Showing posts from June, 2011

You Can Have Fun Without Dice

I've always thought of myself as a dice-whore. I own lots of dice, I covet other people's cool dice, and I like games where you can roll lots of dice. (I even listed it as one of the reasons Star Wars is the Best RPG Ever ). I love that the Hackmaster RPG has an entire chapter devoted to proper dice rolling techniques and etiquette. I've always been apprehensive about games that do not use dice. And yet, despite all this, I've recently come to a realization. The dice are talking to me. You can have fun without dice. I know it sounds crazy, but it's true. As a corollary to this theory, too much dice-rolling can also suck. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am playing in a Battlestar Galactica game through play-by-email with a friend who's new to game mastering. He's been doing a great job, despite that running PBEM came can be quite frustrating . Rolling all those dice and determining the outcomes behind the scenes can be a real pain in the ass. Kno

How to Make Super Heroes That Suck

I recently discovered 4-Color Heroes , a retro-clone of the old TSR Game, Marvel Super Heroes . I mentioned before that MSH was one of the first RPGs I ever played, and even though we never actually read the rules, we played the shit out of that thing. We had a blast making up our own heroes to do battle with the top players in the Marvel Universe (it was so satisfying to punch Cyclops in the face). The coolest thing about MSH, which 4C-Heroes has retained, is the ability to make completely random characters/heroes. Random stupid characters bring a nostalgic tear to my eye: my very first character's only "powers" were lust-inducing pheromones and a boomerang. Seriously. It could just as easily have been a guy who could stick to walls and fart rainbows. No game balance, no logic, just roll some dice, spit out a bunch of random stats and powers, then try to explain how the fuck it works. To be fair, this is probably how most comic book writers and artists create chara

The mystery of the monsters

I was glancing through the Pathfinder Bestiary the other day, re-familiarizing myself with some of the monsters and their stats, when it hit me; the magic is gone. Just a year or so ago, when I played my first game, there was this allure and mystery about the seemingly limitless monsters and beasties that populated the various fantasy worlds. Now, I see them as stat blocks and powers, obstacles to pit my players against. Perhaps it was bound to happen as I became the primary gamemaster for my group. But it's still left me feeling somewhat disappointed. The realization that a small part of the game is now gone for good leaves me wanting that feeling of surprise anew. I can't recall the very first monster I ever faced as a player, though I imagine it was something suitably low-level. Like a kobold, or goblin, or possibly a level-0 farmer. Something easy, that was for certain. Or perhaps Farmer Smurf, the level-0 Smurf! But I can remember the combat I most enjoyed from those early

Top 4 Bands That Write Songs Based on Their D&D Campaign

There are many bands out there who like to play loud, ass-kicking, speaker-bursting music with thrashing guitars and pounding drums. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, most of them are total geeks. They may look like hard-ass biker leather fetishists, but in reality they're just D&D and Lord of the Rings nerds who hope that if they sing about dwarves and elves loud enough, people will think they're tough and not pick on them anymore. He was almost cool. Then he opened his mouth. Although I'm sure we could list thousands of bands that could fall into the genre, I'm just going to list The Top 4 Bands That Write Songs Based on Their D&D Campaigns. Actually, they're just my 4 favourites, but whatever. 4. Iron Maiden Seriously, how many kids back in the 80s ran home after school to play D&D and listen to Iron Maiden? Well, probably not THAT many, but if you're reading a blog about role-playing games and you're over 30 years old, you know what I'm