Monday, December 30, 2013

Looking Back On 2013: What Did I Accomplish? Achieve? Contribute?

I've been seeing some "2013 Retrospective" blog posts surfacing here and there as the year winds down. I thought that was as good a reason as any to look back at my own gamer achievements for the year and assess what I've managed to accomplish over the last 365 days.

And I gotta tell you: I was stunned.

I went back, month-by-month, and assessed my productivity -- what I managed to write, produce, run, edit, or release gaming-wise. I truly do not want this blog post to become a "LOOKIT ME" self-promotion fest, but rather I wanted to share my personal achievements toward my own projects, this blog, and the OSR community at large.

** I am a book editor by trade, and in January I began offering free editing services for smaller
publishers and garage press folks who had written RPG materials and supplements. Over the year, I have edited and/or proofed 15 products ranging from micro-supplements of a few pages to full RPG rulesets of several hundred pages. Just my way of contributing to the community, and the offer still stands for anyone working on something for 2014!

** I attended Gary Con for the second time. I really enjoy the yearly pilgrimage to Lake Geneva, "Where It All Started." Ran games of Chill, Timemaster, Mutant Future, and, of course, Thundarr the Barbarian! I also played in games of Dungeon Crawl Classics (a playtest run of a new module, in fact), Mazes and Minotaurs, Metamorphosis Alpha, and Mutant Future! Attending conventions is a great way to sharpen your teeth behind the screen and to try out games you don't normally get to play at home. And, upon getting home, I posted the adventures for both my Thundarr game and my Timemaster game for anyone who wanted to download them for their own home games.

** I spent the summer trying to find a classic dungeon map pattern to use for a project I had in mind. When I couldn't find anything that looked right, I went ahead and designed it myself. The Classic RPG Map pattern is now on sale at Spoonflower, and -- judging from sales -- lots of other folks wanted this cloth pattern as well. And that project I mentioned? Well, I wanted a dice bag made from it. I asked Michael AKA "greyedout" on Etsy to mke one for me and it turned out so nice, he added it as a regular offering in his shop.

** One of the biggest secrets I was asked to keep all summer was finally revealed in October when the new Pacesetter horror RPG "Cryptworld" was released. Dan Proctor initially approached me for some input and opinion on the new game he was writing. Well, my contributions to the book swelled until he asked me to join him as a co-author of the game. As a huge fan of the Pacesetter Action Table System, it was quite an honor to be a part of it.

** The Savage AfterWorld reached several milestones this year. First, it's the fourth year that this blog has been running. Next up, TSAW now has 300 followers, which was a huge shot in the arm for me. To think that 300 folks enjoyed the blog enough to come back regularly, well, that really means a lot. Thank you! And finally, today's post is number 178 for the year, officially beating last year's blog post count by 1 and making 2013 my most productive blogging year since I began.

** Con on the Cob is a yearly gaming convention in Ohio that I had missed attending for years. This year, I finally made it, staying on-site for the entire event. Had a great time, playing Fiasco, Labyrinth Lord, and other fun stuff. Ran Thundarr for some enthusiastic fans, but my highlight was running the first public convention game of Cryptworld (which had just come out the previous month). And that CW module was the seed of a future CW project I'm wrapping up "behind the scenes."

** I released my second Mutant Future supplement titled "One Year In The Savage AfterWorld." This book (several years in the making) is a collection of 52 micro-adventures that can be run over the course of a weekend. I've had the concept of the supplement in mind for several years, and it turned out exactly as I envisioned. I'm particularly pleased with the "nearly destroyed book" cover.

** My dream of appearing in a Thundarr the Barbarian cartoon came to near-fruition. As a higher-level backer of the "Cartoon Action Hour: Season 3" Kickstarter, I got myself drawn and statted up as the wasteland wanderer known as "Snydorr"! (I still get a huge kick out of my cartoon visage...)

** After four years of focusing solely on the post-apocalyptic RPG genre, I relaunched The Savage AfterWorld to encompass gaming in all of its forms and facets, allowing me to discuss, cover, and support many other games and systems I enjoy. I was afraid that the new direction of the blog might alienate some of my long-time readers, but folks stuck around and I even picked up a few new followers. Glad you're enjoying the new material, folks!

** For my yearly Christmas freebie for the readers, I wrote and released a free Cryptworld scenario for the holidays. "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" is creepy, eerie, deadly, and yet oh-so-festive! Also throughout the year, I created and posted new scenarios for Last Best Hope, Mutant Future, Ghostbusters, and other RPGs!

** Over the month of December, I organized the Obsolete Simulations Roundup which went live on December 29.  I had 17 folks sign up to participate (though only about half followed through), and it is my hope that this becomes a yearly celebration of our favorite forgotten games.

