Showing posts from 2011

Merry/Happy (please insert your prefered inoffensive generic politically correct word here)

Now for some kick ass Santa pictures...

Have a safe and happy holiday and all the best in the new year from everyone here at Rule of the Dice.

Playing by Blog

One of the greatest things about our hobby is its progressive nature. And I'm not talking about elven politics or any such malarkey. No, I'm talking about how the hobby thrives as more and more options to play are made available.

Whether you play face-to-face, or via email or forum, or even through a service like Google+, there are more ways to get your roleplaying fix than ever before.

And now you can add play-by-blog to that growing list.

For the last couple months, I've been in a play-by-blog game run by the packmaster of the blog A Pack of Gnolls, called The Ruins of Empire and running Microlite74 in 4E's Nentir Vale setting.

Playing by blog means setting up a blog specifically dedicated to the game in question; the gamemaster makes the main posts that drives the game forward, then players post their actions in the comments section of the blog, and generally it acts a lot like play-by-forum. It's slow, but since it doesn't require a massive time sink, it's …


DIY RPG/D&D people, you need to read this

Teach your kids to game week

In case you missed it, it's Teach your Kid to Game week, an idea that I 100% approve of, even if the idea of an entire week to it seems a bit unnecessary.

What's next? A week to remind us to breathe?

However, on its intended purpose, I can lavish nothing but praise. I've had the opportunity to run games for young kids before and, let me just say, that it was highly rewarding and actually quite fun. Very imaginative children will think of solutions to problems that no rational adult could ever conceive, whether or not said solution is physically possible.

There are plenty of tips and advice out there for running games with kids, but let me just reiterate a couple of points I feel need mentioning as often as possible.

#1: Don't play for hours. Kids get tired, have shorter attention spans, and basically will burn out faster than you will. Limit the game time to two hours at the max, maybe even cut it short to an hour-and-a-half. You can get in a little adventuring and try to …

Let loose the Dogs of WAR

When I was fourteen or so, I discovered my dad's old collection of paperback men's action novels and spent an entire summer reading them, from the adventures of American super spy Nick Carter, to the sardonic violence of the Destroyer, I devoured them all with a fresh zeal, with my favorite being the violent adventures of the Executioner, who would later serve as the basis for Marvel's Punisher. Soon I'd continued on to classic pulp adventure series like Doc Savage and the Shadow, but the men's adventure novels of the 70s and 80s have always held a special place in my heart and on my bookshelf.

So to find a game supposedly patterned after those novels filled me with excited trepidation. Dogs of WAR, by Simon Washbourne, is based around the Bolanverse series (the long running series consisting of the Executioner, Mack Bolan, Pheonix Force, Able Team, and Stony Man, three series of which are still being published as of today: ) though any actual know…

Why I Love Nu-Skool D&D

A few weeks ago I raved about how great Old Skool D&D is.  At first glance, you may infer therefore that I believe Nu Skool (and 4E in particular) sucks.  While it's really easy to make fun of 4E, I don't actually believe that it's bad. The two games are very different and fill completely separate rolls and niches.  I love them both in different ways, like my iPhone and my wife.

The cool thing about old versions of D&D is that's it's simple, random, and open to endless interpretation and tweaking. That's also one of it's greatest flaws.  The reason many people make up their own house rules is because the rules, as written, don't make a heck of a lot of sense.  And they're stupidly unfair.  Sure, having a wizard with 2 hit points who gets killed by a stray cat is funny the first time, but after dying 8 times in two sessions, that shit gets old. Especially when a significant portion of those deaths were caused by the same f***ing cat.


D6 Zombies


In honour of Halloween and the second season of the Walking Dead (not to mention the soon-to-be-released Issue Three of d6 Magazine featuring material by yours truly), I thought it was time to revisit d6 Horror and share with you some of my designs for everyone's favourite brain-devouring, drooling masses of near-human monstrosities... ZOMBIES!!!

I love zombies and horror survival games.  So much so that I broke my own rule to never buy another Kevin Siembieda game and picked up DEAD REIGN when it came out a couple of years ago.  It was a ton of fun, though admittedly I had to tweak the hell out of it to make it playable (when my players realized that the zombies had the strength of Superman, and kept coming after being shot in the head four or five times, it really killed the excitement for them).  All that tweaking eventually led me to the d6 system, which I also mangled to create a custom d6 Horror games (some of the rules of which will be appearing in the a…

REVIEW: Resident Evil Deck Building Game

I was walking past a FLGS* last week and noticed a new Resident Evil board game in in the window. Now, I am a huge Resident Evil fan, (at least of the original and RE: Zero for GameCube) so I had to check this out. Turns out it wasn't a board game so much as a card game, but it was reasonably priced and I was intrigued so I picked it up.  I got the "Alliance" intro set because it specifically said it had rules for single-player, which is always a plus for me.

