Friday, December 31, 2010

Starting Races and options for GASP gamesday

Since the matter was brought up here are the starting options for my Gamesday game ideas that Ive come up with.

Regardless of the game the group picks there are some basic rules I will be following anyways.
  • You must have at least some sort of minimal goal that is not completable in one session. It can be as nebulous as "become the best gunslinger around" or something highly specific
  • Once all the characters have been generated you must write down how your character knows the character of the person to your left. You dont have know them well or even like them, but you CAN NOT be pure strangers. Connections to additional characters will earn additional style points. This includes coming up with a random NPC everyone has in common.
  1. Lamentations of the Flame Princess - "Bridgeport Blues" - 
    1. Humans are by and far the most common people in Bridgeport, making up over 75% of the town and over 90% of powerful. In general most tensions between humans are social class or guild/gang related, with city dwellers taking advantage of gullible countryfolk a far third.
    2. Dwarves are the next most common race in Bridgeport after humans and by the far the best established. Dwarves are known for their craftsmanship and goods, temper when someone attempts to gain those goods by less then honest means and ability to hold grudges, so many of the ruffians of the city tend to give dwarves a wide berth for the obvious occupational hazards. Rulewise they are identical with LoFPs dwarves mechanically, though instead of not being interested in reproducing they instead have strict courtship rules that involve crafting precious goods or accumulation of large amounts of wealth.
    3. Ratmen are not quite a creation of mine, being heavily influenced by the Skaven of Warhammer Fantasy and the Ratmen of Glen Cooks Garret P.I. series. Ratmen are quite literally humanoid rats that roughly fill the role of halflings, with several twists. Thought in general to be about as intelligent as a smart dog or a dumb child, ratmen usually can only hold menial jobs, and are ignored even more so than most servants. Even if they are educated or intelligent, most ratmen have learned through cruel experience to play dumb, though the majority really are below the human average. Mechanically ratmen use LoFP halfling rules but swapping the dice for exterior hiding and urban hiding, to handle that they hide better in the alleys and back rooms then any sort of trees. Another change is the penalty to Education but they tend to be ignored in the city unless obviously acting in an unusual manner.
    4. Lizardfolk are the remainders of a great civilization of ages past, decayed into shadows of their past. Using the LoFP rules for Elves as a guideline this is the race that is most open to player interpretation, as the only hard and fast notes I have is magical ability and members of a lost civilization.
  2. Savage Worlds Fallout - I see two major options and if someone can come up with another I'll toss it out to the group for a vote.
    1. All Vault born, much like Fallout 1 or Fallout 3 the game will start in a Vault that is slowly wearing out. All the players would be humans and youd have the greatest starting access to advanced tech. This is also the easiest for me to run as I have to come up with the least info to give the players, as thier character will really not know whats outside the Vault.
    2. The other obvious option is to start the game in one of the towns of the Wastelands. This would allow Vaultborn humans, Wastelanders, Ghouls and low level mutants easily. Im not automatically opposed to players playing as something more unusual like a Supermutant or a robot, but I will expect them to bring more to the game, especially what they are doing in the town, why no one has killed them, and why they'd join a party. Provide that and all thats left is negotiating abilities and flaws.
  3. Dark Heresy - "Hive Bound" - of course you are a human, but anyone playing a character not from the Hive will have to come up with a good reason for thier character to have been brought there.
  4. Savage Worlds - "Ashes of London" - you are again Human, this time of victorian persuasion, though where the game takes place is open to group vote as well. If you are not a native of the location, again I need a reason your there.
  5. In changes there are three kinds of characters, borrowing from the RPG Witchcraft, and they are all human. The most simple is the straight up badass, in the vein of John McClain or the crew of NCIS, your just a regular human who is really good at whatever your skilled in but nothing beyond that. The second are people who believe that they have some sort of special or unusual ability and have pour time and effort into "improving them". You will have bonus points made available the more unusual your ability, or the more subtle the use is or you can even opt to have someone who has completely made up thier powers and are convinced they are real (I will give you special bonuses as fit how you roleplay that, i.e. the pious fraud or a con man, etc.). And finally there are the people who just have strange things happen to them, and basically you will build a character with a certain amount of points held in reserve for when a story element triggers them. Now the upside is I will increase the points I use to build your powers, the down side being your powers will be created by me based on how youve been roleplaying your characters (so someone who is angry and lashes out will gain a power that feeds on and fufills that, think like how it worked for Liz in Hellboy the Movie)
Questions, clarifications, ideas? Just post them

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Review and test example, Random Esoteric Creature Generator

My gift to myself is turning out pretty handy, a long reach stapler (yes its not really all that special, but its useful) and one of the first pdfs I have that I printed out in booklet form is James Raggi's Random Esoteric Creature Generator from RPGnow. Ever since handling the copy of Lamentations of the Flame Princess I've finally really understood the appeal of the booklet form factor, especially for old school games. Anyways onto the review..


I skipped printing out the cover and back page this time as I wanted to focus on just getting the game material printed out, but they are rather pretty. The forward from Mr. Raggi is, in my opinion, both a very apt analysis of traditional gaming and a battle-cry to bring back what is best in any game, the sense of wonder. I admit I've only been playing for about 11 years, and not even that has been continuous but recently my girlfriend's nephew has been desperately trying to break into tabletop gaming and the wonder, confusion and exploration as he explores a new world reminds me of something Ive lost in so many genres and games. I'm so used to certain things to be a certain way that Ive become jaded to them and the Random Esoteric Creature Generator (or RECG) is the perfect antidote for that, as long as you remember that in general all it creates are creatures as opposed to sentient races. Creation starts from a base template, fixes the basic body shape, the basic characteristics, size, movement type, attack methods, then the stars of the book, the distinctive features and special abilities. These are really the core of the book, and are followed by how it delivers its special ability/attack, combat strategy and motivations.

As an example I'm crafting a creature for my "Bridgeport Blues" idea.
Body shape: Quadraped
Basic Characteristics: mammalian, vaguely dog like
Size: Human Sized
Movement method: Standard
Attack Methods: Multiple
                          Spikes/Horns, Bite
Distinctive Features: Multiple Features
                               Pulsating Body, Oozing Sores
Special Abilities: Glowing eyes
Delivery of Special Attacks: none
Combat strategy: Attack Closest
Motivation: Fear

Now first of all I'll admit rerolling the special abilities as I rolled up "only hit by cold iron" and ideas were already starting to form before I got to that, especially since I re-watched Predators recently. So my mind brought up the dog beasts from the movie, but the pulsating bodies and oozing sores call up images of something darker and less natural. The multiple attack methods abilities all stack so on a hit its biting you for a respectable 2d8 damage, so its already capable of killing a 1st level player with an average die roll. So I have a mysterious hound analogue that is grotesque to look at, will rip your face off and feeds on fear. I'm definitely going to need to play up the nasty nature that even as you look at it, its body ripples and rents appear in its skin that ooze pus. The big question is, is it a minion of a dark good or some horribly warped canine? Im already envisioning a heavy rottweiler head, kinda like my dogs but wreathed with horns that are set in this moving flesh, maybe with a hand or face pressing outward from inside. And its definitely an ambush predator as it is still sitting around with decreased chance to surprise in the dark and the AC of an unarmored man, so Im also thinking some sort of hunting pack.