* * * * * * * * * * *

So, what's to come in 2014? Well, it's a bit early to reveal all of my grandiose plans for the coming year, but I can let you know that I have plans to:
  • Wrap up the editing and layout of my Mutant Future module "Dead in the Water," which has been in the wrap-up-stage for far too long.
  • Finish writing a Cryptworld adventure for a potential future release next year.
  • Release a card game I've designed now that I've discovered how Drive Through Cards works.
  • Edit more RPG materials for anyone who needs the professional help.
  • Attend Origins Game Faire for the first time in years.
  • Re-attend Con on the Cob, as I really enjoyed myself at my first one.
See you in 2014!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

[Obsolete Simulations Roundup] "It Came From The Late, Late, Late Show" -- A Retrospective Of B-Movie Roleplaying

Welcome boys and "ghouls" to another eerie episode of "The Midnight Mortuary." As always, I'm your horrific host, "Dr. Phil Mel DeHyde." Tonight's awful offering is that 1962 classic, "The Brain That Ate Des Moines." So sit back on the slab right here, let me get my autopsy tools, and we'll be back after this word from our sponsor!

For anyone who stayed up late on Saturday night to watch a piece of cinematic dreck on UHF hosted by the local station's horror host, have I got an RPG for you to check out. "It Came From The Late, Late, Late Show" by Stellar Games (abbreviated as LLLS from here on out) is role-playing in the world of cheesy, awful B-movies. Whereas other genres encourage the players to "play it straight," LLLS encourages (and rewards) cliched dialogue, insipid plotlines, and "acting appropriately stupid." ("The blood trail leads into the basement? Well, I can't wait for the others. I'll follow it alone.")

It's MST3K: The RPG, and it's a hoot. A sense of humor and an ability to "metagame" are vital for this RPG.

It's tough to discuss the basic gameplay of LLLS without initially addressing one bit of  inspired metagaming: The character you roll up is an ACTOR who is, in turn, cast in the role you'll be playing in the movie. So when you roll up your PC, you'd be rolling up the stats for Rip Studdington, well-known Hollywood B-list actor. But when you sit down at the table to play that night's adventure, your character, "Rip," could be cast in the role of Dr. Phil Horowitz, PhD, in "I Was A Teenage Gillman" or maybe General Buzz Howitzer in "The Thing From Uranus." Follow me thus far?

OK, the game's mechanics are very simple, using a set of d%s for almost all rolls. The PCs have four basic stats: Build (your strength), Brains (your smarts), Dexterity (your agility), and Looks (your good-looking-ness), and each is initially generated on 4d10 (giving you 4 to 40 for your stats). After rolling your stats, you then get to choose 20 Talents (aka Skills) on your sheet, and add 1d10 to the base score for each chosen one. If you want Archaeology, your'd add 1d10 to the base score (your Brains stat) to get the Talent score. And so on. And that's the general gist of your stats and scores -- with one exception: your Fame score.

As you recall, you're an actor playing a role. And regardless of what happens in the game, it's still "only a movie." So your Fame score actually comes into play in several optional ways:
  • Actors with the best Fame get the best roles, so your Director (GM) could let the PC with the highest Fame pick the role he wants to play, and so on until the PC with the lowest Fame score ends up playing one of the extras, "Old Coot, the banjo playing comic relief."
  • Actors can use their Fame as a degree of Luck, rolling versus it to see if they catch a lucky break on screen due to their "film presence."
  • The props (equipment) you start with hinges on your Fame score. So famous actors get their pick of the equipment trailer, whereas unfamous nobodies are assigned shoddy weapons, meager equipment, and non-functioning props. (Why won't this Geiger counter work?)
  • Famous actors are notoriously ego-centric. If you (as a player) don't like the way a scene is panning out, you can "Walk Off The Set." If you successfully roll versus your Fame score, you can have the Director "rewrite" the scene to your liking. Think the monster is too tough? Demand a rewrite so it turns out it's Old Man Jenkins in a rubber mask. But if you miss your Fame roll, the Director is perfectly within his rights to "punish" your prima-donna tantrum!
  • If the PCs decide to "burn" their Fame points, they can cause a "Film Break." The action "skips over" the fight or obstacle that was stymieing the party. ("Oh no! It's the Flying Brain from Arcurus! We don't have a chance!" ***BREAK*** "Wow! That was a tough fight! Good thing I happened to remember my Flying Brain Karate Training from my days in Tibet!"
  • Your Fame score is also a measurement of how unflappable you are, so anytime you're surprised or frightened, you roll against your Fame to see how you react.
Other metagaming gameplay that might surface: Calling for a "Stunt Double" brings in someone else to take damage for you during a fight or other injurious scene. (But once they've been beaten up, you're back on the set to take your own damage.) If you request to "Refresh Make-up" between scenes, you heal up a few points of damage. (It's amazing what a bit of flesh-tone base can cover up!) And, since you're an actor, you're not locked into any one genre. Your PC could be in a survival horror film one week, then fighting ninjas in a chop-socky epic the next, before trying to fight off invaders from Dimension Q the next.

