Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Killing Joke

No, not the DC Graphic Novel - but rather a comment the way WizBro are treating Gary and Daves legacy. They are talking about a 5th Edition of D&D now, its been getting further and further away from what D&D should be to me. Less and less of a Role Playing Experience, more and more of a single model tabletop tactical wargame. What they are doing has been slowly but surely killing off the brand name.

A guy on Google+ made an interesting remark about RPG's in one of my Friends comment threads - "All This Must Evolve" - It kinda made me smile at the time, so lets look at that comment.

In Nature, if something 'works' it changes very little. Sharks and crocodiles are optimally suited for their environment - so they haven't really changed for a VERY long time.

Evolution and change isn't always necessary really, especially when it comes to games and gaming.

2nd Edition AD&D didn't really change much from 1st Edition AD&D - it added and expanded, in fact I (as a DM) merely added certain elements and  functionality from 2nd Ed to my 1st Ed Games - if it's not "broken" why fix it right.

Unfortunately, changing things in a major (and often flawed) way - is a "disease" that has penetrated the RPG industry, it's a sad truth. Not everyone has the common sense that a Publisher like Troll Lords has - in only changing things that don't work well.

The truth of the matter is, that the MAIN reason for changes in rules IS NOT JUST to "make things better" - its to actually ensure that people feel compelled to buy the newest edition!

Whilst its logical to ensure the survival of a business, its NOT always a good thing in my opinion (or in a lot of other peoples for that matter) why not bring out new and exciting products that add to the gaming experience, rather than watering down and re-hashing ideas all the damn time!

Check out this guys feelings on the possibility on there being a 5th Edition!

Change isn't always the right way to go, just "ask" the environment how it "feels" about the changes Mankind has made, all in the name of "progress" too!

I still enjoy 1st Edition AD&D, I prefer the look and the "feel" of it. OD&D through 1st Edition AD&D was a labour of love, its obvious - 4th Edition is quite simply soulless "product", and a lackluster product at that.

Friday, 8 July 2011

In Depth Role Playing or Adventure Gaming

What do you prefer, I know I (and my Players) prefer Adventure Gaming.

Whats the difference I hear you ask, Adventure Gaming is like an Action Movie - light on Plot, high on Action and Investment in the Characters (as in you want to see the Heroes win) - I prefer to run Games like that.

A real "Roller Coaster" ride that keeps my players involved and guessing - fun, rowdy, and fast!

In Depth Role Playing - even my games have this sometimes, but I find it boring if that's ALL you ever do.

I remember once talking to a Guy who played Vampire the Masquerade twice a week (sometimes more) - they spent an ENTIRE SESSION that lasted over four hours talking at a Party . . . . . .

FFS if I want to do that I would actually go to a real damn Party, whats the point of  "playing" at real life - go out and LIVE IT FFS! OK there are no real Vampires to hang around with, I'll give them that - but I have to say - THATS why Live Action Story Teller games work better than on the table-top. In Depth Roleplaying works better in "person" IMHO.

Table-Top RPG's (for me at least) give me a chance to do things I would never do in reality - going down a Dark Dank Dungeon in search of Treasure, or swing across a wide Ravine on a Jungle vine to escape some Magical Abomination, or Hack a Government Mainframe to steal Top-Secret Weapon Designs - not stand around dressed like some reject from an Anne Rice Novel chatting!

High on Adventure is the key for any FRP, whether its D&D or Runequest - THAT'S the real key to fun and a great time being had by all IMHO. Thats not to say Roleplaying doesn't come into it, not at all - we should always at least attempt to play unique and distinct characters wherever possible - even when it comes to your own NPC's - that's a huge part of the fun I reckon.

4th Edition (Not) DnD have gone TOO far towards the Adventure Game Concept - its way WAY too light on the Role-playing. Almost all interactions within the gaming environment can be Governed by a Dice Roll - as opposed to Role-played Through - not good IMHO.

Too Far WizBro, Too Far.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

House of Paincakes

I am glad to announce I am now part of the "House of Paincakes" Gamers Blog Network!

Just Sayin'

Castle Keepers Guide - Some Thoughts

I haven't posted on here for a while, RPG's have taken a back seat for me for a while - not because of lack of interest - but life has been kinda chaotic, and I've been focusing on miniatures and painting for a while (I find it calming).

I've had the Castle Keepers Guide for Castles and Crusades for a while, but haven't really had the time to sit and read it properly. Now I have, here are my thoughts (for what they are worth).

Ok – now everyone who knows me is aware what a huge Castles & Crusades fan I am, next to AD&D 1st Edition it’s my favourite RPG – so what I write here I really don’t do lightly, I'm just being as honest as I always try to be - so before you read on – it’s not all hearts and flowers. Sorry Troll Lords . . . . .
It is a hefty and great looking book – I do wonder however why the cover is matte not glossy like the other books – it looks kinda strange on my bookshelf tbh. A Shame that really.

It’s very VERY much like the original AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide in feel and tone – but rather than simply being a “copy” it’s much more like a show of respect, and a doff of the writers “cap” so to speak.

There is a wonderful section on fleshing out your characters, complete with different methods for attribute generation – height, weight and age charts and tables – and even ideas for using Monster Races as Characters (something very fashionable these days, but also something I am not too keen on.

The section on hirelings and henchmen, whilst interesting and somewhat useful – simply goes on too long for me. Droning on and on seemingly forever, I zoned out while I was reading it. My groups rarely use henchmen, and I personally as a player have never used them – so perhaps it’s just me and mine – but I don’t think the subject deserved the extensive coverage it got.

There is also a BIG section on dealing with world creation and management – great for new DM’s/CK’s – especially those who want to develop their world from scratch – there are even rules for handling large scale conflicts – wars between nations and peoples. Interesting stuff indeed, viable and playable whilst maintaining the “old skool” feel that Castles and Crusades is famous for.

There are even ideas and concepts for story development, which whilst I imagine they were put in there with all the good intentions in the world – they (in my humble opinion) are of little use to DM’s/CK’s – there is too much of this tendency to force DM’s/CK’s into a “mold” trying to make them all run games in the same way – I’ve seen it over and over again for such a long time, I think its kinda bad for creativity and can make individual DM’s/CK’s stagnate – thereby making it necessary that they buy Scenarios and World Books – or maybe that’s the point really (yes I know I am jaded and suspicious).

There are some great guidelines on Challenges and how to rate them properly and effectively, and a large amount of information on the Siege Engine and the mechanics of the system. Assigning appropriate treasure is covered in reasonable depth, as is how to extend and expand upon character abilities. Plus there are loads of good solid examples of how to make judgment calls, assign difficulty levels and such like. Pretty damn useful and a very interesting read.

There are even rules and ideas for Hi-Tech Weapons, so Sci-Fi crossover games and now more easily don (Expedition to the Barrier Peaks for C&C anyone?) – BUT even though Secondary Skills are covered (as in the AD&D 1st Edition rules) there are no real and tangible rules for Skills in C&C – so I am afraid all us DM’s/CK’s and Players who like such things are stuck with our own home-brew systems.

As an experienced DM/CK only around 50% of the Castle Keepers Guide was truly useful to me, newer DM’s/CK’s will find much more of it useful.

Some sections were a little too “in depth” others not so much, and some information that needed to be in there simply wasn’t.

Don’t get me wrong it’s a good solid Tome; I just think it could have been better . . . . . . . . . .