Thursday, 4 December 2014

Dragonmeet 2014 - A Very British Con

This Saturday (6th December) is Dragonmeet 2014, it's certainly London's biggest RPG convention and one of the highlights of my year.

A few things have changed with the shift in organiser to Modiphius and this year promises to be a much bigger event at a new venue.

Saturday 6th December - 10am to Midnight
IBIS HOTEL EARLS COURT &
ILEC CONVENTION CENTRE
LONDON SW6 1UD

This year I'm aiming to play as many games as I can, in particular I'll be
  • Finding out what all the fuss is about with D&D 5e.
  • Seeing if I can find a game of DREAD to play
  • Playing some boardgames especially Pandemic Contagion
  • Trying not to add to the budget deficit...
I'll also be snapping pictures / doing very short interviews for the blog.  In particular I'll be trying to capture the changing face of tabletop gamers for a blog article.  If anyone is attending and would like to take part please feel free to contact me via the comments below or by sending me a google+ message to +Roleplay-Geek

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Space Travel Plot Ideas

Inspired by Chris Treganza's recent post over at 6d6 here's another take on his 5 Ways to make Space Travel More Interesting

JMC Curry Carton by P2P via Deviantart
The Computer is Not our Friend

Travelling through hyperspace can do strange things to people but even stranger things to computers.  Even something as simple as the corruption of the crew file can lead to deadly consequences when the computer enacts its hi-jacking defence protocols after being boarded by what it thinks are unknown biological entities.

Upgrade Gone Wrong

Spaceship captains are reknown for their use of percussive maintenance and for begging, borrowing or stealing vital components and upgrades for their ships.  What would happen if they replace their computer with an upgraded version never meant for their ship.  Imagine how you would feel if you woke up one day in a body that wasn't yours, the familiar feel of your weapons arrays replaced by a chicken soup vending machine.  You'd have a mental breakdown wouldn't you.

Mirrorship

Their last trip through hyperspace was a strange one, the crew feel all twisted about inside, but weirder still is the fact that everything they know to be familiar is flipped, like a reflection in a mirror.  The computer voice is unintelligible everything is written back to front.  Up is down and right is left, how will they cope? is the damage permanent?  Fortunately the side effects of an Arcturian Brandy hangover only last for 12 hours but all sorts of things can go wrong by then.    

The N Space Worm

Coming out of hyperspace with a thunk the crew find that they've landed on a strange swamp planet full of dangerous life forms.  It wasn't on any charts and the computer can't get a fix on their position because there's no stars or anything to act as reference points.  The external sensors are off the charts with biological life, it's almost like they've landed on a Genesis world.  How long before they realize they're inside the stomach of an N Space Worm which swallowed them in hyperspace? Cue the Fantastic Voyage...

N Space Burglars

The crew wake up from hyperspace to find that they've been burgled.  The ship's computer has a gap in its memory, and they've lost some vital cargo and equipment, for god's sake they've even pinched the captain's chair.  Good thing those cargo pods have trackers on them. 

Friday, 28 November 2014

How to Build a Medieval Castle

My favourite living history team are back on TV again and this time they're belping to build a 13th Century Castle from scratch.

Secrets of the Castle is a new 5 part show in which Historian Ruth Goodman, and Archaeologists Peter Ginn and Tom Pinfold, learn the skills needed to build a castle and get a taste of life in the 13th Century.

(L to R) Peter Ginn, Tom Pinfold and Ruth Goodman
Not sure if this series is available to international viewers but it's on BBC iPlayer right now.

You can learn more about this ambitious 25 year long, Guedelon Castle project from wikipedia or at its own website.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The Dark Valley - An Austrian Cowboy Movie, WTF?

Well that's what I thought initially but being the self confessed fan of European cinema (and my missus being a cowboy movie fan) I thought "What the heck, I'll give this a go".

Dark Valley (2014)
Directed by Andreas Prochaska (Dead in 3 Days), "Das Finstere Tal" is set towards the end of the 19th century in a village in the Austrian Alps.  Sam Riley (Maleficent, Byzantium) is Greider, a lone rider, who enters the eponymous valley in search of shelter from the approaching winter.

The villagers are a bedraggled bunch of peasants who are kept firmly at heel by their self appointed leader and protector Brenner (Hans Michael Rehberg) and his six sons.  Nothing happens in the valley without their approval and Brenner makes all the laws, including reviving the barbaric feudal custom of Droit du Seigneur.

Greider tells the Brenner boys that he's a photographer recently returned from America keen to document the valley, so they let him stay.  It's not long before the first of them meets a grisly end and Greider's real motive for entering the valley is revealed... Revenge!

Whilst the acting is convincing enough, the real star of the movie is of course the scenery and the cinematography of Thomas Kienast, ably assisted by Mathhias Weber's cold and haunting soundtrack.  Filmed in Val Senales, Italy during heavy snow, they manage to paint a beautiful yet sinister backdrop against which Greidel and the Brenner family's stories unfold.  It's so chilling it makes the nine walkers trip through Redhorn Pass look a Snow Day. 

Well worth a look if you fancy something a bit different. 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Let's Blow this Kid and Go Home!!

Wow, the Dungeonmorphs 2 kickstarter has unlocked THE CITY STRETCH GOAL and with a little bit more we could have, wait for it....

CITY RUINS !!!!!!

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO BE LIKE LUKE AND BACK THIS KICKSTARTER

Let's be like Luke and hit that £19K Stretch goal.  I've already upped my pledge level to 3 sets of dice, and if we shoot through £16K everyone gets a...

SECOND BONUS DICE per set!!!!

so if you're a 3 set backer you'll get 6, yes count them, 6 bonus dice.  That's an extra set of dice right there and it will cost you nowt, nish, nada, zero, zilch, nothing.

Come on guys and girls this is just too good an opportunity to pass up.

I want my Ruins!! 

Monday, 24 November 2014

Almost There... Almost There...

...as Red Leader would say. 

Over the weekend the Dungeonmorphs 2 kickstarter funded and it's almost unlocked it's second dice set stretch goal, only $1000 bucks to go!

There's still time to jump on board this project and push forward to hit that stretch goal.

If you back at the 2 dice set pledge level you'll have 10 dice (+ 2 bonus dice) to create your villages and cities.  All for a measly $40 ($3 a dice). 

If there are any FLGS stores reading this, you can still grab a retailer bundle on your customers behalf and save even more money.

Dungeonmorphs 2: Cities and Villages
Click the picture to become a backer
Joe will be releasing some proofs of the city dice designs later today, so come on guys, share this with your friends, get them to pledge and we can unlock some AWESOME.



