Creating Worlds

But here’s the kicker- you don’t need all of that. Even in a completely random game or fictional environment, location is just another plot element.

The Multiverse is HUGE!

I’ve been playing space games since around 1982. I grew up watching Star Wars and Star Trek. For the longest time, I’ve thought about the vastness of space.

There are billions of stars out there. There are billions of planets around them. Now, those billions of planets, there are billions upon billions of moons. By this logic, how many of them support life of some sort? It staggers the imagination.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Want to go another step deeper? The human eye can only perceive maybe 3% of what’s actually out there. Take any “regular” planet and add the onion layers of dimensional energy beyond human sight. Then include the notion of time and alternate timelines.

Whew! Now we’re pretty deep in this particular rabbit hole. And I’m only talking about ONE planet! What else is out there?

We humans haven’t even explored a vast amount of Earth. That’s the “normal” realm. Imagine the amount of those myriad onion layers of dimensions can be explored within the sphere of one planet.

Did I really just go there?

Yes, build rockets and warp engines to go explore. Sure. Hyperspace is potentially one of those onion layers of energy I was talking about above. Traveling at speeds beyond mere human comprehension is one of the great mysteries we struggle to overcome in fiction and real life.

Once we get out there, and we discover a new planet, it’s going to have all those facets to potentially explore on top of whatever sentient three dimensional creatures we might encounter.

So the next time you’re writing about “strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations,” just remember that we’re talking about an infinite source of adventure and wonderment. Please also remember not everything in the Universe is determined to kill, probe, or eat humans.

Ha! I bet some of you thought I wasn’t going to bring this back around to fiction. I’ve seen so many RPG sourcebooks and charts try to simplify planet creation. I mean, yes you literally can roll dice all day and determine populations and weather patterns. I’m sure Traveler probably has an entire sourcebook dedicated to it.

But here’s the kicker- you don’t need all of that. Even in a completely random game or fictional environment, location is just another plot element. GMs- save yourself the headache and just describe it the way you want to fit it into the story. I mean, unless you really are worried about how many milliliters of rain fall on the opposite side of the planet from where your characters currently are. (Not trying to squash anyone’s fun here.)

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you! Take care. See ya soon.

3 More Alternatives to D&D You May Not Have Heard of Yet.

Three more alternatives to D&D you may not have heard of.

I may have mentioned before how much I love Indie games.

Easy rules based on the humble d4.

I want to start with a very special RPG by our friend Titanomachy. It’s called Caltrop Core. (If you’ve ever stepped on a d4 in the dark, you know why we call them “caltrops.”) It runs off of d4’s. Super easy going system. Lots of fun. Adaptable to almost every genre. Available on Itch.io. Find it here. FREE!

I like open, generic alternatives to D&D because you can adapt them to any genre, any campaign, or any concept. You can also convert other games to them. Don’t like Savage Worlds, but still want to play Deadlands? Here you go! Keep as much of the Deadlands text as you want and add Caltrop Core. Easier than eating pancakes.

*Editor’s note: I don’t get any kickbacks for recommending any of these systems/games. These are purely from my collection and experience.

OVA by Wise Turtle Publishing.

The second game I’m going to mention might fall under the obscure and extremely loveable category. It’s called OVA The Anime Roleplaying Game. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m a big fan of all things anime, especially RPGs. I’ve only seen it in PDF so far.

OVA stands for Open Versatile Anime. As you may have already guessed, it’s another core rule set that is adaptable to any genre, much like an anime series. Space pirates, martial arts action, mecha, monster trainer and high magic samurai fantasy are all doable under one set of rules, much like Anime Hack and Big Eyes, Small Mouth which I will discuss more elsewhere.

OVA sports some very nice artwork. I feel like art can make or break a game and in this case it really sells the concepts and draws the reader in. It shows that a lot of time and love was put into making this game happen.