The original rules (and two supplements) gave the Director four primary "movie sets" (or genres) with which to set their movies:
  • "The Late, Late, Late Show" -- The core setting of bad horror movies.
  • "Fortune Cookie Theatre" -- The world of badly dubbed martial arts movies.
  • "Sagebrush Cinema" -- The land of spaghetti westerns.
  • "Tyrannosaurus Tex" -- A bizarre cross-genre world of dinosaur-riding cowboys.
However, the original core rules gives you stats and advice on running bad slasher movies, bad Japanese monster movies, bad sci-fi invasion movies, and other B-grade cinema flotsam. Amongst the three books, there were also seven full movies (adventures) for you to run your actors through.
  • You'll THRILL to "The Invasion of the Undead Scuba-Diving Zombies at Bikini Beach"!
  • You'll GASP at "The Iron Fist of Shao-Lin vs. The Dragon Ninjas"!
  • You'll CHEER at "Showdown at Dry Gulch Station"!
  • You'll SWOON at "Tyrannosaurus Tex"!
  • You'll CHILL during "Bjorn on the Bayou"!
  • You'll CRINGE to "Mummy Dearest"!
  • You'll SCREAM during "Ga-May-Rah vs. The Space Asparagus"!
When your Actor loses enough "Survival Points," they're taken out of the movie and off-set. But if they are able to get to the end of the film, they'll be rewarded with more Fame points, better roles, better props, and the chance to better their stats and Talent scores. Inane dialogue, audience asides, fade-to-black, and character flashbacks are also discussed in the rules and encouraged. (And whenever the action gets interesting or right before a major reveal, be sure to cut to a commercial break. It'll drive your PCs nuts.)

When I run LLLS, I do one thing very differently: I'm not a big fan of the "GM as Director of a Movie" role. When I run LLLS, I see the GM in more of a "midnight movie horror host" role. That way, the GM can have a role of his own to play during the game! Ghoulardi, Zacherley,  Svengoolie, Vampira, and, of course, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, are good examples. (I'm partial to SCTV's "Count Floyd" as portrayed by Joe Flaherty though.) So if you ever game with me, you'll be under the leering eye of "Dr. Phil Mel DeHyde," host of "The Midnight Mortuary," airing at 1 a.m. on UHF Channel 62!

And here's a little something I've cobbled together for your own LLLS games. Nowadays, if you want to see modern-day B-movies, you can always turn on SyFy and see what they have up for grabs. ("Axe Giant," "Piranhaconda," and, of course, "Sharknado" are shining examples.) So, with that as inspiration, I hammered out this quick "SyFy Channel B-Movie Title Generator". Roll 2d10 (one for each column)  for your own SyFy B-movie title:
1. Shark       1. --nado
2. Piranha     2. --quake
3. Arachna     3. --mageddon
4. Ice            4. --alanche
5. Viper        5. --typhoon
6. Gator       6. --storm
7. Fire          7. --planet
8. Robo        8. --horror
9. Demon     9. --island
10. Dino      10. --swarm

"It Came From The Late, Late, Late Show" and its supplements are not available on PDF, but you can usually find copies on eBay and Amazon. In fact, Noble Knight now carries a "starter kit" of the first two books for $19.95. (One note:  There were originally three books released for the game -- the core rules and two supplements, pictured above -- that were later recombined into two larger books, pictured below. So you may have to do some checking as to which ones you're purchasing. The only difference I've found is that one of the adventures -- "Ga-May-Rah vs. The Space Asparagus" -- was dropped when the books were reduced from three volumes to two.) 

Well, my little ghoulunatics, I see that it's quitting time once again here at the mortuary. While I tidy up a bit after the autopsy of that rather gruesome cinematic offering, why don't you let yourselves out? Thanks again for your help in the mortuary and for keeping me company tonight, and stop back next week for "Return of The Radioactive Wombat"! Until we meet again, this is Dr. Phil Mel DeHyde saying, "Whether walking on two feet or brought in on four wheels, everyone eventually ends up here at The Midnight Mortuary!"

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sign Up For The Obsolete Simulations Roundup On Dec. 29!

Hey gang, time is running out if you want to participate in the inaugural Obsolete Simulations Roundup on December 29! The games folks have chosen so far represent an interesting cross-section of long-forgotten gaming goodness. Some I haven't thought about in years, and others I've never heard of at all! But there are still more classic role-playing games gathering dust on shelves or in the backs of closets that need to be remembered again! What's your favorite forgotten classic? Tell us about it!

If you'd like to be a part of this in a few days, please send an email to gameagain at gmail period com with your blog name and URL and, if you've decided, the game you plan to support that day. I'll keep a running list of blogs that are participating as well as the game you plan to spotlight. Feel free to grab the banner at the top for your own use. And I look forward to hearing about your forgotten favorites!

