Category Archives: Kickstarters

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Season 4, Episode 3: Welcome to The Blight


My Swords & Wizardry Campaign in The Blight started this week!

Here’s a quick rundown of the player characters. Yes, I did lots of house ruling but that’s how I roll.
Xander: Kenku Thief/Cleric of Sister Shadows
Connor Cyan: Human “Knight” (Fighter)
Frederick: Wererat Druid
Sylas Kane: Aasimar Assassin

Other Things I ranted about:
Check out the Heroes Journey 2E Kickstarter.
Ain’t Slayed Nobdoy: Cthuhlu in the Old West. An actual play podcast.
And a bit of self promotion. Just released Gazebo Gazette Issue No 2

Subscribe on your favorite platform or just stream it here.

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Old School Essentials Unboxing Take Two

Ok, this is take two of the “unboxing”. The first time around packing peanuts went everywhere and it turned into me trying to keep the dogs from eating them. Plus it was pretty dull and the lighting was really bad. But all that’s taken care of. So here’s the video.

Go ahead and check out Necrotic Gnome to get your hands on this sweet box set.

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Night Shift: Burton Tested, King Approved


It’s the last week of the Night Shift Kickstarter and yes I’m only a backer and yes I’m still ranting about it. But this one has got me excited and, heck, it’s my blog sooooo.
I’ve already did a little overview then some NPC’s and a whole rant about the genre. This time I want to a deeper dive into the Quick Start and the Kickstarter. Let me say this first. This is based on the Quick Start and things I’ve seen, bit of speculation, and a whole lot of opinion. If anything is inaccurate then just post in the comments.
Most of the mechanics are familiar if you’re used to old school games. Heck even newer editions the base mechanics are familiar. Six stats, classes, AC, HP, and so on. It does use descending AC but in a way that makes it understandable to those who aren’t used to it. There aren’t Saving Throws per se but instead you just Attribute checks. In that way you see some of the DNA of both Castles & Crusades and dare I say it 5E. Now one of the really old school things is the skill system.
Like old D&D, the skills are all percentile based. You know like the old Thief class. While I understand the design philosophy of keeping with some of the old ways, I’ve always preferred a skill system that is more unified with the other mechanics of the game. But this is really a no brainer when it comes to tweaking. Just take those percentages and divide by 5. Take that as a modifier, roll a d20 and get better than 20. No problem. This was even mentioned on the chat held by the designers. Of course, somebody will say that you have to do it as written. Sigh. Doesn’t affect the math of the game. It’s a personal preference of mine. And speaking skills. Spell casting is a skill too. That’s one thing I really like over the Vancian system that we’re so used to. Now one thing that’s bug me in old games is that there thing that every character is going to try but is some other class’s skill. Most notable is sneaking around. For those situations, Night Shift uses the Rule of Two. Basically, 2 in 6 chance to get away with it.
So what about classes? Well, the easiest three are the Veteran, the Survivor and the Spell Caster. If you want very rough equivalents to your standard fantasy classes then you’ve got Fighter, Thief, and Magic-User respectively. Then there’s the Sage. I dunno but it put that almost in the Bard type wheel house for equivalent. They are the font of knowledge and all that. Then there’s the Psychic/Medium class that good with spirits and for the life of me I can remember what it’s called but that’s not in the Quick Start. So this one really doesn’t have any similar type class. Then there’s the Chosen One. You know what mean. One in every generation. The one foretold in prophecy and so on. Based on what I’m seeing in the Quickstart, it looks like the design has some bits from both the Monk and the Paladin. Now this is my guess but it works for the genre. Of course, there’s got to be races right? Yeah there are but you won’t a super human supernatural. From what I’ve read, the character basically starts with an XP deficit to earn those extra abilities. There is a stretch goal for a totally point buy system.
So what about weapons? This goes all the way back to White Box. Everything does a d6. I know some one will it’s not realistic. Two things. First, it still is a fantasy game. Second, it makes the character more important than the gear. It gets really bad in modern games when there is an alleged gun expert at the table who argues over every mechanic. Sigh. But then who says you have to do modern. With little or no work, a GM could do a campaign probably any where from Ancient Rome to the Near Future. And even a wider range is they want to do a little more tweaking.
Now, I know a lot of this stuff has been said before and I even posted some of this in my first rant about the project. So please just take a look over on Kickstarter and give it chance.
And really folks. I can’t wait to get the full game write up those two guys. Thanks for stopping by.

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Night Shift: Jennifer the Sound Girl and Whisper

I did say that I’d do something gameable next for my crazy rants on the Night Shift Kickstarter. So here you go. But let me give you a little background first.
My personal urban fantasy setting is New Bay City. You can read a bunch more about it here. The recent work on it is for Dark Streets & Darker Secrets but along came Night Shift so I’m considering that system too. It all depends on when I get to run it again which will probably be after I run Frog God Games The Blight. In a nutshell, New Bay City is a fictional town in east Texas on the Gulf. It’s part Houston, part New Orleans, a little bit of San Francisco, and a whole bunch of Sunnydale.
At first I was going to do these two characters as PC’s but I just don’t feel confident that I can do it well based on what I know about all of the mechanics of the game. So heck. They’re NPC’s. So make them NPC’s. And that’s one of the many cool things about old school games. NPC’s and monsters don’t have to follow the same rules as player characters. So without further ado, here’s Jennifer and Whisper.

Jennifer the Sound Girl (Fledgling Vampire)

Jennifer has an interesting back story dating back to the first I ran New Bay City. It was the very first adventure where the PC’s where tagging along with the crew of a documentary about a famous serial killer. They end up facing off against said magically empowered serial killer. Jennifer was a no name NPC, just the Sound Girl. She was supposed to be just another slasher victim. But no. She was the only NPC to survive. She became sort of the party mascot for the first run of the campaign. Unfortunately at the end of that campaign, she was kidnapped and forcibly turned into a vampire. During the second run of the campaign, she turned into a key provider of information to the player character about the local vampire factions and the party scene and since it was mostly the same group of players. They were glad to see her back.
Jennifer was never trained in the use of her vampire powers so she isn’t fully aware of what she can do. While she hates her current existence, she’s compensated by adopting the party all night, sleep all day life style. What else is a vampire going to do? She does her best to keep a low profile and doesn’t to get involved in of the machinations going on between the supernatural factions in the city. She really just wants to get on with her life and be as “normal” as possible.
AC: 6
Move: 30ft.
Hit Dice: 4
Special: 2 attacks (claws, bite), when Jennifer attempts any of the “standard” vampire powers (expect blood drain type power) use the Rule of 2 for her chance of success.

Whisper the Hot-Tempered Sorceress

Whisper comes from the second time that I ran New Bay City. We were using the Dresden Files RPG and one the players wanted his character to have girlfriend. Cool, so what do you want? I dunno but make her interesting. So here’s what we ended up with.
Whisper is a street-smart spellcaster who puts on an air of being cool and tough but she’s really a closet nerd. She’s one of the regulars and the Four Horsemens D&D Game. (Note: Not those Horsemen. This is four buys that were inspired by the Lone Gunmen from the X-Flies.) Whisper’s biggest problems are that she can be insanely jealous and she has a really bad temper. Her bad temper even influences her magic and she’s gain a reputation that she may be a powerful spell caster, she has very poor control of her magic and is known for causing more than her fair share of collateral damage.
AC: 7
Move: 30ft.
Hit Dice: 5
Special: Attack: by weapon or Firebolt! (ranged attack) (2 in 6 chance of starting something else on fire if she hits; 4 in 6 if she misses). Spells(Spell Casting: 75%)*: 1st Level: Read Languages, Light, Protection from Evil, Detect Magic; 2nd Level: Hold Person, Phantasmal Force; 3rd Level: Monster Summoning
*Note: I used Swords & Wizardry as my source for spells for her. So I’m not sure if the quantity of spells match up with Night Shift.

There you go a couple of NPC’s for Night Shift with my own take on it. And please check out the Night Shift Kickstarter.

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Old School Urban Fantasy. Yes, Please

I don’t often shill Kickstarters. Usually, my various feeds are filled with them but then one comes along that gets me excited and I don’t hear that much about it. So well. I’ll just do my own little rant here. Now, the financial stake I have in this is that I’m a backer. Yes, I’ve chipped in my hard earned dollars and no one has asked me to do this. Now on with the show.

Yes, I’m talking about the Night Shift Kickstarter again. So let me give the low down as I see it.
First, it runs on old school mechanics. The best parts even like the no strict rules for every darned thing and the flexibility and familiarity we all know and love. My opinion on this is driven by the Quick Start rules on the Kickstarter and the actual play report over on the Cross Planes blog. Go read it for yourself. And there’s more previews coming out at co-author Tim Branna’s The Other Side Blog.
So mechanics aside, why am I excited? Well, I like adventurous urban fantasy (not the emo whiny goth stuff). The mixture of the mundane and magical is just en extension of another genre that I happen to like and that’s pulp. Just mull that over. Over the top action. Better than normal characters. And substitute 1930’s techno-babble with magic and pretty much good to go. And if it’s not your thing then cool.
Now I’ve had my go around with lot’s of different systems. From the ancient Night Life RPG, to the World of Darkness and I even looked and still own that d20 train wreck that was Monte Cook’s World of Darkness or as I called it McWoD. I’ve scribbled down some notes to try using Savage Worlds. While I’ve got both the Buffy and Angel RPG’s, I haven’t played them yet. And, of course, my last go around with the genre was Evil Hat’s Dresden Files RPG.
Now to present day, I’m still on the look out for a good old school take on urban fantasy. I’ve grabbed up Dark Streets & Darker Secrets Heck, I even wrote a little supplement for it. While it scratches my old school itch, there can always be more. Just like I can like and support Swords & Wizardry, Old School Essentials, Basic Fantasy, and Dungeon Crawl Classics. I can like more than one game of the same style and genre. One of my points is that I can take some little bit from one game and throw it into another. Which is something I do all the time.
So with that rant. Go ahead. Check out the Kickstarter, the Quick Start Rules, and the blog posts of others.

How about some Black Magic, kids?

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Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural War


OK. Yeah I mentioned this briefly on the podcast but I figured what the heck. How about another little shout out. Because yes I do have a soft for Urban Fantasy. And this one has me excited. Yeah another one.
Let me give you a little run down on the system. It’s old-school inspired. It’s uses descending AC but not in the way you’re probably thinking. Attack roll are d20+Ability Mod+Attack Bonus+AC. Yes plus AC. So low AC is better. You need a 20 to hit. Pretty simple for the new folks to understand that whole descending AC thing. Skills. Yep got those. IHMO, you really need those for modern settings. But just like the old school Thief, they are percentile based. Weapon damage. Oh that’s a d6. So very White Box. Oh yeah and class and levels.
So what about setting? It looks to be pretty generic urban fantasy/monster hunters. A good thing they are doing is spelling out options for how gritty or cinematic you want the play to be.
I don’t have any insider info but hey, they did release a very simple and preliminary quick start. So what are still doing here? Go check out the Kickstarter.

Dark Streets & Darker Secrets: Returning to New Bay City

Well, it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Old Skull Publishing’s games. I’m working on a couple of things for Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells and Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells. Well, the newest game Dark Streets & Darker Secrets is running on Kickstarter with three days left. It’s a quick Kickstarter with a planned quick fulfillment. That’s because the text is already done. So check it out and back it if you want.

I ranted during the most recent episode about “The Next Campaign”. Well, this week I’ve some more time to think and go down a couple of Internet wormholes and digging through depths of the hard drive and then dark places of “The Closet” to find all my own notes for New Bay City. New Bay City is my own urban fantasy setting. It’s a fictional city on the Texas Gulf Coast that’s sort of a combination of Houston, New Orleans and Sunnydale. I’ve done two full blown campaigns there. One with World of Darkness and then with the Dresden Files RPG. I also did a couple of one shots. A rather ill fated attempt to use the Hero System and another Savage Worlds using some reskinned East Texas University stuff. So yeah. I know the place and it evolves to match whatever game system that I happen to use.
So it’s time to start reskinning and doing some little rules tweaks. So stay tuned for that. Possibly some new Archetypes. Maybe? A few other little things. Right now they’re bouncing around inside my head. Those posts are coming as the ideas come together. But right now. Check out the Kickstarter. I mean damn you even to read the rules before you back it. How cool is that?