Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Please let me redirect you...

...to 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 thing...here 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 folks...my 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.  But...it'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 out...like 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 kid...in 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 again...it'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!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

This Day in Anthro History: The debut of Ch'p

On October 22, 1981, issue #148 of the second Green Lantern series hit the stands.  The story "Tales of the GLC" introduced the world to an interesting member of the Corps...

All images taken from the DC Database...

Hailing from the arboreal planet H'lven, Ch'p served the Guardians with great honor, even joining the Earth-based team that kicked off the Corps-based book in the '80s...

 ...before meeting an unfortunate end in the early '90s...

Ch'p would show up in other corners of the DC multiverse (and eventually ditch the bowtie)...

...and would be succeeded in the DCU proper by the equally adorable H'venite B'dg:

Personally, I'm quite a fan of the little guy.  Of course, these days, the status of the H'lvenites as four-color spacefaring critters is probably overshadowed a bit by a fellow from the competition...

...except this one from the Marvel Database.

Friday, October 13, 2017

This Day in Anthro History: Lieutenant M'Ress and the Caitians

Happy Friday the 13th!  Time for another installment of "This Day in Anthro History"...perhaps not completely holiday-appropriate, but at least it involves a cat...!

On October 13, 1973, the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Survivor" aired for the first time, introducing the world to Lieutenant M'ress and the cat-like alien species known as Caitians.  After all, every self-respecting SF or fantasy universe needs at least one group of cat people, am I right?

Pic from her Memory Alpha entry...

Caitians would later be documented in live action Trek (like the admiral below who appeared in The Voyage Home) and, somewhat unfortunately, seem to have been ported into the new movies' timeline as catgirls with a more human appearance.

See Unnamed Caitians at Memory Alpha...

And while they might be the best-known of the bunch (maybe...), Caitians certainly aren't the only cats to have graced the Trek (and associated) universes over the years.  You can read a little more on this here...


Thanks for stopping by!  Now, everybody head on over to Halls of the Nephilim and check out what +Justin Isaac has cooked up for release on this Friday the 13th...!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

This Day in Anthro History: Song of the South's 1980 re-release

This is the first in what I'd like to become a series of posts touching on some of the landmarks in the history of animals that walk and talk like humans.  We'll see how it goes.

On October 10, 1980, Disney re-released the movie Song of the South to theaters.  This is the film that transformed the anthro legends known as Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Bear, and Br'er Fox from folktale figures of the American South to cartoon characters able to hold their own alongside the likes of Mickey and Donald in kids' stuffed animal collections.

If you want, you can buy this cel over here...!

It was also, as far as I can recall and piece together, the first movie I ever saw in a theater.  As a kid born in the late '70s in a pretty small south Georgia town...well, this makes sense.  And while I first saw it during the fourth of five re-releases, there probably aren't a ton of Americans much younger than me who have ever seen the film in any sort of legitimate capacity, as Disney hasn't shown it in an official manner in the United States in decades...for, while the film is known for its excellent mixing of live action and animated footage and for the iconic song "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah," it's also pretty well known for being too racist for Disney to embrace.

Well...embrace fully, that is.  Honestly, Song of the South is sort of a case study in how we Americans have no effing clue how we're supposed to approach our complicated racial history.  Which is how we have stuff like this movie serving as the inspiration for a popular attraction at both of Disney's big American parks, yet we can't watch the whole thing outside of bootlegs and pieced-together segments on YouTube.

It's been a while since I've seen the whole thing, so I won't attempt to give my own critique of the film's message other than to say that, yes, it's problematic.  This article from ScreenCrush has a pretty good discussion of it.  A summary:  It could have been worse, considering that it was first released way back in 1946, but if you encounter someone who says there isn't a problem with it, they should probably think a little more.

Those anthropomorphic animals sure are fun, though.

Here's a TV trailer for the 1980 re-release (one that certainly gives an idea of the controversy that could result from a full movie of this stuff):

EDIT:  Oh!  I should note that over at Song of the South.net - a website that certainly seems like its creators would know their stuff when it comes to the film - lists October 8 as the date of the 1980 re-release.  However, Wikipedia (yeah, I know) goes with the 10th, and it WAS a Friday, so I'm gonna call it close enough...

Sunday, September 24, 2017

So...She-Ra's been to Blackmoor...?

I guess this has been discussed to some small degree within online RPG circles, but I was unaware of it and think it's worth noting again.  Apparently Blackmoor is a location on She-Ra's world of Etheria.  Just listen to Bow in this clip...

It even plays an important role in this episode ('The Red Knight').

Now, I know the name "Blackmoor" has a sort of general fantasy feel, such that it could have been arrived at independently by the writers on Princess of Power, but the science fantasy pieces of Dave Arneson's classic setting really do make it a perfect bit of D&D lore to be "honored" in such a way.

I think that's pretty darn cool.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Big ups to my buddy JR!

I really should have posted about this earlier, but I suppose I'm better late than never on it!  My friend and sometime collaborator JR Mounts...writer, artist, and musician extraordinaire, and as I believe I've mentioned on here before, one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet...has been nominated for a Dragon Award for his semiautobiocomic Stuck in My Head.  This is the second year that these will be given out at Dragon Con, the absolute giant of the local convention scene, and I think it is absolutely awesome to see such a labor of love by an indie artist like JR alongside names like Clive Barker, Jim Butcher, and Phil and Kaja Foglio!

If you're so inclined, I don't think it's even too late to register and vote in this and all the other categories...!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Batman vs. Puppies

Not a straight-up fight, cuz we know who would win that one.  (Sorry, pups.)  BUT...a little over a week ago, I got a message from Rika over at DiscoverGeek.com pointing out that my readers and I might enjoy the map they put together on tendencies within states to Google up the Caped Crusader or...well, puppies.

Now, I know I am but a pawn in the Game of Clicks that is internet commerce, but if someone is willing to both (A) do some research on two of the main reasons life is worth living, and (B) point it out to me in such a way that implies I have a significant readership (I'm talking numbers here, people...I appreciate EVERYONE who's willing to take a moment to look at my random thoughts on here!)...well, then I sure as heck am gonna plug it on Monstrous Matters...!

So if you're so inclined...go check it out over at DiscoverGeek...and I'm definitely interested if anyone has an interpretation they'd like to share!

via DiscoverGeek

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Geeky SKAturday: Some covers I can appreciate

Attention span willing, I'd like to continue this little series I started way back when hitting on the crossover between two of the main obsessions of my life: geekdom and ska!  In the first edition, I talked about Flash actor and vocalist extraordinaire Alex Desert.  Today, I'm just gonna dump some cool geeky ska covers.

As a commenter says for one of these videos:  "If a song exists, there's a Ska cover of it.  Absolutely no exceptions."  Naturally, a lot of these covers make the geek in all of us smile.  I think the first one I remember from my own ska odyssey was this number from the band Melting Pot, whose influences are probably so diverse that calling them a ska band doesn't really do them justice...

While released five years earlier, I wouldn't hear this next one until a while after that awesome take on the Tetris theme, when I was finally introduced to the Scofflaws, a pretty important NYC band.  This cover might be my favorite of the era, and this band is certainly up there on the list of those I regret never having seen live.  I'm not sure this song totally qualifies as ska (the drums give it more of a polka feel!), but the the band was part of the scene's core at the time, so it really has to be included:

I also have to include one of the first, and many would say the greatest, ska bands ever, the Skatalites, who performed their fair share of influential covers.  Here they are on the James Bond theme, interesting not only for the killer musicianship, but for how its very existence is intertwined with the popularity of the Bond image in 60s Jamaican rude boy culture.

Of course, the Skatalites' most famous movie theme cover, while not quite as geeky but definitely quite awesome, is almost certainly this one:

And while I'm on the Guns of Navarone, I'll include what might be my favorite version, by the Specials.  It's the fantastic trombone work by Rico Rodriguez, with the cry of "Mr. Rico, no!" that makes me love this one...

Man...I'm realizing that if I keep working on this post in such a stream-of-consciousness style, it's gonna go on forever.  And it really could...a little trip around YouTube reveals that there are tons of ska covers I've never even heard that would probably fit this little blog feature.  So maybe I'll have to return to it at some point.  I'll just leave with this fun number by the band Sylvester Skallone...

Ah, one final note and a fun fact:  I was unfortunately unable to find the ska version of the Gremlins theme that I used to get to hear from the Del Rays, an awesome group that hailed from my home state of Georgia.  I'll have to keep looking for that one, and if anyone has it or knows where to find it, please let me know!  The fun fact:  Del Rays saxophonist Steven Cummings went on to become a darn good comic artist and do especially well for himself with the Image series Wayward...!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Magic-Users in Light City

One thing I can do...and am doing (some, at least)...in the absence of productivity on new Light City content is to assess what's already there.  I like the idea of the new, superheroic classes' matching up reasonably well power-wise with the basic Swords & Wizardry Light classes...and with that, the thought that the original four classes could fit into a Light City game without much issue.  So...how well-grounded is the idea of playing with supers using SWL rules without access to a unified document that brings the ideas together?

If you shake off the idea of a medieval fantasy world and set your sights more on four-color urban fantasy...say something in the style of Justice League Dark...I think the SWL rules would actually work pretty nicely.  Besides the fact that there are a ton of superheroes and related characters that would be just fine as Fighters and Thieves...I haven't really kept up with the show, but from the bits I've seen, it looks like just about every DC character that shows up on Arrow would work here...you could do a lot worse than a Magic-User or some sort of Cleric variant to play heroes like John Constantine or Zatanna.  I mean, Vancian magic can be problematic for "accurate" portrayals...but comic book magic is often pretty hand-wavey, anyway.

In this vein, a public domain character that I've taken a liking to is John Force, Magic Agent.  Combining early-60s Cold War spy thrills with supernatural themes, Force protected the land of the free as an agent for the American Security Group.  You can check his bio out here on the Public Domain Super Heroes wiki, and read his public domain adventures right here.

If you're wondering...yes, he did come before Nick Fury...!

Obviously, they don't call him the Magic Agent for nothing.  John Force has a magical coin with four columns on it corresponding to four different (although arguably not all that different) supernatural abilities...

When it came time to work his magic, he'd touch the appropriate column and cast his spell:

Honestly, this is pretty perfect for a D&D-style magic system, in my opinion.  While it doesn't correspond perfectly, the compartmentalization of magical abilities matches up nicely.  It may even be possible to pick out a spell for each column...

Now, there are a couple of combat-related issues that could come up in using SWL classes in a modern supers context.  The first is that, as you know if you've ever read...oh, just about any comic book ever...pretty much every hero can throw a solid punch.  The Magic Agent is no different:

While the Brawler is certainly designed to be the class that excels at such fisticuffs, I don't see any reason why Light City in general couldn't use some form of the Swords & Wizardry Complete rules on unarmed combat...say, perhaps, that any character with class levels (as I'm thinking of a majority of people as 0-level humans...) can deal a point of damage with a punch.  (And let the appropriate class[es] modify that damage...?)

And then there's the matter of firearms.  John Force is a secret agent.  Of course he uses 'em...

When it comes to weapon proficiencies, I appreciate the old school simplicity of characters that either can or can't use a certain weapon...and this works well in a world built around the game.  I have no issue with wizards who don't wield swords because...well, because they just don't, okay...?!

