Episode 15: Old School Psionics WTF? and Beauty Is Only Skin Deep

I really tried to delve into the Psionics in Supplement III: Eldritch Sorcery. It just made my brain hurt. But isn’t that what Psionics is about? Also, a call in and another tale from the Bag of Too Many Things. And you can stream it right here or subscribe on most podcast platforms. Just search for Playing It Wrong and look for the pig.

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Thanks for listening. Roll dice. Kill monsters. Take their stuff. And have fun!

The Blighted Coast

Just because the current situation has put my game on hold, it doesn’t mean my imagination has been sitting idle. So when Frog God Games had a huge sale, I just had to take advantage of it and grabbed up a copy of Razor Coast. I’ve been running The Blight and I’ve always had an interest in Razor Coast and I thought why mix them together a bit and The Blighted Coast does sound kind of cool.

I’ve already written a lot about The Blight and it’s Gothic horror and weird fantasy influences. I didn’t touch on the nautical themes in the book. Parts of the Levee campaign adventures take place on the Unsea and the Between. There’s a large dock/merchant district in Castorhage. So yeah there’s some nautical stuff there. Now, Razor Coast is Pirates/Polynesian/Caribbean influenced setting. So it sounds like they may not have that much in common.
From a rules standpoint, Razor Coast has much more robust rules for swashbuckling (especially gear), black powder weapons, and ships than The Blight. While ships play only small role (depending on how you are playing it). Black powder is mentioned as option and I think it fits well. Moving the Blight setting technology more along the Age of Sail rather than Medieval. Which is a cool thing. I like switching between various campaign settings with various levels of technology and still being able to use the same rules. It’s easier on me as the GM and the players. The Blight setting book also has some bits about Castorhage’s attempts to become a world power (and even a power in the Between). Once again, this prime for adding in pirates.
Finally, if you’ve been hanging around the blog or the podcast, I’ve mentioned that I’ve had an itch to run a Pirates Vs Cthulhu type campaign. I’ve thought about using the original Chaosium system or hacking Delta Green but then maybe this might work too. And it would be fun.
And of course. Everything is better with pirates.

The Elves of Zoong

Yes, it’s been way too long between posts. It’s a culmination of a lot things but mostly lack of inspiration. But some finally popped into my head. I’ve talked about the races of my main campaign world, Zoong, before. Dwarves are basically red necks. Halflings run the Mod. But elves were just sort of there and I didn’t have that much in mind but things did come together in a way that I really liked. Look no further than some old memories.

That’s right Elric. There was old post (maybe on Dragon’s Foot but I’m not sure where) that originally the elves of D&D were more inspired by the Elric saga (Fighter/Magic-User) rather than Lord of the Rings. So why not run with it?
The Elves of Zoong are an ancient, long-lived race who once ruled most of the world and were the originators of serious arcane study. Decadence and shear boredom have caused not only their empire but also their cities and culture to crumble. Once shining cities are deteriorating into ruins. Immaculate gardens are over grown and untended. Any form of art is ignored or macabre and debased. Some elves just sit in their cities and play vicious political games with rivals or whatever group happens to capture their attention at the time. Just something to pass the time and get over the boredom of such along existence. Many go forth adventure but once again, it’s out of boredom.
Elves tend to have extremes of personality and/or morality. What most would normal or rational behavior, the Elves view as boring and uninteresting. Been there done that. Not it’s time for something new and interesting.
So there you a kernel of thought on some elves.

Playing It Wrong: Judging A Game

What can turn off a game before you even buy it, read it, or play it? My big two things are character sheets and the community around the game. And I know this is a short episode but hey things are crazy and I’m trying to get back into some normal habits. And as usual, you can stream the episode right here. And sorry forgot to run some filters on this episode so the audio isn’t as good as it should be.

Thanks. And remember. Roll dice. Kill monsters. Take their stuff. And have fun.

Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars

Here’s another Kickstarter that’s landing in backer’s hands but not yet out to the general public. So yeah, I’ve got my PDF of it. Yes, I’ve ranted about it before (here and here) when the Quick Start became available. Now that I’ve got the full PDF, it’s time for more rants.
As I said before, I like the Urban Fantasy genre and have ran a few campaigns of it. And I think it’s under served when it come to RPG’s that fit my own personal tastes and this is even more true when it comes to old-school games. Night Shift does a good job of blending old-school mechanics and making available the wide array of character possibilities in Urban Fantasy.
So if you’re an old hat at RPG’s and especially old school then the system isn’t that hard to grasp. You’ve got your standard array and range of attributes, classes, and “races”. The classes are broad and specific at the same time. There’s isn’t that much niche protection but relies more on the you can try anything, but what you are good at is really based on your character. For races, there’s only two. Mortal Human and “Supernatural”. Supernatural is just the catch all for anything weird that a player may want (with GM approval, of course). On the downside, Supernatural characters basically start off with a deficit of XP (about 3,000) before they can take a class. This add a little balance between the mortals and supernatural.
For the classes, you can see the DNA of the classes from standard fantasy versions. The Chosen One, The Survivor, Witch/Warlock, and Veteran lean towards the Monk, Thief, Magic-User and Fighter respectively. The other classes (Sage, Inventor, Psychic, and Theosophist) each have their own abilities and tricks that they bring to the table.
The basic game mechanics are something that most folks should be used to. Saving Throws are based on each ability (rather than type). Most actions including combat are basically handled with ability checks (d20+ability modifier+other modifiers). Now, specific class abilities are generally handled with a percentile roll. You know just like old-school Thief skills. Players are encouraged to have their characters try anything with an ability check. Characters with specific skills get to use their skill and try with an ability check; giving two chances to succeed. There’s also the Rule of 2 which is basically everybody has at least a 2 in 6 chance of doing something. As always it’s up the arbitration of the GM. And everything does a d6 damage like in really old school games.
There’s other cool stuff in there too. A few campaign ideas. Lots of options for setting the tone of the game (cinematic to gritty) plus optional rules. There’s also some great notes on converting your Night Shift game into a different old-school game. Like BX/Old School Essentials or Swords & Wizardry or White Box or whatever of retro-clone you like? It will take some work but you can convert it. Now, I know my players. And I know that at least one of them will say, “But what about 5E?” I would say that it is possible. It will take a lot more work than with an old-school game but yes it could be done. And you could even bend it around enough to use Basic Roleplaying percentile system with enough tweaking.
There a couple of things I did find a bit annoying. I do think the book could be organized a bit better. I found myself bouncing between different sections of the PDF to make sure I understood a specific concept, rule or ability. This is easier with a physical book, I just found it a pain with a PDF. Plus there are a few rules here and there that I personally think could have been written a little more clearly. But this is all my own personal preference and not a huge biggie.
So am I going to run this? I dunno. If you read the blog regularly, you know that I also like Dark Streets & Darker Secrets and it’s a tough call between these two but then since both have that old-school DNA there’s no reason that they can’t be kit bashed (as I tend to do). But then Night Shift has plenty of inspirational material that I could see myself taking some of the concepts and porting them into Savage Worlds. And of course if my players whine enough, I might try my hand at doing a 5E conversion. So we shall see.
In summary, glad I backed. Glad it’s out there. And I know I’m going to be seriously playing around with this game soon.

Phylactery No 1

Let’s face it when Zine Quest 2 was running on Kickstarter, this cover sold me. While Phylactery No 1 isn’t available to the general public yet, Kickstarter backers have gotten the PDF. And boy am I glad I backed this one. Phylactery is an old-school zine with a fun grind house vibe. It’s weird. It’s quirky. And just enough grind house to be interesting and weird without going for an edgy ick factor.
So what’s in it? Since it’s a zine it’s set up to use whatever old-school rules you happen to favor with little or no conversion. I’m attempting to do without any spoilers. Let’s see off the top there’s a the Chaos Throne which is sort of like a Deck of Many Things but you get to sit down while things go crazy. There’s a whole host of magic items. Everything form holy relics to potions. Each with a neat little twist. Plus there’s NPC’s to help or hinder (some really nice bad guys in there) the player characters. And there’s a little dungeon and a small hex crawl. Plus more little bits and bobs to make things interesting in your campaign.
Here’s what I think is best about it. Everything has just enough description that a GM can easily fit the stuff in their own campaigns. And like I said before the stuff is weird and just off the norm enough to be really interesting. This really zine really fits my tastes and style. Pulpy, weird, and just enough out of the box that it’s different and interesting and still be familiar. So yes. Most definitely highly recommended.
I’m not sure when it will be available to the public so keep an eye out for Phylactery No 1 from Planet X Games. And oh yeah, planning is underway for Issue 2 already.
Remember folks. Roll Dice. Kill Monsters. Take Their Stuff. And Have Fun.

Episode 13: Don’t Let Monsters Be Boring

I missed last week but here I am back with another episode. This time I’m talking about making monsters interesting. It doesn’t take much and you don’t have to make every one of them weird. Because if everything is weird then nothing is weird. The top three things are tactics, personality and location. I also delve into the Druid in Eldritch Sorcery.

And while I’m stuck working from home, I’m also doing bonus episodes. So if you’re not subscribed here’s the most interesting one from last week.

Thanks for listening. Remember. Roll Dice. Kill Monsters. Take Their Stuff. Have Fun. And Stay Safe!

Roll Dice. Kill Monsters. Take Their Stuff. And Have Fun!

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