Friday, 14 November 2014

5 Boardgames Still Crying out for an App

1.  Car Wars

Original Car Wars "Pocket Game" Box Art
Published way back in 1981
There are a few noteable real time car combat games out there such as Death Rally, Auto Mangle, Indestructible, and Horror Racing.  I've had fun playing them all, but there's but nothing that's turn based.  A while ago I went through a period of playing Dark Wind which is a 3D turn based combat game, it was fun for a while but the interface was a bit clunky on my old mac.  there's a massive gap in the market here for a top down, turn based car combat game with an RPG/Tournament community angle.  Come on SJG this needs to happen alongside the re-launch of the Car Wars boardgame you promised during the OGRE kickstarter.

2.  Citadels

There's an iOS version of San Juan which sports a similar theme and variable abilities mechanic, so I don't see why there's not been a Citadels app.  I don't know how difficult it would be to program the  AI element but surely it's not be too tough a nut to crack.  If you solve that problem I think you're half way towards a version of the other Bruno Faidutti classic Mission Red Planet.

3. Formula D / Formula De

When Asmodee re-launched Formula De as Formula D an inbox flyer promised "raceronline", an online version of the game with tournaments and the usual multiplay options.  Well that never really happened (unless you spoke french) and the online site has since gone belly up.  Before anyone calls foul, yes I am aware of Racer Feud, which whilst a pretty good version is not officially licensed and personally I've found a bit buggy on my iPad2.

4.  Robo Rally

This is one of my favourite and a classic of the "programming" style games.  Once again a talented developer has released their own unlicensed version in the guise of Parcours.Robo, sadly it's a one player puzzle game and not the multiplayer anarchic deathmatch so typical of every game I've ever hand the pleasure to play.  I don't know who holds the licencse for this one as it's been through the hands of several different publishers since it was originally printed in 1994.  It's last reprint was in 2006 and it's high time that this got some appification.

5.  Thebes

Thebes by Queen Games
Whenever I feel the itch to be Indiana Jones, I dig out Thebes (no pun intended).  There's just so much variety in it but the game itself is quite simple to play, you either travel, research or dig.  I'd love to play it more often but the pre-game set-up takes a while to resolve in exactly the same way as Settlers of Catan.  It's probably not on any developers wishlist, but it's a game I love and I'd relish the opportunity to buy it in app form.

Honourable Mentions

I was going to add Battlelore to this list, but it appears that Fantasy Flight are in the process of releasing an iOS/Android/PC version, (albeit single player) of the game in time for Christmas.  I'll also be checking out the Bloodbowl app, maybe do a video review in the not too distant future.  



Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Another Post Apocalypse thing I want

You know those post apocalyptic motorcycle chariots I blogged about, they need to be ridden by these guys.

The Humans #1 by Keenan Marshall Keller & Tom Neely
* Out Now *
Also I wanted to ask if anyone could track down any of the alternate history photos which I think were released around the time of Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  I seem to remember there being some black and white photos of Gorillas in vietnam style jungle uniforms or similar.  If you know where these might be located, please drop thim in the comments below.


Tuesday, 11 November 2014

RPG Mapping in Sketchup Part 5 - Building your City from a 2D image

In my previous videos I shared all the sketchup techniques I use to create 3D buildings in my games.  Now it's time to start building a city from the ground up using a 2D image as a reference. 
This is the image I used in the video

I'm using one of my citymorph sketches but you can use any image which will import into sketchup, just make sure that you have some sort of scale in mind.  If you've not seen the amazing Dungeonmorphs 2 kickstarter which inspired this tutorial check out the link on the right side of the page.

In the next video I'll be finishing off the roofs and showing you how you can turn your models into "components" which allow you to duplicate your buildings or citymorph tiles and expand it even faster.


Related Posts:

Monday, 10 November 2014

I'll show you mine if you show me yours

So last week I asked readers to help me out by completing a little survey (a big thank you to all those who responded) and although I'm not yet ready to reveal what the results were, I can tease you with this emerging trend:

UK roleplayers like to do it in a club
US roleplayers like to do it in their own home (or at a friends house)


It's still very early days at the moment, so I've put a permalink to the survey on the right hand side of the site for those who haven't left a response.  As they say in Paranoia, it's just a bit of fun really.... mandatory fun!!

And for all those of you who game in a club anywhere in the world, I'd like to share this with you in the hope that you will also share in return.  Perhaps we can get an internet thing going, share an image of your own club on your blog and put a link in the comments section below.


The Roleplayers Creed

This is my roleplay club. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My club is my best friend. It is my life.
I must games master in it as I must games master my life.
My club, without me, is useless.  Without my club, I am useless. 

I must roll my dice true.
I must roll them better than the Games Master who is trying to kill me. 
I must kill him before he kills me.

Anyone in the South East London area interested in joining my club, please visit our website: hobbitshole.com

Saturday, 8 November 2014

RPG Mapping in Sketchup Part 4 - Adding features and Sketchy Styles

In part 4 of my RPG Mapping in Sketchup series I show you how to add smaller features such as chimneys, towers and dormers to existing models. 

I also show you how to make your models look hand drawn using the styles pallette.  This is particularly useful if you are going to use the model in your own player handouts either as maps of the city or as first person point of view scenes.

Sketchup lets you to export your model as a 2D image so you can do further editing in a bitmap editor if you want to add in characters or other elements.




Related Posts:



Thursday, 6 November 2014

RPG Mapping in Sketchup Part 3 - The Cross-Gable, Gambrel and Mansard Roof.

The next installment of my short video series on RPG Mapping in Sketchup covers the three other simple roof shapes found in most top down RPG maps.

The Cross-Gable roof is essentially just two gable roofs which intersect, commonly found in "T" "X" and "H" shaped buildings.  The Gambrel (or Dutch style) roof is a common double height roof shape popular for larger buildings like barns and is found all over Europe and the USA.  The Mansard roof is another common double height roof style, the second roof section can be gabled or hipped.




Related Posts:



Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Using Node Maps to Figure out your Criminal Network

Yesterday caught me reading Reality Refracted, and thinking about his observation that games which focus on the criminal underground always rely on the interconnectedness of people and locations.

I'd also come to this conclusion from watching movies like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and TV shows like Sons of Anarchy.

If you're going to run a crime/cyberpunk style scenarioyou might like to try mapping these relationships out as a node network to help you visualise where your plot might end up.  Fans of the indie RPG FIASCO will be familiar with this concept as the basis for character generation albeit on a much simpler level.  Taking my favourite crime TV show "Sons of Anarchy" as my inspiration I made this relationship map to illustrate my point.
Sons of Anarchy Relationships Map
(Click to embiggen)

Whilst far from accurate, it demonstrates that often overlooked minor characters can have unexpected or glossed over connections with otherwise unconnected groups.

