Showing posts from July, 2016

RPG Review: Young Centurions

Young Centurions is an implementation of the Fate Accelerated RPG which I reviewed here a few weeks back.
Young Centurions is a prequel to Evil Hat's first Fate RPG, Spirit of the Century. In both games the premise is on the first day of every century, at the stroke of midnight, are born a bunch of heroes, Centurions, who will embody some aspect of the spirit of the upcoming century. They aren't superheroes, but they are definitely a cut above your regular person. They make things happen, whether as inventors, psychics, explorers, crimefighters, etc. They are opposed by Shadows, their counterparts born on the last day of the previous century. They represent a negative aspect of the new age. Only a fraction of the babies born on these dates become Centurions or Shadows.
Centurions and their counterparts live long lives, to the extent that there will be some who survive long enough to serve as mentors to the next century's Centurions.
Spirit of the Century is a neat game, thou…

Ghostbusters Actual Play: 30th and Lexington

Gozer the Traveler. He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you! - Vinz Clortho, Keymaster of Gozer

With some attendance issues over the past few games we've been doing some gaming experimentation of late in our gaming group. I was able to play in a Monster of the Week one-shot and last session three of us did a game of Ghostbusters (I GM-ed this one).
I'm not sure if it was a matter of the session, the game, the mood we were in, or alignment of the planets, but the Ghostbusters game was a ton of fun (so was Monster of the Week for that matter). I knew we were going to to Ghostbusters in advance so I had some chance to prepare getting a Roll20 environment r…

Looking Back at the Various Star Trek RPGs

This isn't a full review of all the incarnations of Star Trek but rather some thoughts on my experiences with them. Modiphius has just announced that they will be producing a new Star Trek RPG which has gotten me talking with a number of people I know from previous incarnations.

So to begin, my background. Once upon a time (around 1975) I was a preschool and kindergarten kid living outside of Syracuse, New York. My mom would want a little bit of peace and quiet while she made dinner. And as it so happened, the show with the guy with the funny ears was on at that time, which apparently was capable of entertaining me. And the rest is history. I had no choice but to be a Trekkie.


I discovered the FASA game while I was in high school, had some games then and several more in college. FASA used a percentile based system married to using "Action Points" to keep track of action - every round you had a pool of action points you could spend, breaking down your round into min…

Examining D6 Force Powers within the Star Wars Canon

I recently saw on Blue Max Studios a reference to The Force Accounted, an analysis of all the times the Force is actually used in the prequel and classic Star Wars trilogies. The authors determine there are ten Force powers used in these six films. They are:

Force Leap - A supernaturally high or long jump. Used very frequently in the prequels and occasionally by Luke.Sense - Amplified physical and metaphysical senses - sensing danger, disturbances in the Force, impressions of the feelings of others, visions of the future and events far away. This is probably how Luke blew up the Death Star, using his Sense instead of his computer as well as fighting blind in his training.TelekinesisForce Push - Arguably part of TelekinesisForce Lightning - Only used by Palpatine and DookuJedi Mind Trick - Interestingly, only used by light siders. Probably includes Obi-Wan sneaking around the Death Star and distracting stormtroopers with false sounds.Force Spirit - Communication with the dead. Telepath…

Film Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

"I guess he's going to Queens - he's going to be the third scariest thing on that train."

I'm not certain why but the reboot of Ghostbusters is a bit of a target for people who like using terms like "feminist SJW". So I'll air my own prejudices - I'm probably what most people who hate "social justice warriors" would consider a "social justice warrior".
With that out of the way, how was the film? I'll put it in the category of a lot of fun but not a masterpiece. It has some tough competition - the 1984 Ghostbusters is a comic masterpiece and it is difficult to conceive of a picture standing up to it. Overall, the original clearly remains superior but I don't feel the new film has anything to be ashamed of.
The basic plot is similar to that of the original - straight-laced physic professor Erin Gilbert is up for tenure when a ghost book she cowrote years ago with her childhood friend, Abby Yates, gets published. This do…

RPG Review: Fate Accelerated

Fate is a difficult system for me to grok. I like it conceptually, but I have a difficult time when it comes to running it. 
Fate is what's considered a narrative game. Instead of modeling a simulation of the reality of the RPG setting, it is designed at supporting a story. I've seen arguments as to whether or not this makes it a "real" RPG. I think the whole debate is a bit silly, dealing with issues of "bad wrong fun". Truthfully the challenges I have with it are largely a function of me being a grizzled gaming grognard, gaming since the early 1980's. To paraphrase Yoda, I must unlearn what I have learned. I've a hunch that I'd actually have an easier time grokking Fate were I to know less. 
Overview With that prelude behind us, let's take a look at the Fate Accelerated game. It is a variant of the FateCore game. Fate Core looks a lot like what one would expect from an RPG book - pretty thick, lots of skills, stunts, etc. Fate Accelerated…

Using the Force in D6 Star Wars

Defending yourself with just 1D in Sense is not easy, as Luke discovers when training with a remote.
My previous post discussed the proto-D6 System as found in the Ghostbusters RPG. For those unfamiliar with the D6 System and the way it does the Force (or for a brief review) the essentials are: You roll a bunch of six sided dice against a target number, typically ranging from 5-ish (easy) to 20 or even higher. Your rating is listed as something like 2D+2 which means roll 2d6+2.By default, most normal/non-heroic people have 2D in most stats. Starting heroes will might have their best skill be at 5D or a touch higher.You can take as many actions as you want in a round. However, taking two actions in a round reduces all dice codes by 1D, taking three reduces all by 2D, etc.Starting with Force skills will lower a characters starting attributes. Unlike most skills they start off at 1D. There are three Force skills - control, sense, and alter.Control lets you control the Force within you. I…

Ghostbusters RPG and the D6 System

In the early 2000s one of the complaints I recall about Wizards of the Coast's d20-based Star Wars RPG  was it was simply "D&D in space" vs. the previous Star Wars RPG as put out by West End Games. While I had a number of fun Star Wars games using the d20 versions, I have to confess to a bit of a preferences for the West End Games versions. Though in a sense, you could have called that game "Ghostbusters in space".

Alas, my copies of Ghostbusters suffered in the regrettable basement flood several years ago triggered by the kiddies forgetting to turn off the bathroom sink. Oops. I've managed to reassemble some bits of it and hypothetically speaking there might be some scanned copies out there. Of course with the new movie coming out I saw a copy of the original RPG going for $3000.00 on Amazon. I'm thinking some automatic pricing algorithm is going a little loony right there...

Anyways, recently flipping through the original version of the game I wa…

HP Lovecraft as an Unreliable Narrator

“Yeah, well, if you put too much faith in rumors in this game you’re going to wake up dead, like all the folks who thought H. P. Lovecraft was a tour guide, not a mad uncle in the attic.”

- The Nightmare Stacks by Charles Stross

I've been giving some thoughts as to resuming our group's Call of Cthulhu game later this year. I'm finding I'm missing the insanity that is the worlds of HP Lovecraft.

One thing that came to me a while back was how I'd reconcile the timeline. After all, the US Government raid on Innsmouth doesn't happen until 1928. The events of "The Dunwich Horror" also reach a climax in 1928. The Pabodie expedition takes place in 1931. We know who it is that deals with Wilbur Whateley and his brother. 

Unless, of course, I decide that Lovecraft can't be fully trusted. It's an idea I got from Stross' Laundry Files series and the Atomic Robo portrayal of Lovecraft. The idea is HP Lovecraft learns of the major events of the Mythos and …

Unearthly Adventure Comics #255 - Invasion of the Humans

Unearthly Adventure Comics #255 had a cover date of June of 1958 and appeared on newsstands in April of that year. It returned to the science fiction tropes of issue #251, giving the first hints as to the cosmos around Earth.

Cast of Characters
Robert Builder/The Atomizer - Reporter for the Port Henry Times-Herald, nuclear man granted powers by Trinity nuclear test.Susan Samiel - Widowed reporter for the Port Henry Times-Herald, sorceress. Specializes in binding magic.US-Polaris 1 - Robot space probe invented by Jack Parsons. Altered by aliens and now possessing telekinetic abilities. 
Capsule Summary Note - several elements of this are inspired or taken from Fainting Goat Games' The Great Game Icons supplement. 

Robert, Susan, and US-Polaris 1 were setting up the Unwanted's headquarters, located in an underground bunker built by the US government several years ago as part of an abandoned plan for a military base. It had been purchased by Heiro Silver Water for a possible base.…