Monday, August 26, 2013

Rise of the Runelords - The End

After just over a year of playing, Rise of the Runelords has come to a close. I think Rognar's wizard was the only original PC to make it through the campaign. My bardadin managed to survive from about level 5 on without dying at all (a feat no other PC can claim). There were definitely parts of this campaign that were a bit of a meat grinder. C seemed to come with a new PC every second week.

We were all experiencing high level campaign fatigue towards the end so the DM chopped off 90% of the final book and we just fought 3 ridiculously tough battles to end things off. J's cleric came to the party rescue many times pulling people back from the brink of death and some times even after they'd passed over.

Karzoug is no push over and in the surprise round downed 60% of the party before we even had a chance to act. We threw everything we had at him and in the end it was C's latest archer PC that finished him off.

RotRL was a fun campaign but started to drag a bit as you get into Runeforge. The place is a huge dungeon and it just seemed to drag on a bit as most of the fights are against wizards and its not until near the end that you figure out what you are even there to do.

Next up I get to assume the mantle of DM, and kick off the new campaign - Way of the Wicked. Yes, its an evil campaign and will hopefully be a lot of fun.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A day at the range

My buddy J and I have a minor obsession for all things WWII. We used to be hardcore Axis & Allies Miniatures players until circumstances prevented our lunch hour skirmishes. Just as well I suppose, he usually seemed to find a way to win. Anyway, we also like guns, especially WWII-era combat rifles. This weekend, we took our rifles out to the range and fired off a few boxes of cartridges. We brought along another buddy, E, who had almost no previous firearms experience. However, years of first-person shooters have served him well as he handled himself admirably. Here are some pics:

My two Lee-Enfields, a No.4 and a No.5 "jungle carbine"

Here is J firing the carbine

J has a M-1 Garand bored for 7.62mm. Here is E firing it. Notice the ejected shell casing near the top of the picture

Finally, here is yours truly having a go with the M-1

Good times.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Pathfinder - Mythic Adventures

I'm still digging through this book so this is more of a first impression than a detailed review.

This looks like Pathfinder turned up to 11. The first thing that strikes me is how much offense has been ramped up. With only a couple mythic tiers damage is easily going to increase by 50% for non casters and will probably double or triple as you get into the higher tiers. Archers take on a new level of scariness as the  get even more arrows per round and the damage bonus from deadly aim goes up by 50%. It is easy to push spell DCs up through the roof as well. I'm still trying to figure out how Mythic Vital Strike works. Depending on how you would calculate the new damage I can see this doing a lot of one hit kills. Why bother with iterative attacks if you can hit once and do as much damage as swinging 4 times?

In terms of defense there doesn't seem to be as much unless you are taking one of the mythic defensive paths. There are a few ways to boost saves (but quite a few rays to get re-rolls), and I saw what looked like quite a few AC boosters. Still lit seems to me that the scales have tiled towards offense even more so with mythic. It's Rocket Tag taken to the new levels.

The first half of the book is all of the PC mythic stuff which has not changed to significantly from the beta test. There is a short section on magic items and artifacts, a section on monsters and then a sample mythic adventure taking up a good chunk of the end of the book.

Over all, this looks like a fun system which allows the PCs to do some wild and crazy stuff. As long as you like your Pathinfer big and bold this is the place to be.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Anyone know of a Skylanders RPG?

If you're the parent of kids in the 5-10 year age cohort, chances are you have heard of Skylanders. If you have kids like mine, every conversation you have with them quickly turns to Skylanders. Before they will tell me if they want cereal or waffles for breakfast, I have to decide if I prefer Drobot or Flashwing (Drobot, of course). For the uninitiated, Skylanders is a toy line and a video game all in one. It includes a line of collectible figures, not surprisingly known as the Skylanders, divided up into eight elements: Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Life, Undead, Magic and Tech. Within each element are several characters, some are elementals, some are robots, there are also elves, dragons, undead creatures and anthropomorphic animals, and a few that simply defy easy description. The really clever part is that each figure has a radio frequency identification chip embedded in the base. When the figure is placed on a device called a portal, which is available for both Sony Playstation and Xbox, it becomes the character in the game.

The game setting is a world called the Skylands (what can I say, it's a kid's game), where towns and villages float in the air high above some unknown land below. Airships fly from one skyland to another, which are populated by a race of anthropomorphic animals known as the Mabu. There is also a wide variety of bad guys including the lowly (but annoying) Chompies, Drow (rhymes with snow), various troll-like things and Arkeyan robots. The Arkeyans were a race of evil robots than conquered and enslaved the Mabu 10,000 years ago. Although the giant Arkeyan robots were defeated (by the original Skylanders) and locked away in the Lost City of Arkus, many of the lesser Arkeyan robots remained scattered throughout the Skylands. There's a lot of potentially good stuff in there for a role-playing game, but it doesn't get developed much in the third-person shooter game. As my kids are getting close to the age at which they could handle a tabletop game, I'm curious if anyone is aware of any attempt to design a Skylanders tabletop rpg. Given the wide range of abilities displayed by the various characters, I would guess the best system would be some sort of superheroes game. Anyone know of an supers system that elementary school kids could handle?


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Think positive

As my family can attest, I am not exactly the life of the party a lot of the time. Being something of an introvert with, as Melville would describe it, a bit of "damp, drizzly November in my soul", I tend to steer clear of internet negativity whenever I can. There's enough ugliness in the real world, without having to crawl around in the fetid swamp of trolling and nerd rage that occupies so much of the internet. Longtime readers might notice, for example, that I never give anything a bad review, be it a book, game or movie. That's not because I like everything I see, it's just because if I don't like something, I don't bother to write about it. I don't feel as though I have anything to say. I used to have a political blog which I eventually purged from the internet because I was finding it so hard to find anything positive to say. Politicians, even ones I admire or agree with on many issues, always seem to find a way to disappoint me. Being a father, I want to be optimistic about the future. I want to believe things will be better (or at least just as good) for my kids as they were for me. I've talked about this a bit in my "bright future" blog posts. Happily, I'm not alone in my desire to see more optimism and positivity in the world of geekdom. Two personal initiatives in particular have come to my attention from prominent members of sci-fi/fantasy/gamer community, Sarah Hoyt's "human wave" movement and Monte Cook's "A+ campaign". I'd also give honourable mention to Wheaton's law, but I prefer not to scold (an assertion my kids might contest). I'm not really going anywhere with this other than to bring attention to these laudable efforts from two talented writers. Now I just have to find the time to read Darkship Renegades.

Oh, and Numenera looks awesome.


Thursday, August 01, 2013

Red Aegis looks awesome

What do you get when you combine the tabletop rpg aspects of D&D with the empire-building of Sid Meier's Civilization? Red Aegis by Vorpal Games. There have been games in the past, notably Pendragon, originally published by Chaosium, that have allowed for dynastic play. Players could play a character throughout his or her life, then go on to play a scion of the original character. It was an interesting concept and pretty well-executed, but the game itself had limited appeal. Red Aegis, which is currently in the process of a successful Kickstarter campaign, is much more ambitious, Rather than playing several generations of a single family, the players take on bloodlines which rule empires for millennia. I cannot express how stoked I am for this project. My two favourite types of games, tabletop rpgs and turn-based computer strategy games fused into one...
Read more at io9.


Oh, one more will be compatible with Pathfinder.