Friday, December 30, 2011

Game Boards - Foam Insulation Experiment Pt I

Yesterday I started working on a game board using some styrofoam and textured paint. I placed two empty cans together to make a sort of workbench outside and then covered both sections of the foam with the textured paint. I am hoping that the paint gives the board an uneven look so as to be more natural. After I was done coating the boards with the textured paint I left them to dry overnight.

This morning I went back and painted the first layer of the base coat over the top of the boards. You can see some of the white textured paint poking through since the green base is still wet. I am hoping once it is dry this will not be the case. After the paint dries in about four hours I will go back and determine if I need to apply a second base coat or if I am able to start on the layering of various shades of greens and browns to give it an earthly look.

When the coats are dry I will make a determination on the configuration of the boards since I have left them in their original shape. These are boards used to shore up insulation in the walls of houses. I am thinking I will cut them into sections so as to be able to use them in various formats. I was initially going to make a stream or river for my 20mm Vietnam but I have decided that can wait until I am satisfied with the results of the earth sections of the board.

This whole thing is really just an experiment as I have not done what I would normally do which is to glue down the foam to a piece of mdf to give it strength. So far it's all foam. The textured paint has given it some weight and durability however. What do you think?

Edit 4:09pm EST. I just finished the second coat of paint on the boards. I used a darker green. The Apple Barrel dark green that is available from your local Walmart. When this dries I will be adding browns and other  greens to give the boards a random appearance.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Predator - Warengine

Just got done playing Warengine Predator. We used figures from the Hero Scape line of miniatures for the heroes and from the Horror Clix Predators for the Predator. This is a modification of a scenario my buddy Ray did for convention games. My dad played the good guys lead by Dutch and I played the Predator. Dutch's mission was to find and rescue Anna whom the predator was using as bait to lure out the team.

One by one I eliminated the good guys using my laser until Billy using the Eagle Eye trait spotted the tell-tale sign of my invisible shield as I moved quickly in the trees. Dillion unloaded with his chain gun causing a casualty but I took out two more of the team.

Finally it was down to just Billy, Dutch and one other when I was able to take down Billy with a spear and the other guy but Dutch came in with flying colors. In the final showdown Dutch was seriously wounded by was able to take me down and rescue Ana.

After Dad defeated me as I set off the self destruct laughing at the inevitable demise of everyone in the jungle.
The thing I love about Warengine is that I can get a game in under an hour. Including setup time this game took about an hour and a half to put up and take down. We took turns moving our figures and the play was very smooth.

All-in-all the game was fairly even. I did not give the Predator any hero points. Hero points are used in the game to modify the dice roll by one point for each Hero point spent. I felt that the Predator had three hit points already and had the stealthy edge which made it almost impossible for the team to get off the first shots. Dad learned quickly however to use his reserve actions to place his guys on overwatch and keep an eye out for the big bad. Next time we might do a battle on Endor using Star Wars figures.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

WTNW Demo - Battle of three armies

A big thank you goes out to Bill and Sabrina for allowing me to run a game at their game store Sun Coast Comics. Their store is amazing guys! There is a full retail store chock full of goodies from gundam kits to GW miniatures and all kinds of comics in between. Their gaming space contains areas for card games, rpgs, painting stations, computer stations and six framed gaming tables for miniatures complete with full shelves of terrain ready for gaming. I was impressed! We also made a change to the main rules.

I arrived about an hour or so before Joey did and I setup a table with a small village and scientific station.  We had a full table for this game and there were several people who came by to check out the cool steampunk miniatures. This mission was set on Venus and it featured the usual suspects of pieces of the British Northern Army and the German Kliensdeutschland Korps. The Germans also had the Ubertodd commanded directly by a lesser General Todd as Sub CinC and the British had a pair of Ruan Martian Fliers. The Germans also had a captured Skvani Death Walker and this beast dominated the table for most of the game. This was an experimental battle using multiple capital units and machines per side and less infantry. Each side had three battalion of infantry and one battalion of elite infantry. The Germans claimed a minor victory.

 The second game featured a Martian guarded cannon. I used the really cool Warmachine cannon and setup a control station. The Martians used the Overlord invasion force and had four tripods and one Death Walker. The British had the Littleton Landship and several machines and the Germans had the Zyklops Landship and several machines. The object was to either capture or destroy the cannon which had a 7 threshold. This game used lots of sabotage and maneuvering. In the end the Overlords were defeated by the combined might of the British and Germans who then later fought a small skirmish over the cannon with their remaining forces.

We ran into a snag which was quickly fixed. Whenever you are playing a tournament game or you need to determine who moves first such as if you are trying to out maneuver your enemy's walkers or ufos.

WTNW Initiative Errata
As an addendum to the main rules After determining Command Points each player will roll 1d6 with ties being rerolled until there are no ties. Whoever rolls the highest has initiative and may either move first or force their opponent to move first. The order of movement is still determined by highest to lowest Command Value but use the initiative roll for determining units that move first which have the same Command Value. This is an additional rule designed to streamline game play. It is not an optional or advanced rule.

