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Topics - Zachary The First

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 31
1
Reviews / Disposable Heroes Modern Gangs Statix 1
« on: September 01, 2014, 11:49:06 am »
I recently was in need of some mooks and thugs for an upcoming superhero RPG campaign that I'll be running. I picked up a nice range of used Heroclix for the actual superheroes and a few random crooks, but I still needed a sizable number of pieces to use to represent street gangs, civilians, and the like.

So, once again, I turned to Precis Intermedia, who has been making my gamemastering easy for what seems like ages now with their line of Disposable Heroes. I've used them for ancient-themed games, traditional fantasy, the Civil War era, and much more. Now, it was time to see what they had in the way of supers and modern paper minis.

If there's a complaint with this set, it's that the name "Modern Gangs" is way too limited! This set not only comes with the traditional "mob" guys in suits, but also represents street gangs (red and blue), mercenaries, police officers, your average joe on the street, and some less savory types, as well. This set would go a long way towards filling out the populace of any modern/superhero setting, really. This isn't just modern gangs--it represents a whole host of potential friends, enemies, and citizens for your campaign.

As for the product itself, the 30 different figures here may be printed out in lack and white, and may either be used with Precis Intermedia's bases or cut out in trifold form. There is also the option to use these as flat counters. If you're in need of a veritable hoard of just one type of mini, there are also pages of "armies" of each type of figure.

In terms the actual art, Joshua Cayne did a really nice job on these figures. Printing out my sheets on cardstock on an older inkjet printer at so-so resolution still produced sharp characters that are easy to discern.

If I had a single complaint, is that when I printed out my stand-ups, there was a second page that only had two figures on it. It doesn't look as if any more pieces could have been fit on page one, but it did seem like a bit of a waste of paper, just having two figures on a whole page. Really, though, that's the only issue I had.

You can purchase Disposable Heroes at the Precis Intermedia website, or via the product page over at RPGNow. For $3.95, this is a great deal. It's hard to go wrong with Disposable Heroes, which with this set continue to provide affordable, good-looking paper miniature solutions for the gaming table.

2
Articles / SUPERS! Revised: The Interview
« on: August 18, 2014, 08:08:35 pm »
A few years ago, RPG Designer Simon Washbourne created SUPERS!, a well-received roleplaying game  that combined flexibility and ease of play. Keeping the game alive, HAZARD Studio obtained the publishing rights to the game, and saw a Kickstarter to successfully bring out a SUPERS! Revised Edition.

Always searching for that perfect superhero RPG, I started out by interviewing the co-author of SUPERS! Revised,  Aldo Regalado. Soon, though, we had involved his fellow co-author, Rus Boyd, the owner of HAZARD Studio, Walt Robilard, and Editor-in-Chief Zenith Comics Andrew Collas. What follows is a full, in-depth interview with all of these parties on just what sets SUPERS! Revised apart, how they came to publish it, and some thoughts on what makes a successful superhero RPG and campaign.

Let's start with the obvious: SUPERS! Revised--what made you do this revision?

ALDO REGALADO, SUPERS! REVISED CO-AUTHOR: Simon Washbourne created a great game in SUPERS! First Edition.  It was fast, fun, simple and robust, and the game’s action economy and narrative elements combined to enable superhero play like no other game I’d ever encountered to that point.  The game, however, was also very vague in parts.  Some Powers had die codes, but no explanation on how to use them.  The game also lacked guidelines for breaking objects, handling vehicles (super or otherwise), grappling and a slew of other elements common to the superhero genre.  A primary goal of the revision, therefore, was to provide answers to recurring questions, thus making the game more complete while remaining true to Simon’s original vision.  Another reason for the revision was to bring new players into the fold by improving on production values.

RUS BOYD, SUPERS! REVISED CO-AUTHOR: Another consideration going into the revision was the general presentation of the game. I think a lot of people were turned off by the general look and feel of the book and weren’t giving it a chance.  While it wasn’t a major factor, giving the game a facelift was a component of the revision. Otherwise, as Aldo said, beefing up the options, making rules consistent and accessible, and fleshing out some of the missing elements was the #1 consideration.


The original SUPERS! game was produced by Simon Washbourne. What made you interested in acquiring the rights to the game in the first place?

WALT ROBILLARD, HAZARD STUDIO CO-OWNER: Andrew first approached me about this in 2012. We were both working on a "hack" of an old school supers game when Andrew had heard that Simon was interested in transferring the rights to SUPERS!. We both had big plans for Superhero stuff we wanted to produce but would always have to go in as a Third Party Publisher. This meant that we would need permission from someone else or always have to be conscious of what the game's owners were doing (as we know a few folks that were producing content for games that suddenly had a new edition). We saw the awesome potential of SUPERS! and knew that we had to be the ones to score the rights. This would not only allow us to make the kind of things we wanted to do but also would allow us to build up a third party community around the game. Simon was very kind and worked with us to make this a reality and we couldn't have asked for a better experience.