You get to raid the family Yahtzee box for this one as it uses d6’s. The system itself was designed to appeal to both anime fans and new players alike. If you can describe your favorite anime character, you can probably emulate it with these rules.

*Editor’s note: None of the games I talk about are necessarily better than D&D or any other game. They’re just alternatives. Look into them. Your mileage may vary.

Bare Bones Fantasy by DwD Studios.

The last one I’ll mention today is a game called Bare Bones Fantasy by DwD Studios. I was actually drawn to this one by another game from DwD called Covert Ops, which I will also discuss elsewhere. Bare Bones is a good fantasy game. It’s rules lite. My favorite thing about the system is that it is so freakin easy to build on!

The system is based on 2d10 (Percentile) but don’t panic. It’s not Rolemaster or Palladium’s system. Bare Bones is rules lite. There are also times when the game calls on you to roll 2d10 added together.

Character creation is probably faster than D&D by a fair amount. If you have a fair idea of what you want your character to do, it’s easy. Character creation takes around 10 minutes if you’ve done it once or twice.

The thing that appeals to me about Bare Bones is the amount of source material I was able to adapt to this game. Within a day or two of getting it, I was able to create a bunch of new character classes, spells, and pull over an entire campaign world for D&D. Some day, I might even go back and create my own monster expansion.

Speaking of expansions for Bare Bones, there is a ton of support material for this game on DwD’s website. I also recommend Flesh & Blood, which adds a ton of new races and a new class for the game. You can also very easily add your own material to this game in a very short amount of time.

Overall, the game has a lot of old school charm. It has the feel of a white box game without a lot of unnecessary baggage that comes with a lot of other fantasy D&D alternatives. It’s worth a look if you want to do fantasy flavor without tons of bells and whistles.

As always, thank you for being here. Take care. Game on!




Foam Rubber Costumes

Short article where I discuss behind the scenes of the Power Rangers Lightning Force villains.

and other things that are easier in RPGs.

One of the things about kaiju and sentai movies/series that RPGs are not burdened with is a limited prop and costume budget. I was watching Power Rangers Beast Morphers the other day and it occurred to me that we are fortunate in the #ttrpg world not to have guys running around backstage setting up cardboard buildings to get tramped by people in foam rubber monster costumes.

In the realm of imagination, we get to have huge explosions, more than any propane behind any group of Rangers ever should we so desire. No pesky actor’s guild restricting character stunts. No bottle rockets and air cannon effects for explosions to worry about. Nothing “flying” by wire over the cardboard buildings. Yay imagination!

Ay yi yi yi yI can’t stand Alpha 5.

In my Power Rangers Lightning Force campaign, I’m introducing Alpha Four, which was then shortened to Alphour. She’s a segmented robot with tracks for legs, a long slender neck with two bulbous eyes and a lighted box for a mouth. She has four long, slender metallic arms in front of her. Literally “all four.” She is calm, cool, and collected at all times. No pesky “Ay yi yi yi yi.”

Again, it’s all the beauty of running an RPG instead of a major TV or film production. Do I wish Hollywood would catch onto some of the character and situation ideas? Well, honestly I think there are many game masters who would relish a chance to go write for Hollywood. Unfortunately, I think some of my ideas would give effects guys nightmares and cause producers to have nervous breakdowns, which is why I stick to rolling dice behind my GM screen instead.

I want to take Alpha 5 out behind the base and go all Office Space copier scene on it.


Lots more to come this week. Thank you for being here. Have a good one!

Power Rangers RPG Threat: Skeeter

“Seven and a half foot tall walkin an talkin Skeeter here, y’all.”

Trying something a little new today.

We’re going to design a Threat for Power Rangers RPG using the Essence20 system.

Skeeter is a 7′ tall upright, bipedal metallic green humanoid mosquito bot with huge bulging red eyes and a long metal beak for a mouth and nose. He also has 4 hands ending in barbed, hooked opposable three prong pincers which aid in grappling attacks.

Skeeter talks with an accent commonly found in the United States Deep South. “Y’all” and “Git em” are commonly used for example. He’s not the smartest of monsters, but he follows orders very well.

His primary power and purpose is to drain power from those pesky Rangers with his mighty beak. He primarily feeds on energy and will be seen snacking on electrical outlets when not in battle. In the Power Rangers Lightning Force (My) campaign, he is a lieutenant of Gnarl.

In Mega mode, he is able to shoot blasts of electricity out of his beak as if it were a cannon. Skeeter is capable of flight in both modes, making him downright terrifying and dangerous.

Photo by Egor Kamelev on Pexels.com

Skeeter (normal)

THREAT LEVEL: 5

SIZE: LARGE | HEALTH: 5

TOUGHNESS: 16 | EVASION: 14

WILLPOWER: 10 | CLEVERNESS: 10

GROUND MOVEMENT: 20 ft. | Fly: 20 ft.

SKILLS:

Might +d8

Intimidation +d6

Perception +d2

Targeting +d6

Languages: Putty

PERKS:

Flight 20’ with the folding wings on his back

ATTACKS:

Beak (Might): +d8, Reach (Toughness, 1 Sharp

Damage)

Skeeter’s beak does piercing damage,

even through armor or metal.

Grappling (Might) +d8 Reach (Evasion initial, Toughness after. Power Drain- See Perks.)

On a successful attack, the target

is grappled with all four arms and jabbed with Skeeter’s beak. Until this grapple ends, the creature

is restrained, and Skeeter cannot attack another target. Every round following the initial grab, Skeeter begins absorbing the character’s energy at the rate of 1 per turn until released.

Electro Beak Blast (Targeting): +d6, Range 60 ft. (Evasion, 1 +1 per Essence drained by Power Drain. Electrical Damage)

Skeeter emits an electrical blast in a 60-footline, affecting all targets within the area.

POWERS:

Power Drain: If Skeeter successfully grapples his target, he drains the power directly from them through his beak. In addition to the physical damage, he inflicts -1 Essence from one random Ability Score per turn until the victim is released. Victims recover their Essence at the rate of ONE level per day. Characters reduced to 0 is incapacitated and defeated until healed. Skeeter can only hold 5 Essence drained this way before becoming full.

HANGUPS:

Heavy smoke will drive him away.

Irrational fear of bug spray or any type of chemical fog. (Cleaning spray, for example.) He will flee from Citronella candles and bug repellant especially.

Easily distracted. All Rolls against Skeeter’s willpower are considered to have an Edge. Any attempts Skeeter makes involving Willpower are with a Snag except against grappled targets.

Need to Feed: Skeeter must drain power from any source at least once day, including from any electrical outlet or power source or become sluggish and hungry.

Next time we’ll discuss Mega Mode for Skeeter. Wait til you see him all grown up and Megazord Sized. Thanks for being here. Stay safe. Take care.

Some Lesser Known Alternatives to D&D Fifth Edition

This is a short list of lesser known, less discussed generic rules lite RPGs. If you like D&D, but want to try something new, these are worth a glance.

D&D 5E is a great game and a wonderful introduction to the hobby of roleplaying. Here are some new ways to branch out:

FATE by Evil Hat Productions
  • Index Card Role Playing Game aka ICRPG from Runehammer Games. This is a simple set of rules similar to D20/D&D. It has fewer things to keep track of, which is why your whole character fits on an index card. It’s handy for multiple genres, but excels at fantasy.

    The print copy of the Master Edition is available from Modiphius. I’ve bought into the Second Edition of the game and I absolutely love it! It’s easy on the GM and fun for everyone in the group. If you like the items and monsters in D&D, it’s definitely worth looking at ICRPG.
  • FATE. from Evil Hat Productions. This game has a lot going for it and cool artwork. If you love the roleplaying element of D&D, then this is probably a good system for you.

