Thursday, June 29, 2017

Sins of the Past - Revisited

The three or four of you who still read this may recall that I've got a pretty solid history with ICONS. Some years ago, I posted a character a day for quite a few months as a means of processing depression. Before that, I wrote "Sins of the Past", one of the earliest "official" adventures for the game, back when Adamant Entertainment published it. When Steve Kenson got the rights back and published ICONS: THE ASSEMBLED EDITION, we talked about doing an updated version of Sins for the new edition of the game. It's probably been three years since that initial conversation, but I'm happy to say that "Sins of the Past Revisited" is now available at Drive-Thru RPG for the low, low price of five bucks.

This new version is fully updated to ICONS: THE ASSEMBLED EDITION, with all-new (gorgeous) art and maps by Dan Houser. There's new material from me and it's all been carefully edited and developed by Steve Kenson.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

OwlCon Report

Friday and Saturday were this year's OwlCon (Or "Superb OwlCon," as the ad copy said) and it was pretty freaking great. As is typical, my son (C-Monster, now 17 and a seasoned veteran) attended. Unlike the past few years, we decided to give today's festivities a pass, so as to get in some recovery time.

Friday night, I ran "The Eaves of Mirkwood," a demo for Cubicle 7's Adventures In Middle Earth, that I fleshed out a bit to fill my allotted time. I had five players (out of a maximum of six available PCs) and I felt it went really well. The game does a terrific job of taking 5th edition D&D and turning into something that is much less that style of fantasy and much closer to Tolkien. I'm not going to talk too much about the specifics because I may run it again and I don't want to spoil C7's excellent adventure. But it rocked.

Saturday morning started poorly. I'd had a lot of trouble winding down and getting to sleep, so I woke up groggy and we got out the door a little late. To make matters worse, we clipped a curb while driving in and suffered a flat tire. Worst of all, I discovered my jack was missing. Fortunately, we were rescued by a passerby and we got to the con only about fifteen minutes late, just in time to make our games. C-Monster went off to play "Cthulhu Wars", and I rushed over to a "Star Trek Enterprise" game that used Savage Worlds.

I'd love to say it was a good time, but honestly it was a mess. Despite having a decent plot (which I may well lift for Far Trek), the GM really didn't prepare for this game. Her pre-gens consisted entirely of PCs she uses for a "Fallout" game, with zero modification. So my "Tactical Officer" had, among other things, the Illiterate hindrance. Also, due to the nature of the plot, a heavily-armed, bloodthirsty killing machine was sidelined for a lot of the adventure. I did get to blow up spaceships, but it was pretty much a disaster.

Speaking of disasters, there were problems at the con regarding food options. You see, OwlCon is held on the campus of Rice University in Houston. When classes are in session, there are multiple eateries open. Unfortunately, all of them rely on student labor and Saturday was the start of their mid-semester break. With no students to staff them, they shuttered early or completely all weekend. On Saturday afternoon, the one place I planned to hit for lunch closed early for a "private event," something I didn't figure out until 2:15, with 45 minutes to my next game. This necessitated a mad and expensive (parking isn't cheap on campus) dash to Taco Cabana to stock up on enough sustenance to get C and myself through the rest of the day and night. Bean and cheese tacos, the Iron Rations of Texas gamers.

I managed to get back just in time for my afternoon game, a Savage Worlds dungeon-crawl run by none other than Shane Hensley. I've known Shane for many years, but this was my first chance to actually play a game with him, and it was absolutely terrific. My character ended up committing magical suicide to take out the big bad and one of his lieutenants, which sucked for the PC but totally ruled. Also, it reminded me of how great SW is with the right GM.

After downing the remaining tacos, it was time to run my other game, "Young Justice: Apokolips Now," for DC Adventures. It's got a bit of a history. I originally wrote it for Chupacabracon 2015. Unfortunately, only two people who signed up for it actually showed, so I couldn't run it, which was kind of depressing, and I filed it away on the Island of Lost Games A little while ago, I posted a link to it here, and it got some really nice feedback, so I decided to take another stab and try to run it at OwlCon. For the past month, I've been super-nervous about whether or not it would "make," and I didn't actually hit the minimum number of players (5) until Friday night. So even on Saturday I was worried that a no-show might scuttle things.

