Friday, August 28, 2015

#RPGaDay Challenge - Day 27 Through 31

The appeal of the RPG a Day Challenge has slowly lost its luster for me. Since the next few days are going to be rather hectic, I've decided to just lump the last five questions into one post to get this over with. Yes, I know that means that I'm not technically completing the challenge as designed, but I already screwed that up with my first post.

#27: What is Your Favorite Idea for Merging Two Games Into One?
I'll admit, this is probably the most difficult question for me to answer because I have never thought about merging two different games into something else. I've done it with different genres, but actual games. I guess if we go with genres, my favorite is an idea that's been doodling around in my head at the moment, Techno City Blues. It would be a Detective Noir game set in a gritty, cyberpunk future.

#28: What is Your Favorite Game You No Longer Play?
That's an easy one. My favorite game that I no longer play is probably Rifts. I enjoy the setting's Gonzo nature, but greatly dislike the system tied to it. I'm happy that we'll be seeing a Savage Worlds version of Rifts soon, which will allow me to play it again.

#29: What is Your Favorite RPG Website/Blog? 
My favorite website/blog is probably the Alexandrian. It's definitely the blog I check the most often and I've taken a lot of his GMing advice to heart. Also, I really enjoy reading his reviews, especially the recent ones on the FFG Star Wars game.

#30: Who is Your Favorite RPG Playing Celebrity?
Another easy one. I could go with the obvious choice of Wil Wheaton, but my answer is actually Judi Dench. Yes, famous English actress Judi Dench. Apparently, she plays D&D with her grandchildren as the DM, which is all kinds of awesome.

#31: What is Your Favorite Non-RPG Thing to Come Out of RPGing?
This is going to sound corny, but I think I have to go with the friendships I've made through gaming. The people I consider my best friends I met through gaming, and I'm incredibly thankful for that.

Well, that's all the remaining questions. Next week, I'm going to be taking a break from the blog, mostly to take care of some stuff in real life and work on some stuff I'm planning for October for the blog.

See you all on the 7th.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

5e Musings: Ability Checks & Pushing Your Luck

Personally, I enjoy games that offer you the option to give yourself a penalty to gain some kind of special benefit in some situation. A great example of this would be FATE and the choice to compel an Aspect to gain a fate point.

I've been toying with an option for 5e that would allow one to "push their luck" on an ability check, receiving a temporary penalty in order to gain an additional benefit from the check. The exact nature of the risk and what would be gained from taking it would be decided upon by both the player and the Dungeon Master, however the mechanic for doing so would be the same no matter what.

When pushing one's luck on an ability check, the player receives Disadvantage, but happens to receive an additional benefit or helpful result if the check is successful. For an example, let's imagine we have a player named Jennifer who happens to be playing an elf ranger who's attempting to climb a rather steep cliff.

Jennifer knows that she could probably do this feat relatively easily, but worries that it might take a decent amount of time and she remembers this area is known for wandering monsters. She turns to her Dungeon Master and asks if she can try pushing her luck to climb the cliff faster, which he allows. Jennifer makes the Strength (Athletics) check with Disdvantage, which they decide represents her not being as careful as she should be. Success means she climbs up the cliff at a much quicker pace then she normally would.

Those who feel Disadvantage might be too big of a penalty can go with a simple -4 penalty instead. Either works fine. I elected to use Disadvantage because it's much easier solution. However, use whichever method works best for you and your group.

#RPGaDay Challenge - Day 26: What is Your Favorite Inspiration for Games?

Another day, another easy question. Due to me being a big film nerd, it should be obvious that movies are my favorite inspiration for games. Although I've recently started taking more influences from books and comics, movies still influence me the most. Whenever I see a new film, I find myself thinking about what stuff I could borrow for my games, especially when it comes to adventure ideas.

Because that response didn't take very long and was pretty short, I'll go ahead and specify which genre of film influences me the most. Without a doubt, my favorite genre to borrow ideas from has got to be Horror. Yes, horror films even inspire my fantasy and science fiction games. I can't help it, I enjoy adding spooky stuff to all my games.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

#RPGaDay Challenge - Day 25: What's Your Favorite Revolutionary Game Mechanic?

