Sunday, January 30, 2011
Saturday, January 29, 2011
The NFL Probowl means nothing to me, but game three of Aces vs Condors, well, I can't wait!
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Therefore, I'll be re-thinking and re-writing my second post in the series, so it may be some time before it appears here.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Monday, January 10, 2011
January 3: J.R.R Tolkien (1892/D: September 2, 1973)
January 17: John Bellairs (1938/D: March 8, 1991)
January 20: A. Merritt (1884/D: August 21, 1943)
January 22: Robert E. Howard (1906/D: June 11, 1936)
January 26: Philip Jose Farmer (1918/D: February 25, 2009)
January 2: Isaac Asimov (1920/D: April 6, 1992; Author of Foundation and many other books)
January 5: George Reeves (1914/D: June 16, 1959; "Superman" of the 1950's)
January 6: Rowan Atkinson (1955; Star of Black Adder)
January 12: Jack London (1876/D: November 16, 1922; his adventure stories birthed the pulps)
January 13: Clark Ashton Smith (1893/D: August 14, 1961; one of the great pulp writers)
January 13: Orlando Bloom (1977; He played Legolas)
January 16: John Carpenter (1948; he gave us Halloween and several cool movies)
January 17: James Earl Jones (1931; Darth Vader)
January 19: Edgar Allen Poe (1809/D: October 7, 1849; without him, no HPL)
January 20: David Lynch (1946; Directed 1984's Dune)
January 20: Deforest Kelley (1920/D: June 11, 1999; Star Trek's "Bones")
January 22: Bill Bixby (1934/D: November 21, 1993; My Favorite Martian and the Hulk)
January 27: Lewis Carroll (1832/D: January 14, 1898; Wonderland)
January 28: Elijah Wood (1981; played Frodo)
January 30: Christian Bale (1974; Thus far, the best big screen Batman)
January 30: Gene Hackman (1930; the Lex Luthor to Christopher Reeve's Superman)
January 31: Zane Grey (1872/D: October 23, 1939; his adventure stories spawned the pulps)
Sunday, January 9, 2011
In this post, I am referring to WFRP 1st/2nd edition. 3rd might be a different animal all together.
Is or can Warhammer Fantasy Role Play be considered "old-school"? That is the question going through my mind. Keep in mind, the answer does not change the fact that I am a huge fan of the game regardless. For myself, I feel the rule system should be dictated by the setting. For instance, for high-fantasy sword & sorcery with lots of dungeon crawls and hidden chests full of hard won treasure, well Sir, for that I want some form of Dungeons & Dragons. I say "some form" because, again, which version (OD&D or retro-clone, Cyclopedia Rules, AD&D/OSRIC or 3/3.5 edition) is dependent upon what I want to do with the game.
Then again, if I'm in the mood for something quick and easy that I know I can make up on the fly, well then Sir, give me a helping of Tunnels & Trolls please.
If I want low-fantasy, served grim and perilous with lots of secret cults and plots within plots, well Sir, please serve me up some WFRP.
WFRP works well with some old-school styles, particularly a sand-box campaign. I guarantee, from experience, that a healthy knowledge of the Old World will enable you to set your players free and say "go where thou wouldst" and you will have several evenings of entertainment. Then again, while you could use WFRP for a Dungeon Crawl, or even a mega-dungeon crawl, you would be missing a lot of flavorful opportunities. While dungeons do serve a purpose in my WFRP games, they are not a prominent feature. I would assert that this is the case with most WFRP games.
This is one aspect of the game that makes it decidedly anti-old-school for me: it often seems there is a "wrong" way to present the world of WFRP. If you are running a dungeon based campaign where treasures are won along with magical weapons from defeating monsters guarding said treasures, well...while I wouldn't do so far as to stop you from doing so, I would claim that you are missing the point of WFRP and I would do so with the chance of seeming like a snob.
I'm not claiming that all dungeon based games are as I described them above, but I would say that mine are.
My WFRP games have decidedly few "dungeons". When running adventures in the Old World, I prefer investigation scenarios built around event based encounters. Think Call of Cthulhu with swords and you have the basic idea of what I like to throw at my players. If not that, then I like location based adventures that allow my players to interact with the world at large (or in a micro-cosom); combine a healthy dose of both, and you have in my opinion the perfect WFRP game.
There are several other factors that make me wonder, "is this beloved game of mine not old-school"? For instance, I feel a skills system is necessary for WFRP. While at the same time, for most high fantasy adventures, I prefer no skill system be implemented as this allows me to decide on the fly if the characters can figure out that trap, or better yet, let them figure it out on their own logic, not dictated by a dice roll. Skills are ingrained into the WFRP system. Without the need to gain experience points and buy skills, changing careers and/or upgrading from a basic to an advanced career becomes meaningless. Therefore, to run an WFRP campaign effectively, you must use a skills system.
