Sunday, February 28, 2010


What!! Do my eyes deceive me!

Fantasy flight games IS going to add a Space Marine role playing game to the Dark Heresy line!  WHOA!! Looks really hot! The release is "this summer" ...  It looks like the price will be 59.95 for the core book and I'm assuming it will be similar in size and scope to the Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader books. I'll be pre-ordering this one!!

ORKS! Weirdboys or not??

YA YA ... I know ... I've been inexcusably remiss in posting pictures, etc. of my ork project. Well one of these days mon ... one of these days ...
Anyway this mostly a request for advice.  Recently I've noticed that at least on paper it looks like weird boys (warpheads in particular) appear to be just what a boy heavy ork army could use. The possibility to get a second or even third waaagh! in during a game seems really nice ... and the other weirdboy abilities seem to have some amazing vehicle destroying, unit moving potential as well. If I took 2 in a list would that be over the top? I'm already running Ghazghkull Thraka and I care not a fig for any "special characters are cheesy" ... with the way 5th edition plays the orks need to use their strengths and in my opinion their main strength (and really its very fluffy as well) are the boyz and lots of them. The only way a big mostly on foot list is viable is by maximizing that waaagh! special rule and Ghaz does that. All in all ya he is brutal but he is pretty expensive ... his main use to the list is giving the foot troops a guaranteed full waaagh! move ... that is it. If I wanted to min max I wouldn't take him.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Well I had a somewhat safe return from Strategicon ... only one minor vehicle malfunction on the way out of LA which delayed us about 5 hours or so. It wouldn't be a con road trip without something like that happening. At any rate I had an absolute blast!! It was huge fun ... I saw old friends and had a chance to play some great indie RPGs. I managed to wander around and BS with some of the attendees at the 40K/WHFB tourney as well. They seemed to have a decent turnout . Overall it was again well worth the trip down. I managed to do the con (including travel, room, food and spending money) for around $300.00. For a raucous four day game romp ... in my book that is money well spent.

I played:  
Friday at 8 PM
House of Cards: The Russian Mafia is sending $500 million to Beijing on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Your crew is going to steal it. You'll either end up rich or dead - it's a no risk, no reward proposition. Come playtest my quick-play heist game. GM: Eric Boyd (actually he is the creator of the game).

Ok this was a really interesting concept for an RPG. We played with the creator of the game as this game is still in playtest but should be out this year sometime. The game uses a standard deck of cards in place of dice for all game resolution.

Saturday at 9 AM:
4th Edition D&D, DOGS OF WAR: The paladins of Elturgard cannot tolerate a threat from the gnolls of the Reaching Woods at this time. Will heroes step forward to undertake a risky mission to foil the gnolls and their demon allies? A Living Forgotten Realms adventure set in Elturgard for characters levels 4-7.

This one was a "Special" mod which means more loot, etc. again ... next September there will be NO LFR mods for me ... in my book at strategicon its a waste of time with other really good GMs running indie games, rare board games, gamer flea market, etc. etc. its just a waste of time. However playing this one mod sold me on attending Neoncon this next year in Vegas because I had a blast playing it, but again there are just too many other cooler activities at Strategicon going on for me to waste my time playing D&D again. To give a quick recap I was playing a tooled up Paladin who my friend Scott built for me right before the con. He was combo heavy and did alot of damage for a defender, I really enjoyed playing that chr. The mod itself was interesting our group managed to overcome the skill challenges which allowed us to avoid several minor encounters thus enabling us to get to the end boss fight where we had to stop a demon summoning in progress. We managed to save the captive who was about to be sacrificed and kill the boss ... just barely ...

A game that I missed playing at that time but wish I would have played in was one by a great GM named Mike Olson called Leftovers which is "a roleplaying game of post-apocalyptic survival in a horrific world but with a heart. More Information:" That is my only regret of the con is that I didn't play in this game instead of D&D. Again I had fun playing D&D but Mike is an amazing GM and this is his own system. I really didn't pay enough attention during registration in terms of this game. I'm hoping to make it down to Hyphen-Con this year so I can play in a session of it run by Mike.  

Saturday at 2 PM:

A cool Savage Worlds game run by Andy Blanchard who is someone that I've played in games run by and as a fellow player with for several strategicons in a row now.
"Fan of Jim Butcher? Love his Codex Alera fantasy series? Dream of playing an element-controlling furycrafter? Well then join the fun! Playtest the Savage Worlds tweak for the Codex Alera fantasy setting, and maybe even save some slaves from cruel and uncaring bastards while you're at it!"

Andy did a great job combining the awesomeness of Savage Worlds with what seems to be perhaps an even better series of Butcher novels than the Dresden files. The backstory for the world is pretty interesting and it has  a  Roman feeling combined with sort of a Last Air Bender twist.