For example in the Sons of Anarchy universe:

Chuckie Marstein is an often overlooked minor character often seen hanging around TM, working behind the scenes at TM, in the bar at the clubhouse, serving at the ice-cream parlor or running errands for Gemma.  However, his backstory also reveals he was Otto's cellmate and friend in Stockton County Jail, and that he was the Bookkeeper for the Lin Triad who'd stolen two of their counterfeit money printing plates.  He's also done his fair share of work for SAMCRO such as wanting to be an amputee porn star so the gang could gain access to Georgie Caruso's porn studio when he was working for Otto's wife Duanne Laney as the Cara Cara bookkeeper. There's also the unrequited love angle, as he holds a torch for Gemma after she bought him new prostethic hands.

Brooke Putner is another minor character who joined the show as a crazy teenager who blamed SAMCRO for her mother's death.  In fact it was Jax's father John Teller who collided with their car killing both himself and Brooke's mother Emily, although the show hints heavily that her mother is in fact alive and living on the streets as we see her picking through dumpsters every now and then.  Brooke has since fallen in love with Ratboy, helped out at the clubhouse and now works for Gemma as Abel and Thomas' nanny.  This close proximity to the centre of the SAMCRO empire means that it's only a matter of time before she gets hit by some of the club crossfire.

Visualising your crime network in this way makes it easier for you to write convincing plots.  You can see what the effect of an NPC death might be.  If Gemma were to be killed would Chuckie take out his own type of vengence on her killer or if Ratboy were killed in some accident would Brooke hire Happy to hunt them down?  The consequences for larger characters tend to be more obvious, say if August Marks is taken out of the game someone will fill the vacuum, but who?

One of the things I love about the show is that when SAMCRO try to get themselves out of a bad situation, their actions always have unforseen consequences which almost end up burying them.  Your game should be no different the PCs should always be making a hobson's choice with the information they have at their disposal, it's not their fault that the guy they killed in revenge is actually a key player in an even bigger, more powerful crime syndicate.  It doesn't rain.... it pours!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

10 Things I Don't Know About You

Wil Weaton asked his fans to respond to a survey, on Google+ today, for an upcoming article in the Washington Post and it's something I've been meaning to do for a long time. 

So after 4 years of shouting blindly into the blogosphere, I'd like to know a little bit about you, my readers.

Take part in my 10 Things I don't know about You survey

Thanks

RPG Mapping in Sketchup Part 2 - Simple Buildings Walls and Roofs

In this second part of the series I show a quick and easy technique to draw simple buildings with the 3 most common type of roof shapes; the Gable, the Hip and the Double Hip Roof.  Using this technique you can use sketchup to quickly construct models of buildings for use in your own RPG campaigns maps or as scene setting handouts for your players.



In the next part I'll demonstrate techniques to create the Cross Gable, Gambrel and Mansard roof shapes. 

Related Posts:

Part 1 - Unhiding the 3rd Dimension

Friday, 31 October 2014

RPG Mapping in Sketchup Pt 1 - Unhiding the 3rd Dimension

As you know I got commissioned by Joe Wetzel for his Dungeonmorphs 2 Cities and Villages dice project on kickstarter, which requires me to make lots of geomorphs with buildings on them.

After a while you look at your collected sketches and think OMG all my buildings look the same.

Sketching out the idea process - not sure if any of these will be in the final product
This is caused mostly by the constraints of making sure the design is legible and that they fit on a 1inch d6.  In search of inspiration I decided to experiment with roof shapes and turning them into 3D buildings using sketchup.  Enjoy...

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

My post apocalyptic future needs... Motorcycle chariots

In the 80s we had our fair share of visions of a post apocalypse future, my favourite being Mad Max, which had motorcycle gangs but sadly none of them had motorcycle chariots...


Is this not a sport fit for the "Ayatollah of RockandRolla"?

There's a cool article on Viral-Nova with more photos and a video of ex pro wrestler Buff Bagwell's attempt at a chopper chariot.  Googling also found this neat Fallout 3 concept art

Fallout 3 "Chariot" ConceptArt
and dakkadakka member wyrmalla's recreation for miniature wargaming.

Wyrmalla's mini wargaming version of a Fallout 3 Chariot vehicle

Monday, 27 October 2014

Citymorph Dice Kickstarter from Inkwell Ideas

Who woulda thunk it?  Citymorphs has spawned a kickstarter!!

Roll your own Cities!!
Inkwell Ideas head honcho Joe Wetzel has gathered together a few of the RPG communities morphing cartographers, myself included, and is kickstarting a version of his popular Dungeonmorph Dice but this time with city designs.

The aim is to produce a set of 5 dice with which you'll can quickly "roll up" your own city map.  There's pledge levels for all sizes of pockets with PDF/Font versions available from $5 and a set of dice for only $20.  They're pretty substantial at 1 inch square (so have dictatorial thunk of authority when they hit the table).  Unlike a lot of custom dice which might just predict the weather, random direction or what body part you've hit, these also function as regular dice and are pretty unique. 

The first set is a mix of City/Village designs,  but the project has far higher aspirations and includes stretch goals to create further sets with designs for Ruins, City Walls and Harbours.  The more money Joe can raise, the more designs he can get into production and the more variety you can create.  With plenty of stretch goals to unlock on the way like free bonus dice and dice trays available, it's a win win situation! 


Pull them out in your group and hear your friends gasp in amazement as they lust after your cool new dice, buy them for your roleplaying partner as a gift, they'll love you all the more for it.   

So if you're interested go to the Dungeonmorphs 2 kickstarter page and become a backer.


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The Vikings Have Landed - Codex Nordica Thane Unboxed

In some bizarre twist of history the vikings have once again sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and delivered my Codex Nordica Kickstarter Thane bundle.  There's a lot of stuff to digest but at the moment I am a happy Di Sma Undr Jordi (see page 35).

Map of the Nine Realms, Wooden Rune Tiles & Box, Kings Table Boardgame, Nordica Tankard
Codex Nordica Hardback, Odins Fury and Hel Rising Nordica Adventures,
My bonus Items (Players Handbook, Curse of the Khan, Malady of Kings and Heart of Glass Adventures)
There's also an unboxing vid on You Tube.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Rick and Morty - Packed full of Sci-Fi Tropes

I guess sometimes I can be accused of sleeping under a rock when it comes to the latest US TV shows, but I bet I'm not the only one.  Which is why I just have to share the love for Adult Swim's Rick and Morty.

An example of what happens in just about every episode.

Created by voice actor and director Justin Roiland, who some might recognise as the voice of Adventure Time's "Lemongrab",  and Dan Harmon, creator of the hit sit com "Community".  Rick and Morty is an adult sci-fi cartoon series following the mind bending, dimension hopping adventures of sociopathic alcoholic scientist Rick and his 14 year old grandson Morty.   

A show of two halves, each episode finds Rick and Morty on some wild adventure whilst his family (unemployed ad exec dad Jerry, horse surgeon mom Beth and unpopular sister Summer) are often left to deal with the unintended consequences of one of Rick's devices.

Bizarre ideas are the meat and potatoes of this show and no trope is safe.  Season 1 has seen cyborg dog revolution, a contagious love virus / preying mantis / Cronenberg monster apocalypse, inception dream walking, alien abduction, a Rick and Morty multiverse, sex robots and alien child rearing to name just a few.

