Category Archives: Roleplaying games

Maximum XCrawl

Remember that pretty, albeit chunky little cutie we discussed last time? Well, maybe you’ve decided not to see her on the regs anymore. That’s ok. But that doesn’t mean you should kick her to the curb entirely. It’s ok to see her every now and then. And maybe when you do, maybe she wears a little something special for you…something new and exciting…shit, I seem to have given myself a boner with this metaphor.

GMGP2000CoverLarge

Ok, so the plump lass in question was Pathfinder. Well, the naughty podiatrist (of whatever your occupational kink is) outfit just happens to be a new edition of XCrawl!

XCrawl has been around for a while, but if you’re not familiar with it, here’s the long and veiny of it. Imagine a world similar to ours, the catch being that all the crap from your D&D books is real. A world where the phrase “Honey, I stepped in gremlin poop on the way to Taco Bell.” is not unheard of. Ok, so in a world like this, what does one do for fun? Well, they watch televised dungeon crawls, naturally. That’s where the game begins. Your party plays the role of a team of adventurers for sport. You compete in public spectacles for cash and prizes…and groupies.

It was love at first sight for me with XCrawl, that was way back in 2007 or so, and I’ve been hooked from the word go. I got my game group enamored with it too, and we even helped playtest this new edition, landing the Bluegrass Brawlers a mention in the credits page. Since then, I’ve actually gotten to know the game’s creator, Brendan Lasalle, pretty well, and even colloabo’ed on other projects. That being said, I still feel capable of giving an unbiased review. So…here goes nothing…

This thing fucking rules! Ahem, sorry. Seriously though, a lot of work and love went into this book, and it shows. And it should, since it was supposed to be released sometime roughly around the Carter administration. (Take that, Brendan, ha!) It was worth the wait though, as it pretty much fixes every issue I had with the old version. Let’s talk about that.

The previous edition of XCrawl was a fantastic exercise in concept and world building. It went into a great amount of detail about the setting of the game, it’s history and culture, but it was a bit rules-light. Aside from a few feats and spells, the mojo system, and one new class; the Athlete, there was a lot of fluff compared to crunch. This time around, the script is flipped, giving us a lot of new crunchy bits to sink our teeth into. There are six, fully fleshed out classes, including a vastly overhauled and improved version of the Athlete, a more streamlined mojo system, great detail into building a crawl by the numbers, a revised fame system, and much, much more! If you’re looking for a full-fledged rulebook, Maximum XCrawl does not disappoint. That being said, with so much crunch, there’s naturally not as much room left for fluff. There’s still a fair amount of space dedicated to the setting, definitely enough for you to understand and enjoy, but it felt like the old book went into more detail about it. For that reason, I think that there’s still plenty of reason to pick up the old edition, as it’s still mostly relevant information. There’s a lot of subtle depth and commentary that Lasalle put into this setting that many (myself included for a time) overlook due to the in your face action of the games themselves. both editions together make for a perfect set for rules and setting.

All in all, this is a great new edition of an already great game. There aren’t a lot of alternate settings for D20 style games hitting the shelf anymore, and this is the most original one I’ve seen, and a great reason to keep playing Pathfinder.

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How one fat nerd equates D&D to marital infidelity

Imagine if you will; you and your squeeze are together for a while now, and you have a great time together. But over the years she changes. It’s ok, everyone changes, and it happens slowly at first, but over time she becomes someone you don’t exactly enjoy anymore. It’s not that she got super fat, or got her face and tits mangled in some kind of industrial accident, she’s just…different. Perfectly capable in her own right, you suppose, but not quite the same. And it’s not just you that notices, your friends notice too, they may be afraid to mention it until you bring it up, because your friends always liked her too, that was another point in her favor. Now imagine you meet someone else. You weren’t really looking, you’re a faithful kind of guy, but you just kind of ran into her along the way and, to your horror and guilty delight, she stirs something in you. It feels fun again. You get that same feeling you had with your first love. It’s not that she’s some kind of supermodel, though she’s certainly attractive, if maybe a bit thick around the middle, but in that good way that Sir Mix-A-Lot would approve of. No, she’s just fun to be around. It’s like old times. So you make the hardest choice of your life, and you and your old lady part ways, and this new cutie embark on a whirlwind of fun times. Your friends like her, you have fun together, all is great. Then, one fateful day, your run into your ex. You engage in awkward small talk for a bit, give her the old scrutinizing eyeball, and you realize that she’s different again. She’s fun again. In new ways, but ways that remind you of why you fell in love with her in the first place. You agree to hang out casually, and you find yourself falling back in love with her. Now you have another painful choice to make. Do you rekindle this old flame, or do you stick it out with the chubby cutie that you left her for?

