Tag Archives: games

To fudge, or not to fudge…

Fudge in roleplaying games…how do we fell about it? Now I know what you’re thinking; “Fudge? I dunno, bro, those dice are weird looking!”  Well, yes they are, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Also, why are you calling me bro? Also also, not what I’m talking about.

they are kind of weird looking

they are kind of weird looking

An interesting conundrum has recently nestled itself in the squishier bits of my mind. Well, interesting to me, if it’s not interesting to you, then don’t friggin’ read it, you ill-mannered bucket of sh…sorry, I get testy sometimes. Anyway. I was sitting around the game table one recent night, sipping brandy and cracking wise about pee-pees, playing a rousing game of D&D. After a particularly harrowing combat where I survived by the skin of my teeth, something that concerns me because I’m pretty sure skin shouldn’t be there, my compatriots and I were exchanging high-five and discussing how close a call it was. After the encounter, the DM remarked that I should have been dead several times over by now. I asked him what he meant by this, and he said that he had fudged the results so I didn’t meet my hard-fought demise. This led to a an internal conflict. Getting your character killed, especially in something as arbitrary as combat, is rarely fun. That being said, walking into every fight knowing that you’ll be walking out takes some of the sense of danger from the experience. As I looked back on all the times I clearly should have eaten shit, I decided to tuck it away and ponder it later. After all, it was four in the morning and I had more dick jokes to make before I returned home to my wife…to make more dick jokes.

Days went by, and I was in the midst of running my weekly Shadowrun game, when one of my players takes an axe to the face.

“I’m dead.”, he proclaimed.

I paused, surprised. “You can spend edge to hang on.”, was my retort.

“I can, but I’m going to spend it to get one last action and kill the guy with a lightning bolt!”

“…ok”, I retorted, my mind reeling from the whole ordeal.

Clearly, this guy wasn’t terribly worried about his character becoming a fresh ghost, but it got me thinking back to the previous week’s incident. He then whipped another character and proclaimed “I made a Troll. I get 40 dice for damage resistance tests now.”  My jaw slowly fell open into an expression that I imagine looked like I had just watched my new puppy raped and then kicked into traffic, but that’s a different story. (There is no puppy, by the way.)

puppy

This experience got me thinking about the nature of characters and their mortality. I empathized with my DM from earlier. I don’t particularly enjoy killing of people’s characters. I’ve gotten a fair share murdered in my day. So many so that I used to be known as the king of the dirt nap. My getting killed skills were legendary and our DM had no sympathy for us back in those days. Often it was in hilarious fashion, thus cushioning he blow, but it always stung a little, and was kind of a pain in the ass having to roll a new character and start over. This new DM softened the blow a little bit by keeping us at least a little safer. But at what cost?

Mmmmmmmm...

Mmmmmmmm…

I’ve been known to fudge a time or two. Usually unless I’m running XCrawl, I try to at least give the players a chance, but this leads to a slippery slope. Where does that perfect balance lie? The balance of “shit happens” and “your lives matter”? I’m starting to favor the more bloodthirsty approach, letting the dice determine the fickle finger of fate, but it rarely feels good to feed someone’s effort and imagination into the yawning void. Unless you manage to overcome a 40-dice resistance test. Then you’ve earned it.

Where do you fall in this situation? To fudge, or not to fudge? That is a question. Not the question though, there are others. Like how does Robocop poop?

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Hidden Gems…the best stuff of the rest of the stuff

Nerds like stuff. That’s one of the coolest part of being a nerd; all the STUFF! But sometimes we get hung up on the stuff that everyone else is getting hung up on. That’s how stuff gets popular. That’s just the way things are, but there’s so much stuff that some truly great stuff gets pushed to the wayside. Let’s talk about some of that stuff. Just because stuff isn’t the most popular stuff, doesn’t mean that it’s not great stuff, maybe even better stuff than the stuff everyone else is stuffing themselves with. Here’s some stuff you maybe missed. Stuff.

GAUDEAMUS

Hard to pronounce, hard to put down.

Hard to pronounce, hard to put down.

Gaudeamus was a sci-fi novel from acclaimed novelist John Barnes. It’s also a damn hard word to spell, and no picnic to try to pronounce. It launched in 2004 to little fanfare, and that’s a shame, because it’s a really fun read. Barnes tells the story from the first person, using himself as a main character, listening to the story told to him by an old college friend. Got all that? It’s a tricky little literary device, but one used to great effect here, as it makes you wonder how many of the people in this story actually exist, and which ones are pure fiction. It makes me wonder that too, we have so much in common. If there’s actually a Travis Bismarck out there, I’d like to have a beer with him and hear about his adventures. And if there’s not, just read this book, maybe while drinking beer. Beer is nice.

UFO’s, telepathy-inducing sex drugs, and punk rock bands disguised as clowns, there’s a lot going on here. So much, in fact, that it’ll have you saying “what’s going on here?” up until the very end. Go read it, it’s a neat little ride.

NEXTWAVE

This pretty much sums it up, yeah.

This pretty much sums it up, yeah.

