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RPGs, science fiction, fantasy, gadgets, and anything else that comes up.Daniel Stacknoreply@blogger.comBlogger507125
Updated: 10 hours 13 min ago

Dan's Top 19 RPGs - #17 - Star Trek (Last Unicorn Games)

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 03:57


In the late 1990s I resumed regular gaming for the first time since high school. The game we played was Star Trek: The Next Generation, published by Last Unicorn Games (LUG). We played all the incarnations of it - they came out with three RPGs for Star Trek. Their first release was for Star Trek: The Next Generation, covering 24th century Starfleet games. They later came out with releases for the original series and for Deep Space Nine. I really liked their DS9 game as it allowed for a variety of character types, much like the television show it was based on.

When making this list, I gave some thought to all of the Star Trek RPGs I've played. I've played the FASA, Last Unicorn, and Decipher ones. I do have a place in my heart for the FASA game, though I found its extremely tactical combat system a bit of a mismatch for its genre. The Decipher game I didn't get to play all that much. It was the Last Unicorn version I got a ton of play out of.

Like the FASA Star Trek game, characters in the LUG Star Trek games are built with a sort of a life-path, following your characters development as a Starfleet officer (or other sort of character). Characters have both attributes and skills, with you rolling a number of six-sided dice equal to your attribute and then adding the skill rating, comparing to a difficulty. Fairly straightforward.

I found the game played very fast, definitely feeling like Star Trek. The supplements and adventures for the line were all rather good and there was an active online community around this incarnation of the game - I'm still in touch with some of the people I met from this community. Regrettably, as time went on there were a lot of schedule slips and LUG was eventually bought by Wizards of the Coast. The only book that came out of that was a limited edition of Dune: Chronicles of the Imperium. The Star Trek license was acquired by Decipher. As I understand it, Wizards of the Coast had planned on d20 versions of Dune and Star Trek games, something that never came to pass.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Actual Play: The Art of Madness Part II

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 02:57


The Art of Madness is an adventure from the anthology The House of R'lyeh, written by Brian Courtemanche.

Setting: Boston, Mass. Wednesday, December 1, 1920

Characters:

  • Earl Crowley - Antiquarian settled in Arkham
  • Jordaine Furst - Strasbourg-born Great War spy for France
  • Fredrick Tardiff - Great War veteran, Kingsport artist

Summary:
In the basement they saw a closed shaft in the floor. Hiding for some time they saw the shaft open from below, a rubbery hand emerging and grabbing it. As they ran to the shaft to attempt tracking it, it heard them and leapt back up - a hideous ghoul, about to strike! A confused melee and firefight broke out. Furst and Crowley opened fire on it while Tardiff swung a makeshift club he'd found in the debris in the basement. It was a dangerous foe and none of them were warriors. Though bloodied, they wounded it enough to drive it into the tunnels. In the chaos Thurber had run off.

Before venturing down there themselves they made for a hardware store and equipped themselves - flashlights, shotguns, and dynamite. They then went into the tunnel beneath the North End. At the bottom of the shaft they found an Art Club pin, as worn by one of the missing, Jason Davies. They also found some drying blood from the ghoul they had wounded. Trailing it through the tunnels they found themselves wandering through a combination of ancient smuggling tunnels and sewers, eventually transitioning into natural - and narrow tunnels.

Eventually, after some very tense hours, they reached a strange underground classroom/studio. A ghoul was teaching three students on the art of depicting death. The three were the missing from the School of the Museum of Fine Art. The ghoul, wearing a rather ridiculous beret, barked at the investigators to be quiet, for they might learn something. He introduced himself as "Professor" Pickman - presumably he was the "Peters" Thurber had referred to. Davies, catching the investigators' attention, quickly wrote "HELP US" on his canvas before painting over it. Thinking quickly, Crowley lifted his shotgun and blew Pickman's head off. Shrieking from the tunnels around them revealed they had attracted the attention of more ghouls. They placed dynamite at all the tunnels save the one they'd be using to escape. Davies and Hall came quite willingly but Wilson's sanity had been somewhat shattered - she wanted to stay down to learn. Tardiff and Furst dragged her out as Crowley detonated the dynamite. They fled their way to the surface, being chased the entire time.

Eventually they found their way blocked by numerous ghouls - ghouls they opened fire on. Again surviving an onslaught, somewhat worse for wear, they drove them back into the tunnels - though as they fled one promised "we'll be watching you on the trains!"

Davies and Hall were able to return to their previous lives, though Wilson had to be institutionalized. Tardiff did get the Museum to show some of his work, a cause for some celebration (and additional finances).


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Dan's Top 19 RPGs - #18 - Pendragon

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 02:15


Today's game just barely meets the criteria of being a game I've played, having only played a few sessions - but I loved those sessions. King Arthur Pendragon, originally published by Chaosium (and kinda sorta having found its way back to Chaosium, the long way round).

Pendragon is a game about playing knights in legendary England, as seen through the legends of King Arthur. Its biggest influence is Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. You typically build your character, assumed to be a knight, by first building his grandfather's and then father's history. The game itself is designed to follow your characters for decades - indeed it is expected your character will die in the course of play, either in battle or through old age. Every session is designed to advance your character a year. Finding a wife and getting an heir is therefore of prime importance for your character.

Pendragon uses a variant of the BRP system as seen in RuneQuest and Call of Cthulhu, though it uses d20s instead of percentile dice, though maintaining the roll-under mechanic of those games. It has a number of tweaks to support its style - for example characters have various traits and passions which influence the way they behave. For example, a lustful knight might have to make a check to stay faithful to his wife. A knight whose father was killed by Saxons might have to make a check to work with one. Combat in Pendragon is exceedingly brutal and healing is very, very slow - forget about resting over night, your character might take months to recover, months he does not have. And it is possible for a wounded character to get worse, not better.

The game also includes rules for maintaining your character's manor, courtship, childbirth, etc. It is a game fantastically faithful to its source material.

Like most Chaosium games, it has gone through many editions - and it's had a fair number of publishers. The 4th edition broke a little away from the laser focus on playing knights - it introduced rules for magic, non-knight characters, etc. Editions since then have gone back to a focus on knights.

