Vulcan Stev's Database

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D&D 2e Game Day 3-22-09

One month to the day after we left off our 2e D&D group returned to the game.  The month long hiatus was due to a job schedule change for our DM.

The lawful/good characters, including Nevets, dashed down the stairs that were revealed last session.  Entering the chamber the characters discover members missing from the party before Nevets joined up bound and chained to the walls.  Also in the room are the obviously tortured remains of Nevets party.  Along the wall are various religious symbols including that of his Diety, Jahwei.  Two trolls, three ogres and four drow were fighting over the spoils in the center of the room.

Bawb, the militant wizard dwarf who was rescued in the last room went invisible and began to free the captive PCs.  Sir Gallahad, noticing that his Diety’s symbol had been desecrated charged into the midst of the fighting monsters with a battle cry.  Hawrayn stood back and threw stars from his robe of stars and hit the ogres.  Nevets not having a long-range weapon followed Sir Gallahad and began attacking drow.  After freeing the captives, Bawb cast fireball on the two trolls.  Meanwhile our Kender, Rayne, began stuffing the loot into her coat of many pockets.

After the trolls ignited, Bawb cast another fireball.  The party seeing what was happening made sure the rescued characters were right behind us and we evacuated.  Nevets grabbed all the religious icons and the party made it out just as the trolls erupted in a humongous fireball that consumed everything in the room.

Heading back upstairs, the party took time to heal and go through the treasure retrieved by Rayne.  Nevets received back the bow carried by his party’s archer.  The party entered the next room to discover 10 drow waiting for them and three Pedapelps.  The drow attacked as soon as we entered the room.

Rayne, our Kendar, decided to change clothes in the middle of the battle.  At this point the DMs dice began to fail him.  The DM decided to roll to see if one of the drow had been mesmerized by Rayne’s striptease.  Our female Aquatic Elf asked if the drow fighting her was mesmerized as well.  The DM rolled a critical miss on that and the drow were not only mesmerized but began to fight the fellow drow whenever they came near our females.  Nevets cast enthrall over the drow as the rest of the party battled on.  Nevets was successful.  OOC I asked if Nevets successful enthrallment caused a permanent change in alignment.  The DM and I rolled percentiles and I beat him.  Our female characters now had bodyguards, Drow with permanent changes in alignment.  Apparently the DM had decided that some of the drow in the room were in fact dragon riders.  He asked all of our ladies to roll percentiles, each beat him.  Not only do our ladies have bodyguards but the bodyguards each have dragons.  By this point the DM is pulling out his hair.  Meanwhile the rest of the enthralled drow vacated the room just as Nevets used his new bow and enchanted bow string to deal with the pedipelps.

All of this overshadowed the emergence of a specialized monkey.  The monkey was designed between myself and the DM in an effort to teach one of the players a lesson.  More on the monkey later.  As we shut down for the night, the party was introducing themselves to the new members of our party.


March 26, 2009 Posted by | Gaming Notes, Legacy D&D, Play, RPG | , , , , | Leave a comment

Gaming in the Universe of… Batman

Introduction to gaming with superheroes article with links to various RPGs centering around superheroes

batman-logoBatman Begins review
The Dark Knight review

Batman, driven to seek justice because of the atrocities he faced as a child.  Bruce Wayne, billionaire, wishes to prevent the tragedy that befell him from happening to others.  Batman protects Gotham City from any and all attacks; crime, natural disaster, unnatural disaster.  During his 70 years of published history, Batman’s character can be consistently summarized by great wealth, physical prowess, deductive reasoning and obsession.

