Tabletop Gaming Feeds

Schrodinger’s Game

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 03:08

D&D didn’t really exist in the seventies.

Or rather, a lot of people were playing it– a close approximation at any rate. Or maybe a Frankenstein’s monster pieced together from a nearly random assortment of supplements and bootlegs.

If only someone could have stepped into this swirl of confusion and chaos, this period in which everyone would simply do what was right in their own eyes– someone with authority, an apostle that could settle once and for all what D&D truly was.

Was Dr. John Eric Holmes that man…? Or did the world need to wait for the arrival of the true prophet of D&D…?

Let’s see….

-No STR bonuses. Yes, that’s right, OD&D and Holmes did not have Strength bonuses. STR was purely a “roll under” stat.

-Magic Users will have their spellbooks with all 1st level spells, some of which they’ll know, others they will not.

-Dex-based paired initiatives.

-No Variable Weapon Damage

-Variable Weapon Speed

Well… how weird can it be, really…?!

The MU character class chapter blatantly contradicts the chapter on magic and how spell learning works.

Magic Missile requires a To Hit roll.

There’s no explanation for how Elves level up other than that the XP is divided between both classes.

It’s not called that, but Monster XP is supposed to calculated according to Challenge Rating.

Number of Monsters Appearing should be based on/adjusted for the number and level of PCs.

The mysterious +3 Magic War Hammer that only Dwarves can use.

On second thought, you know what…? D&D did not exist until 1981. It was invented out of whole cloth by a guy named Tom Moldvay. That’s the only conceivable takeaway here!

Guys…? GUYS!!!!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Six Unexpected Monsters & More From Advanced Dungeons & Dragons's The Monster Manual That Would Fit A Post Apocalyptic Setting

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 00:38
Today I was having a friend over after work for a beer & we got to talking about the recent release of Gamma World Fourth edition back into print. Now for years I've taken it on the chin because I've always used the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual for mid level management & boss monsters in the ruins of Gamma World urban & city settings. There are any number of lower tier Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Space Empires 4X with Close Encounters and Replicators

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Wed, 07/18/2018 - 16:13

This is easily among the shortlist of my all time favorite games. Everything about it is enjoyable.

We had three players last night and here’s how we ran it:

  • Standard 3-player starting positions with the home worlds at maximum distance from each other… but with every empty spot having a deep space terrain chit in them because we like having more stuff to explore even if the map isn’t 100% fair.
  • We played with the “standard” Close Encounters expansion rules… but with Flagships and Nebula Mining from the optional/advanced section. (This gives a jolt to both the exploit and explore portions of the game by giving you an incentive to build a bigger economic engine while also making it easy to explore without having to build CA’s first.)
  • We used the Replicators production sheets and monster sized terrain tiles. Advanced construction was available, but nobody ended up buying it. The new advantage and tech cards were in the deck… and the new terrain was all in the mix as well. (And I gotta say, the pirate ships and space folds are an AWESOMELY fun addition to the game.)

We dealt out two Empire Advantage cards and let everyone pick one. Person to my left chose Powerful Psychics which gave him free exploration-1 plus he could inspect counter stacks next to exploration ships. The guy to my right took House of speed– everything of his was move-7 with an across the board -2 penalty to defense. I took Immortals, which increased the cost of my colony ships by +2 but allowed me to ignore one hit per combat round.

I decided to build Attack-1, Defense-1, Move-3, Fighter-1 carrier groups and sent a couple to attack the House of Speed. I made several mistakes with this attack and it ended in disaster. One, I telegraphed the attack before I needed to by moving into his space just before a turn break. This allowed him to set his production up for defense– a big ol’ stack of defense-2 battle cruisers. Further, I had a chance to fight his fleet piecemeal, but instead moved to where he could concentrate his forces against me. Finally… I forgot to use my empire ability when it might actually have turned the tide.

Okay, so sometimes you have to live and learn in the middle of a six hour game…! Doh!

What to do…? I built more carriers and fighters… possibly for defense at first… but later in order to just have something to throw at someone. It turned into a monster fleet of 21 fighters and 3 destroyers with another carrier group serving as a flimsy backstop.

The terrain ended up placing a Fold in Space and a Warp Point in just the right place that I could attack the Powerful Psychics without exploring the space between us first. (I had no flagship anymore, so that was a great windfall.) I moved into the Warp Point and asked, “okay, who’s with me?” The Psychics waffled and The House of Speed nodded as if he understood. There we go! I move toward the Psychic’s space!

Finishing out the turn, I made yet another critical error in the context of an invasion: I could have moved to destroy his forward ship yards but instead burned down a defenseless colony planet. Stupid! The House of Speed was following me in with his fleets, though, and he chose to go around an irritating base and instead position himself to threaten the Psychics’ fleets. After the turn break, twelve hull units worth of ships appeared at the ship yard.