As it was, I had five players, and the game came off beautifully. I'll post up a an actual play summary soon in its own thread, but yeah, it was everything I'd hoped for. Great players who got the material, fun dialog, and some excellent dice to end the action on a high note. Absolutely perfect.

How was your weekend?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

These Are The Voyages...

As far as I can tell, I've never shared this here. Weird.

I have this idea for a Star Trek game. Actually, I've had it for a very long time, but never got around to implementing it. The core ideas have been floating around my head since the days of FASA Trek, but really crystallized when I read a particularly glorious passage from one of Peter David's New Frontier novels:

'That may be the case, Commander, but here's the truth of it: My great-grandfather was in Starfleet back in Kirk's time. And the fact was that Kirk had some very staunch supporters. That served him well, because he also had any number of people whom he angered with his constant glory-hounding and disregard for regulations. And it was widely believed in Starfleet that, every so often, he would file utterly preposterous reports, just to tweak those individuals whom he knew didn't like his style and his way of doing things. Such as the incident with the giant killer amoeba. And that totally ridiculous alleged occasion in which his fist officer's brain was stolen. I mean, come on people. Clearly, these things could not have happened. Every time you heard uncontrolled laughter ringing up and down the hallways of Starfleet Command, you could tell that Kirk had filed another one of his whoppers." - Admiral Edward Jellico

And thus was born the USS Mulder, a run-down Oberth-class science vessel and her somewhat hapless crew. The campaign set early in the NG era, about contemporary with the launch of the Enterprise (uncomfortable uniforms and all). 

USS Mulder "The Truth Is Out There"

An Admiral with an axe to grind regarding the legendary James T. Kirk and his exploits assigns the PC's (who've earned his ire in some way) the task of re-visiting the worlds Kirk's Enterprise encountered on its original five-year mission, in order to verify his reports and provide situational updates. It allows me to mine TOS for inspiration, but mess with things as I see fit. It's not a particularly serious campaign premise, but that's OK.

Maybe I'll get around to running it someday.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

New Things

Resolved:  The only way I'm going to get through this is by making things and sharing things I make until either I feel better or the world gets better or both. It may not be pretty. It may bounce around from topic to topic. It may not even be new. But I'm going to churn things out all the same. Like them or don't.

First off, something I had laying around. This is a convention one-shot I wrote shortly after "Young Justice" was canceled, teasing a third season. It's my take on a season three finale, written for DC Adventures/Mutants & Masterminds.  It's not particularly edited, but it's pretty typical of my convention game notes (I break each scene into beats, note cool stuff that can happen, and provide illustrations to help me when describing things).


Wednesday, August 17, 2016


What fictional character would best fit in your group?

It's terribly trite, but any of the main characters from "Big Bang Theory" would probably do fine with my Tuesday Nighters. As it is, the group contains two Physics Ph.D.s, a Chemistry Ph.D., and an Engineer.  Plus a couple of IT guys and some stray English majors.  It's a pretty brainy, nerdy set.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

#RPGADAY Day Fifteen

What historical character would you like in your group? For what game?

Putting aside "Little Wars" with H. G. Wells (it was the first wargame rules I ever read), which could be fun, I'm thinking something like The One Ring with Christopher Lee. I don't know how much of it would be game and how much of it would be Tolkien discussion group, but I suspect it would be delightful.

Monday, August 15, 2016

#RPGADAY Day Fifteen

Your best source for inspiration for RPG's?

The internet. I'm an idea sponge, it's my blessing and my curse. All it takes is a link to a video, a random piece of art, or a book/TV/movie recommendation, and I'm down the rabbit hole.

Unfortunately, I rarely maintain sufficient focus to see things through, so my attention is constantly bouncing from one cool thing to the next.  The good news I retain a lot of it, so I can pull out something useful pretty much whenever I need it.