Toss in a possible location.. the Beasts of the Wilderheath or a name - the Hounds of Gunuck and I have enough of a beast to put into a game world, just need a reason for the PCs to encounter them.

Over all the RECG is definitely a good buy, though I admit I would prefer a soft bound booklet size over my current home printed version

==============================
Some random seeds for ideas;

This vicious swamp country was noted for its advanced brewing. It was destroyed by social breakdown caused by interest in forbidden things, leaving behind only treasures.

This educated mountain country was noted for its advanced astronomy and medicine. It was destroyed by the underworld because of the people's extreme interest in forbidden things, leaving behind only its language and treasures.

This cruel grassland imperium was noted for its advanced ground travel. It was destroyed by a drought, leaving behind only records and ruins.

This bigoted underground imperium was noted for its advanced brewing and herbology. It was destroyed by religious conflict caused by perversion, leaving behind only its relics.

This militant arctic theocracy was noted for its advanced forestry and mercantile skills. It was destroyed by an earthquake, leaving behind only its language.

This materialistic mountain theocracy was noted for its advanced metallurgy and forestry. It was destroyed by social breakdown, leaving behind only trade routes and superstitions.

This secretive swamp theocracy was noted for its advanced art and canal-building. It was destroyed by a plague, leaving behind only tombs.

This uncreative swamp kingdom was noted for its advanced astrology and astronomy. It was destroyed by bizarre experiments, leaving behind only superstitions and its religion.

Ascended Credit
Obsidian Bit
Runed Dime
Confederate Shekel
Glorified Bit
Meteoric Nickel

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sandbox games, and why I love them

Of all the campaign types Ive ever played in or run my favorite have always been Sandbox games. The concept is best known in popular conversation due to the (in)famous Grand Theft Auto games. Rather than having a chain of "must do" quests that limit or prevent you from advancing the plot like in games like Dragonlance or Okami, where the player does have a choice to make (however limited), a sandbox game doesn't have a plot line to follow. And that's because the plot is the tale of the adventurer's exploits. And there in lies the single thing I like most about this style of game - I'm not telling a story that the players dance to like well dressed monkey'. In all honesty if I wanted that why wouldn't I just write a story? Rather than trying to out guess or predict peoples actions I can focus on crafting a rich world for them to interact with. I am far more interested in who my players decide to latch onto and interact with than any amount of slaying the big baddy of the week, because if I want tactical combat I run Classic Battletech; Total Warfare most Saturdays for a few hours. And no matter how much tactical play is in an RPG, a wargame with over 25 years pedigree does that better (and with giant robots and massive explosions..)

Anyways, in my list of games to run at GASP I listed my top five ideas, so to give examples of characteristics of Sandbox games I really like, I'll flesh some out for some of the ideas. And to give credit where credits due this whole blog post was spawned by the wonderful gamemaster chapter in Stars Without Number, an OSR sci-fi rpg I picked up on RPGnow.com.

  1. Lamentations of the Flame Princess "Bridgeport Blues" - The nasty seedy city of Bridgeport (named rather unimaginatively due to the massive and ancient "bridges" around and over the sheltered bay the port grew up around) is a paradise for a sandbox. I want this to be a blend of Ankh-Morpork (Terry Pratchet), TunFaire (Glen Cook), and Lankhmar (Fritz Leiber). What that means, for those who dont know these literary towns, they are a hive of scum and villainy, filled with individuals of most of the major sentient races in the game world, though many of the less powerful are shoved into ghettos, there are corrupt or ineffectual civic leadership and a thriving criminal underworld at least on part with Prohibition era major cities. What all this means to players is there are plot hooks everywhere you look, go, eat at or fall down. In a sandbox game the players are the driving force in the plot, they have to at least make some effort to head out and look for something to do, or have a goal they are working towards. And a city where everyone has an angle, a sob story or something the players can help with there should be NO reason for a lull or dead space, but that all relies on the players being active.
  2. Dark Heresy "Hiveward Bound" - Dark Heresy is a wonderful example of another facet of sandboxes, you have to find out what youre up against before you charge through that door. The "disturbance" that brought your characters out might be some griping old workers trying to set up a strike or a cell of genestealer cultist who will slice an unprepared party to shreds under thier horrifically warped claws. Unlike more modern games with tight storylines, where the encounters a party finds are carefully scaled and balanced, sandbox games (especially those with any sort of OSR roots, like Dark Heresy's pedigree from Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay) dont have artificial limits like that, because the encounters are usually location based. So when the commoner tells the players about the "weird beast that lives out in the ruins" it does NOT mean go fight it. It means find out more about whats there. Just like in real life, in sandbox games "there's a time to hold'em and a time to fold'em". Its completely acceptable to run AWAY from something. This places an emphasis on investigation and interaction over combat that I prefer, like I said I get all the tactical combat I want from Battletech.
  3. Alternity "Changes" - The Changes campaign show cases the final major thing with sandbox games I enjoy, consequences. Unlike infamous "wagon train" stories like Star Trek: The Original Series where the characters can come down, topple a working system of government, bed the attractive whats-her-name, and then fly off, the whole living world idea means the player character actions will have results that ripple through the world and over time. No longer will the villager say nothing but "Sigh, times are tough" ,no matter anything you do in the world. This is actually the hardest to manage for me, mostly for a matter of keeping things straight as the ripples fly out.
Thats enough for now, I still have both Savage worlds games that I can touch on as things come up

    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    GASP games day rpg ideas ver 2

    With a little feedback from some of the guys of GASP Im starting to narrow down the options for the RPG I'll run at GASP.

    1. Lamentations of the Flame Princess - "Bridgeport Blues" - a city centered game that will heavily draw on Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar. So forget Gandalf and think of adventures through slums and noble houses, political manipulation through force, and traditional wine and wenches. This would be the perfect game to use my thought experiment for, I already have new names for the stats written up. Thanks to the wonderful blogger at Beyond the Black Gate I have some awesome random tables to mine for ideas.
    2. Dark Heresy - "Hiveward Bound" - I had success running a game of this in 2008 so maybe its time to bring the system back out. This time around I think the location will be a little more nailed down and limited so I can spend more effort detailing the setting and npcs, so think 2000 A.D. more than Star Trek, with most of the characters never having seen the real sky. The monstrous hive cities of the Imperium are literally big enough for me to run just about any remotely enclosed environment I can think of. Re-watching Metropolis, Escape from New York, The Fifth Element, and any other dystopian movies I can think of would be in order to get the right feel. Actually Metropolis would be just about perfect for a noble born hero...
    3. Savage Worlds - "Fallout" - because what gamer doesnt like playing in the post-apocalyptic land that Black Isle gave us years and years ago?
    4. Savage Worlds - "Ashes of London" - Victorian Sci-Fi in the vein of The Peshawar Lancers by S.M. Stirling, H.G. Wells The War of the Worlds, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Wild Wild West all mashed up against the back drop of an alien invasion. Steam power, cannons and weird science vs amazing tech as subjugated peoples use the chaos caused by the aliens to try and forge their own course in the world.
    5. Alternity - "Changes" - Alternity is the poor redheaded sci-fi stepchild of TSR's products. One of the final lines to come out of TSR before the WOTC purchase, Alternity is a skill based game that as written works best for Victorian to far future settings. Using a die mechanic I think is one of the more interesting roll under mechanics Ive encountered. Changes is a game where a group of people who have all encountered something "weird" being gathered together. Everyone has either encountered something that "should not be", knows something that should not be known or can do things that shouldnt be possible. Im intentionally being vague because the characters are intended to be much like Will Smith's character at the beginning of Men in Black, he's good and skilled, but he finds himself so in over his head its kinda funny.
    Still gotta narrow some stuff down and start scribbling down seeds and name lists for all the ideas, but January 11th is coming soon...

