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Rub It Review: Star Frontiers

Doomslakers! - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 07:10



Hey, who doesn't love pseudopods and needler pistols? I know I do. Picture a young JV, c. 1985. This 14 year old (soon to be 15) with big glasses and no romantic prospects has been holed up in his room with the classic 1983 D&D red box for months, generating campaigns without any players. He makes his way to Sophia's Bookstore at some point because he knows they have a rack of RPGs. There he witnesses many amazing things, including a Frank Frazetta art book that blows open his ideas about fantasy and this purple box set called Star Frontiers: Alpha Dawn. The cover is rad. Tubular. Totally awesome. It has a crashed ship. It has aliens. It has a pretty redhead. James likey. Somehow James manages to get this incredible treasure in his hands and takes it home. At my advanced age I'm unable to remember how this came about. It was at least a year before I got my first paying job and my family was poor. But my mom was (is) stellar so she did most likely witness my memorization and found the funds to drop $10 on it. Now witness young JV in his room, in his gawdy looking 70s swiveling chair, opening this shining, glistening, purple box with utter reverence and complete magical charm all over his youthful face. Ah, the sorcery of discovery. Especially discovery of the vastness and coolness of Pan-Galactic space. The game comes with two rulebooks, a big double sided grid map, a bunch of cool counters, d10 (two of 'em?), and an adventure module called Crash on Vulturnus. The first rulebook is the 16 page Basic Game Rules in which we learn, well, the basics. It's like a short and sweet intro. I fully confess right here and right now I never actually read this one. I skimmed it, looked at the art, and went straight for the next book. The 64 page Expanded Game Rules is where it's at. Here you get the full version of the game you just bought, not some condensed version for babies. So this game is basically Buck Rogers and Star Trek mashed up. But it's got a spirit of its own. I have heard people compare it to Star Wars, but I reject that comparison. There is not remotely spiritual or mystical or prophetic here. This is a wild west game of lasers and credits. Sure, Han Solo would be right at home in Pan-Galactic space. But there's no room here for the Jedi order or ghosts. Hey, don't let that get you down, though. They DO have electric swords. In this game you play the role of a mercenary, mechanic, scientist, spy, medic, pilot, or whatever kind of gig you choose to specialize in. It's a skill based game, so there are no classes. You choose between four races: human, yazirian (monkeys with glider wings), dralasites (amoeba people), and vrusk (bugs). As new PCs, your adventures will most likely involve working for the Pan-Galactic Corporation in some capacity or another. It's a percentile system. All actions are resolved by rolling d100 and trying to get under a target (usually an attribute score modified by a skill or something like that). You get to use all kinds of cool toys ranging from the aforementioned electric sword to the vibroknife to the laser rifle to the gyrojet rifle. You can program robots, bypass security, and blow shit up with Tornadium D-19 (kaboomite). Oh, and if you get shot at with a laser pistol hopefully you will be wearing your albedo suit. The weird thing about Alpha Dawn is that it has precious little to say about space ships. There are no rules in this box for flying them, for example. That fact lent this game a tremendously terrestrial vibe for a space game. I played this with cousins and school friends and most of our adventures involved running around the giant grid map of Port Loren, blasting holes in the city trying to capture escaped villains or battle sathar invasions. Space travel was always hand waved. Of course this game is followed up by the second box set, Knight Hawks, which was ALL about the space travel and space combat. I didn't own Knight Hawks and I never got to play with it, so I have no nostalgic attachment to it. Back in 2012 I ran a couple games of Star Frontiers for some local friends, one of whom was a HUGE fan of the game and owned 100% of all it. My friend James Koti, may he rest in peace, was a giant Star Frontiers nerd and wanted to use all the shiny books. But I was just running a game for nostalgia and I only wanted to use Alpha Dawn. It was fun, but I suspect he really wanted to run with it much longer and much farther. In hindsight, now that James is gone, I really wish I had ran harder and longer with the game. I ran it again for my Monday night pals, who I lovingly call the Doomslakers. That was a year or more ago. I ran the module Mission to Alcazzar, which I heavily modified. In our game, we spent at least 3 sessions on board the Nightrunner dealing with some very dangerous mining bugs, which were the central threat of the adventure as I ran it. The module is basically a very terrestrial hex crawl and has little in it to suggest space. Our adventure ended with a naked mad scientist riding an armored mining bug trying to kill the party. There was a lot of hand grenade action going on and of course all the robots in the CDC compound were set to kill. A good time was had by all. I love this game, and it's 90% because of nostalgia. I believe the system is good, but has rough bits I don't love as much. The way skills are figured is a bit wonky, I think. But hey, it all works. In the end I think my mom could not have spent 10 credits on a better product.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Loving His Manner

