Thursday, September 27, 2012

Real Inspiration from Real Horrors

Real Monstrosities is a fantastic website for new Critter ideas.

I have stats somewhere for Swarm Spiders, but who knew they really existed?

And Stinkhorns, for all your man-eating plant needs.

RollCore

I'm working on something which is eating into my time to post anything really interesting here. To force myself to post more often, I'm going dribble out a few pieces of my current homebrew brainstorm:

The Basics

Rollcore (RC) uses one, regular six sided dice for all rolls. For Easy tasks the dice must roll 1, 2 or 3 to succeed. For Moderate tasks, the dice must roll 4 or 5 and for Hard tasks the dice must roll a 6. Each of these categories is referred to as the Difficulty Level. There is also a Difficulty Level known as Impossible (roll 7+).
Note that for an Easy task is not roll 3 or better, rolling a 4 or more means that the roll has failed; for a Moderate Task, rolling a 1-3 or a 6 means the roll has failed; and for a Hard any roll 5 and below. 
That is pretty much is for mechanics. The rolls can be altered with Traits or BS points, which will be discussed at a later time.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The State of Who

Doctor Who has sucked this year. I don't normally want to bog this blog down with reviews, but having emptied my DVR of a few past episodes over the weekend, including the truly unwatchable 'The Power of Three', I have to wonder if the stink of complacency and rotting cheese will linger over the rest of Matt Smith's time in the Big Blue Box.

Asylum of the Daleks
There have been a few storylines that have neutered the Daleks, but none so effectively as this one. Oswin's tragic storyline was the only thing that makes the episode watchable and I'm genuinely curious as to how she'll come back.
 
Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
The Doctor Who version of 'Snakes on a Plane': intriguing title, limp execution and not nearly enough Sam Jackson. 
 
A Town Called Mercy
I'd love to see a sci-fi western show about Ben Browder and his cyborg buddy, fightin' crime! Otherwise a fairly rote episode marked with some truly useless Amy moments. I think almost everything out of her mouth was a very tired cliché. Rory was even less than useless here, but at least the character seemed aware of the fact.
 
The Power of Three
A prime example of 'Spatterplot': just hurl everything at the screen as fast as possible and hope that the audience doesn't notice that it doesn't even remotely hold together. The little black cubes that, uh do … what exactly? (Though the look of horror on Amy's face when she finds the one playing 'the chicken dance' was priceless). Daddy Weasley's bizarre vigilance that looks like it might be going somewhere before you realize he's just senile. Qbert men and a kiddie robot in a hospital that have absolutely NOTHING to do with ANYTHING, and a cheap makeup baddie that worships (if I followed the story correctly), some apocalypse that is preceded by counting of bananas, all wrapped up with a literal 'wave the magic wand' ending. 
 
Throw in Matt Smith mugging for all he's worth, Amy and Rory as smug yuppies and the liberal application of something I think that was supposed to be humour; and in the end it only adds up to a giant mess on the floor and a guilty look from the dog.
 
Next week they're bringing back the Stone Angels. I sincerely hope they can pull out of this before it becomes a full on nose-dive.  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Nonsense Verse Generator

Nonsense verse generator gives me an idea for a Shadowrun game and perhaps an urban fantasy or fiendish cult.

The eater of cars.
The digger of holes
Oh yes we are
Then an eat without a body

We of the wind must rejoice and speak
I'm an indigo man
I love the golden cat
From the skin of our lord

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Munchkin Talisman, Take 2

I do most of my home computing in a notebook with an internet connection speed that makes me long for my dialup days, and my work computer has a webnanny that has a massive hate-on for all things Google, so my apologies for not catching the craptastic doc I had uploaded earlier. Here is a new version, with a couple of tweaks to the rules.

Kids in the Hall Saturday

I'm volunteering this very rainy day, at Solar Saturday, so this video seemed appropriate.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Munchkin Talisman

Visited my old gaming buddies over the weekend and we bonded with some old-school Talisman. One player drew a few lucky cards and started to dominate the early part of the game. When he stole an item from another player he was cursed with, "I wish I could put a chicken on your head!" 

And the idea for Munchkin Talisman was born.

Errata (Already)!: Having an Elf follower allows you to evade enemies in the Woods and you are always safe in the Forest. It no longer grants the + to Craft.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Get Hep to the Jive, Cats!

I'm a bit of a dictionary geek. I've read through a couple and I love collecting dictionaries of forgotten words, jargon, techical terms and the absolute best one of all, the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, which is a must for anyone who dares call themselves a writer.  
 
Digression aside, here is Cab Calloway's dictionary of 1920-30s Harlem area 'hep' talk.
 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ack, You No Know the Funny!

D&D has never been very funny, which is a little bizarre given the underlying concept. I suppose roleplayers have been too busy enduring the taunts from the mainstream to bother ridiculing it themselves.

 

There were a few attempts in the early going; the occasional humorous illustration or magical object, and some very funny cartoons in the old Dragon Magazines. But most deliberate attempts to be funny were at best a little limp, or at worse, puns. I can even remember a Dragon Magazine article that presented the Jester as a possible character class and went on to outline the D&D rules for a joke fight, because nothing says funny like rolling percentile dice.