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    just a quick little gem

    Just found this post - http://beyondtheblackgate.blogspot.com/2010/12/random-table-weird-things-in-rooms.html - Im going to have to watch this blog

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    Thoughts on a thought experiment

    I was catching up on Jeff Reints blog when I found this post. The difference in the character images that pop to my mind when I just change the names of stats is pretty profound, at least to a geek like me. This begs a whole other question - how much can you change a game by changing the names of things in it. Its a long time DM trick to rename or re-describe a monster to throw off a player and try to snatch back a little of that "newbie wonder" in your games. What about doing that with a mechanic or a game trope? Would players be so quick to get in a fight where they are losing "blood" instead of just HPs?

    While admittedly the stats would shift a the style of play a bit, as something like having a fighter with a high "Brutishness" score conjures a different image than a fighter with a high Strength score. Ones Mr. Universe and one is a tough customer with a crooked nose and scars. Or maybe its just me...

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Podcasts

    Not exactly a proper blog post but hopefully something I can get feedback on.

    My job is very repetitious and mind numbing, ending up with my listening to a LOT of podcasts to get through my shift. So here's what I listen to with commentary, and Im always looking for more.

    The Naked Scientists - Active - a wonderful British science 'cast that rates very highly in my book
    A History of the World in 100 Objects - Ended- this fascinating podcast has sadly finished, I really need to try and see if mp3s of it will fit on a cd for car rides
    All Things Medieval - Podfade? - the podcast looks to have faded, but was highly useful for what was there
    Astronomy Cast - Active - a good fact based podcast, the tangents are fairly amusing
    Celtic Myth Podcast - In Limbo - stories (especially legends), songs and talk about Celtic people - currently on hiatus due to major health issues with one of the hosts
    British History 101 - Inactive - an interesting analysis of British Historical events, either podfaded or on hiatus
    Dan Carlin's Hardcore History - Active - Im still catching up on this podcast, the episodes Ive listened to are fairly thought provoking
    Digital Planet - Active - more radio podcasts from the BBC covering modern technology with a much more global take than any American radio show Ive heard
    Dragons Landing - In Limbo - I dont know what has happened with this podcast. The original hosts have been gone for months and the secondary hosts they had covering, while excellent and some of my favorite, have not been consistent in releases at all
    Fear the Boot - Active - probably my favorite rpg podcast with a blend of hosts that suit all my tastes in games. If you haven't listened, look through their back catalog and try an episode on a topic you enjoy.
    The Game's the Thing - active but slow - while it bills itself as a podcast on tabletop games, this is essentially a Savage Worlds podcast, atleast in the last year or two
    Material World - active - fairly deep podcast on science topics from the BBC
    Medieval Podcast - podfade - I had high hopes for this podcast but it looks to be dead
    Naked Archaeology - active - a wonderful archeology podcast from the crew behind Naked Scientists, single complaint is its monthly release schedule
    NPR: Science Friday - active - I really dislike the way the podcasts are released (each topic is a separate file) and fact checking has been somewhat suspect, but the prestige of the program and its host has allowed them to get some great guests on
    Postcards from the Dungeon - active - a good podcast about mining various media for inspiration and tropes in RPGs
    Roll for Initiative - active - focusing on 1st edition AD&D this podcast has some very nice focus and is useful for OSR games
    RPG Circus - active - this podcast can be a bit hit or miss for me as it spends too much time on industry news (there are only a very small handful of in print games I care about and I can keep an eye on them myself, and I couldnt care less about 4e DnD) and the rpg blogosphere but there have been some excellent discussions to balance that out
    Save or Die - active - a nicely focused podcast on Classic D&D (from Little Brown Books to Rules Cyclopedia) that is very useful to me, the only problem is sound quality and volume on bumpers as they can get painfully loud
    Science in Action - active - more science from BBC
    The Secrets Podcast for Writers - inactive - a solid podcast from Michael Stackpole, it almost makes up for his exploding fusion reactors....
    Skeptics Guide to the Universe - active - a skeptics podcast that can teach some wonderful lessons in critical thinking and logic, at the cost of whatever part of you didnt think people are worthless, lying fools
    Smiling Jacks Bar and Grill - active - from the Game's the Thing crew, this is admittedly Savage Worlds centric but  good, other than a quarterly release schedule
    Spoken Lore - inactive? - Reading the Eddas and the Sagas out loud, this podcast would be great, if the audio setup was consistent
    Stone Pages Archaeo News - active - a charming archaeology podcast with a Scottish host, very informative and hilarious to listen to him try to pronounce Middle Eastern location names
    That's How We Roll - inactive? - Evil Hat's podcast, looks to be inactive, but Fred Hicks is a smart gamer
    TrapCast - inactive? - the only podcast with someone on it Ive gamed with, this bizarre little podcast has gone quiet for longer than advertised

    So if there are any Old School or science podcasts Im missing out on, Id be interested to know

    Sunday, December 5, 2010

    how serious should we be?

    After a recent string of posts on a forum thread I have to ask myself how serious should an rpg game world be taken?

    Since the thread was about Gamma World ill use that as my first example. First of all GW can be run as a very campy humorous game, since you have monsters as whacked as the Yexil who feed on fabric and really love an all synthetic outfit like a 70s leisure suit. Keep in mind that physically the critter looks like a sphinx in a lot of ways. So we have a creature whose composed of bat wings on a lion body with a human head, who can be bribed with a leisure suit right out of Saturday Night Fever. But is that any more ridiculous than a peryton, a creature of actual mythology that has a deer's head with antlers, on a bird body, that casts the shadow of a human being and eats just hearts? With GW you can at least use the excuse of genetic engineering or nanites from before the Fall.

    But it still begs the question that when you get down to it, how can you really take any non real world element in any game of any genre seriously? Isn't the Force just as ridiculous as a flumph or a screamer? What makes a +5 sword of blending any more believable than a laser rifle or a lazy hyena headed humanoid?

    If we even just accept things like other sentient races and magic, how many times do real world elements like slavery and discrimination rear their head in a game? Human beings have slaughtered untold millions because of differences in belief and skin color, and somehow we are supposed to believe that they open their arms to genuinely alien looking and acting races like dwarves and elves. I find it far more believable that the mutated humanoid badger was to beat the crap out of the party, take their stuff and sell them into slavery far far more than I can believe that halflings are a peaceful, pastoral and free people that just kinda while their lives away farming. The only real record of different cultures interact that we have to work with paints a much grimmer story of war, subjugation or extinction.

