Friday, November 25, 2022

Football in 5E?

As my interest in 5E has grown, I've been really jonesin' to start posting to this blog regularly for the first time in...well, kind of ever, I guess.  I'm trying to avoid that voice I often hear in my head, that returning to the blog requires some important reason to put my voice out into the aether again, and that I'd better have something good to write if I'm not going to just look like an idiot making a play for relevance in a very tiny and specific corner of the internet.


I mean, I honestly think all three of you who still read my posts have realized at this point that my prose ain't exactly poetry, and you're mostly on this blog out of some combination of time to kill + occasionally shared interests (a combination with varying percentages depending on the day).  In other words, I don't think I'll scare anyone off when I don't deliver Shakespeare, so here's where we're going today...

Watching the World Cup today (I know...FIFA, Qatar, etc....I still can't bring myself to just not watch...go USMNT!), I had to wonder about soccer/football and D&D rules.  Surely this would be something that's been thought about many times over.  To what extent has it ever been pulled off?  And if it was played, was it actually fun?

A quick "d&d soccer rules" search turns up some interesting Reddit discussions , and I learned from one of them that the Dungeons & Daddies podcast must have had a couple of episodes where the characters played soccer, and oh my am I going to have to invest time into learning the answer to this?  Why can't I just see a summary of what's been done now, in 2022, when all the knowledge of the world should be at my fingertips?, anyone have any suggestions on where to look for this sort of thing?

RETURN TO BLOGGING BONUS:  Here's the first image that came up when I asked the Dream art generator to give me "Dungeons & Dragons soccer"...

Sunday, August 7, 2022

5e alien race: Those who hail from the Planet of the Mimes

 To follow up on my last post, I thought it'd be fun to make a bit of 5e content with a SilverHawks focus.  The obvious choice, in my mind, would be to figure something out about this guy's species:

Pic from the Thundercats Wiki

That, of course, is Copper Kidd, the sole nonhuman among the SilverHawks.  (Well, the main ones, anyway...certainly seems that Hotwing may also be nonhuman...?)

Copper Kidd is from the world known as the Planet of the Mimes.  Straightaway, I have to wonder if those who are actually from the planet want to call it that.  I can't say it's an insult...I mean, nothing wrong with being associated with mimes.  I guess.  But there's something about it that feels like...I dunno, referring to someone of Native American ancestry as an Indian.  It's a broad stroke of incorrectness that just has to venture into offensiveness.

So I'll just give them another name.  Using the random alien species name generator HERE, Copper Kidd shall be known as a...Bril.  Those who hail from the Planet of the Mimes are called Bril.  The Planet of the Mimes is actually known as Brili.  Sounds good.

While I'm basing this all solely on what I remember from watching SilverHawks as a kid, from the modest amount that I've watched the show as an adult, and from the little I'm able to find through quick google I may be missing some details, in other words...there doesn't seem to be a whole lot that's known about the Bril.  Here's one possible approach (using this nice custom race guide from Skullsplitter Dice as a guide):


Pic from the other ThunderCats Wiki

Ability score adjustments: +2 to INT and DEX

Size: Medium; Base speed: 35 ft.

Alien Larynx: Bril have unique speech capabilities. They are unable to speak the common language of the Limbo Galaxy without electronic enhancement, and most inhabitants of the galaxy are unfamiliar with the Bril language. However, Bril are skilled at pantomime (hence their controversial nickname). A Bril can communicate most simple ideas to others without sharing a language. More complicated ideas can be communicated with a successful INT check by both the Bril and the receiving character, with DC determined by the complexity of the message.

Enhanced Senses: Darkvision (60 ft.); Advantage on Perception rolls

Born to Move: Proficient in Acrobatics

Rational Mind: Advantage on saving throws against being charmed

EDIT:  My immediate reaction upon looking at this might be overpowered.  I'm so bad at figuring that out sometimes.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

The State of the World

 For all of you who look at the world around us, and then at your favorite works of dystopian fiction, and think, "Wow, that's where we're headed..."