Arguably just as simple, though...and probably more practical in many games...is a simple house rule that anyone can try using any weapon (within reason with regard to complexity) but take a penalty if they aren't proficient with it.  And I may not be guessing at an ideal sweet spot here, but -5 to hit seems reasonable to me at the moment, so that's what I'm going to try.  We'll see how it goes...

Oh!  And one final thing on the Magic Agent here...he might be more suitable at a higher level, but until Swords & Wizardry Continual Light rolls out to take the four basic classes up to 7th, I'll probably avoid any assumptions about what we're going to see at higher levels (or expanded versions of these lower levels).  So, he's strictly SWL for now...!

John Force, Magic Agent

Level 3 Magic-User
First appearance:  Magic Agent #1 (1962)

STR 10     DEX 15     CON 13     INT 14     WIS 12     CHA 8
2 HD (9 HP)     Saving Throw 12
AC 8[11]

Attack:  Dagger, +0 to hit, 1d6-1 ldamage; Unarmed Strike, +0 to hit, 1 damage; Pistol, -4 to hit, 1d6 damage.
Spells Known:  Level 1 - Charm Person, Detect Magic, Sleep; Level 2 - Invisibility

Friday, July 28, 2017

Want to build a city with me?

I guess I cursed myself when I wrote that my free time hasn't been especially limited lately, because pretty much since I pushed the button on that post, it's been exactly that.  I've been aiming (heh) to finish The Marksman class for Light City for weeks at this point, which is kind of ridiculous when the point of the class-by-class approach to Light City is to facilitate progress on the project even when time and focus is limited.

But y'know what probably doesn't make for a quality blog post by me? Blogging about not blogging! So, here's the point of this little communication, the thing I actually have been able to accomplish lately...!

I present the Light City Multiverse logo with the hope that others will want to take part in this little experiment in playing with superheroes within the Swords & Wizardry Light framework.  You see, I have some pretty specific ideas in my head of the way I expect the rules regarding Light City to shake out (kind of the reason I see it even being a worthwhile pursuit when there are already a million and one other supers games out there), as well as a certain view of the "ideal" superhero gaming world.

There's no point in pushing all of that too hard though, unless I'm putting it all together as some huge rule and setting book, and one of the things I like the most about this hobby of ours is seeing ideas from different individuals bounce off of each other to make something even better.  And really, what background is better for letting disparate ideas intermingle than a superhero multiverse?  I thought for a while that it might be a bit pretentious to release a "compatibility logo," but hey, what have I got to lose?  Hopefully others will want to play in the sandbox!

Here's the first version of the logo that I've been somewhat pleased with.  It's followed by the license (using that word pretty loosely) and the logo with inverted colors.  Please come join me in Light City if you like!

1.  The Light City Multiverse logo may be used freely on any work that contributes to our ability to pretend like we’re superheroes using the Swords & Wizardry Light ruleset.  You can also use it on other stuff, but this is probably where it makes the most sense.
2.  Use of this logo does not indicate that you relinquish ownership of any of your own physical or intellectual property.  Similarly, making this logo available for use does not indicate that I relinquish ownership of any of my own physical or intellectual property.
3.  While not a requirement, if you do use the logo (or make anything of interest to Light City), I’d love to be notified at jlinneman at gmail dot com.
4.  Light City is a big, multiversal sandbox with room for a lot of people to play.  I reserve the right to ask you not to use this logo anymore if you’re not playing nice.
5.  As you’ve probably guessed, I’m not a lawyer, so I’ll just make a final general statement that I reserve the right to change this license and the logo itself.  If for some reason that has legal ramifications, we’ll figure it out at the time.

EDIT:  Oh!  I should give a shout out to the source of the skyline art in the logo.  I snagged it from Pixabay, right here.  Thanks to user Clker-Free-Vector-Images (probably not their real name) for posting it there...!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Building the infrastructure of Light City...

While my free time isn't especially limited these days, I am finding that I rarely have a significant stretch of uninterrupted time to complete the little projects I have bouncing around in my head.  So while the next Light City installment is taking way too long (The Marksman is coming soon...!), I am taking little steps in working toward some of my hobby goals.