Monday, December 23, 2013

[Cryptworld] It Came Upon A Midnight Clear: A Yuletide Adventure For Cryptworld Now Available For Download

Happy Holidays everyone!
As my annual Christmas gift to readers of my blog, I present to you "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear," a horror-filled holiday adventure for the Pacesetter Cryptworld RPG! I had the idea for the scenario a while back, and I've been working on it "behind the scenes" specifically for a Christmas release. I hope you enjoy frightening your Cryptworld players with it over the holidays! Merry Christmas!

EDITED TO ADD: Link to adventure has been removed. Thanks for downloading it, but it is no longer available!

Friday, December 20, 2013

SPI's Dawn Of The Dead Boardgame; Old School Zombie Killin'

As I discussed yesterday, in my eyes, "Old School Recreation" doesn’t just encompass RPGs. Many classic board games and wargames fall squarely under the OSR umbrella. Game companies like Avalon Hill, SPI, and Task Force Games – although not primarily ID’ed as RPG manufacturers – are nonetheless thought of as “old school” by most of us, I’d venture. And with that introduction out of the way…

The “zombie survival” genre is at its peak of popularity right now, especially with an explosion of zombie-related boardgames filling game store shelves. But long before we had Zombies!, Zombicide, Last Night on Earth, or Maul of America, we were playing SPI’s Dawn of the Dead board game.

I purchased my own copy of SPI’s DotD board game at a small local game store known as The Tin Soldier back in 1982. I was never much of a wargamer – moving those little cardboard chits around was tedious. But a horror boardgame based on one of my favorite films? It was a “no-brainer.” (Ha! See what I did there?)

Up to 4 players fight their way through a shopping mall overrun with zombies. The goal is to seal the four main entrances to the mall, then clear out the infestation before the players are overrun and eaten by the horde. There are a lot of deep gameplay choices too. Players can either stick with their cobbled-together, ineffective weapons, or they can try to fight their way to the gun shop for better weapons. Some zombies are randomly “hidden” in the mall, and they can ambush the unwary player during play. Infected players can become “super zombies” who then turn on their teammates. Heck, there’s even rules for solo play! When my DotD box fell apart from overuse, I taped the whole thing up in clear packing tape to extend its longevity. But, at some point in the past, I either misplaced it or threw it away or gave it to a friend. Kind of regret that, as it’s a great game.

But the Internet once again comes to the rescue!

Over on Homepage of the Dead – a celebration and collection of all things “Romero-esque” – they have taken this classic game, scanned everything (map, counters, rules), and posted the parts in a free “print and play” format. Want to play one of my favorite games?  Click here to download, then print, cut out the pieces, and play this classic 35-year-old zombie board game!

And, if YOU have a gaming blog and want to discuss YOUR favorite Ye Olde Wargamme (or RPG or boardgame or whatever), be sure to sign up to participate in the Obsolete Simulations Roundup on December 29! Bring those musty, dusty favorites out where we can all see and appreciate them!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

For Your Consideration: A New Definition Of "OSR"

Some food for thought:

Earlier today, as I hammered together a blog post on one of my favorite classic boardgames, I realized that not everyone would agree with me that this game could be classified as "OSR." Classic RPGs, sure. I think most can agree on that. But what about classic wargames? Or classic board-and-chit simulations? What about games like Magic Realm? TSR's mini-games? Battletech? Talisman? Squad Leader? I bought each of these games brand new back in the 80s at my FLGS. Can we consider these games as part of the OSR? Yes? No?

And, as they say this time of year: "I puzzled and puzzed until my puzzler was sore."

I even asked the OSR G+ board if they felt that tabletop board/wargames could be classified as "OSR." And the opinions were just as varied. A big part of the problem is that there is no true consensus as to what "OSR" stands for. It is:
  • Old School Renaissance?
  • Old School Revival?
  • Old School Role-playing?
You know what our problem is? It's that damn "R" at the end. If you feel it means "role-playing," then you may feel that boardgames are not part of the OSR landscape and must be rejected. Those who feel it's "renaissance" or "revival" may think that the game in question must be undergoing some kind of resurgence in popularity or at least be returning to the public eye for it to be classified as such. A long-forgotten game that no one is playing nowadays can't be considered, can it?

I swear, defining the OSR is like trying to specifically define pornography: "I may not be able to specifically describe what it is, but I know it when I see it."

In an attempt to bridge all of our personal preconceptions as to what is and what isn't covered under the OSR banner, I'd like to offer up the following suggestion:
If it's old school, and it's a game, then it counts. Boom. Done. Ship it.

And to those who want to argue that this is too open to interpretation, and we need to narrow the focus to disallow games like Scrabble or Space Invaders or Cat's Cradle, well I'll let you worry about your exclusions. I'll be too busy playing Car Wars.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

[Ghostbusters RPG] Two Free Adventures To Prep You For The Obsolete Simulations Roundup In 10 Days!

