Wednesday, August 15, 2018

#RPGaDay2018 Day Twelve

Day 12 Question:  What is your wildest character concept?


Day 12 2016 Question:  What game is your group most likely to play next? Why that game?

After we wrap up Call of Cthulhu, we'll switch DMs and play D&D 5E briefly.  I'm usually the DM, but one of my players started DMing last year and he's itching to run games again.  5E is "his system."  He jumped in last year running the Starter Set adventure Lost Mine of Phandelver, but he's crafting his own dungeon this time around!  I want to get back to running my LotFP campaign "Year of the Goat."  Getting a break from DMing will give me a chance to do the prep for what I'm going to do next with "YotG."

#RPGaDay2018 Day Eleven

Day 11 Question:  What is the wildest character name?


Day 11 2015 Question:  Who is your favorite RPG writer?

Zak Smith AKA Zak Sabbath.  His book Vornheim helped pull me out of the gaming rut I was slogging through.  Reading his blog Playing DnD With Pornstars has helped me become a better DM.  Not only does he write beautiful prose, but he understands the need to craft truly useful gaming books.  I've written a two part review of Vornheim here:

Feast your eyes on his other books!  A Red & Pleasant Land, Frostbitten & Mutilated, and Maze of the Blue Medusa.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Thursday, August 9, 2018

#RPGaDay2018 Day Nine

Day 9 Question:  How has a game surprised you?


Day 9 2016 Question:  What things are a part of your ideal session, other than the actual game?

Whether I'm a player or DM, I need lots of water to drink.  Tea is another beverage I like to have, especially if it's cold outside or my throat is getting tired from talking.  Good snacks are another nice thing to have on hand, unless I'm playing an online session.  Eating on camera makes me self conscious in a way that is not conducive to playing.  From my perspective as a DM, it's ideal to have enthusiastic and engaged players.  If we switch to my player perspective, I still thinks it's ideal to have engaged players as well as a DM that knows how to do their "thing."  That encompasses presenting an interesting setting with a variety of challenges and adjudicating those challenges as needed.  DMing is somewhat akin to herding cats.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Vornheim: The Complete City Kit Review Part Two

     Vornheim: The Complete City Kit
      Art & Writing by Zak S.
      Published by Lamentations of the Flame Princess
      64 page Hardcover, also available as PDF

The steed I rode that day.  She's in someone else's stable these days.

I rode my bike to the UPS Hub on a crisp January day in 2013 to pick up my copy of Vornheim.  At the time, I lived in an apartment building populated with package thieves, so anything that didn't fit in my mailbox required an expedition to one of the shipping facilities.  I had to "pick-up" a visiting friend at the train station right afterwards, so Vornheim sat unopened for the weekend while we all went to another friend's show and then played Skyrim.  When I finally dug into the package, I was instantly impressed by the map on the inside of the dust jacket and the die drop tables on the front and back cover.  There is no wasted space in Vornheim, whatsoever.

One of my Skyrim characters.  An Argonian.

At this point in time I was running Changeling: the Lost, so Vornheim's first use in my gaming life was as inspiration for an NPC table.  I spent days making a City NPC table for the Salt Lake City portion of my Changeling game.  The tool for making connections between NPCs was the next useful bit.

NPC connections in SLC.

I was already reading Zak's blog Playing DnD With Pornstars.  Getting the physical copy of Vornheim piqued my curiosity about it's publisher, so I was soon reading the LotFP blog by James Raggi.  By the time Free RPG Day 2013 rolled around in June, I was pleased to grab the LotFP offering that year, Better Than Any Man.  Meanwhile, I was losing interest and motivation to keep the Changeling campaign going and started talking about switching up the game with my group.  There had already been an aborted attempt the year before to start an AD&D 2nd edition game with me DMing, but scheduling conflicts on a main player's part and general " how do you do this again?" flailing on my part resulted in some characters getting rolled up and some drinks getting consumed.

We moved out to the boonies an hour north of Portland in 2014 and the Changeling game went on hiatus.  In early 2015 I started my LotFP campaign "Year of the Goat."  I've used Vornheim's "Navigation Shortcuts for Busy DMs" to create my city maps representing neighborhoods and main thoroughfares for the three large cities of my campaign.  The die drop table to see the most use in my game is the one that generates common game elements, the front cover of the book.  I've used the books, fortunes, and "I search the body" tables.  And the d100 buildings table.

Chizhova, capital city on a volcano.
Halwic, western industrial mill city.

In conclusion, this has been the book to see the most use at my game table, besides the LotFP Rules & Magic book.  I haven't used everything in Vornheim, but I've used so much that has added to my DM enjoyment and hopefully my players' enjoyment of blasting around cities in my setting.  Thank you Zak Smith, your mind is a glorious treasure!

#RPGaDay2018 Day Eight

Day 8 Question:  How can we get more people playing?

Invite people to play!  Speak about RPGs in a positive and engaging manner!

There have never been more ways to enjoy this hobby than right now.  Playing isn't just at the home table anymore.  Game stores and conventions have been around as venues for playing almost as long as the hobby has existed.  Take someone you know to a great game store (if you have one nearby) on a demo day like the annual Free RPG Day.  Not only can they play a demo, but they have the opportunity to grab a free game or game supplement.

Are there any conventions in your area you can check out?  If so, you could bring along friends and family to see all the different games and ways of gaming.

Playing online.  There's more than one way to do this, but I've only played on google hangouts.  All the games I've played have been with strangers (initially.)  This could be a cool way to stay connected to people you no longer see day to day.  I think these types of games work well in a shorter format.  Two hours seems to be the sweet spot. 

If you are a fan of some of the games being streamed online, show someone you think would be interested.  I think that seeing people doing something and having fun is like catnip to others.  Streamed games can really demystify the process for a lot of fence-sitters, I think.

Public gaming in places you wouldn't normally associate with gaming.  Run an open table in a coffee shop, bar, or library.  I read a blog a few years back about a guy who gamed with his kids at a public park and a Five Guys Burgers.  This is bound to draw the curiosity of strangers, so be prepared to get interrupted and answer a few questions!  My goal of public gaming for awhile now has been on an Amtrak train.  I've done game reading and prep, but never actually run a game on a train.  One of these days;-) 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

#RPGaDay2018 Day Seven

Day 7 Question: How can a GM make the stakes important?

Another pass.

Day 7 2015 Question: What is your favorite Free RPG?

The Lamentations of the Flame Princess Free Version which can be found in the following link:

LotFP is my favorite RPG.  Period.  The free version comes without the cool interior art.  Otherwise, you get a complete rules system.  There are some other OSR games that you can get a free version of, but this is the game I would steer people towards.  You can also get the LotFP Referee book for free.  The Ref book has an adventure included called A Stranger Storm.  I started my LotFP long running campaign with it.  Link:

While you are grabbing those, you might as well check out the Pay What You Want adventure The Doom-Cave of the Crystal-Headed Children.  Link: 

Another OSR system to check out is Swords and Wizardry.  It is Pay What You Want.  Link: