they were smoking!  The scout of the group realized what the beast was and retreated on horseback, loosing an arrow off at it, the warrior of the group dismounted from her camel and proceeded to engage....oops.

The few rounds that the group tried to do some damage to it did nothing but irritate the troll and within three rounds two of the group were down and it was looking dim.  The scout tried to get the group to flee but to no avail really and when the SECOND troll started to arrive the scout turned tail and fled, only stopping long enough to scoop up the pup of a wolf cub that the dead druid was no longer going to be in need of.  The kids took it in stride and the scout did manage to get away...after all the trolls had enough food to keep them full!

Next week we pick up in the port town of New Haven and the beginning of a new story with the scout sticking around as the core of the next group.

Monday, April 9, 2012

I haven't looked at this in a bit but yesterday I started scanning this again and once again I thought it accomplished what it set out to do.  That is give us a retro clone feel with a lot of the new thoughts on old gaming included.  The four basic classes are there (FTR, CLR, MU and TH) and are done well.  On their site there are additions that can be used and those add more to the game obviously.  The rule of ascending AC is instituted, there are no 0-level spells but for the most part it is at simple rules set that is easy to teach.

My 2 cents, and the reason I am looking at this as well as Microlite 74 is just to have something sitting with me on my Ipad for those moments when you need a game to pass some time! ;)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hex Map App for Ipad

Today while my wife was shopping and left the four men in the car...we ran an encounter using the IPad 3.  I used an App called Hex Map I believe and one of the many dice rolling programs, I used the note pad that comes with for character notes.  The encounter took 40 minutes, it involved six orcs being led by two ogres going up against six player characters.  The kids loved being able to see the battle on the map and being able to "roll" the dice and keep notes right on the tokens provided with the app.

I am going to look further into what I can use this for and might even spring for the full version!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Characters from the past...

I have been playing and running games since 1980 and I have had many different types of characters in my games but lately I find myself thinking about the ones that have stood out over the years.

Ternoc Rivenshal:  Half-Elf Ranger who was played for a very long time in my 2nd edition DnD game.  Ternoc was more focused as a bowman and the player who played him did a very nice job being the party leader, more times than not.

Kestra of Horath:  Same player that played Ternoc had played Kestra a Human female Cleric.  She was quite strong and not as open minded as was  very nice change of pace for the player.  Kestra was brought back by me for another player who I thought would play her quite well and she did, this time as a Paladin...the differences were not much even though the player's never met.

Tal of Newporte:  Played in my Runequest/Stormbringer game but could easily translate into a Cleric in DnD terms.  Tal was a hero by choice and that character has the distinction of being played the longest in any of my games.  Tal did the right thing many times even though it was not in his best interest, the player again really did a nice job here and I enjoy thinking about the trials and tribulations I put him through.

Rudrick Greyshadow:  Rudrick was a right bastard of a character and the player logged many sessions alongside Ternoc.  Rudrick was a fighter/thief combination and the player did a nice job playing him as a bit of a ruthless bastard!  The last name has been used two times for different characters in my games but neither have lived up to the first name holder.

Brendan Kestrelshar:  An Elvish Fighter/Mage...Brendan was played for a short time but the player did a nice job capturing the essence of the character.  This character was an elf out of time, he had been frozen in time for centuries only to be discovered by the group and rescued.

Madryk of Clan Ironhand:  This character was also played for a short time but the player really got into the character and made him stand out.  The player was a great note taker and never failed to amaze me at what he remembered.  This led to a second title, Keeper of Secrets and this was another fun character to see played to it's fullest.  The Clan name has been re-used once...

Krom...the Assassin:  Krom was Tal's friend and nemesis and I can't say enough about Krom or the player...I have talked about him in the past...

Valshea:  The one and only character my wife has played over the years...on hiatus right now but this Elven woman was much like my wife...strong willed and didn't understand the word no.  Her foes found out many times she was made of the strongest wood from the forest.