We're only 10 days away from the Obsolete Simulations Roundup -- a blog-wide celebration of  forgotten, obscure, but well-loved RPGs! If you have a gaming blog and you'd like to join in the fun, please send an email to gameagain at gmail period com with your blog name and URL and, if you've decided, the game you plan to discuss and support that day. I'll keep a running list of blogs that are participating as well as the game you plan to spotlight. (Check out the ever-growing list at the bottom of this post!)

To get everyone in the mood for some not-your-usual gaming fare, I thought I'd share some stuff I've written for one of my favorite RPGs -- West End Games' Ghostbusters.
Ghostbusters broke a lot of ground when it came out back in 1986. It was a forerunner to the D6 System, later made popular by WEG's Star Wars RPG. It was a humorous RPG that was actually both fun and funny. The ghost die mechanic made for memorable random events during the game. And everyone is at least passingly familiar with the movies (and cartoons and comic books and video games), so there's no long-winded setting explanations needed. Strap on a proton pack and get to work!

Here, I've posted links to two Ghostbusters RPG adventures I've run at both Gen Con and Gary Con. Both are a bit unpolished, but you should be able to run your players through both with ease. In "How Dry I Am," the Ghostbusters are thrown into a crisis of "Olympian proportions" as all of the world's alcohol is consumed by malevolent spirits. And in "The Shadow Over Yonkers," a badly translated version of the Necronomicon is stolen from Miskotonic University (Yonkers Branch) by a group of immature Deep Ones.

Greek Gods? Lovecraftian Great Old Ones? How will your team of fledgling Ghostbusters cope? (Click the covers to download each one!)

[Mutant Future] Beware Of Bad Santa!

Collin Smith of Infocyde's RPG Blog has created and posted a Mutant Future-based Christmas adventure titled "Bad Santa." A nuclear power cell has gone missing, and the PCs are tasked with entering the northern forbidden zone to retrieve it. What they find there is a Silent Night-mare! If you're looking for a mutant-fueled Yuletide romp through the wastelands, go check it out!

Monday, December 16, 2013

[Cryptworld] New Thing: Krampus

A Yuletide Thing for Cryptworld

STR: 6 (90) --- WPR: 4 (60)
DEX: 5 (75) --- PER: 4 (60)
AGL: 5 (75) --- PCN: 6 (90)
STA: 5 (75) --- PWR: NA
ATT: 1/83% --- WND: 15
MV: L 100†

Experience: 600

The Krampus is a goat-like humanoid creature who punishes children who misbehave during the Christmas holiday season. Just as Santa Claus rewards children for good behavior throughout the year, the Krampus terrorizes, punishes, and eventually consumes those found to be irredeemably "naughty." However, because the Krampus enjoys eating children, what is judged as "naughty" in its eyes can be as innocuous as forgetting to say "please" or "thank you."

The Krampus has the horns and hooves of a goat, a long mule's tail, and is covered in black coarse hair. A long pointed tongue lolls out of its mouth, and it signals its presence through the rattling of chains it always wears. The Krampus lurks in the shadows, always out of site, stalking a child it feels may be potentially "naughty." Initially, the Krampus may spirit away truly bad children (the defiant, the rude, bullies, thieves, etc.) but it will eventually turn its attention to those children who could be classified as good. It will watch the child until it witnesses some momentary lapse of manners or good judgement, at which point it will judge the child as irredeemably "bad." Once the child is alone, the Krampus will kidnap the child, taking him back to its lair where it will torture and terrorize the child over the course of several days. When the child is out of his mind with fear and regret, the Krampus will then consume the child. In some perverse way, the Krampus feels he is doing a kindness for the parents, removing the ungracious youngster from his put-upon family.

If a series of child disappearances occurs during the holiday season, there is most likely a Krampus on the loose. The quickest way to draw it out is to use a misbehaving child as bait -- an irresistible target for any hungry Krampus.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

More Participants Signed Up for The Obsolete Simulations Roundup On Dec. 29! (How About You?)

We have our first handful of participants signed up for the Obsolete Simulations Roundup on December 29! Here's a visual map of the games chosen so far that folks will be discussing, supporting, praising and/or reviewing:
Lots of variation and interesting games so far, and we're just getting started! I'm really excited by some of these choices, as some of them I haven't thought about since they were first released, and others I've NEVER heard of! So what's your favorite game no one else seems to recall? It's time to shout its praises to the mountaintops!

If you'd like to be a part of this in two weeks, please send an email to gameagain at gmail period com with your blog name and URL and , if you've decided, the game you plan to support that day. I'll keep a running list of blogs that are participating as well as the game you plan to spotlight. Feel free to grab the banner at the top for your own use. And I look forward to hearing about your forgotten favorites!

