Sunday, June 11, 2017

Empress session report - The Murderhobros meet hard-punching lion-men

It's been a while since we had one of these.  Well, life gets in the way, which means that we missed a few sessions and I'm behind on reporting the ones that we had.  So let's catch up a bit.

We're at least three sessions behind, so I'm going to compress a bit of the older events.  Anyway, we left our lovable scoundrels having more or less disrupted the plan of Lord Python (an evil wrassler) to have some thugs drug the ales of the beloved Wolf Brothers (the good guys!) so as to impair them for the upcoming match.  

For all I know these guys really were called the Wolf Brothers

Things went well from there; the Wolf Brothers met and beat Lord Python the very next day, although he escaped the justice of the militia.  The PCs were celebrated for safekeeping the honor of Lugosi and the Wolf Brothers.  Radj was able to order dog barding at a bargain price.  Yay team!

Of course, things got messy again.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Micro-reviews: Golden Eye of the Kobold King, King For a Day, Wonder & Wickedness

I was recently reflecting on the phrase "content is king" in conjunction with tabletop role-playing.  Perhaps you've heard it?  It was uttered by Bill Gates back in '96 to summarize his expectation that media content and its consumption would drive the expansion of the web.  It's one of those things that seems stupidly obvious to us now, but was somehow revelatory at the time.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Review: Index Card RPG Core Set

Have you heard of Drunkens & Dragons?  It's a great little channel hosted by "Hankerin Ferinale," who opines at great length about tabletop role-playing, while occasionally getting legitimately hammered.  

Living up to the name

"Hank" records a steady stream of excellent GM advice delivered in a highly entertaining patter.  I recommend his channel without reservation.

Anyway, earlier this year, he started putting out these gaming aids called Index Card RPG Vols. 1 & 2 for his Runehammer Games imprint.  These both consist of nice iconic doodles of fantasy RPG stock gameplay elements - things like treasure chests, animated skeletons, mysterious temples, centipedes, mimics, etc.  

On his channel, Hank explained in greater detail how he intended that these could be used.  The GM could print-and-cut these out and put them on the table to represent elements in play, using card proximity as a simple abstract way of depicting the gamespace.  Not really what you'd call an actual RPG, but this was of course a hint for what was to come.

The other shoe has dropped!  Hank's follow-up arrived in DriveThru the other day, going by the name of Index Card RPG Core Set.

So what do we have here?

Saturday, May 20, 2017


I'll keep this post brief: I decided to change the name of my adventure setting, as well as the product as a whole.  They are one in the same: Blackrock!

My thousands of loyal readers may recall that Blackrock is the name of a suburb of Punjar in my monthly DCC campaign.  But I came up with that, so I feel justified in repurposing the name.  Not only that, but "Blackrock" is such a perfect name for this project.

A hot commodity?

For one reason, it's thematically appropriate, because the town was once the site of a human basalt mining settlement that was enslaved to giantfolk.  And since I'm now thinking beyond the bounds of the singular heist, calling it "The Cursed Sword" or "The Vault of Blades" just didn't seem appropriate anymore.  In light of that, "Blackrock" is a much better title for the project than "Hoblington."

That's all for now.  I'm still mulling over a candidate for review (there are so many...the addiction continues).

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Learning to crawl

I've always loved GMing.  When I was a kid in high school, I was enamored with the prospect of inventing my own imaginative and immersive worlds, and using them to fill my players with wonder.  These days, the emphasis has moved away from the idea of showing off my creativity, and towards a fascination with engaging my players.

There's a certain egotism to the practice of GMing

That isn't to say that I've entirely given up trying to come up with cool stuff. For instance, that DCC adventure I've been working on.  Well, one thing led to another, and the idea has snowballed into something a bit larger.  That doesn't sound good, does it?  An excess of ambition can kill a hobbyist project faster than anything.

Monday, May 1, 2017

For the last player to arrive at the table

Roll the accent with which you must speak for the amount of time you were late
  1. Woody Allen
  2. Foghorn Leghorn
  3. Deliverance redneck
  4. Queens, baby
  5. Millennial up-talker with vocal fry
  6. Hardcore Minnesotan
  7. Steve Irwin (everything is gorgeous)
  8. Prohibition gangster (see here...)
  9. Sly Stallone
  10. Werner Herzog
  11. Shatner
  12. The Macho Man
Be warned: with the wrong group of players, this will encourage lateness.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The world is my sandbox!

It's been a while since my last post, but that's mostly because I was away on vacation in Europe for two weeks, followed closely by a visit from my mom.  All of that was great, but quite exhausting, and not particularly conducive for writing about my great love for role-playing games.

That doesn't mean that I've been completely idle in the world of elfgames.  Far from it, my friends!  Let's I didn't really do much related to gaming in Europe, although I did plow through Charles Stross' Laundry Files (well, at least the five main books).  I've enjoyed a couple of Stross' other novels (Accelerando and Glasshouse both managed to impress), and even when they have suffered from prioritizing "big ideas" over characters (something I've encountered more in British sci-fi, for some reason), they have been rife with gameable ideas.  

My favorite of the covers

The Laundry Files also has plenty of game-ready ideas (in fact, it's been covered (DriveThru)), and also manages to have some appealing characters and well-paced plotting.  It's certainly not meant to be taken as seriously as some of his other works, but not everything has to be high-art.  And we were talking about elfgames, right?

But that's not all.