Monday, March 28, 2011

How does Wonder Woman look?

So here is our first look at how Wonder Woman will look in the new TV series.... once it was a movie, but now its a TV series...Oh well. I wanted to see a movie, but I will take a show... will it be like the short lived Bionic Woman? Let's hope not.


Warner Bros. Television has provided us with the first image of Adrianne Palicki starring as the title character in the new NBC pilot "Wonder Woman," from executive producer David E. Kelley ("Boston Legal," "Ally McBeal," NBC's "Harry’s Law"). The pilot was written by Kelley, who also serves as executive producer with Bill D'Elia ("Boston Legal," "The Practice," NBC's "Harry’s Law"). Jeffrey Reiner ("The Event") is directing. Based upon DC Comics characters, "Wonder Woman" is from David E. Kelley Productions and Warner Bros. Television.

Friday, March 25, 2011

DM Tips: Distractions and Breaktimes


Distractions and breaks during the game can be a pain, especially those that break up the flow of the game to the point you lose the mood.


So what is a DM to do?

Well there are a few simple things a DM can do to keep the peace, and the game moving along. As the DM, decide how many hours your adventure will be, from there you can decide what to do. So for example let's say you decide you wanted to run a game this Saturday, from 1pm to 8pm, which is 7 hours. Now you're thinking "wow that's seven hours!" It is, but you have to think, will you be playing the whole seven hours? More than likely you will not and be breaking in there for lunch/dinner and I am sure a few bathroom/smoke breaks.

So here is what I like to do when running a game for say that 7 hour time period.

When the group arrives, ask them what time everyone would like to break for dinner and how long they would like to go for. Some players will either go for a normal dinner time hour and more than likely ask for 15 to 30 minutes. Some people like to order their food, which is fine and when it gets there, break for the meal. There are some players who like to play while eating. I don't recommend this as something any group should do, because I feel those 30 minutes away from the game are good thinking and reflecting time for the players. Also it gives the players a chance to think about what to do next, as well as it gives the DM a nice needed downtime break. Every DM needs a few moments to himself to think, plan things, and read up on what's next. OK, we got that down

But what about breaks?

Everyone needs to go to the bathroom, and we know some gamers smoke. So my best advice is to check with the players every hour and ask them if they'd like to pause for bathroom or a smoke. This is not saying that you are not allowing people to run to the bathroom or go smoke on their own, it's just you are suggesting a certain time.

Why do I bring up this issue?

Well I was in a group many years ago, where 80% of the group was smokers, and it came to the point that every 20 minutes or so the group was breaking for a smoke and the break was lasting 15 minutes. So it was safe to say that we were socializing more then playing, which is normally fine, but when you are sitting down to play D&D, and looked forward to it all week, it gets annoying.

How did we solve this?

Well we used the methods I've described here, and as the DM I talked to the group and said, listen, "I understand the need to smoke, but we need to cut it down a bit." They agreed it was a bit much, and did agree upon taking breaks at a certain time, or if they REALLY needed to get up, they did.

What do you do?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tips for the New GM (or DM).. How to start...


One question that keeps coming up to me is, how did you get started as a DM/GM? Also what tips can you give me to be a better one in the old school games? How do you handle changing things if a player goes this way and you planned that way?

Well, first I would like to say, I am by far the leading expert in being a DM. What can tell you is that I have over 20 years experience under my belt as a DM or GM.

OK, so you have a group you are playing in, and your DM is starting to feel DM burn out, which happens to most people after a while. You decide you want to step up to give that person a break. First things first, ask yourself this one important question, "CAN YOU MAKE A DECISION UNDER PRESSURE AND QUICKLY?" and "DO YOU THE RULES WELL ENOUGH?"

These in *my* eyes is the key factor for being a good DM. If you can pull these off, your games will draw the players in and keep the flow of the fantasy going. Its OK to look up something in the book if need be, but only if its truly needed, otherwise move on. Remember, you are the DM, you control the game, make a decision in your mind that is fair, and will keep the game going.

