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May 17, 2009 Posted by | News, Reviews and Culture, RPG | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Story Cubes: A Random Plot Generator

rsc01I came across these cubes when reading this post over at the Core Mechanic.  Tom’s article was a fascinating read, but I couldn’t help but notice the graphic.  The cubes intrigued me and I went to their site to see for myself.

What are story cubes? From The Creativity Hub: Can you can tell a story that begins with “Once upon a time…” using all 9 face-up images on the  dice? Rory‘s Story Cubes™ comes with nine six-sided dice for a total of 54 images, all packed into a portable pocket-sided box. Every roll results in one of over 10 million combinations for you to use as the starting point for a story or conversation. Rory’s Story Cubes™ is both a great family game and excellent teaching tool, with most fun to be had from ages 6 and up.

200917These cubes are marketed to teachers, educators, parents and other related professions as a way to promote creative thinking.  I wondered just how useful these were as a GM tool.  At 12.95 pounds (exchange rates vary), I decided to get a set for myself.  They arrived today.

These are high quality cubes.  Made of standard die material each of the images is embossed into the face of the cube.  PIT #3 (age 10) is completely fascinated by these cubes.  Even if I DON’T use them as a GM tool they were already worth the money spent.

Just as example I rolled the 9 dice.  I rolled a rainbow, footprint, flashlight, cane, evil shadow, magic wand, arrow, fish, and question mark.   OK that’s a random plot if I ever heard one.  Don’t believe me?

After the storm, the party followed tracks into a dark cave.  One of the magic users tripped and released his inner dark side.  After attacking the rest of the party he vanished into the dark recesses of the cavern.  The party was able to decipher runes on the wall and determined that the only cure was a rare fish that lived within the cave. 

The cubes ship from England but are worth the wait.  Two pointed ears for these GM tools.

May 13, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Legacy D&D, News, Reviews and Culture, RPG | , , , , , | 5 Comments

My Top 5 RPGs

Zachery over at RPG Blog II is compiling a list of the top 25 RPGs of all time.  Thought I’d share my list with you and give the reasons behind those choices.

s2p100101. Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition
The rules are simple and easy to learn.  This is the rule set that brought me back to the RPG hobby after a nearly 25 year hiatus.  It’s also given me something I share with all of my children.  It gets the top spot because it’s so easy (didn’t I say that already) and we (my kids and I) ‘Savage’ other games (Stargate, Serenity) to play using these rules

cwcover-lg2. Car Wars
My very first RPG.  Yes, I know that when it first appeared it wasn’t technically an RPG.  However, over the years it evolved into much more than a simple vehicular combat game.  I introduced PITs #2&3 to this game after shelling out big bucks on ebay to replace my flood destroyed collection.  My boys and I spend the off season of NASCAR playing Car Wars.  My proudest moment was when my 10-year old (PIT#3) built his own car and proceeded to (literally) smoke his old man in an arena.

3. Savage Worlds Pirates of the Spanish Mainpotsmcover
What started as buying fleets of tiny little boats for our in house pirate (PIT #3), morphed into a purchase of the RPG rules.  All three children took to it like ducks to water.  This got PIT #1 interested in other RPGs.  She joined a Sunday afternoon D&D group.  Three months ago I was invited to join this same group.  For all the good times I’ve had playing  this game with my kids, it will always hold a special place in my heart.

dadphb24. D&D 2e
This is the version of the game that PIT#1 started playing.  Because it’s the version I play with my children without my DMing it gets a high place in my list.  I fail to understand the lack of love for this game amongst the D&D community.  But then I’ve never played 3.5 and it’s been nearly 25 years before this that I played D&D

5. Stargatesg-1cover
I’m a science fiction fan.  If it’s SF, I’ll read it, watch it, play it.  My daughter, (PIT#1) and I are Trekkers.  She has watched every incarnation of Trek with Daddy all the way back to first run episodes of TNG.  My youngest, (PIT#3) prefers Star Wars and he will sit and watch the movies with me.  PIT#2 will watch NASCAR with Dad (he’s 14 and too big to say Daddy anymore) till the cows come home.  Stargate is ONE show we all agree on.  When I found the rulebook online and told the kids it was coming home, they all three camped out by the mailbox waiting for it to arrive.  This is the game I ran on Friday evenings at the Youth Center.  Granted I am running a “Savaged” version of the game but it’s still Stargate.

If you noticed the recurring theme of my reasons behind the whys for my top five, you saw that each involves my family.  My family is an importatnt part of my life.  Anything I do with my family is going to rank pretty high on any list.  The other thing is that I’m doing my part to make sure that RPG as a hobby is passed on to the next generation.

The remainder of my list as submitted to RPG Blog II
6. Mutants & Masterminds
7. D&D 4e
8. James Bond
9. Risus
10. Gurps
11. Champions
12. Necessary Evil
13. Serenity
14. Being Berin Kinsman

Why only 14 and not 25?  Honestly the top 13 are the only games I’ve ever played.  Number fourteen is on the list because I owe a lot to Berin Kinsman.  He’s the one who encouraged me to start writing my own blog.  Soon as I’ve got the extra money Being Berin Kinsman is joining my collection.

April 16, 2009 Posted by | News, Reviews and Culture, RPG | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Open Game Table: a review

 ogt-sqr-254x300My copy arrived in the mail on Monday 4-6-09.  Given all the hype I was looking forward to this.  My first impression is that it lives up to its billing.  My second impression is that it is D&D top heavy.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if D&D is your thing.

The “Open Game Table” contains ten chapters and a foreword written by Wolfgang Baur (www.koboldquarterly.com):

Chapter 1: Play Style (3 articles)
Chapter 2: Game Play (8 articles)
Chapter 3: Characters & Players (4 articles)
Chapter 4: Monsters & NPCs (3 articles)
Chapter 5: Encounters, Settings & Location (3 articles)
Chapter 6: Adventure Design (4 articles)
Chapter 7: Campaign Setting Design (4 articles)
Chapter 8: Classes, Action & Equipment (6 articles)
Chapter 9: RPG History & Commentary (7 articles)
Chapter 10: The RPG Tool Box (5 articles)

Most of these articles appeared before I really discovered the network.  So this is my first exposure to a lot of this writing.  Wow, I’m honored that my own little blog is deemed worthy to share space with these writers (on the network not in the book).  It’s also obvious that this project was a labor of love.  The editor does a good job porting the electronic comment to the printed page.  The only thing I would have preferred to see was the inclusion of comments.  However, I’m given to understand that there was some controversy during the publication process the precluded the inclusion of comments.

As stated previously the articles favor Dungeons & Dragons (4th edition in particular).  Does this mean the book is useless for those who play games other than D&D?  No it’s not, quite a bit of the articles can be stripped of their D&D specifics and ported into whatever system you prefer.  There’s also quite a bit of system neutral items included as well.

I plan on making extensive use of this tome.  In short it’s well worth the $22.95

April 15, 2009 Posted by | News, Reviews and Culture, RPG | , , , | 1 Comment