Rolisteam – A Nice Virtual Tabletop

More and more I learn how much the gaming community has matured, largely through the wonderful projects that I stumble across. When doing one of my periodic searches for roleplaying materials in French (search for “Jeux de roles” if you are interested), I came across an image for Rolisteam. It is a virtual tabletop you download to your computer and then you run from there. I have used Roll20 quite a lot in the past years and while I love it, I already see some things I like better in Rolisteam, even though I haven’t used it to play. First of all, it is dependent on my computing set-up, which I love. That means that the music backgrounds do not have to be limited by the same licenses that Roll20 is. I have a huge collection of music, and now I can use selected clips from AC/DC, Jeff Wayne, Wagner, and anything else I want. Lovely! It has a map drawing tool and chat window. One doesn’t have to worry about the memory limits imposed by a free account in Roll20 (I’m cheap, ok?). The players or DM can open any picture online or on their own computer, which is great. The downsides I see so far are:

  1. No audio or video chat (that’s ok, I use Skype for that)
  2. No distance calculator
  3. One has to add hex grids to one’s own maps before uploading them
  4. and biggest of all, I can’t figure out how to add a png of a character. All I can do right now is upload an image on top of the map and then move it around. Roll20 does that a lot nicer.

Still, it is a nice free tool to add to your toolbox. Please let me know what you learn from using this — I’m doing face-to-face tabletops right now, but who knows when I’ll need virtual again!

 

Posted in Gaming Tools & Accessories, Maps, Roll20 | Leave a comment

If you have too much money laying around…

You could do worse than set up gaming rooms like this for you and your friends to enjoy. Holy cow!

And here’s the set-up that blows my mind. Lovely set-up, lovely room!

Posted in Miniatures | Leave a comment

The Death of Sheldon

Sheldon, having recovered from the flechette damage that tore away half of his face and from the Firebelly Arn burns that crisped it again, decided to search a building filled with a green viscous liquid. As he recovered from his new chemical burns (22 hp of damage), he resolved to be more cautious in the future.

Entering an overgrown organic building, the party rescued a general household robot by the name of Glysok 4000, who was ecstatic to once again be serving a living PSH. They of course set her to work cleaning the bunker, and left her to go do more adventuring. Sheldon went first, and encountered 2 Glowing Zombies, and died immediately of radiation burns as his skin boiled away. The rest of the party left him to his fate and hid in the bunker.

The next day, Sheldon’s brother Melvin arrived, and the party broke the unhappy news. Melvin went to recover his brother’s effects, and dropped the fragile building on the zombies within. When they emerged, he was horrified to find Sheldon among them, now a Glowing Zombie himself. Sheldon soared into the air after Melvin, the two circling the town a few hundred feet up. Melvin slowly destroyed his brother using his bow while Corinne took pot shots from the ground. Corinne was so absorbed in this task that she didn’t realize that three Carnel Zombies are sneaking up on her. She unloaded her .45 into them three times as she retreated. Just as she finished, Melvin saw that her gunfire had attracted the 18 Glowing Zombies they had encountered before. Using his Magnetic Control, he whirled her around using her handgun, so she could see them. Corinne ran south away from them, but was not evading them, so Melvin came to carry her away with his Telekinetic Flight. Unfortunately, he was not strong enough to do so, but he did help her take some huge leaps away and eventually they got clear. They spent the night in a tree but then got lost when they tried to find their way back. Meanwhile, Shri and Growler had gone back to the bunker, where Glysock waited in horror for the bear to do her business in the shower. Thankfully, Growler decided to transform into her cat form, so she could use the toilet.

Melvin and Corrine spent the next 8 days trying to find the way home. Melvin then lost Corrine, and the two wandered the wilderness alone for another 4 days until both somehow found their ways home — Melvin to Enom, Corrine to Mourne. Melvin immediately went south again, sure he could find the bunker now, but it took him another 4 days. In the meantime, Corrine convinced Mourne to send a trading party to Sittard, and gain protection for most of her trip back to the bunker.

Once back at the bunker, they finished exploring the town and then gathered their loot and headed back to Mourne. There they were able to get 20,000 cr. in trade for the mini-gun and 5,000 for Glysock, whom they decided to keep. Word also reached them of increased violence by the bears to the north. The party armed up, and Melvin bought 10 .45 automatics, becoming “Ten Gun Melvin.” The most important purchase though was the 10 credit compasses, the maps, and the short range comms that would hopefully prevent them from being lost in the future.

Posted in Mutant World Campaign | Leave a comment

My Gaming Style

I’ve now been running my Mutant World campaign for a few sessions and it has given me a lot to think about. I’m running it largely out of nostalgia for Gamma World in the 1980s, and I started with GW 1st edition as my base rules. They’ve now mutated quite a bit, in that I went through all the other editions of the game and looked at how monsters and cryptic alliances had changed. I modified the cryptic alliances to fit my setting, using some new ones and one or two from Paranoia, another game I liked. GW had a lot of closed matrices, and I’ve opened those up. For example, Physical Strength (PS) never went above a 20, but in mine it is open-ended. One of the player characters is a mutated bear with a PS modifier of 3.3 for size, so her STR is 59. I also modified the combat system, though I kept the old school hit points. I turned AC on its head and made it open-ended to accommodate very high ACs. I dissected the weapon damage vs. AC and made that open-ended as well. But I also learned that the original intent of the GW combat was to have fast combat (it was designed by a bunch of wargamers after all). My Navah system is based more upon the Runequest system, and is much more deadly than the GW system. Limbs and heads go flying all the time, and the combat takes longer. Combats with equal number of combatants can take 10-20 minutes in GW, 30-60 minutes in Navah, and 1-2 hours in RQ. I think the difference is game vs. story. GW is definitely a game, and is hard to make into a long-term campaign (though of course I’m trying to do that). RQ is much more about the story, as is Navah. And part of this is also related to the types of campaigns. GW was very much dungeon or adventure based. I created a random world generator for it back in 1990, and I still play it as a sandbox game, much as I do Navah or RQ.

I’ve also been listening to Matthew Colville’s YouTube talks about gaming, and have been enjoying them a lot (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWAhcY9QroQ). He seems like a very talented DM, a good storyteller, and he’s been doing this stuff a long time too. What he considers a sandbox is different from my idea of a sandbox. His sandbox starts with a basic town (Hommlet, usually) and then tosses hooks to the players that lead them to well-worn basic dungeons (Keep on the Borderlands, Caves of Chaos, Temple of Elemental Evil (revisited), etc.) that he has played so many times he can probably do them in his sleep. That gives him sufficient knowledge of the world to let the players pick their plans, and to allow the various other things in the world to keep happening, whether the players are affecting them or not. He calls this “the clock is always ticking.” Nice. But my sandbox is much larger, possibly because I’m an idiot and spend too much time on it. I develop a whole world, culture, and maps for hundreds of miles of territory. Then I generate every settlement, inn, tavern, mage’s covenant, leader, and their significant others, children, and magic items. I haven’t done pets yet (got to do that sometime!). I also have places of adventure scattered about the map and even 2-3 story arcs that are going on in the background. But I think Matthew is better at giving players story hooks. My players are often frustrated that “they don’t know what to do” because there are so many choices. I have lists of hundreds of rumors available in the city, so they chase every single one of them down hoping to drop into an adventure. I allow characters lots of choice, and some do well with that, but those players are so advanced they would do well just about anywhere. They can even get overly paranoid, which slows down the adventure.

Matthew talks a lot about about the Outdoor Survival Game (map below), but I haven’t had time to digest that game yet. Makes sense as an overland map, but then again, I have those already. Matthew also mentions Ranger region specializations, which sound good but I haven’t figured out how to add in yet. Maybe one’s Survival skill affects random encounters? That would be cool and make the skill worth more. He also points us at the D&D 5th Edition Random Encounter Generator, which is the sort of tool I love to develop. I think I’ll be editing my random encounter generator as a result, to allow for encounters with several types of creature.

outdoor-survival-game-map

Lessons for me today:

  • Provide more obvious hooks to player characters that will lead to adventures
  • Always have 5-6 adventures in the wings for characters to choose from
  • Add encounter effects to Survival skill
Posted in Thoughts | Leave a comment

Baby Cakes – Role Play Tournament (Be Aggressive)

It is the holiday season, and so of course this started running through my head. Enjoy!

Be aggressive, B-E aggressive.
Be aggressive, B-E aggressive.

Just one girlie at the tourney and it’s kill or be killed.
The Dungeon Master is the bastard known as Pliny the Ill
But I, I could feel it coming through the air that night.
Oh Lord, my sword’s out. Jesus, just avert Your eyes.
Took me years to develop these skills.
I’m untouchable thanks to these pills.
The way’s paved with knaves that I’ve horribly slain.
See me coming, better run for those hills. Listen up now.
You got me killing, uh.
You got me blind to feelings.
I crush your face, I take your jewels, you have no way of dealing.

Be aggressive, B-E aggressive.
Be aggressive, B-E aggressive.

“Mirror mirror, uh, up on the wall, uh,
Who’s the baddest motherfucker of them all, uh?
Just like Columbus, uh, he get the bloodlust, uh.
Just like Columbus he get murderous on purpose.”
You got me hurting, uh.
You got me pulling curtains.
You sucking chili dogs while I go on my crazed berserking.

Be aggressive, B-E aggressive.
Be aggressive, B-E aggressive.

