"Go to the sign of Harvel's Axe, a dubious inn on the edge of the Thieves Quarter, in the City of Greyhawk, and look to your own wrist. If you perceive a bracelet and dangling dice, watch for the next throw in the war between Law and Chaos and be prepared to follow the compelling geas." -Signal

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Champions - Hero Games

Of all the various superhero games I've played over the years Champions would have to be the one that I have played the most. There are others such as Villains & Vigilantes that hold a more special place in my heart for some reason but Champions was the one that we returned to the most. I think it was that you could create a more structured and level playing environment. All of the Hero games lend themselves to the idea of game balance. Everything is point based so all of the players should be basically equal. There are ways to try and beat the system but a good GM can address those. In the end it is a bunch of dice and math but the underlying idea is there. Give it a try if for no other reason than to try and recreate your favorite hero or villain within 250 points. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Pod-Caverns of the Sinister Shroom - Expeditious Press

This is the first retail OSRIC module that I purchased. I think I have three from Expeditious Press now. The module seemed to be well done. I have not had a chance to run it yet but when I finally have a chance to run an OSRIC session or convert it to another  OSR system I will. I like that there is now an avenue and game systems for individuals with enough creativity to publish their own materials without having to run it through the publishing filters of the major game manufacturers.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Age of Heroes - TSR

The era of the splat books gave us many things that can best be forgotten. Most often because they served no purpose than to over power characters. The Historical reference line offers some redemption to the line. It not only gives the DM a means to use some historical elements in their campaign but in some cases serves to educate the reader. There are other products that do this better. The most notable of these are the GURPS line which in China, Aztecs, Dinosaurs etc gave us really in depth materials. All of that aside for 2e material this is fairly good stuff. If you get a chance to pick up some of the Historical Reference line at a fair price I don't think you will be disappointed. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dragons - Role Aids

Long before the AD&D 2e splat books and the 3.x/D20 edition "Slayers Guide To...." books there was an interesting line of products from a company called Role Aids. Dragons was just one of these products. This even tied in with a line of miniatures. All of these products were fairly well done but always an interesting read. I know for that even as recently as a few years ago many of these products were still available. These like most of the new class articles in the Dragon and such spawned a need for the players in my early groups to create a new character to test them out. These events were short lived and often ended badly. Still as with most early products they broke new ground and had something you could scavenge for your regular campaigns. If you can pick up and of the Role Aids products at a decent prize you ought to take a look back into the 80s.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

30 Sided Dice Gaming Tables - The Armory

There is a project/contest going on right now in the OSR community to create a book of random tables. They even mention that there are people more enamored with tables than game systems...Hello, My name is Bryan and I am a tables junkie. You can find more on the table project here I am sure that there were tables in the Judges Guild publications and possibly White Dwarf that beat this but this is the first broad range product of random tables I am aware of. Yes it is was most likely a thinly veiled marketing tool for the dice but it still opened up a market. The various Task Force Game products and any number of others may have been let out through the door this opened. Thank you "30 Sided Dice Gaming Tables" by Donald Cole. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Darwin's World - RPGObjects

Darwin's World is a D20 option for those that want the post apocalyptic gaming experience. Post Apocalyptic is another one of my guilty pleasures as it were. I attribute it all back to the original Planet of the Apes when I was growing up. The torch sticking out of the ground and George Taylor yelling " You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell. " But back to Darwin's World...this is an excellent option if the blasted, we really messed it up mutant infested future is what you are looking for. I have posted about Gamma World before and I think I prefer this over the latest incarnation of one of my favorites but I will need to give it time. While I decide I think I will go back to trying to get Nova to say my name.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Greyhawk Gazetteer RGA version - WotC

Greyhawk, the original RPG universe. Not wanting to get into the debate about Blackmoor versus Greyhawk being the first. I remember buying the original Greyhawk folio edition at the old Readmor Books. I have since bought every edition that has come out and in some cases had to buy a second time because I wore them out. This one is the RPGA version of the 3e offering. It was only sold or given away perhaps at one GenCon. It is in no way any different than that version except for the cover. It is still nice to have all of them and this one was almost as hard to find as the last copy of the boxed Greyhawk set I had to buy. I think I am going to spend a little time fishing the NyrDyv or hunt the Gamboge Forest. If not I will be in Rauxes doing something utterly Machiavellian in nature!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Star Trek Federation Ship Recognition Manual - FASA

The Star Trek game by FASA is one of those that I have played a few times but it is hard to play without someone eventually wanting to play Kirk, Spock or some other "known" character or they want to act in some fashion that would change the back history radically. For that reason alone we never had anything last more than a few missions and I am really kind of OK with that. Before I became a rabid Babylon 5 fan I was a Trekkie and I have most of what I have because of being a fan. Still every now and then the thought of slipping through the Neutral Zone and scrapping with the Klingons has its appeal!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Rogues Gallery - AD&D TSR

This is one of what I like to think of as the first three original accessories for the game. Those being the Geomorphs, The Monster & Treasure Assortment and then this the Rogues Gallery. Of the three this is arguably the least useful of the lot. I would think of it as throw away material (if I threw anything away) except for the cover art and the character histories. The stat lines are a dime a dozen and even back then were of limited usefulness. There is one set of numbers in the Paladin area to die for though. The character histories from some of the notable PCs back in the day are nice. There was even a character sheet for one of these that came up on eBay a few years back. I wish I had won it but at least I have this.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Babylon 5 RPG & Fact Book: Mongoose Publishing

Sometimes you buy a game just because you are so in love with the source material that you have to have it no matter what. I feel certain that I will never play this game but I am such a fan of the Babylon 5 series that the idea of being able to continue in the world and story line is a huge draw. The problem is that Babylon 5 fanatics like myself are pretty few and far between. I wish I could talk more about the game other than it seems very true to the source material. If you have not seen the game check it out. More importantly if you have not seen Babylon 5 the series you MUST. Before Lost had moments where you said OK now I see why that happened it had already been done better in Babylon 5....there is a hole in your mind!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cardboard Heroes: Modern Characters - Steve Jackson Games

I love using miniatures but can't paint them for crap and I think just having the bare metal does not give the full effect. Plus lugging around a ton of lead miniatures gets old add to that the storage issues so the painted ones don't get nicked up and all of a sudden you have a niche market. Before WotC gave (and then took aware) the prepainted plastic mini there were Cardboard Heroes from SJG. I loved the idea and have a few of these and will eventually want to get all of them. These make things so much easier. Nowadays you can find similar products on the cheap as PDFs. If you hate lugging metal miniatures but still want the effect why not give apper heroes a try!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fantasy Hero - Hero Games

As a long time player of Champions when this first came out I rushed to the store to buy it. Champions is cool in that it lets you replicate anything if you are creative enough. This should be the same with a fantasy system right? I found that though the system works well and does all that I just said there is something that gets lost in translation. IMHO the mechanical nature of the system works for a super hero game but not for the fantasy one. Having everything broken down to a "mechanical formula" seems to take all of the awe and mystery out of it. Your mileage may vary though and it seems to have a following. If you like Champions try it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Town of Baldemar - New Infinities Productions Imc

This is one of my weaknesses though saying that sometimes I think it might be easier to list the things I don't have a weakness for. I really love city settings. Starting with CSIO it has been a love affair ever since. I have this copy and an open copy. This though not my favorite is still a good product. I remember being super psyched because it had Gygax on the cover. I was still in the hate TSR because they kicked him out. Over it now though it was still a shitty thing to do. I have never used this as the actual full city setting though I have pulled items from it to use. This can be found fairly inexpensive on eBay so if you get a chance get a copy...Gary liked it enough to put his name on it right!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Different Worlds #1 - Chaosium

I have tried to get copies of most major RPG magazines through the years. Other than the 800 lb gorilla (now online only) this may have been the best of them and at time I might sat better. The only other possible contender would have been White Dwarf. This is issue #1 and it grew quite a bit over the years. I have most of the issues of  Different Wolds and someday plan to make a point of completing the run. It was nice in that it featured an alternative voice and a delivery system for articles on other game systems as well as Chaosium's. If you get a chance to pick up a copy do so. Maybe one of the theme issues which were always nice or one of my personal favorites were the issues with write ups the X-Men or the Teen Titans.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Alma Mater - Oracle Games

This is a game that I had heard about for a long time before I was actually able to acquire it. When I did it was still in the shrink wrap so I can't tell you what the inside looks like. Sort of sad that I can't bring myself to open it. I have read that it was actually a game they asked be removed for sale from Gen Con. Not sure if that is true or an RPG urban legend as it were. All that said the idea of playing what you wanted to be in high school could be fun. I may have gone to a "hick" school or been very naive but I do not recall it being that graphic. Someday I will find an open copy and buy and play it. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Your Personal Invitation to Adventure - TSR

It is items like this that are dooming me to be a hoarder. This for those that don't know was basically a throw away pamphlet given away by your FLGS back in the day. It was intended to bring the uninitiated into the fold. Really though it was basically intended to explain the AD&D and D&D games to people who were not familiar with them. Since it was meant to be read and discarded it has a fair level of rarity, and hence value, connected with it. As a result I now have to keep every random piece of paper connected with anything that might be deemed collectible one day. Time to rent a storage building!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Grimtooth's Traps - Flying Buffalo Inc.

I have picked up most of the Grimtooth's line of books over the years. There are apparently versions put out by different companies or divisions of the same company. I have never been a big fan of mechanical traps in the dungeon. That they are untriggered would suggest that no one has been there before. If they had they would be triggered or disarmed or even a note scrawled as a warning on the wall...mental note use that as a means to lure someone into a trap....a false warning leading to the real trap....but I digress. I appreciate magical traps as they can be "magical" and reset themselves. That said this line is a fun read and if you want to use mechanical traps the books are an excellent resource.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Redhurst Academy of Magic - Human Head Studios

This is a book written for the D20 system that goes above and beyond what most books written for D20. It is written as a text for a magical academy but it is written in character. I do not think they released another product in this line and it is a shame if they didn't or if they did I do not know about it. I think the resemblance to Willow (slight but there), or maybe a hot elf chick, has something to do with the initial appeal. Once you open the cover the book sells itself though.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Treasury of Archaic Names - Judges Guild

This is one of those accessories that I would call both essential as well as fun. There is always a need to name people, places and things and this fills that role nicely. It is also fun to just read through and use it to spark ideas. Sometimes the name defines the person, place or thing. Baby name books and even books of mythological or supernatural beings can be used as well but this was created specifically for the stated purpose. There is a newer version that I have as well if memory serves me but this will be the one I pick up and use. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Brave New World - Pinnacle Entertainment

This is a game that I picked up for no other reason than because it was on the discount rack at Half Price Books. I scour these racks for gaming books and often find one I would pay at least half cover for. This I regret to say is one that I passed over many times at half price. I ended up buying it in a moment of weakness. It is an alternate history superhero game. From what I can tell it is a poor attempt to do the "Watchmen" but using JFK and where there are more powered heroes than just Dr. Manhattan. I am sure that I will never look at this in more than a passing glance again but heck in some alternate timeline this has already replaced all other role playing games in size and importance!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Rifts Core Rule Book - Palladium Books

This is one of those games I originally purchased back when I thought I had to own a copy of every game and all the products for it. This has not gone away completely but I know that is impossible anymore and not all that bright. My brother loves this game and swore by it back in the day. To me it was just not all that appealing after I started reading it. I never actually got around to playing it. I like the source material for Palladium Role Playing and all of their earlier materials but I think this is where Palladium jumped the shark.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Mail Order Hobby Shop Catalog - 1984

Not reallyan RPG item but still connected. I love looking through the old catalogs and magazines for what was new at the time. I love the retrospection of what worked and what did not. Planning for my eventual ability to time travel and go back and buy up all the cool gaming items that I missed and some to resell and become rich. I guess if that is going to happen I might be better served memorizing sports scores, stock info and lottery numbers but that would not be anywhere near as fun!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

