Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Kill Team Campaign Part 4 Space Marine Characters

I want Space Marine characters in my Kill Team game. The hard part is that your average Space Marines are like unto gods compared to normal characters. In Death Watch, everyone is a Space Marine, so the power level doesn't matter. In Black Crusade, Space Marine and non-Space Marines work together (sorta), but the Chaos marines are not quite as god-like as their Death Watch counter parts.
In Kill Team, there are two Space Marine characters,the Renegade and the Forsaken. A Renegade is a Space Marine who has turned their back on the Imperium. A Forsaken is a Chaos Marine, who has turned away from the Chaos Gods. Without access to the enhanced technology of a chapter or the magic of the sorcerers, Renegades and Forsaken have lost most of their god-like abilities. Their combat prowess makes them highly valued members of Kill Teams. True Adeptus Astartes don't see a difference between Renegades, Forsaken, and blood soaked Chaos Marines. All will be purged.

Str:  4d6
Con: 4d6
Siz:  4d6
Dex: 3d6+3
Int:   2d6+6
Pow: 3d6
Cha:  3d6

Space Marine characters do not have separate backgrounds and careers. For a Space Marine Character select one of the background/careers below.

Skills: Athletics, Brawn, Command, Endurance, First Aid, Perception, Survival, Lore(Imperium), Lore(Adeptus Astartes,War) Language(Low Gothic,High Gothic), Navigate(Surface), Stealth, Tracking, Tech-Use, Dodge, Intimidation, 
Weapon Style: Space Marine(Bolt, Plasma, Melta, Chain,Power, Primitive,Thrown,Unarmed); Two Weapon; Heavy Weapons.
Talents:True Grit, Heightened Senses(sight/hearing), Resistance(Poison, Asphyxiation,Cold,Heat), Unarmed Specialist.
Special: 2 AP implanted armor, stacks with all worn armor. Can go very long periods without sleep.  Never suffers any penalty for wearing power armor.
Fate Points:2

Gear:  Astartes Bolt Pistol, Chain sword, Carapace Armor, 4 Frag Grenades

Skills:  Athletics, Brawn, Endurance, First Aid, Perception, Survival, Lore(Adeptus Astartes,War, Screaming Vortex, The Long War), Language(Low Gothic), Navigate(Surface), Stealth,  Dodge, Pilot(Surface), Intimidation
Weapon Styles: Legionnaire (Bolt, Plasma, Melta, Chain, Power, Primitive,Thrown,Unarmed); Two Weapon; Heavy Weapons.
Talents: Jaded, Heightened Senses(sight/hearing), Resistance(Poison, Asphyxiation,Cold,Heat), Hatred(Adeptus Astartes)
Special: 2 AP implanted armor, stacks with all worn armor. Can go very long periods without sleep.  Never suffers any penalty for wearing power armor.  Roll 3 times on the mutations chart and choose one. (Page 292 DH 2E)  
Fate Points:2

Gear:  Legion Bolt Pistol, Legion Chainsword, 4 Legion Frag Grenades, Legion Shotgun, remaining pieces of an ancient suit of power Armour.  (Head:0, Chest/Abdomen:8, Arms/Legs:4, no other power armor bonuses)

Monday, December 14, 2015

40k Kill Team Part 3 Human Stats and Backgrounds

I finally got around to adding more to my Kill Team campaign. Here are the stats and backgrounds for humans. I decided to go with standard RQ stats rather than the D100 based stats that Cthulhu 7th Edition uses. Up next is the stats and backgrounds for Xenos and Space Marines.

Str: 3d6
Con: 3d6
Siz: 2d6+6

Death World
Stats: +1 Str, +1 Con, -1 Pow, -1 Cha
Common Skills: Athletics, Brawn, Endurance, First Aid, Perception, Stealth, Track, Survival, Lore(Imperium), Lore(Death Worlds), Language(Low Gothic,) Navigate(Surface)
Weapon Style: Death Worlder (Primitive Melee, All SP)
Talents: Choose Jaded or Resist(Posions)
Fate Points:3

Void Born
Stats: -1 Str, +1 Pow
Skills:Athletics, Deception, Dodge, Navigate(Void,) Pilot(Void,) Lore(Void Ships,) Lore(Void,) Language(Ship Dialect,Low Gothic, High Gothic), Tech-Use
Weapon Style: Void Born (Las:Basic, Pistol; SP: Basic,Pistol)
Special: +10 Luck
Fate Points:3
Forge World
Stats: +1 Int, +1 to any one stat
Skills: Charm, Inquiry, Medicae, Language (High Gothic,) Lore(Tech, Machine Cult, Adeptus Mechanicus,Forge Worlds), Pilot(Surface) Tech Use, Willpower
Weapon Style: Forge World (Las:Basic, Pistol; Melee:Chain)
Talents: Tech Knock
Fate Points:3

Hive World
Stats: +1 Con, +1 Cha
Skills: Dodge, Deception, Intimidate, Commerce, Endurance, Lang(Low Gothic, High Gothic, Hive), Lore( Imperium,) Perception, Stealth, Tech-Use
Weapon Style: Hive World (Las:Basic, Pistol; SP:Basic, Pistol, Unarmed)
Fate Points:4

Imperial Colony
Stats: +1 Pow
Skills: Dodge, Endurance, First Aid, Lang(Low Gothic, High Gothic,) Lore( Imperium,War,) Navigate (Surface), Perception, Pilot(Surface), Trade(Choose One)
Weapon Style: Imperial (Las:Basic, Pistol; SP:Basic, Pistol, Melee:Primitive)
Fate Points:4