Celebsarn:  An Elvish Paladin from my college years, played for almost two years but played very well.  The character was originally female...until a certain girdle was found that changed all that...she/he became a very noble warrior in the cause of good.

Rafian:  I mention Rafian a Dark Elf Ranger only because the player who plays the character has played it in just about any fantasy type game I have run, under one name or another.  Those that have shared the same table with him laugh at the other names and just start calling the character Rafian!

I think that is it for now but I will be adding to this down the road...I know that I don't have any single class mages that stand out in my mind...though I do have one or two npc's that might fit...

Ciao for now!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Holiday Hiatus

The holiday is going to put a crimp in my gaming with the younger kids but that's ok cause it means more time to keep on planning and mapping!

I am going to try a few different ideas to make something that looks passable or at least pleasurable to me.  I have planned out a few things and names of cities and I will be working on villages as well.

This is a shorter post but I wanted to get something out before I didn't have a chance to.  I am still taking suggestions if anyone has ideas on mapping.

Happy holiday to those celebrating!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The High School Kids (AGC)

Wow spring break gave us a rest and last we saw our little group they had defeated some giant lizards and run away from stirges...the Bladedancer was again at zero hitpoints and the thief was at one.  Nera the Bladedancer came around and they continued exploring, having used all their healing already.  Coming to a T-corridor they could see a statue at the end of one of the sections and moved that way, discovering two doors.  Choosing one they surprised six followers of Gorm AND a new PC who was planning on joining, though he was there looking for information on the lost caravan.  The group actually did a good job or role-playing the scene and avoiding the combat...even with their tattoo's from the Amazons.

Leaving the long lost temple with their new guide Valen Cross they actually found some camels, I ruled that these were lost from their caravan and were more than happy to be led.  The next day...I rolled an encounter and for a moment I thought about changing it...a troll.

Now I have told this group that this is an old school game and sometimes you have to PLAY smart, this is NOT a 3.x game where every encounter is balanced for them...the "Sand" Troll burst out of the sand that had originally looked like a rock, and I was shocked that the party was not surprised but the dice were in their favor...until next week.

This encounter could be a TPK IF they don't run...hopefully they will remember my advice....

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Last night...

Last night the three boys went to sleep, the twins who are 12 share a room and the 8 year old has his own, or so I thought.  I went upstairs to check on some noise coming from the bigger kids room and found that they were intently going over the Monster Manual...the first edition one that I had gotten them.  Now I have to say that each of my kids has a PHB, MM, and DMG from the first run of AD&D and they have thumbed through them but this was the first time they were caught reading it.  I had to put on my dad face and tell them it was lights out and time to go to bed but I was very heart happy that they were looking at it...

Thanks boys!

Monday, April 2, 2012

ARGH!!! MAPS!!!!

I was cruising on my Akkadian Empire work and then I hit, MAPS!!  I am not very good at drawing and my maps can serve but in reality I find them horrible.  I am throwing this out there if anyone has any suggestions as to what I can use that is cheap and easy I would appreciate it.  I at one time had something that created maps that looked a bit like the Greyhawk maps but I cannot find it anymore.

Seriously any help is better than what I've been doing!

Akkadian Empire

While travelling I had some time to think about my various games and campaigns over the last 30+ years of gaming and I realized that I have never really dedicated a game to the desert environs.  This was prompted because we watched a few of the Scorpion King/Mummy movies and I think it's time I do something about having my players "enjoy" the desert soon.

The lost city wouldn't be a bad place to start and I have one group already in that module...I think I can build upon that...should be fun.  More to follow as my thoughts solidify....

Oh yea, I really dig the name Akkadian Empire...and yes I know it is historical... ;)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The caravan made it safely back...

We have returned safely and though I didn't get much time to read I did have time to make some notes and put together some ideas for a variety of old school gaming madness.  We had a great time in Florida and I got to go to St. Augustine which was high on my to do list, I hope everyone is gearing up for a safe Easter holiday and I look forward to posting more about ACKS or Crypts and Things very soon!