Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Memories of The Forest of Doom

Advanced Fighting Fantasy landed on the doorstep yesterday. I'm only about half way through but I'm absolutely loving it. I played the game books as a kid and extrapolated from them a stand-alone system when I didn't even properly know what an RPG was. The 1989 version never made it to my hands which makes this reading adventure all the more fantastic. More to come.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I just finished reading Bulldogs! and I have to say that it does indeed kick some serious rump. First off, I have to say that I'm a big, big fan of FATE 3.0. Ever since Spirit of the Century landed in my lap I've been running all sorts of games with the engine; everything from Lord of the Rings to Star Wars to Macross.

This is the first FATE release since Diaspora to really grab me. Why? Because it hews back toward Spirit of the Century while bringing a refined sense of, well, sensibility and guidance. The turn back toward SotC tacks closer to my heart. I love that full-wide-open feeling that I get when contemplating and running a game.

While reading Bulldogs! I couldn't help think about mashups with both Diaspora and Starblazer Adventures.

From Diaspora will come clusters as well as the mini-games. I'm not sure how to run social combat without them anymore. And I can easily see going the other way - using Diaspora for the base while pulling over gear and Resources from Bulldogs!

From Starblazer Adventures will come "fractal" mass combat.

But enough about mashups. What kinds of games can be run with just Bulldogs! itself? The built-in setting looks great. You're a crew member on a rickety freight ship run by the TransGalaxy corporation. Times are tough and scratch can be hard to come by. It's very well done and is fleshed out just enough to jumpstart a campaign, providing great opportunity to make it your own. To work with we've got; The Frontier Zone, Empires, Organizations and Corporations, Alien Species, Gear, and Ships - the whole ball of wax tuned for space opera which is implied through the skills and stunts instead of being ultra setting specific which opens up even more play opportunity.

Players create their characters while the group as a whole provide input for creating the captain who is usually run by the GM, and the ship. Players have their choice of alien species but can create their own which is a nice touch. Later in the book are rules for creating gear and ships which extends to vehicles in general. So really you can make just about anything.

Near the end of the book you even get guidance along the lines of advice and game tweaks (e.g. crew creation) for running games with other campaign setups including Free Traders, Explorers, Mercenaries, Espionage, and Pirates.

In short, it's a great time to be a FATE fan.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Old School Response

I've been reading as many responses to the release of Goodman Games Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG as I could since the game has piqued my interest. A few observations:

More than once the use of Zocchi Dice was described as a gimmick. In 1974 D&D must have been hella-gimmicky. What were they thinking?

And I've noticed a sense of anxiety over following various game approaches and rules. Guys, we're talking about a game that's about OLD SCHOOL gaming. Don't worry about Every-Single-Rule. If something doesn't sit quite right with you then don't use it or change it. If you roll something on a chart that doesn't quite fit then roll again. If you feel like making your changes is too much work and it'd be easier to play what you already have then it's a piece of cake.

Now, to finally check out the game itself.