ANDREW COLLAS, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, ZENITH COMICS: SUPERS! was the first SUPER POWERED RPG that I ever saw allow you to use your Super Smarts as a defense against a physical attack!  I was blown away!  When I learned that Simon was interested in maybe selling the rights, I contacted Walt and said “We gotta do this!”. Walt checked it out, he agreed, we negotiated a deal with Simon and the rest, as they say, is history. Hard working history.


For fans of the original SUPERS!, what's different in Revised?

ALDO: As I mentioned above, the primary difference between SUPERS! First Edition and SUPERS! Revised is that the game is now replete with examples and suggestions on how to use Powers and on how to handle situations that were not covered in the original rules.  Once we got under the hood, we also tweaked some already existing systems to make the game more streamlined.  Some specific changes and additions include:

1) A unified task resolution mechanic
2) A new way of calculating damage
3) A new Benefit / Hindrance mechanic
4) New tactical options, including rules for critical strikes, grappling, and disarming opponents
5) An expanded list of things that can be accomplished with Competency Dice
6) New Mook and Hazard rules
7) Nineteen new Powers
8) Three new Aptitudes
9) New Boosts and Complications
10) New Advantages (including Base of Operations and Super Vehicles)
11) New Disadvantages
12) Rules for breaking things, falling, drowning, and death
13) Optional rules (including Wild Die and Dice Cap options)
14) An optional system for running the game with miniatures
15) A random character generator

RUS:
16) The assist action!  One of the baffling omissions from the original game was the ability to team up and accomplish something together that an individual character could never hope to.


What do you see as SUPERS! Revised offering that really stands out in a crowded supers RPG market?

ALDO: Well, the first thing to say is that SUPERS! RED is rules-lite.  That sets it apart from some of the more famous superhero games, like Champions and Mutants and Masterminds. Despite this fact, SUPERS! RED remains powerful and comprehensive in its ability to model the diversity of powers and abilities that you find in superhero comics (and beyond). The question then arises, “How does SUPERS! RED distinguish itself from other rules-lite (or rules-medium) games?”  The way I see it, SUPERS! RED hits the sweet spot between the “physics engine” RPGs and “narrative engine” RPGs. One of its strengths is that there is a GREAT deal of narrative flexibility. In combat, for instance, one can attack with ANY attribute, as long as a case could be made for using it. Fighting a robot?  Maybe you attack with your Technology Aptitude by hacking into its computer brain. Maybe you attack with your Size Control Power, as you shrink down to your smallest size, slip through a crack in its casing and start pulling wires. Maybe you attack with Super Brain as you present it with a logic problem that breaks down its programming, or maybe you just shoot it with an energy blast. Defenders have just as much, and perhaps more, narrative choices.  Maybe the robot defends with its Technology Aptitude, countering your hacking attempts with its own security programs. Maybe it defends with its Energy Control Powers, filling its body with the ionic energy it wields to flush you out.  Maybe it counters with its Presence Aptitude, loudly proclaiming that it is a sentient being and thus beyond your puny attempts to exploit its programming, or maybe it simply absorbs your blow with its Unobtainium casing. The reason that defenders have more narrative control is that in most cases they can also decide how any resultant damage is applied, be it to mental or physical Attributes.

Despite all of this narrative freedom, however, Attributes in the game are still pretty solidly grounded in a “physics engine” type system. Narrative freedom plays an important part, but characters are still somewhat bound by Ratings grounded in the game’s physical world. Lizard Lad probably can’t knockout Malephon, Lord of a Thousand Realities, just because he loves his sister. I also think that SUPERS! RED is pretty carefully calibrated and internally consistent, which isn’t always true for other superhero RPGs.  


How easy is this system to learn? How does it scale, and how does it handle disparities in power level--say, having someone like Superman in the same group as the Question or Booster Gold, or Hawkeye next to Thor and the Hulk?

ALDO: The system is incredibly easy to learn.  The basic mechanic takes all of 14 pages to explain (and four of these pages are filled with tables and/or art). In addition to learning the game, character generation is a snap. Once you have a character concept, you can generate a character in ten minutes or less. I’ve introduced the game to three different gaming groups. In each case it took me five minutes to explain the basic mechanic, and another 10 minutes to generate characters. Most importantly, the players I’ve encountered “get it” almost instantly, and are able to jump into the action without any difficulty.

How does the game scale? Every Attribute in the game has a Rating measured in a number of D6.  Ratings of 1D–3D are in the “normal human” range. A Rating of 4D is the nexus between “peak human” and “superhuman.” Anything 5D and above is considered “superhuman.” Theoretically, the superhuman range can scale as high as a judge allows, but it rarely exceeds 7D or so.

