Thursday, November 29, 2012

NaGaDeMon: I Win!

A quick playtest last night with no major snags means that I win NaGaDeMon, 2012!

Dungeon Dealer: Updated!

Chess Dice

The secret is to aim low. I didn't want to create a full game from scratch (would never have had the time), but I figured a couple of quickie games that required very little set up might be fun.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

NaGaDeMon: Dungeon Dealer, How to Play

Got it under the wire, but I finished! It has been playtested in its rough form and hopefully I'll be able to squeeze out a quick hand or two before Sat. PDF to follow.

How to Play
Once the first Dealer has been determined, she then deals out 5 cards to each player and one for herself. She then sets the deck down and turns over one card. This is the Monster Card.
The Monster Card’s Suit determines its type, and the card’s value determines its HP and its final XP total. (Ace is one, all Face Cards are 11). 

The first person to act is the player sitting immediately to the Dealer’s right. To hit the monster and reduce its HP by one, the player must play a card of the same suit of the Monster, but of Greater Value, OR any card of their Class Suit. 

For Example: The Dealer draws a Monster Card of 8 Clubs. The first player to act is
John, who is a Thief. In his hand he has a 10 of Clubs and the 3 of Spades. He can play either to reduce the Monster’s HP from 8 to 7.

The next player to act is Susan, a Cleric. She can now defeat the Monster by playing a Heart, or any Club 7 or higher. 

Players MUST play a card on their turn, and the play goes around until either the Monster’s XP is reduced to 0 (Players’ win), or all the players run out of cards (Monster wins). 

Dealers may play Saving Cards at any time, but they are not forced to ‘act’. 
If the Monster is defeated, the player who took the Monster’s final HP gets XP equal to the Monster’s original HP total. If the Monster wins, the Dealer get the XP.

Next Dealer
Once the battle is done, the Monster card is placed in the Dungeon Discard pile. All other cards are collected by the next dealer, shuffled and dealt out for the next round. The Dungeon Discard pile represents the gradual attrition of resources suffered by all dungeon delvers.

The Monsters get Tougher, the Deeper you Delve
Once around the table, giving all players a chance to be dealer is called a ‘Level’. The first level, all monsters are dealt one Saving Card. On the second Level (when the player who was first Dealer is Dealer again), the Monster is dealt two Saving Cards. On the third Level they gain a third Saving Card, and so on. Saving Cards are not put on the Dungeon Discard pile.

Once a player has collected 20 or more XP, they gain an extra starting card in their Hand. You do not get to keep extra points, if you defeated/played a 10 XP monster and an 11XP monster (for a total of 21), the extra point is discarded. 

 Additional Notes
Aces beat Face Cards, but do not beat number cards. This applies in all cases.

  While Face cards all have an XP total of 11; Aces, Queens and Kings beat Jacks; Queens are beaten by Kings and Aces; and Kings are only beaten by Aces. 

  Ties go to the player acting that turn. When the player is ‘attacking’, they would win a tie, but if a Monster then plays a tied Saving Card that would then win.

 So Who Won?
Games can continue as long as the players wish (eg, limits of 2 hours or up to six Levels, etc). Keep track of the players’ points collected through the game. The player with the highest point total wins.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Video Hits Saturday: Put Down the Duckie

Unlike the horrorshow unfolding at the BBC, I certainly don't think that Kevin Clash is a predator or a pedophile. Instead I think he was an extremely foolish man who made a collossally stupid mistake and the ultimate ramifications to the Elmo Brand, Seasame Street and gay men in general have yet to be fully realized.

That being said, whatever faults he may have it cannot be denied that the man was one of the foremost muppeteers of our times. Here he is as Hoot the owl giving Ernie a few tips on playing the sax.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

The 'Z' Word

I read a review that said 'The Walking Dead' is a better show the less the characters talk. I couldn't agree more, especially during the idiotic conversations where one character is calling them 'Walkers' and the other is calling them 'Biters'.

Has no one ever gone to a movie? They're ZOMBIES you assholes!

