Saturday, December 9, 2017

Playing in Light City: Ice

It's been a day of "recovery" here in the Atlanta area, as things return to normal after one of our winter storms...y'know, the sort of storm that makes folks north of the Mason-Dixon line roll their eyes at the freakout and shutdown mode we enter when the flakes start falling.

Seems like a good time to stat up a frosty four-color character for Light City!  So, how about one that brings back great memories of my favorite comic book as a kid, the classic Justice League International?  Here's the beautiful Norwegian princess, the former Global Guardian, the ever-wholesome Mary Ann to Fire's Ginger...


From the DC Database...

Level 4 Elemental
First appearance:  Justice League International #12 (1988)
Real name:  Tora Olafsdotter
Formerly known as:  Icemaiden

STR 11     DEX 14     CON 15     INT 12     WIS 10     CHA 17
3+3 HD (14 HP)     Saving Throw 12     Ice slide (48 ft.)
AC 7[12] (ice shield, ineffective vs. fire)

Attack:  Ice Blast, +2 to hit, 1d6 damage, range 60 ft.
Elemental Powers (4x/day):  Construct, Hold.


Check out her story on Wikipedia or at the DC Database.  I think you'll find her quite charming.  So much so that she can maybe be forgiven for her more abhorrent vices...

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Monster Man contest entry: Aetherwurm!

I've been meaning to post this all month, and it looks like I might get it in just in time...!  James over at the Gonzo History: Gaming Edition blog (and of the Monster Man podcast) is hosting what looks to be a pretty awesome monster contest.

Inspired by early D&D's use of cheap plastic beasties for what would become iconic creatures of the game, James wants to see monsters based on...well, cheap toys!  Here are the bullet points of the rules from his announcement:

1. Find a cheap toy
2. Let your imagination work
3. Write up your monster
4. Submit your entry
5. Vote for the finalists!
6. Finalists go to the judges
7. Win fabulous prizes!

Oh, and the deadline for entries is today, November 30.  I have a feeling the flood of emails he gets after people read this blog post will encourage him to extend it (again), though... ;)

Now, around my house, the most common cheap toys to be found are those belonging to my dogs.  I've been wanting to use some of them in (human) gaming for a long time, so here's my contest entry (statted for generic OSR gaming)!


HD 9 (36 HP), AC 14 (base 10, ascending), Attack: 1 Bite (3d6 damage)
Special:  The Aetherwurm is immune to damage from fire, electricity, and lasers, and actually absorbs their energy.  For every 5 damage the Aetherwurm would endure from these sources, whether from attacks, spells, or other means, it gains 1 HD.

Aetherwurms are spacefaring creatures known to many inhabitants of the outer worlds.  They are typically around 30 feet long and covered with fuzzy nubbins (that's what the astrozoologists call them, anyway) that seem to both guide their movement (through space and on solid ground) and enable them to drain power from energy-rich objects and locations.  These may include sources of both conventional energy and that of a magical nature.

An Aetherwurm seeking a meal.

Feeding on a power station.

Aetherwurms are generally quite docile but are known to be stubborn.  Once they are set on their "prey," they usually are not deterred without force.  They are also fiercely protective of one another on the rare occasion that a group is encountered.

May want to think twice about using that raygun...

Skilled mechanics have been known to use the bodies of slain Aetherwurms as batteries for spacecraft.  Aetherwurm corpses may maintain harnessable energy within them for up to six weeks after death.

Oh, and they have one natural predator, the Megacolossal Spacepup: still have a few hours...head over to the Monster Man contest and see what you can do to get an entry in...!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

This Day in Anthro History: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

On this day in 1865, Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (or as I've mostly known it, Alice in Wonderland) was first published.  While Carroll has a lot of fun with anthropomorphism in it, there's one character in particular I have in mind with this post...

The White Rabbit has to be one of the most famous anthro animals in literature, eh?

(One day, I shall unleash upon the world the tales of the League of Extraordinary Bunnies, a series of period adventures featuring the White Rabbit, Br'er Rabbit, and a time-traveling Atomic Rabbit.  That's if Alan Moore doesn't beat me to it...)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Please let me redirect you... something else here in the geek blogosphere.  If you happen to be one of the few people who check out my blog but haven't seen this through other means (like, y'know, reading the blog I'm about to link to), you should head over to Tim Knight's HeroPress blog to check out his Six of the Best interview with Justin Isaac of Halls of the Nephilim.  These are two of my favorite blogs and folks who blog, and you can witness their collision by clicking here.

(And, I'm not just sending you there because I got a shout-out.  Although that was very kind of him.)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Battleyacht - mechanical brainstorming, part 1

Well, it's about time I get some real ideas down in digital ink if I'm going to make any progress on this NaGaDeMon thing...!

As I noted in my last post, I'm taking a crack during National Game Design Month at putting together some rules for naval battles based on the mechanics of the public domain dice game Yacht.

Now, I'm neither a seaman nor an experienced player of naval battle games, but it seems to me that I can probably break down the basic actions of a boat in such a game into very few categories...I'm thinking moving, firing, and (maybe) doing other stuff.

Looking at a score card for the game of Yahtzee that I found online, it's clear that there's a nice breakdown at work there, too:

That upper section is all about getting multiples of specific numbers (and earning a bonus for getting what amounts to three of each).  While the traditional Yacht game doesn't make the division quite so explicit (and doesn't have the bonus), scoring does still come down to getting lots of each number OR putting the numbers together in some sort of poker-style grouping (as we see in the bottom section).

So there's how it's gonna break down...movement will be based on getting multiples of a number in order to move that number of [whatever unit of movement I end up using].

The firing and the doing other stuff...that can be where the bottom section comes in.

At first, I figured a simple need for three matching dice in order to move might be good...and maybe additional dice could increase the movement by a unit.  So a roll of...

...would allow for 8 units of movement (6 plus a bonus of 2).

It's occurred to me, though, that a nice way of differentiating crafts in the game might be to give each of them a sort of Control score which is the minimum number of matching dice needed to make a movement happen.  Those that would take a while to get started might require four of a kind, while something like a jet ski might just be able to take the highest die you roll.  (Plus, the Yacht game itself doesn't make that three-of rule of thumb an integral part of the game, so I wouldn't be unhappy to not adhere to that...)

Additionally, crafts may be differentiated by a max speed and/or a bonus that can be applied to a move result.

More details to come on this as I work it out in my head, but I'm liking the "Upper Section" = movement line of thought.  And next time, I'll try to tackle what it means to fire and do other stuff...

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

I think I’m gonna do this NaGaDeMon comes Battleyacht!

A nice little convergence of events has led me to take on what looks to be a fun challenge this month.  On the Sunday before Halloween, I got to run the Ghostbusters RPG for some first time getting to actually GM a game in a while, and it reminded me that it's fun to roll a handful of d6s sometimes.

On Halloween night, Laura and I decided to play a quick game...and settled on Yahtzee.  It was a family favorite for me growing up, and I had actually raided our copy of it (heretofore unused) to get enough d6s for my Ghostbusters game.  I started to think that maybe there's something interesting about Yahtzee scoring (and the scoring of some of its public domain relatives) that could be exploited for adventure games.

Then, the next day, I was happy to see +Tim Snider's post over at The Savage AfterWorld on National Game Design Month (or NaGaDeMon, which is just...perfect!).

So, the end result of all of this was quite clear:  I need to spend the month of November designing an RPG- or combat-styled game using the mechanics of Yahtzee for task resolution. :)

Yep.  Definitely.

The question became...what should such a game be about?  Well, I remember coming across Yacht in a book of games long ago and realizing that Yahtzee must have been based on it.  And I guess it was, by some path of game evolution, anyway.  So I can start the game's theme with just that: yachts.

Now, I don't really know how to design a game about anything other than fighting, so I guess I know what the yachts will be doing.  But why are they doing it?  A dangerous sport for the idle rich?  War among CGI anthropomorphic vehicles?  Or...well, I remembered a post over at Halls of the Nephilim where Justin threw out post-apocalyptic pirates as a genre mashup that'd be fun to play.

And so the game takes shape.