Friday, December 23, 2011

KingMaker Play by Post and Holiday Tidings

I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with lots of gaming presents and joy! Hopefully everyone got to play some this year. I know I had a good year of making new friends and am happy to say thank you to everyone of my readers and friends out there who contribute to making this blog successful and in so doing add a great deal of enjoyment to the hobby for me as a game master and designer.

As a reminder the When the Navy Walked: Airships and Skypirates is available for anyone wanting to give that special someone a steampunk filled Christmas or Hanukkah. The book is available from us directly and will be available in retail stores directly after Christmas break.

We have openings in our Kingmaker Play by Post game. At present we could use a few fighter types. If you are interested they are just about to embark to Olaf's Trading post and the adventure is just starting so hurry up and sign up! You can find information in the Kingmaker page and the use the forum for posting .

We have opened up the armchairgeneral1 forums  for Q&A on our WTNW products as well as play by post games. If you are interested in starting your own play by post game we are providing a spot where you can meet and do so. Should you want to start a play by post game email me at cronickain at gmail dot com.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

WTNW Airships and Skypirates - Porky's Review

Porky over at The Expanse has done a marvelous review on the newly released WTNW Airships and Skypirates. As usual, I think Porky covered all the aspects of the game. The review can be found here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

DM Advice / Player Advice - Play to Win?

Today Porky's blogpost over at The Expanse hit a nerve but in a good way. For me the game is about playing and not so much about winning though it is wonderful fun to win it is also equally as important to be a fair and challenging opponent and to play with good sportsmanship. Back to Porky's post then.

Porky (after recent discussions with Porky I will no longer use the qualifier 'he' or 'she' when referring to the Porky) brought to my attention a book called First and Last Men  which as Porky Puts it is "It's a stunning piece of science fiction setting out a future history at massively varied scales." While I have not yet read the book having just learned about it this morning I can say that I was taken aback by the blurb from the book which Porky so kindly posted.

Bringing to mind this quote from the book which was what hit a nerve and in so doing resulted in my posting this morning. "When we play a game, as it should be played, we strain every muscle to win; but all the while we care less for winning than for the game. And we play the better for it. ..."

Over the years I've gamed with many people. Sometimes winning is all they care about even at the expense of other people. Sometimes people even try this with RPGs but it is more common in wargame settings. After all, a DM/GM can always put a kibosh on someone playing 'against the system'.

Everyone plays games for different reasons. Some play for escape. Some play for the challenge. Some play to learn and others play to win. Some care about winning more than others. In sports we are taught to shake the losing players had with grace and if we are the losing team to accept the handshake with dignity.

Sadly, some wargamers and RPG players lose this somewhat between the critical hits and rules discussions.

What do we lose by being kind and taking defeat and winning with grace? What do we lose by playing the game instead of the person? What do we lose by being fair? What do we gain? Perhaps then it is more important in the long run to foster good camaraderie and friendships through losing AND winning with grace and caring more about the game than winning - but with an eye towards the win and we will be all the better for it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Super Dungeon Session 24 Days 61 & 62

The party arrives at Caldmore and stay at the Rogue Nobleman Inn late at night. Immediately they are met by closed doors to the town. A guard shouts down to the party that since they are with Amos he would let them in but the tiger would require a leash. Scratch did not like this. The rest of the party was indifferent to Scratch's pain. The keen eyes of the party picked up that something was amiss and no townsfolk were to be seen. Inquiring they were told of the curfew and that Lt Callam would address them in the morning.

After a nice rest in a good room indoors for a change the party meets downstairs to the stylings of Quinland's bardic followers. In the morning they meet Harry the proprietor and his serving wenches. After a fine and full breakfast and many tales and songs the group decide to head out but not before meeting a Helmite cleric who asks to tag along. They spend a day in the small town of Caldmore and are able to procure some magical trinkets, sell some of their own wares and barter with the locals and merchantfolk.

One bit of excitement was when the party had a brief encounter with someone using invisibility who tried to pick pocket Tyne but was unsuccessful to which Tyne, Vayne and Scratch the tiger chased the invisible person up the side of the inn and onto the roof where they lost his sent.

Surprisingly in another district of town Meg and Vayne were again interrupted by interlopers this time visible ones that appeared to be in their late teens who when faced with the very obvious fury of a tiger decided to take the prudent course and not waylay the band. Thus they were able to keep the ring of sustenance that was purchased from the magical wares shop.

The remainder of the morning was spent gathering supplies, horses, food, a wagon and other traveling necessities including fur to protect from the upcoming winter cold. The armorsmith Griet and the stablemaster were very happy to oblige the companions.

