I’ve started a thread on the Caves of Chaos project on the message board. There’s enough info in the first post to at least let you figure out what the project is.
I’ve dropped by the Campaign Builder’s Guild a couple of times in the past and have always been impressed with the community there even if it was not quite my thing. When I dropped by this morning, I discovered that they, in association with a couple of other sites, have started a new PDF magazine, Fantaseum, the Journal of the Creative Community Alliance. The first issue is 36 pages and weighs in at a hefty 28 megabytes because it is very graphics intensive. It features campaign areas (described rules neutrally for the most part), fiction, and maps. Lots of nice maps.
One of the most interesting parts of this issue is the Glass Ocean section, introduced with this:
“We are delighted to bring you the first of our combined guild challenges. First, the Campaign Builders’ Guild held a monthly competition to create a frontierland. The winning result, The Glass Ocean by Luminous Crayon was then used as the basis of a monthly challenge for the Cartographers’ Guild and Plotstorming to draw a map of Luminous Crayon’s winning entry and write a fictional piece set within it.”
Very nice stuff. I can’t wait to see more issues. You can find out more and download a free copy from this page of the CBG web site.
I think this quote from The Dragon Editorial Archive sums up everything that is wrong with The current versions of D&D and how it is being made even more wrong in 4th Edition.
Quite simply, the math behind the game is so rock solid that I’ve been encouraged to play my character as a genuine, action movie, one-liner quoting hero. I’m not rushing to open the door because I know I can survive the fireball trap on the door. It’s that I know that the trap on the door isn’t some ruthless save or die effect that will punish me for rolling a 1 on my save. I still don’t shy away from danger, but I find myself taking even more risks with my 4th Edition character than I did before. I don’t dread the finger of death, wail of the banshee, or worst of all, energy drain effects that so permeated previous editions.
— From the Dragon Editorial Archive: Fearless
I’m just shaking my head. It sounds like they’ve taken all the risk out of the game. What’s the fun in being able to act like “a genuine, action movie, one-liner quoting hero” in a game if there are no risks at all of failure, let alone of severe failure? Playing a god-like character in a group of other god-like characters, all of whom get even more god-like with time sounds like it would get boring fast.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the cinematic style of gaming where people don’t regularly die from a single bad die roll and can do lots of heroic things. I’ve always ran my D&D and other fantasy games like that. But there was still risk and lots of things that any player should dread. Cakewalks not only get boring fast, but players don’t feel very heroic at the end of one, no matter how successful the characters were.
The new RetroRoleplaying message board isn’t finished and ready for a grand opening yet, but it is complete enough that those reading this blog can register an account and be ready to start a thread or two just before we officially open to help kick start an otherwise empty board. I guess we could call this a beta opening. The forum and the classified sections are basically ready to use. The Gallery and Links areas aren’t even created yet.
You can reach the RetroRoleplaying message board at it’s real address at http://retroroleplaying.smfforfree4.com/ or you can use this slightly easier to remember address http://forum.retroroleplaying.com/ which will automatically bounce you to the real address.
Not much progress on RetroRoleplaying today as we spent most of the day at visiting doctors. Things will start moving much more slowly next week as my wife starts radiation treatment (see her Cancer Diary for more info if you are really interested). As yet we have no idea how bad this will be as reactions vary greatly by individual so I idea how much time I will have to work on this project during the next 2 or 3 months.
I do hope to get the forum open (at least to those reading this blog) this weekend. With luck, I’ll even have time to get some basic info on my Caves of Chaos project idea up in the forum for discussion. No promises however, as my wife comes first.
I’m in the process of setting up the new RetroRoleplaying Forum I mentioned a few days ago. It will use SMF forum software and will be set up at SMF For Free. In addition to the message board, it will have a n area when members can add links, a gallery for pictures and artwork, and best of all a Classified Ads/Auction system (which SMF for Free) has just added where members can post free ads for games they want to sell. If/When the board hits a critical mass of members, auctions will be possible as well. (They are possible now, but pointless until a lot more people know about and use this board.)
Under Xylarthen’s Tower is a very nice 6 level old school dungeon in a pdf file. It even has a dragon’s lair. Jeff has some interesting takes on monsters as well. That’s one of the nice things about OD&D, the monster descriptions were very sketchy — especially on what the monster looks like — which gives a dungeon master a lot of room to customize things for his or her world.
I’ve decided that RetroRoleplaying needs a forum where both new players and long time players of older RPGs can feel at home. This forum isn’t designed to replaces forums like those at Dragonsfoot and Knights and Knaves Alehouse, but to supplement them by taking a slightly different direction and moderating style.
It will also be home to my new Caves of Chaos project: a game in the Holmes Basic Set style that can either be used as an introduction to Classical D&D or First Edition AD&D or as a complete game/campaign. It will be set in a world where civilization has to fight to take land from the forces of chaos and where character advancement stops at level 6. Current plan are to base this on the Labyrinth Lord rules as they are entirely open game content.
The main RetroRoleplaying web site is now complete. Well, Stage One is complete. I now have some basic information on the rulebooks for Original D&D, Classical D&D, and First Edition AD&D up. I haven’t even begun to touch adventures and non-rules supplements so the site is a long way from being even “item complete.” However, there is enough there to be a bit useful to someone considering an older version of D&D, so I’m happy.
Of course, I want to do much more than item pages. I want to include links to web sites associated with each game, links to campaign journals from groups using one of the covered games, include reviews of more items, articles were people tell why they have selected a given older system over the current incarnation of D&D, etc. Eventually, I will want to include other good games from the 1975-1995 era (e.g. 2nd Edition RuneQuest and Classic Traveller).
But for now, I made a useful start. And I reached this point before my wife’s radiation treatments start next week — which was my goal. No real proofreading has been done yet, unfortunately. I’ve printed out the various pages and my wife will look over the printouts as she gets a chance — and corrections will be made.
I had not thought much of Tunnels & Trolls recently. Then I get sent from T&T links last week. Now I discover that Flying Buffalo is apparently trying to spark some interest in Tunnels & Trolls with a free sixteen page T&T rulebook/solo adventure.
From the description at RPGNow.com:
This is a short version of the full Tunnels & trolls Rules. It is sufficient to play the solitaire adventure, and to show your friends how to play with the GameMaster adventure.
Tunnels & Trolls is one of the easiest role playing games to learn and play. All you need are paper & pencil and some six-sided dice (at least 3). One of the best things about T&T is that you can play it solitaire, where the book is the gamemaster. Most of the following rules are written as if you are playing a solitaire adventure. If you are playing with a gamemaster, he or she will roll the dice for any opponents or monsters, and normally you will not be told the Monster Rating, or armor of your enemy, only what you might be able to see, and the total of any dice rolls.
If you’ve never played T&T, here’s your chance. It would be nice to see a new generation introduced to T&T solos. Of course, I have to wonder what people used to 900+ pages of detailed rules will think of T&T.