Monthly Archives: January 2012

Monster of the Week RPG at Indie GoGo

I learned of this RPG on episode 122 of the Canon Puncture podcast, and it sounds like a lot of fun.  The author, a New Zealander by the name of Michael Sands, has been working on this for several years and bases it on the Apocalypse World hack.  The game, in short, is your own TV show along the lines of Buffy meets X-Files meets Supernatural meets Hellboy.  Good enough for me!  Episode 123 Rich talks about running MotW and finds it a very different experience than Apocalypse World and the impression that I get is that he thinks it’s a good adaptation with many subtle differences to AW.

If you want in on the beta program, you need to support the Indie Go Go project in the next 40 hours, it closes at 11:59pm Pacific Time Sunday night.  It is funded and will see print, but buying in now gets you additional material, PDFs, and a nice little bump to your karma for doing a good thing

Yes, I fell off the daily list

I’ve been fighting a cold or something for over a week, and I kind of lost the weekend.  I hope to catch up soon.  Colds don’t sound like much, but they can really wipe me out.  I’m just hoping it’s not something more serious.

Kickstarter: Order of the Stick Reprint Drive

Order of the Stick is a great web comic by Rich Burlew and follows a party of adventurers in a D&D campaign.  Yeah, you say, so what?  Well, he has a huge amount of gamer humor, plus the characters are more or less aware that they’re operating under the D&D rules.  He upgraded the characters to 3.5 and 4, and all of a sudden they’re aware that they have new feats available.  They also make decisions to multiclass, etc.

It really is a lot of fun.

The third book, War and XPs, has been out of print for a while, so Rich started a Kickstarter project to fund the printing.  He set his goal pretty high at $57,750, and in 24 hours had $47,000 committed.  He’s now at almost $70,000 with 1700 backers and another 28 days to go!  So the project is funded, we’ll see what else gets funded!  If the money keeps climbing, it might fund reissues of the other OOTS books, which would be awesome.

The project is at:

John Wick extends preorders on the Big Book of Little Games

Apparently he’s having some printer problems and has extended pre-orders, I think through the end of January.  I found out about this in the latest Pulp Gamer’s Out of Character podcast.

Reverb Gamers Master List #20

What was the most memorable character death you’ve ever experienced? What makes it stick with you?

I have had uncountable character deaths, but they were in Traveler character creation, so they don’t count.  Champions characters die very rarely and usually not in combat, they’re probably mostly from a combination of the player not wanting to run that character any more and wanting a dramatic exit, then add in a willing GM and you can engineer a pretty spectacular death.  I killed one character in combat, my assassin Nightshade who had been sent to kill the hero group Strike Force.  She had been abducted by a group called the Time Police, given powers and training, and conditioned to hate the heroes.  But she learned of the conditioning, subverted it, learned the truth, and eventually defected and joined Strike Force.  After many years of adventuring, Strike Force had a monster huge battle against the Time Police.  Powered armor everywhere, and we weren’t making progress.  Well, Nightshade needless to say had a bit of a hatred of the Time Police, and out of frustration flew up a fair distance and did a Power Dive Move Through into one of the suits of powered armor.  Straight down in to the ground.

It produced quite a crater.

I don’t remember how many dice it generated, I believe on the order of 30-40.

And it didn’t kill the powered armor.  It did knock the operator unconscious in to the next election cycle.  It did quite a number on Nightshade, and I declared her dead.  The funny thing was, that after I totaled up the dice, she actually survived the impact, and she regenerated, so technically she would have survived the blow.

But the Time Police fled the battle, so we won, so it was worth it and we had lots of good role-playing afterwards.

Being a true super hero, I resurrected her in a slightly different form as part of a different group that became The Greatest Firefighters In All The World And Canada.

Reverb Gamers Master List #19

What’s the weirdest character you’ve ever played? How did you end up with him/her/it?

Three come to mind that were pretty weird, all were Champions characters. One was a fox who had a pet girl. She could speak and was a great gadgeteer and martial artist. As I recall, I didn’t get a lot of mileage out of her, but she was kind of fun to run.  I think that maybe she wasn’t in the right campaign and might have done better in another.

Another was one of the few that I based on fictional or comic book characters. In the early 80’s there was a comicbook by Joshua Quagmire called Cutey Bunny. She was an anthropomorphic rabbit who had a magic amulet that let her change forms and gained various powers from them. A friend in the group made custom cardboard heroes for some of our characters, and he made a different one for each of Cutey Bunny’s forms. That was not my character. My character was a friend and an occasional nemesis known as Vixen, an anthropomorphic fox. She was an absolute blast to run. The campaign that we were in was very accommodating to anthropomorphic characters, so that was cool. I remember chasing a fellow hero player character into and out of the men’s restroom, him screaming. Good times.

Third and final, Damian Styx, whom I’ve previously mentioned in these Reverb Gamers list. He was a wizard who bore the inescapable stench of pure and utter evil, even though he was a good guy. I ran him as a player character in one campaign and as an NPC in another as a friend/traveling companion of another PC. In the second game there was another player character who was a vampire/demon hunter who would basically go berserk whenever he saw Styx and try to kill him. Fortunately Styx had dimensional teleport and had little difficulty escaping.

How did I end up with them?  No idea.  The actual fox with the pet human was just a weird idea that I had.  I’ve always liked the idea of an animal with a pet person and finally designed it.  The second was a combination of some design elements that I found interesting.  Another player had designed Vixen but wasn’t really interested in running her, he and the GM agreed to let me run my design and it was a lot of fun.  The third was based on a character in a book by Jack L. Chalker, And The Devil Will Drag You Under.  I found the concept interesting and had a lot of fun running him.

