Tuesday, May 30, 2017

RPG Review: OneDice Pirates & Dragons

Disclosure: This review and the banner at the bottom of this post, contains affiliate links to RPGNow.com. I receive a token % if you purchase something from the landing page. It's one way to show your support of this blog, and its content. Sincerely, thank you for that support.

OD P&D Cover
OneDice Pirates & Dragons
Published By: Cakebread & Walton
Publisher Homepage: http://clockworkandchivalry.co.uk/
Reviewer: J.L. Duncan

Avast, me Hearties!

This is a brief review of OneDice Pirates & Dragons. The PDF digitizing before me is 134 pages front to back, in single column format, and includes a printable character sheet. Illustrations are full color along with a two page map of the Dragon Isles, the RPGs main setting.

Let’s jump right off the plank and outline the setting…

The setting of OneDice Pirates & Dragons is the Dragon Isles, a collection of tropical islands innate with ancient magic and besieged by dragons. One hundred years have passed since the first Uropans crossed the vast Adalantic Ocean discovering the Dragon Isles and the mighty continent to the far west, High Bressayle. The four seafaring cultures of Uropa: Albion, Batavia, Esbania and Gaule have developed a number of settlements and ports throughout the isles, which when these cultures are not acting to underhand or war with each other, are busy enslaving the native islanders for their own ends.
Dragons inhabit a number of islands, some more powerful and infamous than others. They too war with each other and any pirates and privateers who have the misfortune of happening upon their territories. The most powerful dragons are worshiped by native tribes and wield necromancy magic at their scaly finger tips.
Creating and running character in OneDice Pirates and Dragons is land lubber simple. Adventurers have three primary abilities: Strong, Clever and Quick. Magic is optioned as a forth primary ability, but is only available to characters native born to the Dragon Isles, which can be made, but doesn’t increase the starting primary ability points. In creating an adventurer, players distribute six points among the primary abilities, with the caveat that no ability can be higher than 3 or less than 1. From these, three additional abilities are derived: Health, Defense and Move. Characters receive six points to distribute among a list of thirty plus skills.

The prime mechanic of the OneDice system utilizes a single six sided dice (d6) and like many aspects of this role playing game (RPG) it’s succinctly defined… So let’s use it:
“To see whether your character succeeds at a task, roll one six-sided dice, then add to the result the relevant ability (the character’s score in Strong, Clever or Quick) and skill (if he or she has one). Compare the result to the Target Number – if you equal or beat it, you have succeeded. If you have failed to beat it, your action has been unsuccessful (and there may be a consequence).” (PG 27)

Included with mechanics and throughout is respectable amount of rules, including how to sections and examples of play; the sections on ship to ship combat, and Game Keeper sections are really well done and give the Game Keeper something to run on as a one shot or build an entire campaign from.

Overall, OneDice Pirates & Dragons offers a succinctly defined system, and a unique setting of black powder, magic and high seas adventure. While I’m not a proponent of “rules lite” systems, as I prefer medium to heavy crunch, there is certainly some clever and well-designed content. The inspiration of European activity in the Caribbean from 1600-1800 (Uropa/Europe) is a nice jumping off point. The use of the number six with character creation: mechanics d6, distribute 6 ability points, select 6 skills, makes this a great gateway or introduction RPG be it for kids, or adults who have never delved into this wonderful hobby before.

Note: An abridged version of this review originally appeared with EN World's RPG News & Reviews-community content program (CCP) here. Thanks to EN World for allowing me to post it on my blog, as well as providing a venue to produce paid content.

Additional Note: I'm really enjoying what I've seen with Cakebread & Walton's OneDice line. Just about every genre is covered so if pirates aren't your thing (fantasy, cyberpunk, ghost hunting and many others) stop in over at their RPGNow.com sales page, or direct a Cakebread & Walton's home site: here. Each of the products from the OneDice line, are available in full color, print as well as PDF.

         
RPGNow.com

Monday, May 22, 2017

Map! Forest Keep Available Now!

Current Price: $1.00

Disclosure: Links in this post include my drivethrurpg.com affiliate identification. I receive a token % if you purchase something.

Map products are 100% digitized in the U.S.A. on a computer which was manufactured in China... However, the computer includes circuit boards, plastic, and imitation aluminum screws, which may have been manufactured in other countries, such as the Philippines, Taiwan and perhaps even Zimbabwe... Truthfully, I don't know-cause I've never cranked this machine open, so therefore; there is certainly a chance, and let's not get caught up with specifics.

