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Mixing & Matching Setting Elements From The OSR Sourcebook Ice Kingdoms From Mad Martian Games & Hyperborea From The Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg System From North Wind Adventures

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 01/08/2017 - 07:50
Thanks for the email  +CherryCokeRiboflavin first of all & the great questions about mixing and matching these fantastic settings. If your interested dear reader my first impressions of the Ice Kingdoms they haven't changed. The world of Eordan is very well laid out in the Black Edition of Ice Kingdoms within the OSR campaign book. There shouldn't need to be any thematic Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Old School Computers in Star Wars

19th Level - Sun, 01/08/2017 - 03:30

I'm old enough to remember quite well life before the internet - at least the internet as we know it today, When I was in college in the late 1980s and early 1990s going online was a process - the modem on my PC would connect to a BBS or to UConn's dial-up line to allow access to mainframe and Unix systems. Being poor college students. we'd often shamelessly copy installation disks to share games.

I was reflecting on this with the whole Death Star plans plot of the Star War films Rogue One and A New Hope. There's some really minor spoilers for Rogue One here so if you've not seen the film you might want to stay clear - though in all honesty, it's nothing major.

In Rogue One, to obtain the Death Star plans on Scarif, the team has to reach a massive vault and retrieve the plans from that vault. They get transmitted to a Rebel starship whose crew copies them onto a data tape or disk of some sort - the same plans that Princess Leia passes on to R2-D2. At no point does anyone upload the plans to some sort of a data network. Admittedly Scarif is a military installation so if there were a civilian data network it would likely be difficult to access there. And the Empire would almost certainly have massive control over such a network.

That said, a viewing of all the Star Wars films makes the existence of a data network, at least in the sense of one like we have in the 21st century, seem very unlikely. This is not surprising given it was conceived of in the 1970s. At that time, Usenet (an online discussion system that could be distributed across the internet) did not even exist, being conceived in 1979 and launched in 1980 - but with a very limited user base. While we see a lot of evidence of real-time communication being possible in the Star Wars universe, it seems rather limited - essentially limited to audio/video transmissions. It's a little unclear how it works in the setting. For example, in Attack of the Clones, Obi-Wan tries to contact Anakin on Naboo initially and then widens his search, discovering his tracking signal on Tatooine. The message he sends isn't even automatically recorded, though R2-D2 does record it for Anakin. The Holonet, referred to in many supplemental materials, seems like it could perhaps best be compared with the phone networks and over-the-air communications/transmissions of the 1970s and 1980s.

Regardless of how it works, computers in Star Wars are clearly not a part of some enormous cloud. Your computer on Tatooine is not able to easily communicate with a computer on Coruscant. Moreover, I can't think of occasions where characters use any portable data entry device - computers are always things that are approached, not put in your pocket. If you want something portable, you use a droid. And if a droid needs to talk with a computer, it plugs into it directly.

What does this mean in a Star Wars RPG? I think it both limits and enables characters. For example, if some data needs to be stolen from the Empire, it is not a hacking job, it is a matter of breaking into the place that has the data. However, this is also something characters can take advantage of. If a list of Rebel agents has been obtained from a Rebel base, it is possible for the characters to retrieve that list before it is delivered to Imperial security.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Thoughts on Post-Apocalyptic Games

Greyhawk Grognard - Sun, 01/08/2017 - 02:59
I just received Goblinoid Games' wonderful Apes Victorious hard copy book today (I am a HUGE Planet of the Apes fan), and having looked through it, I find myself thinking of a post-apocalyptic sort of game that doesn't seem to be very current, although the concept was pretty alive in the 1970's, when I was earning my sci-fi chops.

I'm talking about the notion that in a post-apocalyptic world, civilization hasn't completely fallen. There are not only pockets of relative civilization (as we see in movies such as The Ultimate Warrior, where a handful of survivors is peaceful and develops new crop strains in the middle of Manhattan), but there are outright civilizations, usually single cities, sprinkled throughout the wasteland. Sometimes we see those cities or organizations sending teams out to restore civilization.