Basically the PCs are elemental casters who draw upon the elemental powers of the world in order to cast their spell like abilities, heal, and generally manipulating their environment. The party was balanced and though everyone is a "caster" ... the classic RPG party roles can be filled as in addition to the four elements there is a wood bender and a mental bender. The metal bender in particular is a melee damage and/or tank class, the water bender is the healer, air controller, fire ranged damage, wood ranged damage with a bow, etc.

Andy's Savage Worlds mod is awesome and I had a blast.

Saturday at 8 PM:

Fate: Final Exam Crisis

"Are you ready for some exciting but essentially non-lethal Silver Age-type action? When supervillainy threatens Pacific City, it's up to Seaside High School's motley assortment of teenage superheroes to put a stop to it. And during finals week, no less! Come playtest this new superheroic version of FATE, the ruleset that powers Spirit of the Century, Diaspora, and the upcoming Legends of Anglerre.
More Information:" GM: Mike Olson

The game was hilariously awesome!! It had a classic silver age teen comic hero spirit with an edge to it. The player builds were: Brick, Multiplier, Speedster, Empath/Telepath, Sonic Blaster. I won't go into the other characters but the character I played was named Clique and she was basically the hot mean girl from high school who always managed to start the rumors, maintain her domination of the in-crowd, etc. etc. and that personality blended with a multiple-girl hero had some hilarious and fun application potential. Really having played this game I have realized that for my tastes FATE does supers better than anything. Mike managed to build a mod for SoTC that captures the feel of comic super heroes with the open cinematic potential of FATE. Its an awesome combo and I'm really inspired by it. I'm hoping to get more info on this from Mike so I can run it in a home game. I just can't say enough good about this game ... but honestly I'll save that for another post later when I attempt to break this out for my home game group.

Sunday at 9 AM:

We were registered for a West End Games classic star wars RPG game where we would have been playing as Jawas .. the game description was: "You are the renegades which no clan wanted... you drink, you carry weapons, you look for trouble. An imperial shuttle has crashed in the dune sea and everyone wants it..." it sounded hilarious but the GM canceled all his sessions for the con. So we ended up with a free slot on Sunday which actually was rather nice it gave us a chance to walk around and recover. 

Sunday at 2 PM
The Collapse of Villengard, Burning Empires

"The leaders saw the warnings but were too distracted by their petty concerns. Even when the Vaylen began landing troops they tried to maneuver things to their advantage. Now all that remains is a choice save yourself, take some Vaylen with you as you die, hold onto the slim hope for reinforcements, or evacuate as many people as you can." GM: Will Huggins

Ok I'm going to be somewhat blunt here. This game is really a steep learning curve and running it at a CON is not a good idea. The description said familiarity with the burning wheel mechanics was preferred and I didn't see that until after we'd registered. I really didn't have a good time in the game. The GM knew two of the other players and the banter focused on them. I did set a few scenes and had a chance to see how the game worked but overall the experience was pretty dry. It was a good kick the tires type experience though for the game, and I know fully appreciate the utter complexity of this system. If people want to play it they need to study the rules like its a final exam in a college capstone course ... this is RPG quantum mechanics or calculus IV.

Sunday at 8 PM

Spirit of the American Hero! (Read CLASSIC GI JOE PEOPLE!! YES GI JOE!!)

"SWORD-ARM is the code name of America's daring, highly trained special mission force. Its mission to defend human freedom against CHIMERA a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world! Join the Top-Secret, covert, military operatives of SWORD-ARM in this high-octane game of modern military action. A GI Joe and modern Military & Adventure fiction inspired Spirit of the Century game." GM: Morgan Ellis.

Ok now my two favorite GM's of all time are Morgan Ellis and Mike Olson ... these guys are masters of pacing, game flow and generally maintaining fun and hilarity in a game without letting the pot boil over. I aspire to be half as good a GM as either of them one day. Anyway Morgan managed to capture the spirit of classic GI Joe in a mod of Spirit of the Century.

The pre-gen characters were hilarious mods of Duke, Snake Eyes, Gung-Ho, Airborne, Scarlet, The Baroness, Destro, Cobra Commander and on and on.  I played the Spirit character named "Geronimo." Morgan left two aspects blank for us so we could select two custom pieces of whatever we wanted. I selected a peace pipe and an animal companion (a bald eagle named Freedom!).

The game was a hilariously raucous, over the top romp ... we killed ... yes this wasn't the parachute out of the plane style GI Joe this was ADULT FUCKING SWIM (we used that as a table aspect in the game) style GI Joe ... at least 100,000 Cobra ... *cough* ... I mean Chimera operatives ... blew up their base and sent Cobra Commander .. *cough* ... I mean The Golden Pharaoh fleeing in his escape pod away from a self destructing Egyptian sphinx base.

After a horribly funny, yet unavoidable GI Joe testimonial by nearly everyone at the table (seriously there was a 45 minute GI Joe BS session ... which wasn't Morgan's fault) ... the game got rolling and again I can't use hilarious enough ... it was so god damn funny. I'm very glad I got a chance to play.

