Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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Superheroes – Once upon a Time in 1967 – Issue 3, Part 2 – the Menace of Computo

13 August, 2020

"We are ready to go."Part two following directly from Part One:

Opening page of Part Two:  The cockpit of a B-52 somewhere above Alaska.  “We are go.  I hope this is just a drill.”

Next page: The team as steel plates slam down and seal off the building.  “You have forced me to accelerate my plans,” echos the voice of Computo through the room.

“What are you doing?”

“It is time for the age of the computer to begin, within fifteen minutes, a global nuclear war will begin and the age of humanity will end,” announces Computo.

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August begins, July passes

31 July, 2020

August, named after the Roman first citizen (or Emperor if you prefer) Augustus Caesar, will be a month of personalities from the Sea of Stars (and possibly other places).  If there is someone -or something– in particular you would like to see, write a comment or otherwise let me know.

I am really missing GenCon, I know GenCon Online is going on but it is just not the same though I wish it well and hope that everyone has a great time.  Honestly, missing face to face gaming and interaction overall.

July, 2020, saw the following posts published in the journal:

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Shadowrun: Shadow Stock – Ingentis Athletes

30 July, 2020

Shadowrun: Shadow Stock: Ingentis AthletesShadowrun: Shadow Stock – Ingentis Athletes provides ten non-player characters, all trolls, sharing a sports theme and information on the troll meta-variants (cyclops, formorians, giants, and minotaurs). More useful for Game Masters than players, it would have been supported by providing more context for the role of trolls in sport in the Sixth World and a few examples of shadowruns where sports were directly (or indirectly) involved.

Shadowrun: Shadow Stock – Ingentis Athletes, is the first of the Shadow Stock resources for Shadowrun, Sixth World Edition, providing NPCs organized around a theme and new character options, trying to be something for everyone.

It begins with a brief in game introduction which boils down to “here are a bunch of athletes and ex-athletes who are operating in the shadows.” Then on to the characters!

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Superheroes – Once upon a Time in 1967 – Issue 3, Part 1 – Robots in the City

23 July, 2020

Following up from the second issue of the Freedom Five:

Cover:  A looming computer bank formed into a face, lights shining from its “eyes” pin our heroes.  “Can our heroes overcome the Menace of COMPUTO!”

Opening page:  Roboto getting punched by a bigger, meaner robot.   “Crash!  Bzzzzt!  Spark.”
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Superheroes – Once upon a Time in 1967 – Issue 2 – Robot Raid and Supernatural Spook

1 July, 2020

Following up from the first issue of the Freedom Five:

IBM HQ c. 1967Cover: Split cover with a robot tearing a hole in a wall on one side and a bat-winged man with burning green eyes on the other.  “Can our heroes overcome threats from super-science and magic!?”

Opening page:  Our heroes outside of IBM headquarters in Armonk, NY, where a huge hole has been torn in the side of the building.  “Well, we know the thief isn’t subtle,” says Shadowfist.
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It is Summer, Welcome July

30 June, 2020

JuliusHope all of my readers in the Northern hemisphere are enjoying Summer, it is looking to be a warm one in my corner of the world, and that those in the Southern are having a safe winter.

As many of my readers will know, July was named after Julius Caesar in the re-formalization of the Roman Calendar that created the Julian Calendar (which, unsurprisingly, also named for him).  So, in honor of Caesar, we shall be looking at governments, organization and people of ambition in the Sea of Stars and elsewhere.  As usual, if there is a particular subject you would like to know more about or see more of, please let me know.

Looking back over June, 2020, with a fair amount of posting:

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Review – Shadowrun: Tales from the UCAS: Age of Rust

28 June, 2020

Shadowrun: Tales from the UCAS: Age of Rust is a missed opportunity, a Age of Rustsourcebook for the Omaha, Nebraska, region which is undergoing a period of unique instability and change making it a potential hotspot for the sort of work Shadowrunners do. Unfortunately, it fails in providing anything beyond the most basic plot hooks and minimal background material.

Shadowrun: Tales from the UCAS: Age of Rust, is location/adventure resource for Shadowrun, Sixth World Edition, expanding on the situation in part of the UCAS and providing adventure hooks.

It begins with an introductory piece laying out what the situation is in Omaha, Nebraska, where due to border shifts and changes in the UCAS, NORAD has withdrawn from the Offutt air force base here (where it apparently relocated after the creation of the NAN) leaving a massive economic and political hole in the local area. But with instability comes opportunity for some and that is what this work tries to present.

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Play and Review – Dialect: A Game of Languages and How they Die

25 June, 2020

DialectLast week we had a chance to play Dialect: A Game of Languages and How they Die by Thorny Games.  The play was via Roll20 and Discord, which has a play set for Dialect, and the mechanical parts of the game worked fairly well (except for the one player who was using a smartphone, apparently Roll20 and smartphones do not play well together).

Dialect is one of the indie games, focused on telling one particular type of story but telling it very well.  In this case it is the evolution and death (or abandonment) of a dialect of an existing language.

The game comes with four example settings, we went with Sing the Earth Electric where we are AIs sent back to Earth after humanity has abandoned the planet.  We decided we were there to preserve what cultural information we could and prepare the (now barren) planet for Re-Terraforming (and that we were looking for the answer to why the human left).

Character roles (just brief description like Explorer with hooks) are assigned by drawing three cards and choosing one.  Then the game is played in three rounds, each round each player will get to play one card, again from a hand  of three, most of these give you a chance to create a new word.   The card will tell you what the word is for (ritual, happiness and such) and you can, and should, discuss the word with the other players but whoever played the card has final say.  Then two (or more) characters are placed in a scene where they can use the word in conversation.  Once everyone has played a card, it moves onto the next round, the situation changes and the sequence begins again.

In addition to word, there are action cards which replace the player’s creation of a new word such as one which causes an existing word to change meaning over time.

Lastly, at the end of the three round, everyone gets an epilogue card to help conclude the story.

It plays very easily for those used to this style of game and everyone else should pick it up pretty quickly, most everyone was in the swing of things by round two.  It was a good time even if the story was rather sad and tragic.

An interesting experience if you want to explore the arc of evolution and decline of a sub-language.  Recommended by me.

You can purchase it directly from Thorny Games or (if you are in the North Georgia, USA, region) at Tyche’s Games.

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Short Reviews of D&D 5E publications – School of Awakenings and the Pike-Pole

21 June, 2020
School of Awakening

Been awhile, so here are some quick reviews of products for D&D 5E:

Wizard School of Awakening: How to Make Friends presents a new arcane traditions for wizards one that specializes in imparting magic life to objects, awakening them as it were.

The mechanics are quite fun, allowing the wizard to create two “thoughtlings” (awakened objects) at 2nd level and then more as they gain levels, to a maximum of five, each has its own personality (of a list of tweleve ranging from haughty to silly) which gives it or its creator access to special abilities.  As the wizard grows in power they can awaken larger objects and magic ones as well, eventually gaining the ability to build a magical “homestead” which will maintain animate objects at the wizard’s home.

There is a lot of potential for fun and interesting interactions between the awakened object and the wizard, and other people too, but there are some questions.  Can the awakened objects speak for example?  Or how does an awakened shield move?  Why does a large awakened object only have 3 more hit points than a tiny one?  Why do they inflict force damage when they attack?  A little more attention should have been paid to such questions.

From a Dungeon Master’s perspective, some advice of how to cope with someone who know has a character plus at least two awakened object (and maybe a familiar too).  That could easily double the party size!  Also several of the ability granted by the awakened objects personalities (kind and lazy especially) could cause some balance issue as they strike me as subtly powerful.

Overall, a very fun and inventive class, one that would be very well suited to a solo campaign.  A DM will have to weight if they will fit into their campaign and how to balance them if they do.  But, mostly, a job well done here.

Pike Pole

The Pike Pole, a nautical themed weapon, presents just that. it gives a brief history of this sort of weapon and how they have been used along with ideas for a how a character could have learned to use one.

Several variations on the pike pole, both mundane and magical, are included each with its own illustration.  As are rules for trip and disarm attacks using the weapon.  All well and good except it is a tool turned into a weapon that is just better on all levels than weapons made as weapons.

As listed, it does not have the heavy or two-handed properties yet has reach and does a 1d10 damage for 5 lbs of weight and 1 gold (or 5 gold if you want the improved one that gives you a small bonuses with the maneuvers).  It is a spear with a hook, it should do spear damage (1d8) and have both the heavy and two-handed properties to bring it in line with other pole arms (and the trip and disarm should be added to other weapons as well, if you are giving out those maneuvers).

A good idea and excellent presentation of the weapon, but it just too good mechanically.  However, that is easily fixed.

Notes: The links above are affiliate links and if you purchase through them, this site gets a tiny amount from it.

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Review – Shadowrun: Firing Squad

13 June, 2020

SR: FSShadowrun: Firing Squad is the first sourcebook for the Sixth World Edition of Shadowrun covering combat, always an important part of the game. The new equipment, combat options and advice widely expand the tactical choices and the discussions of the role of violence and its place in the world and characters’ lives allow for interesting roleplaying if that is your focus. A must have for any Shadowrun GM and any player who enjoy combat focused characters.

Shadowrun: Firing Squad, is the Core Combat Book for Shadowrun, Sixth World Edition, expanding on the combat side of the game through new gear and new rules and options. Pretty much everything a street samurai could need.

It begins with a short introduction laying out what is in the book, then we have one of the ubiquitous fiction sections, before we find the Weapons Rack section, more new toys for the violently inclined ranging from new melee weapons to guns of all sizes to crowd control water cannons. More options are always good and there is something for just about everyone, lethal, less lethal, probably non-lethal, big, small, it is all here. There are also new ammo types (two) and gear mods (though more of those later). Even a combat chainsaw (from the Ash Arms)! It does fill in some needed gabs, like a portable flame thrower but has some strangeness, such as why the ‘Xiphos’ Tactical Gladius, which is literally modeled on the classic Roman short sword, is an exotic weapon? The second part of the weapons rack section is new weaponry from rEVOlution Arms, weapon designed by Monads (if you have not been following the metaplot, human bodies and brains inhabited by AI) which all use the wild die, which has not seen much use in the game until now, and include wacky things like laser weaponry, PULSE stunners, and more. I have serious game balance questions about some of them (PULSE stunner I am looking at you) but they mostly seem like interesting bleeding edge technology to add to the game.

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