Thursday, September 14, 2017

Pre-review: Blades in the Dark

It's time for another one of my half-cocked opinionspre-reviews, and the subject of this one is that fresh-faced new hepcat, Blades in the Dark.  It was written by a fine fellow named John Harper and published by...a company?  It's hard to tell, because DriveThruRPG swears this was published by One Seven, while you can find the damn thing on the Evil Hat website (and not the One Seven site). The PDF sez it's an "Evil Hat Publication" but it is "In association with One Seven."  Well, it should know who made it.  Guess that clears it up.

Not a very subtle assassin, gotta say

Anyway, I'm supposed to hate this sort of thing, because I've declared myself an OSR nerd and this game is wading far into the storygame side of the pool.  You have players narrating flashbacks!  But as I'm sure my longtime readers know, I cleave to no orthodoxy, so instead I find myself quietly intrigued.  Well, not that quietly...after all, I wrote this.

Oh, what is Blades in the Dark, anyway?  It's a role-playing game where the players are members of a gang of ne'er-do-wells in a Steampunk world with gritty low magic.  You know, Dunwall from Dishonored.  This is Dishonored: The RPG in all but name.  I mean, the name of this city is Duskwall.  That's the opposite of trying to hide your influences.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A new DCC class: The Murderhobo

The idea behind this class is to take an obnoxious concept - a backstabbing jack-of-all-trades powergamer - and make it something fun and balanced. Functionally, the murderhobo is a bit of a twist on a magician/thief dual-class. From the thief, he only has stealth and backstabbing, and from the magician, he only has a small stock of first-level spells.  On the surface, this sounds pretty lousy.

Especially arson...there's always arson...

However, there are a few twists that I get a kick out of.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Empress session report - My Beautiful Sociopaths

I am, of course, referring to my players, the crew that refers to themselves as the "Murderhobros."  But before we catch up with them, I just want to let you know that you're in for a special edition of "What Did I Learn?"  Today I'm going to go big and list my Principles of Gamemastering.  This is eternally a work-in-progress, which is how it should be for us all.  Life lessons, people!

So anyway, where did we last leave our winsome charmers?

All credit to Gus L. - check out his awesome blog, Dungeon of Signs

Ah yes...they had just received a massive text dump of plot hooks, courtesy of the GM with two thumbs (i.e. "This guy!").  And they were very curious about the effects of their sabotage on the Pie Cult.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

More mini-reviews! The Pirates of Drinax, A Field Guide To Hot Springs Island and Enter The Dagon

It's been a while, hasn't it?  Of course, I'm keeping busy.  I haven't had much actual gaming lately, but (correction: I wrote that part of the sentence before Gen Con, so it is no longer true) there's been plenty of writing.  And as the title of this post suggests, I keep up a steady diet of OSR reading.

Well, is definitely arguable whether or not Traveller is considered proper OSR, and some people even argue against DCC's inclusion.  Oh well!  Who fucking cares?

OSR puts some lovely ideas out there, but I get the feeling that the movement is slowly losing steam.  I see fewer new adventures and blog posts as time goes by.  If I use forums as a guide, I'd say the peak of OSR interest was probably around 2012-2013, and I got on this train a little late.  Not that I'm particularly dissuaded, but it's sort of disappointing to hear the air hissing out of the tire.

Maybe it doesn't really matter.  OSR has contributed something extremely valuable to tabletop role-playing, and even if the "true" OSR community is waning, you can see its influence ripple outwards.  The reprint of so many old titles and properties, as well as games like DCC that take a step forwards while being mindful of their roots...and the elephant in the room, 5e itself.  Anyone who bothers to look can see OSR fully embedded in D&D 5e's DNA.

OSR is all about pillaging lost treasures of the past

I got off-topic!  Let's talk about cool games!

Gen Con 2017 - Judging for DCC

As I mentioned a-ways back, I signed up for Goodman Games' offer to Judge (GM) four Dungeon Crawl Classics sessions at Gen Con 2017 in return for hotel and convention passes.  I just got back a few days ago, and this post isn't going to cover it all.  To do that, I have to put together a bunch more media resources.  In fact, I really have to first get back to some of the people that I met at the convention.

Saw the cards, didn't see the Quinns...too bad, since I'm a fan

Summary: A great experience!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Report on the so-called "sick rock" mineral

Let me start with a little background about my weekly campaign.  As I've mentioned before, I'm running my adaptation of Anomalous Subsurface Environment, the great OSR megadungeon affectionately known as "ASE."  The best part of it is that my players haven't set foot in so much as the gatehouse, as they are continually deflected from their quest by their own misadventures.

Just another day in ASE

That quest is to retrieve a certain quantity of raw protonium ore for their patron, an old and clever dragon.  They know that they can find this in a place called Mount Rendon, and to gain entrance to this mountain they must obtain a small quantity of what is known as "sick rock" i.e. uranium.

Towards the end of a fun little picaresque journey from their portal to Denethix, the party got its hands on this very material in the traditional way (i.e. they beat-up some lion men).  ASE provides a nice little lair dungeon to make this happen, so I ran that and the PCs won the prize.

But then they lost it.  It wasn't really their fault.  Well, actually, they sort of panicked and let it be known that they had found the wizard's lost sick rock. After being thanked and rewarded, the authorities took custody of the stuff and sent the PCs on their way.  So now what?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Empress rules

Here's the ever-evolving document that represents the Empress rules:

Empress rules!

It's about time, right?