Marvel comics are pretty hot these days, and every title gets the scrutiny of whether it’ll end up as a huge blockbuster movie. Here’s one that almost assuredly will not. And that’s a bad thing. A not-so-super team comprised of D-list Marvel heroes Boom-Boom, Photon, Machine Man, and Elsa Bloodstone, with Newcomer “The Captain”, whose powers include “generic superhero shit”, Nextwave had a twelve-issue run and became insanely popular with people who read it, and no one else, really. It’s a damn shame. It’s sarcastic humor and open mocking of itself are extremely endearing. I’ve never met anyone who read this and didn’t love it. Go read this too.

THE SPOILS

Annnnnnnd...dick joke!

Annnnnnnd…dick joke!

Do you play Magic:The Gathering? Well stop it! The Spoils is yet another CCG that made it’s debut in 2007 to a huge splash (maybe too big) as an alternative to Magic. If you’ve ever played Magic, you can learn The Spoils in about five minutes, and do well at it. Building off of the basic rules structure that MTG introduced, and improves on it in some key ways, namely resource management. The real kicker here, though, is the game’s style. The Spoils is not afraid to make all kinds of off-color, though not truly obscene jokes on it’s cards. Where Magic takes itself super-serious, The Spoils hands out dick jokes like Halloween candy, while not letting the humor take a backseat to solid mechanics and fun gameplay. Unlike most things on this list, this is still going, and definitely deserves your support.

Boob jokes too? There's something for everyone!

Boob jokes too? There’s something for everyone!

There’s some of the stuff that you may have missed on your quest for neat stuff. Go check some of this stuff out, it’s pretty great stuff. What obscure stuff are you into? Sound off in the comments! Also, check out the movie The Stuff. It’s a movie…about Stuff.

thestuff

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Still more…Costume Ideas for fat guys!

Sorry for the lack of updates, and this one specifically, as we find ourselves smack dab in the midst of convention season, but life has conspired to shit in my mouth as of late. Now, as I clean the taste out of my mouth, and pick the corn from my teeth, I’m back to provide what will no doubt be a life-changing update for you.

VAULT DWELLER

No, you may NOT buy Yu-Gi-Oh cards with bottle caps, beat it!

No, you may NOT buy Yu-Gi-Oh cards with bottle caps, beat it!

This one’s going to blow up in a big way soon, with the announcement of Fallout 4. Cons across the world are going to be littered with Blue and yellow jumpsuits with collector’s edition Pip-Boys making accompanying them next year. This one has the added benefit of being super roomy and comfy, as well as pretty easy to pull off, depending on how much or how little you choose to embellish it.

SPACECORP CREWMAN

Yeah, it's pretty great, you've probably never heard of it...

Yeah, it’s pretty great, you’ve probably never heard of it…

I’ve spoken before about the hidden gem that is Spaceship Zero. Similar to the Vault Dweller, the crewman of Spaceship Zero wear simple red jumpsuits with Spacecorp logos on them. This one may not be as recognizable, but you’ll have the satisfaction of repping a true indy darling of an RPG at your con of choice.

Wear it proud

Wear it proud

BRAY WYATT

Perfect for smackdowns, or casual gatherings

Perfect for smackdowns, or casual gatherings

Truth is that a lot of geeks are closet wrestling fans, and I fully intend to elaborate on that in a future post. Up-and-coming WWE Superstar Bray Wyatt has the dubious honor of being this generation’s inspiration for chubby fans. (R.I.P. Dusty Rhodes, the portly champion of yesteryear. Much respect.) Bray Dresses simply, in his Hawaiian shirt, Black tanktop, and white or red pants, with optional fedora, leather apron or vest, lamp, and thumb protector. This one can also serve as part of a group costume if you’ve got a couple of friends willing to dress as Erick Rowan and Luke Harper with you…and maybe drag a rocking chair around for you.

Follow the buzzards

Follow the buzzards

EARTHQUAKE

Fear my huge pink jammies!

Fear my huge pink jammies!

Yeah boy, we’re going old school with this one! Who remembers Samurai Shodown? Classic 90’s fighting game series from the glory days of SNK fighters. Eh, kids these days. Regardless, for those of you that remember, Earthquake was the games token “huge fuckin’ dude” character. The hardest part of this costume to pull off would be the prop weapon that he carries into battle. The rest shouldn’t be too hard.

Well, that’s it for this time. Again, apologies for the lateness of this post, hopefully things will pick back up, and there’ll be more nerdy dick jokes more regularly soon.

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Cool Stuff We Never Got

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, so I thought I’d bring the mood down a bit by discussing some stuff we don’t get to be thankful for. This stuff was all announced, got people moist, and then never materialized. Enjoy…not getting to enjoy.

The Return of Ziggy Stardust

Bask in what could have been!

Bask in what could have been!

Music is a subjective thing. We all have our own tastes in music, and that’s fine. That being said, David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is one of the best albums ever recorded. Period. If your particular tastes don’t align with this, then you’re wrong, and I don’t consider you a person. Blech to you. Gross. Anyway, around the turn of the millennium, Bowie stated that Ziggy would be making his triumphant return in 2002 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the album. This would have included unreleased footage, a stage show, and even a movie, as well of unspecified internet content.

