Browsing articles in "Musings"

Alright, gentlemen, let’s game.

Sep 23, 2012

Four days. That’s how long I have to wait to see good friends again and undertake as much gaming as we wish for a long weekend. Convergence is here yet again. The last one was a bit chaotic but this one just has a good vibe.

Everyone involved just wants to have a good time. The pattern of always trying to do something new is no longer present. Also absent is the need to jack cock around with scheduling for the sake of self importance. We can just be people having a good time without the need to one-up one another. No need for fanciful stories or chests drummed up derived from delusions of grandeur. Just people. Gaming. Cooking. Sipping It’s Only Vodka.

We may play a lot of RPGs or we may play a few. It really does not matter. The decision of what we play is out of my hands as it always has been. As long as we’re all having fun, the weekend will rock. When I fail, we’ll chuckle about it and move along. I will fail. I know that already.

I must tip my hat to my long time players. Wheels and Randall, you make games worth running. You arrive with no expectations, bring high energy, and drive games where you want them to be. The effort is noted and applauded.

Indie+ 2 – October 29th – November 4th

Sep 21, 2012
Comments Off on Indie+ 2 – October 29th – November 4th

Indie+ 2 will be held from October 29th through November 4th.

Indie+ is a virtual convention held completely within the bounds of Google+. The convention features panels, discussions, games and other activities all featuring independent game developers, publisher, authors, and artists.

The Indie+ 2 organizational process is rolling along nicely but still needs volunteers to run games, hold panel discussions, present products/art/etc, and general helpers (aka ninjas) to keep the convention running smoothly. For general information, check out the Indie+ website.

For more details, contact one of the following on G+:

Technical Services / General Information Chris Tregenza
Games Brent Newhall
Panels/Discussion/Ninja Wrangler Larry Moore
Guest & Trader Liaison Jacob Bouvier
Ninja Monkey Mark Hassman

The second incarnation of the convention promises to be better than the original. I look forward to seeing many of the great independent game creators during the week.


Comments Off on Indie+ 2 – October 29th – November 4th

Quick Thoughts: Ambition & Avarice

Sep 17, 2012
Comments Off on Quick Thoughts: Ambition & Avarice

Ambition & Avarice
Pages: 60
Cost: Free (Beta Version)
System: OSR Fantasy Style

After only an hour browsing a beta document, here are my quick takeaways. Overall, Avarice & Ambition is a clearly presented, well written document. I rarely paused to consider the text. In fact, I usually I only had to toss my preconceptions and reread what was written the few times I was confused.. The diversity of choices are wide ranging and allow for many unique styles of play.


1) Flexibility. The rules encourage characters to take interesting actions without forcing them through a tedious generation system.

2) Variety: Both the racial and class choices have numerous options. The options have both limitations and bonuses that are well designed.

3) Maximum HP at 1st Level: Adventuring is a tough business. Only the hearty (and foolish) should undertake it.

4) Ixnay on the Cookie Cutter: Far from a clone, the system is a new take on a classic approach. Everyone can perform actions via the Dungeon Throws as well as Attribute Tests.

5) Different Spells: Again, treading new ground by rewriting the baseline of what magical types can cast. The classic stand-by choices are gone in favor of engaging the player characters to make interesting decisions.

6) Throttling Hero Types: 2nd Paragraph of the Overview, it clearly states that not all adventurers are out to make the world a better place. That’s right, you don’t have to go save the world, the community, or the damsel in distress. You might not even consider it.

7) Charisma actually is useful.

8) Dark Ages. Need I say more?

9) Form Fillable, Useful Character Sheets: No need to print and fill, just enter details and move along.

10) Toxins and Intoxicants are interesting.


1) Ascending Armor Class: Everyone loves it. However, I can still add and subtract. The choice works well for the system.

2) Silver Based Economy: Initially a positive but not reinforced in all aspects of the book. Costs, when present, should reflect the core choice but several costs are present in GP rather than SP. Not a major ding.

3) Lack of Examples: Generally, I expect some level of example mechanics, there are a few in the main text but no explicit sections. Is it useful for a Beta? Perhaps not.


1) Non-Existent Creatures: Not a single creature is detailed in the free beta. There is mention of how to convert (somewhat) other system depictions (subtract AC from 19). To have a fully-playable beta, some creatures should have been included.

2) Lack of Magical Items: Another item on the Is It Needed? list. Perhaps not, I can easily merge in common stuff but after the care taken to separate spells from the well-known, I was hoping for at least a token amount of information. Scrolls are detailed in the intermediary text; potions are mentioned; still I was left longing for more information.

3) No Play Test Adventure: Closer to a Meh than a negative. I shifted it downwards because if the game is truly a beta, having a common metric for measurement/discussion should probably exist. Without a baseline, it is hard to compare gaming experiences. Still, this is a system that expects prior experience so the inclusion is not mandatory.

Wrapping Up

Grab a copy. You cannot beat the cost. Also, I loved the art. Art doesn’t make a game for me but the included bits are well done. I recognize shades of other systems in some of the mechanics. Not a knock but rather a tip of the hat to reuse and repacking of ideas that work well. I enjoyed my quick browse through the game.

Comments Off on Quick Thoughts: Ambition & Avarice

Drinking Quest 2 – Yeddy Vedders Yeti Adventure

Sep 4, 2012
Comments Off on Drinking Quest 2 – Yeddy Vedders Yeti Adventure

Settle back, grab a cocktail and prepare yourself for this epic non-review. That’s right slackers, I’m not going to review this product because I just received it in the mail but its too good not to share right away.

Drinking Quest 2 – Yeddy Vedders Yeti Adventure


DQ2 is the stand-alone sequel to DQ1 featuring a new set of 4 quests to explore. Where can you get it? At, of course! How much it costs is entirely dependent on the location of your favorite tavern in the world. Too obtuse? $25 Canadian + shipping to your part of the world.

So, what do you get other than the sequel version to the world’s greatest drinking RPG? Same stuff you got in DQ1 with new, cool quests to play — 4 Hero’s, 4 Special Abilities, 4 Quests of 12 cards each along with a summary card for each Quest, a quick rules card, and the quick card for the weapons/armor/items shop.

The essence of the game remains the same. The quality of the cards is much better – these are well cut without the annoying nubs on the original copy of DQ1 I purchased. The cards are the quality you expect from a mass producer; not a small card game company. Well done, DQ, well done.

The four quests in DQ2 are 1) Den of the Cat People, 2) City of Cheer, 3) Leprechaun Party and 4) Minotaur’s Maze Tavern. Each and every one of the new quests depicts a party atmosphere. As the heroes you will need to find some yeti eggs and progress from there. Yep, I drank some beer, double checked, had a shot, and triple checked. The yeti seem to be egg laying mother of gods beasts of doom. Quadruple check. Still yeti eggs. I wonder if Denny’s would whip one into an omelet if I brought it by? Probably not but I may call them to check.

Who can I play?

Fine, I’ll mention the heroes but you should really be a) buying the game or 2) out buying booze in preparation. The four heroes you can play are Yeddy Vedder donning his Yeti Sweater, Hilda Muckracker rocking the ability to Flirt for Tips, Chuglox ready to Tap the Keg, and John Bellow pondering tossing some Homeless Napalm. The napalm allows John — gotcha! I’m not revealing that. Chuglox’s Tap the Keg forces people to drink with a special bonus for belching.

Pros & Cons

Pro – Four new fantastic quests.
Pro – A completely standalone game not a booster pack to the original.
Pro – Fantastic card quality.

Con – I don’t have 3 others to play the game with right now.
Con – Does not come with a bottle of aged whiskey.
Con – Guy in a bright orange jumpsuit running down the road looking for a ride.
Con – I haven’t seen the game authors or publishers on Google+ yet.

A long winded monologue

DQ2 is what all small card game publishers should strive for — quality cards, excellent packaging, and a complete, easy to use product right out of the box. The improvement of the card quality between the original DQ1 and DQ2 is awesome. Nice job, folks. I have not even opened the new copy of DQ1 yet but I suspect it is just as well done.

As for the art, it is the same top shelf B&W quality I expected after DQ1. Clean, well presented in a professional layout on the cards. No signs of amateurs doing it themselves. Merely a clean, complete package from the box through the game itself. Well f’ing done.

Both DQ1 and DQ2 will be packed for Convergence ’12, where they will get played, mocked, and played again. With any luck, they will avoid the epic It’s Only Vodka moment. If I return, I will write a proper review.

