Sunday, August 31, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 31: Favorite RPG of all time

So hard a question.  I talk a lot of Champions, 4th Edition, but the fact is that I probably either played or ran that game for less than four years, basically while in college.  I had the first edition of Champions and loved it, and didn't even know two more editions had come out when I hit the big blue book.  I bought Fifth Edition, revised, which I hear is pretty good, but never played it.  Even in those college years Champions was only off-and-on.

Now, in full disclosure, I ran Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragons pretty consistently for almost five years straight: two years in Ohio and three years in Kansas.  When that was done I ran Marvel Heroic Roleplaying for another year.  Someone who knows me recently said that suffer from "Hobby ADHD" but that tends to be more my tendency to buy and talk about running games; in reality I've been pretty steady.

If you want to talk about what game I have really played the longest (in terms of starting and not stopping), it's the home-brewed ruleset that used at EOW, which I've been a part of for the better part of the last decade, but we only play it once a year.

I loved (and still love) Champions because it was the first universal system that I had found that emulated one of my favorite genres: superheroes, and I spent a lot of time putting to paper all the superhumans of my childhood daydreams.

4E worked, quite honestly, because it was easy.  At a time when I had a lot of stuff going on in my life personally and professionally, it was simplicity itself to cobble together three encounters and know I'd have the makings for a fun evening.  The fact that it would be light on roleplaying and more closely resemble a strategic boardgame didn't always matter.

And I will say this, for all my bitching about Marvel Heroic Roleplaying on this blog, I feel like it did a better job of capturing the genre of comic books better than other superhero RPG's out there.  As I read somewhere, it was the first RPG that felt like it was a comic book RPG, not a superhero RPG.  It was also one of my first big leaps into low-crunch "narrative" RPG's, and most of the group took to it pretty well.  It's problem was that after a year, everything started feeling the same when it came to gameplay, the other side of the sword edge to its easy PC/NPC construction that also made it popular when it came to squeezing in game sessions into a busy schedule.

And frankly, I am not a huge fan of the EOW homegrown rules set.  It's clunky and outdated and doesn't always make sense.  It's very firearm-oriented, reflecting the bias of its creators and the "genetic root stock" RPG's that helped make it.  It's really the sense of playing with people who have been friends for so long and who do genuinely love getting together to game that really generates the fondness I have for EOW.

On rare occasion here I talk about "Mi Gran Sueno" (or "My Great Dream").  It's a term that actually was given to me to describe something very off-topic for this blog, but sometimes I use it to describe what I would really like to do with my RPG hobby.  I would love to run a campaign full of interesting places and characters, where the players can really get into the environment and interact.  Someday I'll make that happen.

I suppose this is the long way of saying my favorite game is the one I'm playing, the one I'm enjoying now, in the moment.  Roleplaying games are meant to be a hobby, something actively done, and any time I'm doing that, then the rules are doing their job.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 30: Rarest RPG owned

Hmmmm....So I went to RPG Geek to see what the most collectible RPG's out there are.  Turns out I have several of them.

Including #1, the 7th Sea Player's Guide

#8 Central Casting: Heroes of Legend

And #13, the aforementioned first printing of Deities & Demigods

Interestingly enough, one book not on list is one that I sold for literally hundreds of dollars (I had two, so I could afford to part with one), Central Casting: Dungeons.

That last one I'm particularly fond of, because I still use it to make up the occasional random fantasy dungeon.

Friday, August 29, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 29: most memorable encounter

So, so many to choose from....

Okay, so for a while a friend of mine ran two Champions campaigns in tandem: Vanguard and Vanguard Europe (this was during the Giffen era of Justice League, not to mention the Iron Age of comics).  I ran Vanguard Europe, while playing a character in Vanguard (the ever-lovin' Amazing Man).  Vanguard's GM ran a character in Vanguard Europe, a Batman/Moon Knight sort of guy who happened to be team leader (and damn it all, the PC's name escapes me).

Anyways, Vanguard Europe was a pretty powerful group.  There was Shocker, the electricity manipulating telepath; super-ninja guy whose coolest aspect was that he took the perk Direction Sense just so he could always leap up and have the moon behind him; there was also the female flying brick too.  Plus Moon Knight, whatever his name was.