I’d bid 10 for the turn order and moved away from the defending fleets and toward the home world. My position meant that he could not concentrate both of his fleets on me at once. (Hey, sometimes I learn from my mistakes!) In response to this, the Psychics concentrated their efforts against the House of Speed, and an extremely large battle ensued. By the time the dust had settled, the Psychics were reduce to about 1/3rd of their former number of units… and he had an awesome Elite rated Attack-2 Defense-2 Move-3 Battlecruiser which he was very proud of.

It was of course all for naught because at that point I moved onto his home world and took him out of the game.

Now… was this the correct outcome…?

Well, I had to destroy the Psychics early on or get wiped out myself. The guy was putting everything into first economy and then tech. If he actually made it to Titans my units would be annihilated. I didn’t understand why he didn’t just build twelve point defense equipped scouts to take out my fighters… but thinking it through that would have only eliminated maybe six units on the first round of combat– not that much, really! He thought he had to build a fleet that could potentially stand up against either or both of us… so he went with non-specialist ships in order to have a fighting chance. (Plus, he’d bet on ship size anyway– it’s what he had.)

Now… he really should have turtled up on his home world. Building four mines there would have been enough to keep me from destroying him that turn. (I had no minesweepers.) The consequence of this would have been that our fleets would have simply burned down each of his colony worlds, possible getting into a fight with each other in the process.

I gotta say… fighting the way that he did was way more interesting. It was over quicker, anyway.

The other thing that really ought to have happened was that the House of Speed could have attacked both of us at once. Or he could have feinted against the Psychics and then betray me at the last moment. Would my fleet have been able to stand up to the Psychics’ more advanced units alone…? I think so, especially if I had thought to take out those shipyards when I had the chance!

Would I have been able to stand up against the House of Speed’s betrayal…? I don’t think so. If he had burned my colonies while I was burning down the Psychics’ worlds… he should have come out ahead. Even if I had thought to send minesweepers along with my invasion force, taken down the Psychic’s home world, and then got the 30 CP bonus for eliminating an empire, I don’t think even that should have made a difference. I ought to have been toast!

Yeah, the three player problem is still a significant game design issue.

However… with the Psychics pushing for advanced technology Titans, we had no choice but to join forces against him or die, especially with both of our fleets decimated due to our initial conflict. The gripping hand is… if I had played my initial attack correctly, I don’t think there would have been any conundrum at all. Maybe.

Nevertheless… if you play this one three player, I do suggest you run it under the sudden death short game rules: the first person to destroy an enemy home world automatically wins right there. This creates a dynamic racing game with scads of aggressive action in place of the staleness endemic to most three player direct conflict games. This is a well known problem in gaming and there’s really no need to waste an entire game session on it.

It is 2018, after all!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

On Megadungeon #3

Hack & Slash - Wed, 07/18/2018 - 16:13
Finally, after two months of dealing with the horrible RPGnow print on demand, I present:

Megadungeon #3 in print and .pdf!

What is Megadungeon #3?

  • The classic old school renaissance megadungeon Numenhalla, the god halls! getting into print, one area at a time. 
  • This 58 page issue delves into the ancient Crypts of Hierax, crawling with the ancient dead.
  • Art from noted gaming luminaries, Luka Rejec (Cover), with the super-art wonder-powers of Todd Mcgowan, Ian Chagan, Sean McCoy, Evlyn Monroe, and Kent Miller! This baby can fit so many illustrations in it!
  • Writing by noted gamer Chris H. chronicling the wild days of the early gaming revolution, talking about Jason K's Dust setting!
  • The Cannite dungeon faction is introduced. Religious jackal-man anthropophages, they gain the memories of the dead by eating their corpses. 
  • Three new monsters, including Devil Dogs who are two-headed bipedal canine nightmares. They will drink your whisky, piss on your couch, fuck your girlfriend, eat out of your fridge, and then break the door on their way out! 
  • Eight more megadungeon non-player characters and two more dragons for characters to meet, including the sultry Demetria Obra, the betrayed Transikar, and Mavis Hobart, the malign caretakers of the Crypts of Hierax
  • Four megadungeons zones, mapped and keyed: The Organ Mine, The Crystal Wizard Crypt, The Witches Crypt, and the Non-Euclidean Intersections.
  • Articles on Hierax, the enigmatic god of death, interesting crypt looting tables, and secrets to restocking dungeons.
I had a nightmare last night that I ran out of money and I couldn't make it as an independent creator. 
Help vanquish nightmares brave hero! Purchase Megadungeon #3 in Print and .pdf now!Upgrade to superhero and grab Megadungeon #1 in Print and .pdf and Megadungeon #2 in Print and .pdfUpgrade even further to Lord and support me on Patreon and follow me on Twitch
There won't be a Summer issue of Megadungeon due to the cost to produce them. The next Megadungeon will be released in the fall. If you'd like to prevent this from happening again, support me on Patreon or tip me!
Hack & Slash FollowGoogle +NewsletterSupportDonate to end Cancer (5 Star Rating
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Beyond S1 The Tomb of Horrors & More OSR Sword & Sorcery Campaign Commentary