Why haven't I played the game more? It's not quite meant for me. Truthfully, I'm not a huge fan of Arthurian legends. I like the story of King Arthur well enough, but despite multiple attempts, I've never been able to read Le Morte d'Arthur in its entirety. And it can be tough to find a group committed to a game of Pendragon - like I mentioned, I've only played it a little and I've never been able to do a full campaign. I'd love to adapt it some time - I've a hunch it'd make a great engine for A Song of Ice and Fire and I'm curious what the upcoming Paladin: Warriors of Charlemagne will bring, being based on Pendragon. I've also a hunch it'd make a great engine for a Viking RPG.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Dan's Top 19 RPGs - #19 - D&D 4th Edition

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 01:03


I gave a lot of thought as to whether to include the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons on my list. Of all the games on my list it's probably the one I have the most issues with. On the other hand, I really like a number of ideas that the designers of D&D 4e tried to do. They took some chances, broke a number of "sacred cows of D&D". Looking back, I think Wizards of the Coast would have been better off making D&D 4e a separate/non-D&D game. though I can understand not wanting to have products competing with each other.

What I really liked about D&D 4e was the way it gave all classes a bunch of interesting abilities - some usable at-will, some usable on a per-encounter basis, some usable daily. Characters had different roles which greatly influenced how they'd handle things in combat - some characters were great at slugging it out with multiple opponents, others dancing all over the battlefield. All the classes managed to feel interesting and have a good contribution to make.

As a Dungeon Master, I found games in D&D 4e extremely easy to prep, much easier than D&D 3.x games. D&D 4e introduced minions to D&D - 1 hp enemies, great for simulating the hordes of baddies often encountered in film and literature. These minions could be quite dangerous and could threaten high level characters, but they were designed to be fought in hordes. I loved the idea.

The implied "points of light" setting was also a nice touch. The idea was that some great empire/kingdom had fallen and their were elements of civilization survived, but they were isolated with dangerous wilds between them. It justified a lot of adventures.

That said, D&D 4e did have a number of issues. The first of which is something I've heard described as "the grind". Combat took an extremely long time to resolve. Usually, halfway through the battle the outcome would be clear but it would still take some time to play out. Second, the game relied on an ongoing series of Player Handbooks, DM Guides, and Monster Manuals. It felt as if you were purchasing downloadable content for a video game. Unlike some games with such a model, the game felt a bit incomplete as released.

Probably the largest issue with D&D 4e was how different it felt from what came before. It probably did change a bit too much.

Why am I listing it with all those issues? Probably because I did like a number of the things it did and tried to do. It was perhaps a misfire, but an interesting misfire.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Dan's Top 19 RPGs - Criteria

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 00:41


I'm going to be launching a "Dan's Top 19 RPGs" series of posts. I was going to make it ten but with the name of this blog I couldn't help but go for nineteen. I'm hoping to get it done in about a month - it's been pretty hard keeping to a rigorous schedule the past several months, with family health matters and me getting close to completing my Master's degree while working.

This post will lay out some ground rules. The most important is I have to have played the game in question at least once, either as a player or as a GM. This will disqualify a lot of popular games - many of which I've used in some form - some of which I've used a lot of. I'll list them at the end of this post.

The other question is how I'll handle editions. If a game changes a lot between editions I will treat them as separate games. On the other hand, games that are refined from one edition to another will be treated as one game. For example, I'll be treating Call of Cthulhu as one game while there will be more than one D&D game on the list - moving from a 3.x D&D game to a 4e one would be doable but rather challenging.

I'm not going to be giving the games reviews, but rather I'll be giving my impressions of them - what I like about them, what frustrates me, etc. The ordering doesn't mean I dislike any of the games - I'd probably play any on the list and depending on mood I'd likely play a poorer ranked one over a better ranked one. And there's games not on the list I'd gladly play.

I do already have the list composed - I hope I'm not forgetting any that I should have included. When I wrap up I'll probably to a follow-up post of "oops, I should have included xyz..."

Closing, here is a list of games that would likely be on a "Dan's top games list", largely due to me not having played the game in question. For some I'm quite familiar with the game and have borrowed elements of it for other games but never actually played it.

  • Colonial Gothic
  • Firefly
  • GURPS
  • Hero System (technically I have played it once but I don't fully grok it enough to feel comfortable listing it)
  • Marvel Heroic Roleplaying
  • Pathfinder
  • Savage Worlds
  • Star Trek (Modiphius)
  • Traveller
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Developing Boston for 1920s Call of Cthulhu

Mon, 02/05/2018 - 13:37


While Chaosium has produced sourcebooks for many locations in Lovecraft Country (Kingsport, Arkham, and Innsmouth) as well as non-fictional cities of the 1920s (such as New York City and New Orleans), the nearby city of Boston, while being featured in many adventures, has never received its own full sourcebook.

The most common era for my Call of Cthulhu games has been in the 1920s - some campaigns have been in New York City while others have been in Lovecraft country. For those in Lovecraft Country, many adventures have been in nearby Boston. Over the years I've slowly been building up some expertise in the area and I thought it might be of interest to others gaming in the same setting - whether with Mythos horrors or a purely mundane game.

First, let us investigate those official sources. While Boston has found its way into many adventures, I can think of two sources where it has been given a fair amount of detail. First, The Unspeakable Oath double issue 16/17 has a reference on Boston. Second, "The Art of Madness" by Brian Courtemanche, included in Chaosium's The House of R’lyeh adventure anthology has a brief but very well-done overview of Boston and the adventure itself really dives into details of Boston - institutions, neighborhoods, ancient smuggling tunnels, etc., all of which are real - I highly recommend it.

Going into Lovecraft, I find "Pickman's Model", the inspiration for "The Art of Madness", similarly goes into nice details of Boston.

Contemporary tourist books are often available, sometimes digitally, other times from eBay or Amazon. I like the 1920 edition of the Rand McNally Boston Guide as well as Boston: A Guide Book by Edwin M. Bacon from 1922. Both books assume someone unfamiliar with Boston - though obviously both are giving a focus on tourist destinations and not on neighborhoods or the seedier aspects of Boston (no speakeasy guides here...)

Tufts University has Boston Streets: Mapping Directory Data. This project includes very detailed maps of Boston in 1928. Historic Map Works has similar data. I find their 1922 Maps of Boston handy as my games have tended towards the earlier part of the decade. They are a great source of historic map data for many cities - I've used them for New York City in the past.