While combat is brutal in WFRP, the use of Fate and Fortune points gives a WFRP character an advantage that is not present in the typical old-school OD&D game (or equivalent). When I run an old-school high fantasy game (regardless of what rules system I use) my players expect that "0" hit points equals death. Not so in WFRP. In this game, if death is certain, a player can spend a Fate point and avoid it. Granted, Fate points are a finite number rarely bolstered beyond the beginning amount (at least in my games). Fortune points work the same way. Make a bad roll that is going to cost you? Spend a fortune point and re-roll. This can be done a set number of times per session, or game day, depending upon GM preference. In my high fantasy games, all rolls stick.
So in the end, I don't have an answer, other then, the WFRP rules system just feels right for the Old World. For me, it's old-school enough.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
During my off time whilst hanging out in my hotel room, I've been re-reading lots of WFRP material (1st and 2nd edition) that I plan on using in my upcoming game.
As I mentioned before, my short-lived Tunnels & Trolls campaign came to a sudden end with a TPK. I intend to keep my campaigns short lived for the foreseeable future. Not because that is necessarily what I want, but because I do travel often, and sometimes for extended periods of time. This makes an ongoing campaign difficult to maintain. However, I did not intend my T&T campaign to be as short as it was. That happened because I am a big believer in letting the dice fall where they may.
We will be playing WFRP, and for anyone that is familiar with the game, the quintessential campaign, and my personal favorite, is the Enemy Within campaign. EW consists of five main parts: Shadows over Bogenhafen, Death on the Reik, The Power Behind the Throne, Somethings Rotten in Kislev and Empire in Flames. I have been a player in the campaign once, making it all the way through Power Behind the Throne and this will be my fourth go at running it. As the GM, I've never made it past Death on the Reik.
The reason has nothing to do with the enjoyability of the campaign. I personally have read all five volumes, and while I do not care for SRiK or EiF, the fist three volumes I enjoy immensely. Usually, I and my group get so wrapped up in the complete sandbox immersion of Death on the Reik that we never make it to PBtT before life ends the campaign.
So why am I starting a campaign that I know I have a bad track record with? In Sigmar's name, it is one hell of a ride! I love WFRP 1st and 2nd edition. I like the career path system, I like the fact that combat is lethal and unforgiving, I like the insanity rules, I like The Old World with all of its secret cults and twisted politics.
I have found other game worlds in the past that I enjoy. The first that I really got into was TSR's Birthright campaign setting, more recently, I thouroughly enjoyed The Phoenix Barony, but neither of them comes close to how much I really like the Old World.
I must ask myself the question: Self, can you stick it out this time? The answer can only be: I hope so. Happy Gaming.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
I didn't intend it, but I had my first TPK (total party kill) in many years. It was not very well timed, but death never is, as we had a new player enter the fold, giving our dwindling numbers a much needed boost. I'm hoping a TPK on his first evening gaming with us doesn't scare him off.
After being joined by a new member, a dwarven warrior named Ashkore, the players decided to descend to the next level found in the previous session. The entrance was in the form of a hidden trap door that opened to a ladder which descended down. At the bottom of the ladder they found a narrow tunnel with a shallow ceiling. This forced them to crouch (even the dwarves) and they entered knowing that they could not easily turn, or fight effectively with anything other then thrusting weapons.
Twenty feet in, they were harried by Rattlings that attacked them with javelins through murder-holes. They managed to survive this, although Olga our female dwarf warrior only made it by Alesion sharing a Restoration potion with her.
They fought their way into an opening where they could fight the rattlings. Ashkore, who had all ready taken damage in the tunnel, tripped a falling block which brought him near death. The rest of the combat against the 8 rattlings lasted only two rounds. Alesion and Kilshalt both cast Take That You Fiend, managing to reduce the number of rattlings to 7; however, the group lost the first combat round so all four characters took wounds. Ashkore absorbed too many wounds and fell to the ground skewered by javelins.
Round two went the same. Alesion and Kilshalt reduced another rattling to cinders, but the players again lost the combat round and had to each take wounds. I rolled a windfall of spite damage, and all the heroes died.
Afterwards, we discussed making new characters and starting fresh; however, an out cry for a return to one of our main stand-by games was raised. The game in question being Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd edition. It's been a year since we've played an WFRP, and as it is perhaps my favorite fantasy game of all time, I was not against the idea. I considered trying out 3rd edition with them, but decided I'm not ready to give up on 2nd edition just yet. I've read and own 3rd, and while there are some things I like, I have some deep reservations.
The best part for me is, all of the players presently active in the group have not been run through Shadows over Bogenhoffen nor Death on the Reik, two of my favorite WFRP adventures. I am out of town right now, but hope to be back in time to run WFRP next Tuesday, if not then the Tuesday next.
It's going to be a grim and perilous adventure.