Sunday, July 31, 2011

Weird War II monster factory 3

The "Widowmaker" demon is the most powerful of the common extradimensionals and the only one to demonstrate any significant intelligence. Though apparently unable to direct the actions of the lesser abominations, widowmakers are able to use the natural instincts of these monsters to their own advantage. They will use the extremely aggressive racknees and devil dogs as cannon fodder before moving in to mop up any survivors. Besides their enormous ripping claws, the most terrifying aspect of the widowmaker is its mind blast attack, which can render several foes helpless before the demon moves in to rend its victims limb from limb.

STR 5D6+9 (ave. 26-27)
CON 3D6+6 (ave. 16-17)
SIZ 5D6+9 (ave. 26-27)
INT 2D6+6 (ave. 13)
POW 3D6+3 (ave. 13-14)
DEX 2D6+3 (ave. 10)
APP 1D6 (ave. 3-4)
Move: 8 Hit points: 21-22 Damage bonus: +2D6
Armour: 4 pt carapace
Attacks: Claw 50% 1D10+db (bleeding)
Skills: Dodge 30%, Hide 30%, Jump 20%, Listen 35%, Sense 50%, Spot 35%, Stealth 20%, Track 30%
Powers: Super Sense (Infrared Vision) 2, Mind Blast


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Weird War II monster factory 2

Devil Dogs are the second most common of the dimensional horrors, after racknees. The size of a riding horse, but with the ferocity of a badger, devil dogs are a nightmare of fangs and claws. They are not as fast as racknees, so they often fall upon victims already crippled by the smaller, faster abominations that precede them. Otherwise, they use their greater strength to hunt prey which has managed to find some protection from racknees, such has locking themselves in a car or room.

STR 4D6+3 (ave. 17)
CON 3D6 (ave. 10-11)
SIZ 3D6+6 (ave. 16-17)
POW 2D6 (ave. 7)
DEX 2D6+6 (ave. 13)
APP 1D6 (ave. 3-4)
Move: 10 Hit points: 13-14 Damage bonus: +1D6
Armour: 2 pt hide
Attacks: Bite 50% 1D8+db (bleeding)
Skills: Dodge 40%, Hide 30%, Jump 50%, Listen 35%, Sense 50%, Spot 35%, Stealth 40%, Track 50%
Powers: Super Sense (Infrared Vision) 2


Weird War II monster factory 1

This new series of posts will reveal new monsters created for my "Tommies at the Gates of Hell" Weird War II campaign for BRP. Only monsters that have already appeared in the campaign, now into its third session, will be presented.

Though details are sketchy at this point, it is clear that Nazi scientists have released some kind of monster apocalypse upon the war-ravaged European continent. The carnage has been horrific. The Allies are in full retreat, leaving civilians behind to face an onslaught of horrors from some alien dimension. Whole nations have been depopulated, including Germany itself.

Small pockets of survivors struggle daily against the waves of alien abominations that sweep across the land, including a small group of British soldiers and Belgian civilians near the city of Rochfort. This is where the story begins.

The Horrors:

Racknees are six-legged arachnoids the size of large dogs, but with the speed of a race horse. Though not displaying any discernible intelligence, racknees are exceedingly cruel. They rarely kill their prey immediately, preferring instead to take one or two large bites from the victim's legs or flanks and then moving on, leaving the wounded person or animal to bleed out.

STR 2D6+6 (ave. 13)
CON 3D6 (ave. 10-11)
SIZ 1D6+3 (ave. 6-7)
POW 2D6 (ave. 7)
DEX 3D6+6 (ave. 16-17)
APP 1D6 (ave. 3-4)
Move: 12 Hit points:8-9 Damage bonus: none
Armour: 2 pt carapace
Attacks: Bite 50% 1D10+db (bleeding)
Skills: Dodge 50%, Hide 40%, Jump 50%, Listen 35%, Sense 50%, Spot 35%, Stealth 40%, Track 30%
Powers: Super Sense (Infrared Vision) 2


Rippin' on...World of Darkness

Zack and Steve are back. I've never heard of this particular White Wolf offering, but I never was a WoD fan anyway.

Mummy: The Resurrection


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ultimate Combat Cometh!

This is the time of year I probably hate most as a gamer. All of the good stuff is getting released at GenCon and there are sneak previews all over the internet.

Last year it was Paizo's Advanced Player's Guide that had me all worked up and this year its Ultimate Combat. Ultimate magic came out in the Spring and it was good but wasn't stuffed full of awesomeness as I had hoped. Some of the previews already have me drooling. It looks like they are making monks awesome and throwing lots of bones to most of the other melee type classes.

Of course even after I have it in my hands, I'll have ideas for dozen of awesome characters. Although, as I will be DMing next, I could slide them in and throw them at the players...

Friday, July 22, 2011

What is the future of manned space exploration?

With the end of the Space Shuttle program and no new generation of manned space vehicle on the horizon for the United States, those of us who care about the future are naturally concerned. Sure, the Russians have their Soyuz program and the Chinese seem to have every intention of being the second country to put a man on the Moon, but without the Americans in the game, it seems the exploration and eventual colonization of the Solar System is becoming ever more the realm of science fiction. I have heard some suggest the future of American manned space exploration is actually better off without NASA. They believe private companies like SpaceX can do it for less money. I don't doubt that private enterprise can handle routine low Earth orbit operations such as launching satellites or shuttling personnel to the International Space Station, but are we ever going to see a manned mission to Mars, for example, from a private company? I seriously doubt it. Where is the profit in it? There's little evidence to suggest there are any resources of value to us on Mars, at least in the short term. No question, the resources of the Solar System are vast. One can imagine limitless solar energy or asteroid mining for all the raw materials the human race would need for the next ten thousand years, but these are extremely long-term efforts. Most financiers don't want to invest in projects that won't see a return for centuries. So what is the future of manned space exploration? I see three scenarios.