OK you want an example to further nail this in. You are the DM, you come up to a situation where the fighter wants to dive across the table and grab the large gem out of the hand of the guy who is displaying it. Well, what does it say in the book for this? Nothing really, especially for B/X or AD&D 1E, you can flip through the book and maybe find something close to it.... 10 to 15 minutes later of paused gaming OR you as the DM can say, "OK, fighter roll 3d6 and get under your dex and you will be able to leap across the table and grab hold of the gem..." Fair enough, players are happy, keeps the flow going, and makes for an exciting roll.. DM is also happy, because it didn't break the rules of the game.

Far as tips for being a better DM at old school games, the best advice I can give on that subject, is if you can role play a situation out, instead of rolling dice, then use that.

An example would be, a Magic User is searching for a magical gem in this creepy old house, he found a possible lead of it being in this old creepy dusty study. You as the DM describe the study in as much detail so the player can form an image in their minds, and allow the player to ask questions to help further form that image. You described the desk, and the MU, decided that is where he wants to start. So he says, I will search the desk. A good response for an old school DM would be, "How? Tell me what you do?" Then the player will describe his methods to searching the desk. Modern day games would have stopped at I search the desk, as the DM would simply say, roll dX.

Last thing I'd like to cover is, what happens if the party goes X direction, when you planned out Y direction, or the Party went to room 12 where the big bad is, instead of roaming the dungeon like you planned?

Its very simple, just move things around. You are the DM, right? Only YOU know where things are in your adventure, right? OK so move it.

So if the players go direction X, let them, have them travel that way, and have direction X lead into direction Y down the road.

If the players go to room 12 where the big bad is, move him. Push him to room 20. Very simple, players will not know, only you will know.

One last tip I can give you before I stop this, is never, ever railroad players or tell them "No you can't do that."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Finally back in town...

Its amazing how a week off of work, and a last minute decision takes you to Vegas. I had a great trip, gambled a bit and wondered, is Vegas this busy all the time? Apparently no, I happened to pick Spring break week, and on top of that, it was St Pat's day the same week, and to top all this, it was the biggest week of March Madness... Well I got through it, and got to see some wonderful shows, such as the Criss Angel Show. Then meet up with DM Chrispy, who was kind enough to bring me to a local comic book store where there was tons of old D&D book.. While there was no D&D book worth buying, I did pick up the Black Book of In Nomine or the Satanic/Demonic In Nomine, for a steal, as its worth almost close to $100 something. In case you have no idea what In Nomine is..

In Nomine is a modern roleplaying game in which the players take the part of celestial beings – angels and demons – as they struggle for control of humanity and themselves. The celestials, powerful though they may be, are merely pawns in a much larger game being played by their Superiors, the Archangels and Demon Princes. Based on the best-selling French RPG by the wonderfully diabolical Croc!
Great game. Check it out! Sorry for the short review post, but I wanted to give you guys something...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Flash Back Friday, OD&D Ad!

Check this out, an old add to buy the basic set from TSR for levels 1 to 3...Ah...look at the price... I dont think you can purchase any D&D books for that cheap anymore. Look an enjoy, just don't print it and send it in, I'd imagine you will get nothing... but who knows :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Road... Head? WHAT?

What the hell.. stumbled across this picture, and could not stop laughing, especially the fact that it was actually on the road, and not a joke. It was used for a promo in Texas for when the movie came out... I think I'd more then likely have to pull over if I saw this, because I would not stop laughing... thoughts?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Conan Movie teaser is out... wow... really?

Well as it looks the new Conan movie will come out this summer, and here is one of the first teasers out there for it. All I can say is, either this will be so awesome that it blows your mind or really bad. I am leaning towards really bad, what do you think?


Saturday, March 12, 2011

OSR Magazine OUBLIETTE.. awesome!