One session this villain shows up with his super-powered female sidekick and he's packing a ton of gadgets that are home-grown to defeat the villains.  For example: an Entangle that absorbed Shocker's electrical Damage Field to then power up a gun that could blast the flying brick.  This guy took apart the team in seconds.  It was the first villain to whom they had ever really lost.  And after defeating them, he unmasked to show this old guy who claims to be Moon Knight from the future, there to stop Vanguard before they destroy the world.  (Futuristic versions of existing characters?  So early 1990's...)

Flying brick lady managed to escape, but before she can attack the villain Moon Knight attacks her, taking her out.  The other players are stunned, but Moon Knight's player says, "I would implicitly trust my future self that I was making the right decision to stop Vanguard."

Which was such a perfect portrayal of his super-intense PC and such a great plot twist all rolled into one.

Sadly, the group was not one that could really differentiate PC from player conflict, and the group never really came back together.  Later, the guy playing Moon Knight would again turn on the gaming group mid-session again, only this time it was because he was letting his personal life leak into the game (he had broken up with his girlfriend, also in the group, but they hadn't told us yet), which heralded the end of the group as a whole.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 28: Scariest Game you've played

I think horror is a really, really difficult element to pull off in RPG's, and frankly it isn't a theme I particularly enjoy for the most part.  I play a lot of heroic style games, and I'm sure there have been plenty of tense moments where a lot hinged on a single die roll.

But, I think I'll share instead a sort of scary but mostly funny tale.  After graduating college I moved away for several years, but returned briefly to live in the same state where I attended college for about six months, and got back together with two of my old gaming group to play, of all things, Rifts.  I ran the session and things were going pretty well when suddenly one of the players cracked a joke and I chuckled while at the same time eating a nacho chip.

I began choking, coughed, turned red  and then, after what seemed like an eternity for me but was probably less than three seconds, proceeded to vomit right into the snack bowl.  There was stunned silence for a moment and then one of the players (the one who make the joke) said quietly, "I don't know what you have planned for this evening, but nothing could be as scary as that."

Oh, I need a bit of artwork, maybe a Ramon Perez Rifts piece.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 27: Game you'd like to see a new/improved version of

A great game concept with a complicated ruleset.  Don't know this one?  Here's the synopsis.

The Seven Worlds are the good guys, noble individuals dedicated to higher ideals.  They fought a war against the Starguild, a bunch of tyrannical jerks, a lose.  Small clusters of soldiers from the Seven Worlds place themselves in suspended animation in hope of coming back 150 years in the future to try to re-launch a war against what they hope will be a diminished Starguild.  The PC's are a group of these cryogenically-frozen soldiers, who have a strong knight/samurai feel to them, only with powered armor.

Only here's the kicker.  The planet, Rhand, where they are sleeping was actually conquered by an heretofore unknown alien race called the Spectrals, who infect the population with a virus that makes most humans hyper-violent sociopaths.  So instead of waking up in some decaying Starguild society, they wake up in full blown Mad Max-ville.  Now they have to fight off crazed humans and Spectrals while trying to rebuild society with the remnant of low-tech non-infected humans.

What was really cool was how the PC's had to choose which "color" they were, essentially a Hogwarts House-like distinction based on their personality.  It was a nice way of setting into character.  The game was basically a good one for people who liked crunch-heavy combat and world building.

A lot of Leading Edge Games' issues had to deal with their attempt to capitalize on movie franchises like Lawnmower Man, Army of Darkness, Aliens, or Bram Stoker's Dracula.  I played the Aliens board game recently and it was a great one-off game, by the way.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 26: Coolest character sheet

So, I can't find the example of the one I like the most.  A GM had created pre-generated PC's, but instead of a character sheet game them a photoshopped picture of what is on their desk: miscellaneous objects, papers, books, etc.  You could look at the contents of the desktop and figure out what kind of person it was.  What was really clever was s/he had worked the stats into the texts of things like take-out restaurant menus or playbills from shows.  It must have taken a ton of work, but was really effective.