    It’s easy to learn, easy to run and has cool dice. Honestly, any D6 can work, but their plus, minus, and blank dice are pretty cool. It’s another rules lite game where you can go as in depth or as vague as you’d like. I love it for its simplicity and adaptability as a writer and as a GM.

    I’ve discussed FUDGE on my blog before here. It’s FATE only simpler and a little more adaptable yet. You can literally play any world or campaign you can imagine or steal from. Best part is- It’s FREE! It’s a little older, but very fun.
  • ICONS by Steve Kenson. This is my go-to superhero game these days. It’s got some elements of FATE in the ease of play and dice mechanics. The character creation and abilities have been expanded upon a few times during its run as the Assembled Edition.

    As Steve Kenson once admitted, it’s not even the first RPG he’s ever designed. It’s not even the first superhero RPG he’s ever written. Mutants & Masterminds is a classic and genre-defining game worthy of mention elsewhere. ICONS is a labor of love, as far as I can tell.

    The thing I love most about ICONS is it takes most of the mechanical elements away from the GM so all we really have to focus on is good storytelling. It can be played as campy or as serious as the GM and group desire. The Dan Houser artwork is loveable and very comical.

    While it is a superhero game at heart, I’ve seen ICONS adapted to some pretty interesting subgenres within supers/comic book gaming. Just because it’s intended as a four color comic book world, doesn’t mean it can’t adapt to sentai anime, fantasy supers (He-Man,) spacefaring heroes, or steampunk dystopian post apocalyptic roleplaying. (*Yeah, that’s a thing.)
  • What’s Old is N.E.W, N.O.W, and/or O.L.D. from EN Publishing. There are actually three core books in this series depending on which genre you might be interested in. OLD is fantasy. NOW is modern. NEW is science fiction. All three combine to get some very interesting genres/campaign settings.

    EN World is a D&D fan site from back in the day. Morrus, WOIN’s creator, is a crack game designer on top of everything else he does. He’s definitely got his hands full on any given day. I sometimes wonder how he does it all.

    The mechanics of WOIN are simple enough. There is a ton of free online support for the system. Much like FUDGE and Open Legend, you can pretty much piece the game together for free if you want to. Character creation is about as complicated as D&D 5E, but with fewer homebrew sourcebooks.
  • Open Legend by Brian Feister and Ish Stabosz. Like FUDGE, this game is community based and basically FREE. It’s another generic system that does fantasy extremely well. You can certainly emulate other genres with it, as shown in the core book. Mixing genres is easy and practically encouraged.

    I was attracted to this game because of its, well, openness. If you want to create your own sourcebook for it, they encourage it! Just make sure credit is given where due. It takes the idea of Open Game Licensing to a new level.

    Again, it’s a fairly rules lite, easy to learn game. If you can master D&D 5E, Open Legends is easy and fun to pick up. It’s got the wholesomeness of Essence20 and similar games going for it. Roll 1d20+other dice vs Target Number. The spells and equipment are a bit more fluid in this system. It really does look like what a generic set of core rules should look like.
This is what the Open Legend website has to offer. They really go all out.

This is the first of these D&D alternative articles I’m working on. There are so many games that don’t get enough press or really any press outside of the company’s own meager promotions that I think they deserve some press here and elsewhere. I intend to discuss some lesser known game companies in my next article in this series. Lots of indie publishers deserve more screen time.

Until then, stay safe. Stay hydrated. Be good to one another. Thank you for being here. Please go out and try something new today!

5 TV/Movie Franchises That Would Make Epic RPGs.

There’s recently been a bloom of RPGs based on old cartoon franchises. In that tradition, I’d like to offer up some that I think deserve an RPG or a campaign at least.

Some would make great campaigns, others probably deserve the full treatment.

Number 5: Mission Impossible.
While this could literally be plugged into any modern or spy game ever written, it would make for an interesting campaign. Personally, I think DwD’s Covert Ops is about perfect for this campaign. Confession: I want to have all of the characters on vacation just long enough to get interrupted by the famous MI mission delivery system. That, and the theme music.