Already on issue #5, I just stumbled upon this little gem called Oubliette magazine, and its offered for free as a pdf download. Now the publisher says about his magazine the following:

 "A magazine for old school fantasy roleplayers. Written for Labyrinth Lord, but also ideal for use with any Basic/Expert/Advanced original or clone, with little or no adjustment required. A compilation edition of the first four issues of Oubliette is also available on Lulu and offers a 35% saving against the total cost of the individual issues. The preview pages give the full contents of the magazine along with a couple of sample pages. In PDF form every issue of Oubliette comes with a bundle of supplemental materials. Print customers can get hold of these by E-mailing oubliettemagazine@yahoo.co.uk with your LULU order number and I will send you a voucher for a free PDF download of all the supplemental material for the issues purchased.."
It has a great bunch of advice and articles about old school gaming and even rehashing things from the past you can use for gaming today, that most people forgot about. For instances, there is a section called "Monster Club" and the author talks about The Monstermark system, designed by the late Don Turnbull, original published in White Dwarf Magazine. With out giving away too much about it, but its a calculation that combines how many rounds a monster can survive, with the average damage it can deal per round. OK you are saying, "OK so what? I remember that from 1979", The difference now, is that the author revised it for Labryrinth Lord and changed it slightly. How? Read it and find out!

Moving on to another example, the author goes on to write about "The Vampire and Alternative Rules for creating terrifying Labyrinth Lord Vampires.." The article is very solid with a way you can make a vampire, giving examples and the method used for generating one. Its an interesting read, as he generates a sample character, gives the background, stats and even shows you all the charts he used for the Vampire.

With 48 pages of awesomeness packed into one issues, plus little comic strips, I give this magazine issue I've read a 5 out of 5. Good tips, good advice and each article is very well fleshed out in at least two pages, some going as far as 5 or 6. Check it out and support the OSR!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Big Eyes Small Mouth.


Here is another game that I stumbled into like 10 years ago, and it was a fun little system. It was produced by the now defunct Guardians of Order, and is owned by White-Wolf now. Anyhow, great little system that uses 2d6 for everything. Simple stats and simple skills. "Big Eyes, Small Mouth" (typically abbreviated BESM) is a highly flexible roleplaying game system, although created with anime in mind--it's title playing off the stereotypical character design of anime and manga--it can be used for almost any type of roleplaying game setting or genre. The stats in BESM, which represent your characters innate abilities, are as follows:

BODY- Body represents everything physical about a character. Health, strength, endurance, dexterity, and speed--anything related to physical activity--are all covered by the Body Stat.

MIND- Mind represents everything mental about a character. Mind represents the ability to learn, make judgements, solve puzzles, and be aware of dangers in the surrounding area.

SOUL- Soul represents everything qusai-spiritual about your character. Self confidence, willpower, focus, fate and balance with the universe are all covered by the Soul Stat. Most things relating to the supernatural and things that tax a character's inner strengths or morals relate to the Soul Stat..

When creating characters, players get a number of points (assigned by the GM, based on the power level he or she wants in the game) to assign to stats. Stats can never go above 12.

There is also a list of skills for your character to have, as well as other speciall things a character can do, like "special power", depending on the type of game your GM wants to run.

Combat in BESM is pretty simple and its a three step process:

Step 1: Initiative
Step 2: Character Actions (Attack, Defend, Other)
Step 3: Resolution (Assign Damage, Heal, Finish Combat, Other)

Here is a character sample named Morpha

I didn't get to play it that much, but from what I remember it was a fun little system, and it can be used to play ALMOST anything you can thing of with all the stuff put out by it. Check it out, BESM 2E.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

TMNT! Its Turtle time!



A little show, about these cartoon turtles who mutated into human like sized ninja fighting machines debuted on CBS, it was called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It started as a 5 part mini-series in 1987, then exploded into a regular Saturday morning cartoon, and finally was on 5 days a week with new episodes. The cartoon went for 10 seasons, lasting until around 1996 causing a crazy in the USA, with shirts, lunch boxes, more comic books, and then finally a bunch of live action movies.

Now comes to the RPG, which was out BEFORE the "turtle crazy". The TMNT rpg, was written and sold in 1985 by Palladium Books, while the comic books were being produced here in the USA.

I remember this game fondly as a boy, picking it up at the local gaming store, and thinking, "wow, this looks cool". Spending hours of fun in the summer of '86, at my friends house everyday, playing the hell out of this game.

It was so cool, I remember saying, "you could play D&D, but as animals, and you could be NINJAS!" The system was a bit wonky, but we figured it out, as I played through my Dog like character named "Chuff", beating up on various baddies my friends made up. Then we stopped.

Time passed as we forgot about the game.