I recently made a stop at Home Depot to pick up an important item...

I'm pretty stoked that I can now continue my (years-long) quest to put some of the random HeroClix I've accumulated over time to good use...!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Monstrous Monday: Three more Vrakkig beasts...

Some more critters drawn by my pal JR Mounts for summoning, Duel Masters-style, by the Card-caster class.  (You can see more of his creations in my Monstrous Monday posts from the last three weeks...!)  HD is in the upper left, AC (ascending from 10) in the lower right...

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A belated Happy Fourth! Now, let's talk Supersoldiers...

I was supposed to finish this post yesterday, but a combination of work and celebration got in the way.  Ah, well...Happy (belated, now) Fourth to all of you who appreciate the freedom you've been gifted in your respective homes!

Naturally, at a time when Light City is always rattling around in my cerebrum, America's Independence Day makes me think of this guy...

...and this guy...

...and of course this guy...

So...let's also talk about Supersoldiers, shall we?  As I move through through the superhero archetypes (as I see them applying to RPG classes, anyway) for Light City, I 've known that something in the vein of Captain America needed to be included.  As with Batman, exactly what that is depends on the perspective you take in thinking about Cap.  You can focus on the patriotism, of course, making him an inspirational symbol.  When I included a red, white, and blue hero in my Dogwood City project last year, for example, I gave him a little ally-buffing ability.

You could also zero in on the way Cap handles a shield, which may make him a member of the Marksman class (the next one I hope to release for Light City).

For some reason, though, I'm drawn a bit more to Cap's basic power set...just that he's a badass fighter at the peak of (or just beyond) the normal human physical max.  I think part of it is that I think of DC's closest Cap comparison to be the guy who has somehow become one of the company's showcase villains over the past several years...

A Deathstroke/Captain America class should be easy enough, right?  I'd say so.  So easy, in fact, that it's pretty much already there in Swords & Wizardry Light...they're really just high-level, high-stat Fighters!  So how do I make this jibe with my goal of making Light City classes roughly comparable in power level to the basic SWL options...?

I've been thinking a lot about Light City power level after some thoughts from commenter X-Plus Kaiju Collectors Crew on my last LC post, and I actually really like where all of this has led me.  It seems reasonable to me to trade off the multiple attacks vs. 1 HD enemies that Fighters get (which I honestly find a little awkward because the player basically needs to somehow be aware that an enemy only has 1 HD...) to give a Supersoldier a stat boost.  Maybe even +1d6 to all the physical attributes...and probably INT too.

The beauty of putting an adjustment like this into SWL is that I could see it making a basic character feel pretty super...but the actual stat benefits are small enough that it really wouldn't break anything!

I should probably stat up a few characters at some point, along with exploring what a "basic" Fighter would actually look like in the Light City Universe...

Monday, July 3, 2017

Monstrous Monday: More beasts to summon...!

Even more of the beasties created by my pal JR Mounts for summoning, Duel Masters-style, by the Card-caster class.  (You can see more of his creations in my Monstrous Monday posts from last week and the week before...!)

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Playing in Light City: Halo and Firestar

So as I noted along with the Ray's writeup, I planned on doing a Sidekick next.  But then Ross over at Super-Team Family: The Lost Issues posted this gem today (seriously, click the link and check it out!), so I figured it couldn't hurt to have one more post with a pair of hot Elementals (SWIDT?).

You can check out Halo and Firestar at their respective companies' wikis...

(Quick note: One thing I'm realizing is a potential downfall of the Elemental class is that "unchecked" flying doesn't come around until 6th level.  I think this is cool for building a character over time, but I don't necessarily like that any established character I stat up as an Elemental must be at least 6th level or have at least a small issue flying now and then.  Might be something to address at some point...)