May I remind you that one specific fictional future has not yet been ruled out...?

And that would be pretty effing cool.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Ivan Reitman, 1946-2022

I didn't want too much more time to pass before posting something here in tribute to filmmaker Ivan Reitman, who the world lost unexpectedly on Saturday, 2/12, at just 75. At the time I learned of his passing, I had recently responded to Tim's review of Ghostbusters: Afterlife over at HeroPress, and I had been pondering a second "2021 in review" post on Ghostbusters...on seeing the latest movie, playing the game, and being influenced by both.

I certainly don't want to take anything away from the other wonderful work he did during his career (and it's been very interesting to see which films have gotten the nod alongside Ghostbusters in blurbs and headlines of his passing), but from the perspective of this fortysomething geek, his role in that franchise towers above everything else.  He truly played an indelible role in my life.

What's there to do in tribute?  I dunno.  I guess I'll just do what I often do on here, write out a little game content.  I've been thinking lately about how similar 5e proficiency is to the Talents of the Ghostbusters RPG, so maybe if I write about that a bit, it'll encourage someone, sometime, to spend some time playing in the world Mr. Reitman helped bring to life.

Anyway, here's how quickly I think you can make reasonable characters for a quick 5e-based Ghostbusters game.  Looking at Egon's card from the old West End Games boxed set, and figuring 3 HD is probably a reasonable "level"...

(And also a toast to Harold Ramis, who passed before the inception of this blog...)

Egon Spengler, Ph.D.

Goal: Soulless Science

HD 3d8 (14 HP)

Proficiency Bonus: +2

STR 10(-)  DEX 10(-)  CON 10(-)  INT 20(+5)  WIS 10(-)  CHA 10(-)

Proficiencies: Physics (+7), Climb (+2), Disguise (+2), Stock Market (+2)

Attack: Unarmed Strike (+2, 1 bludgeoning damage) OR by weapon

Sunday, January 30, 2022

2021 in Review: Pokémon GO

I'm not sure why consistent blogging is such a difficult thing for me to do.  I's probably the same reason that consistent anything is difficult for my ADD-inclined mind to keep up with, seeing as how I jump all over the place with my interests on a day-to-day (and sometimes minute-to-minute) basis.  Blogging does seem like it's a great fit for a brain like that, since I can literally write about whatever the hell I want on here and figure that someone with a similar interest may eventually come upon it.

For whatever reason, though, it doesn't quite work that way, and so I once again find myself a few weeks into a new year with a renewed interest in keeping up with this blog, but without the confidence that I'm actually gonna see it through.  While I'm here, though, maybe I can at least talk about some of the biggest deals in gaming, for me, over the course of last year...

First of all, in 2021, I finally dove into Pokémon GO.  It was late in the year, so I guess I was about...oh, 5.5 years later than the rest of the world in discovering how much fun this game is.  I did sign on a few years back and catch a few monsters, but my phone, data plan, and coverage in the rural area I lived in meant it didn't really catch my attention.

Of course, I've made no secret of my love for Pokémon, and so upon downloading the app to my new phone, here in crowded New Jersey...well, dang this is a good game.  There are just so many options to it...whatever your specific interest in Pokémon, you can probably channel it in Pokémon GO.  I'll admit that I enjoy the battling...y'know, the most ethically problematic aspect of the Pokémon franchise...but my biggest goal right now is simply filling out my Kanto Pokédex (especially evolving that Jigglypuff I've been holding onto since 2018).  Other than that, it's the augmented reality aspect of the game that might be the most intriguing.  Pokémon Snap is probably the coolest Pokémon title of them all, and the chance to take that photographic angle into the real world is pretty fun.

For example, here's my Houndour named Zuko, fitting in perfectly with the dogs of the Linneman household:

Here's Matty, my Alolan Ninetales, out enjoying the New Jersey winter with Celery and Tulip (and Laura and me):

I work with a bunch of scientists, and one of them told me that picture is the nerdiest thing she's ever seen.  I take that as quite a compliment.

Speaking of work and nerdy pictures...uh-oh, is that a Flareon getting near the flammables cabinet...??

Of course, you might just have your pics bombed by other monsters, as this Smeargle did:

...or this Squirtle:

Ah, buddy Zuko.  He snagged his 50th Houndour candy earlier this week, so while he looks like this for now...

...he will be evolving into a Houndoom soon.  My buddy won't be a puppy much longer.

How about some gaming content?

I actually think that the setup of Pokémon GO fits perfectly with the theme of Underground Elemental Beastfighting that I've mentioned before on this blog.  Our world...with a hidden layer where people take these magical creatures captive and force them into battle...still seems like it's worth exploring on the tabletop.

Way back when, I had a little system for turning old Pokémon TCG cards into OSR monsters.  I think I'll continue that, although I'm in more of a multiple polyhedral mood now, and I'll make an adjustment or two since I'm looking at more recent cards that have been subject to the card game's power creep (and since some things just require ad hoc translation rules...).  Here are the latest editions of Houndour and Houndoom (I think):

1 HD (6 HP), AC 13
Attacks:  Bite +3 (1d4 damage)
Training: Single Strike
Weakness: Grass

3 HD (13 HP), AC 12
Attacks:  Darkness Fang +4 (1d10 damage)
Training: Single Strike
Weakness: Grass
Single Strike Roar: At the beginning of each combat round, you may choose one of your monsters with Single Strike training.  That monster takes 2 damage and gets +1 to all attacks for the rest of this combat.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

This Google Doodle is freaking awesome

 So I'm starting to write this post on Friday evening, and the week at work was a bit stressful this time around, so you could probably put one of those apps designed to entertain cats in front of me, and it would do the trick in helping my mind drift away for a while.  But...I'm pretty sure there's something special about the current Google Doodle.  It's an entire mini-retro-RPG themed around a series of sporting events on Doodle Champion Island (celebrating the Tokyo Olympics, of course).  There's exploration, quests, teams, cute anthro characters, music in a classic style, anime interludes, and (perhaps most entertaining of it all) minigames like synchronized swimming (a rhythm game) and rugby (vs. ogres on Oni Island).  All with a 16-bit look.

Heading toward the recruitment site...

As of late into Saturday night, I have probably accomplished less than I meant to at this point in the weekend thanks to this game. actually feels like time pretty well spent.  Not that my stamp of approval means much to the tech monolith, but nicely done, Google.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Agents of the CROwN

This is an article that originally ran in the OSR fanzine Fight On! back in 2014.  As my mind has lately been meandering around a campaign set up like this -- and I've learned I'm not the only one interested in this style of adventure -- I wanted to post it here to get it out in the wild again.  Thanks to the inimitable Kelvin Green for the artwork!  Be sure to check out Fight On!'s stuff for sale HERE and especially Kelvin's still-rocking blog HERE.


On September 23, 1999, NASA lost the Mars Climate Orbiter. In a calculation error that has since become known as the “metric mixup,” the craft approached the red planet from a dangerous angle and disintegrated in seconds.

That's the story we heard, anyway. In fact, that's the story that NASA believed. Until a few months later...on Christmas morning, when technicians lucky enough to work the holiday at Cape Canaveral arrived to find a rather unexpected gift in Hangar AC – the orbiter, in pristine condition. Pristine except for one major alteration: The craft had been gutted of most of its scientific instruments. In their place stood what appeared to be a large, golden music box. The orbiter was carefully transferred to an underground lab, and its reappearance was wiped from NASA records.

It took many months of serious examination before scientists felt it was safe to wind the box. They started the music on the morning of August 21, 2001. Its ethereal harmonies resonated through the hallways of the laboratory as the massive golden cylinder turned...and turned...and turned. It soon became clear that the music box was powered by more than our usual physical laws. What's more, each time the cylinder completed a revolution, when the tune should have repeated itself, new patterns appeared to take the music into entirely new realms.

On May 28, 2006, researchers finally had a breakthrough. The songs were more than music; they were a code. And they told stories. Stories of magical lands filled with creatures from myths, from faery tales, and from nightmares. There were tales of knights and dragons, of war and exploration, of death and treasure. And most importantly, there were stories of outsiders venturing to these lands, and descriptions of how they did this. A few officials immediately organized the Commission for Research on Otherworldly Narratives (the CROwN) and began to recruit their team in secret. Early in the morning on February 19, 2011, the world's very first extraplanar traveler – half-jokingly referred to by CROwN leaders as the world's first “dungeonaut” – prepared to set foot in the realm of the fantastic...

CROwN Agents

Those who adventure for the CROwN perform a variety of jobs on their journeys. While some agents are skilled in multiple areas, there are four key roles that many agents fill: CROwN Soldiers are the combat masters of each group. This is no trivial task, as the use of modern technologies is largely forbidden on missions (in order to avoid unnecessary attention). Soldiers, therefore, must be trained in the use of weapons common in the lands they visit: swords, axes, and the like, along with the occasional black powder firearms. CROwN Spies are experts at subterfuge, helping the adventuring party in tasks such as disabling traps and picking locks and pockets. Spies are typically agile and sneaky, and other members of their teams often debate the level of trust they should be granted.

Many stories told by the music box include characters with the ability to manipulate reality in ways that researchers can only refer to as “magic.” The means of wielding this force is gradually being unraveled by the CROwN, and some agents are trained in these mysterious arts. CROwN Scientists spend hours studying arcane texts and practicing spellcraft in secret labs. As a result, they gain the ability to alter the world around them in a wide variety of ways. CROwN Medics, meanwhile, do not gain the wider perspective of the scientists, but their magic is seen by many as much more practical in nature. Medics often learn spells of healing and of fighting undead nuisances encountered on missions.

Adventuring for the CROwN

Most CROwN missions involve a very specific objective that will add to human knowledge of wonders, advancements, and threats from outside our world. The ease of sticking to the objective varies greatly by mission. Some recent adventures undertaken by CROwN agents include:

  • Exploring a dungeon to retrieve a sample of “living metal,” an alloy reported to grow organically and behave much like a plant or colonial animal. Naturally, such a dungeon attracted a sizable population of rust monsters...

  • Investigating the twisted grove of a mad druid to search for clues to the origin of the fearsome owlbear.

  • Collecting tomes from libraries on various worlds in order to conduct an analysis of multiversal linguistics.

Missions are often quite deadly, especially for new agents.

Standard Issue

Besides the standard and mission-specific adventuring equipment carried by agents, CROwN scientists have developed some items that are now considered standard issue for all adventures:

  • Orb of Vision – All agents are issued one of these small crystal globes, which can be carried or worn attached to the uniform. The orb of vision magically illuminates a 30' radius around its wearer. It also records all that the agent encounters, so that adventures can be easily reviewed by CROwN officials upon the return of the orb.

  • Planar Scroll – Each agent also receives one of these scrolls, which provides transport back to our world. By reading the scroll's inscription, an agent is quickly warped into our reality. However, the agent must read the scroll while in the exact location where he or she arrived in the fantastic realm. For each 10' in any direction that the agent is located away from this spot when reading from the scroll, there is a 5% chance that the adventurer will be transported to a random world or plane, rather than back to CROwN headquarters.

  • Good Green – Agency botanists have managed to cultivate, in limited amounts, a rather remarkable herb encountered on an early mission. Every agent begins travel with one dose of this plant, which has received the simple nickname “good green” for its ability to cure all diseases and curses encountered thus far on adventures, as well as providing 1d6 of healing when eaten.

Infinite Worlds of Wonder Await!

Now is the time to show your loyalty to the CROwN!