This never happened and we should be sad forever.

On a related Bowie note, I’m still bummed that we never got the followups to 1. Outside, Bowie’s underrated industrial album, with announced sequel album 2. Contamination never arriving.

Holywood-The Novel

I can't think of anything funny to say about this...it's a book.

I can’t think of anything funny to say about this…it’s a book.

In 2000, Marilyn Manson released the third part of his three-part concept album series, Holywood: In the Shadow of the Valley of Death. Say what you want about Manson, but Holywood is my favorite of his catalog. I’m a sucker for a good concept album, but Manson went way down the rabbit hole with this one, even going so far as to pen a novel based on the album. One chapter of the book was even released, and it was something that I would have learned to read in order to enjoy. Sadly, years came and went, other albums came and went, including two back to back breakup albums, and the book never released. Manson still claims that he’d like to released it in some form, possibly as a graphic novel, but at this point I feel it’s time to move on with my life.

The Rifts Movie

Holy crap, where's my Ritalin?!?

Holy crap, where’s my Ritalin?!?

Rifts has always held some notoriety in the RPG community. It looks like it was designed by 14-year olds for other 14-year olds. Spaceships, wizards, robots with skulls all over them, lasers, dogfaced men, and that’s just the table of contents. Rifts has a pretty big following, Disney optioned Rifts for  a movie to be developed by Jerry Bruckheimer in 2004. There was a press release about it, and transcripts of it were passed out at Gencon that year. This could have been a pretty cool thing to see., and could have bought roleplaying games a bit more legitimacy in mainstream media after the dumpster fire that was the D&D movie.

BUT IT NEVER HAPPENED.

World of Darkness…assorted

Can't...quite...reach...

Can’t…quite…reach…

White Wolf’s World of Darkness RPG line has a rabid fan following, but not a stellar track record when it comes to crossing over from the tabletop. They had a couple of pretty good Vampire: The Masquerade PC games, and a couple of batshit crazy Hunter: The Reckoning console game, and a piss poor TV series called Kindred: The Embraced that I desperately wanted to like, didn’t, and still bought on DVD because I don’t learn lessons.

Despite all of this, the rebooted World of Darkness was announced for a couple of media projects that never occurred. in 2004, Vampire: The Requiem, which was a different take on Masquerade, was optioned for a movie by New Line Cinema. Come to think of it, 2004 was a real cocktease for gamers, wasn’t it? There was also a WoD MMO in development for years. The game was recently shitcanned, and several developers lost their jobs.

Star Wars Live Action TV Series

Good enough

Good enough

Several years ago, it was announced that Lucasfilm’s five-year plan for Star Wars was that the Clone Wars series would run for a while, and would generate capitol for a live action Star Wars TV series set between episodes III and IV. Neat idea. Never fucking happened. Now I won’t bitch too much about this one, because in the end Disney bought Lucasfilm, Rebels filled the gap the live action series left and we’re getting actual sequels, the trailer for which dropped today, and I won’t talk about in length because everyone in the world is discussing it right now, so why listen to me? But in all, maybe this one is for the best.

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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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Brik Wars-Sending your inner child to war!

I’ve mentioned that I am a huge nerd, but I’ve not really delved into that very much yet. Well, buckle up cause it’s about to get nerdy in here. But first, the obligatory picture of Katherine Heigl in a bra.

 

Seriouslyy, this is getting me more views.

 

This past weekend, some friends and I took a break from our weekly game of Heroclix to try out Brik Wars. Brik Wars is a ruleset that someone made that takes the building toys we all played with as a child (namely Lego, Mega Bloks, etc) and turns them into game pieces for a Warhammer-style strategy wargame.

 

Blocks go to war!

Now take a moment to let that soak in…the same mock battles that we had our Legos fight as a child, now with rules of engagement.. Yes, this is one of the most awesome ideas to come down the pipe in a long time. There are rules to cover pretty much anything you can build. Build a custom vehicle and cover it with weapons; a simple series of formulae based on the size of your creation will calculate how it works in the game.

 

Tiny clown gets cut in half by the Grim Reaper.

Another aspect of Brik Wars is that you can take those great licensed characters you’ve got in Lego form like Darth Vader, Jack Sparrow, Harry Potter, and yes, even Spongebob. and make them the commander or “hero” of your army. You hero gets extra skills that the rest of your troops don’t get, and can perform “heroic actions” limited only by their schtick and your imagination. For example, you can have Vader force choke opposing characters, have Harry Potter perform feats of magic, and have Spongebob…make reall uncomfortable sexual innuendos? An example of this, I had my hero, Lord Voldemort, use his magic to influence the mind of an opposing clown flying a bomber toward my army and make him turn around and attack another player instead. Yes, it was as awesome as it sounds.

 

"He Who Must Not Be Named" contemplates stealing an ATV.

If you’ve ever had any love in your heart for Legos or similar block-toys, I highly recommend you head over to www.brikwars.com and check it out. It’s reignited my long-dormant love for legos, and paired it with my love of over-the-top wargames.

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