However, the point is... That your purchase not only supports me, but the entire world! Add to that, the fact that no trees were directly harmed in the making of this product... And well... you get the point. Buy it! And if you're really looking for bonus points, tell someone you did.


Map! Forest Keep: $1.00
Map! Forest Keep
Map! Products are in full color, providing a visual location for the Referee (DM/GM) to populate and for the player characters to discover. This product contains a master PDF (preview), four print friendly versions at 300 DPI and four identical versions for the digital tabletop at in 100 DPI. The 100 DPI digital tabletop versions include a single unit of measurement near the center of the page, one for hex and one for graph. For closer look, check out the PDF preview.
This Download Contains:
  • Map! Forest Keep PDF (preview)
  • Print Friendly, Zip File PNG (300 DPI)
    Four Versions: clean, graph, hexagon, & labeled  
  • Digital Friendly, Zip File PNG (100 DPI)
    Four Versions: clean, graph, hexagon, & labeled 
  • My appreciation. Please take the time rate, review and comment. Also, what sort of Map! products would you like to see in the future? I welcome your ideas.
Note: Hexagon and graph measurements are at 5ft per side. This product is not for use in commercial products.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Making a Thing!: Map! Forest Keep

Map! (now linked:drivthrurpg.com)
Okay, so I was able to get a little time away from writing RPG reviews this week. Map! Forest Keep, is in the final stages of completion. The commissioned piece is a bit different, and has already been sent along. Thank you, Ken for asking.

I don't own Adobe; I do it the old fashioned way with Desktop Publisher, and save the file as a PDF. It works fine, given that the PDF itself is really just for the preview feature of the product page.

While the finishing the work, I noticed my other Map! products are scaled at 10ft. sq., on the graph and at 5ft. per side for the Hex in the map keys. This is an error. Sides for both scales, should be at 5ft. as each of the sides are the same measurement in proportion.

I'm not fixing it. And as it was noted to me, the novelty of a map key isn't really how most fantasy maps are used. And most measurements assume 5ft.


Graph/Hex 100 DPI Example
However, what I am working on is going through and making a more digitally friendly pack for each of the previous three Map! products. These will be 100 DPI, which after a visit to Fantasy Grounds revealed that the original 300 DPI maps are much to big. Instead of hexing or graphing the full page for the 100 DPI maps, I'll be putting one unit of measurement near the center of the map, which the GM can scale with digital tools. This will avoid the double line problem that occurs when digital software is overlaid with fully graphed and hexed maps.

Product Sale Ends Soon
These digital tabletop additions will be completed by Sunday. And on Sunday Map! products (which are currently marked down) will return to their original pricing. So stop on in, a buy something, before I put the price to standard. And please click on the MAP! banner below to do so. Below is the rough draft, of the product page... Map! Forest Keep, will be ready and up for sale, mid to late next week.


Labeled/Hex 300 DPI Example

Map! Forest Keep

Map! products are in full color, providing a basic a visual location for the Referee (DM/GM) to populate and for the player characters to discover. This product contains a master PDF (preview), four print friendly versions at 300 DPI and two digital tabletop versions at in 100 DPI. Each digital tabletop version includes a single unit for measurement, near the center of the page one for hex, one for graph. For closer look, check out the PDF preview.
This Download Contains:
•Map! Forest Keep PDF
•PNG, generic; labeled (300 DPI)
•PNG, hex unlabeled (300 DPI)
•PNG, graph unlabeled (300 DPI)
•PNG, clean (300 DPI)
•PNG, hex digital unlabeled (100 DPI)
•PNG, graph digital unlabeled (100 DPI)
•My appreciation

Note: Printed on standard the hexagon and graph measurement is 5ft per side. This product is not for use in commercial products.
Disclosure: The Map! product banner below includes my drivethrurpg.com affiliate identification. I receive a token percentage if you purchase something from the landing page. Your purchase supports this blog and it's content, thank you.


Map!


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Dicey Politics


This one was one of those comic ideas, which never found a home. Obviously, with Trump in office it's dated... I'm not much on political rhetoric and such, and the theme of dice talking politics is a pretty thin stretch. Needless the say, we've had a totally unsatisfactory experience of the Marketplace...

Happy Mother's Day. Moms we love you.  