 

But it really isn't hard to see why they avoided the issue. The main reason would be that that comedy is highly subjective. What one person might find screamingly funny might (inspire murderous rage) be seriously off-putting to everyone else. The second is a tendency for yuks to take over a game; an SCA friend of mine once told me that his group had outlawed camp behaviour in all group events because once it starts, nothing else gets done. 

 

But there have been some very good, and very funny RPGs: TOON, Ghostbusters, Kobolds Ate my Baby, Paranoia! (among others). So why no funny D&D clone? Or even a truly amusing supplement, adventure module?

 

It is not that there aren't some great examples to draw on, probably officially kicking off (in modern form) with Bored of the Rings, then to Holy Grail, Discworld and up to the gay panic fervour of Your Highness. I am not even counting the few excellent, the many good and the countless awful, on-line spoofs and parodies.

 

The way I see it there are three main points to stress before embarking on such an endeavour:

 

1          A little funny goes a long way. Not every trap has to be a black pudding pie in the face.

 

2          Play the characters straight. Nothing destroys funny more than a character that thinks he is being funny. Just look at the decay of 'The Big Bang Theory' from being a solid sitcom with some genuinely likeable characters, to a smug, hammy yuk-fest.

 

You can have a bunch of silly knights pretending that coconuts are horses; or a seven foot dwarf that joins the city watch; or an immortal god of time who flies around in a box that is bigger on the inside. The point is that no matter how absurd the situation, to the character, that is the normal.

 

The one straight man reacting to the absurdity works (Dick Louden in Newhard, Jeff Winger in Community), but you can't have every character pointing out that the Emperor has no clothes, cause then he's just some naked royal dude. 

 

3          The stakes have to be real. To borrow from a film that illustrates the point perfectly, death is on the line. The Princess Bride, The Goonies, Ghostbusters and even the Holy Grail all have a basic plot that wouldn't be out of place in the most serious of films. If the characters fail, they loose their soul-mate, they loose their homes, they face Armageddon or they fail in a divinely appointed quest.

 

Still, you might write the funniest thing since Hamlet 2 and still not find an audience. Anyone who has ever spent any time in a forum realizes that some people take this shit way to seriously.

 

Any good supplements/adventures/games that I'm missing? I have read Portable Hole Full of Beer (and if you haven't, I do recommend having a look).

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Kids in the Hall Saturdays

For those you have not met him, may I introduce, Gavin

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Inspiration is where you find it

I was trying to come up with some new magical items when I saw a picture of a mage wearing a black cowl. The rest came easy. Next I think that I will do a hammer, iron armour and indestructable purple pants.  
 
Cowl of the Bat
This black hood and mask is topped by two, very realistic, large bat-like ears. While worn, the cowl emits a high-pitched ping that allows the person wearing the cowl to see by echolocation (no penalties for low light or pitch darkness). The cowl can be rendered useless by white noise (waterfalls etc). It also causes the wearer to speak in a gruff, whispery voice though why it does so is not clear.
 
Cape of Steel
This large, red flowing cape grants an armour bonus of -4 to all physical weapons. It does not grant the same bonus against magic, magic weapons or weapons made of a certain green crystal.
 
Bracers of Truthful Deflection
These solid steel bracers grant an armour bonus of -2 to all projectile weapons. It does not provide any bonus to melee weapons. They also compel the wearer to tell the truth at all times.
 
Yellow Booties of Going Really Fast!
Two knee high canary yellow boots. When worn, they grant the wearer the same movement rate as a horse plus one extra attack per round.
 
The Emerald Ring
This large ring is carved from a single emerald and will magically fit any finger it is placed on. The ring contains six spells of the wearer's choice that can be cast at will. The ring will not work if the wearer is wearng any yellow clothing of any kind.
 
Mace of the Hawk
This large, unwieldy mace is a +1 magical weapon. It also grants the holder the ability to fly for a limited time (5 minutes) per day.
 
Blue Bikini Bottoms and Big Red Suspenders of Shapeshifting
This two piece ensemble consists of a pair of sky blue pair of bikini briefs, held up by wide, red suspenders with two golden clasps at about nipple height. Both items must be worn together, outside of all regular clothing in order to work.
 
The outfit allows the wearer to assume the physical shape and clothing of anyone they touch for up one hour (they can willingly change back at any time). It does not change wearer's voice.

Crocodile Armour

io9 has an article on real-life crocodile armour (likely actually a cerimonial garb).

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Thief Item: Gloves of Cheating

Gloves of Combat Cheating
Made from the softest skin of displacer beast kittens, these gloves allow the thief to reroll any ONE combat dice roll (to hit or damage) once per round. They must abide by the result of the second roll.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Dark Door into Darkness

Been working on 'The Dark Door into Darkness', which hasn't left me much time for posting, but hee is a small preview.

"The Hero is instantly teleported back to the center of town. All his equipment and clothing arrive ten minutes later; clean, pressed and repaired, with a bill from Xythabooluth’s Intradimensional Dry-cleaning for 2,000 shabool crystals or the souls of ten virgin Succubae."

Kids in the Hall Saturdays

Only Buddy can make Canadian sound, sexy