Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May the 4th be with you


So, in honor of May the 4th, and this recent awesome post on dragonsfoot.org: http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=73871 I got to thinking about WEG Star Wars d6.

This system might be the perfect system to introduce to new roleplayers. A few reasons for this:
1: It is one of the simplest game systems there is. You have a few stats and skills, everything is just a few d6. You don't have to learn weird polyhedrals, just how many dice you throw!
2: It is a setting nearly everyone knows. While Tolkien fantasy is up there as well, I'm sure most people have a better familiarity with Star Wars. Plus, what if they don't understand your fantasy goblins? you can just easily make up whatever description of weird alien and it'll come across.
3: It is (or can be) fast paced and cinematic once you get it down. You want to slide across the hood of your land speeder while taking a shot at the storm trooper across the way? no problem. 2 actions, make each at -1 dice and boom your done.
4: Templates let you get into the game super quick. No need to walk through character creation except putting some dice down for skills. What skills do you think your character will use? the templates already have the common ones marked for that archetype.

Even for GMs, it is easy to come up with a creature on the fly. You don't need all the stats, put extra dice into whatever you think is relevant, describe it and go. There are things about 1e I love, and there are different things about the fan-made 2e REUP (revised, expanded, and updated, found here: http://d6holocron.com/downloads/gbooks.html) that I love. 1e is so simple there isn't even initiative. Whoever rolls highest on their first action or opposed action goes first. As a GM you don't even need to tell your player your roll. Say you rolled your opposed blaster shot first, but it missed, you could say it missed and was first and it won't affect anything. Just keep the narrative going and have actions happen where they make sense. REUP on the other hand, has the same core mechanics, but has so many extra ships, aliens, droids, etc... You can find nearly anything you want in REUP. I also really enjoy the Wild Die. At times it can slow down the game, but it is nice that it can really help you gain success with something you have a low stat in.

Another great thing, you don't need to use it just for Star Wars. It is easily converted to a generic Science Fantasy (heck you can get the free d6 space if you wanted), or even to normal fantasy. The cinematic rules can work well in any setting, just strip the Star Wars skin.

In honor of today, I had lulu make a set of the 1e rules in 4 saddle stitch booklets for my next face-to-face group. I can just hand the players a few copies of the players section that cost <$5 to have lulu make. I also ordered a new copy of REUP as well (with a different cover than my current copy). Honestly I'm jonesing to run some Star Wars d6. We were playing a campaign online, but my GM quit for some reason.

If you haven't given WEG Star Wars a shot, you really should! It is one of the best systems I've ever played. Sometimes it gets to be an insane amount of dice, but REUP has a nice chart to simplify any roll over 5d.

Here is my current WEG collection (yes that REUP is full color!):

You can find my group playing it in the following youtube playlist: Star Wars REUP one-shot and mini campaign.



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Basic FantasyCampaign, Session 10, Nearly a TPK

So our 10th session was essentially a TPK if not for some DM Fiat.

Our thief was out this session, but the rest of the guys were eager to continue on, so we pressed forward! The group wanted to go back and check on Ergo and help him clear the cave. Their hope was to get the travelling priests help (aka the evil priest in b2). They went by, and the priest said he wasn't interested in going to Ergo's cave, but said he would meet them near the Caves of Chaos later after a lot of persistence from the PCs.

So the party went to check on Ergo, only to check the first den where they immediately met him. They found some scattered bones and rotting meats, but didn't find him, didn't look around anymore, and left thinking they'd check back again soon. On they went to the caves of chaos.

The PCs were pleasantly surprised that the travelling priest Chromula was there with his 2 acolytes. After greeting each other, they agreed to enter one of the caves (the goblin cave). They formed their marching order with the priest and his 2 acolytes in the back, lit up a torch and pressed on. After some careful searching, they ran across a band of Goblins on patrol in the caves. Suddenly the call "BREEYARK!" was made and the goblins got into position to attack the party. Soon another band came and attacked from the rear. The party was pinned in and desperately trying to fight the Goblins on their end while the Priest and the acolytes tried to sell the fight between them and the other Goblins. It wasn't long however before Chromula cast a Hold Person on one of the PCs and him and the acolytes broke through the Goblins and left. The PCs, brilliantly fighting, managed to over come the hoard of Goblins. They decided they should leave the caves, learning the true nature of Chromula and his silent lackeys.