The “normal human” range of 1D–3D, however, is deceptive.  In SUPERS!, having a Rating in an Attribute AT ALL makes you exceptional. This is because most regular people (reporters, police officers, soldiers, etc.) don’t get the benefit of a full character sheet. They have a Mook/Citizen or Henchmen/Supporting Cast Rating instead. So, a group of six soldiers might have a Mook Rating of 2D. That means that the non-powered mystery man with a Fortitude 2D, Reaction 2D and Fighting 2D is way more effective than those six soldiers combined. In my experience, this mechanic allows even non-powered superheroes to feel truly “super” relative to the broader world they inhabit.

As far as having characters of different power levels co-existing in the same group, SUPERS! allows for this by granting additional Competency Dice to characters built with fewer dice totals. These Competency Dice can be used to improve rolls, modify narrative elements, reuse abilities, effect power stunts and otherwise compensate for power discrepancies.


Looking at the art in SUPERS!, you have several different artists with very different styles. Was that a conscious decision over going with just a single artist or style?

WALT: It was very much a conscious decision. So many cowl clad RPG's out there go with a signature (house) style for the game. This has both good and bad consequences. While it gives an identifiable look to the game that most can pick out from across the shelf, it also tends to give an idea to the player of one particular style that the game can be played. By going with different art styles, we could emphasize that the game could be cinematic (such as Batman Begins - from the look of Ariel Medel's "heroic cover)to standard comic book action (Ade Smith and Joe Singleton's images throughout the book) and even animated (using DT Butchino's archetype images ). With multiple artists, we could push the idea that the SUPERS! engine was diverse enough to handle everything from your favorite Marvel and DC comics to items like Image titles, such as Black Science, Fatale, or even Rat Queens. We wanted this to become "your" game and in doing so, needed our art to be able to tell as many stories as possible.  

ANDREW: I designed the logo! That counts as art right?  Right?


Is there a sub-genre of superheroes you find that's a "sweet spot" for SUPERS? Are there any sub-genres that might need a bit more tinkering for a campaign?

ALDO: Honestly, I think SUPERS! handles just about any superheroic sub-genre pretty well.  There are people on the message boards that are using the game to make characters for entirely different genres as well. I think some superheroic sub-genres, however, would benefit from additional guidelines. Really gritty street level games, for instance, would benefit from a discussion of how to use Hindrances or Benefits to make weapons matter more in combat. Cosmic level games might benefit from similar genre-specific tweaking. The sweet-spot, then, is probably everything from non-gritty street level campaigns (like classic Daredevil, Spider-Man or Batman) to Justice League level play.  

RUS: For me, the sweet spot for SUPERS! is the mid- to upper-level tiers of power. Cosmic levels of play are easily accomplished but I shudder to think of counting 10+ dice per roll all session long! Gritty gameplay at the street level is doable as long as you are willing to accept that SUPERS! makes rather large leaps in value at each “level” as represented by dice ratings which might not match some people’s expectations of that level of play.


In your supers gaming campaigns, what are your big influences? Any particular comic ages, groups, shows, or comic book runs?

ALDO: My baseline sensibilities are probably Bronze Age. I grew up reading comics from the late 1970s and the early 1980s. Although I continue to read comics, that early stuff really set my baseline sensibilities. I’ve had one player tell me that the tone of my games is akin to the Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans run. I love that stuff, so that’s good, but I see myself striking more of an Englehart/Perez sensibility. My most recent campaign, however, feels more like a 1990s Ultraverse book, probably because I’m reading a lot of that stuff now and also because of the vibe that my players brought to the game with their characters.

RUS: Cartoons! I didn’t grow up reading comic books so the vast majority of my experience is through the various cartoons that have come and gone. I should note that Irrational Game’s Freedom Force was my first comic book style RPing experience beyond a few one-offs of the old TSR Marvel RPG. I’ve shamelessly raided Freedom Force for a number of games and campaigns.


In your opinion, what's the key to a successful supers campaign?

ALDO: There are so many elements to a successful campaign!  Also, I’m not sure that these elements are any different for superhero campaigns than they are for any other RPG genre. GMs (or judges) need to know the genre they are running, and players need to buy-in. Communication is key, as is planning. Consistency helps. The neat thing about superhero gaming is that it encompasses all genres. I like superhero campaigns that feature superhero teams composed of characters with diverse backgrounds. If I’m running a game for an Arthurian knight, an Alpha Centaurian, a demon hunter and a robot who ran away from its corporate owners, I’ve got four different genres to blend together into really cool superhero zaniness. So, what players bring to the table is key. There’s tons more, of course, but I’ll end by saying that system matters as well.  That’s why I like SUPERS! RED so much (as well as several other rules-lite games). Many of my players loved the idea of superhero gaming, but overly complex systems got in the way of their enjoyment. Turning towards rules-lite games has allowed them to embrace the action, drama and fun inherent in the genre.

