Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Buzzkill

This Saturday, October 23rd, is the D&D Gamma World Game Day, which is the official release event for the game. My FLGS, Brookhurst Hobbies is running this event which I signed up for on their Meetup website. I'm subscribed to the daily digest of posts from their discussion boards and was shocked and saddened to find out that in order to play in the event, each player is required to purchase one of the Gamma World Booster packs. Booooo!!!

This seems to go against the grain of most of the Game Day events that I have played before. There has never been a requirement to buy anything. I'm just interested in playing the game and see if I would like it. It's like going to a car dealership and wanting to take a test drive of a car you're interested in and they make you buy the gasoline to do so.

So, what if I go to the store, buy a booster pack and decide that after I play the game that I don't like it enough to buy a copy?. What the hell am I going to do with the stupid cards I was "forced" to buy in order to play? It looks like a bad marketing strategy on behalf of Brookhurst Hobbies, thats for sure.

I will just have to decide not to go. Oh well, I can deal.

15 Games in 15 Minutes

So I noticed this little "meme" has been going around the blogoverse, so I decided to post my own 15 games. I tried to focus on the ones I had the most experience with and had the most influence on me in the past and currently. They are:

1) D&D (all versions)
2) Champions
3) Gamma World
4) Call of Cthulhu
5) City of Heroes
6) Neverwinter Nights
7) Pool of Radiance
8) Traveller
9) Stormbringer
10) Palladium Fantasy Roleplaying
11) The Mechanoid Invasion
12) Heroes Unlimited
13) The Fantasy Trip
14) Starfleet Battles
15) Mythos

I'm as much a computer gamer as I am a gamer of traditional pen-and-paper RPGs.

And if it was a "16 games in 15 minutes", I would add "Awful Green Things from Outer Space".

Monday, October 18, 2010

Xhuul Bestiary project

Posting has been very light lately. The reason being is that I'm currently assembling a "Mutant Manual" for the Weirdlands of Xhuul. I will compile it as a PDF and post it up as a free file when I get done with it. I could probably post the individual Xhuul Bestiary entries as blog posts, but from what I could gather from Blogger's stats on posts, those blog entries did not generate any or relatively few page views. So I will stick with the plan as a separate file for now.

I've been struggling with the presentation of the stats. One thing about 2nd Edition Gamma World mutant stat blocks that bugs me is the presentation of the 3 movement rates. The first value is Kilometers/March Turn, the second is Meters/Search Turn and the third is Meters/Action Turn. Let's face it, I hate the metric system to begin with, let alone having to calculate the various values of movement between the different types of Turns.

I think to save myself some time, I will just put a value of Meters/Action Turn because most likely when you encounter a mutant creature, it's most likely going to want to eat you and that is going to be in combat anyway.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Minis Spotlight: Lords of Madness


I picked up a box of WoTC's pre-painted plastic minis from their newly-released Lords of Madness set. I've slowed down in my minis purchasing, but this was purely an impulse buy at my FLGS Brookhurst Hobbies in Garden Grove. I think the price is a bit steep of $22.00 for a box of 6 minis. Albeit you get one Huge mini, a Large mini, and four Medium sized minis. However, there is an appeal to the "Crackjack Box Toy Suprise" feeling I get from buying one. You just don't know what you are going to get.
From left to Right: Heroslayer Hydra (Huge), City Guardsman (Medium), Stone Giant (Large), Trapped Chest (or Mimic) (Medium), Rot Grub Swarm (Medium), Brain in a Jar (Medium).

I think I lucked out with this box, because I really did want the Trapped Treasure Chest and Brain in a Jar minis. And I got both in the same box! The chest can double as a Mimic. The Brain in a Jar i just think its cool because it reminds me of the Migo Brain Cylinders from H.P. Lovecraft.



Saying Goodbye to 4E RPGA Play

I've been playing D&D 4th Edition mostly through a local RPGA group. The last time I played was a few months ago at a weekly RPGA game on Monday nights in Anaheim. The games are run out of a renovated Knights of Columbus Hall. Its a good place to play all kinds of games and its a good place to meet new players. I like the RPGA model of being able to drop into a game without the need for total commitment to a ongoing campaign.

I like the 4E system for what it does. Its a balanced system and is good for Organized play such as the RPGA. I also like it because if you are DMing a home game/campaign, prepping the game is so much easier than 3.5 was.

My current grudge is mostly with all the rules and powers errata Wizards of the Coast has been churning out. It has basically made the printed books practically worthless if used to try to make a legal character for RPGA play. In order to do so, you would need to reference and cross-reference pages of errata, printed out from a .PDF, that Wizards provides through monthly updates on their website.

Now if you have a DDI subscription (as I did), you get all the rules updates automatically updated into the Character Builder and Monster Builder. Thats all nice and good, but what if you no longer have a DDI subscription? You are pretty much screwed if you want to play a legal RPGA character then.

So I finally got fed up with this whole thing and cancelled my DDI subsciption (I bought a full year subscription, so I can use it until the end of November).

As for 4E? I will just play non-RPGA games and hopefully find a group that doesn't feel compelled to have the latest rules updates. I was DMing a 4E campaign that was put on hold because of one of my players had other real-life commitments. There has been some chatter of getting the game started again, sans that player and get some new players to fill in the ranks. I've been slow to get that ball rolling.

This past week-end I met some of the other players in the RPGA group I have played with and found out that the whole RPGA group has dropped out with the release of the Essentials line of products. As this would have repurcussions for RPGA play, I think they all got fed up as I did. I think the Marketing Dept, at Wizards better put down the bong. How many times do they think they can sell you the same old horse before people wise up and stop buying their products? I understand they do this with their Magic:The Gathering card game, releasing new cards and invalidating cards previously purchased as illegal for tournament play. I have to wonder about the people who still continue to buy those cards. Fortunately for me, I never got into Magic:tG. I've held a grudge against that game for the dissolution of my role-playing group I used to play in with my friends. They all got into it when it was first released and I just didn't understand the appeal.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Xhuul Bestiary: Grey Men


GREY MEN


NO. ENCOUNTERED: 1-6
SIZE: Medium
HD: 5 (d8)
MOVE: 30ft
AC: 16
ATTACKS: Weapon
SPECIAL: Regeneration 10, Darkvision, Skeletal Enhancement, immune to charm and mind-control effects.
SAVES: P
INT: Low
ALIGNMENT: Lawful Neutral
TYPE: Humanoid
TREASURE: 1
XP: 280 +5/hp,br>

The Grey Men are artificially grown in the alchemical vats within the Great Black Ziggurat in the city of Hlatl. They are genetically programmed to be completely loyal to the Grand Hlat no Mental Mutations can override this programming. They have been created to act as the city's guardians and special military forces. They also serve as the personal guard of the Grand Hlat. They appear as 2 meter tall male humanoids with a light grey skin tone. They are physically athletic in build and are completely hairless. They have small black bead-like eyes, slitted nostrils and a large gash-like mouth. They are usually marked with a bar-code like tatoo that helps to identify each one. The Grey Men who actively patrol the city or stationed at the gates usually wear chainmail armor and are armed with longswords and crossbows.

Xhuul Bestiary: Xycil


XYCIL


NO ENCOUNTERED: 3-18
SIZE: Medium
HD: 1(d8)
MOVE: 30ft, 20ft (climb)
AC: 14
ATTACKS: Bite (1d4)
SPECIAL: Mutations
SAVES: P
INT: Average
ALIGNMENT: Neutral
TYPE: Mutant
TREASURE: 2
XP: 11+1/hp


The Xycil are a relatively peaceful spider-like mutant species that maintain the infrastructure of the city of Hlatl. They are usually found in groups cleaning up trash and debris, repairing structures, or tending the fungal farms. They are not encountered as much on the streets of Hlatl, but are very common below the streets. When the Xycil are not working, they return to their hive where they rest until needed.

It is unclear to most how the Xycil communicate. It is not common knowledge that they are telepathic. They use this ability to communicate with each other and never with creatures outside their species. Witnesses have seen them vibrate their legs and body movements and believe this is how they communicate. Xycil do not like to interact with humanoids and usually avoid or ignore them. If confronted by hostile action, they retreat immediately.

Xycil has the following mutations: Telepathy, Heightened Precision, Web Generation, New Body Parts (hands). Mutations function at 1HD where applicable.

Weird Alien Vajay-jay

This is probably NSFW, so use caution when checking out the link below. I am constantly amazed of the unbridled content of the Interwebz. Its like the "box of chocolates" line from Forrest Gump, you never know what you are going to get or find. For Better or Worse.