The non-fiction work Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 by Stephen Puleo is a great read, really capturing the feeling of post-World War 1 Boston. I've reviewed that book previously and have used the event in my game to great effect. Puleo has also written books on the Italian immigrants of Boston (The Boston Italians) and Boston from 1850 to 1900 (A City So Grand).

Francis Russell's A City in Terror: Calvin Coolidge and the 1919 Boston Police Strike is on my reading list - I can't vouch for it but it is a major event in city's history and worth researching in some form. For early 1920s games it gives a great excuse for the Boston Police to need help, what with nearly the entire police department being new at their jobs after Coolidge fired almost all of the 1919 force. This strike plays a major role in the first of Dennis Lehane's Coughlin novels, The Given Day. It shows the life of Irish and African-Americans in Boston as well as the conditions of Boston in 1919 - the fear of anarchists, the Influenza outbreak, some pitcher called Babe Ruth. It's sequel, Live by Night begins in Boston, focused on organized crime and prison life.

I'm sure there's more sources - and I'll gladly add to this list if people have suggestions - but hopefully this will be of some value.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Actual Play: The Art of Madness Part 1

Mon, 01/29/2018 - 03:06


The Art of Madness is an adventure from the anthology The House of R'lyeh, written by Brian Courtemanche. Featured heavily in this adventure is the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Living fairly close to Boston, I've been to the Museum many times. It's been neat playing an adventure with a familiar place...

Setting: Boston, Mass. Wednesday, December 1, 1920

Characters:

  • Earl Crowley - Antiquarian settled in Arkham
  • Jordaine Furst - Strasbourg-born Great War spy for France
  • Fredrick Tardiff - Great War veteran, Kingsport artist

Summary:Fredrick Tardiff had been constructing a new series of contacts to assist with investigations into the bizarre, with the last of his Great War compatriots moving back to Harlem. He had begun meeting with Earl Crowley, an antiquarian who had uncovered one too many things that couldn't be explained by science. Jewelry from Innsmouth of metals unknown to science. Reviews of a French play that had made its audience go mad. He'd also made the re-acquaintance of Jordaine Furst, hailing from the Alsace region of France, recently taken back from the Germans. Furst had assisted the Entente during the Great War, having been raised by French patriots within German Alsace. She had encountered strangeness during the war as well as in the tomes of the Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire and had traveled to Massachusetts in search of more information from libraries in Boston, Cambridge, and Arkham.
The three went into action together on December 1, 1920, when Tardiff received a phone call from the head of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Mr. Edward Walfo Forbes, asking for his help in investigating a series of disappearances.
The three visited him in his office. He explained that three members of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts had vanished. A new professor, Jason Davies, was last seen on Sunday, October 31, at the Boston Art Club. About two weeks later a second year student, Helen Wilson, vanished. And finally just recently a third, a first year student, Ruth Hall, went missing. The school was participating with the Boston Police but in the wake of all nearly officers being fired after the Police Strike, the force was way over its head.
From talking with instructors and students they learned all three had a bit of a taste for the macabre - Wilson, for example, always carried an Edgar Allan Poe book with her and her work was inspired by him. She was friends with Hall who shared her interests to a lesser extent.
A janitor followed them around and finally approached them. It turned out he, Roberto Silva, knew much more but was nervous to involve the police for fear of getting himself or the school in trouble. Silva explained he saw all three, on different occasions, meeting with a heavyset man, middle aged but not looking well. He thought he might have been a relative of one of the young ladies or perhaps a major donor to the school interested in students. But he also saw Davies on the 31st of October, after his meeting at the Art Club. This is where he feared getting in trouble, as Roberto had used his key to enter the school to listen to a radio broadcast from the AMRAD station, 1XE. Silva was a radio aficionado but had not been able to afford his own set. Hw liked listening to 1XE as well as the station that sometimes broadcast out of Kingsport. Davies had seen him enter and, not having a key of his own, asked to be let in so he could prepare for his Monday class. Afterwards he saw Davies leave on Fenway and run into the heavyset man - going off with him somewhere - willingly it seemed.
Their investigations got some traction when they went to the Boston Art Club - an exclusive club that was beyond Tardiff's means - or ability to find a sponsor for. Between the charm of Furst and wealth of Crowley they got admittance to the "Ladies' Room" where some of the club members agreed to talk with them - Joeseph Minot and Walter Eliot. They explained how Davies, of limited means, had been sponsored by Franklin Thurber. They'd not seen much of Thurber lately - perhaps he had been upset by the disappearance of Davies. He'd been hitting the bottle hard over the past year, often talking of another member, one not seen in ages, Walter Pickman. Thurber had claimed that Pickman was convinced monsters were living under Boston - and he'd apparently convinced Thurber as well. A photo of Thurber matched Silva's description of the heavyset man perfectly. After much wrangling and threats, they got Thurber's address from the Club - a brownstone in a wealthy area, just off Louisburg Square. They also saw some of Pickman's art, in the Club archives (certainly not for display). Tardiff recognized the near-human canine-things in the art - ghouls they were called - at least in many of the volumes he read. They had a taste for human flesh - often long dead, though they'd go for fresh meat for the occasional treat.
A disheveled Thurber answered the door and quickly confessed that he'd been forced by someone named "Peters" (they were certain he was lying about the name) forced him to bring him art supplies - and students. Willing students, he assured them. In return he was given jewels and other valuables to pawn off - which helped support his drinking habit. He had to do an art supply dropoff in a North End basement and was "convinced" to take them along.
In the basement they saw a closed shaft in the floor. Hiding for some time they saw the shaft open from below, a rubbery hand emerging and grabbing it. As they ran to the shaft to attempt tracking it, it heard them and leapt back up - a hideous ghoul, about to strike!
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Remembering Ursula K. Le Guin

Thu, 01/25/2018 - 03:12


I discovered Ursula Le Guin back at the University of Connecticut in my final year. I had the opportunity to take a few electives - my last year included classes like Age of the Dinosaurs and Science Fiction - and the Science Fiction class included her The Dispossessed. It was my favorite book in that class - and to this day it remains one of my favorite books. Subtitled An Ambiguous Utopia, it's great science fiction that makes you think. It doesn't give easy villains but rather people trying to do the best they can.