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 07/18/2018 - 16:07
'Well the place is cleared out & all of the horrors are gone never to cause the people of keep anymore trouble.'  'Did you hear that rumbling in here last night?' 'Scary wasn't it''Grab the last of the loot will ya?''Say that stone door wasn't there before was it?!' 'We'd better go tell the bosses about that' 'Wouldn't want to get ambushed or anything by those demon pig bastards things again!' 'Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Vanilla Adventure

Ten Foot Pole - Wed, 07/18/2018 - 11:15

By Wind Lothamer
Knight Owl Games (
Level 1

As the players arrive in Boson Bay, it should be assumed that they know nothing of the particular culture of this area. If anything, they will have learned that Boson is a bastion of humanity in an untamed wilderness on the frontier edge of the world.

Vanilla doesn’t mean generic.

This 52 page adventure is a wilderness crawl with an inciting event: dragons begin a rampage and burn the town to the ground … and then move on to do the same elsewhere. This starts the party moving and, I guess, a motivation to stop the dragons. It is charming, brutal, winks at Tolkien, and has no Vanilla in it. It’s also single-column and a hot mess. But man … it just needs a little more …

The party is level one and new in town. Night two: dragons burn the town to the ground. Then orc slavers move in and capture the refugees. The burning down of the town is, I guess, supposed to get the party moving in the wilderness to other locations, by stumbling upon them/talking to refugees, and provide an overall goal: stopping the dragons from burning down EVERYTHING. Because that’s what they do. There’s a mechanic in this for which wilderness encounter the dragons burn down each day. The 9HD dragons. (1e was 8HD at Ancient? OD&D is different?) The party move around the wilderness, learn of new areas from others and from refugees, and eventually … well, I don’t know. As far as I can tell there’s only way to learn what is causing the trouble: talking to the orc slavers.

But fuck that, this thing is charming as hell. Footpad Ferd is a thief you can recruit, as is Borrmormere and Eric Snow. Mary Pippins is a halfling in their village you can recruit, as is Billbeaux. The elves are forced to stay in their forest because they wear silver collars that cause their heads to explode if they leave. There are 200 orc slavers in their camp. There’s a poly’d unicorn who has forgotten who she is, and a harpy, her mortal enemy, is after her. The Dorkenstone is in a mine that has awakened the dragons, deep in the caves, and you need to make a -10 save to not go mad. Also, the caves are full of dead bodies and some weird insect hybrid monsters. This place is FUCKING. MADEHOUSE. And I LUV it!

You can talk to just about everyone. The orc slavers. The humans at the various guard keeps. Poor dwarves, elves, halflings, outlying farms, the unicorns. Go ahead, talk to them, make a reaction roll. Try and recruit them to your side.

The mechanic of burning down the main down and then having the dragons burn down everything else is MAGNIFICENT. It gets the party moving and provides motivation for for role playing skeptical people (who haven’t been burnt down yet) and in recruiting folks to help fight the 9HD dragons. As with the best ODD, it seems to started with imagination first and ignoring the deriguour elements. Yeah, and ripping off Tolkien with funny names is a time-honored D&D tradition.

It’s not super clear how the party is aware of the Dorken stone. The map for the Dwarf dungeon is missing, there being just a blank page where it should be. (As is, I think, a temple map.) There’s no scale on the wilderness map in spite of checkins being called for “for each day in the wilderness.” It’s single column. The stat boxes are HUGE, and the writing needs to be tightened up a lot. This thing should come in at 15-20 pages instead of 60, with better formatting. Layout, and tighter editing. It goes out of its way to use vanilla elements and rip off Tolkien, and probably more I don’t recognize, given that John Snow NPC reference. (Dorken stone ripped off from Heavy Metal?)

But fuck me man, this thing BRINGS IT. Each encounter packs and delivers. Lots of creatures. Lots of HD. The encounters are almost entirely written for play at the table with little no bullshit trivia. It’s a fucking mess, a glorious glorious mess! Get the party moving. Let them talk to things. Give everyone a bunch of treasure to tempt the party. Pretty fucking simple formula.