Monday, August 25, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 25: Favorite RPG no one else wants to play

So, a small technical issue: do you mean "nobody in my gaming group," or "nobody I know," because I'm pretty sure Blacksteel and Barking Alien would play Champions with me, even though no one in my gaming group in Kansas would.

So a game I like that few other people do.  I love Cosmic Enforcers, but I think most people don't even know that game.

It's got a fun "Legion of Superheroes" thing with futuristic alien superheroes battling crime and galaxy-threatening alien conquerors.  Rules are sketchy and unbalanced, if that's a problem for you.  I actually corresponded with one of the creators of the game, who basically told me he wouldn't communicate in any manner regarding the game because the publishers had hosed him, which is too bad.

Waste Paper Origami: Chick

Saturday, August 23, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 23: Coolest looking RPG product/book

Another stumper.  Ah, I got it...

Internally, the book looked futuristic and had a very strong Patrick Nagel theme going for it (which was hot stuff back in the day).  In some ways I'd still play this game set in an alternative 2020 rather than a futuristic one, just for kicks.  Although I'd use the modified rules for Roles that came out in Interface where you could have two Roles: one that was your organization (Corporate, Cop, Nomad, etc.) and the other your profession (Solo, Netrunner, Fixer, etc.) so you could be a Cop Solo or a Corporate Rockerboy or a Nomad Tech.

Anyways, onto the next question!

Friday, August 22, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 22: Best secondhand RPG purchase

I buy a lot of games for used bookstores, so there are a lot of contenders for this.  But recently, I did find one of my Holy Grails....

The original Deities & Demigods, with the Lovecraft, Moorcock, and Newhon Mythos included.  For those who don't know, Arkham House, who claimed to have copyright to Lovecraft and Moorcock's work and had sold them to Chaosium for gaming purposes, raised hell with TSR.  Initially credit was given to Chaosium for the characters, but then TSR decided to do a new edition that didn't have the references to the literary pantheons.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

One in a Million

So this is a little rambling, but it has been on my mind for a bit now.

I've been thinking about superheroes and superhero roleplaying game campaigns, and I had this thought: how many metahumans are there in your campaign world?

A few years ago after the House of M storyline in Marvel Comics, the editorial staff decided to wipe out the powers of most of the mutants in the Marvel Universe, making them one of the rarest commodities on the planet.  For quite some time the fact that mutants went from "millions" to "hundreds" was a big plot point with lots of "we are an endangered species" comments floating about.

"Millions" of mutants?  So you're talking about something approaching 1% of the population of humanity.  That would mean thousands of mutants in the united states alone.  See, I get how big the Marvel Universe is and how many characters they have developed over the decades of its publishing existence, but I think that metahumans should be a lot more rare than what they suggest.

What if metahumans of any kind, mutant or otherwise, were just one in a million?  That would mean that there would be only 314 metahumans in the United States.  There would be roughly 6,000 in the world, which still seems like a lot.

I wanted a good picture of a bunch of metahumans and the Earth.

And from a gaming perspective, that seems a lot more interesting to me to think that the PC's are four or five or six of the roughly three hundred metahumans in the US.  Now, when they get together, it's a serious alliance.  People will take notice.   And what's more, you're not really doing anything really different in your game, since most campaigns don't feature more than a dozen or so NPC villains.  But now they are special.  In my head I'm imagining some mastermind cataloging all the metahumans and watching them on the news thinking, "Hmmm...number 132 fought 84 in downtown Central City this afternoon.  Interesting..."

Side note: by this math, China would have 1,351 metahumans, which would be kind of a major plot point too.

Now, when you go down a level, I do have to wonder about what you do with all the Batman villains.  By that I mean all the people who don't really have powers but are just kind of whackadoodle and commit (or fight) crimes wearing a mask.  You might have to drawn a line between "metahumans" and "superheroes or villains" but who knows?  I can not for the life of me figure out what makes the Penguin such a big deal anyways.

