Thursday, March 29, 2012
Sunday, March 25, 2012
The Time Trapper.
Who is the Time Trapper? Click to enlarge...
"It is known that the Time Trapper dominates the wasteland of Earth in its dying millennia....He possesses great armies and weapons of power, the source of which are unknown"
And he looks like that. So you don't even need to change his costume.
Just don't remind him how things used to go back in the day.
Dr Fate When He's Bad
Dr Fate is what DC comics has instead of Dr Strange. He gets his powers from an ancient Egyptian helmet so naturally there are lots of stories where someone bad gets the helmet.
In a Keith Giffen miniseries he makes a demon mouth appear in mid air and projectile vomit raw eldritch plasm on Batman fucking killing him.In a Neil Gaiman future story the Fate helmet becomes all corrupt and old and vampiric and suchlike. It sits in a neoEgyptian temple being all...
...and then some idiot does and then Fate uses the poor bastard's mouth to deliver the following critique of Gygaxian cosmology: "Order. It's offal. Chaos. It's garbage. They were just different names for the same thing: The gurgle, ooze, purl and spurt of protoplasm, deluding itself that there's meaning. There is no meaning. Just the flesh. And death. And..." then the helmet sucks the life out of the guy wearing it falls to the floor and it lays there being gross.
It's a demon. It's a bear. Need me to draw a map?
Maybe Shuma-Gorath is cheating--the name is from RE Howard and the rest is pure Lovecraft, but there's something about the platonic tentacle-eyeball-nothing-else simplicity of old S-G that's terribly appealing. And why not give Gorath the same schtick as...
Starro The ConquerorNow, of all the possible individuals who might try to take over the world by having small duplicates of themselves climb onto everyone's face, Starro is maybe less my first choice than, say, Scarlet Johannsen, still, Starro is pretty cool.So cool I had a Starro attack the PCs at sea a couple weeks ago...
In the case of Alan Moore's take on a manipulative, time-travelling, dimension-hopping Merlyn, a picture is worth a thousand words...
The Mindless Ones
They're big and tough and zap you and are from another dimension. Also they have no minds. Their "No. Appearing" figure is pretty grim.
Malekith The Accursed
What If... Robert Plant was a dark elf sorcerer in crazy warpaint who unleashed the Cask of Winters? Then you would be playing some excellent D&D is what. So enjoy that.
Not not the blue guy who goes "Oh my stars and garters"--the creature from the Elektra: Assassin miniseries that's worshipped by ninjas and possesses people via evil milk. Also possessed of a fairly impressive traditional claw claw bite routine.
There isn't that much that's special about Mordru per se--he's just another in a long line of beardy wizards--but that issue of Legion of Superheroes (the "Mordru-verse" issue) where he establishes complete Orwellian dominion over Earth using technomagical surveillance and controls all the other villains is pretty sweet.
Earth X Uatu
The gorgeous dysversal Earth X miniseries used Machine Man's origins in the old 2001:A Space Odyssey comic series as a backdoor to bring in a lot of visual references to Kubrick's film, but none more memorable than John Paul Leon's image of Marvel Comics omniscient, objective Watcher as a crippled, corrupt version of the 2001 Starchild collapsing under the weight of his own big smug overevolved head.
Klarion the Witch Boy
He's disturbing and so is his cat.
Etrigan The Demon + The Gargoyle
Saturday, March 24, 2012
It works in the following way:
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
Sunday, March 18, 2012
(And in Scott's case there's this great literary effect where you think you are reading Gygax for minutes at a time and then Scott comes around the corner and taps you on the shoulder. Like the way Jack Vance can trick you into thinking you're reading PG Wodehouse and then -pip- sardine-smack.
Specific rules and statistics for Dwarf-Land wargaming are beyond the purview of this supplement.
The Referee is welcomed to alter or disregard the rules variants herein as he sees fit.
Further game aids may detail other regions of the milieu, e.g., Elf-Land or the Empire of the Men of Zoob, but one is advised not to hold one's breath.)
(Compare and contrast with Geoffrey McKinney's deadpan approach to Early Gygaxian in Carcosa, where strict wargame prose is used to describeWait, What In Fuck? Seriously? The God That does what now?)
(Readers spotting other examples of skillful employment of The Ironic Yet Not Parodic Gygaxian Mode should leave them in the comments for use in a paper to be published 900 years from now when anyone cares.)
