Friday, April 26, 2013

Let's not talk about race

A few weeks back, I ran Austin Jimm's Contemptible Cube of Quazar, and I used these OD&D character generation rules, giving each player 10,000 XP to make as many or as few characters as they'd like, dividing the XP as desired. It ended in a glorious TPK, but that's not really the point of this post.

If you look carefully, you'll notice that race isn't referenced anywhere in the character generation document. I just didn't have room, and I figured we could handle it at the table. But an interesting thing happened that I hadn't anticipated. No one brought it up (with the exception of one player who said, "I want to be a black guy.") Now, this is a group that has a strong love for wacky character races, and I always get flummoxed by the race thing. I like to offer a wide variety of options, but I really don't like trying to sit down and codify special abilities for 30 different races, and that comes from the experience of having done it.

Another thing was this character I made and played at GaryCon. Since it was based off of Necron 99 from the wonderful film Wizards, I had no idea what race it was, and it didn't really matter.

So all of this has led me to believe that perhaps the question isn't race-as-race vs. race-as-class. Maybe it just doesn't matter. Maybe we can just toss race out the window entirely, at least as a mechanical game thing. Sure, you can be a kobold if you want, but it's more about how you look than how you function in the game. I think maybe next time I play a game with my home group where we make new characters, I'll just ask everyone to describe the appearance of their character, or even better - bring a picture! My hope would be that we would get some interesting things that are outside the scope of the traditional D&D stuff, like Necron up there, or something like the group on the title page of the Cook/Marsh Expert rule book, or perhaps something like this guy:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

DCC Monk

I decided to make a monk for DCC. I love monks. I dislike clerics. I took the DCC cleric and mashed it up with the AD&D monk, one of the goals being to make a class that could reasonably replace the cleric entirely, and I think that's a possibility here. I believe I'm satisfied enough with it to introduce it as an option in my campaign. At a minimum, I'm tired of working on it, so I don't think I'll bother with it again until something comes up in actual play that would necessitate some sort of an adjustment. Check it out!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A More Horrible Pit Trap

I read The Monster of the Prophecy by Clark Ashton Smith the other night, and near the end it had this wonderful little bit:

They came to the final step of the stairway, where, in a vast vault, an abyss whose bottom was not discernible yawned in the center of the floor. On its edge there stood a fantastic sort of windlass on which was wound an immense coil of blackish rope.

The end of this rope was now tied about Alvor's ankles, and he was lowered head downward into the gulf by the inquisitors. The sides were not luminous like those of the stairway, and he could see nothing. But, as he descended into the gulf, the terrible discomfort of his position was increased by sensations of an ulterior origin. He felt that he was passing through a kind of hairy material with numberless filaments that clung to his head and body and limbs like minute tentacles, and whose contact gave rise to an immediate itching. The substance impeded him more and more, till at last he was held immovably suspended as in a net, and all the while the separate hairs seemed to be biting into his flesh with a million microscopic teeth, till the initial itching was followed by a burning and a deep convulsive throbbing more exquisitely painful than the flames of an auto da fe. The poet learned long afterward that the material into which he had been lowered was a subterranean organism, half vegetable, half animal, which grew from the side of the gulf, with long mobile feelers that were extremely poisonous to the touch. But at the time, not the least of the horrors he underwent was the uncertainty as to its precise nature.

After he had hung for quite a while in this agonizing web, and had become almost unconscious from the pain and the unnatural position, Alvor felt that he was being drawn upward. A thousand of the fine thread-like tentacles clung to him and his whole body was encircled with a mesh of insufferable pangs as he broke loose from them. He swooned with the intensity of this pain, and when he recovered, he was lying on the floor at the edge of the gulf, and one of the priests was prodding him with a many-pointed weapon.

Chew on that for a while!

S&W Appreciate!

If you want to appreciate S&W, do it with the best version of S&W ever (which sadly happens to be abandonware)!

Get it while it's hot! (or until someone yells at me)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Adventure Time RPG (again)

Remember last year when this guy put out this awesome piece of work?

I do.

I love the concept 1000000%, but I'm not a big 4E fan, and a tactical skirmish game seems like maybe not the best framework for Adventure Time, at least for my own tastes.