AC 4 - The Book of Marvelous Magic

Of all the cover art out there this is the one that I find the most intriguing except for perhaps the Clerics Challenge piece by Elmore. I think it is because of the conglomeration of magic items I can identify with from other modules being present on the front cover. That an the exotic appeal the magic user.  The cage I envision being the prison from the Lost Caverns, the cards being a deck of many things etc. Overall it is a well done product and it filled a niche for me as a DM.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Shadowrun Second Edition - FASA

I can't think of a game other than D&D that captured my imagination like Shadowrun did when I first saw it. There was something about the mix of fantasy and technology that just seemed right. It was a hard game to get people to play though for some reason. I think the groups I played with did not like the cross genre nature of the game. To me it just seemed right though. As rare as it is for me to get to play now I am certain I will never get to give the game the time it deserves and I so wanted.

Monday, March 7, 2011

DC Heroes - Third Edition

Most people I talk to say this is by far the best and most playable edition of the game. I have this as well as the first two editions but have not had a chance to play this one yet. The DC line of comics was never my favorite so I was a little biased whenever I played the earlier versions. It was fun enough but I still prefer other superhero games over this one.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Apothecary on the Street of Dreams - Pandora's Treasures

I really can't write too much about this book. I picked it up some time ago either online or in a used book store somewhere. I scanned the cover and stored it away. As I go through the scans of items to find something to post I see this and think I want to post it but don't recall much about it. What I do know is that I think this is one of the best names on all the items I own for some reason. There is something about it that just invokes random gaming thoughts. I love the word Apothecary anyway and add "Street of Dreams". Wish I could tell you more about it other than the fact I love the title but at least that is something.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

G1 - Steadig of the Hill Giant Chief

I had missed what yesterday was or I would have used one of these. Still a day that messes me up a little bit. But on to the good times. There used to be what would eventually come to be called my FLGS back in the day. It was called the Drowsy Dragon and was run out of a elderly couples garage when it started. I remember seeing this module back then but not buying it. I also swear they had Wee Warriors stuff. This set of modules for TSR at least were the start of it all and they still hold up today. I wonder how many people out these have been run through these. If you know someone who has not do them a favor.

Friday, March 4, 2011

AD&D2 - Player Character Record Sheets

Next to graph paper this may be the item most used up by gamers. If you are collecting it is hard to find some of these items complete and in some cases at all. I have rarer sets of character record sheets but this is one of my favorite illustrations on the sets. If it says who they are I do not recall but it always puts me in mind of Rufus and Burne or Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown (B1 Fame). Not much more to say about this. In the end they weren't needed and I ended  up using home brew character sheets or plain paper much of the time. Still it is amazing that the image is more important than the item on this one.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Space 1889 - GDW

So have you ever wanted to LARP some steampunk? If so you owe this game a small modicum of credit for its popularity. If so and you have been too self conscious or afraid to find some like minded individuals and give this a go. Fans of Verne, Wells and ERB will also get a kick out of this. I have always thought a mash up of Space 1889 and CoC might make for an interesting campaign.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dragon Magazine #148

A noteworthy issue of Dragon Magazine because it includes a prop for the fabled Deck of Many Things. Sorry issue #148 I am now going to talk about the Deck for the rest of the time. If you want to turn a character or campaign in some cases on it's head have the group encounter the Deck. It is the most amazing tool of Chaos ever invented. I even go as far as to say that if a Paladin were to draw from a deck they would need to go the quest route to get back their status. I have a love/hate relationship with the Deck as both a player and a DM. No Donjon, no Donjon...poof!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

DragonQuest - SPI

I have owned multiple copies of this game in all the years I have been gaming...and never played it. I have rolled up characters galore and spent time just reading it. Between this game and Stormbringer I am not sure which has me most intrigued magic system wide. There is just something about summoning and circle magic that captures my interest. I know from other peoples feedback that this is a good game system and I owe it to try it out sometime. If I ever do I will let you know.

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