Showing posts from August, 2011

OD&D: Fate Points and Combat Systems

Fate Points A lot of old-school DMs will blanch at this idea, but I wanted to give my Age of Conan game a more over-the-top, heroic and pulpy feel this time I wanted a way to give a little something back to my players since the pre-written module I'm running is at places quite railroady, and I haven't been able to come up with good ways to fix that. So, I've implemented Fate Points, mostly as found in the Castles & Crusades Castle Keeper's Guide. Fate points are a character control/storytelling tool that have become very popular in the last decade or so, and let characters perform over-the-top feats of bravado, and mitigate the sheer randomness of the dice when things are just going really bad. For Age of Conan, my implementation is thus: Heroic Feat: Characters can spend 1 FP to add an extra die to their roll, keeping the normal amount (that is, if they're rolling 2d6 for an attack, they roll 3d6 and keep the best 2d6). Heroic Feat can b

The Age of Conan Session Fourteen

Betrayer of Asgard, Part One   Our band of (anti) heroes found themselves and a companion, the Aesir thief (and distant kinsman of Valder and Hrogar) Olaf One-Arm, fleeing through the Blue Mountains between Asgard and Vanaheim, bearing with them a great treasure, a drinking horn of ebony, accented in gold, covered with strange, runic writing.  They were being pursued by eighteen Vanir warriors, led by the indomitable and vicious Rorik Hoddersson. Using quick thinking and some sorcerous power courtesy of Merhotep, the group managed to use a rope to scale a 30-foot-high sheer cliff wall, where they took shelter on a rocky outcropping, and cut down the Vanir as they approached. Luukas made an assassination attempt against Rorik, but though the warrior fell, he was uncertain if he succeeded in killing the man, who was borne off by one of his followers. Merhotep revealed himself as a necromancer at last, animating the dead bodies of the Vanir as they fell, to set the corpses upon their for

Age of Conan - Gearing back up!

That's right, folks--we're gearing back up to start the Age of Conan OD&D game back up again this Sunday.  I know what you're thinking, but it's entirely coincidental that it's happening around the same time as the Conan movie hit theaters. At the end of July, when classes ended, I offered to pick the game up again, and was gratified to see that there seemed a lot of enthusiasm for it.  It just so happened that Robert was able to wrap up his turn at GMing right around now. In any case, looking forward to diving back in.  I will be running another Mongoose adventure, Betrayer of Asgard , converting mostly on the fly.  The adventure seems interesting, a bit railroady in places, but we'll see how it goes. In any case, for those who were following along with the game, campaign blogs will start up again next week! I've also tagged all Conan-related posts, should anyone wish to go back and refresh themselves on our previous exploits and my previous C

Risk: Legacy Makes Your Board Game Decisions Matter? Permanently? Now this is an interesting idea.  But I can't help but think that the implementation is all wrong.  It's too "one time only," and permanent.  I get that's the idea, but a better implementation, it strikes me, would be to use a software package to track these decisions. See, this is missing a prime opportunity--to truly integrate the digital world with a traditional board game.  To my knowledge it's never really been done, and this could be a great step.  The software package could put virtual versions of the stickers and cards into play, allowing you to set up the board for each subsequent session with all of the campaign elements present, but would then also allow you to "hit the reset button" if you want to start over from scratch without the need for buying a whole new set. The "stickers" they include could then be along the

Reading Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Part 23

MELEE Interesting note about this section: it's called "Melee," but one of the first things it says is that this section doesn't cover the procedures for Melee. Go figure. As you've no doubt already picked up, we've covered a lot of the combat procedures already, and the "to hit" tables are still to come. This section covers "Special considerations" one might take into account during melee. Gotta love the layout of the first ed. DMG, eh?  For all its Gygaxian charm, nobody ever accused it of being laid out in a logical or intuitive fashion. Number of Opponents Per Figure: Here's a section for those who insist that D&D was always intended to be a miniatures game, as it lays out the number of attackers that can gang up on one target in melee, and refers to them as "figures." It also uses squares and hexes to illustrate positioning in combat. Again, however, it's important to remember that in the early day

Conan the Barbarian Review

So Julie and I saw Conan tonight.  I'll give it to you in brief, if you don't want to read a detailed review: This was not a home run.  It was not the Robert E. Howard Conan that we were promised, with one caveat: Jason Mamoa was fantastic.  I give them an A for effort and it's not being too gracious to say it was a solid base hit. So now a more detailed review.  Fair warning: there will be minor spoilers in this review.  Nothing major, but if you're avoiding spoilage altogether, you might give this a pass. First things first.  This is absolutely not a remake of the Arnold one.  The only thing it has in common is the "revenge for my dad's death" plot.  The events of the story are completely, 100% new (well, new as in, they weren't anywhere to be found in the Arnold flicks).  So that's something. Now, let's get the bad out of the way first: the problems from the standpoint of an actual Robert E. Howard Conan fan. The Presentat

New Venue for Broken Gods

Folks, Broken Gods is now available from, the same company that produces  This version is a watermarked PDF.

Gen Con: Day Two

Day Two: fun continues.  I actually discovered something I've been waiting for--the expansion for the Deadlands boardgame is out!  Bought that instantly.  I also picked up a little something for Julie--I don't want to say what it is because she reads this blog, but I will probably be writing reviews of everything I got this weekend for Play Unplugged. Taej and I had lunch at Johnny Rocket's--an annual tradition.  Chocolate Coke, bacon cheeseburger, and chili cheese fries!  My doctor would have a conniption. Which reminds me: I had to stop swimming. The pool here (like the pool last year) is salt water for some reason, and it was really severely messing up my eyes.  Like, they got sore and so bloodshot it almost looked like a burst blood vessel.  So that had to go.  However, Rico made good on his promise to teach me a few moves for weight lifting and get me started on a workout plan, so that's good.  We worked out for about an hour: 40 minutes of lifting and 20 of ca

Gen Con Day One Report

Day one was a whirlwind, but a lot of fun!  Our hotel is the closest we've been to the convention center, but still not quite as central as I'd like.  We have a skywalk, but it's actually faster to walk outside.  There is a Friday's in the hotel, which is nice--we can come right downstairs to get reasonably priced, good food.  We ate there twice yesterday because we were just too tired to walk all the way into town (that, and two of my roommates had imbibed a bit too much.). But both times we had cool wait staff, so that was nice. Got into the Dealer's room an hour early due to my librarian/educator badge; that was cool, getting to walk around a bit without it being packed with people. The stampede into the room when the gates opened wasn't as impressive as I'd hoped--I always had this bizarre vision in my head of all the vendors yelling "HERE THEY COME!  TAKE COVER!" and diving behind their booths.  That didn't happen.  The dealer's ro

Gen Con - Day One

Well, here we are in cloudy Indianapolis, for another year of fun, gaming, friends-you-only-see-once-a-year (if that), and sheer exhaustion.  That's right, folks: it's Gen Con, once more into the breach. Taejas and I actually got here on Tuesday night, as we did a Trade Day for librarians and educators yesterday.  It was pretty cool, but still formative.  This is the first year they've done it, I believe, so the seminars were few and the speakers still kind of finding their way.  Still, it was a neat experience.  Got some good information, and some good advice on the job hunting situation, and met a few cool folks.  Plus, we get into the dealer's room an hour early this morning.  Unfortunately, I found out that for that first hour we're only allowed to browse, not buy.  That's kinda crap, but still it'll be neat to see the stampede coming towards us when the doors open instead of away from us. Looking forward to hanging with the guys from Troll Lord Game