    But do we really want that in our games?

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    Wither Weirdness

    While pondering things at work to keep from going nuts I realized something, I like my rpgs to have a major element of weirdness, something that twists tropes.

         Dark Heresy is a wonderful example. The setting just drips weird, with the mix of science fiction and the dark Gothic nature of Edgar Allan Poe and other authors. Gone is all the shiny joy and hope for the future that franchises like Star Trek have in spades. Instead a witchfinder or inquisitor right out of the middle ages is leading a party made up of a WW2 esque soldier, a Wild West style card shark con man, and 1980s movie or A Clockwork Orange style gangbanger. This mismatch of archetypes appeals to me more than the traditional D&D party. Since the game focuses, predominately, on investigative adventures over combat this mix gives a pool of skills to draw on. Remember, this is Dark Heresy, your character is only a step above the masses of common people, so having a variety of skills to chose from gives you that little extra chance to survive a universe that really just doesnt care about you.

    On the fantasy side my current favorite James Raggi's Lamentations of the Flame Princess. This is obviously an Old School Renaissance game (it is me after all) but with a twist. More than a few changes have been made to Classic D&D to change the feel of the game. Rather than the more high fantasy, almost anime feel of modern 4th Edition D&D, LoFP has a darker, low fantasy feel of the original Stories of Conan and other Robert Howard stories. The game is not intended for happy stories of dragon riding knights saving the maiden in distress, but rather the motley gang of loons that are looking for their next big score, slinking through some tomb or ruins. So its Fritz Leiber rather than Traci Hickman or Mercedes Lackey. Another way to view it is Dungeons and Dragons written so you could play in the Cthulhu mythos. Rather than being able to wade into combat against anything you encounter, each battle is a potential total party kill, because your facing creatures rather than monsters. I call them creatures because there are not traditional monsters like you'd find in a Monster Manual, each one is intended to be tinkered with in play.

    Ill be adding to this as I think of things

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    The Status of Bryn Mawr and sundries

         Ive done the bulk of my posts on the blog about the world containing the land of Bryn Mawr. However having finally gotten to run Lamentations of the Flame Princess I've discovered the system I want to use for my world, as it definitely lets me play up story elements that tie into the Great Cataclysm. So until James Raggi gets the non limited edition of LoFP out, or I just create a pdf so the Players Guide, Referee's Guide, and Magic book are all ready to print out and hopefully have bound, Bryn Mawr is on hold.

         Which leaves me at a quandary of what do I run at GASP? Top options are

    1) Call of Cthulu - I have several time periods I can run, and I got the rule book at the prize table at the con.
    2) Savage Worlds - still need to re read the damage section, but the rules are cheap and flexible and Ive got a batch of campaign ideas
    3) Gamma Worlds 2e - I have it, I love it, why not run it?
    4) Dark Heresy - people enjoyed it, I enjoyed it, though this time people are making thier own characters
    5) Alternity - good skills game but it might have limited appeal.

    Before I go and toss the list on the GASP forums I have to see about how much space we will have for rpgs next year - I may end up finishing my Ambush Alley minis and run some 15mm counter insurgency play

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    not quite dead yet

    Well with GASPcon behind me and one class finished I'm hoping I'll finally have more time to post on here, though given my poor time management skills I'm trying to not get my hopes up.


    The convention has come and gone and I actually managed to play in a game I didn't schedule, though sadly it was Star Wars Saga edition with the worst parts of 4e D&D grafted on, in my opinion.
    I plan to post about each of the games I ran, what worked and some notes about what didnt

    Thursday, July 8, 2010

    plans, being made and those awry

    Well like the title says things aren't quite going according to plans.

    So onto changes.

    1) I'm going to start an additional blog for my Battletech games. Into the Valley I plan on using the blog primarily for the Succession War era mercenary campaign I'll be Gamemastering the end of the month, along with occasional random posts as I work to fully paint my collection of Battletech miniatures.

    2) I really need to schedule my geeky behavior better so I can get more done. Suggestions are welcome!

    3) My initial plan for handling Bryn Mawr is not working as well as I hoped, leading me to think about something more like one page write ups of different topics.

    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    back to work - religious thoughts

    Well life has gotten in the way, again. But back to developing Bryn Mawr.

    Thoughts about the gods
    1. They do exist, but they manage the affairs of world with minimal direct actions.
    2. They do not fight amongst the family but conflict between the family and the old ones is rather common
    3. The family represents different aspects of a general philosophy, which is one of reasons honor is viewed relatively similar between races.
    4. There is no afterlife in the land - the tribute a person has after they die is how they are remembered
    5. Priests of the family are common and popular among the human tribes, but priests who serve a single diety are respected but considered odd.

    Friday, June 18, 2010

    A different way to play

    In the massive amount of podcasting, much of it gaming related, I listen to to get me through the work day I've come across the concept of play by comment. Kind of similar to forum based play by posts, play by comment has the DM make a blog post setting the scene and the players respond by comments. This is a really interesting concept

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    We're all one big family or the Gods of Bryn Mawr

    Well it seems that my plan to post something short every day is not going quite as planned. It is interesting to notice that the blog is turning into a development blog for my world building experiment - which I may have to split into a separate blog.

    Anyways onto the meat of the post

    The Gods of Bryn Mawr
    One of my problems with most traditional fantasy games is how the gods are handled. In a game where clerics can perform miracles, which when you read the oldest versions of games like D&D is what clerical spells should be like, the religion and gods they serve is barely explored. These divine beings that give the power to change the world are reduced to minimalist descriptions that seem to exist in a vacuum from all the other divine beings. And I dont like that...

    An idea I do like is from the novel the Curse of Chalion, where the gods are 4 members of a single family with one being outside the group who is responsible for everything that doesnt fit into the portfolios of the 4 main gods. So blatantly stealing that concept I'm going to write the religion of the core humans of Bryn Mawr as a collection of 5 divine beings; mother, daughter, father, son and the outsider.

    Axla, the goddess of Flesh and Change - goddess of all the aspects of flesh like; healing, illness and mutation.She is directly inspired by this article by Zac over at Playing D&D with Porn Stars then just shifted some into my vision of the world I want to present. Oh and yes the blog has the adult content warning for a reason.So I plan to shift her a little towards milf status, so she'll be beautiful but not in a girlish way, but very much the ripe, fertile woman image of the traditional fertility goddesses.She'll most definitely rule over the growing season.

    The Allfather - Im going to draw heavily from Odin here, so the Allfather is as much feared as worshipped, even the goddess of war is more well liked than he. He will have power over the winter, which should make him atleast somewhat a death god, in addition to covering those things which are expected but unpleasant. However to maintain the double edged theme I want to stick with he will also be the god that gives a man his courage, much like Crom does in Conan stories.

    Master of the Hunt - The young man of the divine family, Im most unsure of what I want with this god. I want to cover either hunting, farming or trade and push him towards covering the spring season, the time of rebirth, not in creating but rather renewal.

