Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I got a Virtual Boy...

...which means that now I has me all the Nintendos.  So, what holes remain in my ever-more-slowly-expanding hardware collection?  Depending on how pedantic I want to be...

- A few Atari machines left.  I don't have a Jaguar (or Jag-CD) or an STe/Mega/TT/Falcon.

- I might want to add an Amiga 600 to my collection if the opportunity presents itself, but that's it for Commodore machines.

- A PC-AT 286 would be the only IBM-type machine I'm missing.

- I still don't have either a Neo-Geo AES or CD console.

- There are still those few, rare, utterly terrible 8-bit computers I haven't found yet: Coleco Adam, Mattel Aquarius, and the Timex Sinclair series.

That's all.  I even found me an Apple //e 128k not long ago, so I'm not just faking it with an Apple ][c anymore. :)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

On nerfing the archmage, limiting the turning of undead, and making wands and staffs more like we'd expect them to be

There are three topics that I want to discuss here, all of varying relevance to my next D&D campaign, which I expect to remain a very low-level game.  (1) Limiting D&D's high-level game-breaking magic in a way that doesn't short-change the high-level mage. (2) Limiting a cleric's ability to turn undead, so that you can have undead attack a party with a cleric and not just have them blasted out of existence right away. (3) Making wands and staffs into something other than charged spell-batteries or "super-scrolls".

Thursday, July 3, 2014

On Treasure and Experience

My 2nd edition campaign is winding down.  You'd think, with today's release of 5th edition, I'd be all stoked to try it out.  I really do like a lot of what I see in 5th edition, and it certainly looks more like D&D than anything WotC's ever put out before.  But the truth is, I've been away from Classic D&D for so long now that I'm starting to feel nostalgic for it.  My players have spent the last several months adventuring in a world, zipping over sweeping post-apocalyptic vistas in an ion-propelled airship. I miss the dungeon.

And Classic D&D does the dungeon so much better than any other edition can.  5th is pretty slick, and I love how it subtly incorporates things like "ideals" and "bonds" and other character personality traits or connections into the rules (I'll probably just go ahead and filch that idea for OD&D games), but it's still a pretty weighty game, mechanically.  I will say this, though: the way 5th edition handles skills has inspired me to do something similar in that area, which I'll explain in a moment.

Monday, February 10, 2014

AD&D 2e House Rules

The House Rules

Well, these are as complete as I'm bound to get in terms of actually writing up some rules.  Some stuff is kind of glossed over (weapons, treasure), and I think I forgot to add a morale table to my custom DM screen inserts (but that's an easy thing to keep in memory: I'll just use the simplified morale system I implemented in Retro Phaze, where morale checks are rolled on 2d6, but the target number to roll under to pass a morale check boils down to one of four categories, 6 for animals or cowardly monsters or conscripts, 8 for normal troops and most monsters, 10 for elite soldiers or intelligent undead or magical beasts like dragons, and 12 for mindless or completely fearless beings like golems and zombies).  Some stuff is just so naturally lodged into my brain from years and years playing these games that it doesn't really warrant writing down. :)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Hardware Collection Update

Wow, quite a few pieces to add to the list since I last made a post on this subject.  Apart from the fact that I recently found a spare Commodore 64 and Tandy CoCo-2 at the local computer recycling shop, I've also managed to add an Apple IIgs, an Atari STfm, and both the Amiga 500 and Amiga 1200 to my collection.  Which means that there's only one computer gaming platform left for me to find, namely the Atari TT/Falcon 030.  Rare enough that I don't imagine I'll encounter one anytime soon, but it's nice to have only a single item left to hunt down on that end of the spectrum.

On the game console side of things, nothing's changed really: I'm still missing all the Neo Geo systems (at the very least, I do want to add a Pocket Color to my collection), the Atari Jaguar and Jag-CD, the Nintendo Virtual Boy, and the Turbografx-CD.  I've seen a few Virtual Boys and one Jaguar in game stores in the last several months, but they've all been laughably overpriced.  The rest, I haven't seen in years.  So I guess it's down to the true rarities, and playing the game of patience...

Oh, and changing subjects here, I'm mocking up a more complete house rules document for my current 2nd edition campaign; I'm sure to post that next, once it's done.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

2nd Edition House Rules

Well, this feels familiar.

Back in high school, I spent a lot of bloody time writing and revising and re-revising my house rules for our old 2e campaigns.  Of course, those original house rules documents are long vanished now, discarded as pointless once 3rd edition came along and made them altogether irrelevant.  So... now I need some new house rules, to make 2nd edition's rules conform to my present-day sensibilities without actually impairing the feel of what makes 2e unique.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Jumping the Rails: Converting an Entire Game, Mid-Campaign

So this might be the craziest thing I've done in a long time, but I've finally just become so bored with the simplicity of Barbarians of Lemuria that I've resolved to convert the whole of my current campaign to D&D---specifically, AD&D 2nd edition.  Now, two things to note before I get into the details here: first, I haven't played AD&D 2nd edition pretty much at all since it was the current edition, back in 1999(!) or so; and second, I haven't converted a whole campaign's ruleset since my last major gamer crisis, back around 2006 or 2007, when I at last gave up on 3rd edition D&D and went all the way back to playing RC OD&D.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

I'm writing a new RPG

Well, it finally happened.  Something in my brain must have snapped into reverse, because I've grown a little bored with... wow, I'm not even sure there's a word for the concept, so I'm going to coin it here: I've grown bored with "character-simple" RPGs.  This is not the same thing as rules-heavy vs. rules-light; I still want rules-light.  I would still rather make a ruling than search through a manual for some obscure procedure.  But I've just about had it with games where the player characters are defined only by a few broad cliches and some bare numerical ratings.  There's something about this over-simplification that just doesn't work for long campaigns.  The simplicity of the characters themselves isn't satisfying.

Hardware Collecting Part 3

Well, I've added a few machines to my collection.  I got that Tandy CoCo 3.  I got an Amiga 500 relatively on the cheap (the FDD just needed a little repair work).  And I got an Atari STfm, which is one of the early Atari 16-bit models, with both the FDD and the RF modulator built into the console.

That means I've pretty much collected all the decent 8-bit gaming computers that were released in the USA (which still excludes a number of crappy platforms, like Timex Sinclair and Coleco Adam), and the only 16-bit computer I have left to find is the Apple IIgs.  32-bit machines remain (the IBM PC-AT, Amiga 1200, and Atari TT-series or Falcon), to say nothing of those dedicated gaming consoles and handhelds I still can't seem to find anywhere (Virtual Boy, Neo Geo, Atari Jaguar, and TurboGrafx-CD).

So, so very close...