10s and 20s, what’s so funny, fucking 20 10?
Sweet Jesus, please just get me through this. Take me home again.
But I’m all up in the Deathworld, snap.
Rub a bump in the Deathworld, shit.
I’m all heavy with the winnings not to mention all the sinning and I lost it in the Deathworld, crap.
In the Valley of the Shadow a Boo Berry attacked.
He was the hitman of the girlie, who survived to the last.
She was the cutest necromancer that I ever did see.
I almost wished myself to die so she could win the whole thing, but

Be aggressive, B-E aggressive.
Be aggressive, B-E aggressive.

boo-berry

Visit Brad Neeley’s site at http://creasedcomics.com/

Posted in Humor, Songs and Lyrics | Leave a comment

Zombietown

The players were joined by Shri, a mutated Peregrine Falcon who had runaway from Telph to join them. They tried to send her home, but then continued to explore the town, quickly running into 14 Glowing Zombies. They engaged them, which was a deep mistake. After multiple radiation burns, they fled. Growler and Sheldon headed northwest, Shri and Corrine headed south. Both evaded their slower pursuers, but while Growler and Sheldon found safety to the north, Corinne and Shri continued to flee eastward. Shri reconnoitered and encountered Sheldon in the air. Shri spotted Growler going back into Zombietown and flew down to warn her that the Glowing Ones were searching the area. They rejoined Sheldon, and then headed east and met up with Corinne. Things were going well until 4 Erl found the party and attacked. Already injured, Sheldon jumped into battle, took a great deal of damage and then fled at top speed through the night, smashing into a tree and knocking himself unconscious. Growler transformed into a cat and hid behind a tree while Shri found a high perch and began to prepare for Reflection. Corinne, finding herself outnumbered and alone, fled eastward in the night, pursued by first the Terl and then Growler, after she transformed back and recovered her backpack. Shri flew to Sheldon’s aid, but he would be unconscious for days.

Growler and Corinne fled through the night, and eventually met up in the morning. A Gren visited them, and Growler spoke in Leaf Whispers. The Gren healed Corinne further, and left. The two then lit a bonfire in a clearing in hopes of attracting the others, but a group of Lil complained and they were forced to put it out. They convinced the Lil, through their abject appearance, to search for their friends, and a day later the Lil reported that Shri and Sheldon were to the south. Growler and Corinne headed south, but kept getting turned around and finding themselves back in the same clearing. Eventually they decided to return to Zombietown in hopes of finding their friends.

Meanwhile, Shri had attracted a Buzzer, but in a dogfight managed to take control of the giant wasp. Using it to carry the unconscious Sheldon, she headed east, too far and too fast east, and she found herself at Sweet River again. She turned west once more to Sittard, and then began spiraling out in a search pattern. Eventually the Buzzer was exhausted and crashlanded, breaking its neck, but Sheldon recovered and the two fliers then headed west to Zombietown to wait there.

The party reformed, and searched the houses in the northern part of town. Sheldon insisted on searching a disgusting house filled with human excrement, but in doing so found a hidden bunker below it. The bunker became their base for several days. There was running water, light, power, two beds, and six barrels of preserved food. The former resident had blown his brains out with a .38 revolver, which still worked. That went to Sheldon. The party cleaned the beds and the house above, and re-hid the entrance under a broken couch from next door.

Later they continued searching. They found an organic house with an Electric Zombie within. Sheldon found a bazooka shell and decided to shoot an arrow at it from close range. The resulting explosion tore part of his face off, and though Corinne healed him and nursed him back to health, he dropped 3 Charisma points from the huge scar across his face. Then they found four Fast Zombies, who met a quick end. Shri found herself a sweet ride on one of the Zombies, as it could run as fast she could fly, would not exhaust itself like the Wasp, and could use all manner of weaponry. Finally, a wounded Sheldon decided to punch a Firebelly Arn that was fleeing from another house. He did 3 points damage to it, and it promptly vomited fire on him for 23 points and flew away. Once again the party returned to the bunker and waited for Sheldon to heal.

Posted in Gamma World, Mutant World Campaign, Thoughts | Leave a comment

Ruined City Generator

Playing the Mutant World sandbox campaign, I needed a generator for ancient ruins. Thankfully, a good one exists at http://wizardawn.and-mag.com/tool_acity.php  It generates a ruined city map from geomorphs created by Amanda Michaels for Dave’s Mapper (see the list of city generators at that site), and assigns numbers to each of the buildings (I haven’t figured out how they did that yet; very cool, so if you know, please let me know). Even better, you can use the Mutant Adventure generator and it creates descriptions for the buildings, monsters, etc. Nice! I used it last week and it saved me when the players when west instead of east. But of course it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, so I spent the last week creating my own Excel-based generator for the contents of the buildings. I’ll still use the Ruined City Maps, but I’ll use my own descriptions. Some of the things I put in there were:

  • Condition of building, along with detritus found within.
  • Monsters (including robots, synths, cyborgs, and androids), both primary and incidental (wasps, rats, etc.) found in the buildings.
  • Vehicles (commercial, personal, and sport) found abandoned near the buildings (including condition of the various parts — engine, brain, gravitics, vocalizer, communications).
  • Treasure and junk found in the buildings, along with condition.