    Goddess of War - I just enjoy the image of the young female goddess who is the image of blood thirsty patron of blood and conquest. A major influence will be the Morrigan of Celtic legend, perhaps even as far as including the dark and disturbing images that go with that. The goddess will be ruler of harvest (much like war can be thought of as the harvest of man)

    The Outsider, Hoarden The Other Seer-

    Among the dwarves is a practice of ancestor worship. More tonight

    Kobolds have their own pantheon, but it bears a suspicious similarity to the human pantheon

    Kerpans are an animistic people with ancestor heroes

    And there will be dark and terrible beings that some of the evil races worship.

    Saturday, June 12, 2010

    Master listing of ponderings

    Here is a break down of my ponderings into major topics to attack
    1. The effects of magic
      1. How does magic directly affect the economy?
      2. How does magic affect agriculture?
      3. How does magic affect food sources?
      4. How is magic like polymorph treated in the legal system
      5. Someone who wants to do you harm counts for the protection from evil scrolls
      6. Are there any special rules or folk lore on how magic might or might not work?
    2. What are the real world parallels of the cultures of the races? 
      1.  What are the grains and staples of the races?
      2.  what are the clothes of different groups like?
      3.  What sort of architecture does each race favor?
    3. Food
      1. Ice houses - how is food preserved among the major races of the world? How is it prepared?
      2. What sort of drinks (especially alcoholic) do the different races make or brew? For example Rat Lager of the Dwarves
      3. Are there any cows or are deer, elk and fish the main sources of meat?
      4.  What founder crops are there for each race?
      5.  What are the unifying cultural meals of the races
      6. What spices are in the land?
      7. Does millet or sorghum exist?
      8. what is drinking like
      9. Do fish ponds exist in the land?
      10. Whats Breakfast or Childs ale like? How common?
      11. Do people eat seafood? How often and what sort?
      12. Are there deer parks?
      13. Building a deeper story through the judicious use of food
      14. How does food and drink differ among the races?
      15. are there religious taboos involving food, like Islam and alcohol or Judaism and pig products
      16.  Whats food like? What sort of food?
    4. Natural Events
      1. Is there an Aurora in the world? How far south does it show, what colors?
      2. How common are tornadoes?
      3. are there Equinox ceremonies?
      4. are sacrifices offered in times of natural disasters
    5. Religion
      1. The gods as a family unit in BM
      2.  offerings and sacrifices to the gods
      3. Is there an incarnation of the memory of the land?
      4. What is the religions of the land like? Dualistic, monotheistic, or pantheistic?
      5.  Is Borron treated as a great betrayer or a cleanser of iniquity? Are there differing views? Does anyone worship him?
      6. are there sacred mountains?
      7. The cunning man of a town lives beside a sacrificial tree, on which hangs animal sacrifices and tokens
      8. How common is Human Sacrifice?
      9. What is the role of Anchorites in the land?
      10.  do the gods need appeased or hornored
    6. Government
      1. What are the standardized units of the kingdoms?
      2. Are there city states in the world?
      3. Are there any military colonies?
      4. "He will keep who can" philosophy amongst humans
      5. What sort of mines are in the land?
      6. Are imperial gifts, ala the Chinese, in the world? Gifts that are part bribe part grease to maintain the government, known as pander diplomacy
      7. What is the link between crafts and government?
      8. What role do titles have in the land?
      9. What are taxes and dues like in the land
    7. Economy
      1. Carved items as treasure
      2. what is the basis of the economy of the the land? Barter, coin or a mix
      3. What amount of the houses in the world are also storefronts and shops?
      4. Are there fairs in the land?
      5. How are markets handled?
      6. How rare are diamonds?
      7. Cattleraiding in BM
      8. Symbols found on coins - perhaps marking purity and weight of coins
      9.  Are there merchant houses?
      10. Are there bloodfines?
    8. Game specific
      1. Division of control in BM - players control the story and the DM controls the setting
      2. How are words found in BM pronounced? Pronunciation guide for BM
      3. How is family treated mechanically
      4. Allegiances instead of alignment
      5. Could BM be on a ring world?
      6. What is the feel of BM?
      7. Are there any dungeons that are not normal, for example a crashed spaceship in the ringworld idea, but no one knows of it as a ship
      8.  do props have a place in BM games? Propinomicon blog
      9. How are family feuds handled?
      10. How heroic are PCs expected to be?
      11. the importance of genealogy and who you are related to
    9. How big are the fields of the world? Perhaps the size of an American football field
    10. Is there Ergot? do people know what it is?
    11. The "Town Cryer of Carnegie Towers" as an NPC.
    12. Mental illness, how common and how is it treated?
    13. How common are taverns? Are they just places to drink or something more
    14. How is death and burial treated by the races
    15. Skiing in the land?
    16. Where are the canals from the Great Empire?
    17. What is know about the lake that exists at the site of the former capital of the Great Empire? What is weird?
    18. Do the Nephillum have a place in the game? The children of man and angel.
    19. does the fairy realm exist?
    20. Do chariots have a role in the world?
    21. whats paper like in the world?
    22. Are there healing wells? Is there worship at these wells?
    23. Are there fae and do they live in the hollow hills? What lives in the hollow hills instead?
    24. What symbols are worn by different groups in combat to avoid fraticide
    25. Do swords tell of their achievements and uses when cleaned?
    26. Is there a Plain of Pillars from some ancient battle?
    27. Are there faerie doctors?
    28. What is the role of the giant in the land? Are they in decline, have they become corrupted?
    29. Is there an equivalent to the Fomori? No
    30. What role do Doorkeepers have in the land?
    31. Cave filled with pictures of headless beasts and dancing figures - what does it mean and who made it?
    32. A Cutter goes to kick a rock down on adventurers and stubs his foot instead. As he hops around in pain his companion laughs and then brains the wounded Cutter, throwing his body down at the adventurers.
    33. statuary of the past in the land
    34. tendays instead of weeks
    35. ceremonial weapons in the land
    36. roads

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    Ponderings on Bryn Mawr pt 3

    Wow... I really need to start writing on the previous ponderings before I keep adding more to the list...

    Anyways, here's some more thoughts;

    • Cattleraiding in BM
    • The gods as a family unit in BM
    • Symbols found on coins - perhaps marking purity and weight of coins
    • statuary of the past in the land
    • Carved items as treasure
    • what is drinking like
    • what are the clothes of different groups like?
    • what is the basis of the economy of the the land? Barter, coin or a mix
    • tendays instead of weeks
    • ceremonial weapons in the land
    • roads
    • offerings and sacrifices to the gods
    • How does magic directly affect the economy?
    • How does magic affect agriculture?
    • How does magic affect food sources?