I can see it now, have the show run for seaven seasons and we'll have Walky, Bitey, Lurchy, Bloaty, Smelly, Thriller and (hopefully!) Deadites.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Video Saturday

Oddly enough, this song reminds me of the 'Legend of Zelda' because that is the game I was obsessively playing right around the same time I was obsessively playing this album (remember those?).

Plus its always funny watching Checy Chase as a young (but funny) jerk before he became an old (but funny) jerk.

-this video was brought to you by Hawthorne Wipes.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Chess Dice

Not my main NaGaDeMon project, just something I tossed together one night while walking the dog.

Chess Dice

Its not been playtested, so if anyone gives it a try, please let me know how it goes.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Not Sure How I Feel About This...

I've loved Sir Pratchett ever since I used to watch him on 'Prisoners of Gravity' and begged my mother to bring home a copy of 'Dark Side of the Sun' from one of her trips to England to visit my Gran. When I learned that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's it felt like a member of my own family had been afflicted and since then I've been obsessively collecting his last few books, wondering each time if this will be the last one. It is the knowledge that Discworld series is, like its creator, is all too limited that makes them precious to me. 
The knowledge that they will continue on past Sir Pratchett's ability to continue is a deeply troubling thought. Will they thrive, or become some undead marketing machine, resembling its original intent in name only? Unfortunately, the history of such endeavors suggests the later.
So it is with fingers tightly crossed that I will pick up Rhianna's first Discworld book, all the while keenly aware of what has happened to the legacies of Dune, Middle Earth, Foundation, Hitchhikers Guide, Rama and many others once new authors have taken over the helm. Not to mention the long dead carcasses of Star Wars, Star Trek, Buffy, Aliens, Transformers, Doctor Who and a hundred other franchises that the corporations who own the rights are all too happy to flog and squeeze and rape until there isn't a single penny left to wring out of the piggy.
The sheen quickly turns to an ugly patina of bland sequels, prequels, bland video games and illiterate tie-in novels and the amazing thing is that is completely our fault. We are the ones who continue to buy this shit out of sheer nostalgia driven entropy. We blame Lucas for 'raping our childhood', but he isn't the one to blame, he's just a mediocre filmmaker and a savvy business man. We're the ones dropping pennies in the piggy.
Where are our new franchises, some fresh ideas that push the envelope forward? Rather than continuing to wallow in the imagined glories of our youth, maybe we should be out there trying to make something new.*
Okay, maybe I do know how I feel about this 
*As much as I might hate to admit it, the main media for generating new and interesting franchises is now video games. This isn't really a bad thing, and it is a fascinating example of the changing face of media.  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Wreck-It Ralph

I have a confession to make. I don’t much like video games. I don’t seem to have enough time or money to get the things I NEED to get done, let alone spending $40+ dollars on something that will suck away hours of my life and accomplish exactly diddley-squat. That isn’t to say that I haven’t enjoyed video games in the past, or that I won’t play them in future, but as the years roll on I find myself less and less inclined to pick up a controller.

That being said, I still loved Wreck It Ralph. I’m sure there are a hundred jokes I missed for every one I laughed at. It also does something I’ve always wanted to do as a GM and that is run a coherent cross-genre campaign. The movie takes place across three distinct games; the 8bit Fix-It Felix Jr., the ‘unnamed planet’ of Hero’s Duty, and the saccharine Sugar Rush. It also assembles a party made of up heroes from each of those worlds, each with a distinct ability; Ralph can wreck things while Felix can fix them. Calhoun has a really big gun and Vanellope can race.

It is a true flailsnail (am I using that right?) campaign with a genuine threat presented for each of the games, while linking all the elements together in a plausible (within the movie) fashion.

And I might even pick up the Wreck It Ralph video game.  

Yub Nub Forever!

Image by Tom Hodges
Lately I’ve been thinking about how to end a campaign. I’ve been paying close attention to the end of movies looking for inspiration on how to, and how not to, end a storyline. Warning: Spoilers.