Ms. Le Guin passed away on January 22 at the age of 88. She lived a long life and had a successful career - in my opinion her greatest works are among the greatest of the 20th century. She bridged genres and made it look easy. There was a hardness to her science fiction, such as a universe with no faster than light travel. But her stories were very much social ones, exploring ideas such as sexuality and gender roles, anarchy, capitalism, etc. Her Earthsea novels are superb examples of young adult fantasy. The Dungeon Master in me loves the idea of a game set on a world of islands and seas...

Like many artists and writers, what she created will live well beyond her years.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Some Thoughts on the Rules Changes of Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition

Sun, 01/21/2018 - 04:10



I've had the opportunity to clock in a decent amount of time playing the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition RPG since its initial release in 2014. Like the previous editions, characters from one edition are very much compatible with previous editions, though the rules themselves have undergone a lot of tweaking and fine-tuning.

So what changed?

Looking at the character sheet the first thing you notice is characteristic scores no longer are in the 3 to 18 range but rather in a percentile range. You generate characteristics in the same way - 3d6 or 2d6+6, depending on the stat, but you multiply by 5. This makes it perhaps a bit easier to make percentile rolls against abilities but it doesn't affect gameplay very much. Looking at the quickstart rules for Chaosium's upcoming RuneQuest revision it doesn't seem like this change will carry over there.

Perhaps the biggest change is the addition of a full difficulty system. In previous versions of Call of Cthulhu, there was no difficulty expressed with a skill check. Now there are two ways to adjust the difficulty. Interestingly neither is a straight add or subtract from the chance of success.

First, for more static tests, there is now the concept of hard and extreme rolls. A hard roll requires rolling at half or below of the ability or skill rating. Extreme requires rolling under a fifth of the stat. In my experience this tends to make success very unlikely unless multiple characters are making an attempt at something. There is also the concept of bonus and penalty dice, often used for contested skill rolls. In both cases you roll additional "tens" digits of your percentile roll. If you have two bonus dice that means you'd roll 3 tens digits and one ones digit. You keep the lowest of the tens digits, greatly improving the chance of success. Penalty dice do the opposite, requiring you to keep the highest of the tens digits. When making a contested roll the character with the greater level of success (i.e. extreme > hard > standard > failure) wins. In the case of both having the same level of success, the one with a higher stat usually wins (though there are exceptions in combat). As a result of this, the resistance table is gone. I was a little miffed to see the resistance table gone but I find it plays very well at the table, making for fast resolution. Looking at the RuneQuest quickstart it looks like the resistance table is back.

Combat has been tightened a lot from previous editions. The game finally explains just how to use dodge. I rather like the way its done. First, when getting shot at all dodge does is let you dive for cover. In hand to hand combat you have a choice between dodging and counterattacking. When you dodge if you get a higher or equal level of success, you are not hit. When you counterattack, if you get a greater level of success your opponent misses and you land a free hit in. But on a tie your opponent hits you. This plays very well, giving the players choices to make rather than the constant "I dodge". Gunfire remains very deadly. If any attack takes out more than half your maximum hit points you suffer a "major wound". If you are brought to zero hit points and you have a major wound, you are dead, otherwise you are unconscious. This actually makes characters a tiny bit tougher than in previous editions as previously zero was dead and one or two was, if I recall correctly, unconscious.

A classic problem in previous editions was what to do if a needed skill check fails. In the 7th edition, players have a bit more control. They can optionally have luck points, allowing for the adjustment of dice rolls - though luck does not go back up very quickly. And characters can "push" a failed roll, allowing for a recheck with an identified negative consequence if that fails too.

Overall, the biggest thing to note is this is still largely the same game. Characters are fragile, though the optional rules in Pulp Cthulhu toughen them quite a bit for those wanting such a game. I've had no trouble at all using earlier edition adventures and stats with the new edition - I'm not talking about requiring minimal prep work - I'm able to convert on the fly. The game is still easy to teach to new players - I've had opportunity to do so. The character sheet is a bit more cluttered with its half and fifth for skills, but it is useful to have the information on hand.

I am curious as to what direction Chaosium will go in for future BRP games. The new RuneQuest seems to be avoiding going in the same direction, keeping the resistance table, the traditional characteristic ranges. However, some aspects of the difficulty systems seem to be present - for example longer ranges for missile weapons have half and a quarter chance of hitting. Similarly the game has special and critical successes and a defender needs to at least match the attacker's level of success when dodging. Of course I'm not certain Chaosium will be publishing more BRP games than RuneQuest and Call of Cthulhu and the games are still very similar to one another, albeit with different focuses.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

RPG Review: Blueholme Journeymanne Rules

Sat, 01/13/2018 - 20:32


For a number of older D&D players, their introduction to the game came from the D&D Basic Set as written by Eric Holmes. It wasn't my start - I began with the magenta set that followed it - but some of the people I gamed with had the Holmes Basic Set.

The Holmes Basic is an interesting artifact, an intermediate step between the Original and Advanced D&D rules. Michael Thomas a few years ago developed a retroclone of the Holmes Basic rules, called Blueholme Prentice Rules. Like the original Basic Set it was a low level game. With the Journeymanne Rules the game covers levels 1 to 20.

It's a well done book that fits a lot into a slim volume - when I received it I was amazed how much it crammed into its 112 pages. This review will assume familiarity with D&D which I presume is a reasonably safe assumption.

Like every D&D game it has the classic six ability scores. As is often the case in older versions of D&D these scores aren't as important as they are in later editions. Strength and Wisdom are only important for fighters and clerics as it effects their experience points. Intelligence and Dexterity, while affecting experience for magic-users and thieves, also give bonus languages and the possibility of minor adjustments to missile combat. For magic-users Intelligence also gives their chance to learn spells and the maximum number of spells they can learn for a given level.

Blueholme, like the Holmes Basic, does not detail individual races a player might choose. Technically, they can be of any race, with the monster section listing ability modifiers for certain races. The rules suggest the referee apply an experience penalty for more powerful races. I'd have preferred some guidelines on the best way to do so - effectively, races really work best as a cosmetic aspect.