The Idol Babbler - Mon, 07/02/2018 - 23:46

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theidolbabbler is now a proud blog contributor to the Bible Thumping Wingnut Network.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

A Simple Way to Explain to an Unbeliever Why We Are Guilty Before God

The Idol Babbler - Sun, 06/24/2018 - 23:17

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That Helpful Tension

The Idol Babbler - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 19:46

Matthew 22:34-40 (HCSB)
When the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test Him: “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

Jesus said that “all the Law and the Prophets” depend on love. They do not depend on anything else. If we take away love, we take away the foundation.

What happens if we take away love, what would all the Law and the Prophets then stand upon?

…Nothing.

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he talked about this same theme, mentioning some other things which become meaningless when love is removed from the equation…

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (HCSB)
If I speak human or angelic languages
but do not have love,
I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy
and understand all mysteries
and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith
so that I can move mountains
but do not have love, I am nothing.
And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor,
and if I give my body in order to boast
but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Possessing a great acumen for oration, having an incredible wealth of knowledge, or even consistently displaying a sincere religious fervor, none of these things matter if they are not backed by love. Not even an impressive resume of charitable giving carries any weight when love is not in the picture. Take away love, you take away everything. When it comes to God and love, we must remember: when John described who God is, he said that He is love…

1 John 4:8 (HCSB)
The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

If love is what the Law and the Prophets depend upon (as Jesus taught), and if God is love (as John tells us in his epistle), then His commands to us are actually an expression of who He is. They describe His character, His essence. Violate His commands, you then not only violate love, but you also violate who God is.

Does that possibility give you pause?

It should, because we all know that we do not always love. John even warns against ignoring the fact that we fail to love. Look at what he writes…

1 John 1:8 (HCSB)
If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

That Helpful Tension

John goes on though, giving us hope. Yet, he does not release that helpful tension, holding it all together, which keeps us sober in our walk…

1 John 1:9 – 2:11 (HCSB)
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say, “We don’t have any sin,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father — Jesus Christ the Righteous One. He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world. This is how we are sure that we have come to know Him: by keeping His commands. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” yet doesn’t keep His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected. This is how we know we are in Him: The one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked. Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old command that you have had from the beginning. The old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. The one who says he is in the light but hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother remains in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and doesn’t know where he’s going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Godspeed, to the brethren!

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Categories: Churchie Feeds

God is Jealous?

The Idol Babbler - Sat, 06/09/2018 - 01:34

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Categories: Churchie Feeds

4:17… An Address With Many Answers

The Idol Babbler - Sat, 06/02/2018 - 11:28


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Categories: Churchie Feeds

Faith… According to Hebrews 11:1

The Idol Babbler - Wed, 05/23/2018 - 20:51

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Betrothal… Hosea’s Picture of the New Covenant

The Idol Babbler - Sat, 05/12/2018 - 20:11

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The Law of Christ… Taking Part in Restoration

The Idol Babbler - Fri, 04/27/2018 - 12:41

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Categories: Churchie Feeds

I Am He… Oh, the Irony

The Idol Babbler - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 00:07

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My AthensCon Activities

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Sun, 11/12/2017 - 20:19
Here are snaps from the AthensCon site detailing my activities for the convention December 2 & 3.

There might be another panel; and if there is I will update this post.

Happy Gaming All!




Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Attending AthensCon Dec. 2 &3

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 11:02
I am a special guest for AthensCon, December 2 & 3, a convention which last year had 15,000 attendees.  My duties/events include (besides having fun and eating gyros):


Running a two-hour RPG workshop:  The Genius of Original Dungeons & Dragons:  Leaping Outside the Box of Design History.
Participating in a large panel discussion on board game design.
DMing two sessions of my redesigned Lake Level from Castle El Raja Key, a level Gary Gygax cut his teeth on during the play-tests of D&D in 1973 and which was later incorporated into Castle Greyhawk as the "Black Reservoir." I have greatly expanded it to two maps with the commensurate encounters and added a back history and living depth to it.  Should be a riot! 