RUS: I usually insist that each character have a disadvantage of some sort that offers up its own campaign ideas. Secret criminal backgrounds, family members and love interests, personal goals that transcend “beating up bad guys”, etc. all tie characters into the campaign world and allow me to incorporate personal stories into the larger plot. It’s probably because it occurs all the time in cartoons, I enjoy having character-centered game sessions during broader campaigns where I highlight a specific Disadvantage. More often than not those types of games naturally create more plot ideas!


Who have been your biggest influences in gaming and game design, and why?

ALDO: Wow. I haven’t really thought about that. First of all, I don’t know that I can really call myself a designer. I’m a writer, and I helped to substantially revise the work done by Simon Washbourne, but I’m not sure that qualifies me as a designer. I’ll let others decide on that. Despite the fact that I just expressed a preference for rules-lite games, I have to say that Steve Peterson, George MacDonald, Bruce Harlick and Ray Greer have been the most influential in the way that I think about superhero games. They, of course, created Champions – a game that I played for over 20 years.  They gave us the point-buy, effects-based character generation system that is at the core of all my favorite superhero RPGs.  Second, I’d have to say Chris Rutkowsky and Simon Washbourne. These two men are TRUE designers, and they both taught me that superhero gaming can be done (and done better, IMO) the rules-lite way.

RUS: I was going to say all the veterans of TSR that drew me into gaming decades ago, but I believe most of what I do these days stands in stark contrast to those systems. Really, Chris Rutkowsky’s BASH UE is what brought me back to the gaming table after years of not playing and was the first rules-light game I tried. A few years later I found myself playing SUPERS! at a table and I’ve been hooked ever since.


What was the first RPG you played? What was the first RPG you really loved?

ALDO: The first RPG I played was Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (1st Edition). I really loved it, which is why I started playing other RPGs.  Champions, however, is the game that I was truly passionate about for 20+ years.  I mean, I continued to play D&D and picked up many, Many, MANY games over the years, but Champions was HUGE for me.  I loved the ability to craft my own character and the power to be able to craft just about ANY character. I picked it up in 1982 and was hooked for most of my gaming life. Once the complexity of it started to bog down playability (due to time constraints and player preferences) I started experimenting with rules-lite games. BASH! UE won me over in a big way. I still love (and play) that game, but SUPERS! ended up being my go-to superhero game in the end, for the reasons I stated above.

RUS: D&D Basic Edition with the incredible Elmore art on the cover.  Really, it was the art that hooked me. I looked at that lone fighter in his fuzzy blue loincloth going toe-to-toe with the huge red dragon and I said “I want to play THAT game!” Dungeons and Dragons up through the 3rd edition (which killed my interest for various reasons) was my true passion.  I haven’t felt the same way about gaming again until I ran into SUPERS!.


What's next for the SUPERS! line? What sorts of products are you going to be releasing next, and in what timeframe? Are you looking at any 3rd-party support?

ALDO: I’ll let Walt and Andrew answer this, but I can say that they welcome 3rd-party support. My own company, The Guys’ Ink (TGI) produced two books for SUPERS! (First Edition). These are The Freedom Ring and The Iron Gauntlet (with art by SUPERS! RED co-author, Rus Boyd). Both books are set in a universe I call the Superverse. My first SUPERS! RED book will be The Superverse.  It will include "REDified" versions of all the characters from the original two books plus new characters, organizations, setting material and an ambitious plot-point campaign.  I’m going to start working on it in earnest on September 1st.

WALT: As Aldo has said, we love our third party community. We have amazing folks that have stepped up to be a part of what we are trying to build with SUPERS!. There are a lot of folks who have amazing ideas that they want to see published and we are excited and privileged to help these come alive on the page. While we do not have an open license for our game, we do encourage folks who want to push their ideas with our engine to approach us. Once we have an agreement on production standards, we usually let the third party folks run with their ideas (which has produced some incredible results).

As far as the next HAZARD Studio release for SUPERS!, we have a full line up already in production. From adventures to character packs, we have been very busy. We also have our next big book in production. We want to take SUPERS! and show people that four colors can produce anything we can dream up. Agency Unlimited will be a sourcebook for those that want to play agency style games. We have more irons in the fire, but we have to wait to speak on those.  We are just excited to be a part of a golden age of Superhero Gaming.

ANDREW: Slowly but surely I am releasing the Zenith Universe as either HEROIC or VILLAINOUS character packs. 1 character, full story, easy options to plug into your SUPERS! campaign.  Beyond that, as the Zenith Universe grows, it will always serve SUPERS! first and foremost. I believe in this game in a way that I want my own published universe to be part of it. When we first got the rights a bunch of folks asked me “Is this just going to become the Zenith Universe RPG?” and I said then what I say now, no way… but it WILL be the official RPG of the Zenith Universe!

RUS: I’ve now produced two products under the banner of Legends & Cryptids of North America in collaboration with HAZARD Studios. They’re non-traditional products I suppose for a comic book RPG but I’ve always loved folktales, especially the Spanish and Latin American influenced stories that I grew up listening to in Texas. There’ll be a third entry to accompany the Sasquatch and the Lechuza within the next month.


Will we be seeing HAZARD Studios and SUPERS! at any big gaming conventions anytime soon?

WALT: While I am not currently planning on attending any big conventions this year, there are some folks who are carrying the SUPERS! Banner at several appearances (and have my full support).  Joe Singleton is going to be at the Ark-La-Tex Comicon on August 30th for anyone who would like to sit down with one of our artists.  He will be doing some sketching and helping to raffle off a copy of SUPERS! Revised Edition for charity.  I will also be attending two virtual conventions.  The weekend of October 10th I will be at Virtua-Con and then the weekend of November 17th I will be at Aethercon.  Both of these are online conventions where I will be hosting games of SUPERS! as well as being on several panels about RPGs.  If there is a convention in the North Eastern United States that would like SUPERS! to make an appearance, I can be reached through our website, http://hazardstudio.net.  

RUS:  I’m still waiting on my ticket to Gen Con Walt. :)

To learn more about SUPERS! Revised, check out their page over at RPGNow/DriveThruRPG, or visit HAZARD Studio. Thanks to the authors and HAZARD crew for their time and thoughts!

3
Hello all! We're back with another year of Gen Con Indy coverage! Today, we picked up my buddy Jeff from RPG Circus, and we headed downtown to see some pics of the convention setting up:

There's a big "Welcome Gamers" floor sign welcoming Gen Con attendees. Gen Con has really found a welcoming home in Indy. Local businesses love the revenue, and many even get into the swing of the convention by having the wait staff dress up, doing decorations, or holding promotions to bring gamers through the door.



Inside the convention center, there was a huge line for registration and badge pick-up. The Gen Con staff and volunteers were legion, however, and seemed to be moving things along as quickly as possible. 24-hour registration was a good move, I think:



One of the best thing about Gen Con is all the posters advertising games and companies. They're massive:



(And yeah, Paizo has a deal now with Obsidian for licensing some Pathfinder stuff for electronic titles).

Gaming has already started! Anywhere there's a table, there's a game:



Battletech Pods being set up:



Many of the card and event rooms are still being set up:



WotC is still setting up the D&D 5e area, but they've got some big banners up all over.



The Pathfinder banners are all over, too, and impressive! This cavernous room is all Pathfinder Society:




4
...That's what it sounds like, anyways.

Over the last few years, the Gamescience dice brand has seen some woes. With another entity having taken over production for a bit from Lou Zocchi, there were numerous reports of quality control issues with the dice. That was a pretty bitter pill from a brand that had always prided itself on precison, and not much fun for us long-time fans.

However, over the past year, Lou Zocchi had regained manufacturing control of the dice. I saw there was a Gamescience booth listed this year (Booth 1503), and just wanted to confirm it would be the "genuine article", as it were. Previously, there had been two booths--one with Lou Zocchi, one not--claiming to be selling Gamescience, and it was a bit of a mess. So, I fired off an email, to try to confirm what to expect at this year's Gamescience booth. Here's the response I received:

Zach,

It is true that Lou Zocchi has retained ownership of Gamescience® Dice and has a team working diligently to return the quality and service that is expected to the brand. Full production plans are being made and stock levels should start going up for the fourth quarter. Lou Zocchi and Russ Blakeman will be representing Gamescience® Dice at GenCon Indy this year at Booth #1503 across the aisle from Atlas Games and next to Anime Palace just inside the Exhibit Hall Entrance where to the left of Troll and Toad. Hope to see you there we will have limited stocks at this show so first come first serve.

Website is under construction and partially operating at gamesciencedice.com.

Thanks,

James


I know not everyone is a Gamescience fan, but for me, this is welcome news. I've always liked their dice--even the ugly ones, which I think have "character". It'll be nice to be able to buy with confidence again. The last couple of years was a bit of a crapshoot when it came to their dice...

(Full post here)

5
Just as the question asks. For our purposes, "play" includes running or GMing a tabletop RPG, online or in person.

6
Thought I'd share this over here, too. I finally got my GM's Binder put together. I had scans, pdf printouts, and notes over a ton of folders.

Here's the end result:



I imagine it'll contract or grow a bit depending on what setting/system I'm running, but here it is, ready for my Castles & Crusades Forgotten Realms game. It's running right around 274 pages total. Here's the Table of Contents:

Zack's GM's Binder Table of Contents

Cover Page

Character Creation/Getting Started
-Castles & Crusades Character Creation Guide (Homebrew)
-Forgotten Realms Random Class/Race Table (Homebrew)
-Forgotten Realms Approved Deity List (Homebrew)
-C&C Character Sheet Examples
-Additional Starting Item Table (Homebrew)
-Standard Adventuring Charter (Homebrew)
-Homebrew C&C Classes
-SIEGE Engine Notes (Homebrew)

Charts and Tables
-Character Background Pages & Tables (Epic Role Playing)
-Random Physical Features (Colin Chapman)
-Background Occupations (Adamant Entertainment)
-Exchange Rates/Gem Types (Judges Guild)
-100 Treasure Chest Stuffers (Top Fashion Games)
-100 Marketplace Goods (Top Fashion Games)
-Libraries (Dragon Magazine #37)
-Hireling Traits/Generation (somewhere online)
-Drunken Debauchery (Colin Chapman)
-Random Dog Table (Swordfish Islands)
-Ship Names (Jon Brazer Enterprises)
-Adventure Generators (New Big Dragon Games)
-Quick Treasure Hoard Generation (New Big Dragon Games)
-Gems and Jewelry (New Big Dragon Games)
-Gems and Valuables (Hackmaster 4e)
-Magic Item Reference Sheet (Zenopus)
-Mundane Items Table (somewhere online)
-100 Whispered Insults About The Adventurers (Top Fashion Games)
-Treasure Map Destinations (Jeff Rients/Miscellaneum of Cinder)

Monsters & Encounters
-Random Encounter Charts for C&C (Homebrew)
-Excerpts from Appendix C: Monster Encounters (AD&D 1e)
-Monster Mutations (Jeff Rients/Miscellaneum of Cinder)
-Forgotten Realms Regional/Location Encounter Tables (Based on the lists from Realms 3e)
-One Hit Point Monsters (Zenopus)
-Orc Encounters (Troll Lord Games)
-100 Exciting 1st Level Encounters (James Mishler)

Equipment & Arms
-Magic Items, I-VI (New Big Dragon Games)
-Miscellaneous Treasures (Kellri's CDD #4)
-Additional Items (Homebrew)

Forgotten Realms (Note: New Section)
-Maps and Annotations of the Savage Frontier/Moonshae Isles/Sword Coast (Various)
-Forgotten Realms Trade Map (Wizards of the Coast)
-Forgotten Realms Calendar, Holidays, and Notes (Fan-created/kismetrose.com)

Worldbuilding
-Bars, Bartenders, Gamers, and Wagers (Hackmaster 4e)
-The Development of Towns in D&D (Best of Dragon, Vol. I)
-Settlements & Inhabitation by Population Density (New Big Dragon Games)
-Generating Towns and Cities (Expeditious Retreat Press)
-Settling Down (Dark Dungeons)
-War! (Dark Dungeons)
-Construction Costs and Time Required (Judges Guild)
-Assorted Ready Reference Sheets (Judges Guild)
-Trade Goods (Silk Road, Expeditious Retreat Press)

Travel
-Travel distance in the Forgotten Realms (Various)
-Travel tables and references (Hackmaster 4e)
-Weather Conditions/Events (New Big Dragon Games)
-Off-Course Determination (New Big Dragon Games)
-Hunting/Foraging (New Big Dragon Games)
-On The Road (Kellri's CDD #4)
-Living Off The Land (Kellri's CDD #4)

Names
-Sobriquets (Dungeon Crawl Classics)
-Names of Middle-Earth (Colin Chapman)
-Holmesian Random Names (Zenopus)

Plots and Rumors
-The Big List of RPG Plots (S. John Ross)
-Rumor lists from old modules (TSR)

Random Matters and Appendices
-Movements and Encumbrance (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)
-"The Campaign" (from AD&D 1e Dungeon Master's Guide)
-Appendix T: Titles (Dungeon Crawl Classics)
-Giant Rolemaster Herbs List (somewhere online long ago)
-Tavern Menus (Small Niche Games)
-Writing Notes
-Middle Isles Map and bits from Majestic Wilderlands (Rob Conley)

Additional References and Inspiration
-Various blogs, forums, links, and online references
-Appendix N


It's nice to finally have everything back in one binder. I don't even want to guess how many ink cartridges I went through.

Now to put one together for my next Supers game...

Does anyone else have a GM's Binder they use, and a table of contents to go along with it?