There are only four classes - the classics of the fighter, cleric. magic-user, and thief. The fighter, as he or she advances, does get a bonus to damage. Magic-users at first level can craft scrolls, though assuming random money generation, they might not have enough cash to do so when they start. That said, the ability to do so is a powerful boost for them. Clerics are similarly able to create healing potions once they learn the appropriate healing spells - though like older D&D, they don't get spells until 2nd level. Thieves remain a bit awkward for me - starting with thief abilities so low in success chance that low level thieves are likely to fail a lot. As is often the case they do advance quickly - the experience to be a 3rd level thief s just short of what's required to be a 2nd level magic-user. Characters can multi-class, advancing in two or more classes by building a combined class.

Like the very first D&D game, damage by players is always 1d6 regardless of weapon. though monsters might get a different damage die. Ranged weapons do have different ranges depending on their type. Rounds are divided into 5 phases - surprise attacks, spells, missiles, melee, and movement. In each phase combatants act from highest to lowest Dexterity, with a 1d6 roll being used to break up ties.

The listing of monsters ("creatures"), includes most of the critters one would expect. Most do 1d6 damage per attack, though there is some variation here and there. As seen in more recent retroclones, there are some nods towards science fiction here, such as the inclusion of Lovecraft's Mi-Go.

Similarly, there is a list of familiar magic items. Magic weapons provide no bonus to damage but they do give improved hit chances.

The game also has guidelines for campaign play and world generation and the rules cover henchmen, wilderness and dungeon adventures. It doesn't cover ship combat nor army battles.

I have both the PDF and hardcover version of the game from being a Kickstarter supporter. The hardcover has good binding and paper - it seems pretty durable, though, as I said, the book is surprisingly thin. I've gotten used to some thick monstrosities. The PDF is thoroughly bookmarked for easy navigation. The interior is black and white with illustrations reminiscent of older versions of D&D.

Why play this over older versions of D&D - or other retroclones? I'd say it offers a certain style. It stays much closer to D&D than games like Swords & Wizardry. And it mimics a form of D&D that never had a full expression - after the Holmes Basic D&D actually aplit into two games for many years - the Basic/Expert+ family and the Advanced D&D family. Blueholme shows another path that D&D could have taken. The versions are still close - you could take an old D&D or AD&D adventure and use it with Blueholme without difficulty. And you could also use Lamentations of the Flame Princess or AS&SH adventures just as easily.


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Sims as a Tabletop RPG Gateway

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 01:54

My 12-year old daughter, the geekier of my two kids, has begun experimenting with tabletop RPGs. Over the holiday break I decided to spin up the Sims 4, a game she's pretty obsessed over. I played the Sims once a gazillion years ago - I think the one I tried was the Sims 2 if I recall correctly.
For those totally unfamiliar with the franchise, the premise is it is a life simulator type of RPG. You create one or more characters or "Sims". Your Sim has various traits that you can decide and by completing various aspiration quests you can build up more traits. You manage money, your Sims' social lives, hygiene, careers, relationships, eating, bladders, etc. 
One thing I found as I build up a household is how much of the skills a player develops in playing the game are applicable to a tabletop RPG. I've built up a household from a single Sim who got married, had four kids, a cat, and a dog. The initial stages of play are like a low-level D&D game - living in a crappy house or apartment, probably controlling just a single Sim, etc. As the Sim forms relationships, advances in his or her career, has a family, etc., the game begins resembling domain play as you juggle the resources of the family - keeping spouses relationships' solid, attending to kids' physical and social needs, maintaining a career, not getting out of shape, etc.
Unlike your typical tabletop RPG there's not really combat (your Sim can get into a fistfight) but social interactions, whether trying to secure votes for a politician or get into a romantic relationship, are very much akin to your typical tabletop RPG combat in the strategies one must follow.
It's of course not a perfect mapping into tabletop RPG, but I could easily see a Fate or Apocalypse World Engine life simulation where the characters live out gonzo social lives in communities with nary an orc to be seen (though possibly a vampire or alien...)

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

My Dream Call of Cthulhu Sourcebooks

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 03:18


I've been poking my nose in Call of Cthulhu a bit of late. I recently picked up Chaosium's Darker Trails supplement for Call of Cthulhu, detailing Mythos gaming in the Old West. It's very well done, though I'm not yet at the point of being able to give it a full review. I'm pleased that Chaosium seems to have regained its footing after many years in the gaming wilderness.

With Chaosim exploring new settings for Call of Cthulhu, I got to thinking of a laundry list of settings that would be interesting for current edition of the game.

  • Updating the Gaslight and Dark Ages sourcebooks. The Clark Ashton Smith setting of Averoigne could work well in a Dark Ages type campaign.
  • Gilded Age America - kind of an east coast counterpart to Darker Trails. I've had Gaslight games find their way to New York City and it's an untapped setting for such gaming.
  • Colonial-era America - Using Cthulhu Dark to experiment with colonial American Mythos gaming really made me appreciate how well the setting fits the genre.
  • Hyperborea - Another Clark Ashton Smith inspired setting.
  • 1920s Boston - While Lovecraft Country has received a lot of attention, a sourcebook on 1920s Boston would be fantastic.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

My Thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 02:50


I've waited a little while to post my thoughts on The Last Jedi to give a reasonable delay for spoilers. This isn't a review per se as it pretty much assumes you've seen the film.

Being a Star Wars geek I've seen it in the theatre three times. My 12-year old Jasmine came along for all those viewings. I think she might be a bit of a geek too (with additional family members at some of those viewings).

Overall I liked it a lot - and surprisingly, I found my opinion going up with repeat viewing. My initial thoughts were I found the storyline with the Resistance Fleet being pursued to be a little bit weak and taking too short an amount of time to sync with Rey's story. Repeat viewings made me appreciate it a lot more. The Last Jedi goes for more subtlety than most Star Wars films. The Resistance Fleet storyline nicely exhibited the importance of leadership. If Poe, Rose, and Finn had done nothing, there would have been far fewer casualties. In most stories the hot-shots who undermine authority are always right. The one criticism that could conceivably be levied at Admiral Holdo was she kept the escape plan to herself - though her impression of Poe certainly did not encourage taking him into confidence. He was a pilot whose last mission involved disobeying orders and causing many Resistance deaths. What I found interesting was how Poe evolved - that at the end he understood how Luke was buying them time and it was important that the core of the Resistance survive. And Leia was well used in mentoring Poe to become more than a hotshot pilot, to become a leader. In a sense, Poe seems to have become her true son, her hope for the future.

