Ptolus!

Jan. 9th, 2007 01:39 pm
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Santa was good to me this year. I'm up to page 75 (out of 700), and this is indeed a gaming product beyond any other.

S'a shame I'm already about 70% of the way through the Banewarrens and that I placed it in Faerun -- though I could of course go the whole way, completely replace Tantras with Ptolus, replace the Vast with the empire described in the sourcebook, and modify Faerun such that it fits the cosmology.

But the current campaign has other plans after the Banewarrens, anyway. And it seems like the Warrens would fit well as the midpoint of a Ptolus campaign, one where you built up to it through city adventures, a few pokes into the dungeons, and other Ptolus modules, and make it part of a continuing storyline that leads to more dangerous and deep places there, and finally into the world's cosmology.

In short, if I want to run Ptolus, I should have first-level characters start in Ptolus.

Besides, as Cook himself notes in the chapter on running campaigns in Ptolus, the most obvious thing to do is to rip off Brust and run a Jhereg-like organization on the Ptolus streets. I'd need players interested in that.

Maybe I could revisit the idea of running something on Wednesdays or Thursdays again. Or occasional weekends. Though the gamers we've seduced into occasional runs to Roseville are already probably coming out here as much as they could stand to. And most other gamers I know in the bay area are either insanely busy with their own kids or eschew d20.

Maybe I could find shiny new gamers out here - though, really, when would I find the time?

arrgh. Not enough hours in a day? Not enough years in a life.
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I just found Ultima V on Abandonia (www.abandonia.com) and it downloads and Just Works (with a little massaging of the 'properties' page of the executable).

I'm impressed and very happy. This is much cool.
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It occurs to me that I would like to experience more of D&D 3.5e as a player instead of only gamemastering. I don't know how I'd accomplish that, unless someone were to volunteer to run something on Wednesday evenings.
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I find myself completely unable to resist temptation. From my list of pirate gaming bling I have ordered Broadsides! direct from the manufacturer (since the game shop said it was no longer obtainable) and have told A-1 to order me the Seafarer's Handbook and Seas of Blood.

So there will be piratey d20 gaming in my future, I think. (It'd be nice if my champions gamers all showed up occasionally, though, and drove such speculations into the indefinite future.) More later on what it takes to do real pirate gaming -- I think one needs to ban certain spells, or adventures involving shipping/sailing/pirating become a bit problematic, at least for PCs (fireball, fly, teleport). I find myself looking longingly at Black Company d20... but I want PC spellcasters. I just don't want the kinds of spells that make the game un-piratey.
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So the idea of examining what things are available for a d20 pirate campaign has been buzzing around in the back of my head (not that Champions isn't going fine or anything, just we're having a little trouble getting Chris Belfey to replace his clutch and come visit again).

So I have these products:
4 Freeport modules (not really piratey, per se, but adventures in a pirate town)
Pirates! by Living Imagination
Dead Man's Chest by Necromancer Games

And I hear the best pirate supplements are:
Broadsides! by Living Imagination
Seafarer's Handbook by Fantasy Flight Games
Seas of Blood by Mongoose
Freeport (which appears to be out of stock) by Green Ronin

and I find (without reviews)
Black Flag by Avalanche (which seems, like most of their cheesecake covers, to be so out of stock that it's not even findable on their website)

and, recently-released, apparently, a pirate campaign setting:
Twin Crowns by Living Imagination

so... there's a fair bit out there. Maybe I want some of it, but I should think about this. And I think I need a new laptop more, right now.
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http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/home/runequest.php

Glorantha back in Runequest, under a real, and successful, RPG publisher...

Gaming

Oct. 10th, 2005 03:07 pm
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Only Jason&Wendy showed up, so we played a pickup D&D game. Got about 2/3 of the way through the 'Death in Freeport' intro module.

I told people they shouldn't make the same class as their characters from my earlier campaign, and they mostly complied. Also, since there were only three of them, I had them make 3rd level characters to reduce the frequency of instadeath. After some back-and-forth, Sherilyn made a gnome bard, Wendy a dwarven barbarian, and Jason made a halfling rogue/cleric, and all of them were female.

A gnome, a halfling, and a dwarf. All female.

Their names? Emigh (pronounced 'Amy'), Beth, and Meg, of course (since there was no proper leader-type to take the name of Jo).

short spoilers/review about the module...Read more... )

Britannia!

Sep. 6th, 2005 01:57 pm
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So Carrie and her kids came over on Labor Day, and Carrie and Connor (her eleven-year-old) and [livejournal.com profile] silkiemom and I played Britannia.

If you don't know the game, this will be a bit long and pointless (though possibly entertaining anyway)...Read more... )
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I'm finding it pretty hard to construct interesting fight scenes -- perhaps because drawing them out is so time-consuming, but also because I have trouble visualizing realistic maps.

Most resources I've found online for real-world places are a bit too large-scale: campus or park maps are too big, with little or no detail available down at hex scale.