That afternoon their shopping spree came to an end at the aforementioned tavern where they were finally greeted by the Lt Callam who after briefly looking them up and down ended the game with the cliffhanger phrase "I've never seen any of you before. You must be new in town." then saying slowly "You couldn't have committed the murders. I need your help."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Flash Fearsday - Santa Ablaze

Santa Ablaze
The Chimney was ready
The fire was ablaze
Mommy had enough
Santa would pay

Edit: I was on Jennie's blog and saw the link to the I Write Like and thought I'd give it a go. I tried three different writing samples. One DM Advice Article, One blurb from WTNW and one from the post about Saturday's gaming. The DM Advice article said Arthur Clark, the WTNW Blurb said Mario Puzo and the last one said I write like Corey Doctorow. What I gathered from all of this is my writing style is unique and I adapt it to change the type of writing that I am doing. I suppose this is true for everyone but this was an interesting revelation for me. Thanks Jennie for posting and welcome back!

December Gaming - Heroquest and Modern Microarmor

I hope you had a great fun weekend! I played two games this weekend (and a game of Princess and the Pea with my daughter). We also got a chance to ride the Big Red Train in St Augustine and check out the Night of Lights and Santa's Workshop with the kiddos. On to the gaming!

As a quick note the pdf version of When the Navy Walked: Airships and Skypirates is available on wargamevault. The books are at the printer and will be sent to our distributors as soon as we receive them. Also, I will be running demos at Winter Offensive in January and demos the week after Christmas at various game stores in and around Jacksonville, FL.

Saturday Morning
Saturday morning I played Microarmor at Chris Stockton's house. We spent most of the morning and early afternoon just talking and messing with his guns. I really enjoyed the time we spent just hanging out. What was really cool though was that the new guy who showed up (it was just Chris, John and me) was John Burford author of LRRP: Team Leader and a veteran and patriot of the Vietnam War.

John was a LRRP team leader in I Corps as the title of his book suggests and he was great fun to hang out with. He was full of stories and I was very happy to meet him. We will be doing some gaming with him at his house in the near future. It was a real treat to meet him. The cool thing about John is that many of the spec ops guys or guys from Nam I've met although willing to talk about their experiences normally do not like to play them out in game. I asked him about how he felt some specific S&D type mechanics could play out in SAR type Nam games and he was more than happy to tell me. He is also more than happy to play Nam so sometime in Feb I am hosting a Vietnam game at my house.

Chris has the pics of the Microarmor game so I will have to post them later.The game was set in France somewhere as a training exercise between US and French AFVs. We had no mortar, arty or air support and no tanks.

The on the US side was John and Chris playing with a company of American AFVs. He had a company of strikers with 50 cals and 3 with 105. On the French side was me playing with a company of French VIBCs with 25mm guns. John attacked from behind the fields. Chris threw in and took a platoon of John's strikers and attacked me from the side over some forested hilly area. I dug in at the town and lighthouse and in the forested hilly area. The 105s had range on me so when they stayed back and pummeled me with their long-range guns I had to make a rush from my dug-in position.

I was able to take out two of their 105s and two of their strikers but they took out the entire platoon that was dug in on the hill because I had to rush out and close the range. When they finally got to my position I was so dug in that they would have taken massive casualties had they attacked. I was in a very advantageous position. They had more firepower with the 105 but could not seem to get past the defenses by rolling enough 1s. In the end the game was a stalemate but we had a lot of fun.

Although he was not there with us physically we did get a call from our friend Mick. As a Christmas gift Mick gave me some orphaned Luch the German AFVfor my German microarmor. It was very nice of him.

Saturday Night
I ran a hero-quest like game of Pathfinder using dungeon delving rules from heroscape and the pathfinder rules for fighting. The game was ran Friday night for Mel, Dan and Jess. They used their Dragonlance characters. The game was a lot of fun. I even remembered some of the flavor text from the game "The foul gargole Vaarag has stolen the gems" and "The weapons on this rack are chipped, rusted and broken - there is nothing here that the heroes would want." From memory! It was great fun to throw out the old adventures and use the old hero quest models. I will post pictures as soon as I can get them off my phone.

WTNW Demos

I will be off the week after Christmas and am planning on running some demos of our Victorian Science Fiction wargame at the game stores here in Jax, FL and nearby. If you would like a demo and live in Florida we might be able to make an arrangement to meet and play. Let me know!

Proposed Demo Dates
Sun Coast Comics, Jacksonville, FL - Tuesday (time tba)
Borderlands Comics and Games, Jacksonville, FL - Wednesday (time tba)

Friday, December 16, 2011

WTNW - Airships and Skypirates - Available Now!

WTNW: Airships and Skypirates Available Now!

Take your battles to the skies and beyond!

For years, The Great Powers have ruled the skies above with their airships and battlecasters as unquestioned masters but with the discovery of Earthin the Skypirates have emerged and are terrorizing the citizens and challenging the Great Powers domination of the skies and the Aether.

When the Navy Walked Airships and Skypirates is a miniature rules set that covers an alternate history of Victorian Science Fiction set in the skies above the universe of When the Navy Walked!

When the Navy Walked Airships and Skypirates is not a stand-alone product and a copy of When the Navy Walked is required to play the game.

New Rules for Airship Combat Including:

-History of the Airships and Skypirates
-Description of Airship units in the WTNW world
-Rules for airship combat!
- Fleet rules for 1/1200 sky and in space battles
- Six new scenarios
- New edges and flaws for airship combat including rocket packs and bombs!
- New Aetheric combat chart
- Multiple Army lists for all three theaters of operation!

When the Navy Walked - Quick Naming Contest

I will give a free pdf of When the Navy Walked Core Revised ANDa pdf copy of When the Navy Walked Conflict on Mars AND a pdf copy of When the Navy Walked Airships and Skypirates when it comes available to the first person who can list the titles and names of all of the products we have available for sale and those that are expected by the end of summer 2012.

Let the games begin!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Super Dungeon Session 23 Day 61

For those of you keeping up when we last left the heroes they had escaped the vampire lord's mansion with the little girl in tow. The players rescued the girl from the clutches of the Vampire lord and made some powerful friends in the process. The baron himself threw them a huge party and set them up with their own lands just outside of town between the town proper and the blockhouse that is the Spinning Rat Tavern. They have setup a base camp of sorts at the town of Fairhaven and have been given an assignment to deliver a letter to the Duke of Mistledown on behalf of the Baron.

They have been gone many days and have already encountered highway bandits in the form of hill giants which they have evaded, a forest with creatures that seem out of place like axebeaks and giant pike, and a woods where the forces of another world seem to crossover to the world of Faerun.

On the way they have fought draconians and other beasts from Kyrnn and met Brownie Quicklings from Grayhawk. Mostly recently a new traveling companion, a knight calling himself Amos and his retinue a band of bards, have signed on to follow Quinlan.

Yesterday, the party found some ruins that they were told mysterious disappear and reappear like magic. They were able to overhear the conversation of humaniods speaking goblinoid and talking about roasting a few brownies for the pot. They charged in and they and had it out with an small band of bugbears leading orcs and an ogre. The Ogre was defeated by a combination of a shocking grasp spell delivered by Tyne's bat familiar and the heavy crossbow shots from Sigrid's deadly weapon. Of course the ogre did get an attack of opportunity at the familiar as it passed within and did get a nasty smacking by the ogre's greatclub. Quinlin provided much needed support in the form of encouraging song that bolstered his friends and the bard was able to take down one of the beasts with his bow. The majority of the creatures including the bugbear leader Griaem was hidden within the ruins themselves.

The fight proceeded around the ruins into the heart of enemy territory then and then the fight was really on! Tyne made a daring attack leading with both rapers and dropping from the height of the ruins onto the back of Griaem the Bugbear leader to take him out. The game was an artistic a combination of graceful maneuvers on behalf of the party and savage tactics meted out by Sigrid and Vayne who is the large lion in the picture (the smaller lion is his familiar Scratch).

Let me take a second to say how great these maps are to be able to use them for above ground and below-ground in the same battle. I differentiated the levels by placing crystals on the bases on whoever was above on the top of the ruins.

The maps are a combination of Scying Eye Games Forest Roads package and the Shines mappack from Piazo. I think they work rather well together myself.

Earthin: The Hollow Earth

Deep beneath our very feet lies the world of Earthin. A Hollow-Earth that is home to the lands and creatures of the past. Fierce and cunning beasts and lost civilizations bring untold adventure to those brave enough to attempt to tame its wildness. 

The Atlantians and Lemurians jealously guard their technology and wage secret wars using the lost people as their armies while the Devlyn wait from their cloud cities sharpening their claws for a final showdown with the Skvani of Mars. Visit the lost kingdoms of Roma Secondus, The Holy Egyptian Empire, The Lost City of the Aztecs, The Thunderbird people and other lost kingdoms - forgotten in the sands of time. 

Earthin: The Hollow Earth features armies for the Lost Civilizations, The Atlantians and Lemurians as well as rules for dinosaurs and combat in the wilds of the world beneath. Earthin: The Hollow Earth is not a stand-alone product and a copy of When the Navy Walked Core will be required to play the game. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

WTNW Skirmisher Question

I was just talking with my friend about skirmish games and rank and file games. The WTNW Saving the World Just Before Tea is shaping up to be a game in which one can run units or simply play a few individuals on a table but it is kind of at a crossroad and to continue forth I need some input.

The Pulp Alley game I wrote with David Phipps back three + years ago was more of what people consider 'skirmish games' but what I am wanting to do with this is to write a game that uses 1:1 scale and is playable similarly to 40k or Warmachine. Right now there are three rolls. Roll to hit, roll to save, roll to wound and each step figures modifiers for different elements.

For instance, before rolling to wound a target with armor, an attacker calculates their adjusted weapon strength score based on its armor penetration value compared to the target's armor value and when rolling to save a unit calculates the effects of terrain. This can all become very cumbersome to calculate but each degree of realism adds an extra element to the game.

