Monthly Archives: June 2011

Savage Worlds Deluxe Edition is now Available via DriveThruRPG

Savage Worlds is back with an improved update to their rules with the new Savage Worlds Deluxe Edition, now available as a PDF via DriveThruRPG:

Savage Worlds is a Fast! Furious! and Fun! rules system for any genre of roleplaying game. Create your own setting, convert an existing one, or pick up one of our amazing worlds like Deadlands, Slipstream, or Weird War II.The rules give players plenty of depth to create their characters and keep bookkeeping to a minimum for the game master. If you’re looking for a game that’s fast and easy to set up, run, and play, Savage Worlds is for you!

Savage Worlds Deluxe is the newest edition, providing an update to the third printing of Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition. It includes rules updates, new rules material, new art, more examples, an expanded Setting Rules section, Designer Notes to give you an insight into the development, and much more. It does not, however, invalidate prior printings of the rules, which you can continue enjoy.

Savage Worlds has always been easy to pick up and learn, and has pretty much cemented itself as one of my top picks for new gamers who want to get into the hobby.  Furthermore it has a lot of different settings that cover a wide range of genres, it’s not hard to find something in the Savage Worlds library that will interest people.  I feel that Savage Worlds occupies an excellent niche for a generic, rules-medium and newbie friendly ruleset and would definitely recommend it to anyone.

Savage Worlds Deluxe is available as a PDF from DriveThruRPG for $19.99, or roughly Php862.00

Being A Little Selfish As A Player

When I’m playing in a campaign, there are a few things that I often find myself wanting to say out loud to the GM running the game.  I don’t mean to offend or belittle anyone with these, but I feel that I have to come out and say it if I want to have any chance of actually enjoying the campaign:

  1. I would rather be a participant than an observer – If something is happening in the game, I don’t want to be there to witness NPCs duking it out.  Yes, they’re cool.  Yes, they’ve got awesome powers.  Yes, I’m sitting here on my ass watching all of this unfold because my character doesn’t matter. Let’s face it, if the player characters aren’t the ones getting shit done… then we might as well be furniture.
  2. I may bitch and moan, but I *like* getting in trouble – This is God’s honest truth.  Getting in trouble is part of the fun.  I don’t mind rolling poorly if it means I get into interesting situations.  I’ll complain about it and blame the dice, but in the end I’m okay.  I know it’s a game and I trust that no matter what happens I can rely on you to put my character in an interesting situation.
  3. Tell me when I’m doing it wrong – I am not the best player on earth.  Sometimes, I can genuinely be stumped.  Or, I could be chasing after the world’s most obvious red herring.  But when I’m really really wrong and I’m completely out of the trail of the investigation, tell me.  I’ll appreciate it and move on rather than obsessing over something useless.
  4. Please don’t run if we never had a chance to begin with – Here’s an old nutshell.  I remember My First Cleric ™ never had a chance in the world.  Shouldn’t have even bothered.  If a campaign or my character’s fate is a foregone conclusion, write a book.  I’d much rather read your story than end up having to supply dialogue to someone’s Choose Your Own Adventure Book.

I believe that player feedback is crucial to be able to tailor a game to a group.  Constructive feedback, with things that will help point out what makes a game good, and what makes it crap is absolutely necessary for any group, even ones with experienced players and GMs to fine tune their experience into something good.

Gaming Group Interviews #1: Sheimaruen

Alright, a bit of a vanity series of interviews here, starring the members of my gaming group.  Each interview will be completely off-the-cuff, and won’t have a set bunch of questions.  Still I’m aiming to get people to know where my players come from and what their various interests are with regards to gaming.

Today we talk to Sheimaruen, one of our two expert Exalted GMs, and a guy who has been playing RPGs since he was in high school  (an experience that was denied to me, as I ran Star Frontiers when I was 9, but only started RPGs again in college.)

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Pointyman2000: Okay, first off, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Could you give me a background of how you got into RPG gaming?

Sheimaruen: Class night during my grade school years was my first actual experience. It was ADnD, and i recall we were all warriors or mages since we all failed at rolling for stats. Before that me and my uncle would play a modified version of the board game “HERO QUEST”. But it was really DnD that started it up, didn’t help that i liked reading dragonlance

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Coming Soon: Hollow Earth Expedition

It’s been decided!

After the ongoing Awakening High Campaign, the next game that I will be running for my gaming group is none other than Exile Games’ Hollow Earth Expedition.  I’m particularly excited about this chance to run this game, since I’ve only ever managed to run two earlier Pulp games.  One in HERO and the other using White Wolf’s old Adventure! RPG.

My idea is to basically run a globe-trotting adventure pulp game where the players represent a group dedicated to the discovery and preservation of the rare phenomena of the world.  Their enemies will be numerous, from groups interested in exploiting these discoveries for power and profit, to other hazards like unfriendly natives, the occasional magical / supernatural guardian, and natural hazards.

Conspiracies, weird powers, zany inventions and the other staples of Pulp fiction will still be there, with the occasional nod towards H.P. Lovecraft’s lore, but without the nihilistic world view.  I’m a big fan of various world cultures, so I’ll be plumbing the depths of as many native cultures I can to make things interesting for my players.