Level 6 Elemental
First appearance:  Brave and the Bold #200 (1983)
Real name:  Gabrielle Doe

STR 11     DEX 11     CON 15     INT 12     WIS 8     CHA 15
4+1 HD (19 HP)     Saving Throw 10     Flight (48 ft.)
AC 7[12] (light aura)

Attack:  Heat Beam (Red Halo), +3 to hit, 1d6 light damage, range 60 ft.
Elemental Powers (6x/day):  Hold (Green Halo), Light I (Yellow Halo), Orange Missile (Orange Halo, a la Magic Missile).


Level 6 Elemental
First appearance:  Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (TV series) Episode #1 (1981)
Real name:  Angelica Jones

STR 13     DEX 16     CON 12     INT 11     WIS 16     CHA 13
4+1 HD (15 HP)     Saving Throw 10     Flight (48 ft.)
AC 6[12] (fire aura, ineffective vs. water)

Attack:  Fire Blast, +4 to hit, 1d6 light damage, range 60 ft.
Elemental Powers (6x/day):  Knock/Lock, Light I, Microwave Missile (a la Magic Missile).


Hmm.  I realized while writing these up that the Ray should maybe get Invisibility rather than his Photon Missile (a la Magic Missile) power...

Now, I really do think I'll stat up a Sidekick...

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Playing in Light City: The Ray

So, I'm really having a blast playing around with the rules for Light City.  I probably think about it a lot more than I should think about a not-even-half-formed supers setting and ruleset that's about the billionth such setting and ruleset to be developed.

But man, is it fun to daydream about it!

One of the things I've been trying to do with each class (which I'm sure is actually pretty obvious) is to look around at existing characters (and being a bit of a DC fanboy, especially those in that universe) and try to make sure that reasonable approximations could be statted up with the tools given.  For the Amazon, there was really one key character I had in mind, of course (although I did want some variety to be possible).  But for the Brawler and the Elemental, I had a number of characters in mind.

I found it kind of interesting when I looked around the current DC universe and noticed that, other than all of the Lanterns that are currently getting a spotlight of one sort or another, there really aren't many "pure" Elemental types being showcased.  Captain Atom may be working his way back into the limelight of the DCU, but he isn't there yet.  Firestorm is a pretty big deal on TV, but...well, is he anywhere to be seen in DC Rebirth?

Over in the Justice League of America, though, a couple of Elementals are making their presence known.  There's Killer Frost (building on her TV presence, I presume), and then there's this guy...the Ray!  I've long thought he seemed like a cool character but, until the JLA appearance, had never really given him a good look.  One of the things that I do like about him is that he clearly carries on a decidedly Golden Age tradition but doesn't seem out of place as a wholly modern character!

You can check out the various versions of the Ray that have been created over the years over here at the DC wiki.

Here's the modern version statted up for Light City...

From the DC wiki...

The Ray

Level 6 Elemental
First appearance:  Ray #1 (1992)
Real name:  Raymond Terrill (secret)

STR 13     DEX 10     CON 12     INT 15     WIS 13     CHA 15
4+1 HD (15 HP)     Saving Throw 10     Flight (48 ft.)
AC 7[12] (light aura)

Attack:  Light Ray, +3 to hit, 1d6 light damage, range 60 ft.
Elemental Powers (6x/day):  Construct, Light I, Photon Missile (a la Magic Missile).


Next up, I think it's time I tackle a Sidekick...!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Light City #3 is now available!

Two posts in one day?  There must be something special going on to get me blogging this much, eh?

Well, yes there is!  (Something special to me, anyway...)  Light City #3 featuring the Amazon class is now up for free download on OneBookShelf.  It's the fifth class overall designed for superheroic roleplaying using the outstanding Swords & Wizardry Light ruleset; you can check it out by clicking here.

Not only that, but +Justin Isaac has beaten me to the punch in blogging about it, and he's already statted up a character (DC's Grace) over at Halls of the Nephilim.  You should check that out here...!

Monstrous Monday: More critters for the Card-caster

Here are a few more of the beasts dreamed up by my buddy JR Mounts for summoning by the Card-caster class.  (Be sure to check out the ones I posted last week, too...you just might dig 'em...!)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Card-caster class (for OSR games)

On Monday, I posted a few of the beasts that JR Mounts drew for me to use as summoned creatures for a class that performs magic from a deck of cards.  The Card-caster class is part of my contribution to the Tenkar's Landing crowdsourced hexcrawl project...a part of the contribution that is probably so superfluous to the point of the project that it will never be used by anyone, but a part of it nonetheless.

As I actually did put some effort into making the class balanced and suitable for dueling (once a sufficient number of cards are created), though, I wanted to also share it here.  Any and all feedback is welcomed, of course...I love the idea of turning this into its own little minigame within a campaign, and I'm sure there are a lot of possibilities I failed to consider!

New class:  Card-caster

Card-casters are students of the art of card battling, known in the local Hobgoblin tongue as vrakkig.  They are capable of harnessing magic using a deck of specially crafted playing cards.  While many scholars mock these arcane warriors as incapable of “true” magic, they have been known to hold their own against those who wield the powers of many other traditions.

Hit Dice and saves: as Cleric.
Advancement, combat, weapons and armor: as Magic-user.

Card-casters maintain a collection of playing cards that enable them to cast spells and summon creatures from beyond the realm.  This collection may include any cards found, bought, or traded for by the character.  Each morning, they will prepare a deck from among the cards in their collection and shuffle this deck well.

Card-casters must have a number of cards in their deck equal to three times their Card-caster level.  By choice or necessity, any number of these cards may be copies of the card “Next!”  It is a Level 1 Spell that simply reads “Draw a card,” and is known among Card-casters and collectors as a super-ultra-basic-common…that is, there are tons of them around, and no one would really mind if a Card-caster just made their own copies anyway.  Other than “Next!”, all cards in a Card-caster’s deck must have unique names.  All but ONE (at maximum) card must have a Card Level equal to or less than the Card-caster’s level.

At the point in the day in which a Card-caster wishes to initiate card battling, they immediately draw an opening hand equal to ½ their Card-caster level, rounded down (minimum of 1 card).  At the beginning of each subsequent round, they draw one card from the top of the deck and are then able to take their action or actions for the round.  Attempting to cast a card takes one round of action.  A Card-caster may, in place of attempting to cast a card, discard as many cards as desired and draw that many.

Those casting a card (including other adventurers who come into possession of magical cards) have a casting power = 10 + their Card-caster level.  Cards have a Level equal to Hit Dice of the monster or the number indicated in the upper left corner of a spell card.  When a card is cast, roll 1d20 and add the card’s Level.  If the result is higher than the caster’s casting power, the card fizzles.  Once a casting attempt is carried out, whether or not it is successful, the card is sent to the “discard pile,” an interdimensional pocket that keeps cards in near-mint condition until they are accessed again the next morning.  (All cards discarded for any other reason also go here.)  The one exception to this is when a monster is returned to its realm of origin, in which case the monster’s card returns to the hand of its summoner.

When the deck is depleted, the character cannot cast any more cards unless something happens to put discarded cards back into the deck.  Summoned monsters return to their realm, and all spell effects end, 1 hour after last card is drawn from the deck.

As a general rule, summoned monsters deal 1d6 damage and have d6 Hit Dice.  Damage on all cards is listed in terms of d6.  (These can be changed to d8’s for games of a basic or advanced nature.)

Cards used by Card-casters may have a back that looks something like this, although characters are known to be able to change the appearance of their cardbacks by all sorts of magical means.  (Icon on cardback made by Lorc.  Available on http://game-icons.net.)

(Oh, and here are a couple of the non-monster cards featuring JR's art...I'll keep sharing them over the course of the next couple of weeks...!)