Stats: -1 Pow, +1 Cha
Skills: Commerce, Deceit, Charm, Command, Lang(Low Gothic, High Gothic,) Lore( Imperium,War, Nobility,) Willpower
Talents: Peer(Nobility,) Peer (Choose one)
Weapon Style: Imperial (Las:Basic, Pistol; Plasma:Basic, Pistol; Melee:Primitive,Power)
Special: A noble adds +3 to the starting profit factor of their Kill Team.
Fate Points:3

Vortex World
Stats: +1 Pow, +1 Con
Skills: Deceit, Dodge, Endurance,  Lang(Low Gothic,) Lore( Imperium,War, Occult, Chaos Cults,  The Vortex,) Perception, Stealth
Talents: The Quick and the Dead (+2 Initiative)
Weapon Style: Vortex (Las:Basic, Pistol; Bolt:Basic, Pistol; Melee:Primitive)
Fate Points:3

Warrant-less Rogue Trader, Pirate, Unsanctioned Psyker, HereTek, Mercenary, Fallen Astropath, Rogue Navigator, Chaos Cultist, Recidivist, Bounty Hunter, Disavowed Adept, Assassin, Gunslinger

Friday, November 20, 2015

Campaign Update

I haven't done a campaign update in a while. Here's what's going on in my games.

In my (somewhat) weekly Swords and Wizardry game, the players made their way through the wilderness area around the Lost City of Barakus, the lost city itself, and then braved the Ghost Tower of Inverness. I dropped a few hints about White Plume Mountain and the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. After completing the Ghost Tower the group decided to put the campaign on hold.

 We picked up our Star Wars Edge of the Empire game, that we had put on hold about a year ago. To kickoff the restarted campaign, I gave them the choice of three jobs: find a lost treasure ship, blow up an Imperial base, or chase rumors of a light saber crystal. They chose the money. 

In the monthly DCC game the reavers pushed their way through +Paul Wolfe 's excellent God Seed Awakens. They figured out NOT to open the prison cells and managed to defeat most of the god seed's guardians. Surprisingly, they also befriended the baby dragonling and a sentient ball of goo. When they defeated the god seed, a void in space opened up and the characters found themselves falling......toward a massive purple planet. Sadly, the dragonling was kept back from the final battle so he was not transported along with them. The goo was though. 

The Swords and Wizardry monthly game is going strong as well.  The characters have reached level four. They making their way through the first dungeon level of the Temple of Elemental Evil.  I think we've spent at least 4 sessions there so far. There's a lot left to go. They dispatched the "yucky frog men" but have yet to meet the nasty beast men that I made using the Monster Alphabet.

The characters in my Dark Heresy game are progressing through their last adventure. After we wrap it up, this game will become my Kill Team campaign. I should really finish that before they finish the adventure.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Legacy of Oros for White Star

+Paul Wolfe over at Mystic Bull games has been putting out some great stuff for White Star lately.  I recently picked up "Legacy of Oros", the first full length adventure set in Paul's Galaxy War 1939 setting.

Galaxy War 1939 is a retro sci-fi setting for the White Star RPG. Set in the WWII era, Galaxy War supposes that the war has spread into space using Flash Gordon 50's style future tech. The setting places the characters in the role of Space Operations Executive (SOE) agents fighting a shadow war against the Nazis (in space!)

The setting pushes all the right buttons for me. I love retro-sci. One of my favorite graphic novels is Ignition City by Warren Ellis and I love the old Dan Dare comics. British and Nazi rocket-ships dog-fighting over Mars really fires up the imagination.

In the adventure the PCs travel to a former British colony world now under control of the Reich. There they must rescue a scientist trapped on the planet. The adventure is cool, for though all the great source material in the book is the real treasure. There are stats for tons of new alien creatures, Nazi spacecraft and tanks, and a spaceship for the players to use.  There's even details on some new psychic abilities.

The art in this book is fantastic. The images of the  Nazi stormtroopers or Raketekommandos  and the WW II era spacecraft capture the retro sci-fi feel perfectly. There's even a short multi-panel comic that I'm dying to read the rest of.  If you like retro sci-fi, I highly recommend this adventure.

Make sure to checkout some of the other products for Galaxy War as well.

One Page Adventures  - Bug Hunt and Last Transmission.
Free Zine! - RadioTapes Intercept

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

40k Kill Team Campaign Conversion overview

This is part II of my home brew 40k Kill Team campaign. In this entry I'm going to give a general overview of how I'm converting the system from the Fantasy Flight 40k games to a BRP/Call of Cthulhu/Runequest style system. See my first entry in this series for more info.

Rule System
The overall rule system is a combination of Runequest 6th Edition and Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition.  I like how character creation works in Runequest 6. The Endurance/Willpower/Evade skills fit well with how I want to run a 40k game. For everything else, I use the rules for Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition. (I have the PDFs and hopefully it will be published very soon.) Runequest 6 combat resolution is great for a fantasy style game but I want the faster, lighter system of Call of Cthulhu.  The new Luck stat in 7th Edition COC is a nice feature.  I'm unsure about the new D100 based stats that 7th Edition CoC uses but it makes conversion from the 40k games easier.

Character Creation and Careers
Characters are created similar to RQ6. Players pick a background and a career and this determines their starting skills. Some of the backgrounds are different races. They will generate their stats differently and  limit what careers can be chosen. Here's  my starting list of backgrounds and careers. I'll probably add or remove some as I starting detailing them.