On their way out they found Chromula laughing hysterically as his 2 acolytes raised their weapons. He warned the party to surrender or face his wrath. This is what you get for investigating the caves. The PCs swiftly took to action and charged the acolytes. Chromula decided he'd cast a silence 15' radius over the PCs and acolytes as he stepped back to prepare some more spells. Suddenly Sylwen and Eldor had succumbed to a hold person. Markas and Dongan shoved them aside and made quick work of the Acolytes. Try as they may, they could not overcome Chromula himself though. He continued to ask for their surrender as he slowly wore them down. Finally Dongan fell to his might and he started shouting to Markas, give up now and I'll spare you! Markas couldn't accept surrender being unsure of what would happen to his friends and fought until finally he had fallen to Chromula as well.

At this point, it was looking like a TPK, except that Plimble Mae had missed out and was in time. I came up with an idea though. Markas and Dongan were lost, but the Goblins kidnapped Eldor and Sylwen. They stole all of their gear and kept them for a month, trying to question and torture them. Eventually the kicked them out of the cave with nothing but some rags.

They finally made it back to the keep, unsure of what to do. They were out of money, so they both had to ask Corporal Oliver for some work. He offered to let them patrol with the guards, in return he'd give them a place to stay, feed them with the guards, and them them some short swords.

I've been busy with work, so we've been on hiatus, so we're all waiting to see what happens now. I'm just glad I was able to keep it from being a true TPK, but keep some hard consequences. My players know that I'm not holding back, but they also know I'm not out to kill them. They had a feeling the Chromula would do this, but didn't expect it to be as bad, or that their dice would fail them so.

NSFW:

Thursday, April 21, 2016

D&D 5e Session 2 & Continuing thoughts


What can I say about D&D 5e? My group loves it, and I have to admit I'm quite fond of it too. I haven't purposefully houseruled anything yet, but I'm sure some exist from our mutual lack of understanding of all the rules. I am absolutely positive that I will be running a 5e campaign after we're done with this adventure. This session had some hard moments, but still nothing quite as deadly as what I'm used to in the OSR. We'll see what happens!

We're still running the Lost Mines of Phandelver.

This session saw my players make it out to the Cragmaw Caves to try and find more information on Gundren Rockseeker. They went back to where the ambush took place last time. The dead horses were still on the roads. The party split up trying to search through where they thought the goblins were hiding before and after some time found a trail. The character who found the trail quickly called the others. They decided that everyone but one would walk on the side of the road while one walked on the road. Luckily they managed to discover the 2 traps hidden on the way and disabled them.

Eventually they found a cave mouth with a stream coming out of it. Upon approaching the cave mouth, they were set upon by arrows through the brier patch. Quickly the Wizard turned and aimed his burning hands at the bushes as the others let loose some arrows in that direction. Soon afterward they watched the brier patch burn and they checked to find some dead goblins laying in them. The party decided to take a short rest and wait to see if anyone approached.

Eventually the group decided they would head in to see what else was there. They soon found the 2 dogs tied up, and killed them from range with the dogs trying to break their chains but failing. The group checked out the cavern, but then continued their way up. It wasn't very long before they caught a goblin running across a bridge. The group took their chance to fire some shots, but failed. Soon afterwards they were caught off guard by the sudden rush of water. Most of the party managed to dive into an alcove and keep their grip, while the cleric was washed back out of the cave. Dazed and confused he slowly crept back to the others. From here the group saw they climb up this passage and went on to do so. Once up they saw a chamber with Goblins. The Wizard cast sleep and 3 of them managed to fall asleep while the other 2 engaged. Shortly after killing 1 of the 2 left, the leader of this group of goblins appeared with Sildar in his possession with a knife at his throat. He managed to convince the party that if they took out the leader Klarg, that he would give them the human, and information about Gundren. The party requested that one of the goblins go with them, so he picked Slurry (totally not stolen from the WotC videos) and he helped them get through the rest of the caves.

With Slurry's help they easily dispatched the goblins near the pools, and Klarg and his minions and wolf. The fight with Klarg was pretty rough and they nearly lost some characters, but Slurry managed to help them defeat them, and got some revenge. Yeemik was so thrilled he gave the players their information, and even promoted Slurry to his 2nd in command. The players over-exaggerated to Yeemik about Slurry's exploits, so that when they left with Sildar in hand, he came out and hugged the halfling and waved them off. The group made their way back to Phandalin so everyone could rest up.

Overall, we are really enjoying 5e. My players like the action. I like that it still seems tough, but because they can heal more often, and easier, we get more action going. So far it has been so action packed, my players have pushed to keep the game going past our 2 hour sessions (both in the 2nd and 3rd session, haven't had our 4th yet). I prefer playing longer, but find online games that ADD starts to kick in past 2 hours. We've been having a ball, and I know the players really had a good time with the goblins at cragmaw cave.