The other, downright irrational thing I've thought about along these lines is trying to stat out a huge chunk of NPC's for a supers game so I'd know who 1-100 of the US metahuman population might be.  That would also probably keep me in NPC's for the rest of my natural life.

So again, superhero RPG GM's, what do you think?

#RPGaDAY Day 21: Favorite licensed RPG

It seems like I keep hitting the same games over and over again.  One of my favorite RPG's of all time is a licensed one:

Although I also really like the FASA Star Trek RPG, and the Last Unicorn Games Star Trek RPG as well.
Tell you what, I'll mix it up with this one.  I don't give this little gem enough love these days...

One of these days I might run this one with the kids.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 20: Will still play in 20 years time

This is tough one, because honestly I don't know.  Twenty years ago I was playing Champions and Star Wars.  I move a lot of system to system these days, but I think the answer problem is...

The whole Old School Renaissance movement showed that there is something rather enjoyable about the earliest editions of Dungeons & Dragons that seems to transcend mere sentimentality.  But the truth is I'll probably be playing some superhero game in its upteenth edition or something new and different that happens to be cranked out by e-publishers into my main cerebral cortex or whatever we have twenty years from now.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 19: Favorite Published Adventure

My first thought was that I rarely use published adventures anymore, but then I realized I did at least read the bajeezus out of them when I was a more fledgling GM.  And there was one that blew my teenage mind....

For those who don't know, the Assassin's Knot is a low-level murder mystery, the sequel to L1: the Secret of Bone Hill.  An NPC from L1 is killed, and three clues lead to three different residents of the village where the module takes place.  The PC's have to go into the town and instead of just killing everything in sight, interact with all the villagers to see who might have done it.  There's a few hooks for action here and there for the players who need it, but the bottom line was this was the first module where the GM had to really think about what a fairly large number of NPC's would be doing in response to the players' actions.

Plus I was, and still am, a huge fan of murder mysteries, especially the "English manor" style mysteries of Christie and Marsh, and this module reeks of it.

Final note: it also features a table for which random NPC is using the privy at any given time, in case the PC's want to stake that out.  Awesome.

Monday, August 18, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 18: Favorite Game System

You see, this is where I think of Barking Alien as my "RPG Brother from Another Mother," because we both picked the same game for "Favorite Game System."

West End Games' Star Wars the Roleplaying Game, Second Edition.

The rules so perfectly captured the loose, occasionally over-the-top action coupled with light humor of the movies perfectly. Editor's note: when I say movies, I mean the original trilogy.  The prequel trilogy and the Clone Wars cartoon series both have Jedi being much more overpowered than this ruleset does.

In addition, the archtype PC creation (a little innovative for its time) allowed people to drop into the game with characters that were focused more on character than utility.  Even though they might be less useful than others, you wanted to play the Kid or the Protocol Droid because you knew you could have fun doing it (and they were a little useful).  There's a point in the rules where they are describing typical gameplay and it features a party planning on sticking an Ewok PC in an R2 unit shell to get him past some guards and the Ewok player is talking about trying to play a flute to make the appropriate noises.  That pretty much exemplifies all you need to know about this game.

I just want to add that this was a game I felt was ruined by the internet as an early casualty of power gamers being given a public platform.  You go out there into the wilds of the interwebs and look for info about this game and you'll find people bitching about how its broken and munchkins talking about what a good idea it is to have one or two Dark Side points.  Let me just say, you guys suck.  This isn't a game you play to see how powerful a character you can get, and any player who takes on Dark Side points for game effect rather than plot should be tarred, feathered, and run out on a rail.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 17: Funniest Game Played

I have played in a lot of games where I had moments when I laughed to the point I couldn't talk.  What's more, they were rarely "comedy" games like Toon where the humor seems so contrived.  But when I really think about it, the funniest game I have played was honestly my "Ultimate Posse" campaign using the Marvel Heroic RPG.

Art by Adam Barrios
Ben's superhero "Union Galactic" was played for comic relief in a way that was so consistent and yet not hokey or annoying, complete with accent.  Couple him with the Ferret, who sort of bumbled his way through superhero-dom with that sincerity that showed he was trying, in the words of Vonnegut, to bargain with his destiny in good faith.  For my part I had Mrs. Robot, the old-lady's brain in a robot body who seemed completely comfortable with it ("I'm making the best of a bad situation.")  Samhkara was the straight man (woman) of the group, perpetually grinding her imaginary teeth at the antics of her teammates to the point where the others would actually provoke her.  But when she was captured once, the group was all business about getting her back.  What really make it all work was that all the PC's seemed to like each other, just as all the players did.
For all my bitching about MHR on this blog, it was a damn fine campaign.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 16: Game you wished you owned

You mean, aside from the D&D 5E Monster Manual and DM's Guide, so I could see how the game really works?  I'll tell you what I'm more excited about...

The Valiant Universe RPG

I know you can get the pdf already from DriveThruRPG, but I want the book in my hand.  Why do I want this game?
1. It's a superhero RPG, and I loves me superhero RPG's.
2.  It's based on Valiant Comics.  They got going in the early 1990's and ran for a while before folding their tents.  Then they re-launched all the titles in 2012 and have been rolling along ever since.  Valiant's comic book universe has a lot going for it as the basis of an RPG.  The comics are pretty gritty with murky, gray morality.  Most of the characters are pretty low-powered as superheroes go, so no wildly over-the-top stuff.  Third, and perhaps most interestingly, when a character in a Valiant comic book dies, they stay dead.  The publisher is pretty explicit about that.  Recently one of the characters from their flagship title Harbingers died and it was a major moment in the book because you knew that one month or six months or ten years later she won't be returning.
3. The rules look good.  There's been several free preview pdf's out there that are all the same in terms of rules content, but feature different characters from the Valiant universe.  The rules look a lot like Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, but without some of the dice-wonkiness (but only some).  It doesn't look like you can have the fluke one-hit-KO's you can get in MHR, which while I think I are appropriate for the genre, tend to piss off players when they are on the receiving end.
What I haven't seen, and I think might make-or-break the game for me, is the rules for making your own PC's.  For all my obvious fan-boy love for Valiant, I like making my own universes for my RPG's rather than use someone else's, and I especially don't like it when the players have to use pre-gen PC's.  If the Valiant RPG uses they same "rules" as MHR for PC creation, namely "just make up whatever the GM will allow" I might end up shelving this thing.

Friday, August 15, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 15: Favorite Convention Game

I haven't played a lot of convention game, but my all-time favorite?

Torg is one of the RPG's with a certain amount of notoriety.  It was ambitious as an attempt to do a cross-genre platform with some neat ideas but was bit before its time.  Anyways, a long time ago I went to this small convention in South Dakota and managed to get into a game of Torg that turned out to be hysterically funny and engaging and the guy running it clearly was having a good time and knew the game well (two very good qualities for a good game).  Other convention games have been okay, but I just remember this guy's house rule that PC's from the pulp era always had theme music playing in the background--a big problem for a guy trying to sneak into somewhere...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 14: Best convention purchase

I own the first editions of all the AD&D books, but I enjoyed the spirit of the OSRIC hardback rulebook so much I bought one.  It's a handy one-volume text with a lot of love for the game inside.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

#RPGaDay 13: Most memorable character death

Two stories come to mind...

The first (and more recent) story was in a one shot at my annual mini-con "End of the World."  I was playing a professional gunslinger in a post-apocalyptic western game.  EOW uses some home-brewed rules that are ridiculously lethal, and character death is common, but someone I had managed to survive several gunfights that day, including a few I honestly shouldn't have.  We get through about nine or so hours of gameplay and finally finish the scenario when one of the players says, "so that's it?  We're done?"
When the GM said the story was basically finished, the player said "I shoot Rob's character in the back."
Apparently in the pre-gen PC backstory I had killed this kid's father, but hadn't connected the two together.  The other player had waited the entire game to enact his revenge, after my usefulness had ended.

The second story goes all the way back to college, and a Cyberpunk 2020 game that I was in.  I was playing a Fixer (tending towards my usual rogue- or rogue-like PC tendencies back then).  Our group was your basic troupe of dystopic ne-er do wells: two Solos, a Fixer (me), a Rockerboy, a Techie, and a Netrunner.  There might have been someone else, but I can't remember.
One night the GM calls me and asks me to meet him at a dark corner of the college in person for a little one-on-one roleplaying.  Our group had been contracted to do some snatch-and-grab raid on a big corporate building--typical Cyberpunk plot line.  The GM, in the guise of a trusted NPC, tells me that he's heard that one of the team members has agreed to betray us at an opportune time.  I immediately thought of John.
Why John?  Because he's the kind of player who would do that.  At least I thought so. I didn't hurt that I didn't always like him very much and he was really weird.  (He ate an entire bowl of raw chickpeas and black olives every day with his dinner at the cafeteria.  He must have been as regular as a clock.)  He would be the guy to totally piss on everybody else in the game for the sake of plot.  I seethed.  I would keep an eye on that guy.

So the night of the session when we would do the run began.  The two solos (one of which was John), the Netrunner, and I would enter the building.  The Rockerboy and the Tech would stay in the AV4 outside (since they had limited usage in this scenario) and would come get us if there was a problem.  I stuck to John's metaphorical side like glue, waiting for him to slip up.  While we were deep within the bowels of the corporate offices, the alarm went off.  I immediately pulled out my plastic squirt gun (we all were carrying toy guns to the gaming session for effect--it was the early 90's and you could do that sort of thing back then), pointed it at John's head and said, "This bastard set us up!  I'm going to blow your head off!"
John looked at me like I was insane and said slowly, "what...the wrong with you?"
"Don't you lie to me you sonuva bitch!  I got word that we were sold out and you did it!  Rockerboy, we need an extraction now!"
The Rockerboy's player said, "I'm not going to do that.  The Techie and I were paid to make sure you failed.  We're flying away right now."
All four of us were killed trying to get out of the building.  John looked at me askance for months to come.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

#RPGaDay 12: Old RPG you still play or read

Read consistently and regularly?  Again, if you're a fan of this blog it shouldn't come as a surprise:

I've written extensively about this book in an earlier post.
I also recently busted out the 1st Ed. AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide and read through some it, just to refresh my memory about what the earliest instructors on game design were telling aspiring GM's back in the day.

Monday, August 11, 2014

#RPGaDay 11: Weirdest RPG Owned

It's sort of a toss-up, because both are really strange:

In The Whispering Vault you play humans recruited to capture supernatural beings.  Each session involved doing things like bullying your way through dimensional barriers and having a new body woven for you for your time on Earth.  A body which, by the way, could shoot chains out of its eye sockets.  Each session had a rather formulaic approach, but was chock-full of weird contemporary fantasy.

I also owned Over the Edge. or Naked Lunch the RPG.  Build whatever you want and go live on a psychedelic island that vaguely resembles Madagascar.  Looking to game Lost?  Here you go.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

#RPGaDay 10: Favorite tie-in novel

What a tough one!  Most of the novels that I read that are licensed aren't from RPG's but rather TV/movies (e.g. Star Trek), or wargaming (Dan Abnett's 40K novels).  Aside from D&D novels, what's out there?  I know there were some World of Darkness novels, but they were just flotsam in the blight of vampire literature that afflicted the earth.

Oooh!  Oooh!  I know!

The D&D "not Choose Your Own Adventure" novels!  I loved these so much I recently bought them for my kids to read.  They're fun.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The detritus of game night

I forgot to take a photo last night, so here's the morning after. 

#RPGaDAY Day 9: Favorite Dice Set

Favorite dice set?  I don't think I have one.  I have a giant barrel of dice that I have accumulated over several years, but while my kids have bought color matching swirly dice I don't have any.

I do have a set of "Hero Dice" from the DC Universe RPG that are kind of cool.  They are like Fudge Dice in that they have different symbols, but instead of positive, negative, and neutral just have positive (Superman), negative (Darkseid), really positive (Batman), and really negative (Joker).  Nowadays that mechanic is pretty common and appears in FFG's Star Wars Edge of Empire game, for example.  But back then it was pretty radical a notion.

The Death of KITT (a Fate RPG session report)

We open with a strange group of people assembling around the bed of a badly injured Michael Knight. There is a mysterious man calked the Doctor, Egon Spengler, Nancy Drew, Marty McFly, Cpl. John Winger, and Police Chief Martin Brody. Knight tells them that he was helping out a young woman named Rosa who ran a horse ranch for handicapped children. Rosa has been threatened by a local drug lord named Don Diego who wanted her land. While surveying Diego's villa Michael's supercar KITT suddenly warned him he was in terrible danger and ejected him just as the car exploded. Rosa had taken the badly injured knight to the hospital, but Diego appears to have seized the remains if the car.
The group decides to go undercover as drug buyers while Egon and Nancy maintain surveillance. They manage to fool Diego and he offers to show them the wrecked car, but he doesn't know how the car exploded. The Dictor manages to sneak the CPU out of KITT's dashboard and the leave (along with a sample of drugs to be used by Winger later on).
"As evidence...for later."

The group decides to travel via the TARDIS back to the ranch from the villa, but the time machine goes haywire, hurtling them into the near future. However the late 1980's is a devastated wasteland of destruction. While searching for clues to what happened Marty encounters a homicidal robot drone. The drone pursues Marty back to the TARDIS where Egon and Brody blast it apart.
"Aaarmy training!"

Meanwhile Nancy Drew spots a tiny black man only eight inches in height sneaking about the control room of the TARDIS. She and Marty manage to catch him, but he seems to be in a daze. A quick investigation shows that the tiny fellow was the saboteur. The Doctor and Egon restore him to normal size by manipulating a chip in the back of his neck and return his memory.

"This would be the size I usually think of when I think about a black man."

The now fairly talk man (Elvin Lincoln) says he is from Humanidyne Labs, a center focussing on studying paranormal humans. There are several other subjects there including a telekinetic and a man who can manipulate electricity. The group realizes that they must have been the ones to destroy KITT, but why would regular people turn evil?  With the TARDIS repaired, they head for Humanidyne.
The lab is in shambles and shows signs of a struggle, including someone of possibly superhuman strength.  Found security camera footage shows a small girl battling her way through the lab and capturing the other paranormal humans.
The group then concocts an elaborate scheme.  They will create fake footage of Nancy Drew and Marty McFly possessing usual powers, and then release it to the media under a guise of a press release from Humanidyne that they have new "Misfits of Science" in hopes of drawing out the superstrong child.  In the meantime, the Doctor examines the head of the robot to discover that it is a drone under the command of something called "V.I.C.I." and is programmed to destroy all human life.  Moreover its internal memory shows that most of the earth was devastated by a nuclear war just six months from now as part of V.I.C.I.'s plans, and that now the central AI is located in Washington, DC.
While the team is waiting around for the child to show up, Dr. Bonnie Barstow, creator of KITT, stops by the lab to see how they are doing.  The group shows her around, and takes her into the TARDIS to see the remnants of KITT's CPU and the weapon used by the robot in the future.

"Dr. Barstow, you have really nice hair."
Suddenly, Bonnie grabs the rifle, shoots the Doctor, and metamorphoses into the small girl!  Chief Brody and Egon blast away at the small child, and Marty and Winger draw her back outside the TARDIS towards their space/time bubble trap.  Nancy desperately attempts to hurl her into the trap but to no avail, and finally Winger manages to wrestle her in.
While trapped in suspension, the Doctor (suffering a serious wound) talks to the young girl, who turns out to be VICI.  She had been built as a way of helping handicapped children but had eventually realized how flawed her creator and his family was and decided to destroy all humans instead.  The Doctor convinces her that humans are perfect because they are flawed, and VICI realizes the error of her ways.
Winger suggests, if VICI really wants to help handicapped children, there is a woman named Rosa who is running a ranch for children who is being hassled by a drug lord named Don Diego...

"Hey Diego!  Say hello to my little friend!"

Friday, August 8, 2014

#RPGaDay Day 8: Favorite Character

Lane Mastodon, REF Field Scientist!

That's actually Lazlo Zand, but I don't have a pic of Dr. Mastodon.
Part of the REF left behind on Tirol while the SDF-3 went exploring, Lane Mastodon was a member of the famous "Griffons" squadron that uncovered a mysterious Bioroid conspiracy involving telepathic young women in the Robotech: the Sentinels RPG campaign that I played in while attending college.

Like almost all of my college-era PC's, Mastodon was bit of a wise-ass.

Runner up: Fargo Wells, smuggler from the WEG Star Wars game
Third Place: Amazing Man, from Champions.

Yeah...pretty much the same personality...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

#RPGaDay Day 7: Most "intellectual" game owned

This one was kind of a stumper, because I'm not sure what "intellectual" means (he says without a trace of irony).  Does it mean complicated?  Literary? "Narrativist"?  What makes an RPG more highbrow than another?

So, I'll go with this one:

Ars Margica, First Edition.  A fantasy RPG that didn't focus on dungeon crawling.  "Troupe" play where players could choose between a cast of PC's, some grossly underpowered than the others.  When I got hold of the game it just seemed so much more cerebral than what I was used to saying.

Ironically enough, I liked the first edition so much I basically passed on later editions as I saw the game get more and more bloated and heavily influenced by the burgeoning World of Darkness.

It's funny, in reflection, how much genuine affection I have for this slim little RPG.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 6: Favorite RPG Never Get to Play

If you have been following this blog, you probably know this one.:

Champions, Fourth Edition.  The big RPG of my college years.  I love comic books and RPG's, and played this game for years, made countless NPC Villains, and literally wore the spine off my copy.

Now?  I don't think I could get anyone to play this game.  I know there are have been multiple new editions that fixed its many flaws (as nebbishes found them), but I think the game is really still quite good.  That is, if you like its rather crunch-heavy style.

The roster for the League of Extraordinary Dudes

What heroes of the 1980's have answered the call?

The Doctor, Rogue Gallifreyan Time Lord
Egon Spengler, Ghostbuster
Nancy Drew, Spunky Girl Detective
Marty McFly, time travelling musician
Dudley "Booger" Dawson, slovenly fraternity member
John Winger, Army enlistee

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

RPGaDay Day 5: Most Old School RPG Owned

Question 5: Most Old School RPG Owned

*Heaving Sigh*

For whatever it is worth, I also own the original Traveler books, just for a different answer.

Monday, August 4, 2014

#RPGaDAY, Day 4: Most Recent RPG Purchase

Continuing on this daily blog topic of RPG's, thanks to this guy:

4. Most Recent RPG Purchase

I had to fight the urge to run down to my FLGS and buy a copy of the blue Basic D&D rulebook yesterday, just so I could have today be the same answer.  But...

I suppose you could count the new edition of the D&D Player's Guide that I pre-ordered, but since I don't have that yet, I'll have to go with Shadowrun, Fifth Edition.  This was a "Free RPG Impulse Buy" that has the added detraction of having been really expensive to boot.  Wrong game for my gaming group, I think.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 3, First RPG Purchased

Continuing with the daily blog entries about RPG's thanks to this series of questions:

3. First RPG Purchased

Sigh.  I bought the game and ran it.  I get that there might be people for whom "first played," "first gamemastered," and "first purchased" might be different answers, but sadly I am not that guy.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 2, First RPG Gamemastered

Continuing on this daily question about RPG's of my life:

2. First RPG Gamemastered

Basic D&D, shortly after purchasing it, with my father, who didn't understand cooperative play and initially tried to kill the NPC fighter I had teamed him up with because he thought we were competing with one another.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Drell Vanguard

I painted up my son's Drell Vanguard for the Mass Effect RPG.

He's originally an Infinity miniature of some sort.  It's too bad he has the full helmet on, but beggars (and converters) can't be choosers.

#RPGaDAY Day 1, First RPG played

It's been a while since I did one of these, and this one is pretty easy, so why not?  Courtesy of Autocratik.

Question 1: First RPG played

Dungeons & Dragons, the blue rulebook, bought at Sears using a gift certificate I got from my uncle.

Over at Strange Vistas