Wednesday, November 19, 2014

D&D 5e Test Drive, Session 1

I was the DM for the first of three test sessions last Friday night using Lost Mine of Phandelver from the Starter Set box and it went pretty well.

6 1st-level PCs in the party:

Elf Fighter Gladiator
Half-Elf Rogue Spy
Human Warlock Criminal
(Starter Set pregens:)
Hill Dwarf Cleric Soldier
Human Fighter Folk Hero
Elf Wizard Acolyte


The party was ambushed by the goblins, found the goblin trail but set off again for Phandelver (the Warlock and Human Fighter went below 0 HP and had to make death saves). Went to the Shrine of Luck, learned of the banshee Agatha and Cragmaw Castle from Sister Garaele, and spent the night at the inn. The next morning visited Daran Edermath, the retired elf adventurer, and found out about Cragmaw Caves, and then killed the four Redbrands at the Sleeping Giant. Leveling up next session, and they have clues for several different avenues to pursue.

I need to study up on the pre-gen background connections to events in the adventure, and another look at the Basic Rules so I'm not following any preconceived ideas from past systems.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Friday, October 03, 2014

The Basic Tenet of the Call of Cthulhu RPG

The purpose of horror roleplaying is to have fun.

This sentence appears on p.10 of Call of Cthulhu 5th Edition, under the heading "Purpose of Play." It is the most important rule in the book.

"Fun" for your group can be defined many ways. If it's shotguns vs. Cthulhu, great. If it's roleplaying the tortured emotions and madness of artists and poets reading blasphemous tomes with nary a weapon in sight, also great. Both methods of play are valid. Both are possible with the same ruleset.

If the difference in hit damage between an M1 rifle and an elephant gun is important to a player, run with it. The unwritten rule is that all of these rules are optional, and use them as your group wishes. Whatever your group defines as fun is the object of the game.

The strength of a traditional RPG such as Call of Cthulhu is the ability to play anywhere on the continuum between the Most Important Rule and complete Rules As Written. It is not a bug. It is a feature.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Gen Con 2014 loot

From left to right, top to bottom:
  • Gen Con Program Guide (filled with articles, maps, mini-modules, etc.) from Goodman Games
  • Caroline Munro, First Lady of Fantasy and Peter Cushing, The Gentle Man of Horror and His 91 Films, both from McFarland Publishing (35% off two or more books on Sunday!)
  • Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad zines #1 and 2, and Wayne Snyder's Dark Ruins art-zines #1 and 2
  • From Chimera Hobby Shop's "Buy One, Get Three Free" deal: Thieves of Fortress Badabaskor, Fantastic Treasures (still in shrink-wrap), The Valdorian Age sword-and-sorcery sourcebook for Hero System, and Planet Stories' The Outlaws of Mars by Otis Kline.
  • Shadowrun 5e quick-start booklet from Free RPG Day (Battletech on the flip-side)
  • 13th Age module "Make Your Own Luck" from Free RPG Day (for running Timewatch for Pelgrane Press)
  • Unframed: The Art of Improvisation for Game Masters by various authors for Engine Publishing
Not pictured: Pelgrane Press t-shirt, Gen Con 2014 die from Crystal Caste, and Friday's blue d6 from Scotty's Brewhouse.

Now to carve out time to read all these books...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Not going dark yet

This spring and summer have been challenging. The end of one school semester, the passing of a close family member, then the start of another semester with a changed curriculum, have sapped my creative energies and then months go by without any posts.

I have volunteered for several gaming-related events this fall, so maybe putting many irons into the fire will help kick up the creative spark I am missing at the moment. Expect a Gen Con post and more to come after.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Birthday, Peter Cushing

Today marks the 101st anniversary of Peter Cushing's birth. In his honor, enjoy this short film of Sir Peter painting model soldiers and using H.G. Wells' Little Wars wargaming rules.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Happy Birthday, Ishirō Honda

With the new Godzilla film opening next week, it's only fitting to honor the director of the original, Ishirō Honda (1911-1993), on the anniversary of his birth.

Honda (left) demonstrates the operation of a Godzilla puppet for close-up shots to Akira Kurosawa during the filming of Gojira (1954).

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Vornheim-ed Middenheim City Kit in a PDF

If you haven't been following Jeff Russell's posts on G+, he finished his Vornheim-style take on the Warhammer Fantasy city of Middenheim, and compiled all the tables into a final PDF. This is his project to distill all the gaming potential in one of the great cities in fantasy RPGs down to a set of guidelines and random tables, thus making it much easier to actually use at your table. Jeff also posted the plain text versions for anyone to compile and layout on their own, or to use for their own fantasy cities.