Number 4: Combat!/Rat Patrol/Band of Brothers/Saving Private Ryan.
For those who didn’t watch old school black and white TV shows, Combat and Rat Patrol were set in WW2. One was a group of GI’s trudging through the war. The other was a band of Jeep riding Americans fighting Nazis in Africa.

I know Operation White Box sort of covers the WW2 niche pretty well. I just wish someone would build more of a Twilight 2000 style game about the war. (Looking at you, GDW fans…) There are plenty of historical minis games about WW2, but no one really covered it in an RPG for some reason.

Number 3: The A-Team.
How has this game managed to not have been made yet? Again, it would make a freaking awesome campaign! You’ve got the military cops chasing our heroes while they try to right injustices all over the place. Meanwhile some reporter is tagging along with them trying to write a good story and clear their names.

It was a good TV show, and we know that doesn’t always make for good RPGs, but c’mon. It’s The A-Team! Okay, honestly Cyberpunk kind of fills this niche in a roundabout way. I think it made for a cool Spycraft game back in the day. One could probably tweak the Covert Ops rules or any other modern game to fit. FATE might be a good choice due to the quirky personalities of the iconic characters. I do love it when a plan comes together.

Number 2: Thunder Cats
We debated back in the day about doing this as a Marvel Superheroes (FASERIP) campaign. The only problem was the vehicle rules and less powerful characters always took a back seat to the big bruisers in that system. It would probably work better as a D&D game now.

I suspect the biggest holdup with this cartoon/anime is the intellectual property rights and trademark issues. Still, what if Lion-O’s team wasn’t the only group to escape Thunderra’s destruction? (Okay, I know they weren’t, but…)

This game might suit itself well to Hasbro/Renegade Studios’ Essence20 system. The only downer is I think the toys were actually made by Bandai? (It’s the interwebs. I’m sure someone will fact check me.) So, the game rights might still be up in the air. Still, if a franchise ever deserved an RPG of its own, Thunder Cats surely has to make the grade.

I was going to mention GI Joe and Transformers in this article originally, but Renegade beat me to the punch. Other honorable mentions that have a game include Starship Troopers, Aliens, Predator, Mobile Suit Gundam, and Battlestar Galactica.

Number 1: He-Man/She-Ra
I’ve been watching the reboot He-Man series on Netflix along with the miniseries that ended the original franchise (Revelations.) I’m sure there’s probably some kind of copyright/trademark funkiness going on with this one, too. Still, it would be amazeballs if someone would put out a game for this. (cough-cough Renegade cough.)

This cartoon is also well suited to a campaign in Cartoon Action Hour by Spectrum Games. The playsets for this thing were epic in a genre of cartoons designed to sell toys. Eternia is big enough and diverse enough that one could easily make a group of characters outside of Castle Grayskull or even set a campaign in one of the eras before or after Prince Adam was He-Man.

This was fun.

It’s not really a Top 5, because there’s no particular order. Sorry for the lack of pics on this one, too. I’m trying to be sensitive to the IP rights of the various shows’ creators and you never know who might be looking to start trouble. I link several RPGs because it’s nice to go see what I’m talking about a little bit. I don’t make any additional money for mentioning the companies or products.

(*Although we can always talk sponsorship deals. Wink wink, nudge-nudge.)

Have a great week! Take care. See ya soon.

Let’s Talk About D&D Edition Wars Part One.

I promise I will not intentionally raise anyone’s dander with these articles. Truth is, all editions of the game have their loveable strong points.

This is right up there with Star Wars vs Star Trek in terms of internet forum “debates.”

Let’s face it, debating on the interweb is like running on a treadmill backwards. No matter how far you think you’re getting, you’re still not going anywhere. You’re better off whizzing on an electric fence.