Human Backgrounds: Death World, Void Born, Forge World, Hive World, Imperial World, Independent World, Vortex World 
Special Backgrounds: Space Marine, Ork, Dark Eldar, Kroot.

Human Careers: Warrant-less Rogue Trader, Pirate, Unsanctioned Psyker, Heretek, Mercenary, Fallen Astropath, Rogue Navigator, Chaos Cultist, Recidivist, Bounty Hunter, Rebel
Space Marine Careers: Renegade, Forsaken
A space marine Renegade is one who has deserted their chapter but not turned to Chaos. A Forsaken is a traitor legionnaire who has given up the worship of the dark gods and left their warband.
Ork Careers - Freebooter, Mekboy, Komanndo
 Kroot - Kroot are always mercenaries.
Dark Eldar- Kabal Warrior, Wyche.
There is an entire expansion about the Dakr Eldar for Rouge Trader. There are a number of other Dark Eldar careers(flesh shaper, sky terror) that I may write up only if someone wants to play one.
Tau - Fallen Fire Warrior

The FF 40k games use the stats as a base score and the skills modify them. When converting to BRP many of the stats simply become skills. A later entry will cover converting NPCs in detail.

Weapon Skill - replaced by individual weapon skills
Ballistic Skill - replaced by individual weapon skills
Strength - Strength
Toughness - replaced both by Constitution and the Endurance skill. The damage resistance quality of toughness is dropped. In my experience it made combat last too long.
Agility - Dexterity
Intelligence - Intelligence
Perception - replaced by the various perception skills
Willpower - Power and the Willpower skill
Fellowship - Charisma

The Education stat from Call of Cthulhu is not used.
Skills and Talents
I will be creating my own skill list based on the skill lists from the FF games, CoC and RQ6. Skills function per the BRP games. Talents will be used as written in the FF rulebooks with some modifications. For example, all the dual wielding talents aren't needed as that would be covered by a weapon skill. The Advancement schemes in the rulebooks are not used. Characters are awarded XP which can be used to raise skills or buy talents.

Weapons, Armor, and Gear
Almost all of the gear can be used as written. Armor and damage function the same way in both games. The damages for some weapon might be high but I'll have adjust that after play testing.
Psy Powers
I'm unsure how to adapt Psy Powers right now. Both RQ and CoC have extensive magic systems but that would require me to rework the Psy powers from the ground up. I'm tempted to just use the Dark Heresy 2nd edition rules as written with a little adaptation to make them skill based.

Starships and Navigation
Starships in the 40k Kill Team universe are smaller, require less crew, and are more easily attainable.  Not quite as ubiquitous as they are in Star Wars but more common that they are in the normal 40k universe. A ship does not a require a navigator to make a warp jump. A ship without a navigator can jump to nearby star systems. A navigator can guide a ship much further. I've already written my own set of house rules for Starship combat in Rogue Trader that I'll adapt for this game.  In general, the ships  require about 1/1000 the crew of what is listed in the book. A ship that lists it's crew of as 20,000 would only require a crew of 20. The PCs are assumed to be the command crew and the rest are NPC pirate or mercenary crew members that work for them.  The ships are also smaller. I'd have to do a lot of math to figure out how much smaller, so I'm hand waving it. Assume they are sized appropriately for their number of crew. The ship stats can be used as written otherwise.

Fate Points and Luck
I'll be using both the fate points from the FF games and the luck stat from CoC 7th edition. I think that will balance out the deadlier combat of this adaptation. This will require some play testing.

Profit Factor
The profit factor rules from Rogue Trader are used to track the groups wealth and reputation. Some modification is needed as star ships aren't quite so rare and players don't need to hire thousands of crew. In my experience the profit factor rules need modification even in a normal Rogue Trader game.

Monday, August 31, 2015

#RPGaDay Days 28 - 31

Day 28-Favorite game you no longer play. I love weird west settings. Deadlands, with its combination of old west, steampunk, magic, and Cthulhu is just about perfect. I played Savage Deadlands at Gencon this year. Playing again reminded me how cool the setting is. I've run 3 campaigns using classic Deadlands. I've been meaning to start a new one using the Savage Worlds version for a while. There's so many good games and so little time.

Day 29-Favorite RPG Website/Blog I read a lot of blogs. I mean A LOT.  Dispatches from Kickassistan is the only blog that I keep up with that I went back and read all the old entries as well. It's a fine piece of work written by blogger, podcaster, and zine author +Adam Muszkiewicz. Highly recommended.

Day 30-Favorite RPG Playing Celebrity Felicia Day is the new media mogul behind the Guild and Geek and Sundry. She's also a roleplayer, and not just from video games. Geek and Sundry could easily leave out the niche of RPGs and concentrate and things with much larger audiences, but they don't. They even had their own booth at Gencon this year right next to Green Ronin.

Day 31 Favorite Non-RPG thing to come out of RPGing. What I'm doing right now, connecting with the RPG community. I've been playing RPGs since I was 10 years old. Only recently did I start participating in the RPG community by blogging, going to conventions, chatting with folks online and writing original content. It all started with NTRPGcon, then this year I took the plunge and went to Gencon. Next year I'm headed to GaryCon. I can't wait!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The War Rig for DCC

The War Rig
 Custom built truck/trailer

 Init 0; Atk rundown +7 melee (2d12+Ram); AC 20; HD 9d16 Cab, 9d10 for trailer ; Speed Level cruise 4/ max 6; Act 1d20; SV Fort +6, Ref -3, Will NA.Fuel Tank 1d30; Guzzle 8.

