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Jeff's Gameblog
Thursday, 15 July 2004
I am Rients the Hooligan!
Topic: RPGs
Must have had my back turned, cause the Castle & Crusade Society has really started to look sharp! Most nifty of all is the fact that I am listed among the Society's humble knights! You can find me in their Doomesday Book as Rients the Hooligan. Too cool! I swear to God, I have no memory of selecting a title for myself when I signed up months ago. My guess is that a simple google search led them to my Jeff Rients, Game Hooligan website. Incidentally, the new Castle & Crusade Society is composed of the authors, playtesters, and general boosters of the new OGL game line called Castles & Crusades. I haven't seen a C&C rulebook yet, but the idea behind it is to take the best stuff from ALL editions of D&D that can be used to produce a rules light approach to fantasy adventure gaming. C&C is the one gaming product I am awaiting this year with baited breath. I know I've told myself this before, but I more serious than ever when I say This Could Be The One. Hackmaster is nifty, but I lack the energy needed to really tackle such a monster system. I hate to knock the third edition, but 3E changed all the wrong things, in my humble opinion. Savage Worlds is close, close enough I'd consider runnig Keep on the Borderlands with it, but no cigar. C&C may be my shot at a game that captures what I loved about D&D and AD&D in a shiny new format that will allow me a chance to recruit new players. My comment from the most recent RPG.net thread on C&C:
I just got off the phone with my friend Pat. We agreed that our current gaming group (mostly younger than us) probably would never go near my '81 Basic/Expert rules. But bring in a shiny new C&C manual and I may have a shot.
Whether I like C&C or not, whether I can get people to play it or not, I just can't get over the fact that I am Rients the Hooligan. I'm giddy like a little girl.

Posted by jrients at 1:51 PM CDT
If You Build It, They Will Play
Topic: RPGs
Last night at the Avatars campaign Dave announced a sea change in his gaming habits. Savage Worlds has been dethroned as his system of choice for new games. He obviously still likes and plans on using the game in the future, but only for published SW adventures. Avatars is the last homegrown campaign he plans on running with Savage Worlds. For gaming projects that aren't canned campaigns he plans on reviving his RPM project. RPM is a homebrew generic system that he was working on a few years back in some sort of association or collaboration with some other local gamers. The project went dormant at some point, but not before an ashcan edition of the rules circulated at a Winter War awhile back. The version of RPM I flipped through back then seemed to be descended from the HERO System and/or GURPS. From the brief discussion last night I'm not sure that it jibed well with Dave's vision of the game, as he made some remarks regarding a need to trim some fat from the previous version.

Anyway, kudos to Dave for pursuing his own work in the hobby. I think I know exactly where he is coming from on this. He needs to do his own thing. I'm not big on whipping up new game mechanics, but I feel the same urge when it comes to fantasy settings. I love many of the old stand-by's, the World of Greyhawk in particular. I've also had a lot of fun running MERP and Bard Game's Atlantis. I look forward to checking out the latest version of Arneson's Blackmoor as well as the World of Khaas, the new 800+(!) page worldguide for the Arduin setting. And there are lots and lots of other great settings out there for rollicking fantasy adventure.

But still, everytime I use someone else's setting I start to hear a naggling little voice in the back of my head: "Write your own setting, Jeff! That's what all the grown-ups do! Who cares if it's a patchwork of derivative hackwork? It would still be your setting and no one else's!" That voice has gotten especially loud since Ron Edwards outlined his great "Your Own Private Hyboria" worldbuilding techniques in Sorcerer & Sword. The 6 Islands setting started out as my most recent stab at a generic kitchen sink fantasy setting, but I've co-opted it for possible future use with World of Synnibarr, which is decided more science fantasy.

I guess this worldbuilding urge is part of my gaming purist streak. Probably motivated by little else than addle-brained nostalgia, I long to run a D&D Basic/Expert game in a nice little pseudo-Arthurian/faux-Tolkien setting of my own devising. Nothing big or particularly fancy. Just some knights and wizards and dragons and princesses and all the other stuff that nowadays seems to be tired old cliches. Still, these cliches are an important facet of my hobby and 20 years after starting I still feel like I haven't finished exploring them.

Posted by jrients at 1:17 PM CDT
Wednesday, 14 July 2004

Topic: RPGs
Tonight is Savage Worlds night and I got a hankerin' to beat up some bad guys, now that my character actually has a rank in the Fighting skill and all. :) I'm certainly hoping we can get a decent lead on a means of defeating the Ant Riders of Doom.

Posted by jrients at 2:03 PM CDT
Tuesday, 13 July 2004

Topic: RPGs
Wow, that last post was a gret deal more acidic than I usually like to be. The forums on RPG.net were getting a little bitey today and I think I allowed it to color my writing.

Posted by jrients at 8:48 PM CDT
Hating the Haters is No Vice (A Rant)
Topic: RPGs
One of the things that drives me crazy in the rpg hobby is the system haters. I can stand most diehard system cheerleaders, but the haters make me fucking nuts. The D20 haters are the worst of the lot. I don't much care for the d20 scene either, but I don't make harping on it into its own sub-hobby.

And I don't want to hear any whining about "everyone around here only plays D&D". Tough shit. When I started in the hobby no one was playing anything. I had a Basic D&D boxed set and no players. So I talked 4 or 5 friends into giving this unknown game a try. Starting from nothing we formed a gaming group that took us through the last few years of grade school, thru junior high, and into high school. Get off your butt and get together a game group. On this side of the millenium I have recruited a new player into 1st edition AD&D. Why can't you make this happen with your shiny new copy of Orpheus or Unknown Armies or whatever flavor-of-the-month you're into? Maybe the problem isn't D&D. Maybe it's that you need to stop being a dillhole.

And frankly I no longer give a crap that Wizards of the Coast is the 900lb gorilla of the gaming world. So what? I wish Wizards the best of luck in all their endeavors. I think they were dicks about the whole Book of Erotic Fantasy debacle, but it's their IP and they can be dicks about it if they want. While the d20 haters moan and weep and gnash their teeth and curse the day Magic: the Gathering ruined "their" game I'm gonna be busy doing other things. Like playing musty old games like Lords of Creation or the '81 version of D&D. Or maybe I'll be busy trying out the hip new rpgs coming out of the Forge. Or maybe I'll be playing all the games that Mr. D20-Hater wants to play, but can't find a group for because everyone around him thinks he's a jackass.

Posted by jrients at 4:41 PM CDT
Sunday, 11 July 2004

Topic: RPGs
Got over to the Dragon's Table to spend my gifty certificate. Alas, no copy of SenZar to be found. I almost got The Palladium Book of Contemporary Weapons but settled on the Savage Worlds customizable GM screen. This is a lot like the Masterscreen product by Citizen Games, but is done in a landscape format for a lower profile. As I understand it Great White Games makes a PDF of screen-filler for each Savage Worlds campaign book as well as a generic one. But even if I don't end up running Necessary Evil or Savage Cyborgs 3025 or some other SW game I still think this screen will come in handy. Lotsa games don't have screens. I would really like to have a screen if I were to ever run World of Synnibarr or Cyborg Commando or Excursion into the Bizarre or kill puppies for satan. And some games have offical screens that frankly suck. I've never liked any Basic D&D screen I've ever seen. Some Call of Cthulhu screens have been kinda weak. And the original Exalted screen was just plain bad.

Posted by jrients at 4:00 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, 12 July 2004 9:11 AM CDT
Friday, 9 July 2004
Bummer, man.
Topic: RPGs
They upgraded the filter at work and RPG.net is now on the blocked list. Well, at least chessvariants.com is still okay.

Posted by jrients at 1:32 PM CDT
Wednesday, 7 July 2004

Topic: RPGs
There's a great thread developing on the RPG.net forums discussing games with good social mechanics. I have often thought it would kick mucho ass to play a game with a set of social mechanics as intricate and exciting as its combat system. One idea put forth (notable examples of which include HeroQuest and Universalis) is to have the same engine drive both social and combat mechanics. I'm not convinced that this method is the best solution, but I see it as an interesting step in the development of games with meaty social subsystems.

Posted by jrients at 11:05 AM CDT
Monday, 5 July 2004

Topic: RPGs
Finally, some inspiration hit for my "Home Team" campaign. I still need to write up Heroes Unlimited stats for everything, but I've now got some villains and a thread of a plot for my next session. I've got the cover of issue #3 done. Now all I need to do is schedule a session. Oh, and get together with Paul to make a PC. I learned my lession from last time and left a largish field open on the comic cover for insertion of last minute info, such as "Introducing... the new PC!"

Posted by jrients at 9:19 PM CDT
Wednesday, 30 June 2004

Topic: RPGs
Tonight is another Savage Worlds session and I'm already getting all jazzed up for another fast and furious session. Hopefully there will be plenty of trouble for us to get into tonight! I'm going to try really hard not unnecessarily poo-poo any dungeon crawling tonight, no matter how insane the plan. Its obvious that other players really want to go down in some tunnels.

Posted by jrients at 11:18 AM CDT

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