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Showing posts from August, 2016

Fall 2016 Gaming Thoughts - Cthulhu Strikes Back?

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“The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be. Not in the spaces we know, but between them. They walk serene and primal, undimensioned and to us unseen.”

- HP Lovecraft


Ghostbusters continues to be a fun campaign for us - it works especially well given we've had a number of sessions where just 2 players plus me have been able to make it of late, with real world issues often causing us to be missing 3 players (our group is currently 5 plus me).

Icons was a reasonably fun game, working better than most superhero games I've done but I don't think I've found my "one true superhero game" as yet. Earlier I reflected on BRP being a system that works rather well for me so I might at some point repurpose the campaign material I developed for Superworld from Chaosium (which apparently was the game that George RR Martin was playing that led to the creation of the Wild Cards series).

I've been thinking about a setting that I can call my own. I'm e…

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 30: Describe the Ideal Game Room

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Money is no obstacle...

I've been primarily a virtual gamer over the past few years so my tastes will largely skew in that direction. We've got a nice desk with three monitors on it - want to make life easy for me on the virtual tabletop setup. We've also got on the walls a lot of shelf space for books, boxes, etc.

I'd also like to be able to support a physical group as well, so we've got a nice large table, with room for books, papers, munchies, recreational beverages, etc. Lots of power outlets to charge up laptops, tablets, etc. And since I'm not big on miniatures, I'm thinking in the center of the table a nice, large, touchscreen monitor with active stylus support - even if we're all together a virtual tabletop can make for a nice tool.

And a refrigerator for those all-important recreational beverages.

Ghostbusters Brooklyn Resources

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Just because the Ghostbusters RPG is a bit on the humorous side doesn't mean I don't do some homework. Our game is set in the 1980's and based in Brooklyn, NY. Though I lived in Connecticut throughout the 1980's, I still had family in Brooklyn and spent many summers there.

With that in mind, a few decisions have been reached. The team is based in the Kings Plaza Shopping Center, the mall that was closest to my grandparents old house. I've many memories of my grandfather looking for a parking space as there was no way he was going to pay money to park at the mall...

Through a little eBay scouring I managed to snag a copy of a map of Kings Plaza, circa 1990, a few years after the game is set, but good enough for gaming our purposes. Below is a so-so scan of the map - the document is a bit too long for my scanner to accept it so I'm resorting to a phone-camera-scan...


I've not been to the mall since around 1998 or so but I imagine many of these stores are gone…

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 29: If I Could Game Anywhere on Earth...

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That's a bit of an odd question. Generally speaking, if I'm thinking of travel, there's other things I'd want to do besides gaming.

However, let's suppose I'm thinking of a place to live for the gaming community there. Obviously, since gaming is not my profession and I have a family here in the Boston area, I'm not going to be doing such a relocation. But there are a few "gaming scenes" I'm curious as to what it would be like to be a part of...


New York City - I'm a Brooklyn boy originally, so it would be nice to go home. Being a huge city there's a lot of gaming taking place there as well as part of the Autarch team being based there.Atlanta - Original home of White Wolf, I'm told it's a good place for some World of Darkness Gaming.Seattle - A lot of gaming companies in the area plus culturally I'd probably fit right in there with my latte-drinking, liberal secular lifestyle...

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 28: Thing I'd Be Surprised That a Friend Hadn't Seen or Read

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Actually I've had this happen to me recently... Given my group has some folks younger than me, I've gamed with people who have never seen Star Trek in any incarnation.

That's not too shocking once I gave it some thought. Star Trek: Enterprise debuted in fall of 2001, some fifteen years ago. And it was not a particularly popular Star Trek. Someone who is thirty now would have been around fifteen then. And Voyager debuted in January of 1995, so you're talking being under the age of ten for that!