What are your thoughts on skirmish gaming? What would you like to see in a WTNW skirmisher game? Do you want 1:1 with only a handful of guys forming a league or troop or would you rather have a game that uses 10-12 man units? Your suggestions are welcome and are appreciated.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mr Heat Miser Prelim

Stating out Heat Miser
Tonight I will be posting the first of the pair of giants from that well-loved fantasy “A Christmas without a Santa Claus” – The Hot-Head himself, King of Flames, Duke of Summer, Master of Fire, Mr. Heat Miser.

To start off with I want to say that I am doing this purely for fun and only and have no intention of this being ‘the official stats’ for anything. I want to do more than just have a bard Fire Giant though. Here is some of what I am currently tinkering with as far as abilities though this is subject to change as I finalize the brute.

Preliminary Ideas
15th level Bard advanced Fire Giant with the ability to use level 1-4 fire based spells as a supernatural ability at will and an ability to summon human-sized “fire giants” that look exactly like small versions of Mr. Heat Miser X amount of times per day. He is going to be huge size though I briefly tinkered with gargantuan I think that huge is more fitting as he is very big in the cartoon and movie but is still proportional to a human. 

His rock throwing ability will be that much more potent due to his size and strength increases. His base natural armor will increase and he will get a boatload of skills, feats and abilities to which I intend to focus toward the good Mr. Heat Miser’s bardic side. He will be Chaotic Neutral but with a slight nod toward pranks and being naughty. I envision his Challenge Rating being in the mid to high 20s.

He's going to be a singing-dancing hot-head with a bad temper and a tenancy to shoot first and ask questions later. He will have the ability to alter the weather to make it warmer but I am not entirely sure how I am going to go with it as in the show he was able to do that to an entire town. Like he says "I'm too much!"

I leave you with a song and dance.

Edit: Joey, my layout artist has said that I have officially lost my mind. Maybe it's time to start thinking about Mad Scientists and Automatons for WTNW?

WTNW - Discovery of Atlantis

The underwater colony of Atlantis found by Salvatore de Jesus.

WTNW Airships & Skypirates update - The book art is completed and entering the final stages of layout. I am pushing my guys to get this completed by the end of the week. It should be on sale next week as pdf and will be going to the printers this weekend!

Friday, December 9, 2011

When the Navy Walked - RPG/Skirmisher Question

I have started writing an RPG using a new system for When the Navy Walked. I am a long time role player as well as miniature gamer and I want to offer something that is fun with a full ready-to-use VSF world that contains all the elements of When the Navy Walked. So far it is turning out to be equally as interesting as the skirmisher I am currently working on. What would you like to see in the rpg or in the skirmisher from the world of When the Navy Walked?

What kind of mechanics would you like to see? I am going to heavily rely on Aether as a 'power' that is usable in the game to give players that want 'magical' types something to do but the majority of the game is going to be based on adventure and have a pulpy gentlemanly feel. Likewise, some races such as the Atlantians and Grays will have access to a limited form of psionics.

What I really want to do is to offer a game that is playable both in the short and in the long term. I want to have a richly detailed world featuring elements that you already have seen and some that you have not for When the Navy Walked universe and combine the mechanics of the games that I have loved in the past with a system that is easy to learn and fun to play. Good thing I am not expecting too much.

What do you like about systems? What do you dislike? It's time to get into the nitty gritty while I am working on fluff and race descriptions before we get into the hard core mechanics of the game. I will say I do have a streamlined version of the rules worked out so far but I want to hear from you. What do you like in a game? What do you dislike?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

WTNW Skyship

A teaser at the art for the up-coming Airship and Skypirates!

Open Call!

If you are interested we are starting the kingmaker pathfinder modules right now. If you want to play shoot me an email at cronickain @ gmail dot com and we will get you setup in the play by post game! So far we are off to a good start but there's still time to join!

Mr Heat Miser & Mr. Cold Miser

Stay tuned for stats for both of these giants for Pathfinder. Optionally you could use the Frost Giant and Fire Giant.

Monday, December 5, 2011

DM Advice - Converting Screen to Paper Pt II

Thanks for all the feedback! WOW! Legend of the Seeker has a great deal of fans. Many have asked me to not butcher the game so I won't but what I will do is give options. If you remember, the purpose of this thread was to discuss different ways one could change a character type they liked from media into a playable type for a Pathfinder game.

There are a few different ways one can approach this. One of them is to do a new class for each type. The new class for the confessor for instance would have limited magical powers of domination that would grow throughout the levels in strength and duration.

Another way to do this is through the use of a specific magical item that follows the character throughout their career. The seeker would have a magical sword which would grow with him in power as he grew in levels.

Remember in the world of the Seeker magic is special. The spells would be different and the items would be different. The magic would not be usable by just anybody except in potion form. In the game there would have to be some kind of magic sense, mundane, and pristine untouched feats that would allow the use or non-use of magic.

