Thursday, 29 March 2012

Roleplayer holds seat in government

"I guess I’m Neutral Good. I mean that. But every person deviates from their alignment from time to time."
Heikki Holmås is living proof that geeks have now infiltrated the very fundament of civilization, as he is currently serving as Minister of Development in the Norwegian Government. Holmås started playing back in 1988, starting with Fighting Fantasy and progressing to Red Box D&D. In '89 he became Norwegian Champion of D&D, winning a trip to GenCon. He was a founding member of RegnCon [tr: RainCon], a gaming club/annual con in Bergen, Norway, that's still around today.

He also took part in the legendary LARP 1942 -- Noen å stole på [tr: Someone to trust]. The premise of this game was to recreate the life in a small coastal community under German occupation, and those who were fortunate enough to be there still talk about it.

The source for this post is the Norwegian RPG and game magazine Imagonem, and you can read the full interview here: [LINK]

A somewhat related article about Norwegian LARP-culture here: [LINK]

[Picture source: Imagonem]

Monday, 26 March 2012

3.X s.1: The Tomb of the Ancient King . . . on a shoestring

This session was the first test run of 3.X Ajax Configuration, the D&D hack I've been working on lately. The adventure was based on The Tomb of the Ancient King, a dungeon I created for the Labyrinth Lord game. It featured a type of construct I'd dubbed the Questing Bird, and as it was a combat light scenario, little converting needed to be done. The main obstacle in this adventure was the series of riddles posed by the birds. As the module as written had very little action in it, I also threw in a mummy just to, eh . . . liven it up a little.

The combat set-up ran well, but I noticed a few loose nuts and bolts, all easily fixed. The magic system unsurprisingly revealed more unwanted noises, and it couldn't quite reach top speed. Still, we found the causes for most of these problems, and I expect it'll run a lot better once it's been overhauled. 

The party this time consisted of a Rogue, a Fighter, and a Spell Caster, all 3rd level. A henchman also invited himself along - something that fuelled much paranoia. The players are still waiting for him to poison them and run off with their loot.


Ria and her husband Eadwaccer are struggling to get by, but the last delve they mounted barely made enough to pay for their expenses. Luckily the dwarf they had recruited for the job got himself eaten by a freakishly large frog, and thus did not claim his share. After they'd sold off the loot, they were left with just enough to purchase a box of books from the estate of a deceased and debt-ridden gnomish merchant. Having gone through every scrap of parchment in the box, Ria finally had a lead on what might well be the dungeon of their dreams.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Marvel 1602

While I'm busy not writing the session report post, here's a very short mini-review of a comic. The LFG/used book store has closed down, and in that process they sold out everything in the store for a buck a piece. I came late to the party, but I still managed to snatch a few treasures. Among them the eight periodicals that make up the first part of Neil Gaiman's take on a 17th century Marvel Universe well into alien space bat territory.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

A tribute to the Book of Worlds

This work of art is made by Incognito, a.k.a. Velimir Tito, a.k.a. Torje, one of the players in the Pius Chronicles. His blog is here.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Historical References: Dominion of Langrim

This is a return to an old category. This time I'll look at a few aspects of the fantasy setting of Langrim, a pseudo-medieval affair with monsters, wizards and paladins. As usual, these images are drawn from our own history, and the intention is to provide a common frame of reference between myself and the players.

These jolly fellows are Byzantine cataphracts from around the 11th century. This is how the Legion appears, although they've swapped the scimitars for longswords.

Here we have a breakdown of the equipment of a Norman Knight. This is how most of the Knights of Greenvale roll. There will be some amongst them who wear plate, perhaps even full plate, but by and large most warriors on the island wear chain.

The bastle was a common sight on the Anglo-Scottish border in the 16th and 17th centuries. In this age of frequent skirmishes and prolonged unrest, these fortified farmhouses offered some protection from reivers and raids across the border. In the Dominion the threat comes from goblins and other evil creatures of the dark.

Lastly there's the motte-and-bailey castle. The Normans really dug these, and while they have several drawbacks compared to the stone fortifications that became all the rage in later centuries, they should work well against an enemy who rarely stays in the field once the sun rises. They also have the added advantage of being comparatively cheap to raise, and though labour intensive, cheap to maintain.

[Picture source: 1, 3 & 4 regretfully unknown; 2 - WrathDT]

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Ravenscroft village

The village of Ravenscroft lies south of Thorgan's Pass, in the remote Goblin Downs [map]. The village is known for little besides it being the staging point for expeditions into the Ruins of Dwergard and the dwarven mines of the area. Apart from the village, there is but one other settlement in this part of the downs, the farm of Drina's Bastle.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Old Stuff Day

NPC, the Game Master's Mouthpiece
Hindering game-flow or providing depth?

March 2 is Old Stuff Day, and this is my contribution. Here you can find the comments to the original post.

This is one of those post I just have to write. Tenkar posted a question a few days ago about whether NPCs should be used as a a GM's mouthpiece or not [edit: for future reference, Tenkar's second post on the matter]. In the comments a few people were rather unequivocal about how using such NPC's was sloppy game-mastering. I have to admit that that riled me a little. Since I have a soapbox available, I'll now climb up on it.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Converting monsters

There are four characteristics that change from D&D 3.5 to the Ajax Configuration, AC, Hit Points, spells/spell-like abilities, and damage.

Defence and Damage Reduction
When converting AC to DB and DR, first look at the AC in the monster's stat block. The total AC will be broken down into Size, Natural, Armour, and Dex mod. To get the monster's Damage Reduction, compare the Natural AC modifier to the table below. The monster's Defence bonus is calculated by adding size, Dex, and any class bonuses, if applicable.