    One of the reasons I keep trying to pound out these short posts is to get in the habit of posting, and consequently writing, a little bit each day during the week. Let's see how that works

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    Ponderings on BM pt 2

    A short list of more random thoughts on the setting
    • Building a deeper story through the judicious use of food
    • How does food and drink differ among the races?
    • are there religious taboos involving food, like Islam and alcohol or Judaism and pig products
    • The cunning man of a town lives beside a sacrificial tree, on which hangs animal sacrifices and tokens
    • "He will keep who can" philosophy amongst humans
    • do props have a place in BM games? Propinomicon blog
    • Cave filled with pictures of headless beasts and dancing figures - what does it mean and who made it?
    • Could BM be on a ring world?
    • What is the feel of BM?
    • Are there any dungeons that are not normal, for example a crashed spaceship in the ringworld idea, but no one knows of it as a ship
    • A Cutter goes to kick a rock down on adventurers and stubs his foot instead. As he hops around in pain his companion laughs and then brains the wounded Cutter, throwing his body down at the adventurers.
    • Division of control in BM - players control the story and the DM controls the setting
    • How are words found in BM pronounced? Pronunciation guide for BM
    • How is family treated mechanically
    • Allegiances instead of alignment
    • Someone who wants to do you harm counts for the protection from evil scrolls

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    Cutters pt. 2

    More on Cutters

    • Cutters reproduce rapidly, grow unnaturally fast and if unchecked will pour forth in hordes periodically
    • They can live on virtually anything, even stones for a short period of time
    • They worship the Dark Mother, the Goat of the Woods
    • their worship of this dark god(dess) centers around the slow ritual cutting of a victim, siphoning away their soul in small increments
    • Victims of this sacrifice are then hung as trophies or totems on the edge of the area considered cutter territory
    • these victims also do not rejoin the endless turning of the wheel of time as far as anyone can tell

    Origins of the Cutters

    Just one post this morning

    Well the story with cutters begins 250 years before the game time. An invasion of orcs (think Uruk-Hai) was threatening to sweep aside the Great Empire that was in Bryn Mawr. The most powerful mage of the empire, his name was Borron, bargained for access to the Grand Library of the Dwarven capital. As the Orcs shattered the last defensive line that the Empire had created Borron cast a massive spell. It struck down every orc in the world, wiping the species from the world. Mad with the power he had drawn on to cast this spell, or as they whisper because it was his actual goal, Borron strove to become a god. No one knows exactly what happened but the upper half of the tallest known mountain in the world, and the site of the capital of the Dwarven Underkingdom, detonated. A rain of raw magic fell as the clouds blocked out the sun, and a star fell from the skies and struck the capital of the Great Empire, believed to be a punishment on those people from the gods. All the holiest sites of Dwarfdom, thier entire recorded history and most of thier leaders were all destroying in an instant.

    But the rain of magic changed the world the most. Most creatures that it felt on were changed. For example, Kerpans were created from squirrels doused in this warping rain. However Cutters were once normal forest goblins. But something more than just the rain affected them. As they started to warp their bodies stayed much the same but thier heads shifted into horned goat heads. At first this was believed to be the result of the rain, until evidence of sacrifices to the Dark Goat of the Forest, an ancient god like being thought long dead or gone from the world. Even more frightening, none can contact the souls of those sacrificed, as though they were consumed by some other being...

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    Dwarves in Bryn Mawr

    more notes written down as I think of ideas at random times
    • Dwarves are now a xenophobic, bitter race, still shamed by the loss of capital in the Sundering War that destroyed the Great Empire.
    • The actions of the archmage Borron during the war, which obliterated the royal lineage, the Great Library, and the holiest sites of Dwarvenkind, have made all dwarves deeply mistrustful of all humans
    • The only dwarves who leave the Underkingdom are the traders and those who are desperate or misfits.
    • Two main things drive these dwarves, the desire to obtain that which can not be grown or mined beneath the surface, or the desperate urge to earn glory and acceptance by recovering a fragment of what was in the Great Library.
    • Finding a runestone or memory crystal will guarantee status for the desperate and acceptance for even the most undwarfish dwarf.

    Kobolds in Bryn Mawr - part 1

    Kobolds - in the land Kobolds are a playable race that is trying to find its place in the world.
    • It is a time of great change for the scaled children of the earth. Their intervention in the Dwarven Civil war, in a "humanitarian"role, and thier role in the peaceful solution to the war has brought them new respect among the civilized peoples. Combined with their experiment in constitutional government and an upswing in industrial production has made the Federated Kobold tribes wealthier than any time before
    • Apparently the push for more freedom originated with one of the few dragons to enter the affairs of mortals in recorded memory as anything but a conqueror. During one of the many periodic "culls" that the gnomes devised before the fall of the Great Empire a group of kobolds forced to flee the slaughter stumbled into the lair of a powerful dragon. Flinging themselves upon her mercy the warriors begged the dragon to take pity and protect their young as they were going to attempt to lead the gnomes away at the cost of their lives.

    Campaign Ides

    Just posting a list of campaign ideas sitting in my head at times, in an effort to keep blogging at least one post each day.
    1. Bryn Mawr - this is my baby of a fantasy world, heavily based on Dark Ages Europe and Britian, that Ive already mentioned (multiple systems)
    2. Gamma World - science fantasy in the ashes of the Apocalypse(Gammaworld 2e or Mutant Future)
    3. Rambling Stars - Mechwarrior rpg meets Serenity, PCs are part of the crew of a Free Trader dropship (Mechwarrior RPG 3rd ed or A Time of War)
    4. Under a Blood Red Sky - post apocalyptic fantasy ala Dark Sun (Barbarians of Lemuria or Barbarians of the Aftermath)
    5. Ashes of London - a Victorian Sci-Fi/Steampunk game set in the aftermath of the Martian Invasion (BRP, New World of Darkness or Savage Worlds)
    6. Wasteland - a very Fallout/Mad Max inspired Post Apocalyptic game (BRP, Savage Worlds)
    7. Dark Heresy - In the Dark Grim future life is cheap and your the new guy
    8. Another Day at the Office - Mechwarrior special ops game
    9. Future Imperfect - near future paranormal game - think X-Files, Dark Angel, and all those Tabloids at the supermarket
    10. A Cold Day in Hell - your military unit survived WW3 just barely - now all you want to do is go home... (Twilight 2000, d20 Modern, BRP)
    11. Kicking it Old School - original D&D game, original rules, and whatever you want to add in
    12. Aviking in Vinland - alternate history set in the age of Piracy - is there such thing as magic? (nWoD, Gurps)
    13. Ice Station Zebra - one shot/short campaign - Something has gone wrong, go find out what
    14. Veterans of the Psychic Wars - you did your duty, you mustered out, but did you leave the war behind? and did it leave you behind?
    15. Welcome to Hell - what was that strange mist and where are you? Or should you be asking how do you get out of here? (maybe Ravenloft)
    16. Eyes like Lasers - you live in the Sprawl and its the only life you know - but thats going to change (Cyberpunk ish)
    17. Metal Dreams - Once you were merely flesh and bone, and now your more, but at what cost?
    18. Ramblin on the Verge - your way out There, maybe for a reason, maybe to hide, maybe just cause your bored - what will you do, where will you go, what will you see?
    19. Og - because cavemen and dinosaurs are always fun
    20. Guns of Londonium - alternate history game set in AD 250 as the 13th Legion tries to maintain peace in Britannia, in a history where the Romans developed gunpowder
    21. War Beneath the Stones - your people are calling upon you to brave battlefields and warrens that the sun has never touched, are you brave enough to go into the depths?
    22. Captain Tripps - The superbug tore through the world, killing 80% of all humans. Now we're all that remain - left to pick up the pieces.
    23. "Water water everywhere, and not a drop to drink" - A game of adventure on the high seas in a world of islands and vast open seas and the ships that ply them.
    24. Pirates, Privateers, and Pieces of Eight - Adventures in Spanish Main with more in common with Jack Sparrow than history.
    25. Skies of Glass - hard science post-apocalyptic inspired by the guys at Fear the Boot
    26. Call of Cthulu - what dark unknown things really do go bump in the night?
    27. Those Majestic Ships of the Sky - a game inspired by Catalysts Leviathan game
    28. D6 Star Wars - it is the iconic Space Opera pulp game