7
So I wasn't in a position to pledge on this Kickstarter, but I see SUPERS! Revised Edition is out. Has anyone picked this up yet? How does it compares to the original? Strengths? Weaknesses? I rather liked the original rules.

http://www.rpgnow.com/product/130108/SUPERS-Revised-Edition

8
Reviews / A Wiz Dice Review (With Pic Links)
« on: July 25, 2014, 09:06:05 pm »
The other day, I came home to a pretty cool surprise--my wife had raided my Amazon Wish List and purchased a bag of 100+ Wiz Dice! There they were, on the table in all their dicely glory.

(Click the links for pics)

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uCdeGOgnKBE/U9LzHZ17vxI/AAAAAAAADU0/BfFdnYwyy_4/s1600/Canon+1+040.JPG

(I should explain that I am normally a Gamescience man, but the recent uncertainties, reported poor dice quality, and ownership change with Gamestation have not been easy on those of us who like our "precision" dice. As a result, Gamescience have become rare, and the price has gone way up. I have hope for their booth at Gen Con under Lou Zocchi, but for now, it's a tough road for the Gamescience fan).

I've been looking for some good dice for my loaner sets, for my box of "reward dice" for my gaming group, and for a couple of other projects. So precisely what did the Wiz Dice bag yield?

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-oeAOoG4ms-o/U9L0i2aaEWI/AAAAAAAADVA/6TimgAVrssI/s1600/Canon+1+042.JPG

The kids and I poured out the dice on the table, and started putting complete sets together. We ended up with 13 complete sets of polyhedral dice. Some were rather plain green or red, but some had a nice sparkle effect or sort of a whorled look:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-IEhx6FZNCVg/U9L0ylORRPI/AAAAAAAADVI/HTEzMBf3EBk/s1600/Canon+1+046.JPG

13 sets of 7 each yielded 91 dice. There were 7 in a small wiz dice dice bag--sort of a blue/gray swirl set. There were another 13 dice that were "strays"--mostly part of a green set and a white set. Overall, I had 111 dice in this bag, almost totally evenly split between each dice type.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ql3joFX_s_c/U9L3u0IXfwI/AAAAAAAADVU/WolGt5sG2kc/s1600/Canon+1+044.JPG

As far as the dice quality, they aren't Q-Workshop, but I'd say they're on par with what you'd get from Chessex or Crystal Caste. The numbers are big, and except for one set of white "cloudy" dice, are pretty easy to read. I only found a few where the number paint was chipped at all--of course, at Amazon, it says the bag will contain "no factory seconds", so take that as you will. Compared to the Chessex Pound-O-Dice, there seems to be more complete sets in Wiz Dice, which is going to be a big plus for many.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-aFfsQlpUrfk/U9L4iHisOtI/AAAAAAAADVc/2i-QdW9t9qw/s1600/Canon+1+047.JPG

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-gsTYB2tt124/U9L5IvhNR-I/AAAAAAAADVk/QrqyFpYw7Dw/s1600/Canon+1+045.JPG

Overall, this was a really nice surprise, and I think 100+ polyhedral dice for $19.99 is a pretty good deal. I was able  to put together some nice loaner dice bags, and had plenty more left over for the general pool and other projects. Wiz Dice are currently available at Amazon under free Prime Shipping, if you want to check them out for yourself. They'd be great for a group who's just starting out needs to grab some dice for everyone, for folks who like to have a healthy dice stockpile, or for anyone looking for some pretty nice dice at a pretty good price.

9
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/600766964/the-storytellers-thesaurus?ref=nav_search

Anyone else jumping on this Kickstarter? Jim Ward and Anne Brown are the authors. I'm a sucker for these types of fantasy lists, items, etc. Looks like it'll be a pretty hefty tome when all is said and done.

It's already funded, and they really haven't promoted it much yet that I've seen.

I've already received my 6th Printing Player's Handbook from the last Troll Lord-related KS, so they're definitely in my good graces right now.

10
Hey all--

I'm covering Gen Con again for theRPGsite this year. If you've been around the boards for a while, you know I usually post plenty of pictures, try to get the word on new product, and keep my ear to the ground for what folks are talking about. If there are any products you'd like me to try to cover or get pics of "in the wild", please let me know. Obviously 5e is going to be a big topic of discussion, but there are plenty of other games on the list, too.

This year, I'm bringing my daughter on Friday. This is the first Gen Con she's been to where she's been old enough to really game, so it'll be neat to get her perspective in some of the demos, etc., too. Otherwise, I'll be there 3 of the 4 days, at least, and will be ready to try to cover as much as I can. It looks like it's going to be a really good year for RPG accessories, terrain, and minis, just looking at the exhibitor list.

11
Whether it's Pathfinder, 3.x, 2e, or whatever version of D&D, which classes saw the least play at your table, or seemed the least beloved?

For us (Pathfinder/C&C), we almost never see bards or paladins. I think the only time we see a bard is if I'm playing Pathfinder, as I'm the only person who will run one.

