Wednesday 25 September 2013

Marvel's Agents of....Darkfire?

Well, the first episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is out, and I cannot help but be struck by how much the plot reminds me of two stories published in 2001 and 2002 respectively.  A man, out of work, trying to keep his family together, whose power is burning himself up.  Hmmmm.


In Justice

Coincidence....or connection?

In fact, if you enjoyed those stories, why not read the award-winning first Golden City story?  You can find a link below:

Ivy and Sorrow

30 Day Challenge, Part II

There are all kinds of problems with the “30 Day Challenge” questions.  One of them is that some of my answers shift over time.  For example, why did I not mention the ethereal filcher as a favourite aberration?  Because its lair is filled with stolen socks that don’t match, lost keys, glasses, and toys that fell behind the couch, it can actually be a pretty cool monster.  The “WotC-D&D Bias” of the questions is also pretty strong.

Let’s try and finish this up, though.

Day 18:  The Hound of Hirot.  Well, that was my immediate answer, but then I started to think about patrons in Dungeon Crawl Classics, which would effectively be immortals or outsiders.  That opens such a can of worms that I am not sure that I can answer that question effectively.  

Day 19:  That big mass of Sargasso in Crimson Tide.  Brilliant stuff, that.  Quite creepily done.

Day 20:  The Judoon, maybe.  Lots of other humanoids from Doctor Who.  Trying to determine a favourite humanoid is a pretty hard call, too.  There are so many interesting humanoids out there.  When I ran Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh as a DCC funnel, the goblins ended up herding geese and the gnolls whispered.  Minor changes like this make for interesting encounters.  In older D&D, I was always partial to the 1e Monster Manual bugbear.  But you want to choose between humanoids and fey?  Really?  My favourite fey-type would be the phouka or the hedley kow.  I am also partial to Jenny Greenteeth.

Day 21:  I am fully on board with Joseph Goodman in deciding that dragons should not be colour-coded to determine what their powers are.  Therefore, colour = random, and type = unique.

Day 22:  My favourite monster is whichever one is trying to chew on a PC’s face right at this moment.  But, really, if I have to choose, there are some purple slime monsters in Perils of the Sunken City that are enormous fun to read…even if my players never discovered what they are singing.

Day 23:  My least favourite monster is either the feebleblow flutterwing or the sillynamed doublespeak.

Day 24:  Really?  Favourite energy type?  Depends upon the time of day and who I am with, friend.  Currently, I’m being fuelled by coffee.  Black, no sugar.

Day 25:  Non-standard.  In the early days, the rope of climbing caught my fancy.  In Encyclopedia Magica, I discovered a stone ball that attracts birds, which I thought was cool.  Really, when it comes down to it, the hope is to keep magic unpredictable, with bonuses and penalties.  The item that forces you to choose whether or not it is worth using is ultimately more interesting, to my mind, that the one which is obviously optimal. 

Day 26:  In Dungeon Crawl Classics, characters in a 0-level funnel get mundane items based upon their occupation, including such things as a cow, or a bag of night soil.  These are fun, and require some creativity to use effectively.  They are often things that an adventurer would not have selected from a list.  BUT, if the question is to be taken as useful non-magical items, every party should have some rope, a few iron spikes, a pole or a staff, and maybe even a shovel.  It is amazing how often a shovel turns out to be useful.

Day 27:  One rolled randomly, using the DCC rules, for a funnel game, and then hopefully further.  Actually, a group of 3-4. 

Day 28:  Never say never again.  But my interest in dragonborn is close to zero…if playing in a game where that was an option, it is not one I would be likely to select.  But, again, never say never.

Day 29:  What number do I always seem to roll on a d20?  Let’s see.  “1” comes up about 5% of the time.  So does “2”.  And “3”.  And “4”… … … …

Day 30:  Either my brother, J., in high school, or Jesse Donahue in California.  Different styles, but both enormous fun.  Cheers!

Friday 20 September 2013

Mea Culpa

Prince Charming, Reanimator, is running behind schedule.  This is nobody's fault but my own.  It will still be released as a free product, and I will still let you know exactly when it occurs.  I will be no more than a month out of my expected timeframe.  Life just has a way, sometimes, of not letting you get as much done as you would like.

In other news, I am told that 75% of the Angels, Daemons, & Beings Between packages have shipped (although I am still awaiting mine!).  My understanding is that these were delayed due to printing issues, which have been resolved.  If you follow this blog, and have gotten your copies, please chime in so that the rest of us know that they are on the way!

Brave Halfling has hired some folks to help get back on track with the Appendix N adventure modules (again, still awaiting mine).  John Adams at Brave Halfling has had to deal with more than most of us this year, and I truly wish him well.  I certainly looking forward to seeing the print copies, and would love to hear from anyone who has already received them.