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    Orcs in Bryn Mawr

    Orcs
    • Orcs are all dead
    • they were wiped out by the epic spell that Borron cast
    • The reason for Borron's access to the grand library of the dwarves was research into the foe threatening the Great Empire. From across the sea to teh southwest the orcish horde came, slaying or enslaving all who stood before them. It was only at teh shores of what is now Bryn Mawr, near the current location of the Great Mere, that the Orcs were stopped and even by only the barest margins. This was in time for winter to make the sea impossible to an armada of such size.
    While orcs themselves are gone the stats will live on as one of the major tribes of natives that still inhabit the land even after humans have taken control of it.

    The Sidhe in Bryn Mawr, or where did the elves go

    As an experiment Im going to try and list some of the material Ive pondered up already in little bites that I can go back and expand later.

    So first up are the Sidhe, the elves of my world.
    • the Sidhe are mysterious and insanely powerful
    • common folk leave them offerings to appease them
    • immortal except for violence
    • cant lie, but they have thousands of years experience manipulating the truth
    • non Sidhe life is viewed like animals
    • very much like nature spirits, linked to the land and showing the condition of the land
    • spend most of their time living in their own lands/little world
    • occasionally they steal children, leaving changelings in their place

    Monday, May 31, 2010

    What is Bryn Mawr, or why do I keep babbling about this stuff? Pt. 1

    I've mentioned ideas for Bryn Mawr without describing what Bryn Mawr actually is, so rather than keep babbling I'm going to take time to define it.

    Bryn Mawr is a fantasy roleplaying setting that has been rattling around my head for years. At its core Bryn Mawr is intended to be a land inspired by what is now the United Kingdoms during the Dark Ages with a bit of the culture of the Vikings blended in. Blending some of the legends of the lands with some fantasy races should provide an interesting sandbox for players to explore. So here's some of the most important facts.
    • The land is intended to have a distinctly Celtic/Viking world view, without the baggage that the Christian monks and priests brought to the islands of the UK.
    • The major races that exist in the world are;
      • The old human tribes - heavily influenced by the Picts and early Celts
      • The humans in power - culturally this folk is based on a slightly more agrarian version of the Vikings, mainly in the sense that their farms are a little more productive and the forest provide more food than usual.
      • The Dwarves - the dwarves are heavily influenced by Warhammer Fantasy and Terry Pratchett's Discworld. This puts a different spin on Dwarves while mostly still being familiar
      • Kobolds - Kobolds are a race trying to claw their way into respectability as a people that stand on their own.
      • Kerpans - Kerpans are a anthropomorphic race of Squirrels that were created by a magical disaster. Living in hunter gather tribes, these are the "people of the woods" in the game.
      • Elves - Elves in Bryn Mawr are the Sidhe rather than Tolkien's elves, terrible and haughty in their grandeur and power Elves thankfully rarely are involved in the life of everyday people.
      • "Cutters" - Goblins that were horribly twisted by the same disaster that created the Kerpans.
      • More will probably be added as I expand the land but this will still primarily be a human dominated land with Kerpans and Dwarves as common as Elves and Dwarves in classic D&D worlds like the Judge's Guild Wilderlands and Gygax's Greyhawk.
    •  The land will intentionally be less fantastical than some retroclone game worlds but still with an old school bent, as thats what I enjoy playing.
    • Characters will be presented with a world that exists independent of them, but that they can influence through their actions.
    • Personal honor is more important than anything tangible
    • The old traditions of hospitality will be important, as Inns will not really exist as people are used to them
    • Family bonds will be really important, Im just not sure how to make it happen in mechanics terms
     The world was originally inspired as running under Classic or Original D&D, however I'm planning to focus on systemless description and make rules appendices for the following;
    • Classic D&D (Mentzer, Holmes and Rules Cyclopedia)
    • Savage Worlds
    • Hackmaster Basic
    • Harp
    • potentially Gurps and Castles and Crusades
    My eventual goal is to create a PDF of the game world thats sytemless and several appendices with the different rules systems and how they handle the world.

      More later....

      Wednesday, May 26, 2010

      The Grand list of Ponderings on Bryn Mawr, Pt1

      Before Ive mentioned briefly that I have a fantasy RPG campaign world that Ive been thinking about a lot called Bryn Mawr. If Im listening to a podcast or reading a book some part of my mind is wondering; how can I apply this to Bryn Mawr, what can I learn from this?

      So here's the current list of things Im pondering for Bryn Mawr - and the more interesting will probably become blog posts as I mentally delve into the political and social traits of the the game world, perhaps to the point of splitting the posts off into thier own blog. But thats all in the future... for now I just need to get the ideas out of my head and into some sort of physical form. So with no further ado...


      The grand list of ponderings
      1. What are the real world parallels of the cultures of the races?
      2. Ice houses - how is food preserved among the major races of the world? How is it prepared?
      3. Is there an Aurora in the world? How far south does it show, what colors?
      4. What sort of drinks (especially alcoholic) do the different races make or brew? For example Rat Lager of the Dwarves
      5. How big are the fields of the world? Perhaps the size of an American football field
      6. How common are tornadoes?
      7. Is there Ergot? do people know what it is?
      8. The "Town Cryer of Carnegie Towers" as an NPC.
      9. Mental illness, how common and how is it treated?
      10. How common are taverns? Are they just places to drink or something more
      11. Are there any cows or are deer, elk and fish the main sources of meat?
      12. What are the standardized units of the kingdoms?
      13. How is death and burial treated by the races
      14. What are the unifying cultural meals of the races
      15. What spices are in the land?
      16. Does millet or sorghum exist? What are the grains and staples of the races?
      17. Are there city states in the world?
      18. What founder crops are there for each race?
      19. Are there any military colonies?
      20. What amount of the houses in the world are also storefronts and shops?
      21. Skiing in the land?
      22. Where are the canals from the Great Empire?
      23. What is know about the lake that exists at the site of the former capital of the Great Empire? What is weird?
      24. What sort of mines are in the land?
      25. Are imperial gifts, ala the Chinese, in the world? Gifts that are part bribe part grease to maintain the government, known as pander diplomacy
      26. What is the link between crafts and government?
      27. Is there an incarnation of the memory of the land?
      28. What is the religions of the land like? Dualistic, monotheistic, or pantheistic?
      29. Do the Nephillum have a place in the game? The children of man and angel.
      30. Is Borron treated as a great betrayer or a cleanser of iniquity? Are there differing views? Does anyone worship him?
      31. Are there fairs in the land?
      32. How are markets handled?
      33. How are family feuds handled?
      34. How is magic like polymorph treated in the legal system
      35. Do fish ponds exist in the land?
      36. Whats Breakfast or Childs ale like? How common?
      37. Do people eat seafood? How often and what sort?
      38. Are there deer parks?
      39. How heroic are PCs expected to be?
      40. are there Equinox ceremonies?
      41. does the fairy realm exist?
      42. How common is Human Sacrifice?
      43. What is the role of Anchorites in the land?
      44. Are there any special rules or folk lore on how magic might or might not work?
      45. What sort of architecture does each race favor?
      46. Do chariots have a role in the world?
      47. How rare are diamonds?
      48. the importance of genealogy and who you are related to
      49. are sacrifices offered in times of natural disasters
      50. do the gods need appeased or hornored
      51. whats paper like in the world?
      52. are there sacred mountains?
      53. What role do titles have in the land?
      54. Whats food like? What sort of food?
      55. Are there healing wells? Is there worship at these wells?
      56. Are there fae and do they live in the hollow hills? What lives in the hollow hills instead?
      57. What symbols are worn by different groups in combat to avoid fraticide
      58. Do swords tell of their achievements and uses when cleaned?
      59. Is there a Plain of Pillars from some ancient battle?
      60. Are there merchant houses?
      61. What are taxes and dues like in the land
      62. Are there faerie doctors?
      63. What is the role of the giant in the land? Are they in decline, have they become corrupted?
      64. Is there an equivalent to the Fomori?
      65. What role do Doorkeepers have in the land?
      66. Are there bloodfines?
       And this is just what is partially rattling around my head...