But seriously, debating politics would be more effective. We’re still here talking about D&D editions, but I’m having fun today. Have you seen BECMI? It’s what I grew up running. It’s a good basic edition of D&D, possibly the simplest definition of any RPG anywhere. It’s a solid game.

‘Twas a sad day when they took the “A” out of AD&D.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons was arguably one of the best editions of the game ever created. It built upon the basic game and had all kinds of awesomeness going for it. It also had more professionally written modules than pretty much any other game I’ve ever seen. (*Professionally as in by the folks at T$R.) It also had a really nice combat system, a few class options that never came back, and some of the best RPG sourcebooks ever written. When most people talk about Old School Roleplaying, this is what they mean. Good times.

2nd Ed AD&D might be my other favorite edition of the game. The initiative system in this game is probably my favorite way of doing initiative that has never been duplicated except maybe in Castles & Crusades by Troll Lord Games. This edition removed some of the classes from the previous edition, but introduced Kits. Kits were fun.

Later 2nd Ed gave us some of the greatest RPG sourcebooks ever written. Encyclopedia Magic and the spell compendiums for priests and mages were amazing! I keep mind easily

*Side Note: If you keep your eyes open, sometimes you can score C&C Player’s Handbook for free.

Then 3rd Edition and the OGL happened.

I own more books for 3rd Ed and 3.5 than the rest of my collection combined. I love 3.5. It also had the best computer program. The world of third party source material would see a golden age. Very good times indeed.

I think some of the best campaigns and campaign worlds hatched from 3rd Ed. I just received my copy of Iron Kingdoms RPG recently. IIRC, that started in 3rd Ed, skipped an edition, and picked up steam again in 5th. (See what I did there? Steam? LOL!)

3rd was also where Eberron started. I remember submitting my pitch to WotC. The anticipation on announcement day was so thick and I was on pins and needles the whole time. Alas, I did not make the grade. My campaign world may never see the light of day. Who knows?

3rd is also where D20 Modern and a few dozen other spinoff d20 based games came from. The most notable is probably Pathfinder. Personally, I think PF came about because 3rd Ed fans didn’t want to let the edition go. Although it might be a D&D spinoff, it’s still an outstanding RPG.

Mutants & Masterminds is another d20 based game that arose from those days. It has also evolved considerably from its humble roots into one of the most famous superhero RPGs of all time. It really shows how much mileage was possible from the OGL.

My favorite d20 based games were conversions of other classics. Boot Hill, Deadlands, 7th Seas, Traveler, and even World of Darkness joined the d20 revolution. One could probably look on Spycraft somewhere in that mix, too. I was sort of Top Secret S.I. only modernized. We also got a d20 Star Wars, which was amazing to run. (I miss that game so freakin much.)

Dungeon Crawl Classics started out as third party modules for 3rd Ed. It grew into its own rulebooks and campaign world. Even though it has more of that OSR vibe going for it now, it was an old school riff off of 3rd Ed back then.

We’ll talk more about Third, Fourth and Fifth editions later. Have a happy and safe weekend! See you soon.

Keeping it Rated “PG” in RPGs.

It was okay to shoot guns, swing swords and blow stuff up, as long as you didn’t show blood, guts, gore, or dismemberment.

Well, maybe PG-13 because of the “fantasy violence” and stuff.

I think one of the hardest parts of running Power Rangers RPG is going to be to remember to keep it somewhat kid friendly. Luckily, the Essence20 system is written is such a way that there are no death saves to worry about. The GI Joe RPG has a similar situation going where 0 Health means your character is Defeated, not dead. This is definitely unrealistic given the amount of blasters, guns, swords, and other implements of destruction around, but hey- It’s based off of kids’ TV.

My family knows I should come with a trigger warning and a language filter.

I gotta behave.

My wife loves to kid me about how often I successfully stick my foot in my mouth. The common running joke is, “Shovel’s over here if you need it.” Meaning I tend to dig the hole I’m in deeper every time I say anything.

