Posts

iiRcade: Classic Arcade Gaming with an app store!

Image
Like many people in Gen-X, I've always wanted a real life video arcade cabinet of my very own. Something to play the classics like Ms. Pac Man, Commando, Double Dragon, Contra, Dig Dug, Q-Bert, Frogger, and of course, the ever popular Dragon's Lair. Certainly over the past 20 years or so this has become possible with MAME cabinets available on eBay and these days, even on Amazon, but here's the problem, and it's several fold:  Most of these cabinets cost upwards of a grand or more (before shipping) to get them the way you want them, unless you've got the technical know-how to build one yourself.  Quite frankly, half the ROMs you get on these things are illegal. Others exist in the gray area of, "They probably won't come after us for it, so screw it," and I am, generally speaking, against piracy.  See #1. With a MAME cabinet, even (and especially) one built with a Raspberry Pi, you need a degree of technical aptitude to upload and add new ROMs to your m

Alignment Experiment: Replacing Law and Chaos with Light and Dark

Image
  Light and Dark: an Alternate Alignment System The core alignment system in early versions of D&D and many OSR games focuses on the law/chaos axis. An alternate alignment system is presented here that uses the good/evil axis instead, but also adds a new level of descriptiveness in the form of light and dark. The intent is to provide a better descriptor of a character's moral and personality types than the law/chaos axis does, and one that works a bit better in modern games.  Good vs. Evil The idea of good vs. evil is easy enough to delineate and should be accessible to all of our players. If it's not, well, we worry about you a little. Essentially, "good" implies placing value on other human lives, on honesty, forthright living, and generally understanding the difference between right and wrong. Good characters generally keep their word when they give it, don't break promises, don't kill, avoid violence when possible and usually seek diplomatic solutions

The Darkness Spell in 5e is Pointless

Image
 Here's a fun observation. The spell darkness, in 5e, has absolutely zero mechanical effect in 5th edition D&D. Darkness creates a heavily obscured area .  Creatures within that area effectively suffer from the blinded condition. Blinded characters suffer disadvantage on attacks, and creatures attacking them have advantage. The spell negates darkvision . All characters within the sphere of magical darkness have disadvantage to attack, but advantage to attack other creatures in the darkness. This advantage and disadvantage cancel each other out . All creatures within the space of a darkness spell battle as normal. The spell is, from a mechanical sense, pointless and negated. Certainly this discounts a proper GM who looks past it and says, "no, that's stupid," but yeah, strictly BY THE BOOK it's a pretty gross oversight by the designers of the game from a mechanical standpoint. Also, I pointed this out to the Sage Advice people some time ago and they confirmed

Elf Lair Games Partners with Troll Lord Games on Drivethru RPG

Image
 From Troll Lord Games and Elf Lair Games comes a combination of great gaming goodness from the mind of Jason Vey.  Jason is a writer of many talents, having worked with Troll Lord Games on his Amazing Adventures RPG and Castles & Crusades as well as owning his own RPG company, Elf Lair Games. This bundle offers TWO core rulebooks--Amazing Adventures from Troll Lord Games and Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars from Elf Lair Games, the latter co-written with noted designer Timothy S. Brannan. Also included are five adventures which can easily be used with either game, with only minor conversion work needed! Whether you're in it for the high-flying multigenre adventure or the creepy and shadowy worlds of horror and urban fantasy, this bundle has it all, at a whopping 40% off cover price for a limited time! https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/342653/Amazing-OGRES-BUNDLE

Tech Blog: Xiaomi Mi Box S vs NVIDIA SHIELD TV Android TV Boxes

Image
Yeah, I know, this is an old-school gaming blog, but I needed somewhere to put this, and it's a bit of a ramble, so bear with me. If anyone is cutting the cord, this may come in handy for you. Juliette and I upgraded our streaming box today to an NVIDIA Shield TV. I had originally purchased a Xiaomi MiBox S as a test case for cutting the cord. I can now compare the two for anyone interested in going for an Android TV box.  Note that I did NOT go with the $190-$200 SHIELD Pro, which is the high end gaming version of the Shield TV, and comes with double the memory and an extra USB port. I went with the NVIDIA SHIELD TV "base" model, which looks like a cylinder. Xiaomi Mi Box S NVIDIA SHIELD TV Price  The MiBox S EASILY wins in this category, going for between $64 and $66 on Amazon. The Shield TV goes for $149 on Amazon and at Best Buy, where we bought ours.  Looks Again, I have to give the edge to the MiBox, here. It's a very unassuming small, black, square box that sit

New Release from Elf Lair Games: A Faustian Dilemma for Night Shift: VSW

Image
  Welcome to the City... The City is vast and sprawling, in many ways an archetype of every city in the world, from New York to Sydney to LA to Hong Kong, to Paris, London, Dubai, and beyond. It’s a city where the buildings tower so high into the sky and are so thick together that the sun doesn’t penetrate the streets and it’s always dark. Night is when the City comes to life, and few people here ever see the daylight anyway, because Night time is the right time in the City. The City doesn’t seem to have a name. To those who live here, it’s simply “The City,” and it’s more than home. It’s heart. The City is a piece of those who live here, and those who live here are a piece of the City. It’s a City of contradictions—on one hand always dark and shadowy, with foreboding alleyways and oubliettes, on the other hand full of vibrant life where there’s always something going on. This is a City where shops don’t close at 9, but operate 24 hours a day, where people are sure they sleep, but can’

Gaming in the Tarantino-Verse

Image
 This is just a little something I've been thinking about over the past couple days as I decided to revisit the Tarantino-Verse courtesy of my Tarantino XX Blu-ray boxed set and my copy of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which I consider to be Tarantino's magnum opus. It occurs to me that the universe created in Tarantino's movies is ideal fodder for gaming, and just about any modern game could handle the genre, so long as it's not overly tactical in nature. Let's take a look at the kinds of game that best suit such a campaign, and what gaming in the Tarantino-verse requires, from tropes to alternate history and universes within universes. Choosing the Game The first step in running a Tarantino-verse game is choosing a game with the right qualities. It's important, first of all, that the game you choose plays fast, fast, fast. You don't want a game that requires you to leave the dice on the table, compare several different dice against each other, build compl