More of you to love...

More of you to love…

Friends, thus is the conundrum with Dungeons and Dragons: Fifth Edition. And for clarity’s sake, Pathfinder is the fun, big-hipped lass you ran off with. Yes, a new edition is here, and it reads like an apology for everything D&D related since 2007.

Baby, is that you?

Baby, is that you?

5E, formerly known as D&D Next, trims so much of the fat that’s been heaped on in the past two editions that it feels like a breath of fresh air. Gone are the gratuitous modifiers for every little thing, and the overactive skill system, replacing it with simple over-the-board proficiency bonuses and advantage/disadvantage systems. Gone is most of the creepy shit added in 4E, that it feels like D&D again…although the Dragonborn are still oddly present. It reminds me a lot of Second Edition, but in all the right ways. The Player’s Handbook’s cover is even done in the same color scheme, which makes me wonder if that was in any way intentional. The power gamer elements are all but stripped clean, making a game that seems fast to learn, and legitimately streamlined, as much as that word gets thrown around.

My gaming group and I have had pretty much the same sentiment when looking over this new thing; deep personal conflict. We made the jump to Pathfinder years ago and haven’t looked back, and now D&D is looking like a very attractive option again. If only there was  some reason to keep those Pathfinder books on the shelf, and not dump and run. If only.

Stay tuned…

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What you SHOULD be playing…

Gather ’round, nerds, Uncle Daddy’s about to lay some learnin’ upon thine faces (and tits)! I know the drill, you and your little friends get together every weekend for a Mountain Dew fueled romp through a typical fantasy adventure filled with elves, wizards, and D20’s, right? Time to nut up, kid.

There are a possibly literal ton oof diffferent RPG’s out there. Games you couldn’t imagine. Did you know they’ve probably made an RPG based on your favorite TV show?

Not sure why though

Not sure why though

No, you didn’t! You were too busy playing D&D.

Quick aside, the terms D&D and Pathfinder can usually be used interchangeably.

Now I’m not saying that I hate swords and sorcery fantasy games. Far from it.. Thing is, I’ve been playing theem since 1994, so I’m understandably burned out on them. I like other things. I like sci-fi, I like horror, I like Weird West, variety is the spice of life! Sorry, Lowery’s seasoning salt!

The problem is, there are a lot of gamers out there that are afraid of dipping their toe into games that aren’t the sacred cow. I’ve run across so many of these types in my days. If it’s not D&D, it’s not worth playing. These people are the gamer equivelant of the kid you see in the Chinese restaraunt eating a Happy Meal.

I...I dunno...

I…I dunno…

Thus it fell to me to be the bringer of enlightenment to the gaming table. I was the one who brought gems like Shadowrun and Vampire: The Masquerade to the Dungeon Duldrum that had become our weekends. But I’m not talking about those games today. I’m talking about some more underground games. Some games that really deserve a look, but don’t have Hasbro-level mmarkketing budgets. So without further adiue…

Spaceship Zero

spaceshipzero

This is a fun little game that slipped under a lot of radars. It’s an RPG done in the style of old 50’s sci-fi serials. The players play the roles of the crew of an experimental spaceship that ends up in a new universe fighting aliens, robots, and all sorts of nifty shit. (nifty shit is a scientific term). The rules are simple to learn, and employ a really interesting “Price is Right” style mechanic where closest to your score without going over determines success. At Gencon this year, nearly my whole group had me pick up copies of this for them. Noone asked for D&D or Pathfinder shit. It’s a great game, and you can usually find it for great prices if you look. Thee creators of the game also have a band called The Darkest of Hillside Thickets. They did a video set in the world of Spaceship Zero called “20 Minutes of Oxygen”. It’s great, watch it, then go play the game.

