Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The 2015 games list under consideration for play 

  • Firefly (Cortex system) Space trading, organised crime high jinx, psi, Reavers ... and Keeping the Alliance honest.  
  • Star Wars - sci fi we all know and love - taking down the Empire, making a profit and searching for a way out from under Empire oppression.[UPDATE: We played a few sessions and it went great. We all want to play more but our gaming time is being eaten by the 5e monster and my Hackmaster old school game]
  • Tanshuman exploration - Eclipse Phase the Gate War
  • Cyberpunk/Transhuman FATE - The Translight shadow war - Mega Corps battling in the shadows to build the first translight engine 
  • Traveller - Secrets of the Ancients campaign
  • Traveller 2300 - Kaffer Invasion sandbox using military and survival adventure role playing 
  • The Void rpg
  • Trinity - Play through the sandbox of the published adventures with psion adventurers
  • The Strange - Think time tunnel, meets x-Files/Fringe, via Stargate.
  • Pulp Rocket Age retro exploration and exploring strange new worlds - Forbiden Planet style.
  • Plup Adventure pre and during WWII find the items of power and foil the Zealots of Zeronimus and the Society of Thule
  • Victorian Penny Dreadful - steampunk action and romance against the Archons of Sideria 
  • Mutants and Masterminds/Marvel Heroic - Days of Future Past or The Occult wars
  • Deathwatch - Kill for the Emperor, Die with Glory, Cleanse the stars!!!  
  • RuneQuest 6 - Sword and Sorcery, "Conan" "Throngar" "Gor" "Drus" "Fafard & Mouser" style.
  • The One Ring - Darkening of Mirkwood cycle [UPDATE: Two sessions gave us just a taste. It's a role playing game but not like other games. It's a masterful departure from the assumptions of other systems. It's wonderfully refreshing].
  • D&D - OSR, (Labyrinth Lord or Astonishing Swordsmen rule set) The lost City of Barakus etc.[UPDATE: this has become our HACKMASTER game: I love the system but there is a LOT to it. It's like AD&D if you played with material from dragon magazines- that's how it feels to me. Love it.)
  •  Torchbearer - Dungeon crawling with personal drama, in a dungeon world with some board game parallels 
  • Warhammer fantasy roleplay - Enemy Within et'al classics
  • Shadowrun 5th ed - Shadowrun missions 
  • Witch Hunter 2nded - Stop Satan from creating hell on Earth and preserve the seals and your soul.
  • Hunter the Vigil - Secret History and monster hunting a'la Buffy only serious.(Sort of Hellraiser meets They Live)
  • Conspiracy X -  Classic X-Files and Fringe type action adventure (parallels to Heart of Darkness, Edge of Night and 1984)
  • Anima Beyond Fantasy - Conspiracy occultism and secret history in anime fantasy setting.
  • Legends of Wu Lin - Kung Fu secret societies, fantasy adventures, and Occult mystery 
  • Legend of the five rings - City of Shadow Campaign
  • Tenra Bansho - Asian Fantasy, like 47 Ronin and Ninja scrollsHyper-asian samurai ninja mayhem (it's an actual translated Japanese role playing game from Japan) 
  • Cthulhutech - Playing the games meta-campaign as Taggers (were-devils) or Mecha pilots
  • King Arthur Pendragon - Playing Lords of the realms and changing the very fabric of myth, plotting and fighting mighty battles (think Vikings TV series)
  • Torg - Gonzo multi genre adventure as Stomknights following the Destiny Map (lowish powered superheroes). 
  • Zombie Survival - End of the World engine - The walking dead style with the cure out there and a chance to save the world
  • Werewolf the Apocalypse 20 anv Ed - Save the world from Pentex and its schemes (parallels to Heart of Darkness, Edge of Night and 1984)
  • Doctor Who - Adventures in time and space multi genre goodness waging the time war
  • Mutant City Blues HCU - Solving crimes committed by super human powered perpetrators 
  • Trail of Cthulhu - Eternal Lies or Cthulhu Apocalypse procedural investigation horror
  • DeadLands - Weird Wild West Gunslingers, occult exploration and the law of the gun - Using Second Sons or Stone and a hard place

My time for blogging has been eaten up with gaming in the RW. Thats a great thing and now Its moved to Roll20. I'm amazed at how easy Roll20 is to use. You do need to do some prep and it's sort of encourages a more tactical game than is strictly necessary. Even so, its a fun place to meet up and its in the comfort of your own home. No travel time, more gaming, which is a great thing too.

