This is Phase World…It’s Nothing Like Regular Rifts, Honest

Tonight was character generation for the Phase World Game:

Mary, a 10′ bipedal dinosaur (Seljuk) mercenary with a grenade launcher, a power halberd, a combat laser rifle, and power armor that shoots missiles.
E1337/Doctor Echo, a spider-bodied medbot escapee from the Trans-galactic Empire.
Hoshiko, a space elf psi-operator piloting a broken down space freighter optimized for smuggling.
Zelline, a Altess sniper known for saying, “My name is Zelline, and I used to be a spy.”

So, combat heavy tech types with a smattering of stealth who are now entering a zone where the UWW is aiding the Free World’s Council against the Trans-galactic Empire while engaging in secret projects with imperial elements and various third parties.

First game is in two weeks.

Savage Rifts

For the three people who haven’t heard, Rifts is Coming for Savage Worlds!

Pinnacle Entertainment Group announced today the development of Rifts for Savage Worlds, their award-winning tabletop roleplaying game system.
Pinnacle released a mock cover, using art from Palladium’s 2005 Rifts Ultimate Edition with permission. The cover artist for the book was Scott Johnson.
“We are thrilled to follow up Kevin’s post with this announcement that we do, indeed, have the license to develop Rifts for Savage Worlds,” said Savage Worlds creator Shane Hensley. “We are early in the process, but anticipate having a core rulebook for the setting released in time for Christmas.”

In last week’s Palladium update, Kevin had mentioned someone had licensed Rifts. Savage Worlds was neither my first guess or my first choice in system but I’m interested. I’m sure I’ll buy at least the first book.

Back in the Saddle

I ran a game for the first time in over two years this past Sunday.

The game is Hero Fifth Edition fantasy using their The Valdorian Age setting. Three characters, a thief kicked out of the guild, a plains barbarian exiled from his tribe, and a former sorcerer’s apprentice had to deal with a mischievous silver box and its guardians.

The adventure was pretty simple with a very basic puzzle, two combats, and two brief NPC talking encounters. I haven’t run Hero since before the Big Blue Book, one player hasn’t played Hero in years, and the other two were Hero virgins. The main goal was to get everyone up to speed on system basics. It played faster than I remember.

This is a once a month campaign.

This coming Sunday will bring the kick-off of a Phase World campaign. I have three players but I’m open to six so there are three slots available. If you’re in Metro Atlanta and interested let me know.

Open Letter to OBS

I have read your open letter about it and it does not pass the smell test.

“Similarly, no matter how one feels about Gamergate, it is likewise too current, too emotionally frought, and too related to violence to be an appropriate subject for satire.”

Let me introduce you to games you’re also selling:

ROLF: The Pimp, the Protester, and the Po-Po http://www.rpgnow.com/product/95579/ROLF-The-Pimp-the-Protester-and-the-PoPo about OWS. May I point out that Occupy is active and unlike GamerGate actual violence including rape, assault, and police brutality occurred at Occupy camps. Why are those not too close to real violence to not belong on OBS?

Crack Wh-r-: http://www.rpgnow.com/product/18490/Crack-Whr–Solitaire-Adventure-Dice-Game?it=1 A game about being a crack whore. How is that not too emotionally frought or related to violence to remove? How is last night, which is the last time I saw a person that matched the title, not too current?

Porn Masters: The Board Game: http://www.rpgnow.com/product/18963/Porn-Masters-The-Board-Game?it=1 Did the exploitation of women in the porn industry suddenly end? What is that, the exploitation of women in porn is overstated? Given there are zero actual events of physical violence in gamer gate, who exactly is doxxing is still debated, and there are questions about some people creating their own harassment to gain sympathy GG is clearly behind porn in terms of exploitation where there are documented events.

There are unofficial Cards Against Humanity sets. You do realize Cards Against Humanity has cards describing actual phyiscal harm occurring real life individuals, especially Glenn Beck who has at least three devoted to his being harmed:

Blenn Beck being harried by a warm of buzzards.
Glenn Beck catching his scrotum on a curtain hook.
Glenn Beck convulsively vomiting as a brood of crab spiders hatches in his brain and erupts from his tear ducts.

They did, however, apologize about the “passable transvestites” card.

As a result, I just don’t believe you. I believe one of your larger vendors made threats and you caved. Occam’s razor says it’s the easiest explanation for why this one game was so offensive.

The alternate conclusion is that the rejected game made fun of the wrong people and that OBS, like the makers of CAH, are fine with jokes about violence against people they don’t like (often in the name of tolerance) but if one of their sacred cows gets it the long knives come out (again in the name of tolerance).

If you look at my records you’ll see I’ve spent $674.28 and received $0.65 in affiliate credits in 2014. Clearly I’m a regular customer. With the addition of POD of the OWoD and some NWoD games I missed as well as lots of PDFs of out of print books and many games released only through you, you were a good hobby source.

Given your recent action I have to conclude you’re either happy letting people use their politics to dictate what games I can buy from you or you are happy to use yours. Even in the places where my politics agree with those of the gatekeeper in question I cannot approve of this practice for two reasons.

1. The precident established it can be used against things I like.
2. More importantly it feeds the politicization of everything. I can’t watch TV anymore to escape this. Movies are gone and most of mainstream publishing as well is more interested in being politically correct or safe than interesting. Gaming was one of the few refuges and I will not support those taking it away.

OBS has a strong corner on RPGs but as a result of your choice to police either people Red Hat or OBS doesn’t like you will be a source of last resort from this point forward.

It’s been fun but maybe we shouldn’t hang out so much anymore.

Monday Pointers, 2014-10-27

D4: Possessing the Elf

As plenty of people have pointed out over the past 40 odd years, D&D elves have evolved into Mary Sues, basically prettier, more graceful humans that fight like fighters and cast like magic-users. What could be the reality of this pretty facade? An alternate take on the LotFP (and similar games) Elf class.

D6: What Do Spells Tell Us

In the tradition of exploring the OD&D implied setting an analysis of what setting the Fifth Edition spell lists imply.

D8: More Implications

Speaking of implied settings, what are the implications of the original Fiend Folio as an implied setting.

D10: Rifter Reviews

An entire blog’s worth.

LBB Albums

I know a lot of people associate older versions of D&D with metal music but arguably that’s a latter assumption. A comment on the standard short name for Seven Voyages of Zylarthen post over at Save Versus All Wands claimed it made the commenter think of Seven Seas of Rhye by Queen reminded me I’d been thinking about a 1974 soundtrack for gaming.

Some idea, please add your own:

  • Queen II by Queen
  • Tales from Topographic Oceans by Yes
  • Fragile by Yes
  • Demons and Wizards by Uriah Heep
  • The Magician’s Birthday by Uriah Heep
  • 666 (The Apocalypse of John, 13/18) by Aphrodite’s Child

I know I skipped that you might expect but that would be my inspirational music circa 1974 (yes, yes, I know, no Led Zeppelin, sue me). Also, the BOC that would inspire me is later (only barely as On Your Feet or on Your Knees came out in 1975.

I’ve often wondered what my D&D would have been like if I’d been a mere five years old when I got Holmes in 1977 (16 instead of 11). I look back at what I can only call hippie fantasy art of the period from weird wizards (immortalized here in Atlanta by the Mellow Mushroom Pizza mushroom) to Yes album covers and think about the worlds I want to build from them now.

On a totally different tack The “What is the OSR” d20 chart, specifically number 15, gave me some nostalgia for my old high school job at a mall pub in El Paso. I’d close it on Friday nights and come home. To unwind I’d read (often the latest Dragon which was in the Silver age leading up to 100 at the time) and listen to Weather Report (usually Night Passage or I Sing the Body Electric).

101 Days of Rifts: Rules IV

One of my trouble spots with Rifts, probably the biggest after MDC, is the untrained combat system in the Game Master’s Guide and RUE. The actions versus attacks system doesn’t work very well. It’s clunky and didn’t make much sense. If two actions for an untrained character is one attack why isn’t one attack for a trained character two actions. It would be easier to just ignore the additions and go back to the original Rifts method which is common in most Palladium games and just have attacks. The problem with this method is now that four attacks for breathing is the standard for trained characters untrained characters, especially mages, are at a serious disadvantage.

The problem is spells consume a certain number of attacks based on their level. It will take a full combat round for a mage to cast even a spell at levels one to three until sixth level. In that time someone focused on hand to hand combat can cross the intervening space and attack the mage or simply fire a weapon at them. Even if they miss the spell the attack spoils the spell.. It was precisely this issue the article “PPE Channeling” in The Rifter #21 addressed. Of course, that system relied on the Game Master’s Guide actions system to work. Also, as I pointed out in my earlier discussion, the shift from spells casting per turn to per attack in RUE provides the same value if in a slightly different form.

In looking for a substitute I’ve had a couple of ideas. One was to adopt a Champions or Star Fleet Battles like system for staggering attacks. You break the turn up into segments based on the largest number of attacks. The character with the largest number acts every segment and those with smaller numbers acts on segments such that their actions spread evenly over the turn . I’ve rejected this as too complex even though I’ve played my fair share of Hero System (I’m a backer for Hero Fantasy Complete) and Starfleet Battles. I also rejected it as alien to Palladium because I want a solution I can use in all my Palladium games.

A more recent thought has been to use the actual seconds system used in Hackmaster Basic. This is alien to Palladium but not as much as the staggered segments system. Also, it’s pretty straight forward. For those not familiar with the system characters have speeds to reflect how quickly they can reset after using melee weapon or how fast they can fire a ranged weapon or cast a spell with lower speeds indicating faster reset. The initiative roll determines how many seconds you have to wait before your first action. The GM starts the count at 1 second. On a second you can act you can move one second’s movement, take a second long action, begin a longer action, or attack. Longer actions and attacks prevent you from acting until their length (for attacks your speed with the weapon) passes. The biggest issue is it would require a lot of conversion work to figure speeds for each combatant type. Movement would be speed divided by five. You could simplify speed for all weapons to fifteen divided by attacks. It’s a lot of work and could get futzy.

However, about the same time I was think about the Hackmaster system I was re-reading Transdimensional Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles looking for material for my first demo scenario (a HU game) and found my answer. This shouldn’t surprise me as before I’ve contended that TMNT was one of the best generic RPGs if you had the core book, TTMNT, and TMNT: Guide to the Universe. The answer it has is the Wizard Combat Table on page 42. This provided a combat skill which gave castings per melee. It had a handy note on how castings interact with attacks; each casting uses up a melee attack but if the wizard still has castings after he’s out of melee attacks he can keep casting. In the rare case of a caster having more attacks than castings I’d use the alternate. Essentially your total castings much be less than or equal to castings and attacks equal or less than attacks. If one of the two is higher than the other the total of castings and attacks cannot exceed the higher one. It also gives save bonuses to the wizard and penalties to his targets as his level increases. The biggest issue is Transdimensional Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is long out of print. However, the same table is present in Heroes Unlimited: Revised Edition on page 93. That game is available in pdf. It may be in Palladium Fantasy Roleplaying First Edition which is also available in pdf but I don’t have my copy handy to check.

Combining castings with the attacks used by spell level in RUE should give mages some flexibility in combat and uses Palladium rules only. I think this will also work better for a consistent rule across games where often everyone gets the two attacks for breathing being heroes but no advancement unless they take a combat skill such as Heroes Unlimited.

101 Days of Rifts: Side Journey to Nightbane

Rummaging through old files I found one titled ‘Nightbane notes’.

And on 1.0.0.0.0.8 5 Lamat 1 Mol the people shall leave their fields and potteries. They shall gather at the temple. There they shall celebrate the eightieth Calendar Round passing since my glorious ascension. – Pacal, King of Palenque

I wonder if they will, Pacal. Will you be remembered on October 21, 4772? Will there be anyone to remember? As I write this it is December 21, 2013 (insert Mayan date). Many of us think the world ended a year and a day ago and it just hasn’t noticed yet.

Children of the New Creation or Outcasts of the First World
Basic outline: this setting is a riff on Nightbane taking the Dark Day as the Northern Hemisphere winter solstice 2012. Start time will be exactly when the sun reached the Tropic of Capricorn and then 24 hours. Much of the description will be straight from Nightbane.

The question is: did the 4th creation end on that day and the last 24 hours of the long cycle were the creation of the new world?

The Nightlands are the remains of the first world and the Nightlords and their servants are the Mayan cycle equivalent of Qlippoth

The date on it is 2012/08/12 but I can remember working on the idea when I lived in Texas so some of it dates to 2007 or so. I was very interested in using the planned end of the world/end of the Mayan calendar as The Dark Day.

The Qlippoth reference is to a GURPS book, Cabal. Cabal presumes two creations, one mapping to Genesis 1 and one mapping to Genesis 2. The Qlippoth are the remains of the now gone first creation trying to undermine the one that replaced them. With the Mayan calender interpretation that each cycle ends with recreation of the world I wondered “what if the Nightlands” are the remains of the first world trying to use the cycle to recreate themselves.

I’d love to return to these ideas at some point.

101 Days of Rifts: Audience Participation

As I said Saturday I’m now a Megaversal Ambassador. For my first demo game I want to cash in on Guardians of the Galaxy with a comic book space opera game. Generally, I consider all Palladium games comic book games (which is an upcoming post). While the current Guardians book, like its predecessor, is a superhero book to a degree it’s more sci-fi space opera. It is even more so than my first love in comics, The Legions of Superheroes. So, while Heroes Unlimited might be the logical first choice I’m also thinking Phase World is another possibility.

So, audience participation, if you were going to create a Palladium demo game with a GotG like setup which game would you use: Heroes Unlimited, Phase World, or something else?