Most floor plans, on the other hand, seem too small-scale: too much crammed into too few hexes.

And often I have to come up with the map on the spur of the moment, since it's sometimes very hard to predict just where a fight will break out.

Can experienced GMs or others help me out here? Where do you go for your maps?
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new category

Cleaning a House
Real Men tell their henchmen to do it
Real Roleplayers use Prestidigitation
Loonies use Fireball
Munchkins use Gate
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Gaming geeks only. A bit about how CL can be applied to metaphysics.Read more... )
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So I am currently wrestling with these questions for River of Cradles:

- how much should spirit magic (battlemagic) cost? 5 per point, 3 per Detect point?

- should weapon-enhancing spirit magic really go up to 4 points? +2 OCV, +4 DCs does seem like a lot, even though the damage scales of RQ and Hero are very similar and +4 DCs is very close to a flat +4 to damage.

- how much should one-use rune magic cost?

- how much should reusable rune magic cost?

- can the perks of rune mastery be modeled somehow? (examples of things hard to model: ability to go above 100% in a skill, better POW gain roll)

- are martial arts permitted? It seems like Humakti should have martial maneuvers with swords. Perhaps each cult has a set of martial maneuvers its runelord training permits...

- is Hero really properly balanced for Glorantha? For um 15 points you can get +5 to DCV with three maneuvers including Dodge, allowing a Dex 18 hero with Shimmer 4 to walk about a battle with a DCV 18, and there are very few area effect magics or attacks in Glorantha. On a related note: shall I introduce a way to trade damage levels for OCV? The reverse is already possible...

- should stat costs be tweaked? EGO (=POW) is much more important in Glorantha since everyone casts POW v POW spells, and STR is much more important in sword and sorcery campaigns in general (STR's 1/point cost being about half what it should be anyway). Sometimes I think all six primary stats should just cost 3 per point, and DEX should split into two stats (MAN and AGI, separating out OCV and DCV and splitting the skills down the line) each costing 3. But it also seems awfully fiddly.
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details that I emailed to my players. Putting discussion here. After the break. Read more... )
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I posted/emailed about this once before, but it's now much closer to the time when I'm going to run it, and I want to start working out who's going to be in it.

I'm going to run a River of Cradles Borderlands campaign once Balazar ends (which I expect to be sometime this summer). It will encompass the adventures in Shadows on the Borderlands, as well as incorporating some scenarios from Sun County and the old Borderlands pack, woven into a single narrative.

Mike ran at least one of these adventures in his Gloranthan Werewolf campaign. This won't stop players from being part of my campaign but it will place some restrictions -- see below.

This probably isn't a game for total Gloranthan newbies unless you're at least a little motivated to learn... but it doesn't require that you be a runemaster either. Players from my Balazar campaign are welcome and get preference (since I know they show up regularly for a biweekly Wednesday night game).Read more... )

next

Dec. 8th, 2004 06:34 pm
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Hounds of Balazar has been fun but is winding down, as the team is likely to succeed or fail at freeing Firshala soon (shortly after the new year).

So I'm thinking about my next move, and wondering if there would be any interest if, starting early next year, I were to attempt to run Shadows on the Borderland, using Gloranthan Hero, for a small group of 3-5 players.

Unlike Balazar, it's for people who know Glorantha. Shadows on the Borderland is a campaign rooting out chaos in the wild wastes of the Zola Fel valley. It involves a fair bit of mystery-solving, where most of the clues make a lot more sense to players who have the above level of familiarity with Glorantha. It'd require a group of MV/PAers who:

a) have some number of Wednesday evenings free (either every week or every other week, as players prefer)
b) have some Gloranthan experience
c) have some interest

"some Gloranthan experience" is, hm, let me think of what a useful level is. Someone who knows whether a young man would be happier spending the evening with a worshipper of Babeester Gor or Uleria; how likely it is that you'll meet a female mayor in a Sun County village; what it means when there's Malia worship in a small town; and why you'd rather be sold as a slave to an Etyries than a Morokanth.

I'm asking this in horde email as well as on my lj, wondering if anyone's interested... or if everyone has too much life for another Wednesday commitment.
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I still find myself wanting to run two different campaigns.

I want to run Mystic Masters -- Dr. Strange/Trenchcoat Brigade-style mystical superheroes, dealing with the interdimensional and mystical threats to society as the conventional superheroes deal with Viper and Dr. Destroyer and so on. The setup and setting in Mystic Masters is really cool -- the adventure itself kind of loses its focus and trails off into weirdness, but I can improve on that; I'm good at writing adventures that fit the setting, if I like the setting and it's chosen well. It's the choice of a setting that makes all the difference.

