Monday Moodsetter 2

From "Surreal Zodiac" by Vasko Taškovski
RPG Rorschach: What is the first gaming thought that pops into your head?


Live and Let Game

My path to gaming peace began with avoiding 4 words while thinking about, blogging, or discussing games:
  • Right--As in, "You are not playing that right."
  • Wrong--As in, "That is the wrong way to do a role-playing game."
  • Should--As in, "You play this game this way."
  • Shouldn't--As in, "You should play that game, it is not __________ (you fill in the blank)"
While I still find myself tempted to get sucked into gaming geek slapfests, what holds me back is the knowledge that gaming is about indulging personal preference, not holding to ideology. It also is about dice, being a dwarf, flying a space ship, and freeing the village of vampires. It is about fun and enjoying my time with my fellow gamers as we collectively leave the real world behind for a few hours. When I think about how cool that is (and at the same time, utterly silly), it is easy to live and let game.

What part of gaming brings you the most enjoyment?


Gaming Year 2012 Retrospective

Here are my highlights of Gaming Year 2012:


Five For Friday 1: Five Games I Want To Play

Sometime in the last year, I slid from "casual gamer" into "serious hobbyist gamer" (someday I will write a blog post on my system of gamer categories). Anyway, I am think about gaming more and am interested in things beyond whatever game I am currently playing (which happens to be GURPS). As we head into a new year, here are five role-playing games that I have not played but would like to give them a try (in alphabetical order):

  1. Amazing Adventures: A D20 Pulp-Era game from Troll Lord Games, utilizing their Siege Engine mechanics. I really like the look and feel of this game. The magic system is particularly cool for a D20 game, with spell casting based on intelligence, wisdom, and charisma.
  2. Crypts & Things: A D20 OSR game, using Swords & Wizardry as its point of departure. I really like the setting, the classes, the magic system, and the insanity rules. A very simple and groovy approach to sword & sorcery gaming.
  3. Don’t Rest Your Head: A rules-lite horror game from Evil Hat Productions. The product description really says it all: Don’t Rest Your Head is a sleek, dangerous little game, where your players are all insomniac protagonists with superpowers, fighting — and using — exhaustion and madness to stay alive, and awake for just one more night...
  4. Legends of Angelerre: A FATE-based fantasy game from Cubicle 7. I really like FATE, based on my experience with Dresden Files RPG, I am very curious to see how FATE works in a fantasy setting.
  5. Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies: A joint venture of Evil Hat Productions and Atomic Sock Monkey Press...just reading those words together in one sentence is a lot of fun. This game uses a varient of PDQ, called PDQ Sharp. This looks like it would be perfect for our in-house-face-to-face-very-casual-meets-only-occasionally gaming group.

Runners Up: Blood & Treasure, Spirit of the Century

Which five games would you like to try?


Drow...a Haiku (Haiku 2)

A reworked haiku from my old Rusty Battle Axe blog...
elf misunderstood
or queen of dark evil deep;
no one knows for sure


On Being a GURPS Newbie

This past year I have had the opportunity to play in a GURPS fantasy campaign, with Rob Conley (Majestic Wilderlands) as GM. It is my first time playing GURPS, although it is not my first foray into Rob’s Majestic Wilderlands campaign.

My reaction to GURPS: I like it. I like it a lot.

My biggest challenge with GURPS is gaining an intuitive feel for the game so that I can make tactical decisions on the fly. There are a lot of tactical options for players, both in combat and in non-combat situations. While the game mechanics are incredibly simple and consistent, there are layers and layers of moving parts to master in order to make tactical decisions on the fly during game sessions. These layers are a big part of why I like GURPS, but they do create a steeper learning curve than your average rules-lite games.

Oddly enough, I think that part of my struggle to develop a feel for GURPS comes from using Fantasy Grounds and the GURPS Character Assistant 4. Both of these pieces of software speed up character creation and game play. At the same time, I think there is the unintended consequence of new players skipping the grunt work is that the grunt work forces players to learn the nuts and bolts of the system. It is much learn like learning mathematics. Most of us have to us paper and pencil before we have an intuitive feel for how math works. Then you can use a calculator or computer to do the basic computations. But without the paper and pencil work,

I am at a point where I am starting to get  how GURPS works at the tactical level. Besides the actual playing of the game, two things have moved me forward in wrapping my mind around GURPS. The first is that I like GURPS enough to have purchased (and read) several GURPS books—no small thing, given that I don’t buy a lot of RPG products (kids in college).

The second thing that has helped has been to create some cheat sheets for myself, using GURPS Lite. Rob gave me this idea by giving our group a one-page cheat sheet with offensive and defensive combat options. This was a tremendous help. I am in the process of creating a few more cheat sheets. There is a lot of learning that happens just just by creating the cheat sheets.

That all may seem like a lot of effort, especially after playing SW and AD&D 1e. But, given that I really like GURPS, it has been worth the effort.


Monday Moodsetter 1

by Nelson Evergreen
Merry Christmas from us to you! (Pinterest is not all DIY crafts, fashion, and recipes)


Lich...a Haiku (Haiku 1)

preserved wizard bones
evil incarnate spins spells…
Death rolls down on us


A "Plan B" Game Night

After making it through Sandy a few weeks ago without a blip or a blink, we lost power here in our eastern Pennsylvania neighborhood for much of the afternoon. That was some serious wind today.

Anyway, instead of our first session of Spirit of the Century (FATE) at our place, we relocated to the home of our fellow gamers and settled in for a rollicking session of Apples to Apples. My personal favorite was matching the red Underwear card when the green Hardworking (industrious, diligent, busy) card. Something about "hardworking underwear," "industrious underwear," "diligent underwear," and, of course, "busy underwear" set off some major giggles.

While I was hoping to get in a session of Spirit of the Century, I am not disappointed in the way our evening went. Good friends always make for the best of times.


The Magnificent Miscellaneum Volume 1

I am happy to see the James Mishler is back in action and cranking out some gaming goodness once again. I'll be picking up The Magnificent Miscellaneum Volume 1 right after Christmas from RPGNow. Not only does it include his usual Castles & Crusades goodies, it also includes some goodies for Amazing Adventures. That is welcome news, as my copy of Amazing Adventures arrived about two weeks ago and I am hoping to play it sometime this coming year.


The First Time Is Always Special: Our Upcoming Session with "Spirit of the Century"

So this weekend—if all goes as planned—I will have my first experience running Spirit of the Century. My face-to-face gaming group has only met once in the last year for a Castles & Crusades session, although previous to that we did have a couple of character creation sessions for the Dresden RPG (a FATE-based system, like Spirit of the Century). I think FATE will be a good match for our group.