Sunday, January 28, 2018


Man time just zooms by... well I hope to be a little more active here this year as my Game Mastering duties are a little more relaxed.  So here's to a new year of, hopefully, new ideas, new ways and new perspectives about the role playing experience. GAME ON!

Friday, July 1, 2016


Hi out there, well fancy this, a second post this year!  Anyway, been looking at the 'Powered by the Apocalypse' range of games lately, may use it in the upcoming Barra reboot.  I have a few friends organised to play Monster of the Week, written by a Wellingtonian and fellow Kiwi guy Michael Sands.  The game looks fun and is a, relatively , easy read. I also purchased Worlds in Peril,a superhero adaptation,Uncharted Planets, a sci fi adaptation and of course Dungeon World, a fantasy version.  Its mechanics are relatively easy, if the terminology is not at times.  Two d6 determines outcome - a 10+ is complete success, a7 to 9 is success with a complication and a 6 or less allows the Game Master to screw with the player/group.  The only ones that roll dice are the players.There are no classes as such.  This idea is replaced with 'playbooks' which is an archetype that the player takes on, with attached abilities and skills. The way this plays out sounds great too, with a lot more focus on setting and character interaction than mechanics and rules.
My point of concern/puzzlement is that in this game the GM does little prep ( which is nice to hear) but that they dont know exactly where the game is going so any planning or interest points may never get played as the players have more voice in determining the direction of the game.  While that gives the players more agency, which is great, where does that leave the GM... if he's along for the ride to see where it all ends up that's cool.  For me, I am a GM who has lovingly crafted my game world, the players in it have given multiple feedback around the world which has informed the decisions about where the game story goes but has not suffered any discontinuity or disconnect and they have expressed an appreciation and interest in discovering whats around the bend, under that stone etc.  So although this sounds like the old argument of GM control, if they invest themselves so much and get little return on that investment ( and its not about GM vs Player) will we end up with a whole lot of just players and have multiple one shots of games or small 2 - 4 episode games... will the high fantasy multiple story arcs cease as the GM's agency diminishes? Guess I'll find out if I can strike a middle ground that meets both once we've played the game a little.

Game on

Saturday, January 16, 2016


Seems 2015 was not a very contenscious year for role playing.  Some interesting ideas were chucked around, for me a lot of reflecting on Traveller (Classic 1977) but thats coverd on the 8+ blog.  Have an awesome 2016 everyone

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Oh Myy GAWD!

Well hello there, I did say we kiwis were a laid back lot.  Anyways one of my gaming group has started a new game using the new D&D E5 system.  Just thought I'd jot down a few thoughts about what we have experienced so far.
The Pluses;
Everyone seemed to like the new generation rules, especially the inclusion of the Background section and the attendant Bonds, Flaws etc.  It has help each player get a hold of their character, what makes them tick and get into the 'role' part of the game quicker. The lowering of all those bonuses , from the height of 3.5 power bloat, is a welcomed edit.  Its simpler to remember the basics, easier to engage with and generally more fun than waiting for someone to pop out their scientific calculator to work out what they need to roll to hit, making a saving throw or skill roll.  That they have also simplified the skill list - the basics are covered and has enough variety to cover most if not all imaged situations most adventurers can get caught up in. Borrowing, I feel, from the Castle and Crusaders system to have some stats  you are 'proficient' in to give , again, variety  and uniqueness is a nice touch so their line about 'no two fighters being the same' is quite true.  On this subject I am seeing several subsystems echoed from other systems or previous editions, nothing wrong about that, quite a compliment really if one considers the saying that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. It makes for familiar gaming but with enough twist to be fresh and inviting of new adventures, ideas and, of course, fun. I like their ideas about Magic Users being able to use armour now and the general pump of hit points.  A favorite house rule we have always played with , full hit points at first level, is another sensible move, the move is not power creep in any way but enough of a nod to those classes who a strong wind could knock over in previous editions at first level.  The adjusted XP table is where, for me, the system has a glorious moment.  So obvious yet I never thought of doing it, making the first three levels much quicker to gain, thus building character survivability without giving away the effort involved in to gain these levels ( yah still have to work for it kiddo!).  The addition of Inspiration, Advantage and Disadvantage are great tools for the DM to use as consequences in play is another great role playing subsystem moving the game from what was seen increasingly as a roll playing game to the more traditional role playing; games or yore - this set of tools reminds of the rulings not rules ethic of old school gaming.  Lastly the trinket section, a nice touch, a great way to add depth to the characters back story, generate an adventure or some adversaries concerning this small item.
The Minuses;
At the moment we haven't looked at the effects of feats on play but given my experience with 3.5 I will be watching this one closely.  The first minus I have is how some of the spells have been edited.  I'm old school and have no problem with that, so for me a first level spell like Shield needs to be more than a one shot quick defense spell ( I have changed it) and some of the damage of the cantrips ( 1d10!) which can be cast at will 3 or so times a day at first level is a little too hard on my nose so I am working with the players is readjusting some of this, not to original levels ( and that would be too complicated because some spells did different things in different editions) but to a level inline with 'weapon damage' a 1st level fighter might consider is appropriate. More on this later.
The last Minus is the healing rules. Its changed Full stop.  A short rest returns lv+con bonus in hit points, a nights full rest(long rest)  gains your hit dice amount healed.  If you take critical damage you need to make a base Con check (Medium) before you can do a long rest heal else all you get is a short rest heal each night until you make the check.
Well that's enough from me for now.
Game on and have fun!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

OSR and Jean-Baptiste

Okay so I am reading that there would appear, depending on who you read and believe, to be changes in the OSRsphere.  Some say its dead some say not.  I am not intending to go into any of that here.  All I can say is down here all the early games never went out of fashion.  Perhaps because we were isolated by distance / communication or something else (perhaps we live in another dimension).
             I remember when Vampire and the rest of White Wolf came along, tried, went back to our old games.  Magic the Gathering card game, tried it, but wasn't role playing so we continued playing our old games.  Played in 3 and 3.5, continued the old stories, tried Castles and Crusades, a multitude of other systems and genres and we always seem to return to our familiar old games.  There, from my perspective at least, never has been a time when Basic or First AD&D has not been a go-to-game for me and my crowd, and through the years there have been a lot in that crowd, I guesstimate some 150 + souls have sat at our gaming table in the 30 plus years we've played.  Yep tried the new stuff, might have played it for a while.
            I am obviously missing some point, I don't get the whole deal/argument.  Yeah they stopped publishing each edition, so what, got the books and the imagination.  There is nothing better in any edition from any other, other than personal perspective and I guess that is impacted on what 'age' you grew up in.  That's it for me anyways. No big revelations, just a thought, which probably has been thought and expressed ad infinitum and nausem over the intertubes since they were invented. As Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr said 'plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose'.  Stay well and keep those dice rolling!


Here's a little bit of Kiwi music to chill to -

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rant Rave or Random Thought?

Hmmm  not too much happening at the moment for me to chuck my 10c worth in.  I will be interested to see what becomes of this D&D Next thing.  I signed up for the test plays et al, we still haven't got round to it as my crew have been busy with our 'real' gaming.  From what I described to them (badly probably) the reaction was luke warm at best.  Still  if we have a break somewhere we may try it.

See ya!