Meanwhile Jerry and Beth struggle to keep their marriage alive, as Dan Harmon puts it, "the nature of their relationship is that it's always 1 minute from ending" and Summer stives to improve her social position from "not super hot/super popular" high school girl whilst being the result of the "unwanted pregnancy" that keeps her parents together.

The language and visuals are as adult and bizarre as they can be and dialogue is often delivered at a breakneck pace in order to cram as much action in as humanly possible.  The casting is spot on from regular voice performers Justin Roiland (Rick/Morty), Chris Parnell (Jerry), Spencer Grammer (Summer), Sarah Chalke (Beth) to the great vocal cameos delivered by Alfred Molina, Dana Carvey, David Cross, Rich Fulcher, Claudia Black, Virginia Hey, John Oliver and Cree Summer.

Rick & Morty 3D Billboard courtesy of Dailybillboard
 The show is a definite must see and has been picked up for a second series scheduled to air in early 2015 along with a spin-off comic book.  The "point and click" style game "Rick and Morty's Rushed Licensed Adventure" is also available to play on the adultswim website.

With all this richness it should only be a matter of time before someone writes a Fiasco playset based on this universe and it's one setting that most definitely has to go "gonzo"... every single time.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Delving the Dark with Dungeon Master G

Following on from yesterdays Geomorph related post, I've been following the exploits of the Dungeon Crafting crowd (The DM's Craft, TheDMGInfo and AJ Pickett) on YouTube for a while now and have been especially entertained by The DMG Info's latest series "Delving The Dark".

It's essentially, a video "walk-through" of a dungeon that Gareth has created using his take on DM Scotty's 2.5D tile system.  Each episode describes a single room and its contents.  The descriptions are system neutral and concise and the plot detail offered adds enough spice to keep the viewer and potential DM interested.



Whilst watching Level 1 Area 16/20, Gareth casually dropped that there were at least 5 levels to this dungeon...  Woah, that's gonna be a pretty sweet little series of vids. 

To avoid spoilers, this is definitely one for DMs only and it's a great showcase for how the 2.5D dungeon tiles can be used in your game.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

DIY Tournament Dungeon Boardgame

24 Cheap and easy 2.5D Dungeon Tiles
My RPG club, The Hobbit's Hole, runs an annual memorial tournament in honour of one of its founding members called the Manic Trophy.

This year it's my turn to host the game and I'll be putting on a simple dungeon crawl game.  I'm musing over the rules at the moment but here's my outline: 

PREMISE
My aim is to have a 3 to 5 player competitive dungeon crawl lasting no more than 45 minutes, in the style of the boardgame Dungeon Quest.  Players start on the same tile, like in Drakon, each time they move they reveal a new tile and orient it as they see fit discovering the dungeon as they go.  The final tile holds the great treasure and the Boss Monster.

I'm going to be using a version of the 9 inch cavern geomorph tiles as popularised by YouTubers TheDMGInfo / TheDM'sCraft / DM Kaydons Kastle, where each tile contains an encounter, be it a trap or a monster (or maybe both).  This also gives me a chance to use the cards from the Inkwell Ideas Creature Decks.  

I like the idea of having a finite number of "moves" to a game, everyone has an equal chance the player skill element comes from trying to push your luck or deciding to flee.  I've played  games like Lost Cities which use this sort of "push your luck" mechanic and enjoyed them immensely.

I need quick and dirty "trump" style resolution so I'm going to base everything around a regular deck of playing cards.  Players get to choose their card whereas the DM draws randomly from a deck.

To represent levels of the dungeon the DM deck is divided into 3 stacks; Level 1(cards numbered 2 to 6), Level 2 (cards 7 to J) and Level 3 cards (Q to A).  I have 24 tiles in the game so the first 10 tiles represent Level 1, the next 10 Level 2 and the last 4 are Level 3.

STATS & CHARACTER GENERATION

Looking at the card suit symbols we have:
  • HEARTS - Look like a heart so should represent life force or vitality, these cards are used for all tests of strength and stamina.
  • CLUBS - Look like a tree and sort of like a brain so these represent knowledge and intelligence.
  • DIAMONDS - Looks sharp like a sword so these cards are used to represent Melee combat ability.
     
  • SPADES - Look like an arrowhead so these cards are used for all Missile attacks and Dexterity based skill checks.
  • JOKERS - Each player gets one of these to use during the game to automatically succeed at a challenge or to inflict an instant kill.  However, Jokers cannot be used to defeat the BOSS MONSTER, unused jokers are worth 15 points at the end of the game.
Players get to choose their class and pick up the relevant 2 suits of cards as follows:
  • Warrior - (Strength) and (Melee)
  • Wizard - ♣ (Intelligence) and ♠ (Missile)
  • Thief - ♠ (Dexterity) and ♣ (Intelligence)
  • Ranger - ♠ (Missile) and (Melee)
  • Cleric - ♣ (Intelligence) and (Melee)
Additional Character Classes contributed by Stu Rat
  • Barbarian - (Strength) and ♠ (Dexterity)
  • Bandit - (Strength) and ♣ (Intelligence)
  • Monk - ♣ (Intelligence) and (Strength)
  • Archer -  ♠ (Missile) and (Strength)
  • Warlord - (Melee) and ♣ (Intelligence)
  • Gladiator - (Melee)  and (Strength)
  • Swashbuckler - (Melee) and ♠ (Dexterity)

The first suit is their PRIMARY stat, e.g. Warriors (Strength) and is used to break ties.
ENCOUNTERS

Each time players move onto a new tile they will encounter either a monster, a trap or need to search for a treasure.

MONSTER ENCOUNTER: Players may either FIGHT using (Melee) or ♠ (Missile) or EVADE using ♣ (Intelligence) or (Stamina).  If a player succeeds in a fight the monster is killed and a treasure awarded.  If a player succeeds in evading the player can move to the next tile but the monster remains and no treasure is awarded. 

TRAP ENCOUNTERS: Players may either DISABLE using ♣ (Intelligence) or ♠ (Dexterity) or EVADE using (Strength) or (Melee).  If a trap is disabled it is removed from the game and the player gets a reward otherwise the trap remains.

NO ENCOUNTER:  Empty tiles can be searched by any player using any card. So there is merit in just following the first player and scratching around in the room once they've defeated all the monsters.

As detailed above, players resolve encounters by choosing a card and comparing it with the DMs Card, whichever is higher wins.  Players who fail an encounter must discard an extra card at random from whichever suit they used in the encounter.  In the event of ties a player who used their primary stat always wins, if they used their secondary stat they always lose.
I'm going to decide monster or trap based on a coin flip.  Heads it's a Monster, tails its a Trap, but you could design specific traps for each tile design you have.