Basic Traits: Power Hauler, Extra Cargo x80 (Trailer has up to four traits of its own)
Additional Traits: Armored; Big Tank, Nitrous tank, Ram plate, Rugged

Reserve Tank: If the reserve tank is attached the War Rig's cruise and max speed drop by one but it gains an extra 1d8 fuel tank.

Defenders perch: The War rig has two armored perches for defenders on the front and rear of the trailer. Anyone in the perches receives the full benefit of the War Rig's AC.

A War Rig gains additional abilities when driven by a Petrol Head.
Kill Switch: A Petrol Head may set the kill switch so only those knowing the proper procedure can run the War Rig.
Tough as Nails:A Petrol Head may burn luck to keep the War Rig moving after it has dropped to zero hp. The luck must be burnt every time the War Rig is hit after it drops to zero hp. As soon as the battle is over the War Rig must stop and be repaired.
Weapons Stash:There are small knives and guns hidden everywhere on the War Rig. A Petrol head may burn a point of luck to acquire either a knife or small firearm.

Petrol Heads and Vehicle rules can be found in Crawling Under a Broken Moon issue #6.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

RPGaDay Days 25-27

Day 25 - Favorite Revolutionary game mechanic  The Deed die in Dungeon Crawl Classics. In DCC, the fighter (and dwarf) don't have a fixed number for their attack bonus. Instead they roll an extra die along with the D20. Before rolling, the player can declare a "Mighty Deed" such as tripping, shield bashing, bull rushing, disarming, etc.  If the player both hits and rolls at least a 3 on their Deed die then the deed succeeds. I love how this mechanic takes every combat maneuver and feat and rolls it up one one simple mechanic. It also encourages player creativity!

Day 26- Favorite Inspiration for your game. Does stealing from novels count as inspiration? I've taken scenes from The Expanse novels and used them in my Edge of the Empire game. The bad guys from the Hiero novels have put in an appearance and the entire Laundry Files series is literally a source book for Call of Cthulhu. Bob Howard just can't catch a break.

Day 27 - Favorite Idea for merging two games into one. This is all I did back in high school and college. I had a post-Apocalypse campaign that combined Aftermath, Runequest, and Call of Cthulhu. That didn't work out to well. I didn't really think through the implications of Runequest battle magic combined with guns. It was fun the few times we played though. My longest running combo was AD&D and Rolemaster. I was bored of the AD&D combat system, so I forklifted Rolemaster's with all it's lovely charts and crit tables. It worked surprisingly well. We played through some of the most famous AD&D dungeons, Temple of Elemental Evil and Ruins of Undermountain. the players still talk about it today.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Iron Cobra Story

Here's the story I mentioned in my Gen Con wrap-up. At Gencon, I bought +Doug Kovacs  awesome artwork of the Iron Cobra. I bought it for my players. Here's the story.

I'm always after my group to come up with a name for their adventuring band. In our Eberron campaign, they called themselves "Blue Steel," which I thought was pretty good. They even named their flying ship "Steel's Edge." In our Ptolus game, when they registered with the adventurer's guild, they couldn't settle on a name.  I had the guild master put down their name as "Adventuring Guild #18." It stuck, and they went by the name AG18 for the rest of the campaign, much to the chagrin of some of the players.

About 2 years ago I started a Swords and Wizardry campaign for my regular gaming group. The campaign was was to be pure old school dungeon crawling. They started out in the Keep on the Borderlands.  After looting an pillaging the Caves of Chaos, I took them through a mini campaign using two of my favorite old school adventures, UK2 The Sentinel and UK3 The Gauntlet. In the Sentinel the characters explore some caves that were inhabited by a band of Xvarts (shown on the right.) Stashed in the lair was a solid gold idol of a Xvart.

As soon as they saw Golden Xvart idol, the conversation went something like this:

Player one: "I know! We can call ourselves the Golden Xvarts!"

Player two: "There is no way we are calling ourselves that. People will call us the golden farts."

Player three: "Whatever, we are definitely taking that idol."

Later in the adventure, they encountered the an Iron Cobra. Immediately one of the players exclaimed:

 "That's it! We're called Iron Cobra! I'm writing it down! No changes!"

Player two:  "Okay but the golden xvart is totally our mascot then."

Player three:  "Yeah we can melt down the idol and have little Xvart idols made for each of us to carry!"

Player four: "Fine. ..........sigh"

And that's how my group came to be known as Iron Cobra, with a golden xvart for a mascot, and why I had to buy Doug's painting as soon as I saw it. One of the players even made a symbol for the group.  (Awesome Xvart flag by +Tracy O )



Sunday, August 23, 2015

RPGaDay Days 22 - 24

Day 22 - Perfect Gaming Environment  I love to run games, so anywhere is the perfect place. My game room at home gets the most use and I also run games at conventions. I even ran one game at a very loud bar at Gencon this year.  I'd have to say that was less that perfect but still a blast. At Dragoncon last year we made a makeshift table out of costume bins and played in the hallway. Anywhere everyone is having fun is the perfect place.

Day 23 - Perfect Game for Me. I'm not sure there is any one perfect game for me. I hack, modify and house rule any game I run. I like that DCC can be adapted to almost any setting. I like that Swords and Wizardry lets me  make my own version of D&D. I like that I can use the BRP rules for other published settings. The perfect game for me? Anyone that I can change.

Day 24- Favorite House Rule  What just one? As I said above I hack and modify almost everything I run. Check out my Swords and Wizardry house rules, Dark Heresy house rules, Edge of the Empire Starship combat, or heck my whole Thundarr campaign. I think it's safe to say I'm a fan of house rules. I use my nifty hit location die in all my games.