One, we let the Chinese do the heavy lifting for awhile. In other words, we do nothing. It's definitely the path of least resistance and there is no law of the universe that says the future belongs to English-speaking peoples. Maybe the first space colonists will speak Mandarin.

Two, we get NASA back in the game. This is certainly a possibility, especially if the Americans get shocked by the successful launch of a manned Chinese lunar mission. It seems to be a question of timing and the current American debt crisis. Will the Americans pull themselves out of their malaise in time to get their space program back on track before the Chinese get too far ahead? It's hard to say, but in my experience, it's never a good idea to bet against the Americans.

Three, turn space exploration into a non-profit, charitable endeavor. Wait...what? Admittedly, this is an unconventional idea, but I think there are a lot of people who would like to contribute to space exploration. First, there are private individuals. Millions of Americans (and Canadians) who dream about our future in space might be willing to make small tax-deductible donations to a manned space program. Even more importantly, big investors could benefit from tax incentives as well in order to get access to the billions of dollars required for manned space flight. I envision a manned mission to Mars involving some input from NASA, private companies like SpaceX and non-profit space exploration organizations working together. If we don't want to see the future of the human race shaped by the regressive, totalitarian regime in Beijing, this may be the only way.



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Yay! More RuneQuest

As mentioned previously, Mongoose has unburdened itself of RuneQuest and Glorantha, but will continue to publish its MRQII rules in a new game called Legend. Now, two of the game designers that worked on MRQII have started their own company and negotiated the rights to RuneQuest from Issaries and will release a new edition, RuneQuest 6, next year. This will make four major tabletop rpgs in print, Basic RolePlaying, Call of Cthulhu, Legend and RuneQuest 6 based on the BRP game engine. Does this represent a renaissance for the venerable system? My guess is probably not. I don't get the sense that a gritty and realistic game like BRP appeals to the younger gamer looking for the anime-inspired hyperpowerful characters wielding ridiculously oversized weapons. Still, it seems the game has endured and continues to attract a following. I just hope they don't oversaturate the market.


Thursday, July 07, 2011

Rippin' on D&D 3.5 monsters

Zack and Steve really reached out for an odd one this time, the Monster Manual IV. Dragonspawn, oh the horror!

Monster Manual IV


Paizo Ascendant

The Paizosphere is all abuzz about this forum posting. The big boss lady at Paizo is certainly a source of some authority, so it's taken as at least somewhat credible. A few blogs have taken up the discussion, noticing, among other things, that Pathfinder occupies the top 2 spots on the fantasy gaming bestsellers list at Well, the domination is even more pronounced here in Canada. The fantasy gaming list has Pathfinder holding down the top 5 spots and 6 of the top 8, with no WotC product appearing until the 9th spot. Now, as others have noted, these numbers may be deceiving. WotC has been moving toward a different business model recently, with a greater emphasis on online, subscription-based gaming. It seems clear, however, that as far as traditional tabletop role-playing is concerned, the type of gaming in which a group of friends gather around a table to drink Mountain Dew (or, in my case, Coke Zero) and throw dice, increasingly, the game of choice is Pathfinder (especially in Canada).


Monday, July 04, 2011

Michael Bay - I just can't quit you

So I went to see Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon 3D over the weekend. I've seen every one of the movies in the series despite having absolutely no attachment to the franchise at all. I was too old to embrace the Transformers when they were first introduced and, quite honestly, I find the idea of hyper-advanced robots that transform into pickup trucks and tapedecks to be ridiculous. Yet, despite the mountain of criticism directed at him from many quarters and the lack of quality material to work with from either the source material or his actors, Michael Bay does one thing better than anyone in the business. He knows how to direct a kick-ass action sequence. If you can endure the interminable sections of the film in which Sam Witwicky (Shia Lebeouf) bemoans his miserable life (despite being on his second supermodel girlfriend), the payoff is well worth it, as the climactic battle sequence for the salvation of the human race is simply awesome. Disengage your brain and enjoy the eye candy.


New Pathfinder books announced

Not surprisingly, the next hardcover Pathfinder rulebook to be released after Ultimate Combat will be another bestiary. More interesting is what Paizo just announced will follow, the Pathfinder Advanced Race Guide. I am particularly stoked about the inclusion of monster races as PCs. Complete rules for playing drow, tieflings, goblins, etc. will be a much needed addition to the game. Too bad it's ten months away.



I am constantly building characters examining the classes trying to figure out what does and doesn't work. To speed the character building process I've found a number of spread sheets that do most of the work for me. They are never perfect and I always have make manual adjustments for things they are not equipped to handle. It would be nice if I could find a product that could do everything.

HeroLab is a pretty good product. I bought the base package for $30 and then the APG and Ultimate Combat for $10 each. It has lots of cool features but the thing I'm most impressed with so far is how well it handles archetypes. There are a bunch of features I haven't really played with yet. It could be a great GM tool if all of the encounters were preplanned in the software with all the NPCs and monsters loaded. The tactical display can monitor initiative, any status effects in play, give you a quick view of spells available, hit bonuses and damage, and even has a complicated dice roller. I mean if you fully loaded the software with everything you need, you could easily use it to run every combat. I would probably track hit points separately, and you have to look up the details for some spells but for the most part it does it all.

When I assume the DM mantle I'm strongly considering loading all the monsters and NPCs into HeroLab and see how well it works. Last time I was DM, I had a small stack of notes and character sheets that proved a bit tricky to manage. It could prove very helpful. I'd have to buy the two Bestiary add-ins first. Maybe next paycheck.