TREASURE

Treasures are awarded for defeating monsters, disabling traps or succeeding in search rolls.  They are either drawn randomly from a seperate deck or if you want the rewards to increase in level as the challenges increase you can just award the challenge card.

THE BOSS MONSTER

When the last tile is drawn, the players have reached the end of the dungeon.  Any players who can move their character onto this tile in their next turn can attempt to defeat the boss monster either collectively as a group or try it on their own.  Players are reminded that the boss monster is an instant kill event and failure will result in death.  There's no such thing as a dead Hero in this game.

In either case they choose a card as normal, excluding Jokers.  However, the boss monster gets to  shuffle all the remaining challenge decks together and draws 1 card plus 1 card for each party member in the combat and discards the lowest card.

Players are awarded 2 treasures each for defeating the boss monster.

FLEEING

Players can FLEE the dungeon before drawing a new tile and keep any treasure cards they have amassed so far.  If their route out of the dungeon is blocked by a monster they must discard a card at random as they flee.

TURN ORDER 

Players determine their Initiative order by choosing one card from their hand.  Highest goes first, in the event of ties the player who used a primary stat card wins, all others discard and redraw.

1.  FLEE - Players may decide to flee the dungeon or continue exploring.

2. MOVE - Move through an open exit and reveal the next tile.

3. ENCOUNTER - Each player resolves the encounter as outlined above.

4. NEXT TURN - Play moves to the player with the next highest initiative.

SCORING

Once the boss monster has been defeated (or all players have fled the dungeon) the game is over and scoring occurs.

1.  DEAD players score 1 point for each unused stat card in their hand (+ 15 points for an unused joker).

2.  SURVIVING players score 1 point for each secondary stat card (+ 15 points for an unused joker) + the face value of any primary stat cards remaining + the face value of any treasure rewarded.

3.  The winner is the player with the most points

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

French Space Opera - Time Jam: Valérian and Laureline

I've mentioned several times on this blog that Luc Besson is one of of my favourite directors/producers/writers and I always keep up to date with what projects he is involved with.  Back in 2012 he announced he was working on a Valérian movie, which for those who don't know, Valérian is a French graphic novel first published in Pilote magazine (Nov 1967) and written by Pierre Christin with art by Jean-Claude Mézières.

A few of the many aliens in the Time Jam universe
Just a few of the many aliens from the Time Jam universe (centre: Valerian and Laureline)
Besson has always been a fan of the original comicbook and so he hired Mézières and Jean Giraud Moebius to do the concept art for a little sci-fi project he was putting together which ended up being "The Fifth Element".  Besson's production company, Europacorp, also colaborated on a 40 episode anime series loosely based on the comic book, first aired in 2007.  Besson is not the only fan to be inspired by and some of the original comicbook has bled through to Star Wars.  Jeffrey Willis has a good write up of some of these on his blog The Geek Flag

The series follows the adventures of junior Space Time Agent Valérian, voiced by Nigel Greaves, who travels back to medieval France to undertake cultural observations for the Oxford Intergalactic University.  Needless to say his first mission goes spectacularly wrong and he ends up escaping feudal justice with a headstrong peasant girl called Laureline, voiced by Alison Dowling.  When they time jump back to 2417 they discover that the Earth has disappeared and they spend the rest of the series as the only humans in the galaxy trying to find out what has happened to it.  

The universe features a plethora of alien species, cultures, planets and technology, most notably the insectoid Vlargos who are intent on dominating the Galaxy.  Valérian and Laureline have to constantly thwart their devious plans as they ply their trade as space adventures.  One of their patrons are a trio of weird small winged entrepreneurs with trunks know as Shingouz.  Much like Star Trek's Ferenghi they are always in search of profit and end up sending Valérian and Laureline on quite a few dangerous missions to retrieve various objects. 

Their encounters often occur on weird planets that try to kill them or have been rendered dangerous by some legendary artefact they must recover and they are assisted by ship's computer "Rondha" which fills in some of the blanks for them and the viewer.  There's plenty of variety in setting and plot for each episode as the pair embark on various missions for their different patrons and they end up making just as many friends as enemies.

With the exception of the bizarre "Space Dandy", it's been a while since I've seen anything that I would class as "Space Opera".  By this I mean in the spirit of of E.E. "Doc" Smith's classic Lensman, a light hearted, galaxy hopping tour of the universe with only a laser blaster and a well timed one liner for defence.  It's pitched at an early teens audience, the tone is firmly in the "mild peril" zone, but it's good inspiration fodder for any Space Opera RPG and could be easily "hardened" up for more engaging adult sessions.  I would recommend using it as an alternative setting when you want to drop your players in at the deep end and watch them gradually learn about the universe as they play.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

5 Things I'd Love to do with RPG Props

Here's a bucket list of things I'd like to do with props have effects in a game world. 

Fortune Cookie (may include game content) 
1.  Fortune Cookies - Imagine a game where the PCs have just polished off a nice celebratory chinese meal, when the DM/waiter hands out a plate of fortune cookies.  Each of the players takes one and discovers a clue or instruction to their next adventure inside.

2.  Defuse the Bomb - Make a prop bomb complete with digital timer and hand the players a screwdriver and a set of wire cutters.  I'm going to need to trap them in a locked room so they have no choice but to defuse it.  This is probably the trickiest of the lot as I'd have to find a good timer circuit which I can use. 

3.  SMS Patron - Have a game where all the instructions coming from the patron are delivered to the characters via SMS text to the players mobile phones.

4.  Amaretti Scroll of Raise Dead - This is something I'd like to do when playing a magic user.  When a party member dies, I'd like to pull out a piece of amaretti paper covered in symbols claiming it's a Raise Dead scroll.  Read out some incantation and then roll it up into a tube and set fire to it.  At the last moment the paper will fly into the air (just like in the video) and the character is back from the dead.



5.  Crossword from Beyond the Grave.  Give one or more PCs a half finished crossword puzzle as a clue, preferable found near the body of someone they wanted to interrogate.  The players must complete the crossword to reveal a message from the victim.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Astropia - RPG Advocacy in movies

Last night caught me flicking through the free movie content on my WD TV Live, where I stumbled across a Norwegian language film called Astropia.  Also known as Dorks & Damsels it was an indie film released in 2007. Given the subject matter, it was surprising that I'd never heard of it, but I've had good experiences with Norwegian films in the past so thought I'd give it a go.    

aka Dorks & Damsels
In a plot borrowed heavily from the classics such as "Oliver" and "Pygmalion", socialite Hildur (), is living the life of a minor celebrity when her wealthy boyfriend Jolli, a shady car dealer, is suddenly arrested and jailed.  The confused society girl is thrown out of her home and hounded by the paparazzi, so goes to live with her sister Bjort and 10 year old Nephew Snorri.