Friday, August 21, 2015

RPGaDay Days 20 and 21

Day 20 - Favorite Horror RPG.  Back in high school I saw an ad for Beyond the Supernatural in Dragon magazine. The ad had this awesome artwork of three people fighting a supernatural monster using sub-machine gun. I wanted to play that game. I went to the game store and asked about buying it. The store owner said that it wasn't out yet but recommended Call of Cthulhu instead. He thought I would like it better. Wow, that was probably the best recommendation I've ever gotten at a game store. I have been running Call of Cthulhu ever since.

Day 21 - Favorite RPG Setting. I love fantasy RPGs but ever since I first read Gamma World I've been fascinated by the Post-Apocalypse setting. It's like playing D&D except the dungeons are abandoned hi-tech bases and the magic items are blaster rifles and power armor.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

RPGaDay 2015 Days 16-19

Day 16-Longest game session played. Back in High School, our system of choice was my glorious mashup of AD&D and Rolemaster. I received Ruins of Undermountain for Christmas, so we played it starting new years eve till about 6 in the morning, slept for a while then played until well into the night on January 1st.  I think we got through the whole 1st level.

Day 17 - Favorite Fantasy RPG. Runequest, old Runequest. The RPG is built around the world of Glorantha rather than the other way around. It was the first fantasy RPG I played in the campaign rather than running it. I still have the character sheet for my Humakt initiate.

Day 18 - Favorite SF RPG Though I'd really consider it a science fantasy rpg, Gamma World wins this one. I've been fascinated by Gamma World since I got the third edition boxed set and played through the solo adventure.

Day 19 - Favorite Supers RPG - Marvels Super Heroes. I played this almost as much as D&D and since the rules were so simple, I didn't have to fudge a lot of stuff.  I recently bought both the original set and the advanced set used so I can run it for my nephews.

Monday, August 17, 2015

RPGaDay 2015 Day 11-15

Day 11 - Favorite RPG Writer. A hard choice, but if I am honest with myself I have to go with Gary Gygax. I spent years searching for that "perfect" fantasy RPG only to realize what I wanted to do was run all the old Gygax AD&D adventures.

Day 12 - Favorite RPG Illustration. Doug Kovcas's illustration of the corruption of the Wizard from the DCC core book. There is so much going on in this picture. If you look closely, his fetish in the last image is his younger self.

Day 13 - Favorite RPG Podcast. I had never listened to podcasts till last year. Now I'm listening to podcasts instead of the radio in my car. I've heard every episode of Spellburn twice. It's what got me back into running DCC.

Day 14 - Favorite RPG Accessory - The Chessex reversible gaming mat. My wife bought me the Mondomat size a few years back, for my birthday. I can draw a whole dungeon on it.

Day 15 - Longest Campaign Played. Sometime around September/October 2007 I started up a Delta Green Call of Cthulhu campaign. I still run it at a few times a year. The agents are a little "twitchy" now.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

RPGaDay 2015 Days 5-10

Here's the next 6 days of RPGaDay. Maybe I'll finally be caught up by the end of the month.

Day 5 - Most recent RPG purchase. You'd think this would be the massive pile of RPGs I bought at Gencon. However, last RPG purchase was Black Power, Black Magic, Vol2 by +Carl Bussler  and +Eric Hoffman. DCC six guns and sorcery can't be beat!

Day 6 - Most recent RPG played This would have been Dark Heresy but I had to cancel my game on Wednesday due to crazy work stuff. That means that last game I played was my monthly DCC game. Right now my players are in the midst of "The God Seed Awakens" by +Paul Wolfe

Day 7 - Favorite Free RPG  Did you know that the Swords and Wizardry rules are 100% free? If you want to play the best D&D retro-clone, you should go get them.

Day 8 - Favorite appearance by RPGs in the media. The D&D scene in ET. It was my favorite part of the movie when I was a kid. I had never seen a reference to D&D anywhere in the media before. I think I babbled about it to my mom for half an hour after the movie.

Day 9 - Favorite Media you wish was an RPG. +Tim Snider  picked Thundarr, which I agree with 100%. I think Tim's already done a fine job making that wish come true.

Day 10 - Favorite RPG Publisher. I bought almost everything Goodman Games released this year.  The GG staff, writers, artists go above and beyond to support the DCC community.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

RPGaDay 2015 Days 1-4

Since this started during Gencon, I'm a little behind. Here are days 1 thru 4. 

Day 1 - Forthcoming game you're most looking forward to.  Easy choice here, Mutant Crawl Classics by +Jim Wampler.  Basically, it's DCC Gamma World. 

Day 2 - Kickstarted game most pleased you backed. Wow. There are so many. Peril on the Purple Planet is my favorite though. Science Fantasy is my anti-drug.

Day 3 - Favorite New Game of the last 12 months.  I buy a lot of old games. I did pick up Mutant Year Zero. I really like the community building rules. I'm going to steal them for my next PA game.

Day 4 - Most Surprising Game Savage Worlds I think I own a whole shelf full of Savage Worlds books, but I'd never played it until this year at Gencon. I was surprised by how easy it was for new players to pick up the rules.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Gencon 2015 Wrap-up

I'm back from Gencon and it was amazing. I wasn't able to sign up for many games beforehand so I was worried. I shouldn't have been. I didn't even make it to everything I had planned.

Wednesday night I got to join in on +Marc Bruner's "10th level" DCC funnel with a bunch of cool people in the Embassy Suites bar area. That's the DCC crew hang out area if you are ever at Gencon BTW. Marc's concept and adventure were great. High level DCC characters intrigue me. They get very powerful at that level. It was cool to see how they work in practice. FYI, they can slay gods.

