Category Archives: Adventures in Gaming

Sometimes we get together and play an RPG.

It’s Obscure RPG Appreciation Day! Space Patrol & Dragon Quest

I think these RPG Appreciation Days are fun. It makes me take a moment and really think about a game. And for this I’m throwing out a special thanks to Mesmerized By Sirens for coming up with the idea!
For this day, I want to rant about two games. First let’s talk about Space Patrol.
This is one of those games from the late 70’s and brought to us by the folks of Gamescience (better known for their dice). I stumbled across my copy while searching for something else and thought that this was a perfect thing to rant about. The whole books is 25 pages and that includes the inside back cover. Now as game it ain’t that grand as compared to say Traveller. It’s a Sci-Fi game about space and there are no space ships at all and the rules are just down right confusing. But what I do like about old games like this is that they are great source of inspiration. As scanned through the book again, I look at the Character and Alien Creature Generation Charts. And hey light bulb! This is like a very simple Random Esoteric Creature Generator. It’s very simple But hell. It could be tweaked into almost a one page weird monster generator. So hmm that’s a project for the future. I know I sound like I’m dissing the game. And I am. But it really shows a lot of the philosophy of games back then. Especially when it comes to house ruling which you’d have to do like crazy.
As a side note, Space Patrol has one of the best lines ever from a rule book, “SEX-This table is not usually used as sex would hardly ever crop up in a game.” I’m not kidding.
For the second part of the post, I’m going to swing in the opposite of direction with DragonQuest by SPI.
Remember when I said, I found Space Patrol while looking for something else. Well, this is it. Now this came out a couple of years after Space Patrol. While Space Patrol was simple rules that you were almost expected to house rule, Dragon Quest had very very detail rules. Remember, back then SPI published war games and it reflected in the writing and the rules of Dragon Quest. It very dry and very very structured. Heck there was even facing in combat.
You’re going to have to forgive me on this one because I still haven’t found my copy. I’m pretty sure it’s in on of THOSE boxes in the garage. And while we tried to play Dragon Quest a couple of times and failed then immediately went back to D&D. There is one thing that it had that has stuck with me. That was the Spell Backfire Charts. Yeah, I know charts again. I remember the first time I read those and thought, “Oh, man. This is cool!” Bad things happening to magic-users when spells went awry. That’s something that we didn’t have in our AD&D game. So that was quickly pulled into our game. Crap, I don’t even remember what the house rule from back then.
If anything I want people to take away from today, is to not completely ignore these old games. Yes, maybe the art, editing and rules may be total crap by today’s standards. But inside each one there’s probably something that you can twist and tweak and use for own games. It’s like looking for treasure.

Underworld Kingdom

One of the things I really love about the OSR is mixing, matching and kit bashing. Basically, you find that set of rules that just speak to you and then run with it and adapt whatever material you come across. Now I admit that I haven’t been too much attention to a lot of the things going on. It’s been nose to the grindstone and just peaking out when I get the chance. I heard about Underworld Kingdom and thought, “Let’s give this one a look.”
Last week, I yacked about Space Age Sorcery from Hereticwerks. This week a little bit about Underworld Kingdom Volume 1.
Like I said earlier, I like kit bashing. Volume 1 of Underworld Kingdom is ripe for it. The current free version isn’t so much a game or setting but a series of inspirational rules for a Carcosa style campaign. You know insanity, mixed tech levels, undead and general weirdness. And if you’ve been around here enough then you know I like weird. There’s a couple interesting twists on the cleric class and a new Racial Class called the Dead Ones. Like I said, this isn’t a complete product (yet) but it does serve as good spring board for inspiration. There’s a good chance the the Character Quirks, Words of The Oracle, The Death Experience, and Minor Mutations charts just might end up in my Mighty Notebook of GM Chart.
Did I happen to mention that it’s free? So go ahead, check it out and draw some inspiration. Because damn all this Old School SciFi weirdness has me really thinking.

Gaming on the Cheap & YARC Update

Things have been really, really busy around the house and I’ve got some really cool projects on the way which why nothing has been on YARC. It’s OK, kids. Your patience will be rewarded. Trust me on this one.
Last week when I posted another Dollar Store Treasure, it came to me that it’s just a pretty cool idea to share all sorts of the cost saving little things one can do as gamer. Anything from freebies to dirt cheap stuff. Anyway to make that gaming dollar go farther. So with that in mind I went ahead a made a separate little page her for that very subject. So read, enjoy, share or offer up any little tips you may have. There will be more pictures coming soon and probably more ideas.
Gaming on the Cheap

Dollar Store Treasures

Just like about everybody else I’m gaming on a budget. That means when I have the time I stop by dollar and craft stores and consignment shops just to see there’s some cheap little tidbit I can use for gaming. This week I happened on a couple of cool things.
First, I saw this “stacking” game. Really, not sure how much of a game it really is but I just looked at that for a moment and said flying bases! Ten of them for a dollar not bad and better than those plastic things they use in pizza boxes.

Second, I found some dragons that are just about the right size. Heck at a dollar a piece still a pretty cool deal even though they do look a bit silly but close enough. Once again, throwing them in with some mini’s from various manufacturers for scale.

So there you have it. More gaming on the cheap.

DIY Dungeon Terrain

So I’ve had this idea for quite a while and finally the folks over at Gnome Stew threw up this little post and I finally got off my butt and made some simple and inexpensive Dungeon Terrain.

Here’s the materials list:

3/4 inch x 3/4 inch (That’s about 2 CM x 2 CM) square doweling (I got three 3 foot pieces, so that’s 9 feet of wall and it cost only about $7.50).