Those four traits transcend time and genre.  Denny O’Neil once told one of the Bat-writers (I forget which writer specifically, but he mentioned it in the forward of a collected edition) that Batman was a diamond whose different facets could be reflective of any genre or time.  Following up on this bit of wisdom, one can surmise that Batman can be dropped into any gaming setting; in a fantasy game, Bruce Wayne is the benevolent lord who secretly protects his people in the guise of the Black Knight.   Vampire Batman (one of the “official” worlds of the “new” DC multi-verse) is perfect for any horror setting.  Science Fiction, though usually a staple of Superman, has done many stories of the lone protector.  Is B.A.T.M.A.N. a benevolent overlord piece of computer software? or is it a mechanized servitor designed to protect the public from those who seek to enslave it?  Regardless of the setting you drop him into, one needs only to remember that many of Batman’s enemies are pulled from the trappings of the ‘were’ and horror.  Those genres would be my first choice for continued inspiration for continued exploits in your Batman mythos.

Batman as used in a game that I’d run would be a perfect PC.  He is human, the only thing “super” about him is his technology.  Given billions of dollars and the time to train, anyone could be Batman.  His motivations are entirely human, driven but still human.  As such the Batman archetype is easily dropped into any campaign.  Simply create a filthy rich protector of the village/town/city/sector, give him access to the most advanced technology of your game setting and voila, Batman.

Another benefit of adding Batman to your superhero campaign would be the inspiration he has been for many wannabes; Robin, Nightwing, Bat-girl, the Oracle.  This could definitely be used with a whole group of low-level chracters as they study and train to help protect HIS city.

A completely different take on the character would be play completely against type and run Gotham as pulp-noir or modern crime drama.  CSI Gothamhas been explored in depth at the Dire Cafe.  The idea is that the cops do not acknowledge that Batman exists while at the same time dealing with his villains or the aftermath of his battles.

Of course playing a Batman type character in your own version of the Justice League or Avengers could be just what one of your players is itching to do.

Savage World stats for

batmanrobinBatman/Bruce Wayne Legendary
Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d12, Smarts d10, Spirit d12, Strength d10, Vigor d12
Skills: Climbing d8, Fighting d12+2, Guts d10, Intimidation d10, Investigation d12+2, Knowledge (Criminal Behavior) d10, Knowledge (Electronics) d8, Knowledge (Scientific Method) d10, Lockpicking d10, Notice d12, Persuasion d10, Repair d8, Shooting d8, Stealth d12, Streetwise d12, Survival d10, Taunt d10, Throwing d10, Tracking d12
Charisma: 30; Pace: 6; Parry: 8; Toughness: 7;
Hindrances:  Overconfident, Vow to protect Gotham City heedless of the cost to himself, Vow to NEVER take a life, Loyal, Enemy – The Joker
Edges: Arcane Background (Super Powers), Jack-of-All-Trades, Investigator, Master Fighter, Master Investigator, Connections, Improved Block, Combat Reflexes, Improved Dodge, Harder to Kill, First Strike, Improved Nerves of Steel, Commando, Natural Leader, Charismatic, Filthy Rich, Sidekick
Gear: $100,000,000,000,000+.  Wide area of possible devices on utility belt
Super Powers: • Awareness (3)  • Fear (3) • Fearless (2)  (All other powers are Devices) • Armor (1): +3, Partial • Broadcast (3): • Interface (2): Code Breaker • Lair (5) Escape Pod, Research Lab, Secure Access  • Vehicle (3) AI, Secure Access

Robin III/Tim Drake Novice
Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d6, Investigation d6, Knowledge (Computers) d18, Lockpicking d6, Notice d6,  Streetwise d6, Survival d6, Throwing d6, Tracking d6
Charisma: 5; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 5;
Hindrances:  Vow to NEVER take a life, Loyal, Enemy – The Joker
Edges: Arcane Background (Super Powers), Investigator, Dodge
Gear: Wide area of possible devices on utility belt
Super Powers: • (All powers are Devices) • Armor (1): +3, Partial • Broadcast (3): • Interface (2)