I’m going to have an easier time keeping it clean around the kids with a system that is pretty much designed non-lethal. Basically if it’s something a Power Ranger wouldn’t do on TV, it’s restricted from the game.

“Aww shucks. Golly. Gee whiz that’s sure a lot of blood.”

No. No. Not blood. We’ll say “goop.” The monsters still explode, but they just go off to a different dimension or get revived by the bad guys. Putties still explode and get remolded. (Reduce, reuse, recycle.) Fights against anything remotely human result in defeats or knockouts. No blood.

I’m proud of myself for losing some of my drunken sailor talk around my family. It took the better part of a decade to stop dropping f-bombs like they were someone’s name, but I did it. Certain situations still cause me to let some fly, but I try not to do it around the kids.

I grew up in the 1980’s when cartoon violence was a big thing.

Relatively “normal.”

Somehow I turned out relatively normal. We had Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry cartoons, and some pretty heinous acts would get committed there, but somehow none of the kids on my block turned into ax murderers. There were no riots. Parents could still sleep at night. Makes me wonder…

If only we had known that society was going to devolve even further, we might not have had people freaking out about our beloved cartoons. I remember they talked about bans on D&D, Thundarr the Barbarian, Pole Position (Yup, that was a thing.) GI Joe (duh…) and M.A.S.K. cartoons because they were supposedly too violent for kids. Even the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers took some heat, but somehow it survived.

It was okay to shoot guns, swing swords and blow stuff up, as long as you didn’t show blood, guts, gore, or dismemberment. Something similar happened a couple of decades prior with the Comics Code Authority. It was sort of the death knell for horror comics, but overall a healthy thing.

Besides, who cares if the foam rubber monster disappears in a huge propane explosion. Those buildings were obviously all evacuated and no one really got hurt. Even the guy inside the monster suit is okay. It’s all just pretend, kids.

Tradition keeps it nerfed appropriately.

I intend to run the Power Rangers RPG the same way the TV series presents itself. No swearing. No actual blood. I’m staying away from YouTube indie series such as Unworthy where characters can straight up die. (It’s fun to watch as an adult, though…) Foam rubber monsters still explode and go to a nice, quiet parallel dimension and live happily until resurrected or whatever.

I’m still working out the details regarding civilian casualties. Godzilla stomps out an apartment complex and hoots fire everywhere, there should be some degree of threat there. We have to still show some danger without actually killing any NPCs.

GI Joe can still launch all kinds of missiles and people might get injured a little. But if a vehicle blows up it’s guaranteed the occupants will parachute to safety. If their hummer flips over, they will crawl out of it alive. Yay. Robots and monsters probably won’t be so lucky. That’s how it’s pretty much always been for Saturday morning kids programming.

Hope you’re having a lovely week. Take care. Please stay safe and hydrated. See ya soon.

My spaceship exploded and I still managed to bail out in time.

“Old” Games

Basically, never underestimate the power of the old modules at Half Price Books or at any gaming convention. Just because a system is old and out of date by a couple of decades, doesn’t mean it’s not useful.

Never underestimate the power of a 20+ year old RPG.

I had a good chuckle recently because a friend of mine recently got into a game called Over the Edge by Jonathan Tweet. I found it funny because I thought it would be cool to dig out my old copy and look it over again. I picked it up at a convention many years ago because it looked cool. I was discussing it with my friend and turns out this game is in its third edition.

I blushed because my copy is first edition. I hadn’t pulled it up in a long time. It was in a crate with Khaotic, Fringeworthy, Gatecrasher, World of Synnabar, Skyrealms of Jorune, and Nexus. (Editor’s note- Sorry for the lack of links on these.) I used to loot dollar bins and silent auctions at conventions for lesser known RPGs.

Old RPGs are a treasure trove of ideas.