Thursday, I had my first scheduled game, Freeblades. It's a neat little skirmish game, sort of a retro-clone of Mordheim. Both of my friends bought the rulebook. There is a dedicated line of models for Freeblades but you don't need them. Any ole fantasy minis will work. I had planned to buy it as well but I found something I liked better.  More on that later.

The rest of the day on Thursday, I dove into the Exhibition Hall. I wanted to make sure I didn't miss out on a few books. I bought so much DCC stuff from the Goodman Games booth I hurt my shoulder carrying them out. That wore me out.  I made the trek back to my hotel to drop off my burden, went to dinner and had a few drinks.  I went back over to the Embassy Suites that night to view the first night of Catastrophe Island or "Dougcon," a huge multi-table DCC event hosted by +Doug Kovacs.

On Friday, I played in my only scheduled RPG, Deadlands. I've run the classic Deadlands but I've never played the Savage Worlds version. Ii was good. I thought my character, who was a mage, was slightly overpowered, but that's not all that different from classic. We had our GM rolling with quotes like this: "Are you done interrogating the werewolf? Okay good, I shoot it in the head and set it on fire. Frontier Justice." Now that I've played Savage Worlds, I'd like to play a game of Hell on Earth too.

Afterwards I again dove back into the Exhibition Hall. Every time I go to a convention, I'm either inspired to do something new or reminded how much I love something I've forgotten. There were so many cool miniatures games at Gencon, I was reminded how much I love painting and modeling. After playing Freeblades, I wanted a cool skirmish game. I was considering purchasing an Infinity or Malifaux starter set, when I discovered Wild West Exodus. I was blown away by the models. I purchased a starter set right then. I came back the next two days and purchased even more, including the model above.

I played Powergrid that afternoon, which was cool, but not something I'd play regularly. It's like Catan but with almost no randomness. That night, I ran my DCC Thundarr game over in the Embassy suites. It was a blast. I wasn't planning on running a game, but I'm glad I did. A few of the players said it was thier only game at the convention.

Saturday morning, I played Zombiecide. That was good. I need to play it again. I think it's almost a perfect combination of boardgame and tactical miniatures game. After that I took it slow and wandered around the convention center looking at all the cool stuff. I found the miniature painting competition and took tons of pictures.

I hung out in the area where publishers were showing off their in-development games for a bit. I talked to the guys from Boardcraft for a while. They make nifty 3-d printed games and terrain. Thier 3-d dungeon were aweomse so I backed their Kickstarter. They're local guys from here in DFW. Gotta support the home team!

That evening I had plans to finally attend a panel. Didn't happen. I "gencon'd" it and hung out in a bar with my friends till very late. I didn't even make it over for Catastrophe Island part 2. On Sunday, I made my last and final foray into the exhibits hall. I methodically went down every row that I hadn't been down.  Lots of cool stuff to see. All I ended up buying though was more models for Wild West Exodus.

Oh I almost forgot, I also bought some of Doug Kovacs original art. The Iron Cobra he did for the 4E mosnter manual. As to why I wanted the Iron Cobra specifically is whole nother story. I'll post that one later. This post is already stretching into TL/DR territory.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Today I head out for my first GenCon ever. I've wanted to go since I first saw the ads for Gencon in Dragon magazine back in the 80's.  I didn't manage to get in any pre-reg games, but everyone tells me that doesn't matter. I'm planning to hit the DCC tourney's and games on demand to see what's up. I'll also be in the Embassy Suites bar most night hanging out with the DCC crew. If you're there stop by and say hi! Here's my tentative schedule. I have a feeling I will skip most of this and just wander around.

Thursday 10 am - 1pm 
Thursday 1pm - close - Exhibit Hall!

Friday 9am - 1pm 

Friday 3pm - 4pm
Titansgrave Panel

Friday 7pm 
How to write adventures that don't suck

Sat 10am - 1pm 

Sat 7pm 
Goodman Games

DCC tourneys - JW Marriort room 314

Death by Nexus 
Thursday 10am -1pm
Friday 9am-12pm
Saturday 2pm - 5pm
Sunday 9am-12pm

Enter the Dagon
Thurs 2pm - 5pm
Friday 1pm - 4pm
Saturday 10am - 1pm

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Grim and Gritty 41st Millennium - a Kill Team RPG

I've wanted a Warhammer 40k RPG since I read (and re-read!) the Rouge Trader book.  It was a Christmas gift from my parents when was I was 15. I desperately wanted it to be an RPG. Alas, it was a war game. A war game I still play to this day. I was ecstatic about the release of Dark Heresy. Finally! An actual 40k RPG! Then Black Library immediately dropped it, or went under, I forget. Then Fantasy Flight picked it up! Unfortunately, after many years of playing it's not the 40k RPG I want.

I own them all: Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, Death Watch, Black Crusade, Only War, and Dark Heresy 2E.  I've run an ongoing Dark Heresy game for 7 years, another Dark Heresy game for 2 years, and a year long  Rogue Trader game. They don't work for me. I want the 40k RPG that's pictured in Rouge Trader:  a dirtier, grittier Star Wars, Space Marines hanging out in bars, mercenary Eldar, and Squats! I also need a different rule set. Even with the improvements of Dark Heresy 2E, the rules are cumbersome. My house rules have become quite extensive.