Comments Off on Drinking Quest 2 – Yeddy Vedders Yeti Adventure

Gaming Hermits – The Silence of 10K Feet

Aug 30, 2012

Games and gamers come in many forms. Some thrive on the liveliness of conventions and large groups. Others prefer small events focused on smaller groups of well known people. I like both, on occasion, but consider the small group dynamic more enjoyable overall. For the last several years, my original group with a few additional people have headed to a central location for a gaming weekend.

Mt. Evans Field STation

The preferred location has evolved after stints in cramped hotel rooms and crabby neighbors into gaming at the University of Denver’s Mount Evan’s Field Station. The location is far removed from camping — it has central heat, two bathrooms and a full kitchen. You might even get a internet connection if you are lucky but you will not find cell phone access. Life without the annoying chirps of incoming email, texts, or notifications from social networks is one of the perks. Decoupling yourself from electronic attachments is not for everyone. You must be ready to just game, socialize face to face, and take advantage of the setting.

The idea originated from a discussion between Kevin of KORPG and myself several years ago. The gathering was dubbed Convergence. It slowly evolved into the modern incarnation of friends arriving from several states into a long weekend of game playing, socializing, and solace in a remote area. The original intentions have long been fulfilled and continue to be relevant today.

As the gathering evolved, disparate intentions emerged. The diverging intentions were not intentional. Rather, it was just a matter of group dynamics. We all learned during our childhood that a square peg does not fit in the round hole. If you place one person in a small group dynamic who wants to showcase games of little interest to the other attendees, critical mass is broken. Group dynamics are key in a small gathering. Everyone needs to be on the same page as to what they want to play or would enjoy doing. Each member needs to speak up early and often if the game at hand doesn’t fit for them.

Call it gaming via democracy. I’ve been very pointed in noting to new attendees that the original group is very old game oriented. We’ve tried out a fair share of different systems but everyone agrees that early D&D fits our fancy more than most. Furthermore, those key people don’t play a particular edition but rather a mutant incarnation of several editions ranging from Basic to 1E and through 2E. A huge number of the rules are outright ignore. Perhaps we are gaming neanderthals but we can make games get moving quickly and simply without hours of downtime.

Time is a critical component. The players want to play not spend hours generating characters or learning rules. It is far easier to fall back into a comfort game than to dig through rule books for hours. We will degenerate into telling true stories and drinking beer if the wait is too long. Or bust out a game of MtG.

One new guy gets it. He brought up the possibility of running CP2013 — the original cyberpunk game. He thought it would fit with us and it does in spades. Chargen is pain but it can be streamlined easily or with an assortment of pre-generated characters to choose from. The game systems are not really the question, it is frankly the interest and engagement of the group.

As for time fillers, I have Drinking Quest #1 ready to roll. Couple that with incoming copies of the new revised edition PLUS Drinking Quest 2, the sequel. Bust out the beers, the pretzels, and assorted appetizers.

The end of September is going to a fantastic time.

What’s This Thing Do? The PDF

Aug 27, 2012
Comments Off on What’s This Thing Do? The PDF

A cool group of seers over on Google+ answer questions about esoteric items people come across. Several months ago, I asked about a couple different items. Today, I saw those items were among 40 others that had been compiled into a system-less book of magic items.

The sages granted me a gift of the book since I asked about a couple of items. However, you can now purchase the tome as well. (Try this discount if you hurry.)

If you have queries of your own, you might try contacting the circle of sages of What’s This Thing Do? They may well divine meaning in an item well beyond what you expected. Sure, it could be a useless shoe horn left in your mother’s attic but perhaps it is something else. You will never know unless you ask.

Comments Off on What’s This Thing Do? The PDF

City Name Generator Updated

Aug 23, 2012
Comments Off on City Name Generator Updated

I got dinged in a forum comment for not including New Zealand in the City Name Generator country list. Ding noted. New Zealand is now represented.

As are the following countries: Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Burma, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, Chile, Columbia, Congo, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, India, and Israel.

Considering I used a U.S. based data source, there are a) Americanized names in the list, b) errors, and c) names in languages I cannot read. I chose to keep (c) for flavor.

(A) is an artifact of the data source. Hand assembling the list is not an option and (b) is due to the lack of updates to the data set along with crazy American ignorance. Such is life. Feel free to complain.

I tried utilizing UTF to include additional character sets. The data may be completely borked. Should that prove accurate, I’ll fix that countries effected.

Comments Off on City Name Generator Updated