I had very little trouble figuring out what my answer would be for this one. As soon as I looked at the question, I knew what it would be. My choice for my favorite game mechanic that I feel is pretty revolutionary is Dread's action resolution system. 

Dread is an horror roleplaying game published by The Impossible Dream. The players are handed sheets possessing nearly a dozen questions they must answer to create their characters. Most of these questions are loaded ones, and the only rule you must follow when answering them is to not contradict the question with your answer. There are no skills or talents within the game, so characters are represented purely through roleplay. 

With that in mind, you might be asking yourself, "How do you resolve actions within the game?" That's pretty simple: You use a Jenga tower.

Whenever a player attempts an action where failure has dire consequences associated with it, they must pull a block from the tower. They can only use one hand and the pulled block must be placed atop the tower. The action succeeds if the tower remains standing after the block has been placed. However, the action fails if the tower collapses and the character is removed from the story. 

The reason why I love this mechanic so much is that it models the suspense and tension of a horror tale perfectly. Each time a block is removed from the tower, it gets less and less stable. You know the tower will eventually collapse, but you don't know when. This makes each pull incredibly tense, wondering if you will be the one to knock it over, or will you succeed and live to make another pull. 

When the tower falls, it represents that drop in tension that happens within a good horror tale, giving you a moment of relief before it is rebuilt and the game continues, the tension building once again. This is the reason why Dread is one of my favorite horror games and my go to game for one shot sessions. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Power of a Great Gaming Group

During my time within this hobby, I've heard numerous horror stories about utterly atrocious games. Browse through any tabletop gaming forum and you'll find at least one thread where people are sharing their awful experiences with bad game masters, bad players, and bad groups. Reading these tales caused me to realize something.

I'm one lucky bastard because I currently have one of the best groups a gamer could have.

The group is on the smaller side, possessing three key players at this moment (not counting myself). Thankfully, the four of us happen to exist on the same wavelength when it comes to gaming. We currently have four different games at the moment, with each of taking the GM helm for one of them.

This might sound like an exaggeration, but the sessions I've had with these guys have been some of the best I ever had. I love how the four of us seem to work off each other so well and feel comfortable enough to include touchy topics, like romance or depression. I enjoy how we make each other's job as game master so much easier because we all enjoy telling stories and want to see said story furthered, even if that means bad stuff happens to our characters. Finally, it feels good to being in a group that can keep going into the late hours of the night without even realizing it because we were having too much fun.

Earlier this month, I talked about Goldilocks Groups, The idea behind the term is finding the group that's just right for you, allowing you to optimize your enjoyment at the table. I believe I've found my Goldilocks Group and I'm glad I have. I would like to thank David, Logan, and Robyn for easily being one of the best groups I have ever had and I hope to have many more great sessions in the future with you guys.

Without these guys, I probably wouldn't be playing as much as I am right now. They keep me coming back to the table week after week, and I'm happy to do it because I know each session with them will be a blast.

#RPGaDay Challenge - Day 24: What's Your Favorite House Rules?

My favorite house rule is actually a pretty minor change I made to one of the classes in Pathfinder. My House Rules Document for Pathfinder is filled with a number of alterations that hopefully make certain options, like classes and feats, much more appealing and mechanically better. The following alteration was made to the Fighter and how certain Combat Feats work for them. 

Within Pathfinder, there are a number of feats that require you to select a specific weapon to receive the benefits of said feat. For example, a player must select a single weapon to receive the Weapon Focus' +1 attack bonus benefit. These feats tend to create a situation where the characters are overly specialized with a single weapon, meaning they will be significantly weaker if they ever lose access to that weapon. This especially hurts the Fighter, who is the most likely to take these feats.

I wanted to create an exception for the Fighter, allowing them to gain more benefit from the extra amount of Combat Feats they receive throughout an adventure. The exception was very simple. When they select a feat that requires the choice of a specific weapon, the Fighter can select a Weapon Group (Core Rulebook, pg. 56) instead. As an example, a Fighter could select Heavy Blades with Weapon Focus or Improved Critical instead of just a Longsword or Greatsword.