*Quick Aside: It actually not "my" Friendly Local Gaming Store.  I was downtown visiting my real estate lawyer (man, that feels weird to say, but we bought a house, so I had to get a lawyer) and I walked past Fandom II, a popular gaming store here in Ottawa.  The shopkeeper wasn't particularly "friendly," but they have a good selection and a strong customer base.  My FLGS is actually the Comic Book Shoppe, which has some of the best prices on gaming stuff in town.  One of these days I will ha…

Dames Don't Belong in Dungeons (unless they're bound and scantily-clad)

A few weeks ago (yeah, I'm really behind on my blogging) there was some debate floating around in certain dark corners of the Onling Gaming Blog Community (which I affectionally like to call the Ogbloc) about how closely role-playing games (and by extension, "fiction" and "history" in general) should or should not adhere to historical accuracy.  A quick glance at these blog posts - here and here, paying special attention to the comments sections - will either make you laugh with the absurdity of the argument, or cause your blood to boil with unbridled academic nerd-rage. 

Not writing for a while gave me the advantage of time to mull over my response to this phenomenon (or maybe just made me miss the boat completely). Originally I wrote a scathing, satirical argument about the whole thing (I won't tell you which side I took), but the light of reason (ie, my wife/editor) showed me the way back up out of the hole where the Internet trolls ply their trade, an…

Steal This Other Map

Everyone seems to have enjoyed the free map I posted a while back. It's made the rounds, been awesomed up and found a place in the Dragonsfoot forums. So I decided I may as well post another one.

I was going for a kind of comic book style with this map. It was an experiment, mostly hand drawn on a wacom tablet in photoshop. It turned out pretty good.

You could pretty easily use it for some northern wilderness setting thing, at least that's the vibe I was going for, but feel free to use it for whatever you want.

If you use the map let me know.

Both of the maps are free for anyone's personal use at the game table or for anyone's free DIY RPG products - I only ask for a link back or a credit as the maps creator.

Several people have inquired whether they could my maps in their commercial (for profit) projects. The answer is: No, you cannot use these maps for any commercial project. Read the creative commons copyright below.


Looking at Microlite74

Microlite20, the ultra slim version of the d20 SRD, has been available for some time now, and it has been modded up and down so many ways that you can find a hundred different games using the same basic ideas, from westerns to space operas. It's nice, I've played it, but it wasn't until I sat down this last weekend and gave a version called Microlite74 a try that I truly appreciated its flexibility.

Designed by Randall Stukey, Microlite74 is a game with the familiar d20 conventions, but with an old-school flavor. Coming in three distinct booklets, each with a small overall page count, you can enjoy Microlite74 Basic, Standard, or Extended, each playing under different assumptions.

In Basic, you can play as Humans or the classic three Demi-Humans (Elves, Dwarves, Halflings) and there are three character classes, the Fighter, Cleric, and Magic-User. That's right, no thief (or rogue for those politically correct 3e players).

Or Bruce Campbell, as my players like to say.


Why I Love Old-Skool D&D (OR: The 58-Year Old D&D Virgin)

So a few weeks ago, after much debate and discussion, we finally introduced my father-in-law to the intricacies of Dungeons & Dragons.  He's played World of Warcraft for several years, and he loves anything fantasy-related (I've often said he will read anything with a sword or a dragon on the cover), so he was long overdue to be initiated.  He's been listening to us talk about table-top RPGs for awhile (my regular gaming group consisting of his two adult daughters and their husbands, so he's heard plenty about it), and he's seemed plenty interested.

The question was, what to play?  We taught him to play Munchkin and Magic: The Gathering a few years ago, both of which he enjoyed but struggled with the rules (probably because we didn't play regularly enough, and to be fair, MtG has a lot of stupid fucking rules). We were unsure of asking him to join because our experience with MtG.  Not to mention we were playing 4E at the time, and I wouldn't wish that …

How to Screw Up a Game of Thrones Campaign in 3 Easy Steps

I'm back!

It's been awhile.  So long, in fact, that Blogger seems to have finally caught up with the 21st century while I was away.  Mobile-compatible sites?  Updated, more user-friendly post-editor?  I guess I don't have to bug John to switch to Wordpress after all.

But enough about Blogger.  What have you missed in my gaming world??

Our PBEM Battlestar Galactica came to an abrupt end when I died (see, I was right to be afraid) and the other characters ended up on a cliffhanger Mexican standoff (with each other) as the Cylons were just about to attack.  Nice ending, and I would love to go back to it some time, but the truth of the matter was it was growing a bit stale and we needed a change.  Through no fault of the DM, it was hard to keep people interested when he was competing with summer vacations, kids off school, visiting relatives, etc.  It's understandable.  So, wanting to shake things up a bit, I offered to take over and run a different game.

That was mistake…