March 25, 2009 Posted by | DC, Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Gaming Notes, Other Systems, RPG | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Eerie Exploits of Ranger Company X an Introduction

companyxbadgeMy Good Friend Hank Harwell has developed a setting for Risus, entitled “The Eerie Exploits of Ranger Company X”.  Hank put a lot of work into this setting and decided to test play it as a PBP.  What is the Eerie Exploits of Ranger Company X? you might ask.  In Hank’s own words; “Perhaps the oldest and most widely respected law enforcement agency in North America is the Texas Rangers. They were established in the early 19th century by Stephen F. Austin, the American-born agent of the Mexican government, as a defensive troop to protect colonists in Texas from the depredations of hostile Indian tribes. As Texas grew, from a colony to a Republic to statehood, the institution of the Texas Rangers also evolved. Originally intended as a frontier defensive force, its mission grew into serving alongside the army, hunting outlaws, and maintaining law and order in lawless areas.
Ranger Company X was set up as a secret branch tasked to defend Texas against supernatural and other-worldly threats. While described as a company of Rangers, it is not a part of the established Ranger order, but instead reports only to the President of the Republic (later the Governor of the State).”From the .pdf

The Eerie Exploits of Ranger Company X is designed as a horror/supernatural/Western setting. It is inspired, partly by the horror and Western pulps of the 1930’s, as well as radio and television shows like The Lone Ranger and The X Files.

I hadn’t played Risus before this but Hank’s treatment of the setting intrigued me.  Hank sent me a beta copy of his setting description and directed me towards the link for the free Risus rules.  After creating my character I was ready to go.  I’m looking forward to a return to some PBP and my first foray into the Risus system.  With permission from Hank and the players, I will be distilling the PBP turns into a coherent story line and posting them for your enjoyment.

March 24, 2009 Posted by | Gaming Notes, Other Systems, Risus, RPG | , , , | 1 Comment

Game Night: 3-20-09

Last night all six of my regular players were there.  One player who had previously only attended long enough to make a character brought along two new folks.  So we had a total of nine.  There was some disappointment as I had stated earlier that we’d try to play Necessary Evil last night.  However due to Mrs VS chemo treatments and a long day at work I never got NE prepped correctly and I won’t run a game completely off the cuff.

The article about my efforts to homebrew RunePunk into a Stargate campaign is still in the works but one thing that needs to be brought out.  The Andari in RunePunk have become who they are from mishaps through accidents of the ring doors.  I have replaced the far doors in RunePunk with ring transports from Stargate.

Last week the team successfully helped out Lady Winterwood and received her recommendation for some work in Scatterpoint.

Last night Chancellor Peak IV summoned SG-21 to a meeting.  Lady Winterwood had informed him and (I hope that none of my players are reading this) unknown to the players hired them out as mercs to the Chancellor.  Chancellor Peak summoned them to Grey Mesa and “asked” them for their help in the mysterious disappearance of Sister Cannondale.  SG-21 accepted the job as Chancellor Peake dropped clues that the team might discover the identities of some of Scatterpoint’s government.

The team was directed to the Royal Crown Bar to a meeting of the Entropy Society, which is the last place Sister Cannondale was seen.  The team received a letter of recommendation from Chancellor Peake’s friend Lord Topper and off they went.

Gaining entrance to the bar the team began their investigation.  The new sniper, Chief Master Sergeant Meeker, climbed a building across the street to keep the bar under surveillance.  The team cautioned their leader to not pull a gun on the bartender.  After some quiet investigation the team determined that Lord Angst and Lady Ennui, the leaders of the Entropy society were upstairs.

Sergeants Mystery and Sassy bluffed their way upstairs with a forged note as the guard was not too bright.  Sgt Kyle bribed the bartender to allow her to bring drinks upstairs to the VIP lounge.  Sgt Steelflex attempted to taunt the guard after Mystery and Sassy had made their way past.  He succeeded and managed to get picked up one handed by the neck.  Major Johnson used the ensuing chaos to sneak past the guard.  All this happened while Colonel Winston continued to question the bartender.

