Category Archives: Random Bits

GM’s Day: Things to do for you grumpy GM

It’s GM’s day and what should you do for your grumpy grognard GM.
9. Show up on time.
8. Level up your character.
7. Don’t loose your character.
6. Bring a pencil (and a eraser).
5. Don’t use your phone to play a different game.
4. Pay attention.
3. Ride the plot train for a couple of minutes.
2. Realize that there more options than murder or seduce when it comes to dealing with NPC’s
1. Buy your own damned book.

And remember always have fun.

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Swords & Wizardry and 5E??

Yes, please. Swords & Wizardry is my favorite retro-clone and some have even called the old-school Rosetta Stone since it’s so easy to bring things from other games. Guess what? It cross pollinates with 5E too. But the why listen to me? Let’s get the insider track on this.

But wait there’s more.

For The Blight, I’ll probably be mixing the rules a lot. More than I originally planned after some discussion after the last game. And you know I just might do more it in the future. It may even turn into some crazy project here on the blog. Let’s face it Swords & Wizardry is a streamlined system with its single Saving Throw and Ascending AC, it gives you a solid foundation to work in stuff from other systems whether it’s extra races, skills, feats, classes or whatever. Bonus, you still have all that old school material to use. There’s no way you could just add a bunch of that stuff without a little tweaking but it won’t totally break the game or cause any weird cascading effect. So maybe this is a way to show that those old-school games still are good games. So yeah. It’s an idea that bouncing around inside my head.
And if you’re still with me. Go ahead and subscribe to Frog God’s Youtube Channel. If they hit 1,000 subscribers there’s going to be a giveaway. And doesn’t want a chance at some gaming swag. (And just to be clear. I don’t have any financial interest in this. I just like their stuff.)
So there you have it. A thought. A plug. And now one more plug.

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Appendix (M)onty Python

So at last week’s game I mentioned Erik the Viking and no one at the table have ever seen the movie.  Then I did a little post on MeWe and there was a little a discussion and then I started thinking even more. And like always that’s where I get into trouble.

Heck, there’s the famous Appendix N that lists all of the literary inspiration for D&D. But let’s face it. The Pythons entered into the crazy banter that went into the actual playing of the game. So much so that it could be considered a Trope and a meme.

I know some folks absolutely hate that. That’s OK. But then I’m always the sort of person that interjects humor into every game whether I’m running or playing.  Yeah, I’m the joke guy.

Oddly enough, there just might be a reason for this.  Let’s see original D&D was released in 1974.  Guess what year Monty Python’s Flying Circus hit PBS?  That’s right same year. Around the same time (1978), Dr Who hit PBS.  I remember the old PBS stations of my youth blocked all the British shows together so Flying Circus and Dr Who were back to back.  So I’ll put forth the nerd party just carried over.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t do some trailers with a few little bits of commentary. So here go!

Holy Grail is the movie. It’s got everything. Wizards. Witches. Knights. Bards.  Vicious Monsters.  Crazy Plans.  You know the average D&D Session.

While not an official Python movie,  it’s part of the greater creative team’s efforts.  And it’s got the style of humor and commentary on the absurdity of humanity. And invisibility cloaks.

Time Bandits for those weird and gonzo games.  But still as crazy as before. And while running a character funnel for Dungeon Crawl Classics I’ve been know to start singing:

The Pythons reach and influence is all over culture. Whether it Graham Chapman discovering a little know writer, Douglas Adams or inspiration to folks from Alton Brown to Eddie Izzard.  Like it or not, Monty Python does deserve a little seat at the game table.

Don’t Be Afraid To Change Things Up

So things are changing on the blog and the podcast. First on the podcast. Head on over to Anchor and give it listen. Subscribe on your favorite podcasting platform. With the el cheapo plan I can’t embed it yet. But I’m working on it.
And in case you are wondering. I talk about changing up games and so on. Any way more tech stuff and game stuff to work on. Keep those dice rolling!

More Sharp Swords Resources

Yep, I keep making stuff for that upcoming game (which is supposed to happen after the current Dungeon Crawl Classics game). You know, I’m surprised that there aren’t more neat tools for this game so I made some. These aren’t any super special or pretty. I went for plain and useful.
First up we’ve got a GM Cheat Sheet. Not a full screen and has what I think I’ll probably need to refer to the most or just find handy. I’ve combined a couple of charts/tables into one. And I’ve added the “Medium” rest. It’s a house rules and I think someone previously had mentioned on the G+ Community.
I also made a little GM Log sheet to keep track of the key bits of information on the player characters. I admit, I don’t normally do this but it just might prove useful. So here’s the PDF’s.
GM Cheat Sheet
GM Log
And yes, that DCC game is still going. It’s just that nothing that warranted a whole blog post happened. And I’ve started putting together some notes for a White Box game which will happen after the Sharp Swords and Sinister Spells game. Yes, I plan that far out.
So keep those dice rolling. Keep killing those monsters and taking their stuff.

XP as Soul

Another little idea popped into my overcrowded head. Generally, levels/XP are considered “life force” when it come to some undead, mostly like vampires draining levels. So why not take this one step further and make it the equivalent of the value of a soul. Demons and devils are dealing in souls so there needs to be some sort “standard” for their value. And with that thought let’s take one more step further. What if a character wants to sell their soul?
Let’s get the easy part out of the way. If the character dies then there ain’t no coming back. The character’s soul is taken by the demon. Any attempt to raise dead, only creates a mindless, soulless body. The only way to work around this is offer up a soul that demon wants and generally will be worth more. Get it? The other catch. The character will only get XP for actions that advance the demon’s agenda. This is the simple way that the demon can direct and “reward” the character.
What does the character get out of it? Well, that all depends the situation. It’s one of those things that that’s nearly impossible to write anything hard and fast. But as a general rule think of a wish spell gone wrong. No matter why the character sells their soul, it will eventually end up badly.
As all the stories go about fools who sell their souls eventually, they realize they made a bad deal and want to get out of it. Like “what the character gets out of it”, this could be a bunch of role playing, haggling, or a whole adventure. For a quick and dirty solution roll 1d1000 (Yes, 1,000), if the result is less than the character’s Intelligence then the lucky twit found a loop hole.
Once again, a quick little idea that came to mind. Keep those dice a rolling.

Some Random Thoughts on Game Design

I was drinking my coffee this morning and just thinking about games. Since I’ve been throwing my own stuff out into the world, I figure I’d share some of my thoughts.
1. GM’s and players aren’t stupid. I work from the assumption that both have some idea what they are doing. They don’t need the game designer to hold their hands.
2. Simple/Light rules are better. They give both the players and the GM more wiggled room. They allow more thinking outside of the box. They allow GM’s to tweak and house rule more easily and make the game their own to better fit the style and feel of a campaign. That being said, don’t be a rules lawyer.
3. Rules that protect players from bad GM’s are an illusion. I’m probably going to some heat for this one. No rule will ever protect a player from a bad GM. If you have a problem with your GM or group then try discussing it in a rational and mature manner. If that doesn’t work, pick up dice and walk. I’ve done this on more than one occasion. I know that due to geography or work schedules this may gaming nearly impossible. But ask yourself is it worth it? There’s options for virtual table tops online or even start up your own game.
4. Adventure modules shouldn’t be fire and forget. Maybe this is why I really dislike writing adventure modules. A good module is one that you play then the GM keeps it handy for whatever reason. There should be something in it that is reusable or valuable outside of the module.
5. Not everybody likes the same thing. Here’s another that might upset someone. If you don’t like a genre or a set of rules. Fine. Then don’t play it. It’s that simple. Don’t sit around and complain. I’m not saying that there aren’t steaming piles of crap out there. See Item 1. Gamers are smart. Let other gamers be smart and make their own decisions.
So that’s it. Once again, I chant the mantra. Roll dice. Kill monsters. Take their stuff. And have fun.