At present we are running ACK's more or less by default. People found the Labyrinth Lord + AEC to be difficult to understand go figure? I am surprised that it isn't an integrated offering by now just to make it easier for new people. We are using DCC magic as an overlay to the system and its working wonderfully. None of us really enjoy the way magic works at low levels in D&D. Having played since the 70's its one part of the game that is really quite ordinary right out of the box.

In investigating alternatives to LL+AEC I stumbled across Hackmaster Advanced and I'm hooked. I can see this becoming my gold standard for rpging now. People seem to have the feeling that its very complex and in reality its not that hard to use, It doesn't seem to get much love, which is an odd thing, give how well it's put together.

I discovered Fantasy Age,  possibly the best retro clone out there. It's not in reality a retro clone, but it's so close to a 3d6 version of D&D that is ridiculous. Moreover its an excellent streamlined game. You could do much worse then this system. I'd think Pathfinder is going to be feeling the heat from Dungeon crawl clasic, fith edition D&D and Fantasy Age. Yes this is the same system that powers Dragon Age, but removing the Theadas specific information. On the subject of Dragon Age; it may well be one of the nicest look best produced games in role playing, it's just gorgeous as a hard cover book. You want it for your collection.

All this fantasy gaming investigation brings me to a surprising realisation: the amount of vast deviation among the "clones" from the base rules. Most of the so called clones are what I would label 'simulators/emulators' then true clones. Most use ascending AC (pft ...Mathematically AC doesnt need to be "fixed" by making it ascending, to yield the results people want or the feel they are looking for, as the Target20 system demonstrates go over to Deltas blog and read the post on armour class. There is a lot of other personal preference things (fiddly little house rules) which have crept into these 'clones' as "fixes". This is not nesecarily a bad thing, however I would have thought one motivator to the designers would be to play old classic dungeons ( ie modules )'with a minimum of prep. Including matching the hit point totals of the modules enemies. Its annoying to have to make adjustments with games that claim to be clones when using them in conjunction with classic modules.

However the modules even the great classics, are not a draw card for all apparently. It seems sandbox play is a motivator for many groups. It's a wonderful movement if that's the case. I've tried many a sand box with my players. Most times and they become overwhelmed with choice and frozen by fear of making a deadly move and walking into a TPK by error.

Thankfully Hasbro/WotC are finally re-issuing the old game rules in numerous versions, so the clones are less needed. I'd expect to see more setting driven supplements, which will act as overlays to OD&D, BECMI or AD&D and yet this is not really happen and the clones keep coming, which I love. It is however a surprise people love to tinker with rules rather than write great setting material, like Dark Albion ( a land mark in gaming settings IMO). On the other hand it's a lot easier to tweak another's work and present it as your own than it is to produce and original, inspired work.

What this proves to me is something I'd thought for a long time. The OSR is really a DIY movement for creating your own game from pre made rules-modules and accepted gaming concepts. Thats a good thing. One of the best things is that peoples blinkers have come off in regards to Fantasy heartbreakers. I can see more general acceptance of fantasy games which share a common genetic code. More acceptance in the world is a good thing.      

Still I wish D&D had an edition which aped Dragon Warriors in presentation. The type of book that appeals to the ten year old boy in all of us. I can see it in my minds eye. Its a novel sized book or maybe comic book sized wich cool line art inside all black and white with maps and illustrations of swords and armour. Presenting very much the LL+AEC type information. One of the innovations I'd like to see is talents - essentially Feats and Stat improvements moved into the GM's section and presented as optional rewards that can be awarded alongside or brought with Treasure Points. That allows for the quick old school start up of the original game yet keeps some of the cool technology that has arisen over the years. As they are in the GM's hands getting talents can be as story motivated as you like. Magic needs to be simplified too but it needs to feel..well ... magical at the same time.

There is a project here if I can be botherd to take it up,