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Showing posts from July, 2015

KantCon 2015 review and The Ultimate Hero

This will be a pretty short review, since I only made one afternoon session for this year's KantCon, a locally organized gaming convention in Kansas City.

One thing I like about KantCon is that you get a chance to meet some local gaming designers and some little-known games like the year I met the guys from Silver Gryphon Games and bought Ingenium and Aether.  This year I managed to get a spot at a table where two guys from Paragon Notion were running a demo of their game, The Ultimate Hero.

By the games' own description it "combines aspects of comic book heroes and science fiction."  On the comic book side it has mutations, psionics, and even magic.  On the science fiction side you have space travel, power armor, and cybernetics.  The PC's work for an organization called DOSHI (Department of Super Human Investigations), a para-military agency dedicated to policing superhuman threats.

The rules are pretty straightforward, generally a contested 2d6 roll modified b…

In which I finally get a fantasy campaign I like

Okay, that's a little harsh.  I don't dislike running fantasy campaigns (that would be Adam from Barking Alien), I just have had a hard time getting really enthusiastic about fantasy campaigns because they all have fairly similar qualities for the most part: slaying monsters (sometimes for a reason), accumulating wealth, growing in personal power and ability.

I call it, using a phrase from the Order of the Stick webcomic, "kobolds and copper pieces."  It is an easy, straightforward concept, one that looks a lot like what a lot of people think D&D should look like.  It's also really boring.

Since January, I've been moving from one fantasy campaign style after another.  The Tomb of Abysthor, for example, was an old-school dungeon crawl.  Well, after the "Negative Crisis" I had some things to think about.  During that multi-universe adventure the tarrasque that forms the center of the D&D campaign city Grimfest made an appearance and was last s…

A Midsummer Check In

So we are halfway through the summer vacation, and at a good spot to ponder about where my current RPG is going.  There's a couple of things to consider, but I'm going to take them in reverse chronological order.

Last Friday I finished a two-session run through of the module Song of Storms.  It was originally written for D&D 3.0, so it required an almost complete purging of NPC and monster write-ups to be replaced with D&D 5E versions (and a good reminder of whole damnably clunky 3.0 could be).  Song of Storms is a great little adventure, mostly because it is not so much a hack-and-slash kill-and-take fantasy locale but rather a quest that relies heavily upon effective roleplaying for the PC's to be successful.  Or not successful, should the players try to intimidate their way through the encounters....

Intentionally or unintentionally, I've been switching up the gaming style of my D&D game since I started back at the beginning of the year.  I've done s…

Four Hour Gaming Sessions? Seems Decadent

It seems like lately all I do is write responses to Adam's posts at Barking Alien, but sometimes he says stuff that begs a response.

Like this.
Some years back (and I know I mentioned it on this blog before) a friend of mine named Lee had the idea that a game session should only last four hours, or so. Around the same time, Zak Smith, and some other bloggers made mention that their sessions lasted about that long.  Then, as now, I would have to ask HOW? How is that even possible? Why is it so even if it is possible? It takes me about forty-five minutes to my Traveller games now that we run them at one of the player's homes. Round trip I'm spending $5.50, and it's taking me an hour, and a half to travel to, and from (45 minutes each way). If I'm not getting at least six good hours of gaming out of the that, I'm staying home.   Why is it so?  Short answer?  Kids.  Work.  Stuff.  I'm not knocking Adam, I'm really not.  As someone who works on Sundays, gett…

Two new comic books worth reading

I have been really disappointed in DC's Convergence and Marvel's Secret Wars, mostly because both of them have been fairly random and confusing and have that sense of mining previous era's successes in hopes of reminding old readers why they used to like comic books (but maybe don't so much anymore).  I'm also fairly convinced that I can just wait out both summers and both "universes" will reset to whatever closely resembles their respective movie franchises.

So what's a comic book reader to do?  Two comic books series have come out this week, both worth a look, especially if you're a fan of sci-fi comics.

The first is Onyx, a space alien wearing a suit of starfaring armor that comes to Earth to protect them from a parasitic alien race that has already infected the planet.  If it sounds like Rom the Spaceknight, it is because the creators made Onyx as a sort of "love note" to that series.  There are some differences.  First, Onyx is fema…

Leaving the Nest

If you saw my group photo from my last blog post you know I have ten players in my group, down from eleven now that Ben has moved on to a new job.  Of those, five are under the age of fifteen.  Four of them are children of other players, including two of my own, and the fifth is a classmate of several of them.

Juggling eleven (now ten) players has always been a challenge that mostly involved me running lots of sessions each month to ensure that everyone got to game at least twice a month. But now that is about to change.  One of the young players has decided to try his hand at running a game, as the other youth players are going to move into his game.  That means we now have two campaigns: a youth one with a GM and four players, and an adult one with one GM (me) and five players.

Obviously there are some big positives to this.  For one thing, it's exciting to see another generation of gamers start their own, separate campaigns.  Second, it is a a lot easier to manage logistically.…