Also, it has Giant Beavers. As is wont in OD&D. Even those adventures not set in Canada.

Want to play some Vanilla OD&D and have a good time? This thing is it.

This is $5 at Drive Thru. The preview is 12 pages, with the (charming) regional map on the last page. Check out those monster stat block on the pages before that! This writing is not very typical of the rest of the adventure, it being mostly prologue. The Dragons, on page eight, would be the most representative, I think, although most the sections are shorter than this.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Wednesday Comics: Batman by Grant Morrison

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 07/18/2018 - 11:00

I'm laid low by sinusitis, but I wanted to at least nominally honor my (self-imposed) Wednesday comic book duties. Batman by Grant Morrison Omnibus Volume One is out now. It promises to be the first of three collecting Morrison's work with the character, though I assume that means his run including Batman & Robin and Batman Incorporated, but not older stories he wrote with the character (like "Gothic"), since the first omnibus dives right in with the "Batman & Son" storyline.

While I've always liked the character, I've never been a big reader of Batman comics, but Morrison's run was really enjoyable. It's often a bit like Silver Age or goof Bronze Age with a modern sensibility, similar in goal if not in presentation to All-Star Superman. It is dark in spots, true, but it brings back a lot of elements from earlier eras that have largely been tossed from continuity, and once the "event tie-in" stuff is out of the way, it gets much tighter and, I think better. In fact, the ending of his entire saga, made me feel that the "R.I.P" portion of the storyline had faltered less than when I first read it.

Today in Bad Dungeon Mastering Advice

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Wed, 07/18/2018 - 00:05

This guy is responding to a self-described 22, Taurus, Ravenclaw, INFP asking for advice for their first time dungeon mastering:

Yeah, people sure will play that not knowing each other thing to the hilt if you let them, won’t they? It makes everything that happens that much more tedious, so yeah… you definitely want to deal with that up front. However… you don’t need individual character backgrounds to do that.

Here’s the old way of handling this:

  • You are a bunch of rando asshats with no background and a moderate amount of potential.
  • There is a hole in the ground a few hours walk from town and people came back from it with gold and magic scrolls a few months ago.
  • You can get stinking rich by venturing there yourself… but all of you face an almost sure chance of death by doing so.
  • However, if you are cunning and work together extremely well… you can flip the script on this and turn certain death into a fairly good shot at glory, riches, honor, and legend.
  • Okay, maybe not honor considering how scruffy you guys are, but definitely glory and riches!

There you have it.

The thing is, tt’s the challenge that motivates the characters, not some sort of “just so” relationship summoned up from stuff that people made up before any game sessions were actually played. Honestly, though, there’s way more fun to be had in gaming out the consequences of your group casting Charm Person on half a dozen kobolds than there is in find a cure for Zardoz the one hit point thief’s niece who is currently afflicted with chronic halitosis.

But as a new dungeon master you are going to be tempted to undercut the challenge in order to make everything turn out okay. Don’t give in! Because if the challenge is really what’s holding the game together, then the players need to experience a certain amount of failure and player character death. Heck, just the shame of returning to town with zero treasure is pretty powerful in and of itself once things get rolling. If that’s what happens, you need to go with that and not pull any punches or otherwise manipulate things so as to soften the blow.

Because the game doesn’t really start until the players pull together, make a better plan, and get serious about leaving their mark on your game world. Make success too easy or even– as is often the case these days– automatic, and there’s really no reason for people to even sit at your table.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Lost In The Eighties! LoFP Carcosa & OSR Actual Play Session One

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 18:19
A brand new group of young adventurers faces down the legacy of the Nazi expedition to the alien shores of  'lost Carcosa' but a far more heinous threat looms for this Earth! Come with us now to the Eighties the Age of Heroes! June 1957 marked the end of 'the Prenatural Wars' as the very last expedition to lost  Carcosa crashed into the seas off of Sicily. The last of the radioactive Nazi Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

All Quiet on the Western Breakthrough

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 16:31

So you’ve played the G.EV. Breakthrough scenario and failed to get even a single G.E.V. off the map. Maybe you’ve tried more than once and you’re having second thoughts about playing a vintage Microgame like this. Maybe you’re tempted to go back to your euro games and your “nobody dies everybody levels” D&D. Don’t do it!

I’m going to explain to you the key to leveraging the power of the assault hovercraft of this scenario. I can do it with a single picture, too:

There it is.

The G.E.V.’s have offered up a couple of their own in order to bait out the defense forces. And there’s no way that this turns out well for them.

  • The defense can choose to fall way back, giving up ground to the enemy.
  • They can fall back some… and have those two lead G.E.V.’s snipe at them every step of the way.
  • They can rush the G.E.V.’s… and get utterly devastated in the process!

