Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Arcane Wonders

Hi fellow gamers! If you want to take a bit of the load off the GM's shoulders, this is a great resource: These cards will be a great resource for GM's and handy, too, as they are much smaller that a whole book.... I did, and bought practically all of the and enjoy them very much! You probably will, too. Bruce

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Not just Towers of Adventure

"Towers of Adventure" by James M Ward Published and distributed by Troll Lord Games ISBN-13: 978-1-936822-92-8 In its mere 54 pages, ToA provide dozens, if not hundreds, of possible adventures and adventure seeds. There are only three chapters: "Book One: Illustrations and Maps", "Book Two: Hooks, NPC's, and Monsters", and "Book Three: Treasures and Traps". There are 15 pages in Book 1, which details fifteen different towers. These are simple Black and White one page illustrations, which have numbered rooms corresponding to the map and a map key. In the Map Key, however, are only slots for the GM to use for whatever happens to be in that location, if indeed there is anything at all. Some pages have a small number of rooms, the smallest of which was 11; and some pages have a large number of rooms - the largest of which was 31. There are 17 pages in Book 2. Part 1 of this has charts for assorted 'services' that a crafty GM could use to separate PC's from their gold; in Part 2 there are small adventure 'hooks' a potential GM could use for rumors (some of which might be true), and the largest section, Part 3, deals with NPC's; and finally monsters in Part Four. Finally, in Book 3, Part 1 deals with themed treasures, which are treasures geared to a specific class of character, and Part 2 has some diabolical traps a GM could spring on PC's - and, even better, ways for PC's to use those same traps to entrap their hideways against NPC's and/or monsters. This product reminded me of the good old days of Judges Guild, who produced many supplements for early D&D. It reminded me the most of the "Maps" series - a collection of booklets just detailing a group of maps (such as "Island Book I" or "Castles Book I"). This book is a great resource for potential GM's using =any= system that is based on a fantasy setting. Heck, on a =good= day, you could argue that these maps could exist on some strange unknown planet your Sci-Fi characters were exploring. The "Siege Engine" system of Troll Lord Games is incredibly easy to convert to any D20 based game, and most of this book could almost be used in any game - period. Considering the low price and the almost universal system, I'd highly recommend it to any of my D20 gamers, and at least recommend it to any gamer. Your Mileage May Vary.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Hellenica: Story of Greece

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love stuff like the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Norse, and all other mythologies. Now I have a chance to promote what looks like it's going to be a great 4X type game about Ancient Greece - "Hellenica: Story of Greece". This game will give players the opportunity to be Emperor of Greece! I've always loved 4x games (BTW: 4X stands for "EXplore, EXpand, EXploit, and EXterminate." starting with the very first edition of Civilization and all the way to the present day. It's the hundreds, if not thousands, of different ways that a group can act out controlling a civilization! There's a Kickstarter going on right now (Monday, Sept 03, 2018) that might do the trick. You have only three days to get involved! So - what are you waiting for? Here's the URL: Funding closes on Friday Sept 7, 2018 at 5 PM EDT. I know I'm getting one..... Bruce

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition

Although the entry level price seems high, this game box contains ten available races to use, with over 200 (!) miniatures! I would recommend this, but there is a fourth edition now that includes not only this third edition, but the two expansions to the third edition as well. Even so, Twilight Imperium 3rd is an absolute blast to play! At its heart, it is basically a 4X type game. (BTW: 4X is an abbreviation for "eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate".) Any player may use any of the four types of actions. This is one of the main selling points of this game. Any race can do anything, including nothing at all! The bad news about this game is that even if you are an experienced user of TI, it can take at least three hours to play, all the way up to at least four hours, or more! However, this is allows for a lot of interaction by the players in this "Space Opera" style game! Not to mention that you better have a very large table to spread it out on! The good news is that with only the included ten races, it might take quite a few games for even one player to have played all ten available races! Each race has its good points, and its bad points. Some are better at one of the four types of actions than others, and some are worse than others at those same actions. And all four of those actions are in the player's control. I should mention that there are two expansions to the 3rd Edition: "Shattered Empire", and "Shards of the Throne". which can allow users to have as many as six players at a time! For a game with a high Space Opera feel, and huge replayability, you can't beat it!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Don't let mapmaking stall your game!