For Inspiration: The Random Fantasy Adventure Module Title Generator

After posting yesterday's B Movie Title Generator, I wasn't sure if I had shared this other gem with you folks. It's the Adventure Title Generator from the apparently defunct blog Sundering Wrath, and I use it quite a bit for inspiration. The titles it generates are similar in feel and tone to the titles of the classic D&D modules you may have seen on the shelves of your FLGS (though the generator is apparently based on the 4e D&D world).

Stuck for ideas some time ago, I used this generator to create a batch of titles for potential adventure ideas. One that popped up, "Warlord of the Sacred Library," became a Thundarr adventure I ran at Gary Con earlier this year. Another title, "The Scourge From Beyond Infinity," is earmarked for a future DCC RPG funnel. (If I can find time to write it!) Here's a taste of what a few clicks brings up:

Bargain of the Ghouls
The Book of the Cruel Underdark
Queen of the Marksman's Guild
The Plague Widow
Through the Spider Tomb
Below the Bloody Catacombs
The Bard's Last Will
The Inn of the Cursed Knight
Quest of the Living Dead
Vecna's Tribe 

(C'mon, you long-time D&D players can't tell me you wouldn't LOVE to run  through "Vecna's Tribe"!)

Friday, December 13, 2013

[Late, Late, Late Show] Random B Movie Title Generator

I believe my RPG of choice for the upcoming "Obsolete Simulations Roundup" will be It Came From the Late, Late, Late Show by Stellar Games.  (Role-playing in the world of cheesy B-movies!) While doing a bit of research, I stumbled across the Random B Movie Titler at Seventh Sanctum.  Not only is this PERFECT for a cheesy movie RPG, the titles it churns out is great fodder for your horror/sci fi adventures. Wouldn't YOU like to play in an adventure titled:

Annie Oakley versus The Bees
Battle Beyond Uranus
Dreadful Journey to Hyboria
Drought!, Part III
Lancelot and Aladdin versus The Ravager
Labyrinth of Satan
Mission of Bloodthirst
Plague Breaker
Ravager Attack, The Return
The Depraved Emperess Miller
The Destruction of De Sade
The Disease Breed
The Evil Case of The Heart Controller
The Eye Healer, The Final Chapter
The Minotaur from The Future
The Moscow Evil
The Paris Damnation
The Sensual Mystery of The Radioactive Eternity

Sniderman encourages you to check this nifty tool out. A bazillion inspirations await!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sign Up For The "Obsolete Simulations Roundup" Blogfest - December 29, 2013!

Earlier today, I found myself scanning my nearby RPG bookshelves. My eyes skipped over my usual role-playing fare and instead landed on those games I love, yet never play. The ones gathering dust, yet I'll never part with them.  I'm sure you too have several RPOs (role-playing orphans) that hold a special place in your heart and on the shelf.

Come to think of it, it's rare to see anyone blogging about these forgotten classics. Oh sure, some of the fantasy rarities are unearthed and discussed, but when was the last time you saw someone post a new scenario for Timeship? Or new races for Ralph Bakshi's Wizards RPG? Or wax nostalgic for It Came From The Late, Late Show? Where is the love for Mercenaries, Spies, & Private Eyes and The Price of Freedom? Flashing Blades? Bushido? Justice Inc.? TOON?

Well, I think it's time we give these neglected and ignored game systems their moment in the sun. So join me in 19 days for the...
I'd like to gather up as many RPG bloggers as possible who would like to trumpet the praises of their favorite, forgotten, classic RPGs. Any RPG can be picked from any year of any genre, but it should be an RPG that no one seems to remember or appreciate...except for you. And, on December 29, show your support and appreciation for your orphaned RPG by telling us all about it. Why is it special, what makes it fun, and why should folks start searching for their own copies of this classic? And, if you're so inclined, offer up some supplemental material for it. Tell us of your house rules, or create a new creature. Describe a scenario for it, or flesh out an NPC. Give your game the attention it merits on that day!

If you'd like to be a part of this, please send an email to gameagain at gmail period com with your blog name and URL and , if you've decided, the game you plan to support that day. I'll keep a running list of blogs that are participating as well as the game you plan to spotlight. Feel free to grab the banner above for your own use. And I look forward to hearing about your forgotten favorites!


And we have our first participants and the games they'll be covering! Want to be a part of this retro-role-playing flashback? Drop me an email!
  1. Polar Bear Dreams and Stranger Things -- Freedom Fighters (Fantasy Games Unlimited, 1986)
  2. Strange Stones -- Droids (Integral Games, 1982)
  3. Free SF Reader and Not Free SF Reader -- Super Squadron (Adventure Simulations, 1983) or Villains and Vigilantes (Fantasy Games Unlimited, 1979)
  4. The Eye of Joyful Sitting Amongst Friends --  Chivalry & Sorcery (Fantasy Games Unlimited, 1977)
  5. A Field Guide to Doomsday --  Nightlife (Stellar Games, 1990)
  6. The Haunted Spookshow of Channel X -- Lost Souls (Marquee Press, 1992)
  7. Chronicles of Ganth -- Alternity (TSR, 1999)

Old School RPG Planet Has Shut Down

Sad news in the blogosphere. Alex Schroeder has announced that, effective immediately, his OSR blog aggregation site Old School RPG Planet has been taken down. Visiting the site will now take visitors to the RPG Bloggers Legacy D&D page.