Here the defense has sent forward two light tanks to deal with these two forward units. This is an objectively bad move! Here’s why: the light tanks might destroy one or even two of the G.E.V.’s. But they will almost certainly die in return. At which point the G.E.V.’s can make the same sort of offer again.

What happens if the defense takes the bait two or even three times…? They’ve be so weakened, the G.E.V.’s will have no problem concentrating their fire somewhere and wiping them out. Exchanging armor units one-for-one in the opening favors the attackers by a fair margin.

Now, it is possible for the defense to fall back repeatedly and attempt to run up the clock. He could even retreat his units off the map at the last moment in order to deny the attacker the victory points he’d get for killing them. How does such an outcome play out with regard to the victory conditions…?

Assuming the G.E.V.’s keep all of their forces and kill nothing, they will score three points for each of their twelve units. That’s 36 points total, a marginal victory. If they can kill even three defending units while doing that, they will pull off a decisive victory.

So falling back and giving up ground is not going to do a whole lot for the defense. Their only hope is to position themselves as best they can and hope that the G.E.V.’s get too greedy and make a mistake… which certainly happens!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

D&D’s Designers Can’t Decide Whether Characters Must Rest for Hit Points and Healing, but You Can Choose

DM David - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 11:15

In the original Dungeons & Dragons game, ordinary monster attacks inflicted just 1d6 damage. Yet characters still died, frequently. Clerics gained far fewer spells and much less healing than today, so most damage took a trip out of the dungeon to heal. Heroes mounted dungeon expeditions, fought as many battles as they dared, and then hoped their mapper could lead them to safety and healing.

To threaten full-strength characters in a climactic fight, monsters needed unique attacks that did massive damage, like a dragon’s breath weapon, or save-or-die effects like a beholder’s eye rays.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons granted clerics more healing spells, so characters entered more fights at full hit points, but damage still taxed resources that only a rest could regain. If the cleric squandered spells on something other than cures, the party hollered.

Third edition changed that equation. Without anyone ever needing to rest for spells or healing, characters could regain all their hit points after every fight.

A 2nd-level character who had gained the 900gp of treasure recommended in the Dungeon Master’s Guide could buy a 50-charge Wand of Cure Light Wounds for 750gp. At 2nd level, the party might share the cost. In just a few levels, characters gained enough gold to make buying in bulk a minor expense. Of course, dungeon masters could limit the purchase, but by 5th level, PCs stopped needing a magic shop. A cleric could take the Craft Wands feat and make wands at half price.

Third edition’s Living Greyhawk organized-play campaign enabled PCs to craft and purchase healing wands. Most characters bought Wands of Cure Light Wounds and loaned them to the party cleric for healing between battles.

In a standard third-edition campaign, savvy characters stopped needing rest to recover hit points.

Third edition’s designers probably overlooked how the low cost of healing wands would erase D&D’s 25-year-old limits on hit points and healing. The fourth-edition designers noticed. Their edition kept magic healing available for purchase, but also limited healing between rests. Rested characters gained a limited number of healing surges, and then healing magic let characters trade surges for healing. For example, healing potions just let characters spend a surge in the heat of battle. Fourth edition’s treatment of hit points and healing ranks as one of the edition’s best innovations.

At a glance, fifth edition seemed to keep D&D’s tradition of limiting hit points and healing between rests. This presumed limit made the introduction of the spell Healing Spirit seem like a game breaker. With a mere 2nd-level spell, everyone in the party could regain 10d6 hit points in just 1 minute. Casting at higher levels increases the healing, so a 3rd-level spirit could restore 20d6 to every PC in the party.

Blogger Merric Blackman summarized the concerns, “One of the major objections to the healing spirit spell is that it turns all the assumptions of hit point recovery in 5E on their head; suddenly we’re in a 3E-style game of ‘hit point loss isn’t important’ rather than the 5E-style of ‘hit point lost drains resources.’”

While Healing Spirit outshines other out-of-combat healing spells so much that druids need sunscreen, the spell doesn’t shatter any standing limits on healing. When the Player’s Handbook offered healing potions for sale for 50gp, the fifth-edition rules freed characters of any need to rest for healing or hit points. Unlike in early D&D, characters can buy potions. Unlike in fourth edition, potions work without a limit imposed by healing surges. Characters who gain a typical amount of treasure can easily afford all the potions they need. Most PCs gain tons of gold and have nowhere else to spend it.

Savvy characters can recover hit points without ever resting.

Dungeon masters who want to capture D&D’s original limits on hit points and healing between rests need to limit both healing potions and Healing Spirit. Such limits restore hit points and healing as a resource to manage through an adventuring day.

If you want to keep healing potions readily available for 50gp each, I suggest adopting a version of the fourth-edition limit: Drinking a potion lets characters spend a Hit Die for healing as if they had rested. To avoid doses that just heal a point or two, make potions heal an extra 1d4 hit points per Hit Die spent. Stronger potions spend more Hit Dice. With this house rule, make stronger healing potions for sale at higher prices. Although these potions spend hit dice, they still bring the advantage of granting healing in the heat of battle.

Potion of Healing
Potion, rarity varies

When you drink this potion, you spend hit dice up to the maximum listed on the Potions of Healing table. For each Hit Die spent in this way, the player rolls the die plus an extra 1d4, and then adds the character’s Constitution modifier to the rolls. The character regains hit points equal to the total.

Whatever its potency, the potion’s red liquid glimmers when agitated.

Potions of Healing

Potion of … Cost Spend up to … Healing 50gp 1 Hit Die Healing Moderate Wounds 300gp 2 Hit Dice Healing Serious Wounds  750gp 3 Hit Dice Healing Critical Wounds  1400gp 4 Hit Dice

Potions of Greater Healing, Superior Healing, and Supreme Healing can remain unchanged as long as they keep their rarity and only appear in treasure. These potions bring the precious advantage of healing without costing Hit Dice.

James Haeck listed a couple of house rules for limited Healing Spirit. For instance, designer Jeremy Crawford suggests having the spell end once it restores hit points a number of times equal to twice the caster’s spellcasting ability modifier.

Of course, none of these house rules apply to organized play. Authors who write adventures for the Adventurers League should expect characters to enter every fight at full health and to never run short of healing between battles.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

“The Man Who Evolved” by Edmond Hamilton

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 03:37

I always had a terrible time with Gamma World. I mean, it was always my favorite role-playing game, but I just could not imagine how people could come up with the sort of stuff it would take to sustain an ongoing campaign for it. Back in 1931, this would not have been a problem, though, as this story from Hugo Gernsback’s Wonder Stories demonstrates. You remember the mental mutation de-evolution which gave a character “the power to strip abilities from a mutant opponent by regressing it along ancestral lines”? Well this short piece is all about what the opposite of that would look like.

Check out what each stage of transformation out hapless scientist subjected himself to:

  • “He was transfigured, godlike! His body had literally expanded into a great figure of such physical power and beauty as we had not imagined could exist. He was many inches taller and broader, his sin a clear pink, every limb and muscle molded as though by some master sculptor.”
  • “He was no longer the radiant, physically perfect figure of the first metamorphosis. His body seemed to have grown thin and shrivelled, the outlines of bones visible through its flesh. His body, indeed, seemed to have lost half its bulk and many inches of stature and breadth, but these were compensated by the change in his head. For the head supported by this weak body was an immense, bulging balloon that measured fully eighteen inches from brow to back! It was almost entirely hairless, its greak mass balanced precariously upon his slender shoulders and neck. And his face too was changed greatly, the eyes larger and the mouth smaller, the ears seeming smaller also. The great bulging forhead dominated the face.”
  • “At first glance the great head inside seem unchanged, but then we saw this it had changed, and greatly. Instead of being a skin-covered head with at least rudimentary arms and legs, it was now a great gray head-like shape of even greater size, supported by two gray muscular tentacles. The surface of this gray head-thing was wrinkled and folded, and its only features were two eyes as small as our own.”

There you go: three all-new mutant types that can be dropped directly into your campaign. Even better, read the whole thing and you’ll have everything you need to role-play their personalities and motivations. The brevity and broad strokes of this sort of pulp tale are far easier to improvise with at the table compared to the exhaustive (and exhaustingly tedious) ecology articles of the Ed Greenwood era of gaming.

And given the fact that nearly one third of the Appendix N list was actually science fantasy and not sword & sorcery at all, here’s a bonus gaming tip for you: there’s no reason you can’t add this sort of off the wall weirdness to your AD&D game, either! In fact, doing so would be well in line with the sort of genre mashups you can find in everything from the original edition of Dungeons & Dragons to the 5th edition of Tunnels & Trolls.

Go nuts, y’all!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Perfect Storm

Bat in the Attic - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 01:51
So the complications are stacking up in my friend Dwayne's Middle Earth campaign using his 3d6 house system.

At one particularly dramatic moment a NPC received shocking information from a PC. I quipped "You should roll percentile and if a 1 come up the guy has a heart attack".

Dwayne rolled a 1.

The NPC died of a massive heart attack right then and there.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Sling words and swords in Spell Smashers!

Gamer Goggles - Mon, 07/16/2018 - 20:21

Sling words and swords in Spell Smashers!