 I'm going to create my own 40k campaign. One with a less constrained 40k universe and different rules. I'm going to convert the rules to the BRP system (Runequest, Call of Cthulhu)  If you peer deep enough at Dark Heresy  you can see its Runequest DNA. I'll post a more extensive write up of my conversions in the weeks months to come.

At it's heart, the campaign will be a Star Wars/Firefly type game. The characters have their own ship and bounce around the galaxy getting into trouble. To make the 40k universe less restrictive I'm making these alterations

Warp travel is less difficult.
In the current 40k fluff you need a cathedral sized star ship with a crew of 20,000 and a special Navigator character to jump through Warp space. Also, no one but the Imperial Navy or Rogue Traders can even have a ship. That goes out the window. Warp travel can be accomplished by small ships crewed by fewer people. The cathedral ships are still around but only in the hands of the Imperial Navy. Having a navigator is an advantage, but not required. In the original Rogue Trader book, warp capable ships can jump between star systems without a navigator. A navigator allows huge jumps, tens of thousands of light years.

Aliens aren't anathema.
In the 40k milieu, if a Xenos were to set foot on a imperial planet, the Imperium would have to murder everyone who saw it and possibly burn the whole planet to ash. I want players to be able to make Xenos characters. Orks, Eldar, Tau, and Kroot are rare within Imperium space. Xenos are shunned, but not cause for OMG KILL IT WITH FIRE. Hive worlds on the fringes have an "alien" quarters where Xenos congregate. Tyranids are still monsters who will eat your face. Necrons are hidden and secretive. I like the idea of a Necron crime lord.

The Imperium isn't in a state of near death.
Depending on what you read, the Imperium is in a state of near constant collapse, about to be eaten by Tyranids, overrun by Orks, or burned to the ground by Chaos. In this campaign, those threats exist but in smaller scope. The Imperium is both more stable and less capable. It's a decadent, barely functional bureaucracy with islands of stability and pockets of anarchy. Every Xenos race is not constantly at war with the Imperium. The Imperium doesn't immediately declare war on independent human worlds.

The characters have all rejected the Imperium.
 In the 40k RPGs, except for Black Crusade, the characters are Imperial agents: Inquisition acolytes, a Rogue Trader crew, Space Marines, or Imperial Guard. In this campaign the characters are a kill team for hire. They are outlaws, hereteks, rogue psykers, fallen acolytes, chaos cultists and Xenos. Rogue space marines are an option as well. Marines who have deserted their chapter but not fallen to Chaos.

In effect, the campaign will look like a mash-up of Black Crusade and Rouge Trader. The Kill Team background opens up numerous possibilities for adventure. Nearly any existing 40k adventure could be used by replacing the lead-in with "You've been hired to....."

Stay tuned for more posts on this subject!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Beastmen and Yucky Frogs

I run a once a month Swords and Wizardry game for some friends. They are about to enter the first dungeon level of the Temple of Elemental Evil. There are a lot of repeated monsters on that level, Gnolls and Ghouls mostly. I wanted it to be more interesting so I  grabbed my brand new PDF of the Monster Alphabet and changed all the gnolls to beast men. I also used a few things from the beast men table in Sailors on the Starless Sea. Here's what I came up with. Feel free to use them in one of your games. 

1 - Human with over sized hanging jowls that drip ichor, tiny pinholes for eyes
2- Man-bear
3- Rhino-man
4- Dwarf with a hunched back with a Ram's head growing out of the hunch. 
5- Human with a flapping wet mess instead of a mouth
6- Octopus head
7-  Head of a fly
8 - Ram's head
9-  Elf with a Horned viper head sprouts from the middle of its back 
10 - Leopard spots with a Komodo Dragon Head
11 - Black Mamba head, can teleport
12 - Jackal head
13 - Razor sharp alabaster swan wings and a caribou head
14 - Water Buffalo Head ; breath weapon of angry bees
15- Halfling with a drooping vulture neck
16 - Hyena head with a psy blast that does 1d8 damage
17 - Ant head with rhino horns
18 - Human head/body with ostrich legs 
19 - Frilled lizard head
20 - Gecko head
21 - Scarab beetle head - can speak a power word that ends a single spell or spell effect
22 - Stag beetle head
23 - Wolf head with a tentacled tail that ends in a clawed hand. 
24 - Moose head with 2 sets of wings. One is brightly plumed exotic bird wings, the other is expansive pterodactyl wings. 
I also took about half the Ghouls/Ghasts on that level and replaced them with Tsathar (frog-men.) That wasn't weird enough though, so I used Y is for Yuck and S is for Sorcery to spice them up. 

Regular Sathar modified by Y is for Yuck
1- pukes up stomach to attack
2- conjoined with the dessicated husk of a twin
3- covered in blisters and boils save vs disease
4- smeared in excrement
5- filled with festering wounds and chunks of rotting meat sv vs disease
6- covered in thick mucus
7 - attempts to implant an egg in victims eye
8 -  projectile acid vomit
9 - camouflaged with dead bodies
10 - carry bags of offal and trash
11 - covered in mucas
12 - vomits up its own stomach

Tsather Scrouge modified with S is for Sorcery
1- moves with blinding speed, extra attack per round
2- turns invisible 1d3 rounds
3- shapeshifts into giant spider
4- turns in to type 1 demon (Vrock)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

One year tuned to Channel Zero

One year ago today, I launched this blog with an inauspicious entry, followed up by my first real entry two days later. Since then I've made 66 posts and racked up roughly 51,000 unique page views.  Not bad for a little blog about RPGs. My goal was to post at least once a week. I didn't quite make that even though I had more than 52 posts in a year. Here's to another year! Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Campaign Update

I'm currently running four different campaigns. A few folks I spoke to at NTRPG con seemed surprised that I ran so many. I don't think so. The four campaigns work about to be about 4-6 sessions a month. Personally, I'd like to fit in a few more, but those pesky things like "work" and "kids" come up. 