Some cool examples run by friends of mime: A friend of mine had what I think was one of the ultimate weird characters.  He was a warlord for a necromancer who led armies conquering the world, until he had a pang of conscience and ultimately was cursed with having to do good.  In one campaign that I ran, one guy ran a set of powered armor that did not have a body inside: he had been captured by cultists who decided that, since he had such a spiffy set of powered armor, that he didn’t really need a corporeal body.  And then there was the case of a Champions dependent non-player character who in the course of the campaign earned enough XP to become a player character.

We had a lot of fun over the years.

A couple of podcasts about to hit the episode number times a multiple of 100 mark!

The Game’s The Thing recently aired episode 97, an interview with Kenneth Hite about his new game, Night’s Black Agents.  It’s a Gumshoe game and he describes it as Jason Bourne finds out that the Treadstone Corporation is actually run by vampires.  Sounds good to me!  Is there any situation where vampire killing isn’t a good thing?

Pulp Gamer Out of Character just released episode 199!  And I remember when they were in the mid double-digits.  *sigh*  They grow so fast!  Don Dehm and crew are very entertaining and I highly recommend checking them out.

Both episodes have voice feedback phone lines and they use them often on the air.

Reverb Gamers Master List #18

Have you ever “cheated” on a die roll/random chance outcome, or looked up a quest solution on a fan site? Why or why not? If yes, was it worth it?

I probably did once or twice when I was younger, and I’m sure that I’ve miscounted dice on occasion.  But I’ve resigned myself to the fact that sometimes dice don’t like me.  I’ve never had a favorite or lucky set of dice, for me the dice seem to be fairly random number generators and sometimes they favor me and sometimes they don’t.  I did it because I was stupid, it may have provided momentary satisfaction to succeed or something, or at least not fail quite so catastrophically, but no, it wasn’t worth it.  Part of playing RPGs is learning to roll with the blows.  I never turned a miss into a crit, or a critical fumble into a miss, just occasionally nudged them up or down a point or two to change a failure into a success.

Looking up quest solutions.  I do this all the time in World of Warcraft.  I play for fun, and I don’t play every day for hours at a time.  I might skip several days and just not remember where X is, so I’ll jump on to find out where to go to progress the quest.  I don’t consider this cheating.  I won’t use the ‘everyone does it’ excuse, role-playing games are not zero-sum games.  For me to win, you don’t have to lose.  We play for fun, and if we have fun, we win.  Minor cheats like this do not normally diminish the fun that others have with the game.

Having said that, grossly cheating can certainly ruin the fun for everyone.  The person who crits multiple times a session, or always gets a 6 on his killing attack stun multiplier, etc.  These people do diminish the fun for others and need to be dealt with, either by a talk from the GM or by forcing them to make all rolls in the open so that everyone can see them.

Reverb Gamers Master List #17

What was the best reward you’ve ever gotten in a game? What made it so great? How much do you need tangible rewards (loot, leveling, etc.) to enjoy a game?

The more that I read this list of questions, the more that I think it’s really oriented towards D&D/dungeon crawl gaming.  The games that I generally play don’t have an ‘item’ reward, and they also don’t usually have levels.  You get XP, you slowly buy new powers or increase characteristics or decrease disadvantages.  In Champions, if you want a +2 Sword of Muppet Bashing, you design it and buy it.

I have no problem with leveling/loot-based RPG’s, they’re just not what I usually played.

Thinking back to the early days of gaming and about today’s games, I wonder how prevalent leveling vs non-leveling games are.  A lot of the early games, D&D/Tunnels & Trolls/Top Secret were level-based.  But there were also a lot, the Hero systems games (Champions, Espionage, Danger International, etc.), I think the Runequest family (Call of Cthulhu, Superworld, etc.) were not level-based.  Now, we look at Fate games such as Dresden/Spirit of the Century/Bulldogs, Fortune’s Fool, Lady Blackbird, The Laundry, and w have XP and advancement but no levels.  I think the telling difference is the use of pre-defined character roles.  In non-level-based games, there’s a marked absence of these roles, or the roles are more open/vague.  If you want a fighter with a mystic ability to heal, you’re going to have to stretch some rules to plug it in to a fighter role in some games, in other games it’s no problem at all.

I like no problems.  Your limitations are what you can imagine and what your GM will let you get away with.

Reverb Gamers Master List #16

Who was the most memorable foe you’ve ever come up against in a game? How did you beat him/her/it? Or did you?

A friend of mine ran a Champions game and his favorite villain group was the Blue Oyster Cult.  Main villains were named after various BOC songs, such as Vera Gemini.  They were pretty good villains, and were directly responsible for one of my characters getting his powers.  I had a guy in college who was an extremely promising pianist, he got on a plane, and didn’t get off.  Later he found himself sitting in a Scottsdale resort parking lot in a cherry vintage Corvette with title and registration in his name.  And absolutely no memory of how he got there or how he got his powers.  He was a flying sonic blaster with perfect pitch and was a lot of fun to run.

Another GM, still Champions, had a group of bad guys called The Video Villains.  They all had powers based on classic arcade video and pinball games from the 70’s and 80’s.  They were a lot of fun.

And I have no idea how we beat either group.  They were both recurring groups, so it was more a matter of driving them off or capturing some of them, they’ll always be back in a few weeks.

Good times.

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