Sunday, December 6, 2015

East Texas University: Freshman Year - Meet The Cast!

So we have started East Texas University, and I am probably going to post my ETU stuff up here on the blog, for those interested. With this campaign, I went the route of having the group "cast" their characters with actors and such.

I'll try to keep up with at least rudimentary actual plays as well.

SO...let's meet the cast of ETU: Freshman Year!

Russ "Bad Moon" Rison, Pinebox Texas' Favorite Son!

Russ "Bad Moon" Rison (three time State Champion Quarterback) had his season - and dreams of being a Texas Longhorn - ended when he tore up his knee his Senior year. His cannon arm and football mind, combined with an intense rehab schedule, left him in prime position for a scholarship from the ETU Ravens, especially when his old Wide Receiver "Racin'" Mason Holmes transferred from Texas University after being cut from the Longhorns for disciplinary reasons.

"Bad Moon" and "Racin'" Mason are dead set on leading ETU to its best football years ever...even if players keep mysteriously disappearing.

Major: Agriculture (But really football)
Extracurricular Activity: Athlete
Agility: d4
Smarts: d6
Spirit: d8
Strength: d8
Vigor: d6

Cha: 0     Pace: 6     Parry: 5     Toughness: 5     Academics: 0

Local Favorite

Party Animal
Trouble Magnet
Minor Phobia (Woods)

Knowledge (Agriculture) d6
Fighting d6
Tracking d6
Boating d4
Driving d4
Shooting d4
Throwing d6
Knowledge (Football) d6
Notice d4

Used Pick with slick tires (-1 to Driving)

Becka Nicole Lane, Just a Girl, Trying to Make Her Way in the World

Becka came to ETU mostly because it was affordable. Here for her teaching degree, she gets pulled along into wacky adventures by her roommate Brandi, who is a Pinebox native and Bad Moon's biggest fan. Becka and Brandi are a liiiittle on the scatterbrained side, though Becka takes life and college a little more serious than Brandi does. Becka hasn't talked much about her life before ETU, but her sweet appearance seems to hide a harder edge.

Major: Education
Extracurricular Activity: Tutoring
Agility: d8
Smarts: d6
Spirit: d6
Strength: d4
Vigor: d8

Cha: 0     Pace: 6     Parry: 5     Toughness: 6     Academics: -2

Fast Healer

Major Phobia (Bugs)
Annoying Roommate (Brandi)

Knowledge (Education) d4
Fighting d6
Shooting d6
Driving d6
Healing d4
Notice d6
Lockpicking d6
Streetwise d4
Persuasion d4

Used Midsized Car with an engine that slips (-10 to top speed)

Jonathan T. Wolfwood, aka Europe, The Vampire of Pennsylvania

Jonathan T. Wolfwood, Anthropology Major and son of the East Coast Wolfwoods, has come to ETU to get out from under the thumb of his overprotective parents (yeah, right). While he is genuinely curious about the mysteries of the world, he is quick to rationalize anything out of the ordinary, even when the supernatural is staring him in the face. "Racin'" Mason and "Bad Moon" Rison are convinced he's a homosexual European vampire, but they don't care, as long as he can kick a football (which he can't, and has no interest in doing).

Major: Anthropology
Extracurricular Activity: Part-Time Job (Teacher's Aide)
Agility: d6
Smarts: d8
Spirit: d6
Strength: d4
Vigor: d6

Cha: +2     Pace: 6     Parry: 2     Toughness: 5     Academics: +2

Test Taker

Doubting Thomas
Overprotective Parents

Knowledge (Anthropology) d6
Healing d4
Investigation d6
Notice d6
Repair d4
Driving d4
Shooting d6
Swimming d4
Taunt d6

New Pick-Up Truck

With Special Guest Stars (aka NPCs)...

"Racin'" Mason Holmes

Mason Holmes could have been a huge college star if he had kept his head on straight, but his freshman year at Texas University ended with him kicked off the football team for disciplinary issues, and him transferring to ETU, where his former High School Quarterback "Bad Moon" Rison was about to start school. Mason...isn't the brightest tool in the shed, laser focused on football above all else, and his views towards women are a bit...suspect...but he is loyal to a fault.

Major: Undeclared (But really football)
Agility: d10
Smarts: d4
Spirit: d6
Strength: d6
Vigor: d6

Cha: +4     Pace: 8     Parry: 5     Toughness: 5

Very Attractive

Major Phobia (Fire)

Climbing d6
Driving d6
Fighting d6
Notice d4
Intimidation d6
Persuasion d6

Brandi Jo Miller, Becka's Roommate and Bad Moon's Girlfriend (Maybe)

Brandi is Pinebox born and bred, and has a huge crush on "Bad Moon" Rison. They had Chemistry class together and she once accidentally caused Bad Moon to fail a test, because she let him cheat off of her notes, which were kind of bad. She has decided that her and Becka will be besties, and her and Bad Moon are totally going to be a thing, to the point that she's considering trying out for the Ravens Cheer Squad.

