Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Rules option #2: Swords & Six-Siders (and the OSR as a whole)

Another strong option as a framework to build a MotU-inspired miniatures game on top of would be something in the realm of the Old School Renaissance.  No matter how far I stray in my interests, there are a few foundations I always seem to come back to, and the OSR is one of them.  This blog, in fact -- while all over the place at times -- was started with a thought that it would fit into the OSR community.

Since using huge D6s is one of the details I'm looking for in the rules, one of the obvious candidates would be Swords & Six-Siders, which sports a strong OSR feel while keeping all rolls down to a single D6.


I'm sure there are other D6-only OSR efforts out there that follow in the footsteps of classic editions of D&D...this is just the main one I'm familiar with.  And while I've never played it, it looks both solid and fun.  (I'm also a fan of the generic OSR house rules for D6-based combat given in this blog post over at The Bogeyman's Cave.)

Some big advantages of going this route include the use of the OGL (and S&SS has an accompanying license, I believe) and the huge amount of material that's out there to steal use.  I could probably even leverage some of the work I put into Light City, my little Swords & Wizardry Light superhero project (that also got a LOT of material added by Justin Isaac).  After all, superhero fiction is sort of the third foundation holding up the Masters of the Universe property, along with pulpy science fiction and fantasy.

On the other hand, I probably don't want to use granular hit points in a big outdoor minis game...and I think that going this route might tempt me to also make use of a giant D20 for combat, rather than just the D6s.  That could end up being some combination of expensive and a hassle.

Still...all in all, it's a nice option to consider...

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Space Fantasy News: Insects on Mars?

In a story that has understandably been making its rounds on the web, an American entomology professor recently presented a poster showing his take on evidence for historical, and extant, life on Mars resembling our planet's insects and reptiles.  Dr. William Romoser, a Professor Emeritus at Ohio University with 45 years of service to the school, showed his work at a meeting of the Entomological Society of America in St. Louis.

One of Dr. Romoser's figures.

On the one hand, I do think stuff like this has the potential to put wind in the sails of crackpot theorists who would love to distract us from...y'know, true stuff.  (There's definitely been some concern over the implications of such claims for the future of our search for extraterrestrial life.)

On the other hand, though, it's 2019, and we have a scientist talking about stuff that's pretty much straight out of old school planetary romance tales, and that's kind of awesome.  It's awesome because ideas like this gave us the character of John Carter and all of the fiction he would go on to inspire.  It's also awesome because I think we need a world where established scientists are willing to bring up ideas that will be widely viewed as nonsense.  Every once in a while, such a wild idea will help us see an old problem in a new way.

So...maybe the greatest takeaway from all of this is that once you're a Professor Emeritus, you don't have to give a eff anymore.

(You can search some relevant words and find a number of reports on this around the net, or just click here and see Dr. Romoser's abstract and poster.)

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Rules option #1: The Masters of the Universe RPG

I'm keeping my eyes and mind open for rulesets that can serve as a core for Project 5.5, my take on gaming with ridiculously buff action figures in the style of the old Masters of the Universe line.  These will likely be dedicated miniatures or RPG rules (or both), and as I mentioned last time, I have a few key elements I'm looking for...with ease of play and use of D6s for resolution probably being the most important.  At the moment, anyway.  I could honestly see myself altering the goals if I hit upon just the right set of rules.

So...with all of that in mind, I figured I should begin my quest by going straight to the source: FASA's Masters of the Universe Role Playing Game from 1985.

From BoardGameGeek.

I now know from reading up on this game a bit (primarily this review) that a common reaction, upon learning that it actually exists (and especially once one realizes that it was made by FASA, of Star Trek RPG and Battletech fame), is to assume that it's a must-have piece of gaming history.  And I'll admit...even after reading about how terrible it is (such as in the review linked above), there's a part of me that thinks this would be a holy grail of sorts for my small RPG collection.  But...well, it apparently really is terrible as a game...not even a true RPG (to the extent that it has a page on BoardGameGeek), and pretty much impossible to play as presented, even as a board game.

It sure LOOKS like it'd be awesome, though.  Plus, I'm mostly interested in how I might tweak it to work as a minis game.  Here's the character card layout:

Also from BoardGameGeek.

Those skills...which include combat ratings...are apparently resolved with a D6 roll (and certainly pass an eye test for being on that scale).  So, check on that.  And the double-digit values for Strength, Agility, etc. at the top of the card look to be based upon some sort of 2D6 roll, probably a roll-under resolution.  (I don't know that those numbers even get used in the game as written...)

The Life Force and Magic Points look like they could be fiddly in the sort of game I'm trying to make, but overall, this looks like a definite contender.  I think it'd be pretty fun to take the bare-bones rules presented here and attach enough chrome to make it playable as a miniatures game.

More options to come soon...!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Choosing a framework for Project 5.5

So...my first (next?) step for Project 5.5 shall be to decide upon a ruleset that can serve as a framework for the sort of "miniatures" battles I want to stage.  I have some in mind already...and am having a tough time settling.

In short, I'm looking for rules that are...

1.  Fun to play.
2.  Functional with minimal paperwork (since it'll be played outside).
3.  Capable of capturing the somewhat gonzo science fantasy flavor of Masters of the Universe.
4.  Usable with teams of 3-6 figures per side; ideally it would work (and retain its playability) with as few as one figure, up to maybe dozens.
5.  Able to make use of these great D6s Laura gave me for my birthday last year.  (I have six of 'em.)
Tulip is just there for scale.

I hope to get some posts up this week with some of the options I see as top contenders.  In the meantime, please feel free to suggest away if you have ideas!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Introducing Project 5.5 ... aka The One I'm Going to Finish

Hello, all who happen upon these words in the binary aether!  For...oh, I don't know, like a year and a half now...I've been thinking about returning to this blog.  I even posted a thing a couple of months ago, thinking it might be my foot in the door for a return to the realm of geek blogging.

I've come to realize that returning to a neglected blog feels a lot like it did trying to get up the courage to go out on the floor at a middle school dance.  You have some idea of what it's supposed to look like, and man, all those folks doing it make it look so easy.  But the longer you wait, the harder it becomes, because it feels like the stakes just keep getting higher and more people are wondering why you aren't doing it and oh man why is everyone looking at me so this better be good if I'm actually gonna do it now.

(Why, yes, I may have some long-unresolved issues stemming from adolescent unpopularity, why do you ask?)

So, whatever, the time is now...I'm gonna dance, and here's the move I'm starting with:

Project 5.5

I'll give the background in some upcoming posts, but in short, this is my attempt to create a relatively fast 'n non-relatively fun "miniatures" game designed to be played outdoors with squatty, overmuscled, Masters of the Universe-style action figures.

Because the world may not need it, but I sure do.

I'm already hearing the questions...

Hey, you ADD-addled gamer, what makes this one different from the other million and one projects you started on this blog?

Why in the world would this be "the one you're going to finish?"

Who are you again?  How did I end up here?

Well, if I wasn't serious about it, would I have bought this ridiculous lot of figures on eBay...?



Eh, actually...I might.  I have a history of less-than-stellar choices on eBay.

But...I have a really good feeling about this one.

NOTE:  If you hate puns, please read no further on this page.
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Yep, I'm at the dance and getting back out on the floor.  Can't wait to try the punch...

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The 8-bit origins of Auto Chess

Hi internet!  I made a thing.

'Tis a wee thing, but a thing nonetheless.  And while I haven't posted anything here in...quite a long time...it seemed to me that there may be some overlap between folks who might enjoy seeing said thing and those who would be aware that I posted something here (I posted it over on Reddit, but that's obviously much less satisfying than a blog post...).

So...I've developed an obsession with Auto Chess as I have for very few other games over the years, and I eventually started thinking about how fun it would be to have a version of the game (or an auto battler in general) in a retro gaming style.  Since I don't know what the odds are of that ever happening, I doodled this together to at least see what it would look like.  And...you never know...maybe some indie developer and fellow lover of Auto Chess sees this image at some point and decides to make it happen...


And...that's it!  It ain't much, but it was fun.  I'm hoping to keep playing with this over time to maybe produce some more compelling images...

EDIT 09/14/2019:  I see that this post has actually gotten a few views and don't know what the chances are that anyone who's seen it is at all familiar with Auto Chess.  So, I figured I'd post a screenshot of the mobile game.

(It's a very good mobile game, by the way.)


Thursday, April 12, 2018

E is for Earths

...of the parallel variety, that is.


I'd love for Light City to be accessible for all sorts of supers gaming.  I also just love a good, wacky multiverse.  Here's a little sample what's been discovered so far by the fringe physicists of Light City:

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Earth-Alpha:  The "prime" Light City universe.  In my head, anyway.  Heck, maybe every individual game world is its own Earth-Alpha.  That's the beauty of a prime universe: It's forever malleable, ready to be retconned, revised, and updated for the present time!

Earth-Beta:  The first parallel universe to be found, when Nature Man traversed the elemental planes and found his counterpart from this alternate Earth.  The boom in superheroics occurred much earlier here (in the 1940s...folks with masks and powers were a huge part of the Allied victory in World War II).  Some heroes, like Black Lion, are fairly similar between Earths Alpha and Beta, aside from age.  Others, such as the Flame, differ enough that it's hard to even trace how they're connected.  Still others have no known counterpart on the other Earth.

Earth-Beta

Earth-Gamma:  An Earth where The Assembly is the premier superhero team rather than The Association.  Cities don't all have the word "City" in their names.  And the movies tend to be a lot better.

Earth-Theta:  Here, an aged Black Lion came out of retirement in the 1980s to clean up his beloved Empire City after it had fallen deep into a crime wave.  He ended up facing off against his old pal Wonder Man, who has become a tool of the American government.

Earth-Mu:  A world of anthropomorphic cats.  And superheroes.  So, yeah, superhero cats.

Earth-Mu

Earth-Nu:  This universe has many of the same figures as Earth-Alpha, but the age of heroes began in the mid-1950s.  There are lots of apes, and Wonder Man is kind of a dick who spends a lot of time making his girlfriend look like an idiot.  Scholars of the Multiverse aren't quite clear on whether or not this is actually the same world as Earth-Theta.

Earth-Xi:  Pretty much everything on this world appears to be made out of toy bricks.

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There are a lot more of them out there!  (You might even say they're infinite...ba dump bump.)  I'm definitely interested in knowing what sorts of parallel Earths you would want to encounter in a superhero multiverse!