Saturday, December 19, 2015

I'm so relieved.

I passed Quantum Mechanics.  I passed it.  (*pant, pant*)

Oh, God.  Why can't I feel my brain?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Found a copy of the Arduin Trilogy at my FLGS

So this is pretty sweet: the local comic shop had a copy of the Arduin Trilogy boxed set in their display case today.  In practically pristine condition, even.  And I was able to buy it with a discount (do I ever love that Dragon's Lair Comics does that).

This will go nicely with my copy of OD&D (which my brilliant and eagle-eyed wife spotted at Half Price Books a couple of years back and snagged for a tenspot):

So, yeah, I'm pretty stoked.

Also planning to run a Risus one-shot this Sunday (since roughly half of my regular D&D players will be out of commission this weekend due to holiday gatherings &c.), for which purpose I've adapted a small and sandboxy D&D adventure that I wrote back at the beginning of this year, The Treasure of la Isla del Loro Muerto.

(The whole adventure is pretty much an extended Monty Python reference, but don't tell my players—half the fun is having them figure it out along the way.  Shhh!!!)  At any rate, Risus is doubtlessly the perfect system for such an adventure.

Until then… ugh.  I have to get back to finishing up my lab reports for the semester.  Finals are all done (even Quantum Mechanics I, thank the Force!), and now I just have to slog through a pile of busy work over the next two days.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Well, that's nifty.

I've been reading through some rules-light RPGs again, looking for ideas, inspiration.  Freeform Universal definitely isn't my bag, but I could always go for a good game of Risus.

And looking back through the rules of Risus lately, I noticed something that I'd probably dismissed or glossed over before: character advancement in Risus depends on making a skill roll that gets harder as your clichés advance.  Kind of like BRP.  I really like that.

In fact, there are really only two changes to the rules that I'd make for the sake of a Risus campaign: I'd use the "Simpler Risus" dice mechanic, more for aesthetic reasons than anything else (it works really well with The One Ring dice).

Second, I'd throw in a little old-school treasure-acquisition-based advancement mechanic.  You know, x amount of silver pieces must be spent per advancement roll at the end of an adventure, that sort of thing.

The more I think about it, the more I drift back in the direction of rules-light games, if only because I have yet to find a rules-medium game that actually suits me.  There's nothing in rules-light games to offend my sensibilities, because there's practically nothing there to begin with.

(The only thing that really disturbs me about them is that I'm not always comfortable with just winging the spell-casting and steam-tech; but maybe I could referee with a surer hand these days.  Oh, well: I won't really know until my current D&D campaign winds down to a conclusion—not likely to happen anytime soon!—and I can move on to trying out a new game.)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

No levels, no wizards D&D

Well, I've been doing some more RPG soul-searching lately, and I've come to a rather odd conclusion.  I like the magic system in Victoriana, but the rest of the game is a complicated, disorganized mess.  I like the crafting system in Tephra, but otherwise the game is basically D&D 4th edition with a d12 mechanic—so it totally triggers my "nope" button.  I honestly can't see myself seriously running an entire campaign with either system.  WEG d6 would be too much work to actually bash into something that would fit my games, so that's kind of a dead-end too.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Victoriana: oh, yes. This will do.

As predicted, my copy of Victoriana arrived in the mail last Saturday.  Since then, I've had time to read through the rules, absorb them, grok them.  And here's the verdict: it's a huge, sprawling, bloated mess of a game, with a metric fuck-ton of unnecessary rules and mechanics; but also with a seed of a perfectly serviceable dice-pool game buried at the heart of it.  After reading through the core book, I considered two options: (1) discard it and look for something lighter, or (2) trim the cruft.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Washing my hands of WotC

Yesterday, I sold all of my D&D 5th edition books to the local Half-Price Books.  I bought each of the core books as soon as they came out, but I never managed to read all the way through a single one of them.  (Crap, I couldn't even stay awake through the Starter Set.)  I don't know whether it was purely a matter of disinterest or more due to lack of time, but I suspect it doesn't really matter.  All I know for sure is that I was never going to get around to it.  I just don't have an incentive to learn a new edition.  There is nothing that 5th edition D&D can offer me that OD&D doesn't already—which is roughly the same thing as saying that there is nothing WotC can now offer me that I haven't already gotten from TSR.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Session #21: The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures

With game-session number 21, we're back to much more goings-on, with the party executing a caper in town, exploring a forest, and then hitting up a weird funhouse dungeon to boot!  Read the session report here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Monday, August 17, 2015

Some thoughts on D&D 5th edition

I've finally had some free time to actually start reading the 5th edition of d20 D&D, and the more I dig into it, the more I like what I see.  It really is, as many have said, a natural outgrowth of 2nd edition, with all the good of 3rd edition's clean and straightforward mechanics, but none of the bloat or the truly egregious game-breaking imbalances.

The fact that spells scale not with caster level, but with the level of the mana point (excuse me, spell slot) spent to cast it, is a big draw.  There is beautiful elegance in that.  Spell-casters are no longer "quadratic" in 5th edition.  And WotC was able to accomplish this without scrapping Vancian spell levels!  Imagine that... the whole 4th edition ADEU system was utterly unnecessary after all.  (With all the sarcasm I can muster:) I never would've guessed!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Windows 10 is... pretty nice, actually

Anyone who regularly reads this blog (...ROTFLMAO, funniest goddamn thing I've said in a year) would surely have noticed that I'm something of a retro gamer and old computer enthusiast.  Understatement, I know.  But, more to the point, while I loved Atari and NES like any other child of the 80s, I didn't get into computers until the 90s.  So I grew up not with Commodore 64s and Apple IIs (although I did have limited exposure to them through friends and school), but with MS-DOS, 32bit Windows, and Macintosh System 6/7.

Monday, August 3, 2015

I feel great relief from two sources (and much consternation from a third)

My summer physics class is going along much more easily than I'd dreaded that it would.  It's the sort of class where attendance isn't taken and homework isn't collected: the grade depends entirely on exam results.  As it turns out, that's precisely the sort of class I'm best at dealing with.  Left to my own recognizance, I can learn just fine, but I tend to do poorly with too much over-the-shoulder supervision.  There are only two weeks left in this class, a test this Friday and a test next Friday, and I'm confident now that I'll ace both of 'em.  So that's nice.

Session #18: Skating O'er the Frozen Bog

The exciting adventures continue here.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Session #17: This, That, and the Other Thing

Extree, extree, read all about it!  Party goes hex-crawling again and assaults a necromancer's citadel!  Extree!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Session Report #16, and AHHRGH Physics Test Soon!

Okay, first order of business: game session 16 of the Shade Isle Campaign: enjoy.

Session #16: These Guys Must be SO Unlucky at Love

Second order of business: I've really gotta study.  Test on Friday.  Of course, it's about electric charge, electric field, and electric potential, easy stuff I could do in my sleep.  But that never seems to matter; no matter how well I know the material, I'm always nervous about tests.  It's not rational, but there you go.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Session report #15

Here is the adventure log for the Shade Isle campaign session we played last night (Sunday 12th July).

Hm; the blog is looking a little sparse again.  I need something else to write about specifically here.

I'm back in class now, and it's basically this end-of-summer session and then two more full semesters until I graduate.  So, one big home stretch with no breaks in sight, for the next ten months or so... here's hoping I can keep up with both class and gaming and not burn out!  (At the very least, there's always old video games to ease the tension in the meanwhile...)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Session Report #14

Rather than reproduce everything here, I think I'll just starting linking to my Obsidian Portal posts.  It's much easier that way.

Here's session #14: The Final Naeyl in the Coffin.  (Too soon, dude,  Way too soon...)


Monday, June 29, 2015

Let's Start at Lucky #13

...because I'm not certain exactly how many sessions this campaign has involved so far, but I'm going to call it an even dozen and have done with it.  Last night's game is heretofore officially designated "session #13," which makes this blog post heretofore officially designated "game session report #13".