There's certainly a things I've not read or seen that are on other people's "I can't believe you've not read/seen that" so I've no judgment. With that caveat, there's a few other things I'd be surprised a gaming friend hadn't seen - Butcher's Dresden Files, the classic Star Wars trilogy (I know a number of people who swore off the prequels), Lord of the Rings (whether in film or novel form), and A Song of Ice and Fire (novels) /

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 27: Most Unusual Place or Circumstance I've Gamed

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Probably when I first started gaming there were some unusual circumstances and places.

My first gaming group met at the Howard Whittemore Memorial Library in my hometown of Naugatuck, Connecticut. I was in middle school at the time and they hooked us up with a meeting room located near the children's section of the library. Of course we always got yelled at for being too noisy to the point we were pretty sure the sound of dice rolling would earn a "shhhh". Admittedly, it was a library... It did get a little bit awkward when part of the room was dedicated to storage and we had to maneuver our way to the table. I did make some friendships which lasted for many years.

I also remember occasionally being granted permission to play in study hall back at City Hill Middle School. By then we'd mastered the technique of rolling on hardcover books to muffle the sound of the dice rolling. Back in the day we had to have book covers on our textbooks. Fun fact - a Dungeon Masters …

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 26: Hobbies That Go Well With RPGs

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Really any when you think about it. Just looking at some of my own:

As a software engineer/data scientist I'm awfully good at using and making digital toolsAs a history geek, I've got a wealth of information that gets a good outletAs an amateur cartographer, I can make a reasonably good mapThough I've not hiked much since having kids, once upon a time I spent a ton of time up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire - something which gives you an appreciation for wilderness movement rates... I've gamed with people skilled in art, always an asset in RPGs. Alas, my drawing skills are limited to purple Risus stick figure dudes...

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 25: What Makes a Good Character

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Once upon a time I might have a long-winded answer to that. Nowadays my answer is as follows:

Someone you want to playSomeone that fits in with the groupSomeone that can be used as a launching point for adventures I don't need a forty page background story. On the other hand, if you've got a forty page background story, cool, we'll be sure to use some of it. Just please don't write that background for a pre-funnel Dungeon Crawl Classics character...

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 24: Game I'm Most Likely to Give as a Gift

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I really hate giving gifts when I don't know the recipient. Does he or she own a ton of games and I want to present something unusual? Or do I want to break someone into gaming? And is money an object? Is being in print one?

However, I'm going to make a few assumptions. I'm going to assume this game is a gift for someone who is into some moderately geeky stuff but isn't a gamer. And I want to get him or her hooked.

With that in mind I'm going to go with a game that I've used to introduce lots of people to gaming - the West End Games incarnation of Star Wars. Back in the day, I'd have a new player, usually a friend of someone in the group, show up for a game at my apartment, and within about fifteen minutes I'd have explained the rules and had a character ready for them. The D6 incarnation isn't flashy and it does have its flaws, like any game, but it is incredibly easy to grasp, slides out of the way, and feels appropriate for the genre. It doesn&#…

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 31: Best Gaming Advice I Was Ever Given

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Probably the best piece of advice I was given in gaming was in college - it was actually a criticism and I'm not certain if it was kindly meant or not. The criticism was that my adventures had a funnel-like quality - whatever course of actions the players took there was a preordained outcome.

Probably a fair criticism, though given it was the early 1990's it was the era of plot-driven adventures, going to such an extreme in the Forgotten Realms Avatar Trilogy that the players got to watch gods fighting and escort mortals who were the real protagonists.

What I've learned to do over time is let adventures get "wrecked" by my players. In last night's Ghostbusters game the players followed their rule - of the three equipment cards each character takes, one has to be "useless". In last night's game a player took alpine gear as their equipment as they went into a middle school gymnasium to investigate a possible Mesoamerican demon visitation. In the …

Ghostbusters Actual Play: The Couch Potato

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Summary
In early August 1985 the Brooklyn Ghostbusters were nearing the official launch of their franchise. Doctor Mike Slade was down in Washington, DC, receiving mandatory EPA training for the proper and environmentally proper containment of ghosts. A possible office had been located in a vacant storefront in Kings Plaza. Physicist Billy Robertson and grunt/romance novel cover model "Chilli" had joined Ethan Sharp in the main office. They'd been nervous about opening a franchise so close to the main headquarters. but given they'd yet to actually see Venkman, Spengler, Stantz, and Zeddmore outside of VHS training videos. They'd seen Janine Melnitz, who forced them to answer the phone at the firehouse...
A call did come in - "Ghostbusters! Help us! Our television sets turn on when we're not there! We can't see Dallas or Miami Vice! The landlord won't help us! We're the tenants, and we pooled our money, and you can have it all! Just get rid of …

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 23: Share a "Worst Luck" Story

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Ghostbusters has a "ghost die". It is the predecessor to the West End Games Star Wars RPG's wild die. 
In Ghostbusters the ghost die is rolled as part of all tests. If your skill gives you five dice, four will be normal dice and one is a ghost die. On the ghost die the six is replaced by a ghost. If you roll it something unfortunate happens (and the roll counts as a zero). You still might succeed, but if you do something went wrong. Now the odds of something unfortunate happening being one in six is actually rather high, but since Ghostbusters is a humor game, it is appropriate for the genre...
With that in mind, in our most recent Ghostbusters game the characters had the ghost cornered in the basement of an apartment building. Zap. Success, but with a ghost die. OK, the ghost is caught in the trap but... a fire has broken out. We'll just use the water tank to put out the fire... Oh dear, a failure with a ghost die. The fire is now an electrical one... And so it cont…

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 22: Supposedly Random Event That Keeps Occurring

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A robot in our Icons game had a limitation that it could short out after any usage on a 1 in 3 chance. 
I don't believe there was a single instance where it did not short out. Now 1 in 3 is something that we should have seen with some frequency certainly, but not every single time...


#RPGaDay 2016 Day 21: Funniest Misinterpretation of a Rule in My Group

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I've got nothing.

I guess that means we're all perfect in my current group.

Honorable mention would have to be our epic attempts at understanding just what the hell speed factor was. We had incidents of daggers striking a gazillion times when facing two-handed swords due to one attempted ruling. It wasn't until the 2000's when I finally understood what it was used for in AD&D 1st edition. That said I think AD&D 2nd edition had a great rule for that, where speed factor was added to initiative (where low rolls were preferable).

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 20: Much Challenging But Rewarding System I've Learned

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He tasks me. He tasks me, and I shall have him. I'll chase him round the Moons of Nibia and round the Antares Maelstrom and round Perdition's flames before I give him up! 
One thing I've learned about my own gaming style is for me, simpler seems to be better. I talked about that yesterday in a non-#RPGaDay post. While that's been a trend, that's not to say it'll always be the case. Some day I'll master Champions.

That said my current white whale is the Fatesystem of RPGs. Truthfully the rules aren't that complicated - Fate Accelerated is a glorified pamphlet. But the application of those rules represent a bit of a shift in thinking that I'm still working on. It reminds me a little bit of when I had to learn the Lisp programming language back in college. It was so different from the other languages I knew that in many ways I had to start anew - it was almost as if my previous knowledge was a hindrance. I feel that way about Fate - I've a hunch i…

Keeping it Simple: D6 and BRP

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I don't blog a whole lot about systems but when going over some older games and adventures I've picked up lately I came to the realization I seem to have a lot more luck in games that have a certain level of simplicity to their rules - especially the D6 System and BRP-based games. I always get a kick out of the fact that the Chaosium team that wrote West End Games' Ghostbusters RPG is made up of people who had major roles in developing RuneQuest, Call of Cthulhu, and Pendragon, all three of which are BRP-based games.


While the two systems are fairly different from each other, they both have in common a very straightforward and unobtrusive system. I've explained games like Ghostbusters, Star Wars, and Call of Cthulhu in minutes to new players.


I'm the last person in the world to preach the virtues of "one true system" - or even "two true systems" for that matter - I've got some Gumshoe and Fate in my future I'm pretty certain, as well a…

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 19: Best Way to Learn a New Game

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Obviously playing is the best way, preferably with someone who has some familiarity.