Logan's Run is a great example. We have the City of Domes, a bastion of civilization and high technology in and amongst the ruins of the holocaust. If one goes to the (in my opinion, underrated) television show, there are outposts of savagery and civilization across the blasted landscape.

There's also the pair of made-for-TV movies, Genesis II and Planet Earth, made by Gene Roddenberry as pilots for a potential new series that, alas, never happened. There we see the organization known as PAX, which sends agents to various pockets of savagery to try to elevate them, while at the same time subtly undermining more militant cultures.

Which brings us to Planet of the Apes, the TV series. That featured a planet Earth that was a bit more balanced than the one we saw in the original movie, Humans could still speak, although they were pretty much slaves (or at best serfs) in ape society. But there was also an underlying plot line where there was some technological society that still existed, and that was the hope of the astronauts Burke and Vern; to find that civilization and get their ship back into space, and thus back home.

And the kids television show Ark II, which featured a crew of suitably-multicultural scientists in a super-technological truck roaming across the post-apocalyptic wilderness bringing the benefits of science to the survivors. And they had an intelligent chimp and took every opportunity to use the jet-pack!

The Judge Dredd comics (I omit mention of the movies by choice) have the same set-up. There are the three Mega-Cities, and in between them are the radioactive wastelands (the "cursed earth"), full of anarchy, mutants, and untold dangers.

And let's not forget the Buck Rogers movie and TV show, where the gleaming city of New Chicago arose from the ruins of Old Chicago, where there were still packs of uncivilized survivors running around making trouble for the members of the spacefaring civilization that takes a stroll outside the confines of their enclave.

The Apes Victorious book makes me think along those lines, for some reason. A grand post-apocalyptic campaign where there's a bastion of civilization in and amongst various pockets of semi-civilization, separated by radioactive hellwastes filled with mutants.

I never got the impression from the original Gamma World that its default milieu was so organized. But I'm contemplating a campaign where there's a high-tech city in the Rocky Mountains, and blasted wilderness across most of North America filled with mutants, with an ape civilization in the northeast, a mutant civilization adjacent (with huge brains in jars!), the various Gamma World factions around as nation-states (or something akin to that), the southwest with genetically engineered dinosaur cyborg war machines, and so forth.

I am really liking this idea. Not only does it give opportunities for more role-playing goodness, but it's also a way to slide the apes' milieu into the whole Gamma World-esque post-apocalyptic world. It's just another piece of a huge jigsaw spread across North America. My idea for the Beanstalk could easily be fitted into this sort of concept; indeed, the Beanstalk could be the high-tech center trying to bring civilization back to the Earth.

I want to run this, damnit!
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Swords & Wizardry Light "Word File" and Smaller PDF (3 MB) are Now Live!

Tenkar's Tavern - Sun, 01/08/2017 - 01:49

Thanks to the magic of +Zach Glazar we now have a Swords & Wizardry Light PDF that clocks in at 3 MB. The original file was a hair over 26 MB, so Zach found a nearly 90% savings for you. Yes, its now a "lighter Light" ;)

Additionally there is a Swords & Wizardry Light Word file available for download. You want to hack the rules? Have at it. I know I will. Heh.

Here's the link for the Swords & Wizardry Light folder: 

For those asking, yes, its a free download.

Work continues on Swords & Wizardry Extra Light, which is extra goodies for SWL, not a more stripped down SWL, as that would be crazy talk...

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Old School Blues Podcast - Episode #8 - How can you have any Black Pudding if you don't eat your meat!?!

Tenkar's Tavern - Sat, 01/07/2017 - 19:03

Last night, Vince, Colin and myself reviewed Black Pudding #2 on the Old School Blues episode #8. How did it go? Well, I'm going to quote the great DM, Tim Connolly:
It was just like having you and Vince in my car with me whilst I was driving to Levittown and back again to Glem Cove afterwards. I'm awarding it 6 tankards!There you have it.

Listen to the podcast, but before you do, download your copy of Black Pudding #2 so you can follow along at home. Unless you're driving. It that case, read Black Pudding later ;)

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs


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