About Me

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Seattle, Washington, United States
I'm an old time roleplayer who became a soldier who became a veteran who became a developer who became a dba who became a manager who never gave up his dream of a better world. Even if I have to create it myself.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Archaeology is Fun

A large statue was recently unearthed in Turkey.  They say it might be a Neo-Hittite king.

My, what large eyes you have

Short?  Stout?  Bearded?  I didn't know "Neo-Hittite" was another word for Dwarf!

All it needs is a huge battleaxe and some Hi Ho.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Colorado Dragon Boat Festival

This weekend we got to attend the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival here in Denver.  The festival centers around the mostly amateur racing of dragon boats, which is a 2000-year old sport.  The boats are long and narrow, with about 20 paddlers, a sweep/steerer, and a drummer to keep stroke rhythm.

There's also lots of food stands and vendors.

My favorite part, though, was watching the Lion Dance by the Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu Association.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Actions, Reactions, and Bullet Time

Characters in Phoenix receive, by default, one Action and one Reaction each round.

The Action is along the lines of casting a spell, moving, or something like that.  This is the normal sort of activity that players of most RPGs expect in a combat round (although there is only 1 action per round, not 2 or 3 or 12).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mayan Temple Discovery

A new Mayan Temple has been discovered, according to National Geographic.

It is called the Temple of the Night Sun, and was "a blood-red beacon visible for miles and adorned with giant masks of the Maya sun god".  At some point it was abandoned and the jungle grew over it, hiding it, as the world forgot about it - over a millennium and a half ago.

Doesn't that sound like an awesome place for an adventure?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Batman in Denver

As I've mentioned before, I live in the Denver area.  Many of you have probably heard now that there was a big shooting here at the midnight showing of Batman, and a lot of people died.  I and my friends and family are ok, but certainly many of us are the kind of folks that would go see a midnight showing for a popular movie like this.  That could have been us.

I can't truly imagine the feelings of the friends and family of those that were killed or seriously injured in the shooting.  Basically, the shooter is a fucking nut-case that specifically targeted and killed innocent people who had no idea who he was, and had never done him harm.  Truly, this depraved act is the very definition of evil.

My thoughts and best-wishes go out to those who are suffering because of this horrible person.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Charge Attacks

I've been trying to figure out how to handle charge attacks (i.e., a hybrid action involving running towards someone and attacking).  So, I decided to see what other systems do.  I had a bit of fun commenting on some of them but rest assured it is all good-natured.

This list isn't all-inclusive, so if you know of other approaches, let me know!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Awesome Tool: Geomorph Dungeon Generator

I thought I had experienced most of the online random dungeon generators, but I should have known better.

Recently, I ran across Dizzy Dragon's dungeon generator, which uses geomorphs.  The results are pretty nice - here's an example.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Consistent Rulings in a Magical World

Monte Cook is one of the most experienced game designers in our genre, and quite probably one of my top 3 favorite designers despite the fact that I never really enjoyed Rolemaster.  I enjoyed his 2e modules - Labyrinth of Madness was very clever despite its mortality (it was clearly designed with that intent), and A Paladin in Hell was one I definitely enjoyed playing through.  I also enjoyed the Planewalker's Handbook.  I was a huge Planescape fan anyways, and sort of still am, but that book and one other (On Hallowed Ground by Colin McComb) are my favorites in that collection.  And yes, I still like the inner planes more than the elemental chaos.

Every paladin's wet dream.

In a lengthy post last month on his blog, Monte talked about logic in RPGs.  It hits a lot of different points and is a good read, if you haven't had the chance to check it out yet.

One of the pitfalls he talks about in having a "Rulings not Rules" game - which he reasonably equates with the OSR - is Consistency.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Manor #2

The Manor #2 is on sale now and I have a copy.

Doubles as a visual aid!

Here are some prospective awards for this issue, courtesy Cobalt Kobold Awards.  The prize is Death Metal - a block of blue metal that slowly kills whoever touches it.  Just ignore the hungry look from that Kobold in the corner.

Best disclaimer:  p. 1, let the cheetos be mourned.
Best new rule:  p. 21, "Freezing your ass off rule".
Best new item:  tie between p. 20, "Halfling Ring of Marriage", and p. 24, the precariously teetering bottle of urine.
Best Haiku:  p.25.  Bonus commendation for use of the word "cockroaches".  The Kobold approves.  And is more hungry.
Best Art:  p.10, "Heelin Poshuns Cheep".  That seems trustworthy...
Best NPC:  p. 14, Samuel.  I really want to know what happens to his puppy.

Lots of good stuff in here for anyone running a game.  For $3.50 it can't be beat.  Check it out.  Remember to get the print version if you are cool like me.  Or a PDF if you are almost as cool as me.

Monday, July 9, 2012

What I want from the Martialist

The Martialist is sort of the fighter class for Phoenix - with a focus on "sort of".  They are a weapons focused class, but there are other weapon focused classes like the Conquestor.

If they were just a fighter, I'd call them a fighter.  Martialists are more - they are dedicated, trained warriors, who know advanced combat maneuvers and are capable of learning more through play.  A fighter is more generic in most systems and such classes generally only gain abilities when a new level is reached.

I've written and rewritten a Martialist class a number of times now and just haven't been happy with the outcome.  I finally sat down and forced myself to storyboard the class before diving in on yet another rewrite.

Here's what I imagine - cinematically, mind you, not realistically.  Realism != Fun, at least in my book.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Complete Evolution, Part 5

I don't like to complain too much.

It doesn't really get me anywhere and there's pretty much enough hate in the world to last forever.

So I'm not going to complain here.

I'm just going to post the undoctored picture that is the current home page background for D&D at Wizards, and suggest that a single warrior with no shield taking on what appears to be the largest red dragon ever made, with an aggressive and arrogant stance that says "yea I can take him", may represent some sort of theme.

For more on the topic check out this recent blog entry from wrathofzombie.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ninja meet Jedi

What's better than a ninja or a jedi?

Ninja Jedi.

Only thing that would be better is if they were fighting Ninja Turtles - over the carcass of a dead My Little Pony.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Mortal Ninja

Ninjas in Phoenix are fairly straightforward - in fact, they largely fill the "monk" niche that a lot of other systems offer.

Personally, I've never completely understood why "monk" became synonymous with "martial arts class".  I get that shaolin monks are exceedingly cool, so don't get me wrong here.  But when I think of a monk, I still think of cloistered students of theology known for hard work and discipline. Martial Arts optional.

Ninjas - now, noone can confuse them for meek theology students, unless that's what the ninja wants someone to believe, of course.

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