I'm saddened by this development as Old School RPG Planet was one of my daily "go-to's". It always gave me a great overview of what was hot, who was talking, and what sites to stop by that day. I liked it so much, that I actually created a link button over there in the right-hand column of my blog to point other folks to the site. But, as of now, another corner of the Internet I liked to visit has boarded up the windows. But I didn't want the passing of this site to go by without some kind of mention and a public "Thank You" to Alex for running it all of these years. It was one of my favorite sites, and it'll be missed.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

[Review] The Habitition of the Stone Giant Lord and Other Adventures From Our Shared Youth

I have recently stepped into a time machine and popped up behind the DM screens of eight very creative DMs back in the 80s. And you can too...
I was a supporter of a recent successful Kickstarter campaign launched by Tim Hutchings of the Play Generated Map and Document Archive (PlaGMaDA). Tim has taken several donations to the Archive and -- with the permission of the original creators -- compiled and laid out eight D&D-style modules in a compilation tome titled "The Habitition of the Stone Giant Lord and Other Adventures From Our Shared Youth." And it is a thing of beauty to anyone who cobbled together their own D&D-style adventures Back In The Day using a loose-leaf binder, some graph paper, and maybe your family's Atari 800 printer (if you were lucky).
(click any photo for a bigger, better look at the details)

Each of the eight homemade, handwritten (or typewritten) modules in this 112-page volume were written by kids during the heyday of the 70s-80s D&D bubble. The titles within this collection include:

  • The Habitition of the Stone Giant Lord
  • Stone Death
  • The Crack at Garn's Canyon
  • The Ring of Gaxx
  • The Golden Scepter of the Trollfens
  • The Tomb of Areopagus the Cloaked and Japheth of the Mighty Staff
  • The Lair of Turgon
  • The Maze of Death

Rounding out the contents is an overview by Hutchings, and an Introduction by Jon Peterson, author of Playing at the World. Peterson's Introduction offers some fascinating investigational insight, as he examines each module, pointing out what the author was inspired by or how each adventure fits into the D&D cosmos timeline. Peterson's overview really gives you an idea of how each was written and the steps these young DMs took to fit their works into TSR's published worlds.
Now then, I will not be reviewing the textual content of this collection as, well, they're unpolished adventure modules written by kids back in the 80s. Spelling errors, unbalanced encounters, and hackneyed cliches abound, but that's part of the charm of this collection. The unbridled enthusiasm these budding game designers had for their work is seen in each word, each sketch, each attempt to emulate the format and feel of The Professional Game Writers.
The pages of each module was scanned in high resolution color, so you get a feel of the originals' production. You can see the notes written on ruled notebook paper, the pencil sketches on graph paper, the handmade construction paper covers, the yellowing tape holding the maps in place, the dot-matrix patterns left by the printer, and every crease, wrinkle, and erasure smudge found on the originals. Several of them created their own covers to look like those made by TSR, pretending they were Big Name Game Designers. And now, here in late 2013, those eight young game designers got their wish, and their adventures are printed, published, and being played by gamers throughout the world.
Thumbing through the book is like standing behind the DM screen beside the respective dungeonmasters as they ran their players through a dungeon of their own design. When the respective authors assembled these handmade adventures, most of them took pains to emulate the feel and look of the professional efforts with covers. For example, "Habitition" was numbered by the author as "Dungeon Module G22", meaning it is intended to fall within the original "Against the Giants" series of adventures, possibly between G2 and G3. (If you're running your players through the series, how about shoehorning this sidetrek in there to throw off anyone who's read up on the original classics?)
The book is a fascinating look at our gaming past. It will give most of you a satisfying recollection of your own Great Killer Dungeons from your youth. And, according to the back cover, "it's a relic of the past you can play." I suggest taking one of these adventures and running your players through it. I cannot think of a better legacy to those eight kids who originally put pencil to paper than to run their creations at your own table.