I know I’ve said this before. Old games are a wealth of ideas for campaigns and settings with current systems. Hidden Invasion and Don’t Look Back: Terror is Never Far Behind were excellent horror games. So is Chill. (I have the original box and adventures.) I’m actually contemplating borrowing from all of the above for a FATE horror game. Lots of good X Files type source material there.

Skyrealms of Jorune is such an odd duck of a game. I’ll post a review someday. It’s just so different than pretty much every other game out there. You practically have to learn a new language just to run the thing. But it also has the most unique and endearing campaign world I think I’ve ever seen. Mining it for data is fun, but challenging because of its freakishly intricate world.

Reskinning old modules can save your game night.

I’ve gotten a ton of mileage from old Champions, DC Heroes and Marvel Superheroes modules in my ICONS game. My supers game world is similar to the Marvel/DC Amalgam universe with some exceptions. Pilfering from classics such as All This and World War Two, The Island of Dr Destroyer, as well as The Doomsday Program has saved several game nights.

Supers games are easy to convert to almost any system. Old D&D modules are good between editions and just about any fantasy genre game you’d ever want to run with a few minor tweaks. For everything else, I’m grateful for Fudge, FATE and Open Legends, to name a few solid generic RPG systems. It’s even possible to slip old WEG Star Wars adventures into other games minus any references to Star Wars canon.

Basically, never underestimate the power of the old modules at Half Price Books or at any gaming convention. Just because a system is old and out of date by a couple of decades, doesn’t mean it’s not useful. I firmly advocate that every GM/DM out there should probably have a toolkit including at least one older module.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week. Take care.

Avoiding Red Ranger Syndrome Power Rangers RPG

Why does the Red Ranger always get all the cool stuff? What’s the rest of the group for?

Team yawns together. “Well, Red’s here. Guess we’re done.”

We see this kind of thing in the TV series all the time. The Red Power Ranger gets the cool upgrades. Who gets Super mode first? Red. New Zord? Conveniently it’s painted red. Who gets the big, shiny new weapon upgrade first? You guessed it- Red. Why does a Red Ranger need the rest of the team?

No, really. Why? I mean, I get they’re usually the team leader and all. That’s great and all. But, why not let another part of the Ranger Spectrum have some fun.

This is not a new phenomenon in RPGs, either.

Who does the story naturally seem to revolve around in the Star Wars RPG? It’s usually the Jedi if there is one. It’s not the player’s fault usually. They just want to play a cool character.

The same thing tends to happen in Supers games. We can’t all be Captain America or Superman, right? My campaigns back in the day tended to revolve around the Wolverine character. Marvel fans all around the table. Go figure.

It’s not the player’s fault.

Ultimately, it’s up to the GM to make sure ALL of the players at the table get their time in the spotlight and everyone gets even screen time. The other players at the table also have a part to play in speaking up if someone is hogging the limelight. It’s on the players as much as the GM. If things get out of hand, ultimately it’s up to the group to fix it together.

It wouldn’t be much different if it were D&D. If every storyline that comes up seems to somehow revolve around the barbarian character and he gets all the cool magic loot, the rest of the group is going to get pretty annoyed fast. Three sessions of that and the group is going to probably want to have a serious chat with the DM. Or the group will break up and let the DM and the barbarian’s player hold hands every Tuesday night until the campaign ends.

Teamwork makes the dream work.

Cheesy slogan, but true nonetheless. It happens all the time on the Power Rangers TV series. Despite the fact that Red gets all the cool shinies, the team still sticks together through the magic of TV scripting. With the RPG, the players stick together through the magic of the shared experience around the table.

My campaign pledge to my Power Rangers RPG and all of the other campaigns is to always let everyone have a turn in the spotlight. The Blue, Green, Yellow, Black and even Pink Rangers will get their shiny new upgrades.

Super mode might well go to Blue first in our series. Green will get the new weapon first. Pink is likely the recipient of the first new Zord. Red will still get something cool just not first or shiniest, maybe.

May the Power protect you! Seriously, have a good week. Thank you for being here.

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