Another way I could do it is to use the existing classes as Ladyskunk has suggested and just modify them a little by changing out some talents. In such a situation I might use an aristocrat or perhaps a modified witch type and add the confessor's ability to dominate others and her ability to use two-weapon fighting in an almost rogue-like ability.

The last way to do this is through the use of specific feats and possibly new feats. I could also give both the seeker and confessor the dodge arrows, dodge and mobility feats fairly early as they demonstrated them in the shows multiple times.Since not all wizards can heal in the show I could decide to make a feat that allowed Wizards of the First Order to take the ability to do healing magics once they reached this peak of power.

The key with any of this is since Pathfinder is a level-based game you want to allow them to grow in power. You do not want to start off all-powerful. It is possible to give the confessor the ability to dominate others so many times per day from the get-go and perhaps give the seeker some magical attacking abilities but do not go right from the bat and give the Confessor the Blood Trance or the Seeker the Power of Oden.

Here is one take on a Confessor type using a rogue as a base

Abilities of a Confessor
Feats: unarmed attack, two weapon fighting, dodge, mobility, dodge arrows, spring attack
Talents: Sneak Attack (as per rogue)
Spell-Like Abilities: Dominate Person (touch) Duration: Indefinite (1st), Command (Confessed) (1st), Detect Thoughts (2nd), Suggestion (ranged) (3rd), True Seeing (6th), Dominate Person (range) (8th), Dominate Person (mass range) - Blood Trance Duration: Indefinite (10th)

As you can see my purpose was not to butcher or change your idea of what this story is or should be about but rather point to ways to be playable. If you would like I can expand on this and actually do more work into the specifics - perhaps work up an actual Seeker Class, Confessor Class, Mort Sith and Wizard class using the show as a guide? That is entirely up to you as I am going to base my decision to continue this thread with the responses I receive. If I do not receive many I will keep what I have designed to myself as I do not wish to offend anyone with my ideas of the Seeker campaign which may be different from your own.

Happy Gaming!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

WTNW Army Builder

We are currently working on developing an army builder for When the Navy Walked. The material from the WTNW Core, WTNW Pax Limpopo, WTNW Conflict on Mars and WTNW Airships and Skypirates will be part of the program. Later updates will include the Earthin & Atlantis as well as the Venus and Mercury book and the various books for the Great Powers.

Friday, December 2, 2011

DM Advice - Telling Stories

As Peter puts it on his blog CanadianRPGGuy in his post on Cheating Players "DMs should remember they are not gods but very powerful bards." As I was reading his post on cheating players I laughed at a few of his examples. For instance, he describes one player new to his group that tried to bring in a 5th level Paladin with a +5 Holy Avenger! Obviously that's a cheating player! Then he ended with the part about DMs being bards and how he fudges like most DMs I know in favor of the players. This got me to thinking about some gamers I've played with over the years that are confrontational and what I did to attempt to curve the issues.

I think Peter puts it very well in his blog in giving some examples of what a DM can do to try to prevent these issues from occurring such as describing how a hit misses instead of just saying that the players misses and to monitor dice rolls to some degree. All of this can be very good tools for DMs who want to try to encourage players to not cheat but I think the key point he hit in his article was that of the fact that gamers like description.

To expand on this idea let's consider for a moment the fact that almost all gamers play the games they do because of some hero (or villain) they saw in a movie or read in a book. In many cases this is amplified multiple times and even exponentially when one considers the multiple sources in fantasy and science fiction literature and media available. So then what is our jobs as DMs? Is it police? Is it storyteller? Is it rules laywer? It is judge? In a word. Yes. It is all of these things.

I believe a good game is centered around three principles.

1) There is a defined story arc or campaign in which the players are involved and are corporately working together to complete. I say corporate and not cooperation because it is not always a cooperate game and the characters may be willing to work towards a goal but not always in the same manner.
2) The rules (for how characters are able to interact) are clearly defined and the players and DM understand that the rules are mutable for other situations (such as monsters, encounters, environmental effects) and the like.
3) There is a level of trust between the players and the DM

For me the first and third principle are probably the most significant with number two following a close third. What really makes it for me is that there is a trust between the players and the DM that allows the players to be less concerned with the arbitration of the rules and the results of their rolls and more concerned with the telling of their story. Again, Peter hit the nail on the head - we are bards.

It is our job to tell the story. We are the eyes, ears and other senses of the players. We describe what they see and they describe how they react. Together the storytelling can form intricate cycles where the DM describes and the players react that involve other external circumstances and individuals.

So what's a good story all about then?

A good adventure story has three elements within its plot.
1) Antagonist(s) - The bad guy(s)
2) Protagonist(s) - The people who help (not always good guy(s))
3) Reason - This is the reason for the story/motivation of the bad guy or environmental condition that persists that has brought about the consequences of what is about to occur

I realize this is a super-simplified version of the storytelling process and there are red herrings, plot twists, danger, investigation, discovery, betrayal, love, death and conquest among other elements within most stories but the point is that you have to have the three basic principles before you can really have a story. You have to have bad guys - after all what's Zeus without Hades and what's Simon without Goliath? You have to have helpful guys - where would Hercules be without Mentor? Finally, you have to have a story - "And they all got into the boat because they felt they really should" is not as compelling as they were seeking the golden fleece to save the kingdom.

A good story can be long or short, come quickly or slowly. Sometimes good stories are made on the fly while others take time to craft. Sometimes a good story takes root right from the beginning of what you had originally thought would be a throw-away adventure whereby your players were to take out the local kobold leader. Sometimes a good story can take time to develop through random clues throughout adventures. This is a good way to have a larger campaign working behind the scenes while your heroes work on seemingly unrelated issues.  The key to a good story though is one that is believable and that has all of the elements that allow the players to become significant characters in the town, in the city, in the country or in the world.

This is a game about heroes and heroes have stories - lots of em. If you take a look at any classical Greek Mythology you see a myriad of stories around the heroes. Look at the Iliad. Did the heroes only have one story? Only one adventure?

So get out there and tell some stories and let the dice roll where they may!

WTNW Airships and Skypirates - What You Get

ACG003 is over 100 pages as the book is chock full of information, battles, maps, artwork and almost 20 army lists! The rules include an all new game for fleet-only battles in the skies and in space using 1/1200 scale miniatures. This cost for the print version is $30.00 and the PDF will be comparable to the other WTNW titles already available.

What you get:
  • History of the Airships and Skypirates
  • Description of Airship units in the WTNW world
  • All new rules for 3d combat!
  • Dogfighting rules for small flying unit battles including
    • Areal maneuvers
    • Stalling
    • Tactics
  • All new rules for battles using 1/1200 scale fleets in the sky and in space including
    • Fleet formations
    • Flagship operations
    • Fleet orders
  • Six new scenarios (two air-ground, two air-air, two aethership combat)
  • New edges and flaws for airship combat including rocket packs and bombs
  • New Aetheric combat chart
  • Multiple Army lists for all three theaters of operation!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

DM Advice - Running Evil Campaigns - Part I

Whether cheesy villains out to get the hero at any cost, reformed criminals, thugs and cutpurses or antiheroes eventually as a DM your group is going to ask you if you will run an ‘evil’ game. Wait! Have not I been saying that gaming is a good thing about heroes versus evil? Yes. Well then how could I possibly write an article about the benefits of an evil campaign? Good question, glad I asked it.

To start with, after you are done coughing down your pizza or spilling your drink, you will want to ask the first obvious question to your players. “Why do you want to play an evil game?” The answers may shock you.”I want to play a cool class I saw in the book.” “I have always wanted to see how the other side lives.” “Cthulhu made me do it” “I had a bad day at work.” The answers can be as varied as the people are in your group. The reason you want to know the why is so that you can work on the how.

If they want to play an evil game just so they can bash the garbage out of common townsfolk then you might want to consider letting them blow off some steam with a dungeon crawl in the game you are in. Honestly, those types of evil games while fun at first get boring rather quickly for the DM and eventually for the players as well. Though if this is your cup of tea (evil tea that it is) you should ignore my advice and play slaughter the common folk with your group. You will not hear me complaining.

The purpose of the game is to have fun right? Right. With that in mind what is more fun than a game of antiheros? We recently played a game with antiheroes in which the players were bad guys working for other bad guys but who were equal opportunity bad guys. By that I mean that the organization of which they belonged pretty much was out for themselves and although they were ‘lawful’ by name they were more chaotic in the actual operation. This type of game can be a lot of fun. You could develop a very good storyline where the players are building their base of operations and have a take-no-prisoners approach.

In our Against the Heroes game the players actually played against their other characters. This campaign was an alternating Tuesday game that was ran to show the continuing story-arc of the Nightlord Saga that the players were involved. We all had a good time playing the game to the climax where the players delivered the sword of Kings and helped save the world from a worse evil.

The backdrop for such a game is just as important as the story that you are telling. An evil game set in the middle of the Harper’s lands might be much more challenging than an evil game set in Zhentil Keep depending on how it is ran. The key to location is to make sure there is lots going on to keep the players entertained.  I remember some of Bob Salvatore’s books such as the Halfling’s Gem set in the politically intriguing Calimshan. I have been lucky enough to have players that are flexible to want to play both good and evil games but are good hearted enough to not want to go slaughter everyone just to slaughter them. In a place like Calimshan this is very important because the evil boss is not such a nice guy and players can find themselves taken out by their patron just as quickly as they can find themselves taken out by their enemies.

As you can see, evil games can be more than just kill the peasant and burinate the village. They can be about redemption and about survival but most of all they should be about adventure! In part II I will discuss some possible archtypes that work in an evil game and some that do not and why as well as give some ideas for story arch that might be just what your black hearted gamers want.

Have you ever been in an ‘evil’ game? How did you like it? What was your favorite part about it? Do you agree that location is important?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mark Twain's Birthday

Today is Mark Twain's birthday. He was one of my favorite writers. Here's a few of my favorite quotes.

"There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress."
MARK TWAIN, Following the Equator

"It is a subject that is bound to stir the pulses of any man one talks seriously to about, for in this age of inventive wonders all men have come to believe that in some genius' brain sleeps the solution of the grand problem of aerial navigation--and along with that belief is the hope that that genius will reveal his miracle before they die, and likewise a dread that he will poke off somewhere and die himself before he finds out that he has such a wonder lying dormant in his brain."
- Letter from Mark Twain, San Francisco Alta California, August 1, 1869

Behold the fool saith, "Put not all thine eggs in the one basket"--which is but a manner of saying, "Scatter your money and your attention;" but the wise man saith, "Put all your eggs in the one basket and--WATCH THAT BASKET."
- Pudd'nHead Wilson

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

GM Advice - Converting from the Screen to Paper- Part One

How many times have you seen a cool new show or read a great book and have wanted to play out the characters? How difficult would it be to move that character class or type to a class in Pathfinder or DnD? Have you ever tried to convert a concept in a movie or a book to a game only to end up in total failure when the concept was either way too overpowered or grossly under-powered? How can one convert an idea from a movie or a book that they've seen to a playable class? 

I have been watching the Legend of the Seeker on Netflix. The Legend of the Seeker is based around the Sword of Truth novels by Terry Goodkind. In the show as in the books the Seeker is a hero who has been called to fight an awesome darkness. The Seeker is an almost mystical figure of myth and legend who is born whenever there is a great evil to overcome. 

Like all good heroes the Seeker is not alone in his quest. In the show the Seeker has a female compaion who can turn the minds and souls of others called a Confessor and a very powerful wizard of the First Order. The Confessor is the judge of the lands of the world and no one can lie to a Confessor. The Wizard of the First Order is a powerful mage who is able to use both arcane magic and arcane healing.

In this series I will be taking a look at the Pathfinder game and considering the ways in which I could use existing classes to create alternate class features for the Seeker, The Confessor and the Wizard of the First Order. I am considering using the Witch, the Wizard and the Fighter base classes and I plan on modifying them to fit within the abilities of the above character types.

A First Look

First we have to look at what they can do,what gives them their power and how they function in the world.

Seeker - Power granted by the magic in the Sword of Truth and a magical sense that he seems to possess. A Seeker is able to fight many enemies at once and uses the Sword of Truth to block even magical attacks. The Seeker seems to have an almost supernatural ability to dodge blows. A Seeker is born but does not become a Seeker until he is named.

Confessor - Power granted from the order of the Confessor. A Confessor is born with her power but she must go to the order to be trained. A Confessor is almost rogue-like in her ability to use stealth and has the ability to touch a person and "Confess" them to do her bidding. Once a confessor is able to confess someone they remain her slave until she dies.

Wizard of the First Order - Power granted by birth. A Wizard is trained by a master in the arcane arts. A wizard of the first order calls upon inner power to channel their magics. Wizard fire is known only to the wizards of the first order. In the show the wizard displayed a mastery of multiple forms of magical schools including divination, illusion, transmutation, conjuring and evocation.

Now that we have a base understanding of these archtypes we will spend some time over the next few columns discussing how to make them effective Pathfinder classes.

The Legend of the Seeker, The Swords of Truth Novels and all other concepts are copyright Terry Goodkind and ABC Studios.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Playing with your food

My wife and kids and me just got back from a walk and we started our routine after walk snack. For the kids this was cheetohs puffs and for Mel and me it was carrot sticks. Well I've heard of playing with your food but this gives the term finger snacks a new meaning. Look at how eerily close this carrot looks like a finger.

How could this be used in a game? Red herring or perhaps something more sinister?

Finger carrots

Digit or carrot?

Can you tell the difference?

Christmas at the Adams

Traditionally on Black Friday we decorate the house. Every year I put  up the Christmas Town and throw in a few geek articles to really get the spirit of Christmas for a gamer. I want to say that as a Christian this time of year is very important to us. As a person who has many friends that are pagan, Jewish or that practice other forms of religion this is not meant as a jab at your beliefs but for us as a family we really try to think about the reason for the season and celebrate the risen king! That being said, I am still a scifi,fandom,game designer, IT geek so all of that has to come out or I am just not feeling that I am putting my whole self into Christmas.

What says Merry Christmas I'm a Gamer more than a pulp scene with Dick Tracy, Indiana Jones, The Shadow, Elliot Ness, Sky Captain and a bunch of cops chasing down an alien invasion lead by Dr Katana and Darth Vader?

This year we did two Christmas Towns. Here are some photos of our families Christmas decorations.