On another note I had a chance to glance over a game that is a leading candidate for my SPACE MARINE RPG mod ... Diaspora ... it has alot of promise. What I like about using that game is that if the mod worked out I could run a full campaign not just a con one shot. I also picked up an out of print game that I meant to buy years ago Railroad Tycoon.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A jump to be remembered ... WHFRP 3rd Edition

Ok ... the UPS fairy did arrive last week with lots of goodies ... but what I want to focus on right now is Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd Edition

It looks to have the makings of an awesome game .. so far (again had the thing for a week and have voraciously read through it but have yet to play a session). Ok I'm going to complain a little (it wouldn't be my blog if I didn't eh!) ... while I found the game online around 65 bucks the MFRP is 99 bucks. For that kind of money ... while the books yes ARE full color ... they are of a cheap board game instruction/video game manual quality. They are not bound for the wear and tear of long term RPG use. The cards are great, the dice are great ... BUT ... its ALOT of stuff that people are going to have to pick up and fumble around with. I'm an old, old school RPG player and yes I remember the old red box D&D days. I will say those books used a heavy stock page and had a soft cover book cover ... this stuff is the quality of a brochure/game manual/board game rulebook ... they WILL NOT withstand constant use. The cards will have the same problem and therefore I will probably use card sleeves with mine.

The next basic observation I have is the way the rules work. The core mechanic is super easy, declare what you want to do, calculate the dice pool ... roll. The complexity lies in calculating the dice pool ... which is pretty simple. But having the rules for the game and the rules for the classes broken up between books and cards is sort of difficult. The way this is set up is ... realistically ... one person will buy in on the system and people will just show up and play. Like a board game. Now I have played in RPG campaigns like that, but even in those ... the players generally showed up with their own dice, a players handbook and their character sheet. WHFRP 3E is going to be ... one person owns the board game ... people show up ... play. Is that a show stopper? I don't think so ... but its a somewhat different model if your a hardcore RPG player.  So again ... if your a hardcore board gamer who dabbles with RPGs ... this will probably rock ... if your a hardcore RPG player who is used to dice and players handbook with a chr sheet ... get ready for a entirely different style of game. 

I bought the game, I'm a super hardcore GW fanboy who buys and plays all of their games ... yet I am reserving cautious optimism. I think that due to the barrier of entry vs. most other RPGs (lets face it most people torrent the PDFs these days and the GM is the only person with real books) coupled with a slightly more complex way of playing an RPG physically in some ways ... could turn some people off. I will say in some ways this system is a paradigm shifting game that could be harkening the future of RPGs. Its easy to see how FFG will make money on this, torrenting the rules will do you no good ... you'd have to torrent the rules  and the cards ... then print them out ... etc. by the time you do that you just might as well buy the game. BINGO! That is the ONLY reason this game has been designed this way ... screw FFGs fluffy designer note BS ... this entire game system is DESIGNED as an anti-theft device. Its like a whole game designed like the old video games were with a single code page in the box that was on hard to photo copy paper (anyone out there remember those days). FFG will make as much money or more on this game than they do on their board games ... and that is ALOT more than your typical RPG is netting these days. 

I think it will either catch on and become somewhat popular in the same circles that partake in FFG board games and GW based mini games, RPGs, etc. OR it won't sell very well and just sort of limp along until the license expires between GW and FFG and then just die. Again I'm reserving cautious optomisim and I'm going to be running a test/demo game of it next Monday evening down in Las Vegas for a group of friends as I return from attending Strategicon (Orccon) down in Los Angeles and I'll grab some pics and do a little actual play review of the game.

Incidentally I'm going to try to grab some pictures and do a recap of what I'll be doing at the con. I'm registered for all RPGs as usual and I'll be playing everything from classic West End Games D6 Star Wars to 4E D&D to Savage Worlds to FATE based games etc. with some of the best GMs on the west coast!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Warhammer 40K MMO

Ok there has been an "announcement" regarding a Warhammer 40,000 MMO. On one hand I have to say this has been a dream of mine for years and years ... so I should be excited eh? Sadly the game company that the game would be developed under is one of the worst on the planet THQ. If THQ is going to be making the game .. I'll take a pass ... and I'm as much of a FANBOY of 40K as one can be. THQ makes bad games. Dawn of War (the original Relic PRE-THQ buyout) was great ... but the sequels have been some of the worst games of all time.  Anyone remember a game called "Fire Warrior." THQ makes bad games and they have ZERO MMO experience. Mythic and EA couldn't even pull off a game that could draw huge numbers of players and with a MMO player base is very important. Bottom line is if GW lets THQ make  40K MMO ... it will suck and it will fail. If Mythic/EA ends up developing the 40K MMO ... that would excite me. Despite Warhammer online not knocking WoW down ... the game was a solid effort and for the most part well done and enjoyable to play.