But I also want to run some kind of starhopping adventure. I reread all of Known Space over the last couple months. The idea of being the first explorers to investigate a whole solar system... not specifically Known Space, but that kind of technology and setting. Between the M-K wars and the time of Beowulf Schaeffer: when hyperdrive has just been invented/discovered/purchased, you're the crew of a hyperdrive ship that gets to explore a brand new system off somewhere, and the system becomes the setting for your campaign. (Niven's humans are so *incurious*! After four hundred years there are still unknown star systems within a hundred LY! Just how expensive is a hyperdrive? Shouldn't we be putting a fair amount of our resources into a constant active search for every Slaver stasis box everywhere in the known universe? Suppose there's another Soft Weapon! Or something worse!)

My fear is that I won't be able to pick a good setting for starhopping; my converse fear is that I won't be *happy* running a different campaign, because I'll want to visit Europa and Titan, and Wunderland and Jinx, and all the other places SF wants desperately to take us if we would only get off our duffs. And Champions just doesn't get us there, not satisfactorily. (It's no *challenge* for the X-Men to go to Europa. What's heroic is for normal SPD 2 humans with NCM, who need to buy Life Support through Bulky OAFs, to get to Europa and make a home there.)

Okay, okay. Mystic Masters. For the next while. (Probably.) But I get serious about my starhopping adventure in the meantime.
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Just some additional comments on my wife's recent entry.

We had quite the gaming accident at Viking. I bought Hero 5th Edition, Fantasy Hero, Fire and Ice (latest Ars Magica hardback supplement), and the Robin Laws' 'Strongholds' (Penumbra d20 -- support Atlas Games!).

Haven't had too much time to read Hero or FH yet -- but it doesn't look like anything really major changed, just some fixups here and there. More package deals and examples and all good foo. Sometime I'll actually run FH -- never really have yet, except for an aborted attempt a decade ago.

On Sunday we played a clever snake puzzle game, and then Talisman, with the older chitlins while Josh napped. (We didn't finish Talisman.) Then later that evening Sherilyn creamed me in a game of Carcassonne.

Monday was a nice day off -- I did some cleaning up of stuff, and got an actual full game of Talisman in with Robert -- by luck, I got to the Crown first, and won, and he was amazingly cool about it, and wanted to play again immediately. Perhaps he realizes how random the game is and there's nothing wrong with losing.

Katie is starting to do more reading on her own -- better at sounding out words (which is partly the confidence she gets from kindergarten). She has the same teacher as Robert did, and frankly this lady rocks. She called me Monday afternoon (apparently she was calling all the parents) just to ask how we felt Katie was doing, and to let us know that in her opinion Katie was terrific. I still have a lot of guilt over not pushing early reading as much with K as I did with R, but the teacher suspects her enthusiasm and intellect will get her reading within the next month, and I think I agree.

Sherilyn and I have been watching a couple episodes of first-season Andromeda each evening that we've been home lately; we've seen the first eight now, and they're a lot of fun -- good story arcs, good pickup and continuity of previous shows, some cheesiness but enough intensity that the cheese doesn't overwhelm the flavor. (It has sucked since middle of second season, though, since they got rid of the writer who created the show and actually had vision -- and it looks like Tyr has left the show now, which just drops it further into rock-suckage.) In its first incarnation when Wolfe was writing, it was much better than Firefly -- it's like the Firefly characters wanted to be the Andromeda characters, but lacked all the colorfulness. Eight eps of Andromeda shows a lot more about these people than the twelve eps of Firefly. (And Alex Lifeson wrote the main theme song! How cool is that?)

I can even make a geeky char-to-char mapping...
Read more... )
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Still very iffy -- not clear at all that I'll do anything like this.

Traveller setting. Star Hero mechanics. Far Trader crew, taking for inspiration the crews of Andromeda and Firefly (complete with at least one weirdo alien, at least one potentially mutinous insubordinate, and at least one wild-talent psi).

Except a lot of my players haven't seen either show. But I have all of Andromeda season 1 on videotape and there's about to be all of Firefly on DVD.

The universe won't be straight Traveller. I still like the idea of point-to-point jump drives a la Mote in God's Eye or Bujold. Makes maps abstract instead of physical (and thus less viscerally real), though -- but I guess there's no reason why one can't also have a physical map. Travel from one destination to another would be a two-value rating, then: (a) highest jump drive required for any one jump, (b) number of useless stars in between (i.e. number of extra jumps). Since we now know that most of the galaxy is red dwarfs and many/most stars have at least one gas giant companion (refueling stop). And I'm waffling on whether to make antigravity available only at some reasonable TL, like 13, instead of 8 (!)

Hm. Maybe.
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Well, I'm rereading some ancient and not-so-ancient Traveller books. I dunno yet if it's what I'll run -- and if I do, I'll try to make some sensible and some insane changes, like Pournelle/Bujold jump lines and a 3d map -- but one thing it would be nice to read is some adventure writeups or campaign descriptions of things people have done with Traveller. Anyone know of any web writeups they can point me to?

And does SJG really still have in print everything it says it does?
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Game geeking about last weekend's D&D.

Read more... )

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