Major: Criminal Justice
Agility: d6
Smarts: d6
Spirit: d6
Strength: d4
Vigor: d6

Cha: +2     Pace: 6     Parry: 2     Toughness: 5


Fraidy Cat

Driving d6
Knowledge (Criminal Justice) d4
Notice d6
Persuasion d6
Taunt d6

And there's the main cast! Stats actually reflect two adventures down (which I'll try to get recapped soon).

Friday, October 23, 2015

Tommy's Take on Star Wars Force and Destiny Beginner Game

Star Wars is kind of a big deal. I tend to be kinda ambivalent, though I love the idea of Star Wars. I own (and have played) Star Wars d6 2nd Edition, d20 and Saga Edition, and have enjoyed the former and the latter. As a belated birthday present, I received the Star Wars Force and Destiny Beginner Game, which I ran for my 11 year old son and one of my longtime gamer buddies.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Three Kickstarters and a Sale

Hey all, just popping in to boost the signal for three Kickstarters and a sale that you need to be aware of (see, it's right there in the title)!


The Darkmoor RPG is a zany, over the top, video game inspired RPG that pulls from all kinds of pop culture elements. You define your race and class, and even have to provide all of your own drawings (actually talent hopefully not needed). You beat the cash out of enemies, level up in glowing bursts of light, and create hyper awesome special moves. Paul "Wiggy" Wade-Williams, of Triple Ace Games, has agreed to write a minisupplement for the game, and you can download an Introductory Guide that gives you a better idea of how the game works. The project is already funded, though not by a comfortable margin, with four days left to go, and you can pick up digital, softcover or hardcover rewards.


With five days left to go, Rippers Resurrected has demolished its funding goal and all but one of their stretch goals - a print compilation of the adventures unlocked as stretch goals, which will be given free to backers of the print levels. Rippers Resurrected as a sequel to the Rippers setting/plot point campaign (which is included as one of the stretch goals) in which Victorian monster hunters find and defeat monsters and "rip" their body parts and special abilities and add them to their bodies to gain an edge against the monsters...all while trying not to lose their grip on humanity. Pinnacle has a stellar track record on Kickstarter fulfillment, and the PDFs are set for delivery before Halloween so you can run Rippers for your group if you like. You can also add Savage Tales of Horror to your pledge, including my Deadlands adventure in vol. 2!


Hot on the heels of the fulfillment of the Apocalypse Prevention Inc. 2nd Edition Kickstarter, Eloy Lasanta is overhauling Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade into a slightly less "crunchy" and more cinematic RPG. I have made no bones about what a fan of the first edition I am, and I was both nervous and intrigued by this upcoming 2nd edition. Dispensing with the d20-based Dynamic Gaming System, the 2nd edition will use the Chakra System, a d10 die pool system. Another huge improvement is supposed to be a system for making enemies up on the fly, very useful for a game such as The Ninja Crusade that leans heavily on PC-like foes over a bestiary. The Ninja Crusade still needs over $3,000 to hit their funding goal, but they have 19 days left to hit it. Third Eye Games has a sterling track record for Kickstarter fulfillment as well, so you can pledge with confidence.


In the Halloween spirit, Rafael Chandler - one of the sickest, most twisted RPG authors I know, and I mean that as a compliment - has offered seemingly everything in his back catalog (aside from SlaughterGrid, it seems) as Pay What You Want (including nothing) through Halloween. I, personally, recommend Pandemonio, which is his revision of his Dread and Spite RPGs, but you really don't have anything to lose by taste-testing any of his stuff, do you? And if you like what you read, go back and "buy" the PDFs. That's kinda how Pay What You Want works.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Year With D&D Fifth Edition

So, a little over a year ago, I talked my friends into humoring me and giving Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition a try. They knew I had been staunchly anti-D&D for years and I don't think they took me seriously. Since I don't know how to do anything small, I set out to run The Hoard of the Dragon Queen for the group.

We are now closing in on the end of The Rise of Tiamat and the entire Tyranny of Dragons campaign. As appealing as Princes of the Apocalypse and Out of the Abyss look, odds are good that we are playing something other than D&D when this is finished, but we haven't decided for sure yet (and I am probably running at least a short campaign for my son).

So, I thought I would blog about my experiences as a DM for the last year. I have ran Rules Cyclopedia D&D, AD&D 2e (a LOT) and D&D 3/.5. I have read all kinds of books up and down the D&D lineage, including 4th Edition. I grew bothered by the rigidity of the 2e rules (though I loved the settings) and the insane amount of math and modifiers for 3rd edition (this being a huge part of the reason why I have never indulged in Pathfinder).

  • The backwards compatibility is amazing. I have managed to pull items and monsters from Labyrinth Lord, 2nd Edition and 3rd Edition with only minor modifications and drop them into my 5e games with no fuss. This means that my available content was loads larger than the five books in the initial wave. I have peppered the campaign with magic items from the 2e Encyclopedia Magica and the 3e Book of Vile Darkness, and used Small Niche Games' Inn of Lost Heroes as a side trek in Hoard of the Dragon Queen to hugely dramatic effect. Huge win on 5e's part.
  • Critical hits are bland. Doubling your dice roll and adding modifiers was too boring for us. We agreed to double damage after modifiers, and I added a critical hit chart I found online. This had led to great moments, like powerful enemies mortally wounded and bleeding out, and even one PC losing their hand in a fight. Everyone agreed that this was an improvement over Rules as Written.
  • Despite simplifying things, it can still be easy to get lost in the Action, Reaction, Bonus action cycle. No one at the table gets too bent out of shape about anything, so if there's confusion, we just kinda roll with it and I look up the actual rule after the fact. This particularly comes into play when extra attacks are involved. Still better than trying to track a Fighter's 3 attacks every 2 rounds.
  • Advantage/Disadvantage in place of the various fiddly modifiers is absolutely brilliant and I love it. Simplifying +/-  into "Roll 2d20 and take the highest/lowest"? Wonderful. And yes, it IS still possible for players to whiff a roll with Advantage, as one player in my game has rolled double 1s more than once while rolling with Advantage.
  • The math for Challenge Ratings and the like is absolutely and gloriously borked. I learned very quickly that CR 5 may well mean that the beast will get smoked by a single level 5 Barbarian, while a couple of CR 1 guys may absolutely shred a group of level 4 characters. I *like* this. This makes the world feel more "real" and less like a well-balanced game, and causes level 12 characters to go "Let's see if we can sneak around that ogre" instead of "Just one ogre? Let's bag him".
  • When the DMG came out, we added in Proficiency Dice (a die you roll instead of flat bonuses, that scales up as you level up). Coming from Savage Worlds, it made my group feel more comfortable with the mechanics. It also helped the whiff factor early on. Now that they are on to d10s as Proficiency Dice, though, I feel like it's a touch overpowered. Not sure I would use it in another game.
  • We also added Hero Points, which are a number of points you can get per level that allow you to add a d6 to your die roll. Similar to Savage Worlds bennies, these were also met with universal approval. I would keep them in the future, but I think I might add the "scaling effect" of Proficiency Dice. Roll a d10 to try to make a Saving Throw still has a ton of risk, but also has enough reward to make you seriously consider it.
  • Speaking of the DMG: Their Horror/Madness rules are frightening, and nearly led to a TPK in Ravenloft when most of the party was disabled by them (one PC was paralyzed with fear, while another was driven to rage and left attacking the closest thing to him...which was party members more than once).
  • Legendary Actions are extra actions that certain monsters can take in a fight, giving them multiple actions on a round. Not only does this make certain monsters (looking at you, dragons) absolutely terrifying, but it also largely prevents a group of PCs versus a monster from turning into a one sided gang up curb stomp when the monster is attacking multiple times around (and then getting multiple attacks on a round). Throw in Lair actions and the PCs have had to earn their victories.
  • Attunement is another great feature. Essentially, some magic items (namely really powerful ones) require Attunement. You can only attune to three items at a time. This prevents PCs from having loads and loads of items. The number of items our group owns has crept up through the campaign, but they are also level 15 now, and I have tried to keep magic items a little more rare but a little more powerful.
  • I ditched the requirement for Spell Scrolls that state that the spell must be on your class' spell list and allow anyone to use the scroll...but if they fail, they risk the Scroll Mishaps table. I like my magic being just a bit more dangerous, what can I say?
  • Combat isn't as fast as Savage Worlds, but it's not horribly slow. Much better than I remembered 3rd Edition being by a long shot. Even with the PCs at level 14-15, everything tends to run pretty quickly. I did give everyone index cards so they could write down the details of their spells and abilities for easy reference. That helps.
  • I did think they needed Mass Combat Rules, so I ripped off the Savage Worlds/Army of Darkness Combat Rules. When they actually released Mass Combat Rules, I still preferred mine...but I love the Savage Worlds Mass Combat rules.
  • God, I love the release schedule. So glad they aren't just flooding the market with books. A few adventure books, followed by a bunch of stuff released for free online? That's aces in my book.
  • The Tyranny of Dragons campaign has been fun, and I have found it terribly easy to add my own flourishes to it (including adding in involvement from the Drow, a Lord of Hell and a side trek to Ravenloft). Are there parts that weren't detailed very well? Well, yes. But I have been GMing over 20 years. I can fill in a few blanks here and there. We have had epic moments, I have nearly driven one player to tears with story twists, and we have laughed hysterically at some of the events that have occurred. I call that a success, folks.
My initial reactions to the 5e Player's Handbook were very positive. This is why I cancelled my planned 13th Age game and ran 5e instead. A year later, nearing the end of a campaign that was fairly broadly panned online (for both being a "railroad" and for being "too open", somehow), we have had a blast, and I feel very secure in calling this my favorite version of D&D ever made, even if I'm not willing to call it my favorite RPG.

Great job, Wizards. I was looking for something to scratch that "D&D itch", and I found it. Keep up the good work.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Savage Tales of Horror is Here!

I have been a pro wrestling champion, I have published comic books, and now I have an honest to God official Deadlands adventure under my name.

If I die tomorrow, let it be said that I achieved goals that I reached for in life.

Melodramatic? Maybe. What do you expect from an ex-pro wrestler turned comic book writer turned RPG writer?

Inspired by a folk song, Love on the Mountain is written with Deadlands in mind, but is completely compatible with The Sixth Gun RPG or playable with just the Horror Companion, and it is found in Savage Tales of Horror volume 2, along with several other amazing horror adventures.

You can preorder the bundle today and get the first two volumes in PDF right now!

And I would dearly love to know what you think.

Monday, August 31, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 31: Favorite Non-RPG Thing to Come Out of RPGs

A sense of community.

God knows this hobby can get up its own ass at times with edition wars and you're playing it wrong and that book shouldn't be for sale, but then you see publishers and creators banding together, rallying around community members who have lost children, or spouses, or have learned they are very ill, or who have lost their homes due to natural disaster. Many times, our hobby rallies around people in times of disaster even when we don't know that even a single gamer was affected.

It really tends to make the standard weekly drama bearable when you remember the love and beauty that people are capable of.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 30: Favorite RPG Playing Celebrity

You can keep your Wil Wheatons and Vin Diesels and Stephen Colberts...this one was an easy pick for me:

Credit to Stezak for creating this image.

Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs has not only won all of the awards and accolades listed above, but he's a HUGE Dungeons & Dragons fan, and - by most accounts - is a completely selfless teammate and a gentleman to deal with.

#RPGaDay Day 29: Favorite RPG Website

Honestly, I don't have a lot of destination sites. As a reviewer, I avoid other reviewer sites, especially if it's a book I haven't reviewed, so their impressions don't paint my own.

That said, there are great resources all over the internet for games that I wind up stealing from, and I access almost all of that from my Google+ Google+ it is.

Friday, August 28, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 28: Favorite RPG I No Longer Play

Cheating again on this one and adding two:

I don't think I have ran this since my friend Kenny moved to Boston. Sad, really, given how much I love it.

The next one is...

I thoroughly enjoy the Cinematic Unisystem, and my favorite incarnation is the Angel RPG with the Buffy Magic Box supplement. Anytime I run this game, people tend to enjoy it, but it never lasts for more than a couple of episodes. I'm so frustrated I no longer even try. =/

#RPGaDay Day 27: Favorite Idea for Combining Two Games

More like a setting and a game, but Midnight was sure satisfying when I used Jeff Scifert's conversion to Savage Worlds.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Shadow Has Fallen...

This is not a review.

This is not a press release.

This is not solicited by Schwalb Entertainment in any way, shape or form.

This is my squeeing with fanboy glee at the release of Shadow of the Demon Lord in PDF.

Disclaimer: Using that link will provide me with a percentage of the sale at OneBookShelf sites.

Earlier in the month, I named this most most anticipated upcoming game. As of today, it is out digitally. I have only skimmed it, but I am very, very pleased. It is brutal, grotesque and over the top. You can roll up characters in minutes, literally, because the thing is overflowing with tables. I think the only thing missing is a random adventure generator.

I wanna run this thing very, very badly.

Things you should know:

- It is class and level. Those classes tend to fall in fantasy archetypes. You start at level 0. At level 1, you pick a Novice Path, which is a Magician, Priest, Rogue or Warrior. The options branch out at 3 and 7, and there are no Path requirements (so you can go a couple of levels as a Warrior, then become an Assassin, before ending you career as a Druid). The level scale is 0-10, but the promise of higher level range is coming in the future. If I counted correctly, there are a whopping 84 paths to choose from, from iconic roles like Ranger and Paladin, to odder choices like Exorcist, Shapeshifter and Technomancer.

- The game uses d6s and 1d20. The core mechanic uses a d20, but if you have Boons, you add a d6 to the roll for each Boon. If you have Banes, you subtract a d6 from the roll for each Bane. A lot of the random tables use 3d6.

- Characters have four main stats, rated from 1-20: Strength, Agility, Intellect and Will. They also have Health, Defense, Perception and Insanity.

- Races include Human and Dwarf, but also Goblin, Orc, Clockwork and Changeling, each with unique tables for character creation.

- The Shadow of the Demon Lord is a mechanic in the game that can have bizarre consequences in the world, from the dead rising to beastmen being more violent, to famine and drought...and worse.

- The world is provided in loose detail, to not bind you to too much "canon", and encompasses demons, dragons, undead, Elves ARE in the game, but you can only kill them, not be them. Just tossing that out there.

The game has a bit of a Warhammer/Diablo feel with none of the canon, and a slew of D&D5e style customization options without a ton of book keeping. I'm not telling you to buy it, but I'm telling you I threw a bunch of money at the Kickstarter and, with the first release, I am REALLY freaking pleased with what I have seen thus far. If I have time (which is a maybe, my plate is suddenly very full), I will try to review it. More importantly, I will try to run it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 26: Favorite Inspiration for Your Games

Random tables.

Totally and completely and without fail. I love using random tables and just figuring out how to make it work. Heck, I made random adventure generators for Marvel SAGA for this reason

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 25: Favorite Revolutionary Game Mechanic

So for Favorite Revolutionary Game Mechanic, I'm going to go with the Fate Deck from Marvel SAGA, with a list of reasons why.

  • It provides a nice mix of randomization, combined with resource management and decision making. Each character has a variable hand of cards, based off of their experience level, and uses that to decide what to do and when to do it, generally attempting to match up their actions with the cards in their hand. Why?
  • Trump. If the card you play matches your active ability, you Trump, which means you get to flip over the top card of the Fate Deck and add it to your total. If you Trump again, you keep adding. It can make for some truly explosive moments in-game.
  • Pushing. As part of that resource management, if you need just a little something extra to put you over the top on an action, you can Push. You Push by spending a card and adding it to your action total, but not redrawing it, to simulate the exertion of the effort...because sometimes you need to hold that gate just a little longer so the last civilian can slip through...
  • Edge. Probably my favorite mechanic of all. The great equalizer. Every character has an Edge score. They can play any number of cards equal to, or less than, their Edge score before playing their action card. What does that mean in play? Say She-Hulk has an Edge of 2 and a Hand Size of 4. She's holding the 2 of Intellect, 8 of Doom, 6 of Agility and 4 of Agility. If she wants to punch someone (Strength), she knuckles down and uses the 8 of Doom (giving that card to the Narrator to use against her later), but she can also add that 2 of Intellect, giving her a 10 to go with her Strength of 17 (for an action total of 27 - Impressive).  Now Captain America, who has a Will of 12, wants to calm a rioting crowd. His hand includes the 3, 4 and 7 of Doom, the 6 of Will and the 4 and 6 of Strength. He can dump the 3 and 4 of Doom, plus the 4 of Will to set his score of 23...before playing the 6 of Will to push it to 29, which also Trumps! Captain America is very resourceful in SAGA, and Edge can be more important than cool powers and high scores.

    See kinda why I love Marvel SAGA?

Monday, August 24, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 24: Favorite House Rule

Probably my favorite house rule was  one that I did not invent, and that's the Master Class rules for Marvel SAGA. See, skills in Marvel SAGA have three levels: Unskilled (default), Skilled (Reduces the difficulty by four) and World Class (reduces the difficulty by four and makes any non-Doom card a Trump). The Master Class rules added another step in there, between Skilled and World Class, granting an additional Trump suit (physical or mental, depending on the base attribute for the skill) to allow for guys who were better than skilled, but not World Class. Really, that's about all the variance I really need in a skill system.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 23: Perfect Game For Me

This is another that's not going to surprise anyone:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

1) Perfect price point. $10 to buy into the game, which is flexible enough to run multiple genres almost out of the box (and certainly with the supplemental material).

2) Fantastic setting support, including my favorite RPG setting (Deadlands, if you missed that post).

3) I love the power curve, which allows characters to become strong and capable, but without destroying verisimilitude in the world as they become devastating world destroyers like they do in other games (why do level 20/30 characters in some D&D games listen to ANYBODY again?).

4) I know how to "bend" the system to accomplish what I want, 95% of the time. The only other system I've felt anywhere near as comfortable in that regard is the Cinematic Unisystem.

5) I have personally ran fantasy, horror, westerns and supers with it, and each game managed to feel familiar, yet mechanically distinct.

6) I love building characters for it. That's part of the reason I did the Savage Worlds Characters Are All The Same series, and why I have repeatedly done "Half-Dozen Heroes" posts various settings.

7) The proof is in the fun. We have a blast with the game, and I have rarely had a bad session.

It is perfect? No. Can it do everything? Maybe, but sometimes you are bending it to the point of breaking if you do, and there's other games that can handle it better. But if you told me I could only run one game forever, then I would grab Savage Worlds and be set.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 22: Perfect Gaming Environment

This one is simple really...anywhere my players are and my books are easily accessible. Generally, this means my dining room table. I can be comfortable, have the family around doing the things they want to do, my players' kids can play with my kids...nothing fancy at all.

Friday, August 21, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 21: Favorite Setting

Easy. I have long said Deadlands is my favorite setting. The horror, the weirdness and the Old West. I love it to pieces.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 20: Favorite Horror RPG

Favorite horror RPG? I could say Deadlands Classic or Witchcraft or All Flesh Must Be Eaten, but - mechanics-wise - those games were supplanted by other RPGs for me. And I love Ravenloft, but I've never been in love with the *games* attached to Ravenloft. So I am torn. So I'm going to split the difference again:

Savage Worlds and the Cinematic Unisystem have a major thing in common: They both have a metagame currency that can scale the whole thing up into the high level of heroic...but if you take that away, the game gets deceptively brutal and frightening. A Buffy campaign with all White Hats and scaled back drama points can get out of control, fast. Savage Worlds with a stifled bennie flow can do the same. The best part is, I know both systems well enough to get the "feel" for how to push and pull them to get what I want.

tremulus was alllllmost there, but honestly, I'm only a so-so Cthulhu guy. If it were veered for more "standard" horror than Lovecraftian, we might be having a different conversation. Fantastic game, though. Ghostories 2nd Edition, by Precis Intermedia Games, is another one that I want to toss out there from *reading*, but I've never actually *played* it, so it would be disingenuous of me to call it my "favorite".

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 19: Favorite Supers RPG

To the surprise of absolutely no one who has been paying attention to me:

I'm not saying this game is perfect. God knows it isn't. Despite all the flaws, though, it has provided the most amazing superhero action I have ever experienced in an RPG, bar none. I would dearly love to get some version of this back in print because, aside from Savage Worlds, it's my favorite RPG of all time, and the lack of a digital edition, combined with the lack of in-print Fate Deck means this game is largely dead.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 18: Favorite Sci-Fi RPG

Okay, so I'm not a huge fan of sci-fi games, aside from stretching the definition of "supers" to fit Sci-Fi, which isn't that hard, really. I have played a few Sci-Fi games over the years, and had fun with them, but couldn't rank them very highly now, for different reasons. I've owned and read a few games that I think I would love (Firefly, Atomic Robo, Interface Zero, to name a few), but I have never actually PLAYED them. So my vote on this one goes to:

At the time, I said that I wished D&D 4th Edition had been more like Star Wars SAGA Edition. No dead levels, the Feats and Talents added a ton of variety, the skills involved less bean counting and the Prestige Classes were easier to dip into.

Now I look at it, and I still like it, but I want to redo the math in the game to make it more in line with 5th Edition, with smaller to-hit bonuses, and a lower range of armor classes. Still my favorite game to bear the d20 logo.

Alternately, I would probably have to answer:

Monday, August 17, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 17: Favorite Fantasy RPG

Favorite Fantasy RPG?

It would pretty much have to be D&D 5th Edition right now. Though, in a pinch, I could also answer: 

Either one.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 16: Longest Game Session

Hell, I don't know, but I'm sure it was in high school and it was Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition. There's a real good chance that I was a player and not the DM, because one of my pet peeves is GMs who don't know when to call it a night.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 15: Longest Campaign

This is a good question...not sure how to answer it.

My D&D 5e game has several characters and elements from my old AD&D2e game in it, so technically it would qualify (though they are background characters and nothing more). That would be about a 20 year span, though certainly not uninterrupted.

My Marvel game started in '95, with Marvel FASERIP and ran on and off until a couple of years ago...but again, lots of interruptions.

A Deadlands game that I started off as a player in, but then took over a Marshal, was still going as of last year.

The longest continuing game that had a solid beginning and ending would be Necessary Evil, which took us about four years to get through, but again, lots of interruptions.

These days, my current group aims to end campaigns in a timely fashion, with about a year being standard.

Friday, August 14, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 14: Favorite RPG Accessory

It's almost too essential to the game to call it an accessory, but I've seen people even calling dice accessories, so I will say it counts: The Fate Deck for the Marvel SAGA roleplaying game. I love this resolution mechanic so much, with all the neat tricks it provides (especially Edge and Trump). So, so, so good.

My second choice, which is definitely more optional, would be the Savage Worlds Adventure Deck, which has flipped many a game on its ear in the best possible way.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 13: Favorite RPG Podcast

Okay, I don't really listen to podcasts. I'm a reader, not a listener. It's just how I'm wired.

HOWEVER...The BAMF Podcast has had me on (twice! Most people politely avoid me after the first time) and have invited me back to talk about the BAMFies, but we couldn't get the schedule worked out. This is how I really learned about Fiasco as well, which is a win all its own.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 12: Favorite RPG Illustration

Day 12 of RPG a Day is Favorite RPG Illustration. I could probably make a laundry list of these, but the one I am about to post is the iconic image of my favorite game setting: Stone, as depicted by Brom, on the cover of the original Deadlands RPG:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 11: Favorite RPG Writer

I have no one, single "must buy" writer. I don't even have a small list of them. So in order to answer this one, I believe I'm going to go with CJ Carella, whose WitchCraft books were just packed full of story seeds, and whose work on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel RPGs ranks among some of my favorite.

Monday, August 10, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 10: Who Is Your Favorite RPG Publisher?

I am not gonna lie...Wizards of the Coast have done a tremendous job of rescuing themselves off of the garbage fire with their handling of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, which has gone better than I ever would have imagined...but as great as that is, they are still not the publishers of my favorite RPG and favorite setting (that would be Savage Worlds and Deadlands, respectively):

You were expecting someone else?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 9: What Media Do You Wish Was An RPG?

I would have said Witcher, but it's coming, even if I'm not a huge fan of the game system. Savage Worlds Conan would always be great, but that still doesn't count, given all the Conan games that have been available, plus the new edition on the horizon. I am going to continue to dither and give a couple of answers here, though honestly I become less enthralled with licensed RPGs all the time (as they all have the giant elephant in the room of your characters being secondary to the setting's big heroes, though some games address this in a satisfactory manner):

A tabletop game that does Darkest Dungeon justice would be fantastic. Characters would have to be capable of fighting and exploring but who are completely physically and mentally vulnerable to the wear and tear of their journeys. It would require troupe-style play, and folks couldn't stay too attached to any one character for long. I have heard that Dungeon Crawl Classics can emulate this pretty well, and I read recently that the Torchbearer RPG is supposed to be getting some Darkest Dungeon materials, and if so, I will probably cave and pick Torchbearer up. If you haven't played the computer game, I highly recommend it.

The second media that I wish was an RPG is a fantasy novel setting:

The setting is a low(er) magic setting in which Magiere- a self-styled vampire hunter - travels from town to town with her half-elf companion Leesil, who poses as a vampire, who she "kills" in order to bilk the town out of a reward. Their world turns on its ear when their travels bring them close to a town that's *actually* infested by vampires, and they are convinced Magiere is coming for them.

Now, The Noble Dead (like Darkest Dungeon) isn't something I couldn't bend one of my favorite systems to (Savage Worlds comes to mind), but the same could be said for most licensed RPGs and we still buy them anyway, don't we?

Saturday, August 8, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 8: Favorite Depiction of RPGs in Media

Honestly, I don't really pay attention to stuff like that. I don't watch geek-focused comedies just because they pander to me, that sort of thing, so my selection here is pretty simple, as it made me laugh out loud when I read it.

Side Jobs by Jim Butcher starts off, as it usually does, with Harry's narration but something seems his descriptions. Especially when he starts complaining about how the spell someone else cast doesn't act like "real" magic and you find out that he was narrating his RPG character's action just like he does his own, until he felt his GM broke his suspension of disbelief by using magic rules that don't match "reality". Amusing stuff, but then, I'm a Dresden fan.

Friday, August 7, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 7: Favorite Free RPG

Day 7 of #RPGaDay is "Favorite Free RPG". Now, my favorite free RPG is one I bought twice, actually, once in softcover and once in hardcover. While there are some great free (and that includes Pay What You Want) RPGs out there, I have to give the nod to CJ Carella's WitchCraft, which had a short stint as my favorite game until the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG came along with the Cinematic Unisystem.

Witchcraft (especially with the Mystery and Abomination codices) was just about everything I liked about The World of Darkness with none of the stuff that I hated. While I can't really get excited about Classic Unisystem now (Cinematic Unisystem ruined Classic for me), there is still an amazing amount of content in those three books. Fun fact: I pitched a faction book for The Fellowship of Judas, but was turned down (mostly because I had no idea what the Hell I was doing at the time).

Witchcraft is available for free at RPGNow, so check it out.

While you are there, get Heaven's Shadow and Fate Core, which would be the other two games on my list (mostly trumped by Witchcraft because I have actually ran Witchcraft before).

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Kind of a Big Announcement: My Bucket List Project

So, I have hinted around that I got to work on a BIG "bucket list" project. I subtly mentioned earlier in the year that I was contracted with Pinnacle. I even confirmed after GenCon that the project was Savage Tales of Horror, an adventure anthology. Now, I can go a step further...

The "bucket list" moment wasn't RPG writing, or writing for Savage Worlds or writing for Pinnacle...not quite, anyway.

The badass, awesome part is that I got to write an honest-to-God official adventure for my favorite RPG setting: DEADLANDS.

Things I can tell you:

- My adventure is called "Love on the Mountain".
- It  IS playable without any prior Deadlands knowledge or rulebooks (you only need the Savage Worlds rules and the Horror Companion...I am told this is true of every adventure that has ties to an existing setting, for maximum utility...meaning you could pretty easily use it in The Sixth Gun RPG as well, given the Weird West setting), but it is definitely 100% Deadlands compatible.
- You can run it as a one shot or drop it into a campaign.
- It is scheduled for release (as part of the anthology series) later this year.
- I get to share space in the book with John freakin' Dunn (who helped bring us Accursed, which is on one of my favorite Savage Worlds settings) among other great folks.

I am beyond thrilled to see this thing coming to fruition, and that I finally get to start talking about it just a bit.

So...not being sure if this was going to be my only "at bat", I swung for the fences. I hope all my fellow Savages enjoy what I (and all the rest of the amazing line-up of authors - humbling to be alongside the likes of Preston DuBose, John Dunn, Ross Watson and Shane himself) are bringing to your table.

...and believe me, you will know more as soon as I am allowed to share it.


#RPGaDay Day 6: RPG You Most Recently Played

Both as a player or a GM, my answer is the same:

I have been running 5th Edition for almost a year now, but my last foray into gaming as a player before this was also in 5th Edition, as part of an online game using the starter set.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 5: Most Recent RPG Purchase

You would think this would be less complicated than it is, but here we are...

The Kickstarter for Leagues of Gothic Horror by Triple Ace Games just funded, so they were the last ones to get my money...

But the last product that I spent money on, and actually own in some capacity (PDF format), is Shadowfell: Gloomwrought  and Beyond, which may be the only 4th Edition book I have bought...and it's getting dropped right into the middle of 5th Edition.

Now, they got the money for this a while back, but the most recent physical product that I purchased and received (and which looks damn cool) is Feng Shui 2 by Atlas Games. I had no real prior experience with the original, but this looks like a ton of fun.

No. I have no idea why I can't just answer a simple question.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 4: Most Surprising Game

Of all time? Or the past year?

Honestly, I never expected to play D&D again, much less fall in love with it again, so I could give a nod to Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.

I could also mention Wu Xing, which combined some of my least favorite things in a deliciously over the top, playable package.

Ultimately, I probably have to go with Marvel SAGA. Having ran Dragonlance SAGA, I thought it sounded neat...I didn't know it would become my favorite superhero RPG in existence (and still is to this day!).

Monday, August 3, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 3: Favorite New Game of the Last 12 Months

Given that it has dominated my tabletop gaming since it came out, my favorite new game of the last 12 months is an easy one:
D&D 5th Edition is, to my mind, the best version of D&D yet, and is still holding up beautifully as the PCs in our game hit level 14 and we move closer to the end of our first campaign. It has been a fantastic job by Wizards that has won me over as a customer and fan over a decade after I had walked away.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 2: Game You Are Most Pleased To Have Kickstarted

I have Kickstarted some great games: Age Past (which also features some short fiction by me), the Awesome Powers series for BASH which is going to be HUGE when completed, Deadlands Noir, The Sixth Gun RPG, Fate Core (which had a ton of great stuff with it, but I am still most likely to play the Dresden Files version instead)...heck, I backed Feng Shui 2 on a whim, and I think I'm in love. All that said, the game I'm most pleased I backed on Kickstarter is AMP: Year One (and the Year 2 book) for Third Eye Games, which has kept me very busy the last couple of months. There have been a few games that have tried to tackle the approach of "modern day, suddenly people have powers", but this one has easily been my favorite (and runs neck in neck with Wu Xing as my favorite Third Eye Games RPG period).

Saturday, August 1, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 1: RPG You Are Most Looking Forward To

Hey all,

I'm gonna do that #RPGaDay, or try to, anyway.

Day 1 is the RPG You Are Most Looking Forward To. Well, thing is, most of the RPGs I'm looking forward to, I have at least in digital format, if not print. HOWEVER, there is one I'm particularly excited for that I don't have yet, even digitally...
Shadow of the Demon Lord sure just looks *neat*, and I suspect it's going to scratch an itch that D&D isn't doing for me already. Can't wait to see if this lives up to my hopes. All of the preview art has looked significantly twisted, and I'm not expecting deep, in-depth storytelling, but crazy, dark, twisted fun would be quite alright by me.