TOON seems like a much better choice for my own gaming, especially considering the fact that my daughter is 4, and if I tried to explain the intricacies of 4E to her without throwing 90% of it out the window, she would give me that look she gives me. If you are a nerd and have kids, and occasionally try to get them excited about your nerdy interests, you know the look I'm talking about. The one that's like, "Daddy, WTF is WRONG with you?"

Actually what I'm posting is nothing new. I already did it here. It's just that my daughter and her friend have been asking me to play lately, so I figured I'd work up a new character sheet, stick the "Adventure Time" logo on it, and put the "rules" on a separate page. It's only become Adventure Time because that's what the girls call it and they generally pick their characters from the show.

Anyways, here's the updated PDF. The original 4E version done by that dude is still a great resource to have, since it has a ton of setting info in it, ideas for weird powers, and lots of great art to extract from the PDF in case you want to make props or something like that. It wouldn't hurt a bit to have a copy of TOON by Steve Jackson Games around either, considering the many wonderful charts it contains.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I Made a Hex Paper!

I'm always trying to find a nice sheet of hex paper to draw on, and have always had trouble finding something close to what I wanted. So I decided to figure out how to do it myself, and came up with this:

16x10 Hex Sheet

Nothing fancy here. Just a single sheet with some numbered hexes on it. It doesn't look like much, but there are 160 hexes on it. One interesting thing per hex, and you'll get a lot of mileage out of it.

Hopefully someone besides myself finds it useful!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lulu-Ready DCC RPG Reference Sheets

DISCLAIMER: This file, while perfectly usable, is still considered to be in a "draft" state by me. It is very likely I will still make a few minor tweaks before I consider it to be "final". Unless you are 100% happy with this version, or don't mind going through the trouble of making two copies of this book, don't bother with it yet!

Okay, now that we have that out of the way...

LINK: Lulu-Ready 6x9 DCC RPG Reference Sheets Interior File (DRAFT)

Here is a draft of the reference sheets that is ready to be uploaded to lulu so you can order your own copies with nice glossy paper, which I have found to be quite durable.

I am calling this a draft, because I am still entertaining the idea of potentially adding in some of the content from the appendices, such as poisons, but I haven't come to a conclusion yet. I'm also agonizing over whether or not to go through the trouble of getting a bit of art to fill in the whitespace. Part of me would like to, but most of the time it seems like more trouble than it's worth.

If you find any issues with the PDF, please let me know. I offer it up with no warranty whatsoever.

To make your lulu book, create a lulu account, start a new "paperback book" project, and choose the following options:

  • Standard paper
  • U.S. Trade 6"x9"
  • Saddle-stitched
  • Black and white

Click for bigness
From there, hit "Save & Continue" and then upload the PDF for the interior pages, and click "Make print-ready file".

After that, it's time for you to make your own cover. If you like really shitty covers, you can use the Lulu Cover Wizard. Otherwise, I suggest using the Advanced One-Piece Cover Designer. Below are the cover file specs for this particular book.

One-piece cover requirements:
  • Your file must be a PDF, JPG, GIF, or PNG
  • Spine width: 0 Postscript points wide (0.000") (0 px)
  • Spine begins 441 Postscript points (6.13") (1838 px) from the left.
  • Total cover width: 882 X 666 Postscript points (12.25" X 9.25") (3675px X 2775px)
  • If using an image, its resolution should be set to 300dpi

As an example, here is one I worked up for the booklet I made for myself. I extracted the endcap images from the DCC rulebook PDF, pasted them together, and added the title and logo. Super easy! I'd love to see what kind of awesome covers other people come up with. Post a link or shoot me an email about yours if you make one.

Here's a real crappy and blurry photograph of it. I've been using mine for nearly a year, and it's held up quite well, so I think most would be happy getting a version like this. It's a nice step up from the home-made version.

Phone camera fail
P.S. - You can totally still just print this in digest size using adobe reader's booklet function. The only thing to be aware of is that the page count is higher, so taking it to a print shop afterwards and getting it trimmed is recommended. Otherwise you may be annoyed by how much the centermost pages stick out compared to the pages closer to the covers.