She struggles to complete even the most basic tasks and come to terms with her new station in life when, by chance, she lands a job at "Astropia" the local "Nerd Store" as their RPG salesperson.  She knows nothing about roleplaying and her colleagues and customers are initially hostile until she joins her first game session run by store owner Goggi.  

RPG portrayals in mainstream media fall squarely into two camps for me, you're either condescendingly laughing at the nerds (Big Bang Theory) or knowingly laughing with the nerds (Robot Chicken) and this one falls squarely into the latter.  In fact the only condescending character in the movie is the villain Jolli and although Hildur is treated with a bit of suspicion and sexism by her co-workers, she wins them over quite quickly.

The movie does a good job of parodying some of the stereotypical nerd subdivisions and there are some great little moments like DVD salesman Floki trying to sending young Norri off home with copies of "The Exorcist" and "The Shining" as educational movies.

Importantly this movie has has an engaging convential plot centered around Hilda's and Jolli's abusive relationship.  It does a great job of portraying the members of the games group as odd, but likeable and fully functioning adults and the "normal" people as monsters.  The use of LARP costume action is sparing, but serves as an effective mind's eye view inside a game session and is sympathetic.  It explains the core functions of characters and GM well and demonstrates how RPGs have the power to unlock imaginations and how people can often have surprising hidden talents or skills and the determined Hildur also manages to knock some of the sexism for six in her first session.

If you don't mind watching subtitled movies this is definitely well worth a look and I'd definitelty recommend it to anyone trying to explain RPGs to a non playing partner or friend.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Revisiting Teenage Mutant Horror Comet Zombies

Had some down time last week and decided to revisit one of those 80s movies which I raved about after seeing it on Alex Cox's "Moviedrome".  For me it was seminal TV and regularly showed cult movies I had heard of but never seen.  Good Times.

They Came They Shopped They Saved The World
"Night of the Comet" (or as it was known in the UK "Teenage Mutant Horror Comet Zombies") was a relatively low budget (£3million) sci-fi movie released in 1984.  Written and directed by Thom Eberhardt it stars Catherine Mary Stewart (Weekend at Bernie's) and Kelli Maroney (Fast Times at Ridgemont High) as Regina and Samantha, as sassy valley girl sisters who end up missing out on the greatest spectacle of their lives, a comet passing Earth.  Does this sound familiar? (Day of The Triffids anyone...)

When morning comes they discover that everyone they ever knew is missing and a dusty red smog has filled the air.  Enter Robert Beltran (ST Voyager's Chakotay) as Hector, the mexican truck driver, an unlikely but entertaining hero who tries to help the girls come to terms with the new world order.

Meanwhile the saviours of humanity in the form of a bunch of "Apocalypse Nuts" led by Geoffrey Lewis are emerging from their underground bunker to start afresh by gathering up all the survivors.

Without giving anything away it's an entertaining slice of 80s L.A. teen culture, deely boppers, rampant consumerism and zombies.  It's got a few great one liners like "Daddy would have gotten us Uzi's" and "The legal drinking is ten... but you will need ID, lets be real".  The two girls are the absolute stars and strong female characters are hard to come by in any post apocalypse movie.

Great inspiration particularly in the case of the two strong female characters, and as a genre setting for an apocalyptic game when you're bored with "The Walking Dead",

Friday, 1 August 2014

Ennie Award for Best Cavern Map goes to... Fire Ants.

One of the staple RPG tropes is the "Bug Hunt", we've all done them.  There are some pretty cool bug hunt tunnel maps out there, but even the best human cartographers can't come close in complexity to these real world Fire Ant Colonies.  These stunning aluminium casts are the work of anthillart.com

Fire Ant Colony #45 - 18.5"x12.5"x13" (HxWxL)
Carpenter Ant Colony #31 - 16.5"x4.5"x8" (HxWxL)
The artists YouTube channel has some interesting videos showing the whole casting process which inevitably causes the destruction of the colony.  I'm rooting for Hicks and Hudson on this one and prefer to immortalize the work of these pests rather than go down the "nuke it from orbit" route.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

More uses for those pesky Loom Bands?

If you've got a child aged between 10 and 15 you will have probably been unable to avoid the current craze of "Loom Bands".  These tiny multicoloured rubber bands are intended to be woven together, in a form of phsychedelic macrame, to make friendship bracelets and other strap like objects.

But they have a far more useful use...  as wound markers for your tabletop miniature games!!

Loom Bands make great wound markers
They're stupidly cheap (1000 for about £3), you can find them just about everywhere at the moment and come in an astonishing array of colours. 

I'm going to throw down the gauntlet and challenge you crafty readers to weave up a set of spell effect templates.  Post links to your achievements in the comments below.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Mad Max 4 - Fury Road Comic-Con Trailer

There's only one word for it...


Awesome!!!!!!!

Dazzle Camoflague for the Future

Back in WW1 artist and Naval Reservist Norman Wilkinson came up with the idea of covering ships in bizarre geometric paint schemes to make it harder enemy submarines to target them.

HMS Kildwick in Dazzle Camoflauge
Fast forward a hundred years and we are fast approaching a minority report scenario where we are all subjected to face recognition scanning to some degree as we pass through public spaces.  We even carry these devices with us every day (it's in the software of most digital cameras in our smartphones). 

Thankfully we're not at the stage where you are scanned by GAP as you walk past their billboard at the tube station, but I'm sure that I'm not alone in thinking that things like facebook's face recognition software are a bit creepy, So here's a free app idea for some enterprising mobile developer.
 
Muppet face recognition

Enter the guys at CV Dazzle who are developing simple makeup and hair techniques to fool facial recognition software.  The only downside is that it makes you look like some uber futuristic cyberpunk cosplayer or Lady Gaga fan depending on your perspective (and age).



CV Dazzle Makeup and Hair Techniques

Which brings us back to Sci-Fi and RPGs in particular.  The most common party concept for Sci-Fi games is the band of misfits sticking it to the empire/corporation/man and engaging in lots of covert ops where your ability to hide your identity is crucial.  Unless there's been some sort of utopian revolution there is likely to be some form of mass surveillance at work. 


R Talsorian's Cyberpunk 2020 had a plethora of fashionware items such as light emitting tattoos, colour changing hair and contact lenses squarely pitched as mere character affectations.  The 2006 adaptation of Philip K Dick's "A Scanner Darkly" had undercover cop Keanu Reeves in his hi tech "Scramble Suit" to prevent his identity from being revealed.  Even Milla Jovovich got her identity fooling fashion camo together in the visually entertaining "Ultraviolet".

Put these all together and you've got a really sweet combo which should keep those algorithms busy.





Monday, 7 April 2014

International Tabletop Day 2014

Last Saturday was the second International Tabletop Day and unfortunately it wasn't possible for my regular Friday night group The Hobbits Hole to host an event this year.  So a bunch of us did the next best thing... we went to someone else's event.