The reason I like this house rule so much is that it allows the Fighter to be more open to using different weapons and it gives them a special way to use their Combat Feats. Everyone can select these feats, but only the Fighter can select a Weapon Group with them.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

#RPGaDay Challenge - Days 22 & 23: What's Your Perfect Game & Gaming Environment?

Once again, Saturday was a busy day for me. Because of that, I had trouble posting my answer to yesterday's question. With that in mind, I decided to combine that entry with today's entry. I figured they'd both be short responses anyway, so that's probably for the best.

My perfect gaming environment would be a room built for the purpose of gaming. It would have a large, Geek Chic table sitting at the center of the room, with a large book shelf filled to the brim with different game manuals and board games. The seats would be nice and comfy, and a big dry erase board would be present on the wall. All the gaming supplies would be within arm's reach of the table, everything organized and ready to grab at a moment's notice.

My perfect game would be one where the rules possess a good amount of depth, but are still simple enough to learn and teach. The game would put story first, and offer mechanics to help further that story. The genre of the game would most likely be Fantasy, but possess a lower power scale.

Friday, August 21, 2015

#RPGaDay - Day 21: What's Your Favorite RPG Setting?

I'm going to keep the answer to this question short because I want to discuss this specific topic in more detail at a future point in time. 

Although I possess a deep love for several different settings, most of which are associated with Dungeons & Dragons in some way, I feel like my favorite is the Pathfinder campaign setting of Golarion. The Inner Sea Region is the default setting for most of my fantasy campaigns because I love how varied it is. Also, I've been with it since Day 1, meaning I have a deep attachment for it. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

#RPGaDay - Day 20: What's Your Favorite Horror RPG?

Honestly, I think it would be disingenuous to only name one game for this entry. I feel like I should name a game meant for longer campaigns and a game meant for only a session or two of play. One might believe I'm giving this specific genre of games special treatment due to my love of horror media, but I feel the exact nature of the genre deserves to have this distinction made.

I mentioned my choice for long-term games yesterday when discussing my upcoming micro-campaign. Call of Cthulhu is one of the oldest horror roleplaying games on the market, mostly due to it being one of the best as well. I know some people view the d% system that it uses as old fashioned and outdated, I believe it does a great job at modeling the investigative style that really shines with horror games while keeping things relatively simple. Call of Cthulhu is the game I reach for when I want to run this kind of game and it will have a place upon my shelf for years to come.

My choice for a shorter-form horror roleplaying game has got to be Dread. This is the game that uses a Jenga tower instead of dice to resolve actions and characters are created by answering a series of leading questions. Dread does a great job at build the tension that's necessary in a horror game due to the uncertain nature of the tower. Each time a player pulls a block, the tower becomes less stable, meaning the next pull could be your last. The freeform and improve nature of the game also allows you to really play any kind of horror story you want. Dread is a game I believe everyone should play at least once.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mysteries, and Investigators, and Great Old Ones! Oh, My!

Based on this scenario, I have a feeling this group's going to be
losing a lot of sanity after this..
This weekend, I will be kicking off my first new campaign since my Pathfinder one unfortunately fell apart. However, I'm going to be doing something a little different. Instead of my usual fantasy antics, I'm going to go down a darker path for the time being, one that might test my players' sanity.

I'm going to be running Call of Cthulhu. The last time I ran this wonderful game was in high school, and things didn't turn out so well. However, I highly doubt many of us can look back at our early days within the hobby without cringing.

Now that I have more experience under my belt, I'm going to give CoC another crack with a group who seems excited to explore the horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos.

Although I still have some kinks to work out, I already have the basic premise that I'll be using as the foundation for the campaign. The characters will begin their careers investigating the Mythos in 1928 in Arkham, Massachusetts. They will be brought together by a fellow associate who happens to be a professor at the prestigious Miskatonic University. This game will be a micro-campaign, hopefully lasting about four to five sessions. I don't want to give away too much about the specifics since the three people who will be playing in this game know about this blog's existence and I wouldn't want to spoil anything for them, I'll just say the campaign will probably blend some of that science fiction chocolate with Call of Cthulhu's horror chocolate. Also, I have one more thing to ask:

Have you seen the Yellow Sign?

#RPGaDay - Day 19: What's Your Favorite Supers RPG?

I'll admit, I had very little problems coming up with an answer to today's question. While the market has some seriously great superhero roleplaying games, I knew from the moment I read the question what my answer would be.

My favorite superhero RPG is without a doubt Mutants & Masterminds.

Published by Green Ronin Publishing, Mutants & Masterminds is a supers game very loosely based upon the d20 system. Although the game's system can be a little crunchy sometimes, I love the fact that you can build just about anything you want within the rules without much effort at all, and the game covers such a wide array of power levels. Really, it's easily one of the best games for this specific genre.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

#RPGaDay - Day 18: What is Your Favorite Science Fiction RPG?

I had some difficulty with this one, mostly due to the fact that I don't play that many Science Fiction roleplaying games. However, I do have a choice for mine. Some of you might argue that my choice isn't really appropriate due to certain aspects of the game, but I really don't care. This is my blog and this is my answer.

My choice for my favorite Science Fiction roleplaying game is Shadowrun. Yes, I know some would technically categorize it as "Science Fantasy" due to its inclusion of magic and fantastical creatures, but I feel the cyberpunk elements and the fact that people still include "Science" in that distinction means I can list it here.

While the system can get on my nerves sometimes, I adore the setting and believe it to be one of the best games on the market at this moment. Everyone should experience Shadowrun at least once in their lives.

Monday, August 17, 2015

#RPGaDay Challenge - Day 17: What is Your Favorite Fantasy RPG?

This one leaves me somewhat conflicted. Part of me feels like I should answer with Pathfinder, but another part is telling me to select something else. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Pathfinder a great deal, but lately the mechanical side of the game has started to wear upon me and I can't help but get annoyed at certain design decisions being made.
After having an internal argument with myself, I decided to listen to the former part instead of the latter one. Pathfinder is still my favorite fantasy roleplaying game. I enjoy most of the content released for it and its my go to game for fantasy campaigns. While Fantasy Age might take that slot in the future, right now Pathfinder holds it firmly.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

#RPGaDay - Day 15 & 16: What Was Your Longest Campaign & Session?

I decided to combine yesterday's entry and today's into one post. While some might see this as cheating, I knew the answers to both questions would be too short to dedicate separate posts to. The reason being is that I've always preferred shorter campaigns and sessions over longer ones. I have nothing against those longer games, it's just a personal preference.

Anyway, let's actually get to the meat of the post. The longest campaign I ever had was probably the Pathfinder campaign I ran nearly two years ago, Heroes of Sandpoint. That one lasted nearly three months before finally coming to a conclusion. That campaign also had one of my favorite moments in my gaming career.

The longest session happened during one of my Mutants & Masterminds campaigns in college. This campaign was loosely based on Young Justice (which is a show you all should watch), but set in the Freedom City setting. The session lasted for several hours, but not a single dice was rolled. It was nothing but roleplay, which was fantastic.

Friday, August 14, 2015

A 2nd Look at 2nd Edition

I bet just looking at this book brings back
buttloads of nostalgia for some of you.
Nearly decade ago, I was introduced to the  world of tabletop role-playing through the 3.5 Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. I knew about the game before then, but never had the chance to actually play it because so many people within the small corner of East Texas that I happen to live in viewed the game as demonic and evil.

Apparently, Satan felt the best way to reach the masses was through a fantasy game where you roll a bunch of funny dice. Who knew?

Because of insane beliefs such as this, I never had the chance to actually play the older editions. Most of the stores in my local area that happened to have rulebooks usually only went as far back as 3rd Edition, and ordering copies online is difficult when you're broke.

This all changed last Sunday while I was at my FLGS. While attending the Game Day for the latest set of Magic: The Gathering, I ran into three of the guys I regularly game with. They were sitting at the round table placed within one of the secluded corners of the store, the general place we role-players find ourselves when the Hideaway is having a big event. They were creating characters for a 2nd Edition game and asked if I wanted to join. Although I was there to play magic and get some cool promos, I also wanted to roll some dice and kill some monsters. That's when I decided to have my cake and eat it too.