Monday, May 8, 2017

RPG NEWS: Rifts Board Game Kickstarter; Part Two

And... The Top Three Reasons Not to Participate!



Rifts Board Game (mock)
Look, the internet is the worst sort of venue to provide advice. Somehow, in the back of the readers mind, is this idea that what's really being shown, and especially if that topic is one which incites passion, is moral authority. Or worse, that you're trying to dissuade them, because in "secret" you are actually in support of the company which (so far), essentially ripped them off...

This often gets out of hand, such as is the case with my inbox receiving a number of emails (5 total) concerning my blogposts posts here, and my posts in reference, on the DakkaDakka  forum.

Angry Nird



Writing which, specifically concerns Robotech RPG Tactics (RRT) by Palladium Books & the about to launch Rifts Board Game (RBG) by Rogue Heroes. The only thing I can attribute this to, is me asking (angry) nerds, that if they decided to troll the Rifts Board Game that...

1) It would be in bad taste, given the circumstances and based on what they were claiming they were going to say, and...

2) That they might consider posting with consideration and stick to the facts, without making it a personal endeavor.

Okay... Maybe I did insert some moral authority... What can I say? There is a difference in showing displeasure with someone (or a company) based on their work (or lack thereof), or attacking them personally. And that's my view and I (apparently) have no right to insert it...

Okay, I could have also said, that if you backed Robotech RPG Tactics, and didn't even attempt to roll, (as in lift a finger to do some checking) on your research skill check: you are a moron... Because honestly, that's my view despite the fact I (apparently) have no right to insert it...

After all what's good for the goose...?

If you chose not to do any research into Palladium Books concerning the RRT Kickstarter and you backed...

Are you still angry? Even though I might think it, would it be okay for me to call you a moron based on that, alone?

No, it really wouldn't, and neither should it be. This sort of rhetoric could go on endlessly... Reap what you sow, but get off of my grass (or inbox) in the meantime.

The truth is all of us have made mistakes, some worse than others...

And before anything explodes I'm not addressing the many reasoned and more eloquent voices of dissent, the ones that might actually say or post something "insightful" and give links to prove their points or in the least reference their "theories." Including distinguishing the difference in the first place... (You know who you are)

Unless you truly believe Palladium Books botched this on purpose (which I'm pretty certain this in not the case), I say the time has come to give them (and all their mismanagements) some slack... In the end we are talking about a game made with pieces of cardboard and plastic. If you're planning to troll, in the way, which was explicitly detailed to me... Just don't.

Honestly, this is my last post on the topic, I'll edit in the links to the actual Kickstarter post (3:00pm). Not that I need to say it, but I have been a serious and (hopefully) thoughtful pundit of both the RRT and RBG from the get-go. I do not support either project, which I covered the reasons why here and here. Originally, I planned to address the trolls more specifically, but in the spirit of reasons to NOT back the Rift Board Game, I'm Not addressing the trolls more specifically, other than send a link to that forum. Reasoned discussion is always welcome in the comments, troll comments which intend to inflame me when I've spent the time urging friends and blog readers to not back this project is pretty F@#$in' ridiculous. I guess in a way you got what you wanted (anyway).

In truth, I've reached the point where this whole debacle makes me (watch your shoes) want to "gak-gaaahk-gak." In the spirit of moral authority lets consult an expert... from a church I'll never attend and seemed the most relevant to the topic at hand.

Top 3 Reasons Not to Back!!!

 
 “No matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse.”
Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

“The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have. ”
Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture 

 “People are more important than things.”
Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Review Burp: KoDT #243

Disclosure: Links to Wander Heroes of Ogre Gate and the banner below, include my drivethrurpg.com affiliate identification. I received a token % if you purchase something.

KoDT #243
WHoOG
Knights of the Dinner Table (KoDT) #243 was recently released and was bit late. Kenzer and Co. is juggling the A&8's Reloaded Kickstarter, (funded and stretching). Inside the issue is my review of Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate.

Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate is the latest awesomeness from Bedrock Games. It's really well put together, and by far, the best wuxia/martial arts themed RPG I've read to date. The PDF is Pay What You Want and you should defiantly pay something for it. (Did I mention its awesome!)

Huge Discounts on your Favorite RPGs @ DriveThruRPG.com"

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Submissions Open: Pyramid

Pyramid
Somehow, I forgot Pyramid for GURPS! The new Pyramid is a monthly PDF e-zine, which publishes RPG articles based on a specific theme. Pyramid pays 4 cents/word. The nice thing about the submission process is that you can view the content amount based on those themes, via the wish list. Pyramid publishes a variety of GURPS and system neutral material.
   