Insofar as it’s possible, given the tools I’ve decided to work with, I’m going to make things concise and (hopefully) as well-organized as I can under the circumstances. But I know myself well enough to realize that part of the project’s appeal, to me, is the idea of creating my own “gamebook as artifact” (Trey’s term), with all of the self-conscious biting of the 1970s DIY aesthetic that entails. Hopefully that won’t render the manuscript completely unusable to folks who would otherwise be interested.
Friday, March 16, 2012
So I have been thinking about the new Marvel Heroic Game and...(blah blah boringfastforward)...
...since I like the Panel-By-Panel action but not a lot of the other stuff, I came up with...
This Brand New Superhero Game System I Wrote In 15 Minutes
So here's Spider-Man:
Wall Crawl D8
Spider Sense D4
Super Strength D8
Hit points: 8
Here's the Hulk
Super Strength with angry dialogue D20
Super Strength with angry dialogue D20
Super Strength D12
Super Strength D12
Hit points 40
(Evan made The Tick:
Going Sane in a Crazy World d4
The Most Powerful Engine of Destruction 1974 Had to Offer D10
Dumb Luck D8
The Wild Blue Yonder D4
9 hit points
I know fuck-all about The Tick )
So here's how combat works:
-Roll for initiative on d6, high roll gets to decide whether they wanna attack or defend.
-Attacker picks any of his/her schticks to attack with and describes how it's being used to attack, like, say Spider Man goes "I undermine the Hulk with a quip to make him lash out and hope his hand hits a live electrical wire" or "I web him up"--then rolls the appropriate die--a d4 for a joke or a d10 for webs.
Let's say he rolls a 3 on jokes. The d4 joke die is now put aside until someone takes damage or Spider Man uses all his other dice.
-Now the defender wants to roll over this 3--s/he picks any of his/her schticks and describes how s/he is using it to defend him/herself like "I use my super strength to grab him in the middle of his dumb quip" then rolls the appropriate die-a d12, let's say the Hulk rolls a 5. That super strength die is set aside until someone takes damage or the Hulk uses all his other dice.
-The higher roll means the defender (The Hulk) has resisted the attacker (Spidey), now the Hulk rolls to attack, picking any schtick: "I use super strength with angry dialogue--'Joke Make Hulk Mad Joke Smash Webby Man!' and the Hulk rolls an 18 and sets that die aside.
Now Spider Man can't beat an 18 with anything, he's going to have to take damage.
-Once an attack is not successfully resisted, damage happens like this:
The attacker picks a schtick to do damage with from their remaining dice and rolls--super strength again for the Hulk--10! "I bash his head into a barber pole", the defender does likewise--Agility-- "I move my head at the last second!" Spider Man rolls an 8.
-New round. Everybody gets all their dice back EXCEPT the one the Hulk used for damage on that last roll and the one Spidey used to resist on that last roll. Initiative again, it starts over.
-Unlike Heroic this system is completely story-driven. Nothing tactically clever your PC does in the fiction can possibly affect the combat more than anything else--like Reed Richards could build a Kryptonite missile and shoot it at Superman and you'd still have to roll on your Super Science dice vs his Invulnerability to do anything to him. You have to think like a comic writer every round--Oh, can't do that again, just did it. And it's fast. You just have to explain how you used your schticks one schtick at a time every round. We ran through a few rounds on G+ and it was pretty fun. A whole different thing from FASERIP, upon whose toes I do not want to tread even lightly, but interesting just because--holy fuck wind it up and it just works. Crazy shit happens every round and it's fun.
-There are rules for multiple opponents and interrupting people (Spider Man has an ally all of a sudden!) and for double teaming and running away and stuff but that's the bones of it, the rest you can check out...
IN THE GOOGLE+ PLAYTEST!!!!!
Which will be probably on Google+ Friday (today I guess) at 5pm Pacific 8pm Eastern.
You have to bring a superhero you made up using 46 dice points. What's that mean? Like you want a d12 in some schtick, you spend 12 points. You want a d4 you spend 4 points. It'll help to have at least 5 schticks.
You get 4+d6 hit points.
If you want to randomly create your PC use this and just ignore the points stuff. (Or, hell, use the points stuff and see how it works out--just don't make a high-level hero.)
