Tuesday, March 7, 2023

AGE Catching Up With Me

With a second edition of Green Ronin's FantasyAGE RPG and the AGE-based Fifth Season RPG coming up (the latter being an adaptation of N.K. Jemisin's excellent postapocalyptic sfnal fantasy trilogy), I've been drawn back to this very nice and simple system. Year's ago, I used FantasyAGE for a lot of one-shots at the open gaming nights in our bookshop and came away from it kind of ambivalent. The pros outhweighed the cons, but I could never get my regular gaming table invested in it, and it kind of faded into the background of my gaming interests for quite some time; but right now, I feel like dusting off my (limited) expertise on all things AGE.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The Cloud Empress

 There's a crowdfunding underway for Cloud Empress, an RPG that hits all my buttons: ecological science fantasy with a bingo card of inspirations that has Miyazaki's NausicaƤ, Samuel R. Delany's queer post-apocalytic fever dream Dhalgren, Frank Herbert's Dune, LeGuin's Earthsea, Cixin Liu's Three-Body Problem and the art of Moebius on it:

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

The Comae Engine

Clarence Redd debuted his Frostbyte Books a few years ago with M-Space, a stripped-down science fiction rules set based on Mythras. I suspect that M-Space is pretty good, though due to a certain necessary blandness, it never quite clicked with me - I was never sure why I should choose it over something more flavourful like Traveller or Frontier Space.

However, M-Space brought an interesting innovation to Mythras and d-100 gaming in general: Its own extended conflict mechanism, which basically consists of a series of opposed rolls, where the winner deals damage to the loser's conflict pool (the conflict pool being based on one or two of the core characteristics).

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,