And here’s an example of the results:

1 Three walls are broken, ceiling is collapsed. Detritus includes Shrubs.
2 One wall is broken. Detritus includes Pile of bones.
3 Pristine, with hermetically sealed door.  .     You find Baby mobile with deer and arrows (Needs minor repair). Dabber
4 One wall is broken. Detritus includes Centipedes.     You find motion sensor, wall mounted (Needs significant repair).
5 Two walls are broken. Detritus includes Wasp nests.     You find air mattress (Needs major repair).
6 Ceiling is collapsed. Detritus includes Wasp nests.     You find 10d100 plastic packets of Krott Oil, still pungent (Needs minor repair). Blight Venomwing

Not a very clean report, but it does the job for me and includes a lot of extras that I wanted in my game.  I’m looking forward to using on Sunday!

Posted in Maps, Mutant World Campaign, Thoughts | Leave a comment

Who Reads This Blog, Anyways?

I love looking at the statistics on the blog at the end of the year. It is good to see all the interest! Thanks everyone! Hope you have a great New Year!

Here’s the breakdown for hits for 2016 as of Dec. 12, by the countries:

United States 8300
United Kingdom 942
Canada 897
Germany 656
France 613
Australia 405
Brazil 278
Italy 244
Spain 233
Sweden 163
Netherlands 160
Denmark 134
Russia 124
Norway 108
Poland 98
Finland 89
Japan 82
Belgium 80
Mexico 72
New Zealand 69
Singapore 64
Ireland 56
Philippines 50
Switzerland 50
South Africa 46
South Korea 44
Argentina 42
Hungary 41
Israel 40
Austria 39
Portugal 38
India 38
Thailand 36
Greece 31
Turkey 27
Croatia 27
Taiwan 26
Indonesia 22
Serbia 22
Hong Kong SAR China 21
Czech Republic 20
Ukraine 16
Slovenia 15
Romania 14
European Union 13
Vietnam 12
Luxembourg 10
Malaysia 10
Puerto Rico 10
Bulgaria 9
Chile 9
Estonia 9
Uruguay 9
Colombia 9
Belarus 9
Saudi Arabia 8
Moldova 6
Slovakia 6
Iceland 6
Venezuela 5
Laos 5
Morocco 5
Peru 4
Lithuania 4
Georgia 4
Egypt 4
Azerbaijan 4
Latvia 4
United Arab Emirates 4
Pakistan 4
China 3
Afghanistan 3
Qatar 3
Costa Rica 3
Oman 3
Lebanon 3
Jersey 3
Gibraltar 3
Iraq 3
Cameroon 3
Tanzania 2
Sri Lanka 2
Macedonia 2
Tunisia 2
Dominican Republic 2
Turks & Caicos Islands 2
Algeria 2
Macau SAR China 2
Malta 1
Guernsey 1
Dominica 1
Nepal 1
Bahrain 1
Fiji 1
Jordan 1
Faroe Islands 1
Bangladesh 1
Ecuador 1
El Salvador 1
Belize 1
Monaco 1
Cyprus 1
Guam 1
Isle of Man 1
Posted in Thoughts | Leave a comment

Westward to Sittard

The second Mutant World party formed today, this time in a tabletop game placed one year in game time after the initial Roll20 group. The first party never returned, so a second group was sent forth, this time consisting of Corrine of Mourne (PSH), Sheldon of Enom (MH), and the mysterious Growler (Mutated Bear) from the North Country. They went south along the trail and defeated a Bigoon, then headed west, where they discovered the settlement of Sittard. From there they struck out into the forest, eventually becoming lost and stumbling on an ancient village. Sheldon was drained of some blood by a giant bat, and they found a non-functioning robot that they hope to someday come back and rescue. An Android warrior armed with a minigun surprised them and punished Growler with massive damage, but was eventually defeated with the help of ten-armed Sheldon. The party gained the minigun (ammo exhausted), a Gauss Pistol, and Battle Dress (appropriated by Corrine). Next time, they hope to finish exploring the ancient village. It was a good start to the game!

Posted in Gamma World, Mutant World Campaign, Thoughts | Leave a comment

The Path of a Hero

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal had a great cartoon about the hero’s path.

Cartoon on Survivor Bias influencing the number of farm boys who leave to become heroes

Posted in Humor | Leave a comment