(Official handbook of the Marvel etc readers may wish to note on super strength that d4 is like a normal human level person who can throw a decent punch, d6 is maxed out human, d8 is low superhuman, d10 is like Rogue--50 tons-ish or Incredible in FASERIP terms, d12 is like 75-85 tons like She Hulk or the Thing, d20 is 100 tons.)
Sign up for the playtest by hitting me up on G+. If you do it by posting a comment here, know that I am pre-emptively making fun of you.
Ha ha look at you, you can't read, go to space and have your head explode you not-readinger.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
At least playing by the book.
"I want to cut the chain in mid-air so the morningstar ball goes flying"
"Ok, that's minus 2 for a called shot..ok, roll..."
Naturally if you roll a natural 20 you do whatever awesome extra cool thing you were thinking you'd do, so...
Here's the deal: if you want to do something real specific--like hit the orc's torch and knock it on the floor, you can if you roll a crit. You can also extend your crit range as much as your heart desires: natural 19-20, 18-20, 16-20, all the way up to 11-20. Your choice.
The only catch is you then have to extend your fumble range from one by the same amount.
So you really want to knock the Necronomicon out of the cultist's hand? No problem, you want it on a 15-20? Ok. But on a 1-6 you trip and accidentally stab the baby he was about to sacrifice. Or yourself. Or your dad. Or whatever your DM's cruel little heart devises.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
And--god help us--our girl Satine is the DM.
-Did you see that episode of Axe** where Satine lost her PC and was saying how she'd lost the last one 15 years before? You know how she lost that one? Hell hounds. You know what she had us fight? Hell hounds.
-4e's much-lauded balance relies on several assumptions, one being that your PC has 4e stats. Mine doesn't. He's got a 7 strength, 7 con and his best score is a 14 dex. I had to self-balance by trying as hard as possible never to ever do anything that required me rolling the dice. Which is exactly how I run Blixa in every other game. (Thieves suck) (Yet oddly this thief is one of the highest level FLAILSNAILS PCs.)(And people die like flies in those games.)(Go figure.)
-So I'm in a ring of fire, right? Because I brought flaming oil with me and these are ice hell hounds...
-Best 4e moment of the night: So all the other players are totally new to the game--this is their first campaign (and they're so sweet). This one kid is trying to shoot a hellhound with an arrow and decides he'll run so that me and my ring of fire are between him and the hell hound, then shoot an arrow through the flame, so it catches on fire on the way and then hits the hell hound. Excellent***.
-Worst 4e moment of the night: The brand new girl (the D&DMelt crowd is about 20% female) with her psion has seriously this 4 page character sheet and has to wade through it like a bucket of pint tar every round. Satine did a good job of priming the kids with "Hey you can do whatever you want, these are just some of the things you can do" but still, a 4e sheet is a lot to handle and poorly organized. And the fact that the online builder does it for you means the new girl wasn't along for the ride in making all these numbers happen so she doesn't remember them.
-Kinda What You'd Expect 4e moment of the night: The new girl finally finds the part of her character sheet where she can use her brain powers to make the hellhounds fight each other. Everybody is like Whoa, you're awesome! She seems much happier and more relaxed and pro-active once we're out of combat rounds.
-So there's one of those situations where you grab an NPC to interrogate and eventually--you guessed it--the NPC loses an ear. That always happens. Do you blame Tarantino or Lynch or do you blame ears? They look so cut-offable.
-The kids love Satine. It's cute. I hope they aren't traumatized when she kills them.
*Hollywood geography lesson: Meltdown Comics, by dint of being in central Hollywood across from Guitar Center and also massive, is sort of the Hollywood funtelligentsia's front lawn, like you take the MGM executive you're trying to talk into producing your Alita Battle Angel movie to eat at Toi across the street and then go buy an Alita Battle Angel comic book so you can go "See she looks like this?" and then he goes "I get it, I get it...I'm seeing...Cameron Diaz?" and then you cry--with the much smaller and less vinyl-toy-infested Secret Headquarters in Silver Lake being more the same cohort's den/drawing room, like where you go to meet up with the other screenwriters and special effects guys and DJs and go "Cameron Diaz? I know, right, but I'm getting 9 figures just for the treatment so fuck it".
**There's currently some propaganda telling you to join the marines at the beginning of the video. Don't join the marines.
***Even if there's no way I would've let him do that. Unless maybe he coated the arrow in oil first. But hey, adventure is the aestheticization of physics