While doing a Google search for "Spider Aliens" images, I find this and I should say, it doesn't suprise me. I'm sure there is probably a market for this stuff. I mean c'mon, if Captain Kirk could bang all those alien women, it must be okay. Right?

So, I'm sure its only a matter of time before the red model "Dejah Thoris" Fleshlight becomes a reality. Probably after the John Carter Warlord of Mars movie is released. But I'm suprised there isn't a green model "Orion Slave Woman" Fleshlight already. Star Trek has been around for a long time in TV syndication...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Hlatl, City of the Black Crater

The campaign centerpiece for my Xhuul setting is Hlatl, City of the Black Crater. Hlatl is one of the first and oldest cities to be built after the Great Cataclysm. Over time, the city has been built up over previous ruins.

The city is at the bottom of a large crater, which was built upon a rocky tor that rises up from the crater bottom. The crater consists of basalt and onyx, which has been quarried to build the many structures of the city. Hlatl is one of the first and oldest cities to be built after the Great Cataclysm. Over time, the city has been built up over previous ruins.

The land surrounding the crater is a vast dry, rocky desert of black sand dunes and rocks of basalt and onyx.

Originally, the base of the crater was dry and was dotted with old ruins. About 30 years ago, the crater began to fill with water after a series of earthquakes. The tremors created a fissure to some underground source of water that began to rise to the surface. The newly formed lake submerged many of the old ruins at the crater bottom. A few ancient towers remain above the lake surface. Along the shores of the lake, there are still some remains of the old ruins not claimed by the waters. A fetid swamp has taken root along the shores made of purple reeds and fungi and iridescent mosses. This new source of water has attracted creatures of all types that lurk in the swamps and stalk the black sandy shores.

The rising waters around Hlatl was cause for the construction of four massive bridges of black basalt and onyx to connect to each of the city's main gates. Also, to keep the water level within the crater at a steady level, a pumping station was constructed with pipes running up along the crater wall and over the rim, sending the excess water away into the black sandy desert. This run-off water over time has created an artificial river.

Hlatl is built primarily of basalt stone. All other materials such as wood have been transported by trade caravans. The city is ringed by a great outer wall. Inside the city there are various wards, which are separated by inner walls. The city's topography is on a gentle incline which rises from west to east. At the highest apex is the Black Ziggurat, an immense multi-tiered structure of Ancient construction. The Black Ziggurat is made of a black stone and crystal material that resists all harm from conventional means. It is home to the city's ruler, Kigloth the Mad.

Kigloth is reclusive and the day-to-day administration of the city's affairs is conducted by the Hands of Hlatl, a zealous order of fanatics devoted to the will of Kigloth. Public order and laws are enforced by the Kigloth's vat-grown homonculi, the Grey Men.

Since the city of Hlatl was built up over previous ruins, there are a myriad of old tunnels and catacombs beneath the city. These places are ripe with danger, but also ripe with rewards for those willing to brave the depths. There are several levels beneath that make up this underworld. The upper regions are generally storage areas, fungi farms, sewage treatment and pumping machinery for the city's water supply. These regions are usually patrolled and maintained by the city's labor force of mutant spiders known as the Xycil. The Xycil are the most adept since they can climb and scurry along the tunnels with ease, gaining access to areas normally difficult for humanoids. The Xycil are intelligent, but they do not speak any language known to most humans. They seem to communicate with each other by vibrations they make with their legs and also body movements. They can use tools as they have a set of manipulative hands on their thorax. They are not aggressive to humans and if confronted by violence, they will usually flee.

The lower regions is where greater dangers live. One such is Ramoskeph. A powerful sorceror, he sees the region as his "living" laboratory. He has access to alchemical vats that he uses to create all kinds of mutant and necromantic horrors to roam the dark halls, as guards and pets. Ramoskeph is not entirely sane, while his lucid moments are rare, he usually only has enough focus to complete his latest "creation" before he moves onto something else. Ramoskeph is a thin man of dark complexion. He wears silk robes that hang loosely from his wiry frame. His head his distorted into an elongated shape. He wears fine jewelry and gold rings and he has a long beard which is tightly woven with gold braids into a point. He has oversized ears and his eyes are pupiless dark orbs. He has many servants and slaves.

However, his creations have been a nuissance and a danger to the Xycil and have occasionally found their way into the streets of Hlatl.