Spray Primer (Already had in the garage but should only cost a couple of bucks.)

Gray and Black paint (Once again, I already this laying around but only a couple of bucks more.)

Clear Acrylic Spray Coat (Yes, I have a lot stuff around the garage but only a couple of bucks more.)

Depending on good your selection of local home improvement stores is, you’ll probably spend between $15 and $20.

1. Cut the dowels into conveint lengths.  (I did 1 inch for doors, then 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 inch lengths.)

2. Sand down any rough spots.

3. Prime it.

4. Paint it.

5. Seal it.  And you are done.

I decided to go with 3/4 inch for a couple of reasons. One there was a huge price difference between 3/4 and 1 inch.  Also, I wanted the walls to be shorter than the miniatures.  There’s always one person who won’t lean forward or stand up to see that “hidden” orc behind the wall in front of them.

You can paint as much detail as you want.  I just went with a simple gray and then painted black lines every inch or so.  I’m not that exact when it comes to laying out dungeons.  It’s just one of those things that I think “close enough” is good enough.

Yes, I just realized that the door is upside down.

Another cool thing you can do is make stairs with the various lengths.

Dwarves always want to smack the elf upside the head.

So there you go. Some inexpensive, durable, easy to make and light weight dungeon terrain.

I Love World Building

Really, I do. For me it’s a neat little creative exercise. Creating a setting that’s just rife with adventure seeds. That has its own feel and all sorts of ways the players can go out and adventure.
Hell, it’s almost like playing the game. As each little bit is created, it’s just like when the characters learn something new. There’s that odd bit excitement and the feeling of anticipation to go and see what the next city, dungeon or whatever is like. As I’m creating this I’m discovering. Damn, it’s fun.
You know what else is fun? Twisting the tropes and putting the completely unexpected out there. Let’s be honest. We’re at point that if you don’t start putting a little spin on all those tropes things are going to get pretty boring. And nobody likes boring.

Crypts & Things: Some Actual Play

As luck would have it our DM for the Friday nigh game was taken ill so I threw out the idea for a Crypts & Things one shot and the group agreed. I quickly rolled up 8 third level pre-generated characters (two of each class) on Thursday night and was off.
We played it mostly by the rules as written but I did throw in a couple of my own crazy ideas. For rolling up the characters, I used the 6+d6+d6 Method. Basically, all scores start off at 6. Roll 6d6 and arrange to your liking. Then 1d6 for each stat in order. It pushed the probability towards making of a decent character of a particular class without diverging too much from the good old roll 3d6 and quit crying. Overall, I think the players really enjoyed the game. It was a fresh break from Pathfinder. And everyone picked up the rules quickly. We did make a couple observations during the game. The fighter actually seemed like the weakest class. He’s got a bad save and that made it difficult for him to do anything. Additionally, he wasn’t that much better at fighting than the Barbarian or Thief. It turned out that the Thief armed with a bow turned out to be the best damage dealer in the party. The group liked the damage system especially getting all their HP back after 8 hours of rest. Magic was useful and the magician started down that slippery slope to insanity after failing four saves during the session. Another interesting thing is that this is the first time in many years we ran a combat heavy session without using miniatures. And did I mention fast. Yeah, the combat was really quick compared to the endless cross referencing that we were used to. Personally, my biggest surprise was the amount of enjoyment, the players got out of the life events chart. (Hmm, maybe I should write up some longer ones.)
So yes. I definitely want run this again but with more preparation and few tweaks (more about those in later posts).
Here’s some random and crazy notes about what happened during the session.
I decided to go quickly tweak introductory adventure in the back of the book and throw in a couple more encounters to make things interesting. To give the players some ownership of the pregens, each of them rolled four times on the life events chart. After the dust settled this is how the characters knew each other.
The sorceress and the fighter were brother and sister (and not having an incestuous relationship) were in service to their father (who was not an evil sorcerer). Their father orders them to retrieve the lost spell book of Nizar-Thun for his collection or he’ll start charging his lazy kids rent. To help them in their quest Here’s a Thief and a Barbarian. And another Barbarian, Thudthack, who needs to go because Dad’s pet demon grew bored of him and he’s got to go. A little quick haggling with Igor the Castle Quartermaster for supplies and the little group was off.
Random Encounter the First: Group of three bounty hunters who stumble across party. They weren’t very bright. The bounty hunters were on the trail of this evil sorcerer and his crazy family who live somewhere in this area. The party convinces the bounty that they know nothing of evil sorcerers and that they should at that castle about a days walk back in that direction. Yes, they sent them back to dear old dad “who isn’t evil, just misunderstood”.
Random Encounter the Second: Moth Worms attack. A good fight but nothing special.
Enter the Town of Nor-Haven: A small little village at the edge of the swamp. The party starts complaining about the lack of Mouth Worm warning signs. One of the yokels explains to him that he is the local sign maker and there signs all over the place. The party quickly realizes that not only can was this guy illiterate, he might have still been the smartest guy in the village. The party spends an eventful evening and then overpays form some crappy canoes the next morning.
Serpent Men Ambush: The party gets ambushed. Poor Thudthack will forever be known as the barbarian who could stand up in waist high water and got sliced and diced by a pair of serpent men.
The actual dungeon: I won’t go into because it’d be spoiler filled. But I think the highlight was at the very end when party goes to cross a bottomless pit using some rope and really didn’t pause to think about that a demon that still on the loose until said demon showed up and started cutting the rope.