The Role Play Haven RPG Club are based inside Lewisham Hospital at The Lewis Club and they were a very friendly bunch.  They meet on Wednesday nights for RPGs and Monday nights for Boardgames.  

Game of Thrones - House Stark on the move
I got to play a couple of games, namely:

The Quiet Year

A free form drawing game based around a year in the life of a post apocalyptic community.  Players draw cards to determine what random events affect the community and then choose to either discover something new or plan a project.

Of course the temptation with this sort of game is for it to go totally gonzo and we ended up having Ninja Rabbits attacking a Nazi Zeppelin whilst a party of explorers went to the mysterious pyramid and discovered the ark of the covenant.

A Game of Thrones

With season 4 of the TV series just around the corner I couldn't resist playing Fantasy Flight's epic game of royal houses fighting for control of the Iron Throne.  I was playing House Tyrell and although the lack of any court influence at the beginning was a bit of a pain, I had a fantastic tussle with House Martell.  Sadly I couldn't stay to find out how it all turned out, but I will definitely play this again.

Thanks guys it was a lot of fun and roll on 2015 when we can "Play more Games!!"
 

Monday, 3 March 2014

Retroblasting Explain the Evolution of Adventure Heroes

I'm a big fan of the Adventure Hero / Pulp genre of 80s films like Indiana Jones, Goonies and even Romancing the Stone and I've always know that their origins lay in the Saturday matinee serials of the 20s and 30s.

But for those of you who love the genre and want to know more, here's an interesting video taken at Pensacon 2014 where the Retroblasting team (Melinda Moch and Michael French) explain the history and influences behind them.


I'm going to look at Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in a different light now. 

Friday, 28 February 2014

I know what you did last Summer!

Okay I admit it...

I was kindly asked by Joe Wetzel of Inkwell Ideas to contribute some random maps for his successful Creature and Encounter Decks Kickstarter project (I did the spaceship deck plans in Encounter Deck 2).  Joe sells these decks on his website which also contains some of the best RPG random generators the internet has to offer (like the amazing hexographer I reviewed in my mapping mini series) and comes highly recommended.

So What the Heck is an Encounter Deck?


Card #06 from Encounter Deck 2
(featuring map by me)
It's a deck of 56 cards containing ideas for DMs to use either during play to add a little randomness or spice to their game.  They can also be used during scenario or campaign preparation as a random idea generator.

Each card has on one side:
  • A Map - this could be a room, a building, an outdoor space, a map of a region or even a section of spaceship deck plan.
  • A Trap Idea - something to throw at your players in game if they're having it too easy.
  • A Twist - Something to stir up the plot
     
  • A Trivial item or Treasure - Something to reward your players with, it could be inconsequential or it could become the focus for an entire game.
and on the reverse side a generic scenario idea split into:
  • Title and Outline - A brief synopsis of the scenario with some keywords to get you thinking about where to take the plot.
  • Getting the PCs Involved - a couple of plot motives for your PCs.
  • Encounters - A bunch of potential encounters you might want to throw at your PCs in line with the overarching plot outlined above.
  • Conclusion - A couple of ideas on how the scenario might pan out for the players.

Example of their use as an Idea Generator


Here I've simply taken 7 different cards and selected one item from each category to use to generate my scenario.  I could have just used the entire scenario idea from the reverse of the same card, but my objective here is to generate something really random and get those creative juices flowing.  I've used cards from Encounter Deck 2 and referenced the card number next to each item for those of you who want to recreate my steps. 
  • #46 The Hunted - (Protection, Battlefield) - The refugees approach the city with tight lips and haunted eyes.  The lord cannot turn away his charges in their time of need, but what drove them from their homes may hunt them still.
  • #55 Getting the PCs Involved? - The PCs stumble across the gypsies at dusk.
  • #05 Encounters - The would-be interlopers (The PCs) are offered information by a diviner, but at a hefty price.
  • #16 Trap Idea -  The slime on the walls and floor of a corridor has been deliberately cultivated, conducting the energies of an attack spell throughout the area.
  • #32 Twist: A group of mercenaries mistake the party as searching for the same treasure that they are.
  • #56 Trivial? Treasure - A small one foot cubed metal box with a door on one side.  Inside the temperature is always just below freezing.
  • #47 Conclusion - With the troublesome cult revealed, the news must be spread and the panic halted.

My Adventure Outline (as outlined using the cards above)


An evil plague is spreading over the land, leading to an influx of refugees into the capital city.  This plague is a magical slime whose epicentre is a town some twenty leagues from the capital.  The PCs have been passing a steady stream of refugees all day as they head in the direction of the town.  That night as they search for a likely looking camp spot they encounter a band of Gypsies. 

The gypsies agree to let the PCs stay the night in their camp, which is unusually subdued, and during their conversations learn that the Gypsies have been blamed by the locals for the outbreak of this slime.  The Gypsies have nothing to do with it, but one of their number is a fortune teller who predicted that they would meet the PCs.  The Gypsies insist that one of the PCs must have their future foretold, during which they must forfeit some item of great value (or a lesser body part like a finger, toe or earlobe).

During the divination the gypsies reveal that they must retrieve the mystical cube from the shrine of St. Haute Pointe and take it to the slime infected town.  Once there, they will know what to do.

On the way to the shrine of St. Haute Pointe the PCs are ambushed by another adventuring party who are also heading to the shrine (but they are after a legendary chalice said to be able to restore missing minor body parts, observant PCs will notice that their leader has lost one of her ears).  There will most likely be a stand-off, a chase, another stand-off and the final realisation that the two parties are after entirely different things and either leave on good terms, or not.

After recovering the cube, the PCs finally arrive at the town.  From a hilltop vantage point they can see that the town is dotted with patches of this slime and overtime they will notice brown robed riders arrive in town on horseback and then leave shortly afterwards carrying a cylinder on their backs.

If they venture into town they will observe a cult of brown robed human monks congregating around the towns municipal water well.  They are decanting slime and something like frogspawn from the well into these cylinders and handing them to the dispatch riders who arrive in town.  All the while chanting some eldritch verse.

The solution to the PCs problem is to slay the monks and venture down the well where they discover some small innocuous looking creature the monks have chained up, laying its eggs.  If they capture one of the monks, preferably the leader, they can transport him and a frozen sample of the eggs back to the capital for the Lord's apothecaries to inspect.

To Adventure and Beyond 

Naturally, the Lord rewards the PCs for their heroism and then mention that he has another problem of a delicate nature.  He explains that as a young man he had an unfortunate hunting accident and now the kingdom (and his wife) is pressing him to sire an heir.  He's heard that there's a fabled chalice, located somewhere in the kingdom, that is rumoured to have the power to restore minor body parts...

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

99 Problems but the Pole ain't One

My regular gaming group are currently experiencing the Liberation of the Demon Slayer an old school gonzo module by Venger Satanis with maps by Dyson Logos.