San Diego, CA (July 16th, 2018) — Renegade Game Studios™ is excited to announce a new word- and sword-slinging game — Spell Smashers! This title is designed by Christopher Chung, designer of award-winning Lanterns: The Harvest Festival. It also boasts a notable artist, The Mico, renown for his work on the North Sea Trilogy. The two combined create a product bursting with dynamic visuals and engaging gameplay.

You can find this title on game shelves beginning in October 2018. Pre-order from your Friendly Local Game Store or online through the Renegade Store (not available for Gen Con Pick Up).

Harness the power of your vocabulary in this exciting, monster-battling, loot-collecting word game. In Spell Smashers, you combine your letter cards to spell words, smashing fearsome monsters and their even more fearsome adjectives!

When you deal damage to a monster, you gain precious coins. When you defeat a monster, you collect that monster as a trophy … and gain a new letter to use later on! But beware — as you battle these dangerous creatures, you receive wounds, which are difficult letter combinations that could ruin your day.

Between battles, visit the local town and spend your hard-earned loot to outfit yourself with powerful gear, take on new quests, buy devious potions, or grab an ale at the tavern as you boast about your battle scars. Set your sights on fame and glory as you smash monsters with your spelling skills and rid the world of evil!

MSRP: $45.00
SKU: RGS0823
North America Release Date: October
Number of Players: 1-5
For Ages: 12+
Playing Time: 45-60 min
Game Type: Monster Fighting, Word Game


1 Town Board
5 Player Boards
84 Letter Cards
24 Wound Cards
36 Modifier Cards
4 Boss Monster Cards
24 Gear Cards
29 Quest Cards
5 Player Aids
26 Monster Tiles
1 Round Marker
30 Ale Tokens
55 Coins
15 Potion Tokens
1 Tiebreaker Marker
5 Ready Tokens
5 Monster Crests
1 Rulebook

As a member of The Renegade Society, we will make sure you don’t miss future updates about Spell Smashers, including notable reviews and teasers of the art as we get closer to the release!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Modiphius Nominated for Multiple ENnies

Gamer Goggles - Mon, 07/16/2018 - 20:16

ENnie voting is open and Modiphius is nominated in a huge number of categories for the Conan GM screen, Conan the Barbarian cover, Next Generation Minis, Star Trek Adventures for Best Production Values, Star Trek Adventures for Best Rules, Fan’s Favourite Publisher, and Star Trek Adventures for Product of the Year. We’re not saying you have to vote for us, but you should definitely vote for us! Show Symbaroum and City of Mist some love too!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

North Star Games to Launch Most Wanted at Gen Con

Gamer Goggles - Mon, 07/16/2018 - 19:55

North Star Games to Launch Most Wanted at Gen Con
It’s Easy Pickins for Bandits, Gunslingers, and Nuns with Bad Habits!

Kensington, MD (July 16, 2018) – Get ready for a high-noon showdown this August at Gen Con (booth 2311), the country’s largest board game convention. Most Wanted is a poker-themed boardgame designed to rustle-up notorious friends and family around the table. The rules are easy enough for a kid (even Billy the Kid). All you need is a hankering to take risks, the guts to double-cross, and the desire to bluff a man out of his saddle.

Designed by Ken Gruhl & Quentin Weir (Happy Salmon) and former pro-Magic player Dominic Crapuchettes (Evolution), Most Wanted blends the strategic risk-taking of a wild-west poker game with the simple thrill of being a notorious outlaw. Playing the best hand – or bluffing with the worst hand – could mean the difference between a successful train robbery or spending time in the slammer. Players can repent at church to make a new start, or even work some honest labor (gasp!) for bail money. Be the first player to reach 13 points and claim the dubious honor of being


Players: 2-8; Ages 10+; Playtime: 30 Minutes

“It’s rare to find a game that can keep 8 players happily involved at all times, and even rarer for it to be wicked fun with only 2 players.” states Dominic Crapuchettes, Founder and Co-President of North Star Games. “In fact, Most Wanted is my son’s favorite board game of all-time. He’s been keeping track and claims we’ve played it 73 times… but he can stretch the truth at times (or downright bluff).”

Most Wanted will be available October 1st for $34.99. A limited supply will be sold at Gen Con and available for pre-order here (for August delivery). Everyone who purchases before September will be entered into a raffle to win the ORIGINAL game art below:

Please contact Bruce Voge to set up a time to see Most Wanted (or any other North Star title) at GenCon. Our schedule is filling up and we would love to chat with you!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Operations Division supplemental rulebook for Star Trek Adventures

Gamer Goggles - Mon, 07/16/2018 - 19:24
Ready phasers for the Star Trek Adventures: The Operations Division supplemental rulebook LONDON, ENGLAND (July 10th, 2018): Join Starfleet’s miracle workers or its steadfast defenders with The Operations Division supplemental rulebook for Star Trek Adventures, this November. Leading the writing team is Chris McCarver (Marvel Cinematic Universe Guidebook) alongside Andrew Peregrine (Dr. Who: Adventures in Time and Space, Firefly Roleplaying Game), Jack Geiger (Scarred Lands, A Song of Ice and Fire RPG), John Snead Blue Rose, Eclipse Phase, Mindjammer), and Sam Webb (Star Trek Adventures).

Players can expect new choices for their security and engineering officers, as well as detailed background information on the Starfleet Corps of Engineers, Starfleet Intelligence, and even the elusive Section 31. The supplemental rulebook also expands the equipment available to Starfleet personnel, with new rules on their inclusion in the game. Gamemasters also have their choice of new resources for running operations-focused missions, and a new selection of named NPCs, as well as engineering and security archetypes, including Luther Sloan, Leah Brahms, and MACO soldiers. Miniatures fans will be in for a treat, with the Red Alert rules for miniatures combat using a streamlined version of the 2d20 system, developed by prolific wargame designer Mark Latham, and Sam Webb, line developer for Star Trek Adventures.

The hardcover supplement is priced at £24.99/$34.99 USD, available to pre-order in September from and your friendly local gaming store, then shipping to customers and stores in November.

Fans who purchased the PDF Collection on or will be able to enjoy a PDF copy of the book as soon as the pre-order begins, and pre-order customers will receive a PDF copy as soon as they order their hardcover copy.

Those eager for more can expect The Sciences Division supplemental rulebook to follow in friendly local gaming stores in January, followed by the Alpha, Gamma and Delta Quadrant sourcebooks throughout 2019.

Star Trek Adventures uses the Modiphius 2d20 game system, designed by Jay Little (Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, X-Wing Miniatures Game) and developed by Nathan Dowdell (Black Crusade, Only War, Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition, Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of, Infinity The Roleplaying Game). Star Trek Adventures, under license from CBS Consumer Products, has had an incredible reception from critics and fans alike, and the core range is still available from both and friendly local gaming stores. To create the first new Star Trek RPG in more than a decade, Modiphius brought an all-star development team together, comprised of veteran Star Trek artists and authors, world-class game designers, and brand new gaming tales.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

My Hero Academia: The Card Game

Gamer Goggles - Mon, 07/16/2018 - 19:13

Shinobi 7, LLC. is delighted to announce My Hero Academia: The Card Game, an all-new tabletop game based on the wildly popular anime My Hero Academia.

In this super-powered, tactical game meant for 2–4 players, each player must recruit super-powered Students to their Hero Agency. Select the Students with the best combinations of Quirks (super-powered abilities), to complete challenging Missions and become the mightiest Agency around!

The game will include 60 Student Cards, 60 Action Cards, 40 Mission Cards, 10 Recruiter Cards, and a full-color Rulebook. My Hero Academia: The Card Game will be available November, 2018 and will be distributed exclusively to all channels by Diamond/Alliance. MSRP is $24.99.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Review: Hand of the Zombie Dice Tray

Ultanya - Mon, 07/16/2018 - 16:23
Recently my Hand of the Zombie Dice Tray arrived from Darksilver Forge. I wanted to take some pictures and share them with everyone. This is definitely a very cool piece of gaming swag. At 6” in width and 12” in length, you really have a nice runway to roll dice in. The design also allows for horizontal or vertical use, which is good when table space is at a premium.

I really like how the red interior is in stark contrast to the synthetic black leather. In addition, the zombie hand is just metal as hell. It's almost beckoning you to roll 20s! In a sea of game aids and various table tools this one makes the grade. If you're looking for a gift for that gamer that has everything the Hand of the Zombie Dice Tray is a good choice.

As of this posting, the tray appears to be on sale. For more information, or to purchase your own check the product page here.

The front of the packaging.
The back of the packaging.
The tray was sealed very nicely
View of the 1" depth
The well crafted stitching
The tray fits behind a DM screen just fine
Another view of the tray depth
The tray is a very nice conversation piece

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Drums of War on Hyperborea, The Temple of Elemental Evil, & Clark Ashton Smith's Zothique

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 07/16/2018 - 15:39
"Once far from any important activity, the Village of Hommlet became embroiled in the struggle between gods and demons when the Temple of Elemental Evil arose but a few leagues away. Luckily for its inhabitants, the Temple and its evil hordes were destroyed a decade ago, but Hommlet still suffers from incursions of bandits and strange monsters."I spent most of the weekend away from Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs


Subscribe to Furiously Eclectic People aggregator - Tabletop Gaming Blogs