Now, I may straight up fail at getting this done.  I have a history of not quite getting there on my gaming projects, my current game creation focus is still on getting my next Light City supplement out, and my life is kinda busy these days.  Heck, it's taken me a week (and like five separate typing sessions) to even throw this up on the blog.'s been stewing in the old cranium, and I think I can knock something out by the time the month closes...

Oh yeah!  The final question to answer in this introductory post...what shall I call the game, at least in its development phase?  In homage to the naval combat game that I've probably played the most in my life, as well as one of the finest post-apocalyptic films of the early '80s, it will be known as Battleyacht.

More to come!

(Oh!  And if you're interested in taking part in the game design fun, the center of activity seems to be the NaGaDeMon Facebook page.)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

My Halloween gaming - Ghostbusters!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Halloween gaming sure seems to bring a lot of joy within RPG circles.  While I've long enjoyed the idea of it, I've rarely, if ever, been able to take part in a dedicated Halloween game.  And lately, my gaming opportunities are very few and far between.  So...when my buddy Ted asked if I'd be willing to run the old Ghostbusters RPG for some folks this past Sunday, I blocked out the time from my work schedule and made sure I'd be able to get in on the fun...!

From Wikipedia.
If you aren't familiar with this RPG classic, you should go check it pretty much right now.  I'm not convinced that it isn't the greatest RPG ever made.  (How's that for an awkwardly hedged grand statement about the game?)  It's almost certainly one of the best introductory games out there, and it seems to have a lot to engage experienced players, as well (although minmaxing types will be greatly disappointed...).  Over at the Nerdy Show, they're really doing their part to renew interest in this old gem...I'd definitely encourage you to check out what they have to offer if you'd like to get in on the fun.

So, the premise was to be that the players are a local Ghostbusters franchise building off the success the original crew had in the first film...that's what Ted was thinking, and it happens to be the jumping-off point plugged in the game itself.  I decided to set the game in 1987 and started brainstorming what sort of ghoulies they might face...really wanting to play up the retro vibe, I looked around at other '80s icons to see what might fit into a game.  Pac-Man's ghosts seemed like they could be a good fit, but I could never wrap my head around how to fit them into a nice adventure.  So what else could there be...killer Care Bears?  A jaunt into the Mushroom Kingdom?  I even thought about having the crew respond to the events of the greatest SF film of 1987.

However, I thought it'd be best if I could work some local flavor in as well.  And then, while picking up a rental car a few weeks ago, I saw this brochure on the rack displaying all the great stuff Georgia has to offer:

And with that, the decision was made.

(If you'd like more info on this special little house of horrors, you can check out its website or Wikipedia entry, or this nice little summary from Cracked last year.  I remember going multiple times as a its previous location, I guess it may be worth noting...and yeah, the place is weird.)

There's this demonic entity, you see, commonly referred to as The Nurse, or sometimes The Caretaker, whose existence is tied up in two things: caring for children, and making sure they eat their veggies.  And it's been hanging out in this cabbage patch in Cleveland, GA, pretty much unnoticed until some human flesh was improperly discarded by a lab worker at the nearby BioMedChemTech research facility (I used the intro from one of the adventures in the RPG's Operations Manual...).  And now it's building an army of babies that move at lightning speed and use what few teeth they have to take chunks out of unsuspecting folks in the area.

Or something like that.  But seriously, this is creepy stuff:

The other little retro nod I worked in was to give The Nurse a few guardian demons, for which I used some of my old toys from that set of plastic "dinosaurs" that's so well-known in old school gaming circles:

To head off getting too long-winded here, I'll just say that I. Had. A. Blast!!  (Hopefully the players did too...)  Can't wait to run Ghostbusters'll go somewhere in the bottomless stack of games that I'd love to play but never hardly ever get a chance to (next up, though: +Justin Isaac's Slashers and Victims Light...can't wait to see what sort of killer he cooks up for use in my game...!).

Once again, the Ghostbusters RPG is highly recommended.  If you'd like the flavor of it in a different package, you can also check out the Ghost Hackers game I put together (based, of course, on The Black Hack).  The original can still be downloaded from Google Drive right here, and the "updated" (read: with all legal images) can be found over at RPGNow.

Now, everybody stay safe out there!