Liberation of the Demon Slayer cover image
Liberation of the Demon Slayer
The beginning of the module has them preparing to delve into the caverns outside the village of Clear Meadow in search of a fabled magic sword, the villagers kindly provide 3 days rations, 30 foot of rope and a 10 foot pole to each brave soul willing to enter.  My players are unfamiliar with old school dungeoneering so I've taken the liberty of preparing a short list of things they can do with their pole in the style of popular urban troubadour Jay Z...

99 Uses for a 10ft pole

  1. Poke things that are ten feet away.
  2. An improvised measuring stick for things like the depth of water or the width of a crevasse.
  3. Tie two together with a sack in the middle and you have a stretcher.
  4. Tie two together at one end and you have a travois, you can drag your loot behind you.
  5. Use it to carry your pack on the end like some kind of hobo.
  6. Tie a white flag to the end and you can surrender to those bandits.
  7. Trigger a trap from a safe distance.
  8. Tie two together at one end and you have an A-frame (That's half a crane to you and me).
  9. Cut it into sections and you have several improvised clubs.
  10. Cut off sections can be used to wedge doors closed if you don't have spikes.
  11. Jam the end into a doorway to keep it open.
  12. Use it to improve your balance when making those tightrope walking checks.
  13. It's a lever.
  14. It's a great punt pole when rafting. 
  15. It's an improvised tent or pole.
  16. Tie a noose to one end and you have a snare for handling wild dogs. 
  17. It's a walking pole. 
  18. Use it to testing the snow for hidden crevasses in the arctic north.
  19. Tie two together (at both ends) and you have an improvised bridge. 
  20. Stick a mirror on the end and you can see out of trenches or around corners. 
  21. It's one third of a ladder. 
  22. Stick two in the ground with string or rope between them and you can hang your wares at market. 
  23. Jam it into the mouth or eye of a Tyrannosaur / Rancor / Kraken / Terrasque.
  24. Wedge it between the floor and the descending ceiling.
  25. Add some ribbons and you've got a may pole. 
  26. Knock down that wasps nest.
  27. Use two or three to make a tiger trap, just cover them with big leaves. 
  28. Cut them up and sharpen the ends, hey presto… vampire stakes! 
  29. Tie the stakes to a springy tree limb, instant punji stick trap. 
  30. Tie a knife to the end, go spear fishing. 
  31. Trim it to 6ft and use it as a fighting staff. 
  32. It's an improvised lance. 
  33. Make a pair of garrotte handles. 
  34. Jam 2 halves in the ground on either side of a track with a wire between them it's a nasty trap. 
  35. Use it to complete your staff of Ra and find the burial site of the Ark of the Covenant.
  36. It's something to lean against when on guard duty. 
  37. It's for dancing around, apparently. 
  38. It's a fishing pole. 
  39. Use two as improvised stilts.
  40. Use it to push prisoners (or animals) about with.
  41. It's a yoke for carrying two heavy things.
  42. It's a truss rod for two people to carry one really heavy thing.
  43. It's a balance beam for weighing things.
  44. Tie three together at one end to make a tripod to suspend your cooking pot.
  45. Chop it up for fire wood.
  46. Stick to snake spell needs a stick.
  47. It's a wizards staff if the wizard loses one.
  48. It's a bunch of torches when you run out.
  49. It's a stirring stick for really big cauldrons. 
  50. Test the water to see if it's really acid. 
  51. Tie two short lengths together, it's improvised nunchucks.
  52. Tie three together in a triangle it's a coat hanger.
  53. Stick meat on the end and feed your pet tiger or other ravenous beastie. 
  54. Use it as a trail or claim marker. 
  55. If you have enough you can stick them in the ground a make a temporary fence or cage.
  56. Cut notches on it to keep count of your conquests (or kills).
  57. Whittle on it around the camp fire to pass the time. 
  58. Cut a few in half and sharpen the ends, stick them in the ground at 45 degrees, you've got a horse proof barrier. 
  59. Tie helmets onto it at regular intervals and you've got an instant army of friends. 
  60. Make a scarecrow.
  61. With a little craft and string you have improvised snow shoes.
  62. Tie a shield to it and stick it in the ground, instant archery target. 
  63. If your shields big enough, hide behind it for that all important cover bonus. 
  64. Bang it on the ground to call attention to yourself. 
  65. Tie a torch to the end to ward off really dangerous animals.
  66. Tie a sling to the end and use it as a catapult arm. 
  67. Use it to push away siege ladders.
  68. Capture several prisoners, tie their hands and feet to the pole. 
  69. A stake to tie the virgin/witch to. 
  70. A limbo pole.
  71. A replacement axle for your wheelbarrow. 
  72. A handle for a windlass.
  73. Use it to break out jail Jackie Chan style (it also involve weeing on your shirt though).  
  74. Tie some rushes to the end and make a broom to sweep away your tracks. 
  75. Use it to spin plates or bowls and entertain the tribal chief. 
  76. Chop it up into lengths and jam in the walls to make improvised steps.  
  77. Wood to metal spell needs some wood.
  78. Make a yoke for your oxen.
  79. Use it to spit roast a pig.
  80. Make foucault's pendulum and test the Coriolis Effect.
  81. It's a makeshift pull-up bar.
  82. Add weight's It's a weightlifting bar.
  83. Add rope, It's a trapeze handle. 
  84. It's a lightweight caber.
  85. Spin around it when your drunk its a party game.
  86. You can hang tapestries, or curtains with it.
  87. It's a flag pole.
  88. It's a sundial.
  89. It's for knocking down fruit or coconuts.
  90. Charge a line of enemies and knock them over clothes line style.
  91. It's for jamming in the wheels of Nazi motorbikes.
  92. You can tie your horses together with one. 
  93. For rescuing people from quick sand.
  94. An improvised holy symbol.
  95. Tie a pigs bladder to the end and go wassailing.
  96. It's several baseball bats.
  97. Use it to make a corracle.
  98. It's one third of a poor man's bass guitar (add wire and a box).
  99. Add a hook it's a fisherman's gaff (for landing big fish).

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Codex Nordica - Castles and Crusades Kickstarter

I'm doing plenty of new things so far this year, and one I can now cross off the list is to back a kickstarter and so I pledged my support for Troll Lord Games latest project for their rules light OSR style system Castles and Crusades. 

The Codex Nordica is a 128+ page book filled with all manner of content, from a complete guide to Viking Mythology for everyone's use, from new spells for characters to monsters for Castle Keepers/Game Masters.  The great thing about these OSR modules is that they're easy to repurpose for other Fantasy RPGs so even if you're not a fan of C&C, you can easily add some Vikings into your campaign setting.

The stretch goals already include 3 bonus adventures and Odin's Rune Tiles and if it gets to 300 backers, they'll throw in some custom C&C dice made by Crystal Caste.

The great thing is that they've already hit their funding goal so this can only get better.

For more details go to the Codex Nordica Kickstarter page.