NSFW
Part1:
Part2:


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Basic Fantasy Wilderlands Campaign, Session 9

It's been awhile since I posted. My group has been on hiatus due to some scheduling conflicts. Mainly I was out of town for the last 2 possible sessions, and my players were the week before that. Luckily my blogs are 2 sessions behind, so it'll give me some time to catch up.

This session was far more calm than our last. The group started by meeting a new Elve, Sylwen who had been watching the group. Soon afterwards they decided to head out and check out the Orc castle where Sam had fallen. Once there they discovered 3 Ogres eating what may have been some Orc carcasses. Luckily for the group, they had some great strategy, caught them by surprise, and were quick to dispatch the Ogres.

After looting what was left from the Ogres and Orcs, they decided they would proceed to the caves east of the Keep. They have only heard a little bit about this cave, so proceeded with caution. The paladin Markas took the lead, using his detect evil and lantern to guide the party through the cave. They detected one figure farther down the cave and found the cave split. They took the split for a few minutes before being worried that something might come behind them. Once turned around, they ran into yet another Ogre named 'Ergo' (totally not just Ogre backwards). They managed to befriend Ergo who asked for their help in defeating some monsters in his home. He told them about some stirges and the party agreed to help. After travelling through the cave, they found a hive of 12 stirges flying about. Immediately Ergo rushed in with the others and a tough battle started. The stirges started attaching themselves and sucking blood immediately. Luckily Ergo was a good meatshield and the party survived the fight along with Ergo. They explained to him that they would be back to help him defeat some more monsters in the cave later, but that they would need to return to town to rest up for awhile. Ergo gave them a big wave goodbye as the party crawled back towards town.

NSFW:

Thursday, March 31, 2016

D&D 5e, Review & Session



I recently managed to convince some of my Basic Fantasy RPG players to try 5e for me. I keep hearing from people in the OSR that is really is quite good, and I haven't played it yet, even though I've owned the starter set and the PHB for quite some time now. After reading through the Starter Set, I got some nostalgia from the basic box that I learned on for 3.5 back in high school. I used to run my friends through the basic box every time a new person would come around and say they were interested in playing. I'm not sure why I felt it was easier to teach through it, over and over and over, rather than just introduce them into our 3.5 campaign, but that is what we did at the time. The 5e Starter Set, seems to be much better than that basic box was however.

I was pleasantly surprised by how it seemed to be a very stripped down 3.5, didn't require a grid. I feel like Wizards did a great job with the Starter Set, but the basic rules .pdf would have been a nice handout.

After I read through the starter set, I was pretty hooked and read through the PHB the very next day. Don't get me wrong, some things really worried me at first look. Free cantrip casting that does damage was something that irked me a lot. On some level, it still does, because it doesn't seem to match the literature of the Appendix N (especially as I'm in the process of reading the Dying Earth series now), but I get it now. 

I decided that I wouldn't house rule anything off the bat and that we'd run the Lost Mines of Phandelver with the pre-gens to see how we liked the system. We're a couple of sessions in and my players are really starting to like it. I think at first it was because I built their characters into roll20, and I think they liked how automated everything was. Now that they're reading into it and feel more comfortable with their powers, they're growing to enjoy it even more. My only fear is that they might get trapped in the box of staring at their sheets instead of thinking outside of the box like they currently do in our BFRPG game. I'm hoping this doesn't happen.

I'm surprised by how well balanced 5e seems so far. I get why spell casting classes have these powers. It isn't 'Vancian', but for the balance of 5e it makes sense. I quickly ended up picking up the DMG and was VERY surprised at how this seems to be the best DMG written for the game since the 1e one (though it would be very difficult to one-up Gygax' DMG). This does offer plenty of interesting things that you don't normally get in the DMG though.

We're currently 2 session into LMoP, and I reckon it'll take at least 4 more to finish, unless like our 2nd session, we continue to go for double our normal session length.

In our first session, the players got the basic setup, the goblin ambush, finished the passage to Phandelver, got paid, learned some information about the Rockseeker's, met Sister Garaele, learned a bit about the Red Brands, and were given some tips about how they might go about finding Gundren. Lots of RP, a taste of combat (which was beautifully deadly for WotC D&D). The players had a great time, but I don't think they really dug in until our second session which I'll write more about later.