The upstairs team was able to determine that Sister Cannondale had been moved to Arthur Shaw’s flat in Black Shackle.  The team downstairs continued to have fun with the guard as they discovered that stabbing him in the arm did not slacken his grip on Sgt Steelflex.  The guard kicked Sgt Emo away and finally threw Sgt Steelflex across the bar.

Sergeant Meeker tried to take out Lord Angst when it appeared that the upstairs team was in trouble due to Maj Johnson’s direct questioning of Lord Angst about Sister Cannondale’s whereabouts.  Lord Angst took a gut shit and direct shot to the head and still managed to call out for the guards to deal with the infiltrators.

Major Johnson jumped out the window.  Sgts Sassy, Mystery and Kyle ran back downstairs.  Colonel Winston ordered a retreat.  Sgt Emo dragged Sgt Steelflex’s unconscious form outside.  The team regrouped and made their way to the Spiral for the trip to Blackshackle.

March 21, 2009 Posted by | Gaming Notes, Play, RPG, Stargate | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Game Night 3-13-09

Open Game Night @ the Youth Center ( I REALLY need a cooler name for that).  We had 22 folks show up.  The RPG table ran our ongoing Stargate campaign.  Below is a synopsis of Friday’s game.

Stargate SG-21– The team has gated to P4X-514 or Scatterpoint as it is known by the locals.  Led by Lt. Col. Winston, the team consists of Major Johnson, Sgt. Emo, Sgt. Mystery, Sgt. Sassy, and Sgt. Kyle.  The gate on P4X-514 is located in the mists approximately 10 miles SE of the city proper.  The world is rich in Naquadah.

SG-21 is tasked with determining who the planetary ruling body is and then negotiate with them for the mining rights.  The problem? SG-1 spent a week on planet and was unable to determine if the was a unifying planetary government.  SG-21 is on extended assignment to determine as much as possible about the planet.

Sg-21 gated in and made their way to Pitchpit.  After determining what the local currency was and discovering that the local law enforcement is not all that observant, they hopped the Spiral to Grey Mesa.  The team determined that the best way to learn about Scatterpoint was to go to a local bar.

Sipping their drinks in the Broken Arm Bar, the team witnessed a nicely dressed woman come into the bar and then leave by the back door.  Four thugs followed immediately behind.  Major Johnson and the four Sergeants immediately stood to render assistance.  Col. Winston gave them permission to go while he stayed inside to question the bartender.  Three of the thugs were attempting to separate Lady Winterwood from her amulet.  The team rescued Lady Winterwood in the alley while Col Winston pulled a gun on the bartender.

While Col. Winston discovered that pulling a gun on a bartender in Scatterpoint is not a good idea, twelve Bluecoats demanded that Lady Winterwood give them her amulet.  Before fleeing the scene she threw her locket into the trash and told the team that if the returned it to her she would reward them.

After defeating the Bluecoats and finding the amulet, SG-21 found Lady Winterwood and returned her locket.  SG-21 now has a lead on ‘work’ on the planet so they can earn some of the local currency.

I’m using Reality BlursRunePunk as the setting for P4X-514.  I’ll be commenting further in upcoming game logs about my homebrewing this setting for use in my Stargate campaign.

March 14, 2009 Posted by | Gaming Notes, Other Systems, Play, Stargate | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gaming in the Universe of: Superman

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace so far the only review of Superman movie done by the family.

supermanlogo1Why re-invent the wheel?  There are many good RPGs centering around Superheroes.  TSR’s Marvel Super Hero game is available online as PDF, of course that’s not the Superman Universe, but heck they’re available for free.  Hero Games’ Champions, the grandaddy of all super hero RPGs is still available.  DC Heroes as published by Pulsar Games is a defunct game though the mechanics are used in their Blood of Heroes RPG.  Pinnacle Entertainment’s Necessary Evil, although not a super HERO setting does provide the rules for adding Super Heroes to your Savage Worlds campaign.  The current Super Hero RPG of choice appears to be Mutants and Masterminds, an in depth review of the game can be found at Greywulf’s Lair

The first thing we need to ask are you gaming in a generic super hero universe or one of the copyrighted ones?  I have many fond memories of playing in a Champions campaign from my high school days (no I won’t say when just know that Reagan was President when I graduated).  My GM for those days usually had Marvel and DC heroes pre-genned for folks just wanting to sit in on a game.  Though they were super heroes by the names of Supreme, Arachno-Lad, Night Stalker (a Batman clone) and Amazon (this was long before the Amalgam Universe).   In a generic universe, your Superman would be the supreme hero in that universe.  All other heroes would look to him as the ideal.  That is if you’re following the archetype right down the line.  Currently in the Marvel mainstream universe the character of the Sentry is a Superman of sorts, but his arch nemesis did a real number on him.  The character is unstable even on his best days.  The Sentry is all-powerful but is very hesitant of using his abilities.

Some ideas of how I would use a Superman character; He is the supreme hero in your universe all other heroes look up to him and follow his example, Take the Sentry route and play him as someone that doesn’t even know the extant of his powers the GM would stat out the character but not give the PC anything but the barest idea of what the character is capable of (ie let the discovery of the power base be part of the game), or I’d turn the whole Superman idea on its head, he rules your world with an iron fist and it’s up to the PCs to take him down. 

The main problem with a Superman character is coming up with credible threats against him.  Superman as an archetype doesn’t provide much of a challenge for PC.  Unless the PC had a VERY good reason for wanting to play a super man, I probably wouldn’t allow him as stated out.  As an NPC/GM-controlled character who’s lending a hand against a larger threat (ie hordes of villians) then yes.


Savage World stats for Superman

Race: Kryptonian
Attributes: Agility d12, Smarts d12, Spirit d12, Strength d12+12, Vigor d12
Skills: Fighting d8, Guts d6, Intimidate d8, Notice d4, Stealth d6, Throwing d8
Charisma:+40; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 11
Hindrances: Dependant (Minor or Major) Lois Lane is the one human above all others that Supes flies half-way around the world to rescue.  Depending on which iteration of the universe, she is even Mrs. Kent;  Power Negation (Major) – Kryptonite; Weakness (Major) – Magic
Edges: Arcane Background (Super Powers), Brawny, Power Points, Take the Hit!
Gear: Supes being who he ie doesn’t usually have gear but he does have access to a wide array of Kryptonian technology in his Fortress
Super Powers: • Attack, Melee (4): +2d6 • Attack, Ranged (4): +2d6 • Fearless (2) • Flight (15) •  Heightened Senses (1) • Immunity (4) • Lair (1) • Super Attributes (5): (Super strength.) • Toughness (7): +2, Hardy

March 11, 2009 Posted by | DC, Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Gaming Notes, Other Systems, RPG | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“Unfortunately…” new hooks for your game.

Stuck for a hook for your next gaming session?  I came across this idea on someone’s blog while I was meandering around while being sick.  As a novice GM pressed for time because of RW constraints, I am constantly looking for ways to make my role as GM easier.

Simply type “Unfortunately, [your name]” into Google search and then stand back to enjoy the results. Remember to include the quote marks around your search, or you’ll be all over the place.  We’ll use my name and then we’ll see how we can use the results for the game.  These are the top ten results.

Unfortunately Steve is dying…
Almost to cliche to be used as a hook.  Perhaps Steve is the PCs sponsor and needs something to save his life.  Immediate quest material.

A rivalry that may cool down – unfortunately Steve might not be around to see it
Whose rivalry?  Are the PCs going to help Steve or his rival.  Is Steve even part of the goings on or is he an innocent bystander?

Unfortunately, Steve will be incarcerated the entire time
Why?  Maybe Steve, through intermediaries, is hiring the PCs to find the evidence to prove his innocence or frame someone else.