My objective is to create a campaign that plays up the fact that the world is a weird place with many mysteries that have yet to be discovered.  Crystal Skulls, Atlantis, Pyramids, Sinkholes, the Bermuda Triangle, Shangri-La, the disappearance of the Aztecs, The Terracota Army, Cryptids, Psychic Powers, Orichalcum, Alien Abductions, Teleportation, The Marianas Trench, Cryptoarchaeology, The Baddhad Batteries and various other things are all part of this setting, an like the Hollow Earth, they might all be real.

What thrills me about Pulp is the fact that it thrives on making discoveries.  While I’m big on consequences as a GM, it doesn’t deaden me to the joys of first contact, of the idea of running into something that nobody else has before, and making the crucial choices to make sure that you protect this discovery (or obscure it) for the betterment of humanity and the world at large.

It’s an optimistic campaign, in a time where going out on adventure was admirable, and the joy of discovery wasn’t lost to us.  In many ways, this is the campaign where players truly play Adventurers, and I can’t wait for us to begin.

[BADASS Zombies!] Design Diary – My First Supplement

BADASS Zombies! Has officially kicked off and I’ve already started writing the first draft.  One of the interesting things about this is that I’m technically writing my very first supplement to a game I’ve created.  It feels very different from designing a corebook since this time, I have to worry about something else aside from making sure that the rules work.

Instead, the focus for BADASS Zombies! is to expand on what makes BADASS fun, by adding the kind of options that help players have more fun.  Whether these are new Flavas, new opponents, a new setting or interesting new rules, all these additional options should make things more enjoyable rather than confusing.  One of the problems that are usually associated with supplements is that they tend to add too much fat in the form of complex new sub-systems that end up hurting the core experience by making things difficult to remember on the fly.

Already I’ve begun outlining the systems that I’m thinking of adding and will be scrutinizing them one by one.  Hopefully with enough playtesting, I can keep only the most amusing, and intuitive and weed out the ones that exist merely because I was feeling clever.

I’m considering farming out the cover art for BADASS Zombies! to someone who can do good colored art.  If you guys know of an artist who can do a BADASS job (and accepts commissioned work) drop me a line, and I’ll take a look.  I want to make this expansion to be something that will make BADASS Zombies! something that people will be glad to pick up.

Campaign Buffet: Deadlands: Reloaded

Now here’s a game that hasn’t done me any wrong.

Deadlands: Reloaded! powered by the popular rules-medium Savage Worlds ruleset is one of those games that just exudes flavor.  As a fan of Westerns and weird pulp elements, this game is a perfect fit for the kind of game that I can run in my sleep.

I’ve always enjoyed the setting for Deadlands, and there’s an enormous mine of inspirational material from all over the place.  Western movies are easy enough to find and many of my players are quite amused by the setting as well.

Savage Worlds is a good system, and the Adventure Deck goes a long way to mixing things up and keeping the GM on his toes.  In some ways it serves as a way to remind the GM to not rely too much on a plot that he expects players to follow.  Better to just think of a situation and unleash the players on it and roll with the punches while giving back a few surprises of your own.

I don’t have a solid pitch for this just yet, but there’s always a neat little cliche or two I can rely on.  Waking up hogtied and inside an empty railroad car hitched to an abandoned train headed straight for a ravine is always a good one to get everyone on the same track (pardon the pun.)  It’s not original, but it gets the job done.

Campaign Buffet: D6 Cyberpunk

The D6 system is one that I’ve had a favorable view of ever since I tried running it in the form of the Metabarons RPG from West End Games.  I was a big fan of the Metabarons world, with all the madness in the setting and strange and eerie elements of Euro Comic Books that made it stand out from the usual DC and Marvel comic releases at the time.

Anyway, I ran Metabarons for a while and it was a big hit among my players.  And that is why I’m looking at it again… this time for a Cyberpunk campaign.

Cyberpunk is a genre of sci-fi gaming that I’ve not really had a lot of experience running, but I’m familiar with the tropes.  I know the themes, and can sort of figure out how to run a game of it without too much trouble.  Finding the right system however, was more difficult.  I’ve checked out Shadowrun and found the rules were far too complex, and HERO’s own toolkit approach was one that was working against it as a choice as I had no interest in auditing individual builds for yet another cybernetic arm.

D6 Space offered a good compromise.  It was a simple enough system, with decent character creation, and a complete Cybernetics system that folds neatly into the special abilities mechanics of the game.  Come to think of it, if I just slapped on more powers on this thing, I could technically run the XCONs campaign using D6 instead.  I’d lose out on a lot of the customization aspect, but given my lack of spare time?  Pregenerated cybernetics and powers are a godsend.

I have to admit that I don’t have a pitch yet, for this game I’ll need to get some feedback from the players.  The default of most Cyberpunk games is that the players are criminals of some sort, but that doesn’t always have to be the case.  My players might just want to try playing something along the lines of Ghost in the Shell for example, where the protagonists are a team of government agents.

In any case, I’ve got a bit of reading to do, as it’s been a while since I’ve touched the D6 system.  I’m sure it’ll be just like riding a bike, since I’ve studied it already once before, this shouldn’t be so difficult a second time around.

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