Between each round, I snuck off to that slightly humid corner, cracked open one of the three Player's Handbooks, and rolled up a character to play later in the day. The first thing I noticed is how quick character creation took, especially since the three people who would be playing the game were relatively knew to this edition. You just roll your ability scores, see what race and class you can be with them, assign a few proficiency slots, purchase your equipment, and you're all done. That might sound like quite a few steps, but it really isn't. It's a nice change of pace.

As someone who began their gaming career with 3.5, I'm surprised how quickly I came to grok 2nd Edition. I've heard horror stories about it during my early days, especially about THAC0. However, I find myself liking how the game is structured and feel like those little quirks it has give it character. Although we didn't get to actually play (one of the players had to leave early), we're planning on having the first session this upcoming Sunday and I'm definitely excited. I want to see my human fighter Dirk in action, and see if I like the system just as much when I'm actually playing it. I'll try and post a follow-up next week afterwards.

What about you guys? Did you ever play 2nd Edition? What do you think about it? Do you like it, do you hate it, or are you ambivalent towards it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

#RPGaDay 2015 - Day 14: What's Your Favorite RPG Accessory?

This was by far one of the easiest questions for me to answer. You'd think it would be difficult due to the sheer number of RPG-related accessories that exist out there, but as soon as I started thinking about it, only one thing popped into my mind and refused to go away. My choice is the GM Screen.

I know some people despise using screens and would probably set fire to every one they come across if they could. First, I think they should calm down and seek help for their clearly pyromaniac ways. Second, the presence of a GM screen at the table just feels right to me and every time I haven't used one, I've felt weird and exposed. I like being able to sit behind this large screen, hiding my notes and my rolls from my players,while also having easy access to some of the miscellaneous rules and tables right on the back of the screen, making the rulings on the flight much easier to accomplish.

Also, I would be lying if I said I didn't like the sinister nature that is accompanied by me hiding half my face behind the screen, rolling a few dice for reasons unknown to the players, and saying, "Interesting..." That stuff just makes me happy as a GM.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

#RPGaDay2015 - Day 13: What's Your Favorite RPG Podcast?

I'll admit, I don't listen to very many RPG podcasts. Don't get me wrong, I do listen to a couple here and there, but not enough to have an extremely long list to choose from. With that being said, having that shorter list makes the choice much easier to make.

I guess I should get to the point. My choice for my favorite RPG podcast is Fear the Boat. Based in St. Louis, Fear the Boot is probably one of the older RPG-focused podcasts out there and is still one of the best in my opinion. They cover a great range of topics within that specific subject matter, give some excellent tips and tricks for GMs to utilize, and are just an entertaining group of people to listen to.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Addictive Potions

"Don't worry, I got what you're
looking for friend..."
Potions are probably one of the most ubiquitous magic items within fantasy game like Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder. Within most settings, they are regularly available, generally reliable, and very useful. They are also boring as fuck.

Honestly, potions in most games feel like the magical version of a first aid kit you'd find in your average First Person Shooter, mostly brought along to heal characters in-between battles and little else. You occasionally see a character rocking a potion of bull's strength or a potion of invisibility, but 9 times out of 10 the potion they have listed in their gear is a potion of cure [insert adjective here] wounds.

So, I thought about something that could make potions a little more interesting from both a flavor and mechanical sense. What if certain potions were addictive, creating an unquenchable urge within the character who has consumed it to have more? What if these potions also caused those who had become addicted to have a more difficult time receiving benefits from similar magical effects that come from non-potion sources?

These "addictive" potions would be much more potent than normal ones, possibly having metamagic effects associated with them. However, consuming these potions would require the character to make a Fortitude save with a DC equal to 15 + the potion's caster level. Those who succeed simply receive the benefits and nothing else. Those who fail, however, become addicted.

This addiction would be tracked by four levels: Minor Addiction, Moderate Addiction, Major Addiction, and Severe Addiction. The level of your addiction would be determined by how badly you fail the Fortitude save. Each level would cause the character to suffer worse conditions, and would increase the DC needed to beat the Fortitude check required when drinking the potion.