Inception ends with the ‘is he still dreaming or not?’ which is a classic kind of Twilight Zone ending to a mind-frak movie. This is very difficult to pull off in a campaign, but they are the Holy Grail for GMs if you can leave your players stunned and amazed at the last minute reveal.

Contagion ends with a dull fizzle. It does approximate what really happened in the real-world cases of Bird Flu, SARS and H1N1 as the story never becomes quite as big as the hype (fortunately!), and the media moves on to the next big thing. Unfortunately, this was a fairly tense movie until the fizzle out and when the movie suddenly ends you are left wondering where the hell the climax went. This is how NOT to end a campaign, but we’ve all run/played in games where it becomes clear that both the GM and the players are just not into things. When that happens, break it off immediately and move on to something the group will get excited about. If you are a completest and must end the story, move the final battle up/confrontation as quickly as possible. Remember, role playing is first and foremost a game and games are meant to be fun.

Bridesmaids wraps up with one of those big sing-a-long endings that my wife calls a Big Ewok Party or a BEP (though to be honest, what she calls it would actually be abbreviated as FEP). Unfortunately, in this otherwise funny movie, the BEP feels utterly unearned and an excuse for the writers to end it with a flourish without bothering to actually clear up any of the storylines. I’ve only ever managed one BEP ending, and that was in our long running Star Wars campaign when the characters participated in the destruction of the second Death Star. Everyone joined in a rousing rendition of ‘Yub Nub!’ which was utterly awesome.

The better endings I’ve seen lately come from animated movies, which seem to be the last bastion of traditional (and coherent) storytelling. How to Train Your Dragon and Wreck It Ralph, both have classic final confrontations against a Big Bad, completely with sacrifice, pathos and genuine intensity. This is what every GM should be aiming for. Make the players EARN their ending and that earn should come at some sort of cost. Even if a PC or two dies, if you can pull off an honest ending, it will be one of those campaigns that you talk about years later.

"Remember when Ash Warbow stayed behind to hold off the zombie horde while we rushed the Lich Queen? That was awesome!"

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Video Saturday

"Ladies and Gentlemen, up until now you have seen the Creature perform the simple mechanics of motor activity. But for what you are about to see next, we must enter, quietly, nto the realm of genius. Ladies and Gentlemen, Mesdames et Messieurs, Damen und Herren, from what was once an inarticulater mass of lifeless tissues, may I present a cultured, sophosticated, Man About Town. Hit it"

Friday, November 9, 2012

NaGaDeMon 2012: Monster Cards

Monster Cards
The Dealer always plays the Monster. There is the revealed Monster card, which shows what kind of Monster the party is facing (its suit), plus its current HP total. Numbered cards have starting HP equal to their value, while Face cards always have 11 HP. The Dealer also has a number of cards dealt to her face down; these are known as Saving Cards. 
Any time a Monster is successfully defeated by a player, its HP goes down by 1.
Saving Cards
If a Monster is about to lose a HP due to a player action, but the Dealer can play a Saving Card to avoid taking damage. The Saving Card must be a higher card of the same suit as the attack. 
 Example: An Undead Monster is about to lose a HP after a Warrior played the 3 of Clubs. However, in her Saving Cards, the Dealer has a 5 of Clubs. Playing this, she is able to defeat the attack and do not lose any HP. 
This is in addition to the Monster Skills listed below
Clubs: Regular Monsters
Natural Weapon: If the monster has any Clubs in their Saving Cards, they can immediately play them face down in front of the monster. To defeat the Monster on its own terms (ie, Clubs), you must now defeat the total of the Weapon card PLUS the current HP total of the Monster.
The Weapon card does not affect the starting amount of Hit Points.
Hearts: Undead Monsters
Drain: If a Monster successfully plays a Heart as a Saving Card (must be the incoming attack), then the player must discard an additional card from their hand.
Diamonds: Magical Monsters
Magical Barrier: the Dealer can defeat any attack (except a magical one) by playing a Diamond Saving Card. The value of the Diamond does not have to beat the value of the attack.
To defeat a Diamond (a magical attack), the Saving Card must beat the value of the attack card.
Spades: Traps
If the Monster card is revealed to be a Spade, this is a Trap. All players must play a single card. Only Spades defeat Traps, Class Suits do not (except Thieves). The player who played the highest Spade defeating the Trap's Card Value has disarmed the Trap.
However, if the Dealer has another Spade in their Saving Cards, they can immediately play that card (representing a more convoluted trap) once the first one is defeated. The party must again play a single card in the hopes of defeating this next layer. This can go on as long as the Dealer has additional Spades in their Saving Cards or until all players are unable to defeat the Trap Card, in which case the XP are awarded to the Dealer.
 XP is awarded only after ALL layers of the Trap have been disarmed, and are equal only to the point value of the first Trap Card played. The first Trap card played is then put into the Dungeon Discard pile.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Not Dead Yet