The Habitition of the Stone Giant Lord and Other Adventures From Our Shared Youth is now available for purchase at The Hutchingsonian Presents for $30 plus shipping.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

[Mutant Future] Going Postal: The Ravinoti & Wisdom From The Wastelands: Drugs Now Out

The newest Going Postal and Wisdom From the Wastelands supplements for Mutant Future are now on sale!
Darwin's Children: The Ravinoti -- This new issue of John Buckley's "Going Postal" series introduces a new race called the Ravinoti.  These bipedal man-sized ravens are the ninjas of the post-apocalyptic world.  Living in small family enclaves ruled by an elder, these creatures hire themselves out as spies, assassins, and couriers to anyone who can afford their fees. This supplement includes both the monster stat block as well as the player character description including new mutations and an example Ravinoti lair.
Wisdom From the Wastelands Issue 33 is “Drugs” and described as follows: "The science fiction equivalent of magical potions and elixirs, drugs and medications are similarly treasured. Because of widespread use by the Ancients, chemical compounds of all sorts can be found almost anywhere: in ruined bases, villains' caches, or within the junk hoarded by mutant monsters. These potent pharmaceuticals can bring a character back from the brink of death, or provide enough of an edge to keep him from getting there. This issue describes different (and yet familiar) types of drugs commonly found in the post-apocalyptic environment, includes a few optional rules, and has a handy chart for the game master who would like to randomly determine a drug's form."

Both Mutant Future supplements are only 99 cents and are available at Drive Through RPG.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

[Our Last Best Hope] Drowned: A Mission Playset

NOTE: I enjoyed putting together my previous global disaster so much, I thought I'd cobble together a new one:

A Mission Playset for Our Last Best Hope

Drowned Mission
The Drowned Mission presents the team with a Crisis that already encompasses most of the Earth -- its oceans. As the waters rise and humanity moves to higher and higher ground, it will become apparent how tenuous our hold on dry land truly is. Floods, tidal waves, and monsoons engulf the coastal regions as the seas move inland, drenching all in its cold, wet embrace. And as the highest mountains disappear under the surface, where will humanity be left standing?

Suggested viewing: Waterworld, The Abyss, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012

Nearly Submerged Already – Seventy percent of the Earth's surface is already covered in water, leaving humanity with a paltry thirty percent of dry land on which to reside. It won't take too much of a disaster to make the world uninhabitable to all of the land-dwelling creatures on the planet. Even if floating crafts and arks are hurriedly deployed, these temporary measures will eventually fail one day. Humanity cannot tread water forever.

What Lurks Below? – Many think that space is the last, great, unexplored region, but the truth is much closer. We have barely explored the oceans' depths. Few vessels are able to endure the crushing pressures of the depths, and the absolute darkness of the bottom could hide anything. Who knows what things could lurk below?

1W The polar ice caps are melting, causing the ocean's levels to rise dramatically.
2W – A biblical worldwide torrential rain has been falling for 40 days and nights.
3W – All of the world's continents have begun sinking into the oceans' depths.
4W – The oceanic god Poseidon is signalling the return of the Greek Gods by flooding the planet.
5W – Aquatic alien beings have begun flooding the planet as they terraform it for their own purposes.
6W – A sudden shift in the earth's tectonic plates has caused the world's oceans to catastrophically "spill" over into otherwise inaccessible areas.
1B – Once it's fallen as rain, water has stopped evaporating back into vapor, permanently retaining its liquid state on the planet's surface.
2B – A crack in the ocean's floor is causing water to pour in from another dimension.
3B – A shift in the moon's orbit plays havoc with the tides, causing massive tidal waves worldwide.
4B – Water elementals are crossing over from their respective elemental plane.
5B – Cracks and fissures are opening up along fault lines, allowing the seas to pour inland.
6B – Global weather patterns have gone berserk with hurricanes, monsoons, and tidal waves crashing across the lands.

1W – The world's lands are already submerged, and no dry land remains.
2W – The team is made up of aquatic experts with unique underwater exploration experience.
3W – The team has been genetically altered to allow water breathing.
4W – Most of humanity has been decimated by the Crisis.
5W – The team has access to the only craft capable of functioning at the oceans' depths.
6W – The team possesses a device vital to completing the mission.
1B – The world will be completely underwater in less than 7 days.
2B – The team is closest to the epicenter of the Crisis.
3B – Only the team is aware that the Crisis exists.
4B – The team has encountered this same phenomenon before and has insight on stopping it.
5B – As far as they know, the team are the only surviving humans at this point.
6B – The team accidentally set the Crisis in motion and feels obligated to stop it.

1W or 1B – A massive aquatic sea creature is stalking the team.
2W or 2B – The craft was never designed to be taken to the ocean's depths and is starting to collapse under the pressure.
3W or 3B – A large craft filled with survivors is signalling the team, requesting rescue.
4W or 4B – They are severely off-course at the start and getting to the Crisis will sap all of their resources before they reach the goal.
5W or 5B – Their air supply will run out before they reach the mission objective.
6W or 6B – Initial information on the Crisis is incorrect and the Plan is invalidated.

Crushing oceanic pressures
Monstrous undersea creatures
Hungry school of sharks
Freezing cold
A leak that gets increasingly worse
Impenetrable darkness
Failing life support systems
Massive tidal waves
A quickly-forming hurricane
Sudden power failure

Accurate ocean maps
Friendly pod of dolphins
Deep-sea diving suits
Submersible robotic probe
Extra oxygen tanks
Nuclear charges
Powerful sonar array
Deep-sea diving bell
Electrical repellent device