      Monday, May 24, 2010

      Delays, distractions, and new games

      In what seems like almost nothing and forever a month has passed since my last blog post, not a good thing. On the positive side much of the lack of posting has stemmed from either time spent with the girlfriend or hobby related projects.
      1) Ive got a small friendly commission to paint 1:700 scale minis of the Tirpitz, Prinz Eugen, HMS Hood and the USS Essex. Ive never worked in this scale or on naval minis before so its become a learning experience as I work with figuring color schemes that work for each vessel and fiddly little things like what color an aircraft carrier deck really would look like.
      2) I'm pushing myself towards some conversion work that involves sculpting, and being reminded how pitiful my sculpting skills really are. On the project desk is a knight for the girlfriend that is inspired by an Osprey color plate of a Saxon or Norman knight of the 1100's; a scratch built Battletech Hover pickup technical, converting a Battletech Raijan to the new Raijan 2 configuration, replacing the forearms of the reseen Maruader that lost bits, and heraldry work on some pre Heresy World Eaters for 40k.

      3) It looks like Im going to be running Battletech games on Saturdays for a while now, except for GASP games days. 

      More on this all later

      Thursday, April 22, 2010

      experiments with Simple Green part one

      I recently picked up Simple Green, a cleaning product that I've heard nothing but good things about for stripping paint off miniatures. Picking three miniatures that had one too many coats of paint applied (products of pushing my luck changing my mind on what mini will go with what force) and a scrap lump of green stuff to test the product. While I've seen glowing reports of how well Simple Green strips paint, but I've never seen anyone comment on how it treated materials like green stuff and plastic.

      *update 1*
      I've had some luck with my experiments already. First of all, Simple Green does NOT affect greenstuff or plastic. From what I can tell from the initial minis that were dunked superglue joints that are bare pewter to pewter seem to survive well, while glue joints with any paint or other stuff between the pewter and the glue will come apart fairly easy. Paint starts bubbling off the miniature in around an hour and is almost floating off in sheets after a day. After a day in Simple Green paint just wipes off with napkins or paper towels, leaving just a little paint residue in deep crevices that will easily peel free with a nudge from a toothpick. Before and after pictures will come soon,

      *update 2*
      My mistake - its actually Simple Green, corrected to show the right name.

      Monday, April 19, 2010

      coming soon!

      I haven't been posting much as I've been trying to track down the information for a project I hope to move forward with, a small cnc router setup for cutting thin sheets of styrene. More to be posted as I work out more on the control electronics.

      •update•
      First of all, stepper motors are more complicated to control than I originally expected. I need to track down more on how stepper motor controllers work and how to have be interact with an arduino or how to build up an arduino so it will function as a stepper motor controller.

      Second, I need to look into what size of shaft I need dor the trimming router I hope to use.

      And finally I need to rescale the drawings for the machine to fit the size I want for stage one and two.

      Tuesday, April 6, 2010

      Magic the Gathering as a roleplaying tool

      Once upon a time I discovered a new game at my very first game store I discovered a weird little game called Magic the Gathering something like twelve or more years ago. I've been into the game on and off since then and watched as the game has gone through stages. Some of the sets have fascinating plots and others have at best some good art.

      What does this have to do with RPGs? Mostly as a source of inspiration, with ready made art from real artists to spawn descriptions. A cool picture or a good piece of fluff can spawn all sorts of ideas. However my favorite Magic sets see the older arts that didn't have a metaplot but just focused on describing a world. While I know WOTC created plot lines for many of these sets I'm focusing just on what is in the cards.

      Where am I going with this? Well the magic set I got into the game with and that I'm trying to cheaply collect a full set of is Fallen Empires. Some of the concepts covered in this set really dovetails with my primary project for an old school roleplaying setting I call Bryn Mawr. As my setting is based on the concept of a land built on the ruins of a fallen magical empire. Sounds a lot like Fallen Empires to me. Now to just sit down and cycle through my collection and add details and ideas to my setting notebook.

      Monday, April 5, 2010

      experiments in white

      White is miserable to paint. Its a simple statement and is pretty obvious when you stop to think about the issues of highlighting what is already one of the lightest colors to paint (I'm speaking of paint rather than true color theory). Since I'm rather set on my small detachment of pre-heresy World Eater space marines, with their white with blue trim paint scheme, I'm forced to deal with the issue of painting white. Ill attach pictures as soon as I have some of the current stage of the 5 test pieces.

      My plan so far is the following;
      1) primer the models in white (a major shift as I usually work from a black base)
      2) stain the White with various GW washes
      3) apply a thin glaze of Vallejo Foundation White mixed with Vallejo Glaze Medium
      4) repeat

      That's where I'm at

      *update*
      heres the pictures I mentioned..



      Plasma Pistol Front
      Plasma Pistol Back

      the plasma pistol trooper

      Bolter Front
      Bolter Back
      One of my favorite coversions that really fit the descriptions in the fiction of the World Eaters before they descended into worship of Khorne.


      Fist Front
      Fist Back
      A sergeant packing a powerfist, which I may look into doing light sourcing for the energy field that surrounds the fingers of glove.


      Axe front
      Axe back
      A nice brutal axe, this may be the first mini I paint for the Gladiator company.


      Leader front
      Leader back
      His left knee doesnt look right otherwise I really like how this conversion worked out.

      *note* the Photos are all from my Blackberry - works pretty good I think

      Saturday, April 3, 2010

      And so it begins...

      I've finally taken that first step into a greater world... blogging. I have a couple hopes for this blog.
      1. Help maintain momentum on painting projects through pressure to post updates
      2. Gain feedback on ideas, both painting and other projects
      3. Explore some ideas for my roleplaying games
      4. Special project