Unfortunately, Steve doesn’t provide examples of Apple’s crappy products
This was actually a post about Steve Woznieck complaining about software.  I had to include it.  The hook I came up with is that co-founder of the kingdom is disillusioned with the current leadership and wants the PCs to expose the fraud and corruption.

Unfortunately, Steve, the barley straw trick requires bright sunlight to break the humics from the straw down into algicidal by-products
The PCs are called upon by the locals to fix a problem caused by an apprentice.  As the apprentice, his master, the laboratory and most of the town have been sucked into a limbo like dimension.  The locals want their loved ones saved but figure the PCs are an expendable lot if everything goes to crap. 

Unfortunately, Steve could not come due to a “last minute budget freeze”
The PCs were expecting some local help.  But Steve couldn’t make it do to monetary shortfalls.  The PCs now have to strike out on their own without help.

Unfortunately Steve didn’t make it into professional football
Depressed he turned towards mind-altering substances and unwittingly unleashed the dark power within.  The PCs must cope with the new villain/monster

Unfortunately Steve died a second time after foiling the plot in question
What caused Steve to die the first time.  What caused his resurrection?  Will he be back to seek vengeance?

Unfortunately, Steve only had the car (vehicle/horse) for three months before it was destroyed in a racing accident
Now Steve is stuck without transportation.  Steve is the village protector.  Without his “car” Steve cannot protect the village and needs the PCs to help him acquire a new one.

March 10, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming Notes, Observations of a Noob GM, RPG | , , , | Leave a comment

Gaming in the Universe of: The X-Files

x-files-logoLooking over the vast array of online fan-run rpgs that haven’t been updated in years, I came across the only system that could remotely be called gaming in the X-Files universe.  I was singularly unable to unearth an “official” tie-in.  Though I did find this X-Files like Savage Home Brew called Bureau 13.  Though a quick read through of the 11 page pdf, makes it sound more like a cross between MIB and X-Files.

Delta Green from what I’ve read is a modern day setting for the Call of Cthulhu RPG.  Since I do not own this rulebook I am unable to comment personally on how it works.  The publisher claims that it adds a modern setting, government conspiracies, and more mundane horror aspects to their Call of Cthulhu game.  Sounds like the X-Files to me.  If anyone has a copy of Delta Green they’re willing to loan (or sell cheap) let me know.

How would I add the X-Files to my RPG game?  In my Stargate campaign, I’d have some Mulder-esque (I know there’s a recurring FBI agent from at least two episodes) FBI agent tripping over the PCs on Earth.  Either that or transplant the entire X-Files onto a world at approximately 1950’s tech.  There the agent would be the one to help the SGC team see through the official story from the planet’s representatives.

Without resorting to purchasing a completely new ruleset.  To play an an X-Files type game you’ll want lots of government conspiracy, alien and horror threats some of which are real and some of which have alternate explanations.  It’ll be up to your PCs to determine which is the real evidence and which is not.  Never make things easy for your PCs.  Even with the “real” evidence there should be at least one plausible theory of why it’s not evidence at all.  That’s how I’d game out a PC X-Files game.

If government conspiracy can be added to your campaign, then Mulder and Scully could conceivably be added to the mix of NPCs that the party encounters.  As always Savage World stats follow:

fox-mulder-dana-scullyFox Mulder: Veteran
Attributes: Agility d4, Smarts d8, Spirit d10, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d4, Investigation d8, Knowledge (FBI procedures) d8, Knowledge (Paranormal) d10, Lockpicking d6, Notice d8, Persuasion d4, Shooting d4, Streetwise d6, Tracking d4
Charisma +4; Pace 6, Parry 4, Toughness 5
Fame: +10 inside the Bureau
Edges: Investigator, Level Headed, Charismatic
Hindrances: Enemy (Major) The secret Government Cabal fronted by the CSM, Delusional – sees the paranormal even when it is not present, Habit – addicted to internet porn