Then, there was the cartoon.

I remember going to school that Monday, and finding my friends with a young boy excitement in my eyes, because of this new cartoon that I saw Saturday. In fact we all saw the cartoon, and decided to put our D&D on hold, to play this again. We played as the cartoon fueled tons of adventures as now we had "The Shredder" to fight against. Our adventures always involved our little group, helping out the turtles, who often got kidnapped or went missing. Ahh.. the good old days..

Well, its back, as today, it arrived in my mailbox, for only the price of $3.00USD and condition was excellent. I am very happy about it, you should find this book and give it a whirl!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thundercats...NOOOooooooo!


Normally on Saturdays, decide to put up a funny picture or some type of chick picture, but not this week. I was on facebook.com and saw the trailer to the "new Thundercats" cartoon. Yeah, you heard me, the new one. The cartoon I grew up with as a young teen and loved, has come back. WHY? Because everything comes back, because no one can figure out a single good original idea on their own. Its one thing to mess with movies and do remakes, I can deal with that, because its interesting..sometimes.. BUT CARTOONS IS WHERE I DRAW THE LINE. Give me a break, leave it alone and create something better... Why not creature something based off the Thundercats... like someone new found the Sword of Omens...Nah, that wont sell.

Why don't I like it? Because its an attempt at studio executives to recreate what they loved as kids for profit, because the kids of today are spoiled beyond belief. If its not new and flashy, or on an iPhone or what not, the kids wont like it. I just love how these 8 year olds are walking around with cellphones, and playing on facebook, and acting like an adult. They are 8, go play video games, or play with Lego, or go outside.

This cartoon... I couldn't even watch the full trailer as it made me want to puke. I've included it on this post so you too can vomit all over what was part of your childhood.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

GMs -- Having troubles with roleplay ideas?


I bought this book at Betacon last summer and never looked at it more then once, I actually bought it because, it was in the auction, and the money went to charity for helping kids with cancer. So I tossed it onto my pile of books to read if I was sick. WELL, that time has come, I've been sick so I pulled out this book, made by Last Unicorn Games (LUG for short), called Star Trek The Next Generation (TNG) Narrator's Toolkit. By the way, in case you are wondering, LUG is no longer around, as Wizards bought them out. (BOO!).

Anyhow...


LUG has produced two "Narrator's Toolkit" so far, one for the Star Trek: Then Next Generation setting and, more recently, the one for the Original Series setting (TOS). I can't speak about the TOS book, but I can speak about the TNG one. Narrator's Toolkit is full of useful tips for writing adventures and running a game. The book is written well, organized well and in some parts it will make you smirk (especially if you are a Trekkie).  The best part of this book, is that its not rules mechanic heavy, or quote various things from the core book of the game. Which means any advice you get here or ideas you are presented, could help run ANY GAME. There is sections are on how structure your adventure, where things should go to, kind of like a little mini-story board that directors use when first looking at a script to shoot film.

This book is almost a how to help with GM'ing book for anyone. I'd high recommend picking this up if you see it in the bargain bin or at an auction. Well worth the money and for $0.55 on amazon! Check it out!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Being Sick, is good?

So this past week I have been sick, with the flu. Yeah, sucks doesn't it? Well what can one do besides cough, sneeze, and blow one's nose? Work on your DIY projects. So far I've managed to make a travel sized B/X set of books, above is my Marsh/Cook Expert Rules, bound and smaller! Why? I don't know, I needed a book I could bring around that wouldn't fall apart and wanted something smaller to fit in my bag with out taking up a lot of room. Blam. This works out great! Both books are small and take up less room, and wont sperate on me like the originals. Perfect book for travel and toss around at the table. So after some research on the web, and speaking to Rob at http://dungeonsndigressions.blogspot.com/, I began working on my mini DM screen. So keep tuned in to see the progress of that, its coming out well so far. I've already designed the inside with the charts and various things I wanted on it, now I need to figure out what graphics I wanted on the outside.

What else did I get done? Well, I was able to jot down the ideas for the end of the Book of Sorrows Campaign.. yes its finally over, Sadly. I am going to miss the game and the characters, but the players are interested in moving on and coming back to the characters again.