Friday, December 2, 2022

Open-Ended Rolls Will Pierce Your Liver!

 I'm immersing myself in all things Rolemaster right now.

It's madness.

(Imagine Charlton Heston, slamming his fists into the sand.)

To be clear: I've played about three sessions of Rolemaster (the classic edition) about 30 years ago because we considered it "Advanced MERP". It was a PITA. We returned to MERP pretty fast. And I haven't played MERP in ages, I even sold off my collection about 15 years ago because I'd convinced myself that I'd never, ever again muster any interest in anything to do with MERP or RM.

How I regret that. How wrong I was.

Now, I long for the days of critical hits that describe which inner organ has been skewered.

Now I long for endless customization of characters I will never play.

I can't really say why, because by all logic, I should be interested in systems like PbtA or Savage Worlds or Fate, which are more than enough to handle for my age-addled mind.

But I want more than I can handle. I want to bite off more than I can chew.

So I've absorbed Against the Darkmaster into my system.

I keep opening up my HARP pdf, reading random passages.

I've read the Player's Guide to Shadow World (which really is not a player's guide at all, but probably a serviceable introduction for prospective GMs nevertheless).

I'm reading a third party campaign for Against the Darkmaster right now.

I'm even brainstorming a campaign setting for Against the Darkmaster on their Discord server.

And tomorrow, I'm going the buy the "Core Law" of the new edition of Rolemaster: Rolemaster Unified.

I'm beyond help. Don't try.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Reading FrontierSpace Part 2: Character Creation & Advancement (&Equipment)

What better way to review character creation than to create a character?

There's 6 character creation steps (that include equipping your character) - a FS character starts in pretty broad strokes. In game-mechanical terms s*he is defined bei 6 Abilities, 3 Skills, Species, a Moral Code an 6-8 pieces of equipment. There's a little more differentiation involved in selecting how your species impacts your stats.

I start with rolling up my six Abilities (the core characteristics), taking them in order as they come - RAW, you are allowed to allocate them or use a standard array, but since I have no idea where I'm going, I'll start out as random as possible. Abilitier are rolled with 2D10, using a table that will mostly generate results between 45 and 65, with the minimum and maximum values being 35 and 70.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Reading FrontierSpace Part 1

is very loosely inspired by TSRs old space opera RPG StarFrontiers, which I actually played back in the day - though just a little. From the looks of it, it assumes the classical setup of a starship crew for hire, though the PCs probably won't start with a starship. True to its title, FrontierSpace also assumes that you'll operate in regions of space where the rule of law can mean the rule of the bigger blaster. It would probably serve well to emulate stuff like Firefly or Farscape. While the same can be said about Traveller, M-Space or Stars Without Number, FrontierSpace does its thing really, really well, and in terms of its rules, it might be my favourite science fiction RPG yet. It has pretty light and consistent core rules, and most of the page count of the two core books (which clock in at more than 400 pages together) is made up of sub-systems that can be slotted in and of encyclopedic stuff like equipment lists. I'm pretty sure that at the table, this is al lighter game than, say, Mongoose Traveller.

However, I haven't played FS yet, so this is just a thorough read-through of the core books. This first part is just about the first chapter of the Player's Handbook, which packs a lot of punch.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

A (belated) Review of Hessaret's Treasure

 I've been meaning to review this Mythras scenario since I ran I more than a year ago, but somehow, I'm only now getting around to it ... full disclosure: I'm working on a few small, Mythras-related projects with its author Matt Eager, but that's actually only because I've reached out to him after reading and playing the scenario. Also, this review is based on the German translation of it.

I'm not going into details here, but still,


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Some thoughts on OpenQuest 3rd Edition

I'm having trouble with reading through the third edition of OpenQuest. The thing is, this new edition warrants a complete re-read, but since I feel that I know most of it from 2nd Edition, I keep leafing back and forth for the new stuff. And the new stuff is good, good enough to convince me that OQ3 is both the best expression of OQ yet and probably also the best rules-light take on BRPish d100 mechanics out there.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

A Legacy of missed Opportunities

By the end of this review, I well tell you that Legacy of Blood for vsD is worth buying - after picking it apart in bloody pieces. Really, I'm positively angry about many things this scenario does, BUT it features a great premise and enough material to actually make it work. This could be a great, complex, atmospheric scenario about falling from grace (and maybe rising again) - instead, author Jonathan Hicks for some reason decided to write LoB as a railroaded mediocre dungeon romp that doesn't make much sense. It's a mystery, and not one of the good kind, but it leaves enough to be salvaged and turned into something beautiful.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

vsD Adventure Review: The Silence of Dawnfell

 I fear that I might be a little unfair towards this adventure: It is a good one, but I'm reading it right on the heels of Shadows of the Northern Woods, which is a tough act to follow. Especially since a lot of motives and themes of Dawnfell are reminiscent of SotNW: Again, there's a small village to be saved, free folk who have become estranged from each other and must be brought back together, a magical McGuffin that the bad guys are after and a climatic battle where the outcome depends hugely on how many checkmarks the characters were able to make on their adventurous to-do list in advance. In both adventures, we have spiders in the woods and ancient burial sites hiding treasures and answers. Even some of the NPCs feel like variations on a theme when compared to SotNW (Annis/Beltine, Wulfric/Brynjar, Morcant and his She-Wolf/Urgusk and his Mountain-Lion). It's hard to say if, playing both scenarios back to back in an actual campaign, this would feel like a thematic throughline or rather like "Oh well, another troll with a vicious pet and another problematic thane."

But while SotNW uses its sleepy, rural setting as a springboard to dive deep into the (admittedly vague) mythology of vsD's implied setting, Dawnfell firmly sticks to being an adventure about saving a village from a band of trolls. Which is actually a good thing, because it makes Dawnfell truly self-contained and also thematically more suitable for a group of 1st level characters. As such, one might say that Dawnfell is better at being what it is than SotNW, but it is also a little less impressive.