Dana Scully: Veteran
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d10, Spirit d6, Strength d4, Vigor d6
Skills: Healing d10, Investigation d10, Knowledge (FBI procedures) d8, Knowledge (medical) d10, Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Shooting d6, Streetwise d6, Tracking d6
Charisma +4; Pace 6, Parry 2, Toughness 5
Fame: +4 inside the Bureau
Edges: Healer, Investigator
Hindrances: Cautious (Major), Loyal, Quirk – must explain away any and all evidence of the paranormal

March 7, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Gaming Notes, Other Systems, RPG | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

RPG Blog Carnival: War! Is it really game-able in an RPG?

rpgblogcarnivallogocopyThe Book of Rev is hosting this month’s Blog Carnival.  As the title indicates War! is the subject.  I sat for the longest time and tried to think of how to write about war.  The more I got to thinking about it, the more I wondered if war was really game-able in an RPG.  “Sacrilege!” I hear the masses shout, “War is at the heart of most fantasy settings”.  Before you start composing your rebuttals, hear me out.  Also remember this is my own opinion and as always YMMV.

Let me start with Wikipedia‘s entry:
War is reciprocated armed conflict between nation-states or large political groups.  A group of combatants and their support is called an army on land, a navy at sea, and an air force in the air. Wars may be conducted simultaneously in one or more different theatres. Within each theatre, there may be one or more consecutive military campaigns. A military campaign includes not only fighting but also intelligence, troop movements, supplies, propaganda, and other components. A period of continuous conflict is traditionally called a battle, although this terminology is not always applied to conflicts involving aircraft, missiles or bombs alone, in the absence of ground troops or naval forces.

Is war even a viable part of your campaign?  That depends entirely on what you are playing.  If you’re playing a high-fantasy setting, yes war can be part of the overall campaign.  Super Heroes? you could game out a campaign of an internal struggle with the super hero community (Marvel’s Civil War) or stakes on a universe altering scale (DC’s Crisis).  In my own Stargate campaign the Gou’ald war is an ever present part of the background.  If you’re playing a game in a film noir setting then probably not.

By the definition of modern war, the combatants are large groups of forces sub-divided down to a unit level.  The armies, navies and air forces partake in a number of battles over a period of time.  Even taking war to mean the final epic confrontation in the Lord of the Rings, we’re still talking about masses and hordes of people.  In my experience, most RPG groups are limited to the parts played by the PCs and associated NPCs controlled by the players, not the actions of the vast armies.

But Mr. Vulcan, sir, as you stated earlier, our RPG group has an ongoing campaign set in the midst of a war.  Fine, are you gaming out the war? or the battles and skirmishes that your group participates in?  I’m not implying that war cannot be part of your RPG campaign. but you game out each skirmish not the complete war.  The sum total of those battles make up your war.

My all-time favorite game is Car Wars.  This name, although catchy, is somewhat of misnomer.  However, “Highway Battles” probably wouldn’t have sold quite so well.  In the beginning CW wasn’t even an RPG but you definitely were not gaming out a war.  Individual battles were the backbone of that game.  Conflicts between your adventuring group and whatever evil the DM throws in your way is still at the heart of D&D.

War-gaming is handled very nicely in games like Axis and Allies, Risk, and other games of that sort.  First person shooters such as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor do a great job of letting you participate in various battles.  My own personal take is that in your RPG campaign you are not gaming out the war but rather, how your character responds to war.

Gaming out a war is a game about tactics and strategy.  Fighting with your PC is gaming out a battle.  So is war game-able in an RPG setting?   Yes, but only as a larger overall campaign/story arch.

March 5, 2009 Posted by | Blog Carnival, Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming Notes, RPG | , , , | 3 Comments

Gaming in the Universe of: Harry Potter


Database reviews for:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

If anyone knows about a pencil and paper Harry Potter RPG, please let me know.  My Google-fu may not be as good as yours and I didn’t find a single RPG.  I did find well over 100 individual fan-based online games but not a single die-rolling version.  My first question is why?  Harry Potter is the best selling children’s series of the 21st century.  Warner Bros. is desperately trying to figure out how to make Harry Potter 9.  I can’t imagine that no one has thought of of an RPG set in Rowling’s universe.