I do think something could have been done to have improved the fleet story though - ships slowly running low on fuel in open space did seem to be missing something.

What of the trip to Canto Bight? Like the fleet story, I found I enjoyed it more on repeat viewings. Rose's character emphasized the need not just to fight against something but to fight for something.

What of Luke Skywalker? I greatly enjoyed that story, even though as far as I could tell it took a very short amount of time - it appeared that Rey spent maybe two days with Luke. I don't have a problem with "Luke the hermit". Yes, Luke triumphed in Return of the Jedi. But life doesn't end. After we triumph we screw up and/or experience tragedies. A month after my first daughter was born, one of the greatest moments in my life, the startup I was at shut down, leaving me unemployed. One never wins forever. Learning of how Luke confronted Ben Solo through three versions of the same event was a very nice touch.

In the end, it was Luke's final apprentice - and his final teacher - that gave him a much needed kick in the ass to move past his failures. I found it interesting how Luke was able to see the chance for redemption for Darth Vader but not for himself. Anakin Skywalker made a mistake and plunged into the Dark Side of the Force. Luke had a single moment of weakness and couldn't forgive himself. But he did have some valid points - while he might not be the Last Jedi after all, the Jedi Order as seen in the prequels did not deserve to be rebuilt.

Seeing Yoda, back in puppet form, was wonderful. While his destroying the tree holding the books was in a sense meaningless, given, unknown to us, Rey had stolen them, the gesture still worked - Luke needed to realize that Jedi did not depend on wisdom found in books. If the books were to be destroyed the wisdom could be rediscovered.

We'll get back to Luke, but what of the former Ben Solo and of Rey? Their connection was nicely done - and gave hints to Luke's final Force projection at the end, with Kylo Ren stating that Rey couldn't be projecting herself to him - the effort would kill her. Kylo's betrayal of Snoke, with Rey's help, was a nice echo of Return of the Jedi, but with a different motivation. Not to overthrow the evil overlord but to take his place. But he seemed sincere in appreciating Rey - he was far more compelling in attempting to get Rey to join him than the newly minted Darth Vader was in attempting to get Padme on his side in Revenge of the Sith. I hope Rey truly is "no one" as Kylo Ren said - that she's not special due to any destiny but rather being gifted and what she does with her gifts.

Which brings us back to Luke Skywalker's return, when his projection faces the First Order with just a laser sword. It was a moment of joy to see Luke reunite with his sister Leia. And seeing him stand alone against the First Order forces, emerging unharmed from a barrage of all their weapons, did more than buy the Resistance time to escape. It gave the galaxy what it so desperately needed - it brought it a legend and hope. In one sense, Luke died to save a pitifully small remnant of the Resistance. But in another, his death kept the flame of hope alive and kindled it into a legend. I was also amused to be reminded of the early 1990's Dark Empire series, which also featured Luke projecting himself to a place he wasn't, also interacting with people in that storyline.

Ending the story, not with the Resistance but with some "no one" kids again emphasized the legend Luke had become. And seeing that boy call the broom to his hand with the Force and seeing it briefly take the form of a lightsaber (presumably in his mind) showed us the future of the galaxy would pass to another generation, one inspired by legends.

Random thoughts:

  • Porgs are cool
  • I'm guessing Hux is not going to be the most loyal follower of the new Supreme Leader
  • Chewie's interactions were great - with Rey, Luke, and the Porgs
  • I'd hoped that Rey would wind up being "no one" and was pleasantly surprised to see them do just that
  • I have this hope that in the next movie every scene with Kylo Ren has Luke's Force ghost mocking him...

Amazing. Every word of what you just said was wrong. The Rebellion is reborn today. The war is just beginning. And I will not be the last Jedi.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Fiction Review: Ready Player One

Sat, 12/30/2017 - 03:22


Big hair from the eighties looks normal to me. My best friend from high school - she had huge hair.

This is relevant as the novel Ready Player One  is part love-letter to the culture of the 1980s - especially the geek culture. A 2011 novel by Ernest Cline, I noticed some buzz about it but never got around to reading it. Having seen a number of trailers for the upcoming movie adaptation - trailers from which I couldn't quite tell if it looked awesome or dumb - I decided to give it a read on my time off from both work and grad school at the end of the year. The audiobook is read by Wil Wheaton, which read to a bit of oddness when Wil Wheaton is mentioned briefly in the novel itself...

Ready Player One takes place in a dystopian 2040s. Cheap oil is a thing of the distant past, leading to the United States and the rest of the world suffering from a decades long economic disaster. The protagonist Wade Wilson, is the orphaned child of refugees. American refugees, as people unable to fuel their vehicles flocked to American cities. He lives in the stacks of Oklahoma City - vertical trailer parks - though he often lives in a private hideout. As the novel opens, he is a high school senior, attending a school in the OASIS. The OASIS is a virtual reality world - or rather series of worlds. It was created by two computer pioneers of the 20th and 21st centuries, Halliday and Morrow. Some worlds are gaming environments, others are areas for learning, others for meetings, etc. It has become synonymous with the internet of the future.

When the book opens, Halliday has been dead for a few years. Halliday was an obsessive fan of the pop culture of the era when he grew up - the 1980s. He's a fan of the movies, the video games, novels, comic books, etc. When he dies, he releases a message talking about Easter Eggs in video games. He indicates he left one in the OASIS and whoever finds it would inherit the OASIS. As it is the dominant economic force of the world, it attracts both individual attention (egg hunters - "gunters") as well as corporate hunters.

Wade is far more comfortable in the OASIS as his avatar Parzival. He's a gunter, as is his best friend Aech - a person Wade has never met in person - nor do they know each others real names. Dirt poor, Wade is usually only able to access the free parts of the OASIS.

Halliday left behind an almanac with his musings - which is regarded as clues to finding the three keys to the three gates he spoke of in his death message. As a result the gunters become experts on these musings. The novel as a result has Wade visiting fictional universes such as a classic D&D dungeon, originally published by TSR, and movies like Star WarsBlade Runner, and Wargames. There are references to old Atari games like Adventure and text games like Zork.

Obviously Wade becomes a player in the competition. Doing so, he becomes friends with many of his rival gunters while running afoul of a major corporation. He even finds himself in love with a gunter he's never met in real life - indeed, he's met none of them in real life.

The technology behind the OASIS is advanced but plausible. At its baseline it consists of a headset and gloves, so it is not necessarily "true" virtual reality. Wealthier people have clothing and chairs which give additional haptic feedback - something Wade is able to acquire duing his hunt for the egg.

Ready Player One was a fun read. If I've a complaint, it would be the amount of info-dump the novel required. But Cline created a world I wanted information about. It's a pretty plausible dystopia, looking at our own attitudes about energy conservation, alternative energies, etc. The emphasis on the 1980s is obviously appealing to someone like me, being born a year or two before than the fictional Halliday. It also comments on the nature of online friendships and relationships. I've made friends with people I've known since the 1990s but never met. I've gamed with people I've never met. And of people my own age, despite growing up in different parts of the country, it amazes me how strong a shared background we have, despite the lack of any real internet as we know it today to connect us. Starlog magazine, shared games and movies, shared D&D adventures, etc. all give us a common frame of reference.



Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

RPG Review: Star Frontiers

Wed, 12/27/2017 - 00:17


I was never able to get a copy of the Traveller RPG as a kid. The local hobby shop, long since departed, had the Traveller books, but I never knew where to start. I saw little black books -  Books starting with 4, Supplements, etc. But I never knew where to get the first three books. 
My first science fiction RPG was Gamma World but shortly after it I obtained Star Frontiers. Gamma World scared me a little bit. This was the early and mid 1980s. It was a time when nuclear war didn't seem all that unlikely a possibility. Yes, Gamma World was over the top and wild, but the setting of a fallen Earth always made me feel a little down.
Star Frontiers, on the other hand, was something I could get into. Gleaming towers, hover cars, laser pistols etc. 
Let's talk a little about the setting of Star Frontiers. It takes place in the "Frontier", a region close to the center of the galaxy where four species have come together to form the United Planetary Federation - the UPF. They are Humans, Vrusk, Dralasites, and Yazirians. The Dralasites are short, rubbery aliens with no natural form - they are able to create limbs as needed, though doing so takes time - they aren't like Plastic Man. Dralasites love puns and bad jokes, making their worlds havens for unsuccessful Human comedians. The Vrusk are like a type of insectoid centaur - a bit creepy looking. They are a society largely centered around business and corporations. The Yazirians look a bit like tall monkeys with wing-like membranes between their arms and legs that facilitate gliding. They are a clan-based society and many among them pledge to defeating a life-enemy - something that is not always something to be defeated in battle - a researcher might, for example, choose a disease as his or her life enemy.
Against the Federation is the Sathar, a mysterious group of worm-like aliens. None has ever been taken prisoner, committing suicide rather than allowing themselves to be captured. They manage to recruit agents among the Federation races, though these too commit suicide rather than be captured.
The game was divided into boxed sets. The first was initially called just "Star Frontiers", though it later had the tag "Alpha Dawn" added to it. The box contained two rule books - the basic rules to introduce the basics of the game and the expanded rules, which added lots of details like skills, expanded combat, etc. The second boxed set was "Knight Hawks" which added starship combat and operations to the game, as well as interstellar trade options. In the Alpha Dawn rules space travel was glossed over.
From the two boxed sets and adventures which came later we get a feel for the Federation. While largely benign, one senses it is a very loose government. Planets have their own militias, including small fleets. There have even been wars between member planets - for example, the Drammune system has seen numerous conflicts between Inner Reach and Outer Reach. Piracy is a problem in known and unknown space. Mega-corporations are practically governments unto themselves. The Federation is only concerned with the defense of the Frontier, collecting taxes to fund the Fleet and the Star Law Rangers.
Space travel is "hard-ish". Ships have no maximum speed, able to accelerate and decelerate as limited by fuel - and using acceleration to simulate gravity onboard. As a result, ships have periods of zero gravity and high-g maneuvers become possible on smaller ships. The combat system glossed over many aspects of vectored movement, something I later saw best handed in The Babylon Project RPG of the 1990s. A quirk of physics propelled objects into "the void" when they reached 1% of the speed of light - careful navigation allowing this to be used to jump from one system to another. 
Characters used percentile-based statistics. They also achieved skills of varying levels, 1 to 6. Skill levels plugged into calculations that also used attribute scores to determine the chance of a skill succeeding. In order to get spaceship skills, you had to bring certain basic skills to at least 4, often 6 (depending on spaceship skill). This led to the oddity of needing to be a top marksman in lasers to begin gaining skill in spaceship energy weapons. The spaceship skills therefore required a lot of experience to obtain - and were expensive to improve.
Like D&D, characters tended to be able to take a lot of hits. Most characters would have a Stamina rating between 30 and 70. However, a projectile pistol would do 1d10 damage, though possibly 5d10 if a burst were fired. Characters tended to have defenses - screens and suits that absorbed a certain type of damage. 
I played a lot of Star Frontiers in middle school. It was a lot of fun, though looking back the rules were definitely a bit on the unrealistic side. It played fast and for a time had a lot of support - many adventures and tons of articles in Dragon magazine. TSR made an incomplete effort at updating the game, with Zebulon's Guide to Frontier Space. It embraced the table-based game that was popular in the mid to late 1980s. However, it didn't update Knight Hawks, only Alpha Dawn.
One of the first internet groups I was a part of was a Star Frontiers mailing list, initially run by, if memory serves correctly, a University of Iowa or Iowa State student. They arranged small conventions in the mid to late 1990s - looking back, it was probably my first experience with a "proto-OSR".  I recall religious flame wars that occasionally popped up in the list. With the game out of print, I recall an effort to make a CD-ROM of the rules which TSR got wind of and, oddly enough, their internet rep granted partial permission to make. It's one of the reasons why you could find essentially legal copies of the game online. I'm not certain if that situation has changed, as I see Wizards of the Coast has begun selling copies themselves. 
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Star Wars Actual Play: Takeover at Whisper Base

Mon, 12/11/2017 - 01:33

Based on the adventure of the same name in the Age of Rebellion Beginner Game

Cast of Characters:

  • Athena Ellia, Twi'lek Scout and Force Sensitive Emergent
  • Bobar Kane, Human Commando
  • Rik Corruss, Human Saboteur
Setting: The planet Onderon, shortly after the Battle of Yavin
Objective: Rebel Intelligence has learned that Imperial Moff Dardano has built a secret listening post in the jungles of Onderon - Whisper Base. This base was not for use against the Rebellion but was rather intended for use against his rival, Admiral Corlen. Not even the Empire knew of it. The Rebel Alliance has sent a small commando team to secure the base as a forward Rebel base. They must cut off its link to a communications bunker and prevent any Imperials from escaping by shuttle.
Capsule Summaey
  • In the entry garage, the Rebels cut the communications link and dealt with a group of Imperial security personnel that responded to the cut cable.
  • The Rebels deactivated an old Clone Wars era droid that was cleaning the garage for fear it would notice the dead soldiers.
  • The Rebels, with the help of grenades, killed sentries guarding the shaft leading to the shuttle hangar.
  • In the hangar the Rebels sabotaged the shuttle to prevent it from taking off. It did attract the attention of more guards, dealt with with a final grenade.
  • To get into the communications/control room, the Rebels had to fight their way past stormtroopers. Afterwards they had to be patched up from the firefight.
  • In the control center they discovered the commander of the base, Lt. Sarev, had escaped down a secret tunnel. Ellia secured the control center while Kane and Korrus pursued on speeder bikes.
  • Not familiar with the intricacies of vehicular combat, the pair were knocked off their bikes by attacking scout troopers on their own bikes. They managed to defeat the troopers and take one of their bikes to continue the pursuit.
  • The Rebels were able to kill Sarev when his head popped out of the AT-ST's hatch as he reached the communications bunker.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Cracking Open Fantasy Flight Games' Star Wars Games

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 02:53


As I mentioned in my last post, I'm teaching my younger daughter how to game using Fantasy Flight Games' incarnation of Star Wars. I'm thinking of doing a few posts where I do a bit of an examination for their incarnation of the RPG.

To begin, FFG does not have one Star Wars RPG but rather three. They are Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion, and Force and Destiny. Each is focused on a specific lens of Star Wars gaming. Edge of the Empire deals with "civilians" - smugglers, bounty hunters, colonists, mercenaries, nobles, etc. If one wanted to run a game like the Firefly TV show or all about characters like Boba Fett, this is the game to use. Age of Rebellion on the other hand, is focused on the Rebel Alliance's battle against the Evil Galactic Empire. Finally, Force and Destiny deals with Force-sensitive characters. All the games provide for potential Force-users, but in Edge of the Empire and Age of Rebellion you are dealing with very basic Force users. The games all assume a time period during the "classic" era - in the range of Episodes IV to VI. They are essentially compatible with each other, with a few narrative rules specific to each game - though each game discusses how it might be used with the other games.

I can see how multiple games have some value, though I'd have preferred a main corebook, perhaps focusing on the Rebellion, with additional books covering other lenses. Fantasy Flight Games has high production values and their books are all very well done, though one annoyance I have with their Star Wars games is the lack of any electronic editions of their books. As I understand it, like Wizards of the Coast before them, FFG is not allowed to make digital copies of their Star Wars books (per their license with Lucasfilm).

The first of these games, Edge of the Empire, was released in 2013. It incorporated material from what was then called the Star Wars "Expanded Universe" - the various novels, comics, etc. for Star Wars. However, in 2014 Lucasfilm announced that outside of the then-six movies and Clone Wars TV show, all previous material was moving to the Legends banner and was "non-canon". It's understandable why they did this - with a new trilogy in the making, they wanted a clean slate. New comics and novels have fit in with this new continuity, as has the TV show Rebels. Material from Legends material is eligible to be brought back into the official canon, though often in a different form. For example, Grand Admiral Thrawn has found his way onto Rebels as have Imperial inquisitors. I bring this up as the FFG Star Wars games make use of a lot of Legends material, especially in their Force and Destiny game.

The next time I write about these games I suspect I'll talk about the mechanics, but it's worth noting here that the games make use of a crunchy system with a strong narrative aspect to it. With a very unusual set of dice...
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Next Generation of Gamers

Sun, 12/03/2017 - 03:23

Watching season one of Stranger Things, I was thrilled to see the kids playing D&D. As I've said before, I was the same age as the kids - in fall of 1983 I was 12 years old, in the 7th grade. I'd been playing D&D since the end of the 4th grade in one form or another.

I probably wasn't all that good at it when I started. Heck I'm still learning.

My younger daughter is in the 7th grade. She's the geeky one of the two girls. Both my daughters are awesome, but when it comes to Stephen King, Star Wars, Doctor Who, and superheroes, she's the one. Quick aside - older daughter and I also share a lot as well. It was she who actually introduced me to Stranger Things, we both love New York City (and subway trains), Disney, and while little sister loves comics and superhero movies, big sister is the fan of the Arrow-verse shows.

Anyways, while younger one was in the hospital recently, we were talking about Star Wars - and she expressed an interest in trying a Star Wars game. I asked the players in my online group and them all being parents, were cool with her playing. They're all parents too and like the idea of passing it on to the next generation. I tried to sway her to the D6 Star Wars game but she really loved the funkiness of the Fantasy Flight Games incarnation - one of my players reminded me of the awesome feeling we had back in the day opening the D&D Basic Set and finding those weird dice, like nothing we'd ever seen before.

It was easy to underestimate her ability to grasp character generation and the basic rules - I'd really forgotten how young I was when I started gaming. She really liked the idea of talent trees and building up your character over time. From video games she already had a basic grasp of how one might build and develop a character. She built a Twi'lek Spy (Scout)/Force Sensitive Emergent. Inspired by Hera on Rebels, she named her character Athena.

The actual game went well - we played through the adventure in the Age of Rebellion Beginner Game. She was a little bit nervous - I think she was convinced her character would get blown away quickly - probably a legacy of playing Battlefront a lot (where she is an absolute terror). But she was also quite happy she was able to blow away some stormtroopers. It might be a bit much to have her always with us but everyone was good with her playing again. I'd really like to help her set something up with her peers.

Probably the most illuminating aspect was a reminder as to how young  was when I started gaming and to see the joy of being able to take on another role through new eyes.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 01:56

I've put this blog on a brief hiatus. We had a bit of a health scare with one of our daughters at the end of October, requiring a hospital stay. We're past the immediate crisis. I'm playing catch-up in my life, including a research paper that I need to book some solid time on.

Hoping to resume posting in another week or two, we'll see.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs