Sunday, March 30, 2008

$5 Nebuleon RPG Offer!

As I wrote the other day, my gaming budget is a sad thing. If your usual gamer's monthly gaming budget was represented by, say, the GDP of Norway or Sweden, mine would be somewhere in the neighborhood of Malawi's.

So most months, I pick and scrimp and save what I can, because it seems like there's always something I want, happy as I am with my gaming. I often find freebies and pdf deals, but rarely deadtree book ones (unless you count my forays to Half-Price Books).

But today? Today, one of my favorite sci-fi RPGs, HinterWelt's Nebuleon, is available (print copy, though they throw in the pdf), for only $5. Now, I have a copy, but I plan on picking up at least one more. After my current campaign ends, I'll be jumping into a sci-fi game, and more books to look at for players is always handy. That, my friends, is a good deal on a good roleplaying game. Enjoy.

(Edit: With shipping my order came out to around $10. Just FYI).

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The World of Broadsword

I'm pleased to be able to give a shoutout to my fellow RPG blogger Jeff Mejia (The Evil DM to many of you), who has just released the World of Broadsword, a sword-and-sorcery world to dive right into. If you've picked up Broadsword for the 1PG system, there's new stuff for that system, including bestiary, adventure, and some additional advantages. But there's plenty in here for folks looking for a kickoff point for some S&S gaming, too, including bitchin' use of HexMapper in making the overworld map.

Plus, for $3.95 (same as Broadsword itself), I finally found something that fit in my current gaming budget. Nice art, nice layout (sadly, no table of contents). Really, Jeff, all I ask is completely unrelated to the product, and that's that Wednesdays sees a desperately-needed influx of redheads.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Look At Paizo's Free Pathfinder RPG

I've not had a lot of free time lately, but I was very interested in Paizo's announcement of their 3.5-compatible Pathfinder RPG (which is currently in a free alpha playtest). I think its a nice idea for those sticking with 3.5, and I really like the open alpha/beta playtest--I think its a very cool way to build a sense of community.

Of course, the immediate knee-jerk responses have already flooded in from those both virulently anti and pro-4th Ed. D&D (see ENWorld), as we well know that someone not liking the same game as you is the equivalent of them spitting in your kindly old grandmother's face while suggesting she undertake some fairly exotic self-discovery.

Anyhow, let's all give it a look over the next few days and see what we think. Hey, its free, Paizo usually does a kickass job on their products (though that isn't by any means a guarantee on this one), and the art is aces. Plus, from my first read, it seems they're trying to streamline some of the more clunky aspects of 3.5, which I am generally in favor of (though it doesn't look like this attempt will go anywhere near a level of, say, True20). I'm not sure how I feel about their treatment of feats yet, or how things would pan out for lower-level play, but that's what an alpha is for, right?

I tell you what, if they keep it to one required book, I'd be a hell of a lot more willing to buy in.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Lost Traveller Books

Excerpts courtesy of the always-enlightening Traveller Wiki:

Classic Traveller:

From p. 48, Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society (No. 13):

By Christmas, we should have the Traveller Adventure ready, and volumes coming in the 12-24 months include The Traveller Alien, The Traveller Encyclopedia, The Traveller Fleet, and The Traveller Soldier.

Contributor's Note:
The Traveller Adventure was published in 1983. The other volumes mentioned above were not published.

MegaTraveller:


FLASHBACK

Historical adventuring in the Imperium's past.

Somewhere, ages ago, a squad caught the edges of a devastating radiation blast. Rather than die lonely deaths, its members swore a pact to seek out a cure, then they retired to cold sleep. Every time they awake, they come out in a nexus of history. They are there when the Long Night falls, when the Imperium is founded, when Nicholle is assassinated, when the Civil War ends, and more. They are travellers in time the only way possible forward, ever forward. And their greatest challenge awaits them when they reach the present!

96 pages

Stock Number 0217

$10.00

REBELS’ TALES

5 Desperate Adventures in the Rebellion.

Sourcebook and Adventure Module.

The Rebellion is sweeping the Imperium, and in its wake, it has disrupted the very fabric of Imperial society. Rebels’ Tales is a sourcebook of information about the Rebellion and its effects on the Imperium. Rebels’ Tales provides an opportunity for players to use the information in the sourcebook as they play five desperate scenarios set against the background of the Rebellion.

Coming in November 1990.

96 pages

Stock Number 0220

$10.00

ASLAN

The proud warrior race.

The Aslan are a young race of intelligent beings, evolving on their own world of Kusyu to spinward of Sol, and their emergence on the interstellar scene has been relatively recent. Proud male Aslan are bent on the possession of land in large quantities, and the ihatai, or second sons, have propelled the race through the stars. Female Asian, typically more business-minded and practical, administer the businesses of the clans, running a huge star-spanning nation known as the Aslan Heirate

48 pages Stock

Number 0254

$7.00

ROBOTS

Complete design rules for robots in the MegaTraveller universe.