"Pyramid is the monthly PDF magazine for serious gamers, created by serious gamers. Each month, Pyramid delivers articles about a specific theme, from modern-day superheroes to post-apocalyptic gaming to magic on the battlefield. Most of Pyramid's articles are either generic, suitable for your game system of choice, or designed for GURPS, one of the best choices for serious gamers for over 20 years. We also feature humor, ready-to-print props and tools, and other diversions; we may be serious but we're fun, too."

The toughest thing about writing for GURPS is getting a handle on the WYSIWTG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) format. The guideline index is here.

Steve Jackson Games also publishes GURPS material with Warehouse 23, modules in short PDF format. Details for that is here. And if you're feeling so inclined check out the vid of Editors Sean Punch and Steven March along with some of Pyramid's most prolific submitters.


Monday, May 1, 2017

RPG Review: Luchador

Disclosure: Links to product in this review and the banner at the bottom, include my drivethrurpg.com affiliate identification. I receive a token % if you purchase something from the landing page. It is one way to support this site and it's content, thank you.

Cover

Luchador, Way of the Mask
Written By: Gabe Ivan
Published By: Spartacus Publishing
Publisher's Website: spartacuspublishing.com
Review By: J.L. Duncan


Welcome to a review of Luchador, Way of the Mask. This review, concerns the portable document format (PDF), which is available at drivethrurpg.com and rpgnow.com. Those who might prefer an actual dead tree version can get their hands on one by ordering direct from the Spartacus Publishing website at: spartacuspublishing.com, or just click the link above. Mash some buttons and it can be yours.

Let’s begin by letting the game speak for itself…

“Players take on the roles of luchadors pitting their high-flying talents against international criminals, secret spy enclaves, evil cults, mad scientists, and other luchadors. Sometimes they will even get to wrestle each other (this is a great way to teach players the rules). Throughout it all, the characters should embody the flamboyant excitement and code of honor that all luchadors revere. This is not a game for cautious schemers and meticulous tacticians. This is a game for swashbuckling daredevils who know every adventure should end in a free-for-all battle royale.” (PG 4)

For context, a Luchador is a professional Mexican wrestler.
The premise of Luchador is undoubtedly unique. I would say that the setting is unique, but beyond the above quoted paragraph and a few tidbits sprinkled in for flavor Luchador doesn’t focus too much on setting beyond its own game elements. The game elements are the setting.

Luchador also doesn’t take itself too seriously or most notably, zero in on the cultural significance of the sport. Though I’d have liked to seen something in this regard, I’ve decided not to hold this fact against it.
Back to elements: Luchador’s main bad guys are worth note and a bit outside the box for what one would intuitively conceive in regards to a wrestling RPG. I imagine a lot of fun hi-jinx should come with the package. While I wouldn’t call Luchador a monster mash, the mix of Harry Dresden meets James Bond type villain tropes is an aspect which creates an interesting dynamic.

Featured is the Umbral Accord; an evil network of criminals, spies, scientists and general no-do-gooders. If a government fails, the Umbral Accord is likely responsible. If your cat gets stuck high in a tree-and you record the tortured meows and play them back later at one third speed in reverse you will hear, “The Umbral Accord is responsible.”
Creepy huh?-yes that last one was my feeble attempt at humor.

Besides other Luchadores, the big heavies our heroes might face include a laundry list of evil creatures. Just to name a few there’s vampire women, zombies, chupacabra and Aztec mummies. Okay, Luchador is a bit of monster mash…     
A certain familiarity with professional wrestling couldn’t hurt, but there is enough covered within this book that even a fleeting awareness of the sport, should get you started. If you don’t have that, there are lots and lots of illustrations. As per usual let’s start with making a character.

Creating a character in Luchador requires a little calculation as well as some roll-drama and is finished up in four steps. The first step is choosing a class, of which there are four possibilities. Character Classes are the Aerialist, Technico, Gimmico and Bruiser. Each has strengths relative to their name, which is reflected in their individual (attributes) Stat-Lines. As well, each character class has its own black and white illustration which helps a player get the basic of idea of the “type,” of Luchador they’re about to select.
Interior Art
The next two steps are generating the Primary as well as Secondary or Figured Statistics and spending Skillpoints. The Primary Statistics are Strength, Agility, Conditioning, Presence, Wits and Determination, these being the raw physical attributes of the character. The Secondary or Figured statistics are Initiative, Fatigue, Resilience and Vitality. Figured Statistics are the sum of two primary statistics. For instance, the Resilience score is cumulated from strength and conditioning.
Each new character receives fifteen Skillpoints to spend with generation, but may have also acquired a few more points if the rolls concerning the primary statistics were below adequate. Skills in Luchador fall under four categories but are essentially either, “in the ring” or “out of the ring,” skills. Out of the ring skills are mostly left to the group to create, with a few examples to show the way. Since this is a wrestling game as you might guess, most skills in Luchador are combat based and most fall into the category of wrestling moves. Each skill and their relative costs are expensive compared to the amount of skillpoints to start. Newly rolled characters won’t begin with more than a handful.    
The fourth and last step is Paint and Finish which is a short section of ideas about how players can add some details to their characters.

Overall, creating a character in Luchador is a bit more involving than it first seems. The section requires a bit of page scrolling (for good grasp) and additional mouse clicking, but putting it all together it takes a bit more time than I initially expected.
The process is inlaid with a few carefully placed checks and balances. Character classes do not begin with a set amount of skills but points to spend, while each skill is catered to work with a specific primary statistic. Choices-choices… Character Mini-maxing is impossible. Gamers who prefer balance with character generation will find Luchador more than passable.

A key specific to characters is how they progress. Luchador doesn’t have character levels in the classical sense. Instead, players will be able to purchase new skills, increased stats etc., with the experience points they earn. This is a point buy system. Luchador’s experience point system, much like character generation, doesn’t just lean toward balance-it encompasses it. Advancing a skill or stat becomes increasingly expensive the higher the number or the more proficient the character becomes.
The mechanics of Luchador is named the DEG System and involves the exclusive use of a twenty sided dice. DEG isn’t innovative by any stretch, but it gets points for being original and for the most part serviceable. DEG is for the most part a medium crunch system. By my assessment, the more familiar you are the lighter the system will be. This will take a few sessions however so the learning curve is a bit sharp. Combat which is a feature of this game, such as it should be, is a bit on the heavy side. This is mostly due to how much data will need to be tracked by players during physical confrontations.   

The basics of DEG in regards to checks and game rolls, are that the GM utilizes a level (or target number) of difficulty, while this number will be subtracted from the characters rating based on skill or statistic (character attribute) for a specific task. DEG encourages the GM to present story elements based on the margin of success (MOS) or failure, be it some extra flavor text via epic success/failure.  
There is a bit more to these checks but I thought they fit together well-given the nature of the game and how this is encouraged to work in consideration with margin of success/failure. I did find myself with a few questions after reading though the intricacies of DEG. For instance, the Taking Damage section feels a bit taxing towards combat, but there didn’t seem to be any major problems or at least nothing exploitable.

Luchador also has some unique game elements which lead it towards the more theatrical nature of what you might find with wrestling on television. First among these is that the game provides a basic framework which allows players to create signature moves for their characters. After all what would a Luchador be without some signature moves? I thought this was nice addition to the ruleset, and while different examples of play can be found throughout, I thought a signature move example-could have clarified this a bit more.
Luchador also incorporates components of Fame and in game karma coined: Heat, which a luchador can accumulate and burn during a game session. Heat works very much like luck or tokens in other game systems; allowing a character to acquire and use it within a session for a special feat beyond game rolls.

Conclusion?
There are defiantly a few rough spots with Luchador, but overall I had a favorable impression. I really enjoyed the concept of the Luchadores as the heroes, and opposing an evil spy network and a bunch of classic monsters actually fits better than you would think.  

The writing is decent save a few minor errors, while the overall layout and organization is very well done. The book itself is only a bit more than sixty pages and it reads a lot bigger than it is. The table of contents serves its purpose, though with how chapters and sections are marked, the table functions as an index of sorts. Black and white illustrations are plentiful and decent. Character creation and progression is more balanced than you will find in most games.
Is Luchador a niche game? Unequivocally, yes. Though unlike most niche games you’d be inclined to pass on, the game has some additional charm that might just grow on you if you let it.

Note: This review is property of Kenzer and Company published here with expressed permission. Luchador was provided by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of review.

Superheroes - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com