Furthermore, a character who is addicted to one of these special potions will be required to make a Will save with a DC equal to 15 + the potion's caster level + the bonus associated with his addiction level whenever in contact with one. A successful save allows the character to resist the urge for now, but a failed one causes them to give in, consume the potion, and attempt to find more as soon as possible.

These potions would also negatively effect the character's ability to benefit from similar effects originating from non-potion sources. For example, a character addicted to a special healing potion might have difficult benefiting from other healing effects. Maybe they only heal half as much as they normally would, or maybe they have to make a Fortitude save to receive any healing at all.

This is still a very rough sketch of a system, and I'd love to hear feedback from you guys and gals? Do you think this would be an interesting addition to your games? Do you think it should only be special, more powerful potions, or all potions? What should the addiction levels impose on characters? Is there an easier way to handle this? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

#RPGaDay2015 - Day 12: What's Your Favorite RPG Illustration?

At first, I thought I was going to have a difficult time with this question. I didn't know how I was going to pick just one illustration as my favorite, but one obvious contender made the decision pretty easy. This piece is one of the most iconic images within the hobby, having graced the cover of one of the most well-remembered starter sets ever released, the classic "Red Box".

Due to being born in 1992, I never had to chance to experience the original Red Box, but I'm very familiar with the image printed upon that cardboard lid. I don't know about you, but this Larry Elmore piece just screams "fantasy adventure" to me. You have a badass warrior who looks like something out of a Robert E. Howard story, fighting a ferocious dragon atop a mountain of gold within an ancient ruin. Just add a wizard, a rogue, a dwarf, and an elf in the background and this image would perfectly capture the iconic Dungeons & Dragons adventure. This image just makes me want to grab a sword, find a dungeon, kill a dragon, and loot its horde of treasure.  

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

#RPGaDay2015 - Day 11: Who's Your Favorite RPG Writer?

This question required some serious consideration, mostly because I needed to decide if I had to name someone who has actually written a role-playing game or not. Since I like to make things difficult for myself, I decided to choose two writers to spotlight, one designer and one writer. 

The designer I selected is Monte Cook, one of the designers of 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons and the science fantasy role-playing game Numenera. I know Cook might not be the most popular designer in the hobby. Hell, I know some people who downright hate his work, but I've always enjoyed it, especially his more recent stuff. Numenera is one of my favorite games currently on the market, and I still get excited when I hear he's got a new project coming out.

The writer I selected is Wolfgang Baur, the founder of Kobold Press and former editor of Dragon. The reason why I like Baur is that he has this ability to take something familiar and breathe new life into it, mostly by infusing it with the mythology of Eastern Europe. He made kobolds cool, which is a feat in itself. His work in Kobold Quarterly and the Midgard Campaign Setting really inspires me, and I feel it would be a disservice not to name him here because of that.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Check This Out! - Character Sheets by Dyslexic Studios

So many pages, so little ink...
Do you play Pathhfinder? Are you looking for an incredibly detailed character sheet that'll help you have all the necessary information that you might need on hand? Well, Dyslexic Studeos has an answer for you!

These character sheets are pretty awesome. They have one for almost every class and even a handful of 3rd party classes, give you sheets containing all the necessary information you need to play a character of that class so it will cut down on the amount of time you will need to look things up, and the faded design makes it easy to write on and more legible.

Dyslexic Studeos' character sheets also allow you to upload illustrations of the character to the sheet and print an additional sheet that allows you to create paper miniatures to use at the table. That's just straight value in my eyes, with the GM sheets being a nice cherry on top of the metaphorical cake. Check these out if you're looking for more detailed character sheets for your Pathfinder campaigns.

#RPGaDay2015 - Day 10: Who's Your Favorite RPG Publisher?

Today's question is an interesting one because I feel like everyone reading this assumes they know which company I'm going to pick, mostly due to the sheer amount of time and posts I've dedicated to covering them and their flagship product over the past two to three years. However, certain decisions they've made within the last year or so and the slight dip in quality of their products has caused my opinion to drop somewhat. I still enjoy the majority of their products and continue to support them, but I can't honestly say Paizo is my favorite company anymore.

My choice for my favorite company is actually one that used to be seen as just a top tier publisher of 3rd party content for the d20 system, but has really made a name for themselves within recent years by releasing some seriously quality products. My choice is Green Ronin Publishing.