Life just has a way, sometimes, of not letting you get as much done as you would like.

Tuesday 17 September 2013

30 Day Challenge, Part I

So this last little bit has been somewhat quiet, and I apologize for that.  Let's see if I can't catch up with this 30-day challenge thing just for the hell of it.

Day 1:  I started playing rpgs with the Holmes Basic Blue Box, which I picked up for my younger brother for Christmas in 1979.  My interest was piqued by seeing a television spot on the game (I lived in Wisconsin, so this is perhaps not so unlikely as it may sound) that seemed really, really cool.

Day 2:  Human.  Humans form the baseline for most of my campaign worlds.

Day 3: Right now?  The Wizard, because I am playing Dungeon Crawl Classics, and the DCC wizard is so frakking cool.   As a player, though, I am willing to play any race or class.

Day 4:  Whatever game world I am currently running.  I confess a fondness for the original Forgotten Realms, and for Greyhawk as it was presented in the folio.  Spelljammer was a cool idea that, while I never ran it directly, I stole lots of ideas from for both monsters and fleshing out the cosmology of the system in which my games have taken place.

Day 5:  The seven sided die pictured here.  I know that it is considered ugly by some gamers, but I really, really like it.  Most of my players prefer to roll the other d7s (the ones that are really d14s marked 1-7 twice in various colours), but they are not so cool (to my mind) as this thing.

Day 6:  Right at the moment, Malotoch, the Crow God, from Goodman Games' Aereth setting.

Day 7:  Dungeon Crawl Classics.  Before that, I would have to say 1e AD&D, any day.  A lot of 1e modules, let it be known, are perfect for conversion and running in the DCC system.  But I am a tinkerer; I will steal useful ideas from anywhere.  At one time, I was going to write my own system.....

Day 8:  Porthos, a bit of a swashbuckling toff using the 2e rules.  I read bits and pieces of Romeo & Juliet (esp. Mercutio's lines) prior to play.  A lot of fun.  Other notables:  Aramas the elven psychopath, Damien the Undaunted (human magic-user under Holmes Basic) and Arak the Spidersoul (human magic-user whose name was swiped from an issue of White Dwarf, if memory serves).

Day 9:  I created a jedi guardian for a d20 Star Wars game that never got completely off the ground.

Day 10:  Sorry, but I am not sure where to begin with this one.  I've run many of the Dungeon Crawl Classics modules, and there are some pretty crazy things in Sailors on the Starless Sea and Colossus Arise! I can tell you.  I also ran The Albuquerque Spaceport module (from Gamma World 1e) as a DCC adventure, and my home group ended up with a moon buggy.  They then entered the domicile of the Cinder Claws, where one PC was killed by a snowman.  Running Doom of the Savage Kings, one PC was saved when his miscast spell caused him to be completely severed from the world for long enough to avoid the Hound of Hirot.  Best. Fumble. Ever!

Day 11:  Again, I don't know where to begin with this one.  For sheer re-use value, I would have to say Keep on the Borderlands.  But, oh, did I have fun recently with Michael Curtis' Frozen in Time.  I can't say that I have a favourite adventure.  How do you compare Death Frost Doom and The Village of Hommlet?  They are different animals altogether.

Day 12:  An interesting one with a reason for being there, and a history.  Apart from that, I like crypts and catacombs, natural caves, lost worlds.....just make it interesting and somehow unique.

Day 13:  The humble pit trap.  Always good, even when it is located prior to being fallen into, and allows for an infinite variety within the basic form.

On the other hand, this image from the 1e Dungeon Master's Guide has stuck with me through the years.  I can hardly be alone in this; variations of it have cropped up in other editions.

Day 14:  The Ravenlady of Rookhaven, I guess.

Day 15:  The coffer corpse.  A good un-dead monster, brought to you by the 1e Fiend Folio, and one which recently scared the crap out of 4th level Dungeon Crawl Classics characters.

Day 16:  Right now, I am going to have to say the Dancing Horror from my own Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror, but I will also specify that the nascent dancing horror (should one appear) is a better/more horrifying monster.  I am also very fond of the grell (1e Fiend Folio) and the grick (3e Monster Manual).

Day 17:  I like giant spiders of all types, as well as giant ants.  Animal-wise, I think a good mix is preferable to any specific animal type, and I think it is important to include non-predator animals.  An encounter where a doe is spotted in a sun-dappled clearing, with a fawn not far from her side, is a good mood-setting encounter, takes no real time to play, and makes the world seem more real.  The giant goat in the 1e Monster Manual was an animal that I always wanted to use more than I have.