I've recently ordered the Sword Coast Adventurers Guide and am waiting for it to arrive. I need to pick up a MM as well. I know my players will be interested in a campaign, but I still want to finish LMoP, because I feel like it is going to become the B2: Keep on the Borderlands of this era. I'm curious what of the hardback adventures people enjoy for 5e? I thought about picking up the Tyranny of Dragons set, but people seem 'meh' about it. I'm trying to decide between all of them, or just planning out my own adventure in a more traditional OSR style campaign format. I'm not sure if my players would really want my traditional sandbox style more, or an AP layout, but I think I should at least let them try the AP style setup.

Anyway, if you're interested, you can watch our first session online here:

NSFW

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Basic Fantasy Wilderlands Campaign, Session 8

This session, I became a killer DM. Sadly the next session didn't stop that. It was a mix of I wasn't expecting things to be quite so brutal, and bad luck/planning on the players.

So this session started with the group deciding to head towards the raiders on the other side of the river. On their way there, they heard the sound of joyful cheering, as they suddenly saw a faerie riding ontop of a giant bee crashed into the party. Immediately this faerie creature just disappears. The players are confronted with a mass of pissed off giant bees. The party acts quickly to take down the giant bees, but not before one of the stingers pierces through Braignirs chest, and he dies due to the poison.

The party, upset, decides to try and coat their weapons with the toxins (apitoxin) from the dead bees, and drags Braignir back to the keep for a funeral. Plimble Mae is completely distraught, as is Braignir's wife Sam, who vows for vengeance against the faerie creature that caused this tragedy to happen. Dongan decided he would ask the travelling priest if he knew anything about faeries, and was quickly able to learn that this must have been a Pixie.

Sam convinces the group to head back to where they found the Pixie as she is out for blood. They cross back over to where the fight happens and starts screaming for information. It isn't long before the Pixie starts throwing items from hidden locations in the trees. The characters jokingly get hit by platinum pieces, acorns, and pinecones as it laughs in glee, but soon Eldor speaks up in frustration and the Pixie gives him a quick stab to the gut before disappearing again. He then threatens to burn down the forest, and they suddenly hear the massive crack as a tree comes falling down in their direction. The whole group tries to dive out of the way, and most are successful, but none are beaten up too bad as the tree falls. Feeling defeated by the situation, the party decides to move onto something different.

The group remembers hearing about an old ruined castle nearby to the keep that has been overriden with Orcs, so they decided to check it out. Once inside, they find a group of orcs training and eating, and it isn't long before a fight breaks out. Sam is quick and casts here sleep spell and knocks out most of the group on the left, but it isn't long until the Orc left awake shoots an arrow straight through her spine. The rest of the group manages to trade some quick shots back with the other Orcs as Plimble slits the throats of those asleep. They manage to take out the group, but once they attend to Sam they're once again distraught. Sam has become completely paralyzed as the shot went through her Spine, and they must drag her back to the keep. Plimble decides that she will be Sams caretaker since she has bonded with her the most since her arrival just a few short weeks earlier. The group heads back to rest up and to deal with their tragic loss of Braignir, and of their new friend Sam, who, is still living, but horribly paralyzed.

So the killer DM part, is that the same player controlled Braignir and Sam. We had a massive backstory going on. I tried to fudge rolls in their favor, but I didn't pull many punches either. It was just one of those unlucky days.

Part 1:
NSFW
Part 2:

Friday, March 25, 2016

Basic Fantasy Wilderlands Campaign Session 7

Oh my, I've been behind on posting these. Currently this is 1 of 3 sessions to go up, plus I have a 5e session that needs to be uploaded as well.

I'll try to keep this synopsis short because of it. Essentially this week the party decided the cave they went to previously was too powerful, and they were a little unsure of going back, so they thought they'd take on the lizardmen. Well on their way out to the swamps, they encountered a snake in the swamp. Afterwards they ran into a shadow, but avoided the fight and finally crossed the river. Once there they didn't feel comfortable reentering the swamps so continued between the swamps and the forest when they finally came across the woods on their left. They decided this would be a better entry point until they ran across 2 giant spiders. After taking some damage, they decided they had enough of spiders and went to return home where they ran into more snakes. After resting a bit back at the keep, they decided they would try the caves again, where they ran into the kobold cave. They had a chance here, but decided they'd try to scare them off and push in. They ended up getting nearly surrounded and had to run for their lives.

No one died at least, but there was some close calls, with a few people falling into the kobold's trap. Big things happened in the next session though!

Part 1
^Remember, NSFW^
Part 2