That said, I'd have to say that there's definitely an advantage to actually reading the rules, even if in a condensed or simplified form.

When an entire group is learning a new game I also find it helpful to slowly role out rules where possible.

#RPGaDay Day 18: Best Innovation RPG Groups Could Benefit From

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While there's a number of technical innovations possible, one innovation in the legal space I'd like to see is a revision of copyright law.

Currently US copyright law appears to be based around the proposition that "Steamboat Willie" can never enter the public domain. Though it'll never happen, I'd love to see a major reduction in copyright law. Once upon a time the term of a copyright maxed out at 28 years. If that were the case today, any RPG written prior to 1988 would be in the public domain. This wouldn't stop Wizards of the Coast from having a copyright to new incarnations of D&D but it would allow ancient versions to enter the public domain.

While that's a dream that'll never come true, hopefully copyright term will not be extended again as 2019 approaches (when the copyright extension act begins allowing works to enter the public domain). Moreover, the works of HP Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard have a fuzzy copyright status. Allowing …

Introducing the Brooklyn Ghostbusters

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After some initial training at the Ghostbusters HQ in Manhattan, our bold Ghostbusters have been asked to relocate and open up their franchise. It certainly has nothing to do with them nearly burning down the apartment building at 66666 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn (writeup for that forthcoming).

Our game has been established as taking place in 1985 - it's now August of 1985 in our game. The team is officially opening their franchise in Brooklyn. There's two prime pieces of real estate up for consideration. There's the Miami Vice route of living off a boat at a pier - perhaps in Sheepshead Bay (my grandfather and I used to walk to Sheepshead Bay from his house on Avenue W). And then there's the possibility of opening the franchise at the Kings Plaza Mall. Though as another member of the group has pointed out (also born in Brooklyn, left at an early age, but still had family there), parking is a royal pain in the ass at Kings Plaza.



Where are the "real" Ghostb…

#RPGaDay Day 17: What Fictional Character Would Best Fit in My Group?

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Let's see... We'll want someone who is not supremely intense - able to have a laugh while gaming. But not someone who is a total goofball. (Hey spellcheck accepted the word "goofball". Good to know.) No hateful beliefs. Someone who isn't shy but also doesn't need to dominate everything. Plus if he or she is already a gamer...

I'm thinking for my first choice I'm going to go with Harry Copperfield Dresden of The Dresden Files. Dude is a gamer already. Despite being a supremely talented wizard in "real life" he is perfectly comfortable playing a barbarian. And I'd love to try some of the brew from McAnally's Pub. The only caveat is he is remote. Chicago is only an hour behind us so in theory Roll20 would be an option but in actuality, he seems to have a negative effect on any technology much beyond that of the mid-20th century. I'm guessing he and a virtual tabletop would not get along very well..

I suppose if he couldn't make…

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 16: Historical Person I'd Like in My Group? For What Game?

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I gotta be honest... There's a lot of historical people I'd love to meet. But I imagine after sitting down with the likes of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Augustus Caesar, etc. I'd probably be talking about stuff other than gaming.

So for gaming I'm probably wanting to be with someone more from the arts. I'll stay clear of recent figures... I think I'd really love to play in a game with Jules Verne as the GM - can you imagine the settings and adventures he'd build. That man had such an imagination.

Verne was definitely a simulationist type of person - he was definitely a believer in the possible. I don't think he'd go for a narrative system like Fate. I'm thinking the man was definitely a GURPS gamer... We will not be playing steampunk though - I suspect he'd roll his eyes at that. We will be playing 19th century technothrillers of course.

We'll close with Robin Williams hanging with Jules Verne...


#RPGaDay Day 15: Best Source of Inspiration for RPGs

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Generally speaking, for me the best inspiration is books. I'm definitely a bibliophile. One of the best parts of my commute is the ability to listen to an audiobook for an hour - a half hour on the way to work, a half hour on the way back. Between walking and running during the day I can usually get another hour in easily. Plus I'm often reading digital books as well - more for pleasure between semesters, as during the academic year I'm busy reading books about data science...

I read from a variety of genres - history, religion, horror, science fiction, nautical, classic literature, fantasy, etc. Sometimes what I read winds up being "research" - learning about the Prohibition era comes in handy for Call of Cthulhu games. Other times the inspiration will strike tangentially - a science fiction short story providing an idea for a Star Trek adventure, a villain's mannerisms providing inspiration, etc.

#RPGaDay Day 14: My Dream Team of People I Used to Game With

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This is one of the questions from this year I'm not all that crazy about. I really like my current group and in all honesty that's what I'd go with. Given we're a virtual group, I'd love to have a transporter room so we could get together every two weeks...

It is worth noting that I do miss the gaming group I had before my friends and I began having kids. Like I said, I'd not use the term "dream team" as I really enjoy my current group, but I'd be lying if it wouldn't be fun to get that gang back together. I'm a bit curious as to whether I'd get along with the me of the late 1990's and early 2000's. Don't misunderstand - I wasn't a jerk or anything - I'd like to think I've always been a reasonably pleasant person. But the Dan of 15 to 16 years ago was a different person.

We all change, when you think about it, we're all different people; all through our lives, and that's okay, that's good, you'v…

I Ain't Afraid of No Ghosts: Setting up a Ghostbusters Franchise

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With out group due for at least a few sessions of Ghostbusting, there's some important decisions we need to make - when and where is our franchise?

A little background - the premise of the Ghostbusters RPG is the characters have their own Ghostbusting franchise, located wherever the group chooses to place it. After all, the key to being profitable in Ghostbusting is in the franchise fees... There is also the matter of when. The RPG assumed "the modern day" but it's worth noting that that represented the mid-1980's at the time the game was published.

Our previous session took place in the mid-1980's in New York City. The idea was the original Ghostbusters were not in town and it fell to our heroes to fill in for them.

We'll be figuring out the "permanent" timeframe and location for our game in our next session. My best guess is we'll go with modern day New York City - given we're located along the eastern seaboard of the United States, t…

#RPGaDay Day 13: What Makes a Successful Campaign?

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I'd say the biggest component of a successful campaign is compatibility. The players get along with each other and everyone buys into the rules and the assumptions of a genre.

I suppose this seems obvious, but I've been part of campaigns that didn't meet these requirements. Players not liking each other is probably the most destructive to a game.

#RPGaDay Day 12: What Game is My Group Most Likely to Play Next? Why?

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I just recently posted some of the shininess that's calling to me but I'll try to narrow it down a bit.

For at least a little while we're going to be playing some Ghostbusters. Given the number of times I've mentioned thinking it's a short-term game, I'll be rather amused if we're still playing this a year from now...

However, in all honesty I do think this will be more of a mini-campaign, though perhaps one that can be revisited from time to time when we're in the mood for something on the goofy side.

I've been thinking a lot about Lovecraftian horrors a lot of late, which makes a game of Call of Cthulhu or Delta Green up there in possibility. I really like some of the additions that Delta Green brings to the table - beyond your sanity being at risk, it maps out the way your whole life can fall apart. Cheerful stuff.

Playing Ghostbusters has really brought back my appreciation for the D6 System and with that in mind a Star Wars campaign involving …

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 11: Which Gamer Most Affected the Way I Play

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Another one I get to punt on... It seems a little awkward to say "everyone" but in reality, that's pretty much the case. For example, in college I had the experience of playing in a Rolemaster oneshot with a GM with an amazing command of Beowulf - and brought it amazingly to life. I've gamed with people who are masters of systems, who are my age with similar gaming experiences, my age with totally different experiences, younger gamers whose first gaming experiences are totally different from mine, etc.

Kickstarter Deliveries and Other Late Summer Shininess

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I've been deluged by Kickstarter fulfillments over the past several weeks. And I've also been looking over other shiny things and checking out some older games. That's what happens when I'm between semesters in grad school apparently...

So what's been at top of mind lately...


Ghostbusters - I'd originally intended a single game but I think we're going to do a mini-campaign at the very least. Star Wars - I hear there's a new movie coming out...Call of Cthulhu - In all honesty, it's not quite at the top of mind but it is a game I always find myself going back to and it's been a while since my last Cthulhu game. The stars may be aligning...Delta Green - The new Delta Green game is rather awesome. While it clearly and proudly shows its Call of Cthulhu DNA it is definitely its own thing. I'm kinda hoping that the full core book comes out sooner rather than later so I can get more information on the organization that is Delta Green.TimeWatch - I w…

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 10: Largest in-game surprise I have experienced

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For me, the largest surprises are the sessions that go amazingly well. I'd like to think that for the most part my sessions are fun. But every once in a while everything just clicks perfectly, and to be honest, those are never the sessions that I'd have anticipated.

The fact that our one-shot of Ghostbusters went so well is up there - we'll be doing another adventure next week as a result.

Going back to around 1998 or 1999 would have to be the Star Trek: The Next Generation adventure "Virginia Jones and the Sentinels of Iconia". What's that? Well, before leaving work on a game night I discovered we were going to be missing some key people - the planned adventure was rendered unusable. On my drive home I mentally prepped an adventure on the fly, adapting, from memory, what I recalled of the TSR Indiana Jones adventure "The Icons of Ikammanen". I turned it into a holodeck adventure for the characters we did had, with one of them taking the role of in…

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 9: Beyond the game, what's involved in an ideal session

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As a mainly virtual gamer over the past few years, my needs have shifted a bit... We used to usually have a meal before the game, have a few drinks with the game.

Generally speaking, I like gaming with people I can have fun with. I'd like to be able to talk with them, have a few laughs. I'd probably be a horrible tournament gamer...

Party People Image jennylund, Creative Commons 3.0

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 8: Hardcover, Softcover, or Digital? What is My Preference?

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Can I do a write-in for cuneiform?

Generally speaking, I'm more of a digital consumer - especially with the advent of tablets. Things have come a long way since using a Kindle DX to read a PDF (and learning how certain PDFs could take several seconds to execute a page-flip). In the interests of not consuming my house with more books, I definitely appreciate the utility of digital gaming products. I especially like it when the creator/publisher makes a player version with a gaming group license available as well so I can share the product with my group. If they like it, they might buy a full copy. If not, well at least we've got something to use for the game so that everyone has a copy and no one's intellectual property rights have been violated. I was a software developer for most of my adult life and even now with me being more involved in quality and data science, I still depend on software for my livelihood, so I appreciate the need to get people to actually pay for al…

Simplifying the Hardness of Hard Science Fiction RPGs

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I'm binging my way through The Expanse right now. I've not read the books the series is based on but I've added them to my reading list.

The very short version is settlement of the solar system has begun, with Mars colonized and a rival to the UN of Earth and the Moon while the asteroid belt is a place that gets exploited for its resources. And the political situation of the solar system is getting rather explosive.

One of the things I like about The Expanse is it is hard science fiction but it doesn't bore the viewer. Ships have gravity based on their acceleration - if they're not accelerating the crew is in freefall. On a spinning colony, poured water does not drop straight down but is affected by the Coriolis effects of the spinning. Characters don't spend time discussing the complexities of orbital mechanics.

I'd love to see a science fiction RPG that pulls this off without making players and GMs cry. Games like XXVc, GURPS Space, and Traveller have in…

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 7: What Aspect of RPGs Has Had the Biggest Effect on Me?

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I don't know about you, but for me it has to have been the magic powers I've gotten through it. Make a few sacrifices, destroy Black Leaf, and you're good to go.