The high-tech stellar civilization of the Imperium has been developing the science of robotics for centuries -improving, adapting, modifying robots for all types of tasks. At the lower end of the spectrum are common working robots, capable of carrying out a few routine tasks At the upper end are pseudobiological robots able to imitate human beings almost down to the finest detail. Get robots into your MegaTraveller campaign!

48 pages

Stock Number 0344

$6.00

Contributor's Note
None of the above books were ever published, as MegaTraveller was superceded by the publication by GDW of Traveller: The New Era.


GURPS Traveller: Imperial Navy A book long on the wish list, and still seen on the list of GURPS Traveller books. A manuscript for this book was written, and went into playtest. Shortly after the playtest was completed, the book was withdrawn for unknown reasons. A second manuscript was written by Martin Dougherty and Neil Frier but never made it past the first draft stage.

Several years later Martin published his manuscript, minus the game rules, as Grand Fleet.



I'd love to see a list of major RPG vaporware through the years.
Rifts: Lemuria, anyone?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

D&D to Exalted: A Graduation?

Well, the most recent waves in the online RPG community have been created thanks to a new White Wolf marketing campaign, this one geared towards having folks trade in their D&D 3.5 Players Handbook for a brand-spanking-new copy of Exalted, 2nd Edition.

Naturally, being the internet and being this fine hobby of ours, there is no lack of anger at all this. Some folks are upset at the timing, so soon after Gary Gygax's death, some think the idea of being given a "diploma" silly (yes, you do get one, if you do this--I imagine its about on par with one from McGruff the Crime Dog's safety course) and others are angered at this sort of presentation:

White Wolf is giving away free copies of the award-winning Exalted Second Edition! We’re offering you an opportunity to break out of the Dungeons & Dragons cycle, and graduate to a new kind of fantasy game. We’re confident that once you step up and experience Exalted’s world of epic fantasy and larger-than-life heroes, you won’t ever want to search another 10 x 10 room again.

Why play a rehash of the same old game, when you could be exploring Epic Fantasy Re-Imagined all summer?


Now, personally, Exalted isn't my cup of tea: I dislike the system, and have no particular affection for the setting. Based on its material, presentation, and many of its fans' reactions and attitudes, I've often called it "Powergaming for Powergamers in denial". But while I suppose I can see the perceived slight/insult to adherents of D&D, I have to say, Exalted will likely get some new players out of this, especially those who don't want to make the jump to 4th Edition. Many of the folks they piss off with this would likely have an allegiance to D&D anyhow, or may not be interested in Exalted. Those who do take them up on it--well, 2500 books is a pretty good distribution in which to find some new adherents. But let's face it: "Your game sucks; ours is (pick one) better/artistic/more mature/incredibly powerful but not powergaming/the only true treatment of the genre/all of the above" has never, as far as I can remember, elicited a positive response from gamers. "Expand your horizons" or something inoffensive like that would still have had the basics of the idea implicit in it, without causing this whole crapstorm.

But hey, D&D Experience is over, right? We have to be outraged at something until Something Else happens!

I suppose, if anything with all this, I take issue with the idea that Exalted is somehow a "graduated" RPG from D&D. Try as I might, the only category I can think of in which Exalted might be a graduation is the (possibly NSFW) Dirty Ol' Perv one. Then again, D&D can hold its own in that, too (1st Edition Monster Manual, anyone?).

If any of you out there decide to take them up on this, email me with a proud pic of you and your diploma. And if it works out for you, or you plan to take advantage of it, good for you! Drop me a line and we'll get something up here.

Friday, March 7, 2008

GaryCon Continued

The GaryCon meme really seems to have taken off--I've seen it on a ton of different blogs, message boards, and websites. If you haven't posted it yet, or haven't talked to someone about getting a game together this weekend, hey, there's still time! We still have a few hours until that Friday whistle blows! At work, at school, at the comic book store--you never know who's a gamer, who was a gamer, or perhaps most importantly--might want to try their hand at gaming. By the way, I mentioned a few free games yesterday, my esteemed colleague, The Evil DM, did likewise, with a few different titles.

Hey, I think it'd be great if a million dice clatter together in a symphony this weekend. But so long as you're having fun wherever you're at, making lasting friendships, and just enjoying the heck out of life, I think Gary'd approve.

Personally, I've got this great 5-room mini-dungeon I've been plotting out. (I need a suitable Gygaxian treasure at the end, but I've got awhile to decide on that). If you're looking to do a dungeon crawl, but a mutliple-level dungeon worries you or isn't quite your speed, check out this great article by Johnn Four on Creating 5-Room Dungeons. He makes some great points and gives some excellent advice.

Game On!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

GaryCon Across The World This Weekend!

The great idea was brought up here for gamers, past and present alike, to host a GaryCon this weekend.

If you're reading this and would like to dive back in, but don't have your old D&D stuff, let me offer a few free tabletop RPGs you can download off the 'net and quickly get to playing!

Basic Fantasy (link): Should be familiar to those who played Basic/Expert D&D!

d20SRD.org: All the rules you really need for the latest released version of D&D/d20 in one hypertext-linked location!

OSRIC (link): For those who loved 1st Edition AD&D!

More interested in Space and Sci-Fi? Check out:

Star Frontiers (link): This website offers free and legal downloads of the old TSR classic, Star Frontiers.

Icar (link): A free, comprehensive sci-fi RPG for those looking to engage in a bit of Space Opera.

Encounter Critical (link): Was your gaming pure craziness back in the day? Encounter Critical, an RPG That Never Was, is perfect for your gonzo madness (while you're there, if you're looking for some beer-n-pretzels light gaming fare, check out Risus).

There are many more free (and excellent commercial) RPGs out there--this is just a short starter list. If you have an old favorite and or aren't sure about what you might need, just ask! Let's get our geek on!

EDIT: HinterWelt is offering their OGL module, Turris Lemurum, for free until Sunday in support of this idea. Class act.

Regarding Gary

Yesterday, we found out Gary Gygax has left the mortal plane--sailed into the West--and I think we've all had some time to collect our thoughts.

For me, this is a man who was the All-Father of the hobby I loved. His DMG advice reads like a letter from an old friend, and indeed, I wouldn't have many of the friends I count today if not for his wonderful, wonderful hobby.

Nearly every major and minor news outlet, it seems, noted his passing--from CNN to to Yahoo to the Guardian, and everyone in between. Those interested in just sharing memories and talking about Gary with other fans can do so over at the Troll Lords forum (where the news broke; they are as of now allowing guests to post) and The RPG Site.

Myself? I feel like I've lost a family member. I had corresponded with Gary in the years before his death, and he was always courteous, gracious, engaging, insightful, and a gentleman. He took solace and comfort in his faith, and seemed comfortable with his place in the world. I was able to meet him in person last year finally, at Gen Con Indy, and had one of my most favorite photos of all time taken:



Now, folks will respond to this in many different ways. Some duly grieve, some make jokes (somehow I think Gary'd approve), some offer their tributes (btw, check out today's Order of the Stick), and others are still processing it all. For my part, our gaming group will be leaving an extra chair out at this week's session, in memoriam.

But I think Jeff Rients has it right--we need to keep the flame burning. Roll those dice, kick some orc butt, explore deep dungeons, and grab swag like there's no tomorrow. Take what time we need to get there, and certainly its ok to be sad--I know I cried off and on most of yesterday--but Gary loved talking with gamers, loved running games, loved writing for his games. This was a life well-lived, and we should honor that by ensuring ours are filled with as much joy, camaraderie, and passion as we can. And my players had better be ready for an awesome dungeon crawl this week, you can bet on that.

Finally, I think Treebore said it best, over at the Troll Lords forum:

I didn't know he had 6 kids. I thought he had millions.

R.I.P., Gary. And I'll be seeing you again some day. Hope you've got a spot at your table. :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Gary Gygax Has Passed Away

Link

I don't have the words right now.

Free Picket Ship Deckplans (And More Space Goodness)!

Although I'm supremely happy GMing our group's amazingly great Irrin Campaign (thanks to the players, not the GM, I'm sure), I am looking to do a Big Ole' Space Opera game next time out. I want the players to be responsible for the running of a dilapidated, run-down independent space station, borrowing elements from Traveller, Babylon 5, a bit of Firefly, and perhaps a tinge of original Star Wars and Star Trek: DS9. This game might not happen for a while, but I like to plan.

To that end, I was browsing through Your Games Now last night/this morning, and found several free space/sci-fi products of note. The first was Ronin Arts' Future Starship 14: Picket Ship (d20 statted), which is a nice, clean pdf product. I'll definitely be looking at getting more of the series, if my current $0 gaming budget sees an increase soon.

Other freebies I found:

-101 Starship Cargos

-101 Starship Names

-Future: 6 Free Sensor Contacts


I have to say, Your Games Now is growing nicely as a website. They don't yet have the volume of RPGNow, but they have some really great publishers on board, run some good sales, and keep adding features. Nice work.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Greyhawk Anagrams and Origins

If you've ever adventured in Greyhawk (or wondered about some of the terms showing up in D&D 3rd edition's default setting), you'll definitely want to scope out this page. It list many of the names and locations of Greyhawk, and from whence their names derived. Who knew that the mysterious Egg of Coot came from a cranky wargaming grognard of Dave Arneson's aquaintance? Sure, "Drawmij" is Jim Ward backwards, but what about Tasha, of Tasha's Hideous Laughter? According to the site (and Gary Gygax:)
Tasha was a very young girl, a D&D fan who wrote her first letter to me in crayon. She suggested the laughter spell, so her name was used in the version I created based on her suggested details.
Always good to know!