Delta Green

DeltaGreen

Oh man, this one’s trippy. Most gamers know of Call of Cthulhu, it’s kind of a big deal. Most do not, however, know of Delta Green. Delta Green was a sourcebook put ou in the 90’s that brought the mythos to the modern era. The players play members of a secret government conspiracy called Delta Green, whose mission is to hunt the things that go bump in the night. These things usuallly have connections to H.P. Lovecrafts famous monsters. It’s like the X-Files vs Cthulhu! They’ve also managed to incorporate real-world conspiracies into the mix. Like the Greys? They’re thhere! Like Nazis? (Eww) They’re there! Like new editions? There’s one on the way next year, which will rotate out some old antagonists for more current-day spookies. My strongest endorsement is that This is the only RPG book I’ve read that actually crppped me out. Buy the old edition and get appropriately moist for the upcoming new edition. You won’t regret it!

XCrawl

xcrawl

This is a personal favorite of mine, and the number one reason that I bought Pathfinder books. This, like the title suggests, is dungeon crawling…but EXTREME! Imagine taking D&D, American Gladiators, and Pro Wrestling, and throwing them all into a big ole’ blender of awesome. What comes out of that blender is something I couldn’t evven wait to get into a glass! I’ll pour that shit straight all over my face! BAM! Ahem…I mean, Xcrawl’s great. Want to fight Orcs wearing cowboy hats riding raptors? Do it! Want to fight a mummy wearing hammer pants? Do it! How doo you justify this kind of stuff being in your dungeon? Because it’s live on pay per view, and it makes for great TV!

The current edition uses the D20 3.5 rules, but there’s a new edition powered by PAthfinder coming up in the new few months. I was a playtester, and I signed an NDA, so I can’t say too much, but what I can say is that my group used to have faces…BEFORE THEY MELTED!

go preorder the new edition of XCrawl today at http://goodman-games.com/GMGP2000preview.html

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Costume Ideas for Fat Guys

Convention season is almost upon us again, and I know there are a lot of dudes out there that have the same issue I run into year in and year out, and that problem is that there are limited cool costume ideas for larger men. Now bear in mind that I write this with no malice in my words, but to legitimately help my fat bretheren. I’ve been to enough cons to know that there are enough of us out there to make this an issue, so if I can help even one fat nerd feel cool this convention season, then I will feel as if I’ve done my job…but first…

KATHERINE HEIGL IN A BRA!!! (Hey, I have to get hits, y’know)

Now, on with the show…

VOLSTAGG

Volstagg the voluminous, member of the Warriors Three, and friend to the mighty Thor. This one doubles as a group costume if you have two friends willing to dress up with you, one dashing and one…Asian.

ICE KING

This Adventure Time baddie is a cool and deceptively simple idea. The character himself may not be actually fat, but you’d never know that by looking at him. Plus, Adventure Time has gotten pretty popular lately, so you’lll be asked for plenty of photo ops.

FOLLOWER OF NURGLE

I’ve done this one myself. If you’re into Warhammer 40,o00 then there’s a chance that you’re also a large, scary man. The cultists of the Chaos god Nurgle tend to be a bit on the hefty size. True, in the fiction the Nurgle cultists are bloated with parasites, but it works just as well if you’re bloated with McNuggets like myself.

MOJO

Ok, here’s the deal, if you can figure out how to pull this one off,please let me know how.

THE PENGUIN

This one’s classy, and pretty easy to do. Just find a plus size tuxedo, and top hat, and a monocle, and you’re ready to hit the con and heckle anyone dressed like Batman. This one’s great if you’re a bit on the short side too.

BARON HARKONNEN

He who controls the spice controls the universe, but he who controls the McRib controls the…mobility scooter, most likely. This one’s not 100% accurate without the use of some kind of hover-harness (again, if you figure that one out, please let me know), and an uncontrollable case of face herpes doesn’t hurt the authenticity either.

That’s it for now. If you’ve got some ideas that I didn’t think of, feel free to leave a comment.

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It all turns to crap…

Hello readers. Tonight, I think I’ll scream and swear about things. You may be familiar with this concept. If so, then it won’t come as too much of a shock.

First off though, the obligatory picture of Katherine Heigl in a bra…this time with real-time bouncing action!

Now that that’s out of the way, it’s time for me to go all old-man crazy. You see, it seems that the world is conspiring to take everything I love and make me hate it. I know things change sometimes, but this should be a subtle and painless process. It should not involve violently shitting on the target audience. Allow me to explain.