12
Pretty interesting little blurb on their main site this morning...

Quote
Gencon. This August. 15 Years.

So in the midst of all the echoes that are the battles of Codex Nordica and Three Sisters Kickstarters and the coming battle with Amazing Adventures we are looking across the wide field at Gencon. This is going to be a special Gencon by any account. It was 15 years ago this August that TLG debuted her signature line of adventures and campaign setting. It was Ten years ago, this August, that TLG debuted the white box for Castles & Crusades.

Its something to celebrate! And celebrate we will. Its high time the white box received a companion.



Link: http://www.trolllord.com/

It would be really cool to see some sort of "companion" boxed set. I'll be adding this to my Gen Con list to check out, for sure.

13
So, with another edition of Forgotten Realms soon to arrive, let's go back and talk about what's come before. I'm interesting in everyone's take on the Realms. I know we've had some people take the Gray Box and do some cool things, and the 3e setting has its share of fans, too. There was also the big departure and shake-up when it came to 4e.

So, for those of you who have played or run in the Forgotten Realms:

1) Which edition of the setting did you play most? How much did you change in the setting versus play as canon?

2) What was your favorite region or area of the Realms, and why?

3) What did you like about the Realms? What did you dislike most?

4) How many Chaotic Good drow with twin scimitars and a magic panther showed up at your table? :)

5) Finish this sentence...if I could change one thing about the Forgotten Realms, past or present, I.....

6) How many Forgotten Realms novels have you read?

7) Which Forgotten Realms sourcebook, if any, stood out to you as particularly well done, regardless of edition?

14
This site is known for having a strong OSR presence, or at least plenty of folks who don't mind sitting down to a game of older-edition D&D. With the release of 5e just around the corner, I thought it would be interesting to try and see just what everyone would pick as their favorite version of D&D, retro-clone, or neoclassical D&D (pick your term, doesn't matter to me).

I know lots of folks mash up several games together to get their idealized version of D&D; that's awesome! If no one game listed is your primary (let's say the one you get at least 2/3 of your material from), please select "Other" and explain just what you mash up together.

Remember, polls are only limited to 20 options, so I tried to pick the most popular or noteworthy. Apologies for those not listed!

15
Have you ever had a good or bad interaction online or in person that changed your perception of the company?

This comes up because my gaming circle was discussing our Gen Con plans today. I’m not sure if anyone remembers my write up from last year, but the Kenzer booth was one place everyone was looking forward to visiting. At the time, we had two GMs running HackMaster games, and a pretty enthusiastic player base.

So our first friend goes to the booth. Not a lot of folks around, tries talking to the booth personnel. One of the guys is fiddling with his phone, barely speaking or answering his questions. The other guy, not on his phone, seems completely disinterested in asking any questions.

We are told this, but it doesn’t really seem like Kenzer. We like Kenzer. We buy Kenzer’s stuff. Kenzer’s good people, right? So the other GM heads over there a bit later (he had yet to hear this story), and is completely blown off. He asks about products, and they sort of just point to the table. Again, not a huge crowd, nothing going on that would seem to indicate that he’s interrupting anything of consequence. He’s just a big fan, a guy who purchased and runs their flagship game, trying to talk to them about what’s new. This is not the sort of mouthbreather who occupies real estate in front of a booth for 3 hours, telling booth personnel about his NPCs and his house rules. He’s a good guy, a fan, just trying to see what they have going on.

This is surprising when it is relayed to the rest of our group. We now have two different gamers, who did not talk to each other about it beforehand, having the same unfortunate experience at the Kenzer booth. So, the rest of us head over there the next morning of the convention. Hey, maybe it was a bad day, maybe they were stressed. Not fun for us, but it happens.

So, we walk over to the Kenzer booth, where a rather morose individual does not greet us, but rather stands there, arms crossed, giving monosyllabic, clipped answers to anything we ask. I can’t speak for anyone else but our gaming circle, but it was the worst treatment and interaction with customers we saw at any booth. Did we come at a bad time, or catch them after some bad news? Maybe, but it doesn’t make it a good experience for us.

It stinks, because I really love KotDT, and I think Kenzer makes some pretty cool stuff. But that was a seriously uncool move towards some of their bigger fans. One of the individuals in question mentioned it on their forum or in other feedback, and they seemed pretty ambivalent about the whole thing. It left a pretty bad taste in everyone’s mouth. We have a backlog of games that includes Pathfinder, Castles & Crusades, Rifts, Palladium Fantasy, Heroes Unlimited, Supers!, Traveller, StarCluster 3, Two-Fisted Tales, Call of Cthulhu, and Rolemaster. We don’t *need* to be fans of KenzerCo, as much as I love their comics.

So I’m wondering—has anyone had a good or bad experience that changed their perception of a gaming figure or company, in person or online?

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