The reason I ended up going with them is because I can't remember a single time I was truly upset with one of their products. I might have been disappointed with Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana, but I blame that more on my own misconceptions about what the product was going to be instead of it's actual quality. However, I feel my thoughts on all their other products have been way beyond satisfactory.

Mutants & Masterminds? Love it and see it as one of the best superhero games on the market. Fantasy Age? Love it and is quickly becoming one of my favorite fantasy systems. Dragon Age? Loved it and felt like it really captured the property well. A Song of Ice & Fire RPG? Read my previous comment on Dragon Age. All the cool d20 products compatible with Pathfinder, such as the Advanced Bestiary and the Freeport campaign setting line? Easily some of my favorite supplements for the system, with one of them being in my opinion something every Pathfinder GM should own.

Because of those things, my dear readers, I have to name Green Ronin Publishing as my favorite RPG publisher. Although, Pinnacle Entertainment Group is a VERY close second choice.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

#RPGaDay2015 - Day 9: What Piece of Media Would You Like to See as an RPG?

I'll admit, I had some trouble with this one at first because it was difficult thinking of a property that I enjoy that didn't have a licensed game associated with it already. Thankfully, the right answer for myself hit me lick a sack of bricks while I was looking through the DVDs on my shelf yesterday, trying to find a movie to watch to kill some time before heading down to the game store.

Without a doubt, I would love to see an official Avatar: The Last Airbender roleplaying game. I'd love a game that gives me a chance to run a campaign within the world of either the original series or The Legend of Korra's version of the setting (which is the series I personally prefer).

Now, I guess we have to ask ourselves one question: What would the Avatar: The Last Airbender Roleplaying Game look like? Well, I assume it would either use a classless system where players could build their characters exactly the way they wanted. I also see it being on the lighter side of the mechanical spectrum, leaning towards the narrative side of things. I also imagine the game using a free-form bending system to allow the players to be creative with their elemental abilities.

I'm actually kind of surprised nobody has approached Nickelodean about doing this already. I know I would pick it up in a heartbeat, and I would be surprised if I was the only one.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

#RPGaDay2015 - Day 8: What's Your Favorite Appearance of RPGs in Other Media?

I think I should give everyone reading this a quick warning. You are going to hear me say the phrase "this question is difficult for me" more times than you will be able to count, and today is no different. When I started thinking about this one, three things quickly popped into my head and I had trouble deciding which was my favorite. 

The first, and most obvious choice was the 18th episode of Freaks & Geeks, where James Franco's character Daniel plays D&D with John Francis Daley's Sam and his friends. The next option would be to go with the 14th episode of Community's 2nd season, where the group plays D&D to help cheer a fellow student up. Both would be excellent choices, but ultimately I decided to go with the third, even though its the most recent. 

In Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: Black Vortex #1 has the follow scene within its pages. This scene depicts the Guardians of the Galaxy playing a tabletop game of some sort, most likely D&D, with Rocket Raccoon acting as the group's game master. I don't know about you, but I absolutely love the idea of superheroes playing the same games that I love so much, imagining them rolling some die and killing some orcs in between saving the cosmos. I love it even more because we find out this isn't something new and Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) is apparently an avid game, with Beast having been her GM at one point. 

Marvel, I beg you, please release a special issue where we get to see these heroes playing a RPG session. I want to see Hank's GM skills, I want to know what kind of characters Carol prefers, and I would love to know what over Avengers have rolled a couple of d20s in their lives. Make this happen and I'll give you all of the moneys. I repeat, ALL THE MONEYS!

Friday, August 7, 2015

#RPGaDay2015 - Days 1 through 7 (A.K.A., Time to Play the Catch Up Game)

Looks like we're doing this again. I meant to do this earlier, but stuff in the real world prevented me from doing so until now. Today, I'm going to answers the first seven questions in order to catch up with everyone else, then I'll go about the rest as normal, with a question per day until the end of the month. Now that I've said that, let's get this show on the road.

