Showing posts from 2017

Galactic Hinterlands

Watching a bunch of the remastered Star Trek original series episodes and a couple of the movies really got me missing the early days of the franchise, with it's earnest optimism for humans and our institutions, and strong sense of curiosity and wonder in the face of the unknown.  Which, of course, made me long to capture the experience somehow in RPG form.

Far Trek and Where No Man Has Gone Before would seem to be good starting points for someone with avowedly "old school" role-playing inclinations such as myself. But for some reason I found myself gravitating to John Harper's Lasers & Feelings, maybe because I thought something simpler might be easier to rope my kids into playing.

But Lasers & Feelings has a bit of a tongue-in-cheek feel to me, and leans slightly more story-game than I would hope. Also it lacks a certain amount of focus on the flavor-details I love from the old shows. Fortunately though Harper released Lasers & Feelings through a Creativ…

First Session with Katherine GMing

Over the past years, I've run a few sessions of the Hero Kids RPG for my daughter Katherine (9), her brother Charles (7) and a friend of theirs (8). Hero Kids is kind of a light-weight tactical game with figurines (or cardboard cutouts) moving around a 1-inch dungeon grid.  It is a bit less "theater of the mind" than I usually enjoy, but my daughter in particular has seemed to like it. And suggestions that we might try something without the figures and dungeon tiles had her skeptical that you could get a good idea of where everyone was without them.

Sessions in the past have either used pre-published scenarios or, more often, just me laying out dungeon tiles and plonking down figures at random for her to fight.  Which is fine with her, but I find not very mentally engaging.
So today I suggested that she run a game instead and come up with the adventure herself. She's pretty in to creative projects of any sort, and took to the challenge with gusto. I almost think a pa…

What does the "old school renaissance" (OSR) in role-playing mean to you?

Back in December, Mike Evans asked:

"Many people have different opinions on this... so: what does the OSR mean to you? What characteristics define it?"
I responded at the time in the thread he started, but wanted to repost my thoughts again here for future reference:

The Old School Renaissance (OSR) in role-playing games seems to mean different things to different people, and I've seen some frustration, especially outside the OSR community with trying to pin down a definition.  Or disdain due to the idea that OSR is simply shorthand for nostalgia-driven, regurgitated pap.

But the ambiguity doesn't really bother me at all.  When I see OSR I know what I'm getting, and nostalgia is only a piece of the formula.

In my mind OSR is associated with any combination of the following:

Compatibility (either 1-to-1 or in spirit) with older types of games.An effort to figure out the mindset which went in to earlier games, approached with both a critical eye and an open mind.  Usual…

Infravision - A Black Hack Hack

Infravision is the most recent thing I've been working on, a little Black Hack offshoot that diverges heavily in some regards and cribs extensively from a lot of other games I admire.

A bunch of major rules changes from Black Hack, but a lot more minor tinkerings and reskinnings of existing material.  There were a bunch of things I wanted to try out, and as long as changes are being made it might be worthwhile to attach this to something at least slightly different than the standard fantasy setting. Maybe not crazy different to start, but enough that shift expectations. Differences include, but not limited to: Separate races and classesStandard fantasy races swapped out for whatever others struck my whim at the time:Humans (same ol')Eld - The prigs and sickos you met elsewhere before. Here two distinct metaphysical strains.Mokta - Big, tough, lazy cat-things. Might seem familiar as well.Skulkin - R.O.U.S.sSimplified classes: Warrior/Jack/MageReduced Attributes reduced from 6 t…

Review: A Baker's Denizen - A Labyrinth Lord Adventure

Disclaimer:  I received a free a copy of this adventure from the writer for evaluation purposes.
The adventure can currently be purchased at RPGnow here.

This was not a bad little adventure. Although I level quite a bit of criticism against it in the sections to follow, I think it actually holds together rather well as a situation for PCs to stumble across in the course of their travels. Aside from the typical itinerant adventurer scenario, it seems like just the sort of thing to include in a city watch style campaign.

The art was sparse but decently done.  The three dimensional dungeon diagram was nice, although it seemed an unusual choice to provide both color and black-and-white versions of the same illustration in the document.

The art on the first page (defacto cover art) isn't bad, but seems a bit arbitrary (the door to a bakery?  A crypt?).  Also, the text box for the credits runs over the illustration.  The margin art is presumably meant to look like some kind of elaborate…