It sucks when life gets in the way, but work has gotten busy (I know, wierd!) and I've got a couple of projects on the go. However, those are winding down and hopefully I'll be able to get back to actually doing something for me again!

Being a little out of practise and to kickstart my foggy noggin' I'm going to finish Dungeon Dealer for NaGaDeMon and throw something in for Winter is Coming II, Blog Carnival.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Anybody seen this?

Just curious. I've seen Faintheart and thought that was actually amusing.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Kids in the Hall Saturday

Disney has released a bunch of its old movies in bundles. You can get a 'Kurt Russel Pack', a 'Shaggy Dog Pack' and a 'Dog Pack'. However the Dog pack does not have 'Old Yeller' which I thought was odd, until I realized that a certain kind of modern parent might find the movie 'too traumatic' for children. These kind of parents are idiots and need to be smacked with a large polo mallet.

Dungeons and Dragons ... for SCIENCE!

"Please don't tell my Boss I was sleeping!"

Friday, November 2, 2012

NaGaDeMon: Dungeon Dealer

Class Suit: Clubs
Class Skill
Weapon: Choose any club card from your hand to use as a weapon. Place in front of you face up. The value of this card can be added to any Club or Monster Suit card played by the warrior. At the end of the battle, you can choose to keep this card, or discard it in the hopes you get a higher club next battle. This does not work against Traps. 

Class Suit: Diamonds
Class Skill
Spells: When you play a Diamond card successfully, draw another card to replace it.

Class Suit: Spades
Class Skills
Disarm: You double the value of any Spade card played against a Trap.
Backstab: Whenever another player successfully hits a Monster, the thief can immediately (out of turn) play a card of the same suit and take another hit point off the Monster. The card played must be of the same suit played by the previous player and must defeat the Monster Card's current HP total. 

Class Suit: Hearts
Class Skills
Turn Undead: When facing an Undead Monster Card and ONLY on your first turn, if your defeat the Monster Card's current HP, the Undead Monster has been successfully "Turned". The Monster is now defeated and the Cleric collects the XP.
Heal: If you play a Heart against a monster and the card value is higher than the Monster current HP, you get an extra card that can be kept, or given to another player. You may not look at the card before choosing to heal and this does not work against Traps.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaGaDeMon: Dungeon Dealer

The Premise 
Acard game that uses standard fantasy and roleplaying elements. A game for 3-4 players and requires each player have a pencil and piece of paper, plus a standard deck of cards (with Jokers).For those nights when no one feels like going through the trouble of running an adventure.
  -The Premise
  -The Set Up
  -Monster Cards
  -How to Play
  -Advanced Dungeon Dealer (allowing for players, classes and rules)
The Set Up
To begin, everyone chooses a Class: Warrior, Wizard, Thief or Cleric.
Write down your choice on your paper.
To determine who will be the first Dealer, everyone cuts the deck. High card is the Dealer and any ties are resolved with pistols at twenty paces.
The Dealer then deals out 5 cards to each player and one for herself. She then sets the deck down and turns over one card. This is the Monster Card.