Here's the link to my appearance:  http://www.athenscon.gr/en/guests/item/robert-j-kuntz

See you there?  C'mon, everyone likes gyros with gaming!  :)
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Dave Arneson's True Genius Published

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Sun, 04/16/2017 - 03:46
Hot off the press and already steamrolling ahead!



What is Dave Arneson’s True Genius??
Well...  It kinda starts below...

...and then by leaps and bounds...
Breaks the sound barrier of game design history by 2,000 years...
Join us in a giant step into the past that re-opens a future doorway David L. Arneson created and gifted to us!
###
From the award-winning game designer and author Robert J. Kuntz
Available From:  threelinestudio.com


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Breaking News!

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Mon, 12/19/2016 - 00:01

Breaking News From Archeology Today!
NYC, in the year 2376...


Today archeologists from the Smithownisan Institute of Japan unearthed what is thought to be the last vestiges of a long defunct U.S. political party once called the Democrats.
Dr. Kumwatmae expounded upon the find:  "It's an exciting artifact that we are studying around the clock.  We believe these Democrats, in their dying days, resorted to baby worship by sacrificing millions of them upon the altar of a mysterious pseudo-religion that we can only now identify as something having to do with 'Planning'.  We strongly believe that this symbol may very well be a link to that religion, although my colleague at the dig, Dr. Cumwatmyte, still insists that the representative image is more likely an expression of some hidden angst that was on the rise among their kind and that lead to their untimely demise about 250 years ago."
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

A Project I'm Writing and Laying Out at the Same Time

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Sun, 12/18/2016 - 20:18
The material dates from 1974 and, oh boy, has it been updated! Cool adventure in the future folks!

More to come!




Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Dave Arneson's True Genius Cover FINISHED!

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 16:37



This is a highly reduced resolution JPEG of the cover for Dave Arneson's True Genius that my wife, Nathalie (with some specific help from myself on the graphics end, i.e., the concept lettering for the blackboard), finished today.  Nathalie is very excellent at layout (and many other things, she always surprises)!

Nat has proceeded to laying out the text.  Meanwhile I am plugging away on 2 maps for 2 separate adventures as well as laying out TLS's first PDF product!

We are getting excited here!  I hope you are too!

Enjoy!

Rob & Nat


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

BoardGameGeek Composite Rating for El Raja Key Archive: So Far So Good!

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Tue, 12/06/2016 - 17:22



Initial reactions from buyers at BGG of El Raja Key Archive is at a composite 9.5 out of 10.

LINK:  https://www.boardgamegeek.com/rpgitem/212609/el-raja-key-archive

Not blowing our horn too much here, but we expected very high ratings for this product.

Almost 3 years steady production time went into finishing the project and it also launched a new adventure book line with it.  Its nearly 1,100 hi-res scanned files date back to 1971 and are a roadmap to pre-D&D, early D&D, ancient Greyhawk material, World of Kalibruhn, early TSR and so much more, spanning 48 years of my design history through the original artifacts that were auctioned 2005-2015 but, with foresight, were preserved for the gamers, collectors and historians through hundreds of hours of scanning work over that time.

There has never been an item of this sort produced and made available for the public in the history of RPGs.

TLB Games is currently running a Holiday Sale for ERKA (see link at the right side bar).  Get yours before Santa heads back to the North Pole!


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

My Interview at the Multiverse Blog

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Sat, 12/03/2016 - 17:22
"Chillin' after the interview"

Timothy Connolly and I had a week-long give-and-take resulting in an interview that should be of special interest to TSR/D&D historians and serious designers.

LINK:  http://multiverse.world/blog/2016/11/30/qa-robert-j-kuntz/
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

TLB Games Holiday Specials

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Mon, 11/28/2016 - 21:15

Holiday Sale Special!!!
Check out our specials for El Raja Key Archive and Sunken City Adventure!

https://www.tlbgames.com/
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

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