How would I incorporate the Harry Potter universe into an RPG scenario?  The series is tailor made to be picked up and dropped in toto into any Sword and Sorcery fantasy (you know, that system that Hasbro is issuing cease and desist orders to blogs for even mentioning the name of their intellectual property) game without any alterations, just file off the serial numbers.  Without much alteration it would fit well into a space fantasy setting as well.  Imagine Dumbledore as Yoda and you see what I’m getting at.

Putting Harry Potter into a hard science fiction RPG (Star Trek, Stargate, Firefly) is a little more problematic.  My solution to this would be to replace the “magic” with “science”.  Examples of this would be; broomstick flying with anti-gravity piloting skills, alohamora –replaced with some sort of lockpicking device.

I’m not sure how much mileage a GM could get out of Hogwart’s setting.  Playing the characters themselves would be fun for younger children but not so much for teens and groganards.  Setting some kind of mystery or quest at Hogwarts would work well for an adventure but I think an entire campaign set there would wear on your players after a while.

Savage World stats for:
*note* these stats are average only, abilities and skills should be adjusted according to the year being played

harrypotterHarry Potter: Seasoned
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d10
Skills: Fighting d6, Guts d8, Investigation d6, Knowledge (Magic) d6, Notice d8, Persuasion d4, Stealth d4, Streetwise d4, Survival d4
Charisma +4; Pace 6, Parry 5, Toughness 7
Fame +45 (His name is known and his face is more recognizable as the years progress)
Hindrances: Enemy – Lord Voldemort, Heroic, Branded (unlike the PotSM Hindrance this increased his fame), Outsider (the degree of which decreases depending on what year you’re playing the characters, Harry can be clueless about some things in his world because of outsider status), add the hindrance of Young if playing first or second year
Edges: Arcane Background (Magic), Beast Bond, Inspire (only after 5th year), Filthy Rich, New Power, Wizard, Hard to Kill
Gear:Includes his wand, his broomstick, a cloak of invisibility (after 1st year), and an enchanted map that shows the location of others (after third year)

hermioneHermione Granger: Seasoned
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d10, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d4, Guts d4, Investigation d6, Knowledge (Magic) d8, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Stealth d4, Streetwise d4, Survival d4
Charisma +4; Pace 6, Parry 4, Toughness 5
Fame + 10
Hindrances: Curious, Heroic, Loyal
Edges: Arcane Background (Magic), New Power, Charismatic, Alertness, Beast Master, Wizard
Gear: Broomstick, Wand

ron_weasley1Ronald Weasley: Seasoned
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d4, Guts d4, Investigation d6, Knowledge (Magic) d8, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Stealth d4, Streetwise d4, Survival d4
Charisma +4; Pace 6, Parry 4, Toughness 5
Fame + 10
Hindrances: Poverty, Heroic, Loyal, Fear of Spiders
Edges: Arcane Background (Magic), New Power, Beast Master, Wizard
Gear: Broomstick, Wand

dumbledoreDumbledore: Legendary
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d12+3, Spirit d12, Strength d6, Vigor d12+1
Skills: Fighting d10, Guts d8, Intimidate d10+1, Knowledge (Magic) d12+3, Notice d10, Persuasion d10, Stealth d10, Streetwise, d8+1, Survival d8, 
Charisma +10; Pace 6, Parry 7, Toughness 8
Fame +75
Hindrances: Code of Honor, Loyal, Heroic, Pacifist (minor)
Edges: Arcane background, Champion, Beast Master, Power Surge, New Power, Imp Rapid Recharge, Wizard, Hard to Kill
Gear:Has access to nearly any magical artifact the GM determines.

March 2, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Gaming Notes, Other Systems, RPG | , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments