Monday, October 1, 2012

My Little Hobgoblin

I don't know when it happened. I would like to start with a dark and stormy night, the wind howling in my ear, as if to warn me of the impending doom. But the truth of the matter is that it just happened. One day, I was a master of my realm, the world spread out before me as kingdoms for the conquering. I traveled the breadth of the realm, had many adventures, smote down many a terrible beast. And then there it was; a small, pathetic creature cast down by so many others, not worthy to be recognized. And yet I could not bring myself to cast it aside. It must have been no more than five years, and it sat upon its stony perch with a toothy smile. Even when it smiled, it let out a low pitiful whine, having been abandoned by its own father at such a young age. Perhaps it was the baleful eyes, the slight whimpering when I drew near, but I wrapped the small hobgoblin in my coat and carried it away with me. Her ears switched, her face was marred and smiled that toothy smile and whined... and then she fucking bit me.

I sneaked her into my home in the dead of night. Feeding her and attempting to bond with creature. My wife took to her like any mother to an abandoned child; I found myself scolded for not providing for my little Turdlewhine. Hobgoblins are normally a nasty, dirty species, abhorrent to water. Turdlewhine was no different, she hated bathing and fought against it tooth and nail. Her cunning was readily apparent, pretending to bath by wetting her greasy hair and ignoring the earthen filth she had managed to attract. Getting her to brush her teeth was no easy task either. She had, what I call shingletooth, where one tooth overlapped another in a row. Only her tusks straight and all of teeth were coated with visible yellow film that I had an urge to scratch off. That is, if I knew it wouldn't get me deathly ill. Hobgoblins have a hearty kind of constitution that allowed them to eat anything off the ground without fear of getting ill. I tried to teach her that it wasn't proper to eat of the ground and would slap things out of her hand. Turdlewhine would kick the shit out of my ankle, or bite me behind the thigh until I cursed so loud, we had to leave for fear of the authorities hunting us down.

And thus began my downward spiral into the hobgoblin world. Some say there is still hope for me, but I have searched on-line, I have texted my friends and family, I have sought wizened sages that have traveled before me, and they have all told me the same answer...

 Never, ever let a fucking hobgoblin into your life.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tabletop Withdrawals

You know you're going through withdrawals when you outfit your console game adventuring party to look like an order of adventurers in a tabletop RPG.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Evils of Video Gaming

I haven't been putting much work into my game. My thoughts have been distracted by video games of late. In particular Dragon's Dogma. Hopefully I will get back into it soon, but in the meantime, here's a shot from the game.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Finding a Path to Earthdawn

I have not been active in the Earthdawn community of late, but I still get the occasional update to happenings at Redbrick. I got a message today that ED has been released for pathfinder. I am torn on this news even more than release in the Savage Worlds system. I can go back many years when I attempted to port Earthdawn into 3.5 in order to make it more digestable to D&D players. I am an old school D&D player, having settled on prefer AD&D 2nd edition above all others and falling in love with the Earthdawn setting when I first discovered it. Some of my old players remember that short lived debacle in what they call "DungeonDawn".

The main downfall of the attempt is that the 3.5 setting, while easily ported to, lost all the charm and nuances of the Earthdawn mechanics. We had players raise one talent above all others so it vastly outweighed others of the same circle, this lead to some unique exchanges in social situations that was quite enjoyable. Another example is karma; karma was often a deciding factor in combat situations and not easily reproduced in D&D. We attempted to implement a D6 karma rule in 'DungeonDawn' seemed unbalancing due to the fixed nature of the D20. Finally there was some difficulty with social interaction in the D20 system. In D&D it is a contested roll between two skills where the higher roll wins. In Earthdawn, you have a social defense that comes into play and you have more of combat-like social interaction. While not the most elegant method, overall the effects were more enjoyable the than D&D <winning smile to prove my point>.

All in all, I am happy that Earthdawn is available to all players, but disheartened that those players will not experience Earthdawn in what I feel is a better experience in its own sake.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Writing Update

Greetings Wastelanders,

I made some good progress on the rules this last month. Unfortunately, I’m not as far along as I had hoped and the rules themselves seem to expand as I write them. That being said, I have a good outline on the rules.

The good news is that I have already finished much of what is planned for June so I should be able to focus
some time on completing the rules.

I will endeavor to keep the updates at least weekly, but I make no guarantees.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning™ Review

I have recently completed 38 Studios' premier fantasy console RPG 'Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning™' and I am quite disappointed in the turn of events that has befallen 38 Studios. To qualify this review, I should state that I do not normally buy my games new. This was an exception as I had been waiting for it since I heard about it on Obsidian Portal's interview with R.A. Salvatore. So my wife picked it up for me the first Friday after the game released and I played it quite extensively, much to my wife's chagrin.

The main thing that drew me to the game was R.A. Salvatore writing for the game. Salvatore has been one of my favorite authors since the Icewind Dale Trilogy and world of Amalur did not disappoint. They were multiple storyline interwoven with the main character's story line that it was difficult to keep everything straight. Amalur is probably one of the richest and compelling worlds that I have found in  a while. The only down side was that you could only be a human or elf (called the dokkalfar and ljosafar). The use of Norse terminology was also very well done in the game. Gnomes are very prevalent in game, but are not a playable race.

The scenery in the game was amazing and I contribute this to Todd McFarlane the art director. Many said that McFarlane had been too removed from artwork to be very innovative, but the sweeping landscapes from forests to swamps to deserts and even the alien looking landscape if the Tuatha (winter Fae) are all awe inspiring. My favorite being Webwood, a forest inhabited by giant spiders. Seeing horse carts suspended twenty feet in the air by webs while the sun shone through the trees' canopies another hundred feet up was extremely satisfying.

The final name I would drop is Ken Rolston; he was the lead designer for Morrowind and Oblivion. This also and mixed result to a lot of people, but I feel it added to the grandness of the game. I truly feel as if the I started in a remote section of the world and slowly made my way into the epic fight between the mortal races and the immortal fae. The world is not as open as skyrim or fallout, meaning you can't just pick a direction and walk till you hit the end of the map. The areas are funneled in to each other. I found that annoying at first, but the areas themselves are well thought out and I may have missed it all together if they didn't display it on the mini-map.

The disappointment at the end of the game was in the finality of the game. While you are still allowed to continue and complete any side quests you may have missed; the game just feels over. If you have been following 38 Studios, they were planning on putting out an MMO based in Amalur. If you look at the world map, the game Reckoning was set in a little sliver of the world of Amalur.


Alas, it does not seem so and 38 Studios may close their doors for good. If you would like to read about what has happened there is a good article called '38 Studios' Downfall' at Gamasutra. So not only is the game finished, but future projects as well.

IGN gave the game a 9 while Game Informer rate the game in the '7's because it did not bring anything new to the industry. I have to side with IGN, Reckoning was just the tip of an Iceberg and I think that if I run a fantasy game again, I will base it in the world of Amalur.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Great Cataclysmic Event

So recently I have come to the point that I must debate the Great Cataclysm, The Sundering of the World, The Descent into the Long Night, the blah, blah, blah, blech! This is not a particularly relishing topic as I am not the most innovative person. I can draw from a well of other person’s work and spin an originally memorizing tale of folly and deceit, or so I am told. But I lack the oh so crucial spark to start the process. Sometimes I get lucky, but more often I draw from other sources.

I believe I have come up with an original idea for a post apocalyptic game, at least I am unaware of another using the same concept. Unfortunately, I am not willing to let the cat out of the bag just yet. I picked up my copy of D20 Modern Apocalypse, and realized that my setting has many of the aspects of the cataclysmic events from which the sources lists.

  • Alien Invasion – Aliens invade and become trapped in a mutual self destruction. My game has a specie of questionable origin and some suspect of alien origin; I confirm nor deny anything at this juncture.
  • Biological Disaster – Yes, I tap into pandemic virus craze that crops up in hollywood every few years. I am even toying with the zombie virus concept, mainly because zombies are awesome. I of course have my own twist on the concept.
  • Environmental Cataclysm – This an event where nature changes and makes it impossible for humans to survive as is. Think polar caps melting and creating “Waterworld”; mother nature tries to correct the pollution man creates and the world super freezes like “The Day After Tomorrow”, or the center of the earth stops spinning, jacking with the weather of the world in “The Core”. While my game does have environmental change, it happens along side of the apocalypse, possibly exacerbating the process, but not causing it.
  • Asteroid Strike – “Armageddon”, “Deep Impact”, “Meteor Apocalypse”, “Rage”, hopefully you get the picture. Big rock hits the earth, makes life hard. This one isn’t in my game, but it makes for a good story as to why humans create facilities to prepare for the apocalypse.
  • Judgement Day – Not “Terminator” style Judgement Day, but in a biblical sense. A hundred million Mephistopheles erupt from the bowels of the world and do battle with the ascended and we poor souls left in the ravaged wake eek out survival. I find it ironic that I have no interest in creating an apocalyptic biblical setting, but I am not adverse to an apocalyptic Ragnarok setting which are both theological.
  • Nuclear Armageddon - I find it hard to relate the post apocalyptic genre without Nuclear events. I find the gas-mask, radiation, wasteland looking environment to be a staple of a good post-apocalyptic piece. I believe Fallout is such a huge success because it brings that “Apoclyptia” to us in such a genuine format.
  • Rise of the Machines – “The Matix”, “Terminator”, “I, Robot”; these movies help define the human vs robot apocalyptic future. While I like these movies and their concept, I do not use them in my setting.
  • Rogue Planet – I found this scenario to be the most interesting, at first I found it to be a wonderfully original idea to me, but then I remembered one of my favorite childhood cartoons and this can be paralleled to “Thundarr the Barbarian”. I like the idea, but feel it does not fit with what I am going for.
  • Supernatural Invasion – I find this along the lines of the Judgement Day scenario, but does not have to be religious in nature. I prefer to have my Apocalyptia rooted in science more than fantasy/horror though.

Well there you have it, D20′s reasons behind an apocalyptic future. My questions to you is, which one (or ones) do you find interesting for a setting? Will it effect my overall choice in the reasoning of my game? Perhaps, since the game is designed with others in mind,  I like to hear other’s opinion on the topic.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


centicore Centicores are large goat-like animals that roam the wastes. Due to the scarcity of food, centicores are aggressive and territorial. Centicores sure-footed and able to bring their long horns to bear at a moments notice. Due to their speed and flexibility, many people believe that centicores’ horns can swivel into any position, but no evidence of this has been found on dead centiores.

Centicores can be found throughout the wastes and make good hunting food. Some centicores have been domesticated but their surly makes the impracticable for riding or beasts of burden. Centicores cannot be kept around other livestock as they will attack other animals that appear to threaten their food source, to include other centicores.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Saw Pike

Saw Pikes are weapons that cause gruesome wounds on their victims. Mounted on a pole 6′ to 8′ long, a saw pike has crescent blade that is serrated in the inside for cutting and sharpened on the outside for slicing.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

New Faces and New Places

A friend of mine as agreed to corroborate with me on this endeavor. This has already returned the breath of life to the Burn and I am once again working on getting fleshing out the game. He has brought my attention to my previous 6 month plan, where life had gotten in the way. I am reinstated the six month plan and working on completing stage one.
  • 6 month Plan (Complete)
  • Chapter Outline (Complete)
  • Core mechanics
  • Archetypes
  • Races
  • Skills
  • Equipment
  • Experience
  • critters
  • additional crunch
  • additional fluff
  • Working copy
I’ve also changed the theme of the site (as you can see). Please let me know if which you like better.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hello Again

Well, it appears I have been waylaid with the distractions of life. So much so that I did not even move the Overburn RPG blog over when I had to update my server. All the pieces were here, but it was just one of those things on the back burner. As is with my writing of the game. I have stagnated and vested my interest in other areas. As the game has come around the stove and I have been wanting to cook a little more, I am going out into the Burn to seek new ingredients. I will need to review my 6-month plan as it has eroded in the sands of time (Wow, I’m full of bad cliches today).

If anyone has any questions, please let me know.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The State of Gaming

When did we leave the awe of gaming behind for a steaming pile of stat blocks? A couple weeks ago, I recieved my weekly newsletter from Drivethru RPG and noted the free product of the week:

Infamous Adversaries: Raxath'Viz, the Creeping Rot

Wow!!! That sounds very interesting. It reminded me of Moander from the Forgotten Realm Setting, or even a bit of Jubilex from Classic D&D. This was put out by the good people of Total Party Kill Games for the Pathfinder system. Then I kept reading:

RAXATH'VIZ, THE CREEPING ROT - CR 15, Male Kobold (Black Bloodline), Cleric (Hidden Priest) 10, Divine Scion 3, Rogue (Trapsmith) 3.

And that pretty much diffused my interest in the 'entity'. The mystery of a creature called 'The Creeping Rot' has so much potential, and breaking it down to a bunch of class levels is very anti-mysterious in my opinion. Nothing against the good guys at TPK games. This is more of a development of the gaming industry where everything must be defined before hand; less and less of the game is left to the imagination. I have played in several games where the fight between an entity has degenerated into a lengthy discussion on how a certain abilities are to be used, instead of Old Ionic fight between good and evil.

I recalled the first time a troll sprung up from regeneration unbeknownst to the party and we had to figure out that it was shying away from the character holding the torch. But now the norm seems to devolve into "Can I roll a knowledge check to see how to kill the creature?" and "Let me read this discription form the book."

Of course, if this accepted by everyone in the party and you're having fun, that's all that really matters. I would just enjoy a little more wonder and mystery in my games.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, Oh Great?

Hasbro owned Wizards of the Coast (WotC) has announced the development of the 5th editions game. After a mere 4 years that the halfling gem called 4th edition came out. WotC as announced that they will be "conducting ongoing open playtests with the gaming community to gather feedback". Forbe's wrtiter, David Ewalt, was invited to a playtest of the fledgling system and had this to say:
"[...]the fifth edition rules show promise. They’re simple without being stupid, and efficient without being shallow. Combat was quick and satisfying; we got through most of an adventure in just a few hours. And I get the sense that fifth edition will bring back some of the good complexity of previous versions, allowing players to create unique characters and new worlds.

Most of all, it feels like D&D, not a console video game, or an MMO, or a card game. That’s the first step towards bringing old players home."
Considering the short cycle of 4th edition, I wonder how many will wait it out to see if the new edition can stand the test of time. With so many games out there these days and the plethora of avenues for people to produce new games, I perceive this to be a difficult battle for the RPG titan. Where does this put all us nay-sayers that disliked 4th edition. Hopeful that Dungeons & Dragons can return to that that idyllic place where we were heroes once.

Further Reading

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Prisoner

This past weekend I had the pleasure/displeasure of watch the AMC miniseries 'The Prisoner'. It looked like a good movie and started Ian McKellen, or as I like call him 'Gandalf, and Jim Caviezel. After watching the movie, I was left in a wierd state and torn between loving the film and hating it. I pondered how to pull something like that off in a game.

*Spoiler Alert*

This movie has lots of twists and depends on the character's to keep the watcher guessing, read furter may ruin the movie for you.

So the basis of the movie is that the main character, named 'six' played by Caviezel, comes to a place in the desert known as 'the village'. All people have numbers and everyone accepts the way things are, and that the village is the only known place in the world. Six, on the otherhand, has flashes of his other life in New York and fights against the overseer of the village 'two', played by McKellen.

The climax comes when six comes to realize that the village is not another place, but a shared subconcious of the group who live in the village. Things are happening in the real world in tandem to what is happening in the village.

I found this to be an interesting concept and along the lines of the Void and the Word books by Terry Brooks, where the main character flashes between the present day and the future when he sleeps in the other world. It stated that when he sleeps, he sees the world as it would be if he fails in his mission. I always got the distinct feeling he was actually in both worlds.

So, I was thinking, how would character's handled a game where their characters were constantly switching between realities, trying to figure out, which one was real. I may experiment with this idea for my game along side with a setting that is similar to Shadowrun. The character's may well think it is the matrix, but come to find it is something fare mor sinister.

Monday, January 2, 2012

D&D Coloring Book

I found this on Aeron Alfrey's blog, Monser Brains. I really didn't recall this book until I got to the picture of Tiamat. I recalled that page, and the page with the griffin.

My boys saw what I was doing and asked that I print them a page. My youngest chose Tiamat and his brother chose the bulette. I told them that I would post their handiwork when they are done.

Aeron stated that he would pull them down if the copyright holder asked, so you may want to get them while you can. There is also a link to a pdf book of the images.

The Official Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Coloring Book

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

With new year on the horizon, I would like to take the time wish everyone a prosperous new year. the question for today is:
How do you celebrate the new year?
Aside from the traditional 'New Year's Resolutions' we decided to try out some other New Year traditions from other cultures.

In many Latin American countries, it is traditional to wear yellow on New Years. I'm not talking about wear an article of clothing containing the designated color like we do on St. Patrick's Day. No, this is an all out down to the underwear sunburst yellow. The article of clothing I own that is yellow is a pair of swim trunks, and my wife owns naught of this color. She jokingly made a comment about my swim trunks and I disappeared into the bedroom. Unbeknownst to her, I went to visit my mother today, and she gave me a bright yellow polo shirt. I came out of the room and she actually shielded her eyes from my brilliance. She then asked if I was gonna offer her a Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sandwich

We have also decided to try out the Mexican tradition of writing down the things that you no longer want in your life and then burning the list. This is to help symbolize your willingness to release the negative energies that bind us from being prosperous. We are also going to recognize Japanese tradition of writing down your first actions of the year, this being my first blog post. This is suppose to help you slow down and recognize the little things in life, take stock, and appreciate what you have.

I have never really experienced the turning of the year in any of my games, but I imagine, if done right, it can be a very memorable experience. One could run a fantasy adventure where the heroes attempt to stop an evil wizard from blanketing the world in darkness. The group vanquishes the wizard, but must wait until dawn to see if they stopped him in time (and maybe they didn't). Another adventure may be a Shadowrun where the party has regain a dossier only to have their target, disappear into the throng of party goers on New Year's Eve. The group must resort less obvious tactics due to the heightened police state. The possibilities are endless with the amount of information you can draw on New Year practices.

In case you are interested here is a wiki article on different traditions celebrated around the worlds.

Further Reading
May the best day you had in the closing year, mirror your worst day in the year to come.