#1 Forthcoming Game You're Most Looking Forward to?
This is why I should pay better attention to release schedules, because that would make this question so much easier. However, I feel like the game that I'm most intrigued by is Leagues of Gothic Horror. I've been looking for a game to run a Gothic Horror campaign for awhile, and this might be the perfect fit for it. Also, I like the idea behind it and think the Ubiquity System is pretty cool.

#2 Kickstarted Game You're Most Pleased You Backed?
This one's a tricky one because I don't financially back projects on Kickstarter that often. When you're between jobs, you usually don't have a whole lot of extra cash to spend on things like Kickstarter. With that in mind, I'm going to go with the game I'm most pleased with that was funded on Kickstarter, which is probably Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition or FATE.

#3 Favorite New Game of the last 12 months?
This one's pretty easy: Fantasy Age. I already liked the AGE System as it was presented in Dragon Age, and Fantasy Age made me fall in love with it. Fantasy Age gives me everything I like about Pathfinder and other class-based systems, but without the bloat of unnecessary mechanics. Fantasy Age will definitely be hitting my table a lot in the near future.

#4 Most surprising game?
Being completely honest here, I think the game that has surprised me a lot recently is probably Star Wars: Edge of the Empire. I've talked about this before, but I unfairly judged Edge of the Empire when it was released because it uses a system similar to Warhammer Fantasy 3rd Edition, which I utterly despise. However,when I finally played it, I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.

#5 Most recent RPG purchased?
That one's pretty easy as well: Fantasy Age. I purchased that book as soon as it hit the metaphorical shelves of DriveThruRPG. I don't regret that purchase one bit.

#6 Most recent RPG played?
The most recent RPG I've played was Savage Worlds. A new friend is running a steampunk superhero campaign set in an alternate version of our world where the American Revolution failed and the colonies still belong to England. The game is incredibly fun and I'm having a blast playing the Wraith, a character who is a hybrid of Batman and the Spirit.

#7 Favorite Free RPG?
I admit, I'm about to stretch the definition of "free" here. The game that I'll be selecting is Dread, the diceless horror game that uses a jenga tower for task resolution. Although the game is far from perfect, I absolutely adore it and its probably the game I enjoy running the most. While the actual rulebook is $3 (which you should buy by the way), you can get a 4 page reference document that contains all the basic rules HERE for free.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Goldilocks Group

Those of you who are familiar with astronomy probably have heard of the "Goldilocks Zone", the nickname given to the region around a star within which a planetary mass with a sufficient atmosphere can sustain liquid water and possibly develop extraterrestrial life. The name obviously references the fairy tale "Goldilocks and the Three Bears", where a little girl chooses from several different sets of items, ignoring the ones that exist on the extremes for the ones that are "just right".

Today, I'm going to talk about a term that utilizes a similar idea for something completely un-scientific. The term I'm going to be talking about is the "Goldilocks Group". This piece of vocabulary obviously refers to a gaming group that a player believes is "just right". This "Goldilocks Group" is based on a few factors, most notably size, style, and rules. 

Every player has a preferred group size, knowing how many people they are willing to play with at one table. Some prefer large groups, averaging around 6 to 8 people at the table. However, other want a smaller group, averaging around 3 to 5 people at one time. Likewise, there are those who fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. 

Players also have their own, preferred gaming styles as well. Some people like groups that are more laid-back, enjoying a less serious, "beer & pretzel" style of game. However, others like groups that enjoy serious roleplaying and storytelling. Once again, there are also those who exist somewhere in the middle. 

Finally, people also like to consider the weight of the mechanics the group will be using. There are those who will only play rules light games, while others refuse to play any game that doesn't have a book so thick that it could stop a bullet if need be, then you have those who can go either way based on the situation and their preferences at that moment.

The importance of finding your Goldilocks Group is to find the group that you would enjoy playing in the most, thereby enhancing your game experiences. As an example, my Goldilocks Group would be on the smaller side, prefer serious roleplaying (but not afraid to be silly on occasions), and lean towards rules light and rules medium game systems. I believe I've recently stumbled upon that group and I've had some of my best moments at the table because of that. Everyone should have that same experience as well.

Now, I pass the question on to you. What would your "Goldilocks Group" look like? Also, would it include any bears? I would like to know.