Beyond the great powers one can get at the Temple of Diana, I've been exposed to a ton of literature through RPGs - I'd have encountered Tolkien on my own, but also Leiber, Lovecraft, Norton, and countless others. I've also gained a heavy interest in history - way more than I'd ever need for gaming research, but just out of my own research.

#RPGaDAY 2016 Day 6: Most amazing thing a game group did for their community

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That's a bit of an odd question - my inclination in some ways would be to say "nothing". In a sense it sounds a bit like asking what you and your racquetball partner at work did for your community.

As far as my own gaming group, contributions for the community are at an individual level. I know for myself I make certain to give to a number of charities that I believe in and I've gamed with a number of generous people.

I also appreciate the fact that Bundle of Holding puts a portion of their income into a charity of the choice of those who made the games they offer.  For example, Steve Kenson's choice of supporting the Trevor Project for the Icons Bundle encouraged me to make an additional donation to them, as it is a charity I believe does great work and have supported in the past.

Wrapping My Brain Around Gumshoe

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On my list of games to try at some point is some game from the Gumshoe family of RPGs. I've got a bunch of them - though I've never played one outright they are all wonderfully done and have a very high density of useful ideas, even if you never play one of those games outright.

However, I do want to get around to playing one of them at some point. High on my list is the recent TimeWatch RPG, followed closely by Night's Black Agents, especially it's Dracula Dossier.

For TimeWatch I'm generally a fan of the time travel genre and more importantly, at least for me, a huge fan of history. I hope at some point to be able to visit Istanbul and see the capital of two great empires, to see the pyramids in Egypt, to see the canals of Venice, etc. I doubt I'll ever be able to go on a history world tour but some of those destinations are definitely in reach (alas no trip to the Royal Navy Museum in Portsmouth next year - the girls really want a trip to Disney...)

Dracula …

#RPGaDay Day 5: What Story Does My Group Tell About My Character?

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So I usually GM, so it's an NPC that has become a bit legendary, even though the bulk of the group wasn't even in the game at the time. It's gotten passed on.

I made a bad guy that I'd hope would be recurring for our D&D 3.5 Eberron game. He announced himself to the PCs... "I am Ahz Liqor".

Pause.

Hysterical laughter.

Dan learns you always, always, always sound out funky NPC names before you use them

The Ass Licker never did appear again...

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 4: Most Impressive Thing Another's Character Did

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I'm usually the GM so I'm always focused on other characters... Truthfully, in almost every game I walk away impressed. I'm a big believer in embracing the surprised GM and I've been fortunate to have players who often surprise the hell out of me. It might be that I'm not that bright and am therefore easily surprised, but I don't think so.

Sometimes the surprise is in awesome characterization - droids fighting against biological oppressors, haunted artists slowly losing their sanity fighting the Mythos... Sometimes it's an intelligent use of abilities at just the right time, like a ranger charming a T-Rex, bypassing a climactic encounter. Sometimes it's just a hysterical die roll, like an archer shooting across an arena to take out a foe everyone else had been bashing at for rounds. Sometimes it's awesome goofiness - "The goblin king? The goblin king!"

I'm kinda copping out because to be honest I can't think of one single event - …

You Need to Have Dinosaurs

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It might be the little kid in me but it's seeming increasingly likely my next campaign is going to feature dinosaurs. The new game TimeWatch is in the running but so are a few others - I've been rereading Atomic Robo lately as well.
In the interests of obsessiveness, I got to thinking about some of the games and settings in which dinosaurs play a large part (or at least have the potential to). Off the top of my head I can think of the following, though I'm almost certainly missing some:

TimeWatchAtomic RoboDoctor WhoDinosaurs...in Spaaace!D&D - various lost world settings such as Isle of the Ape, Isle of DreadEberronDinosaur Planet: Broncosaurus Rex (I think it's time for Goodman Games to revisit this...)GURPS has its fair share of dinosaur books and lost world settingsRifts - Dinosaur SwampTorg - The Living LandHollow Earth Expedition And two additional ones which were suggested to me after this post went up: Primeval (sadly seems to no longer be available)Transdim…