Star Wars

Now I know it’s become a national pastime to crap on Star Wars, what with all the “wah wah George Lucas raped my childhood” bullshit. I’ve always defended the prequels, even though they weren’t as good as the original trilogy, I thought they were fun movies, and good enough to not accuse the director of sexual abuse. I’ve even enjoyed the Clone Wars cartoon, that is, until halfway through the third season.

Halfway through the third season, they introduced a new character (though that’s a stretch) called Savage Opress. Yes, dumb name, I know. Savage was Darth Maul’s brother, you could tell because he’s basically Darth Maul, only yellow instead of red.

Super fucking creative.

At the end of the season, it is hinted that Darth Maul is still alive, and Savage must go on a quest to find him. We are then left with an entire season to try to forget about this before it’s resolved. Now I’ve not always been the biggest fans of where they’ve taken the Star Wars continuity with the prequel era stuff, but I’ve been ok with it, this though…oy. It’s as if the writers saw that George Lucas took a shit on the floor, so they tried to clean the shit by pissing on it. It’s pretty much a unanimous opinion that Darth Maul was handled badly in Phantom Menace and had too little screen time, but was done was done. That was the thing I always liked about Star Wars (the movies, not the Expanded Universe), dead was dead.

Ok...but how does it poop?

So after what was a mostly painful to watch season, we’re treated with the season finale that involves Savage finding his brother, now crazy with a robot spider body (at least it wasn’t a centipede I guess…), and taking them back to their denmonther who fixes his brain and makes him a pair of cyber legs…WITH MAGIC.

Lieutenant Dan, you got new legs!

I don’t get it, I really don’t.

Comics

I’m a big comic book fan, always have been. My local comic shop recently stopped carrying single issues, in favor of more gaming stuff (more on this later) and graphic novels, and since then I’ve given up cold turkey. Let’s talk about why.

Spider-Man has always been one of my all-time favorite superheroes, and of his supporting cast, Venom was by and large my favorite. This is a common feeling as he’s probably the most popular spider-villain of all time…so Marvel decided to fuck with him. Now, I understand that things change and characters have to evolve, but what a ridiculous back-and-forth Venom has gotten. Eddie Brock, the human half of Venom was diagnosed with terminal cancer, so he sold the Venom symbiote. This led to Mac Gargan, formerly known as the Scorpion, becoming the new Venom for several years. Naturally, the fans still loved Eddie, so what does Marvel do? They put him in a reverse colored costume, and called him Anti-Venom. Stop laughing, I’m not kidding!

Stupid, lazy, or clever? You decide!

But people still wanted Venom, so what does Marvel, in their infinite wisdom do? They put the Venom symbiote on long-time supporting cast member Flash Thompson, who becomes black-ops army Venom…still not kidding.

Hey Spidey, wanna play Call of Duty?

I liked this at first, because I thought it’d go away, but it’s still going! Anyway, this is all personal opinion, at least they didn’t mess with an icon like Superman, right?

Popped collar too? Why, Superman, why?

Superman was a timeless character, and his costume and his personality reflected this.  But somehow DC decided that they wanted a more modern look without the red trunks, and a more cynical attitude. A Superman that took no shit and was willing to kill. They might as well just call him XTREME Superman and have him chugging Red Bull and rocking out to dubstep.

Fuck it, I’ll just go play some D&D…

Dungeons & Dragons

Shit! This too?!? Great. So not long ago, Hasbro released a new edition of Dungeons and Dragons. And edition that wiped the slate clean. An edition that replaced some of the old standbys with stuff that seemed straight out of World of Warcraft. An edition that nobody wanted. Along the way, someone decided that about half of the stuff that everyone knew and loved would be left out and, feeling so distraught without it, the players would shell out additional money to get it back in future supplement books. Pretty sneaky, sis. But for the main book, they had to fill the gaps with something…whhat’s a good replacement for the good old Gnomes…

That dragon has boobs, the nerds will love it!

The backlash on this was enormous, so much so that the previous edition was cleaned up, polished, and released by another company under the name Pathfinder and, in a shocking turn of events that has never happened in the five decades of Dungeons and Dragons, has replaced it in popularity.

But when I play it, I always hear "Careless Whisper" in my head.

That’s enough for now, I’m feeling old and tired, and should probably take my Geritol, so until next time, get off of my lawn!

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