I think it would be prudent now to start with an updated party roster, especially since the Nameless Warrior finally has a proper name: Klaus Bleowulf (the surname meaning "blue wolf" in the Old English, and also a cute pun on Beowulf; as an amateur Anglo-Saxonist, I approve wholeheartedly).  Now that the party has six regular player characters, that's a six-plus-way division of the experience points each game: everybody earned a little over 600 XP at the end of last session, and maybe 650 XP apiece at the end of this session.  And this is with a party of six PCs (four 3rd level and two 4th level), one 2nd level retainer, two hired men-at-arms, and one or two charmed followers, basically steamrolling their way through most of the dungeon's first-level sub-sections.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Opening the Portal

Okay, the Shade Isle campaign officially has an Obsidian Portal site now.

That kind of tears it: it's been a long time since I've been excited enough about a campaign to try and figure out how to use that hot mess of a website.

Anyway, now that I intend to start writing regular session reports, expect them to go up both here and there.  Jeez, and I also have to invite my players and start filling in the campaign wiki... gah, this is complicated.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

...and this should bring us up to date.

While the player characters were traipsing through the Lornword, on one occasion they had a random "encounter" with an enormous black dragon.  I put the word "encounter" in scare-quotes, because it was honestly more of a scare than an encounter.  Upon spying the dragon, the characters either froze or hid, hoping to go unnoticed.  The dragon circled their position a few times and then left, flying back off to the north, having either failed to spot them through the forest canopy or chosen to ignore them.  Thus did the party have its first run-in with Shade Isle's chief calamity and terror, Anarxis of the North.

...the middle of our story...

Diro's Tomb, Main Level

So the next several sessions consisted largely of expeditions out of Sægen Village to explore the Old Fortress, eight leagues east of the village along the southern coast of the isle.  The fortress, they discovered, was not so much a building as a complex of tunnels delved into the cliff-slide, with a narrow path carved into the face of the rock leading down to a good-sized ledge outside the entrance.  It was there that the party discovered the black-cloaked men who'd passed through the village two weeks prior: they had set up some kind of excavation site just outside the entrance, with pits and scaffolding and piles of supplies and digging tools.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The story so far...

By my estimation, there have been roughly a dozen game sessions now since I started my current D&D campaign.  The map from the previous post depicts those areas on Shade Isle where the player characters have traveled, except for the detached region on the left of the map which isn't connected to the bigger part---that's a section of the map that was penciled in based on a treasure-map purchased from a peddler of questionable honesty.  But more on that in a moment.  First, here's the skinny:

Four months into the campaign, here's how much hex the party has crawled

Not bad at all, in my estimation.  Especially given how dangerous Shade Isle's wilderness encounters can be once you stray more than a couple days north of Sægen Village.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I need to get back in the habit...

...of writing regularly.  Mostly, I want to start blogging in earnest about my current D&D campaign.

Actually, this is probably a good time to start, since this last Sunday's session was the first we've played with a properly full table.  It's been only two or three players each game until now, when we suddenly have half a dozen.

Just not right now, since my laptop is down to 3% battery life.  *Soon...*

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Hey-hey... I did it!

Phase One of operation "Gamer Nirvana" is complete.  It's a three-step process that looks something like this:

Step One: Collect the Hardware
Step Two: Make the Hardware Work
Step Three: Collect Sundry Tools for the Sake of Rampant Software Piracy *cough* I Mean Preservation of Historic Retro Games

(No, none of these steps involve "???" or "Profit", that meme is about as dead as the cultural relevance of the TV show that birthed it, South Park.)

Friday, April 3, 2015

At long, long last, I'm GAMING again!

Wow, cobwebs and tumbleweeds again.  I haven't posted on this blog since... September!?  Oy.

Okay... updates.  Half a year has gone by; much has happened.


I passed thermo.  I can't quite believe it, so I'll keep shouting it.  I freaking passed--aced-- thermodynaimcs!  I'm in mechanics and optics now, and it'll be electromagnetism and quantum mechanics next semester.  After that, all that's left are a couple of experimental physics labs and advanced electromagnetism and quantum theory, and I'll be done with my undergrad degree.  Weird that special & general relativity aren't required to graduate, but oh well, I want this over and done with ASAP.