Thursday, November 12, 2015

Teach Your Kids to Game Week!

If you have kids (or know where you can get some), force them to play RPGs using some of the fine products highlighted at DTRPG's Teach Your Kids to Game Week. Included are such favorites as Tiny Choking Hazards, Stop Making Friends With the Monsters and Just Kill Them Already, and probably Dungeonteller, a game I wrote to pay off some old gambling debts.

Saturday, October 24, 2015


Haven't been posting much lately. Nothing's amiss. Quite the contrary -- I've been enjoying the lovely autumn weather here in New England, trying to squeeze a few more kayak outings and fishing trips in before winter closes down on this corner of the world and holds us in its gray, bony clutches until April. I also have a steady Sunday night game group now and the prep time, while not excessive, leaves me less time to post here. We are wrapping up our Usagi Yojimbo campaign tomorrow using the Fuzion rules set, which I had never used before. 

What I liked:

  • The base Fuzion mechanic (rollover target number on 3d6+stat+skill) is easy to understand, even for the ten-year-olds and novice grownup gamers in the group.
  • It's easy to add or ignore certain rules without breaking the game. One example, the Usagi rules add a combat stance option that's rock-paper-scissors in nature. I ignored it and no one noticed.
  • The setting, class choices, race choices, and class/race abilities strongly evoke the half-cute, half-deadly anthropomorphic world of the comic book. Foxes, for example, can tell an outrageous lie once per game session that's guaranteed to be believed. Cats literally have nine lives. And rabbits can make a physics-bending leap. 
What I didn't like:

  • Character creation is a series of point buys that novice players will find a chore. The skill list is very 90s, meaning it's too long. I knew from the start that I would have to canvass my players about their preferred class and species, then create their character sheets ahead of time.
  • Unopposed skill checks are not very exciting for characters with medium to high skill levels. There are no degrees of success. I got around this by noting how widely a roll exceeded the target number and adjusting the degree of success accordingly.
As always, the kids get to choose the next campaign we play, and they have decreed that it shall be a superhero game set in the cinematic Marvel universe using Dungeonteller rules. My kid is going to play Stephanie Rogers, a gender-switched Captain America. Her buddy is Black Widow. My wife will be Nicki Fury, and the team will be rounded out with one or more of the following: Thor, Hawkeye, Spidey, or Hulk. I'll close with a sample set of character stats for a certain shield-hurling hero:

Luck 14
Armor 2 vs. Battle attacks
Armor 6 vs. Shoot attacks

Battle 12 (unarmed); +4 with shield
Make 1 +8 when making art
Muscle 10
Notice 7
Resist 5
Shoot 7 + 7 with shield
Sneak 2
Stunt 9
Talk 3


Battlefield Mastery: Warn your friends of incoming attacks before they happen. Roll your Notice dice. Everyone on your team gains 1 Armor until your next turn for each success you rolled.

Boomerang: You get your shield back automatically after making a Shoot attack, whether you score any successes or not.

Ricochet: Hit a second foe with your shield. If you score 2 or more successes on a Shoot attack using your shield, the shield hits the foe nearest to your target too, taking away 1 hit fewer than the number of successes you rolled.

Shield Block: You can use your shield to automatically block an attack. Spend 1 Luck. You automatically block a single Battle or Shoot attack.

Super Serum: You can’t be affected by poisons, drugs, or alcohol. You can go far longer without sleep or rest than a normal human.


shield, bulletproof duralumin armor, motorcycle

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Another Paper Mini Design for Usagi: Kappa

The heroes are likely to meet some kappa in this afternoon's adventure, so I whipped up a paper mini design for them. My daughter is a mythical creature aficionado and knows at least two ways to get the better of a kappa. Do you?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Northern Crown for Pathfinder Kickstarter is a Go

A while back,Battlefield Press secured the rights from Atlas Games to reissue my two Northern Crown: New World Adventures books in Pathfinder-compatible form. They eventually launched a Kickstarter campaign and it seems to have reached its funding goal. Best of luck to all involved and hope it wins over some new fans. I have no creative stake and only a wisp of a financial stake in the venture but I'm following it with curiosity. Not too late to contribute towards some cool-looking stretch goals!
Magic, flintlocks, and pet monkeys.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

[Paper Minis] Anthro Samurai

Prepping for a game of Usagi Yojimbo RPG tomorrow (the original Fuzion version), and needed some minis. Totally ignored the style of the comics because I'm not Stan Sakai and came up with these. Cat ninja, rabbit courtier, fox shugyosha, fox bounty hunter:

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

OK, DTRPG Put in a Reasonable Fix, Please Buy Lots from Them

So DTRPG is going to allow customers who choose to peek behind the Adult Content curtain to flag a product as offensive. Does that mean a lone pearl-clutcher will be able to torpedo a product that gives them the willies? No. Does it mean that Steve Wieck will have to make some judgement calls? Yes. He can do that. It's his web site. It's not a First Amendment issue and it's not censorship. DTRPG is not a public service, although it dominates the market to the degree that it's easy to forget that. You don't have a right to be picked up by a distributor if they think your work doesn't reflect well on them as a brand. Dry your tears and go spend some money on games that make you happy. I just did.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

I Won't Buy From DTRPG Until They Fix Their Broken Submission System

A vile, tasteless RPG product with a rape-as-sport theme appeared on in recent days. It's been pulled from their catalogue, and rightly so. I hope that DTRPG finds its Ioun stones quickly and states categorically that they will not allow further submissions from publisher Scorched Urf' Studios or author Chris Field to be posted without careful vetting. As a DTRPG publisher myself, I know that once your first product submission has been given a look-over, you can submit more material without waiting for a live human to approve it. And that must work for them nearly all the time, because most of what's for sale there is fine, and they have hundreds of titles added every year. It's almost certain that this piece of misogynist garbage was made public with no human intervention. The author and publisher have a deep catalog of PDFs at DTRPG (including "Busty Extreme! Busty Magic Hentai", a copper best-seller I might add), and most seem to be harmless middle-of-the-road character class expansions or from the "Adventurer Essentials" series, which tells us what we can do with lanterns, rope, and holy water. What DTRPG needs to do is immediately own that it screwed up and that its approval process for submissions needs to be revamped. No dorm-room philosophical discussions about free will, no wait and see, just own it and fix it. Their tweets on the matter so far don't give me high hopes, though.