"How to Draw Fantasy Art and RPG Maps" by Jared Blando, should be required reading for any Game Master, whether Fantasy or Science Fiction, or somewhere in between!  In its 128 pages are more than thirty examples of how to put your dreams of a new gaming world to paper.  It really is step-by-step cartography for gamers and fans!

Written by Jared Blando, who is a professional cartographer and concept artist, it bridges a gap that allows even beginners to take the vision of their worlds in their minds and put them to paper.

Each example builds upon the foundations of the last.  You can use this book to begin, or build out, or complete, a real paper map of the world your players are adventuring in.

The main reason, I think, that you should do this, is to not only to give your world 'flesh' - but to make sure that you don't make the mistake of forgetting where your characters started, where they are now, and where you would like them to go at least.

I believe (and this has happened to me) that players might and probably will think about the places they've been, and expect those places to still be in the same locations, more or less.  It might cause players to lose interest if they believe that, for instance, your capital city is in the west, and then suddenly find that you now say that same city is in the east.

A map of your world can serve another useful function - what happens if your players go a completely different direction than the one that you so methodically set up?  Having a drawn map would make life a little easier if you know where more than one area to explore is!  And, if your players decide to go north when you wanted them to go west, a map should show areas around the current players location so that you and they don't go too far astray.

So what if your Northlands are an expanse of frozen wastes?  If the players know that's where they want to go, then with a printed map, you can provide details about this winter wonderland which may deter them from going there.  As a 1st level character, I don't know about you, but I'd probably not want to go north if you know in advance that the Northlands in your world are filled with Frost Giants, Dragons, and other deep northern denizens!

In addition, the rich illustrations in this book could conceivably be used as your fantasy world map itself!

To wrap up then, I have found this book an invaluable resource for Fantasy and other role playing game map creation.  If you have ever held the thought that you might like to actually see what your world looks like, this would be one of my first choices.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Imagine Player's Guide

It seems almost like everyone thinks that this is yet another D&D clone of some type.  If it were truly a clone, I'd agree with you.  But I do not believe that this game is a D&D clone.  There are, for instance, only four major stats: Endurance, Perception, Affinity, and Fortune. 

Then, each of those stats are broken down into three sub-categories:

For Endurance (or Physical), you have: Strength, Agility, and Vitality.

For Perception (or Mental) you have: Intelligence, Wisdom, and knowledge.

For Affinity (or Personal) you have: Appearance, Charm, and Social Class.

Finally, in Fortune (or Mystical) you have: Aura, Piety, and Will Force. 

I purchased these in a trade for some of my old stuff - and I must say I could not be happier!

Sure, this system has some problems.  But, what systems don't?

But, this game I like a lot!  For instance, the Character sheet has a very nice hit location slot.  You shouldn't use it all the time, but for criticals, it's almost indispensable.

Plenty of room to grow with skills, weapons, spells (or invocations).

There are, believe it or not, even character sheets for Centaurs, and Lizard-folk.  On the main character sheet are also places for the Bird-folk Wing stats!

In its 330 pages there are (among other things) a real Table of Contents, and a "Table of Tables" that allow you to look up a table you want quickly.  The Appendix has two pages of quick info, a Glossary, and a very comprehensive Index!  This book is a hardcover and very easy to lay on the table for use, 

Sure, the disclaimer on the back cover is a little overbearing, but the info you really need is there too: 12 Attributes, 18 races, 26 classes, over 340 skills, 450 spells and incantations, over 150 different weapons and armor, and over 500 items of equipment!

I'd like to rate this at least four stars, or even five!  I know I'll be using it very soon.