I run two games of Swords and Wizardry, both set in Greyhawk. One is with my regular group that has been together for over ten years. The characters are level 4-5. They recently completed the Lost City of Barakus, and have hooks leading to The Ghost Tower of Inverness, White Plume Mountain, and Lost Caverns of Tsjocanth. Where will they go? (FYI, you can't get those last two in PDF as far as I know. WOTC reprinted them in a hardback not long ago.)

The second group, which has some overlap with the first, started when some friends asked if I would run a monthly D&D game for them. Of course, I agreed. They started out in the Village of Hommlet. Now they are all about level 3 now and poking around outside the Temple of Elemental Evil.

I also run two online games. I started a Dark Heresy game almost 2 years ago with a group of friends who I play 40k with. There were 7 people in the game, and scheduling started becoming difficult. The Dark Heresy system was also becoming a problem with that many players. We had a 3 hour combat that lasted over 30 rounds. Some of the characters ran out of ammo. I deicded to split the group in two. One group continued with Dark Heresy, the other group decided to go with DCC.

The Dark Heresy campaign is nearing it's climatic end. The characters are in the middle of Dead Stars, the last Haarlok trilogy adventure, and approaching Ascension level. Playing once a month, we  will probably take the rest of this year to finish. I suggested that we start a Rogue Trader game next and everyone seemed excited about that idea.

In the DCC game, the characters are all level 2. They recently raided the home of the Emerald Enchanter and are about to come face to face with him again, in the Emerald Enchanter Strike Back. I'm not sure where they will go next. There are so many good DCC adventures. I run the game as an episodic semi-sandbox. I give them leads to a few different adventures and let them choose where to go. I think The God Seed Awakens may play a part.  +Paul Wolfe writes weird stuff.
I like weird.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

North Texas RPG con 2015 Wrap Up

NTRPG con 2015 was a blast! The daily blogging of the con didn't really work out though. Besides Wednesday, I stayed well past midnight every night. Then I was back again each morning by at least 10 am. It was awesome.

Thursday, I spent the day browsing the vendors and talking to folks. I spent a few minutes talking to +Doug Kovacs and bought some of his sweet prints. I may have a science fantasy problem. That evening, I played in  +Michael Curtis's DCC Lankhmar game. I can't wait for this to be released. I really like what Mike and the DCC crew are doing with Lankhmar. My two favorite adaptations are the carousing charts and the player background abilities. The carousing charts allow characters to regain luck by blowing their loot. Sometimes, bad things happen. +Paul Wolfe ended up naked and nearly toothless after his bout of carousing. The background abilities allows some limited "multi-class" skills. Our band had a thief who could cast a spell, a wizard who was highly skilled with short swords, and a very sneaky warrior. After the game, the whole group hit the Black Blade booth and snapped up lots of cool new DCC stuff.

Friday started off with a second pass through the Black Blade booth. I was so tired when I went through the night before I was sure I had missed some cool stuff. I was right. I picked up the Judge's Guid reprints of Tengel Manor and Citadel of Fire. Next, I played in the new DCC adventure Against the Atomic Overlords run by the man himself, +Edgar Johnson. Post-Apocalyptic science fantasy fires all my brain cells. I think my cleric may have interrogated the AI a little more than was needed. I needed more details! It was so cool I bought two copies of the adventure. (Update: Another copy arrived in the mail today. I  pre-ordered it, so now I have 3 copies. Look for a future giveaway!)

That night, I sat down for some true old school AD&D with +Allan Grohe. The party was exploring his version of the Lost Caverns of Tsjocanth. Allan is a great DM. Not only did he have a Gygaxian-like knowledge of AD&D, he handled 8 players without breaking a sweat. Somehow, I ended up mapping and managed to not get us lost. The group was so into exploring the dungeon I think we forgot what we were looking for. That's okay, there was an epic battle against a group of fomorian giants that was better than any loot.

Saturday morning, I was up at the con bright and early to run my DCC Thundarr game. This was the my first convention game in about 20 years. I normally only run games for people I know, so I was a little anxious. I shouldn't have been. It was a blast! The players were an awesome bunch. I even got a round of applause afterwards. DCC Thundarr will be back in 2016!

That night, I played a second game of AD&D this time with +Jon Hershberger. Another Master of the Dungeon who handled our large and rowdy bunch with much aplomb. Jon was running an AD&D conversion of Rob Kuntz's Maure Castle, specifically the "Chambers of Antiquities" level. The highlight of this game was an epic battle against a hydra-headed juggernaut. After we finally downed the beast, Jon said something along the lines of "Most groups bypass the Juggernaut, rather than fight it..." I set it on fire. Just to be sure.

While I was playing, BadMike walked by and told me I had won something in the raffle and I should stop by the booth later. Turns out I had won EVERY pacesetter games adventure in PDF! Too cool.

Sunday, sadly I did not make it back up to the con. I was really wiped out and I had to travel for work early the next day, so I decided to stay home. I know I missed out on lots of cool stuff though.

Besides the folks I mentioned above I also met lots of great people for the first time. In no particular order: +Brenda Wolfe +David Baity +Jeremy Whalen +Josh Mcqueen +Alex Perucchini +Jim Wampler +Marc Bruner +Richard LeBlanc +Nick J  Apologies to anyone I missed!  See everyone in 2016!