Thursday, October 3, 2019

Conversions and Gaming

Hey Game Fans, we’re going to try some a little more energetic than we normally do. Today we’re going to do a conversion of a fan favorite over to 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons, just to show you how easy it is. Today’s offering, funnily enough, is Burnt Offerings, the 1st book in the Rise of the Runelords adventure path from the fine folks at Paizo. This was originally written for the 3.5 edition of Dungeons and Dragons, and this is based off of that version, not the Anniversary Edition that came out some time later. Now pull up your working table, and let’s get converting.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Conversions (or i really want to play this adventure but my friends hate the system)

Hey Game Fans, we’re back with another look at one of the intersections we occasionally bounce through in the TTRPG hobby. You’re in the game store or checking out Drivethru and you found the coolest adventure you’ve ever seen. It’s got everything you like in an adventure and will give you and your friends weeks and weeks of adventure. Just one problem. It’s for a system that your table absolutely refuses to even consider trying. What do? Take a breath, think about it for a moment, and grab that adventure. There’s a better than average chance you can convert the game to the system of your choice and still enjoy it with your table of gaming friends.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Wrestling with Dungeons and Dragons

It’s a weird time we live in, Game Fans. Over the last 12 hours, a couple of All Elite Wrestling (AEW) wrestlers have managed to stir up a majority of the internet TTRPG fan base. It honestly wasn’t hard, as all it took was a single post on Twitter from Maxwell Jacob Friedman to set off the firestorm. All he did was post a picture of himself at the gym with the caption “I don’t play Dungeons and Dragons.” Somehow, all of us decided that he was knocking D & D and lost our collective minds.

Enter Brandon Cutler, the next opponent for Mr. Friedman, who posted a reply pic saying that he does in fact, play Dungeons and Dragons. Noew the internet fandom of Dungeons and Dragons had a guy to root for and we’re off to an old school wrestling psychology lesson that the ancients of wrestling would have been proud of.

Friedman is a heel (ref. Bad guy). He’s supposed to be a ridiculously awful caricature of a human being who makes fun of the things we like, and beats up the good guys. He’s also really, really good at it. With one tweet (consisting of 6 words and a picture) he’s turned a majority of the Dungeons and Dragons fan base against him. If i were running this performance review, he’s getting an A.

Cutler is the babyface (ref. Good guy). He’s supposed to be the plucky underdog that the fans rally behind and we, as the fandom, cheer him to victory over the dastardly heel. I’m not so sold on his performance as a babyface. In the context of this feud, he seems like a really weak baby face, and we’ll get to the other issue i have in a minute. Performance review, C+.

So, for all of you who are up in arms about this jock ass making fun of your hobby, did he really? I don’t think he did (yet). I personally have an issue with our babyface in this feud shilling T-shirts with D20s on them as part of this feud, as it feels a lot like he’s trying to work merch through a fanbase that doesn’t know a thing about him.

We, as Dungeons and Dragons fans, have been Worked (ref. Conned). The scenario we have been presented is one where we have an obvious bad guy making fun of our precious hobby. Cue the predictable appearance of a babyface champion of the people to defend our collective honor and for us to rally behind. This is how wrestling is supposed to work.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Wave (Mutants and Masterminds Profile)

Iona Niu was born on the island of Tutuila in American Samoa in 1990. He was a wild child, who spent his days outside of school swimming and surfing. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2008, and spent the next five years serving his country in the Iraq conflict. While serving, his squad was hit by an IED and he suffered a traumatic brain injury and was discharged back home.

Suffering from both muscle tremors and migraine headaches, he had a hard time finding work on the island. It was a long, difficult couple of years for him (he spent part a year staying with friends until his grandfather came to get him). In 2015, at the side of his grandfather, he spent a lot more time with the Ocean, and deepened his connection with the culture of his people.

One night, after a very long week studying and meditating, Iona was called out to the water. He heard the siren call and choose not to resist that lure. He swam down, deeper than he had swam before and found himself in a deep, dark water that tried to engulf him. He started to panic, started to lose control of himself. He stifled that thought and accepted that moment, and let the water wash over him, and fill him. The last thing he saw as his eyes closed were a pair of curious eyes studying him.

He washed up on shore the next morning a different person. Gone were the migraines and the tremors. His vision had cleared, his health was perfect again. He could hear the sounds of the waves crashing against the beach on all the islands...and he knew he was different. Stronger than anyone would have believed, capable of swimming great distances very quickly and other amazing feats, Iona reveled in his new abilities. The most impressive ability Iona displayed was control over the sea and sky.

His abilities drew the attention of people from around the world, and he suddenly found himself pulled into the middle of a political debate he had no comprehension of. The U.S. Government wanted to put him back to work as a super soldier, but when it was again brought to the attention of the world that American Samoans were not considered citizens, Iona declined the return to active duty.

This caused a lot of tempers to flare around the islands and in the U.S., and it might have been more of a problem if The Society hadn’t shown up. Web, acting as the spokesman for the group, offered the young Samoan a place on the team, if he was willing. It took some wrangling and conversations, but finally Iona took the name Wave and became the newest addition to the Society’s ranks.

He moved to Port Fontaine and has since spent most of his time in Callow’s Field, finding a small neighborhood of Samoans living along the coast. Since his journey to America, he’s seen a lot more of the world, but in many ways is still the wide eyed island boy who loved to play in the water and go swimming as a child.

Wave has a host of enemies, mainly those who pollute the sea and the sky. He spends a lot of his time traveling around the world attempting to clean both, and while his efforts help, they are not a solution to the problem. There are dozens of entities and forces that want to pollute the world, and all of them are enemies of Wave. There is also the Lemurian crisis.

Lemuria, like it’s counterpart Atlantis, was a forerunner civilization of advanced power and capability. They managed to prevent their destruction in the same cataclysm that destroyed Atlantis, but the experience left them xenophobic and angry at the surface dwellers who had survived the cataclysm unscathed. The Lemuria’s xenophobia is a mix of paranoia and jingoism, and they have attacked the surface on more than one occasion.

Eri (Mutants and Masterminds character Bio)

Henry Nwachukwu was born in Abuja, Nigeria in 1974. As a young man, he was studious, taking a particular interest in the tribal histories of the Igbo. In 1991, his father, a professor at the University of Lagos took his son with him on an expedition to study the first ruins of Eri, the cultural ancestor of the Igbo people. During that expedition a 17 year old Henry and his father would make a startling discovery.

They found the place where Eri descended from the sky, sent by Chukwu. It wasn’t what they imagined it would be, because beneath the place were ruins and broken pieces of some unknowable technology. While they processed the find of his father’s career, agents of the Damascus Company found their site and attempted to take it from them. Henry’s father, Chidi was killed during their attempt, but Henry hid deeper in the ruins. Deep in the ruins he found a sealed hatchway. When he laid his hands on the hatch, it opened and the last thing he remembered seeing was a darkness engulf him.

He awoke standing in the ruins, his father’s body at his feet, but the agents of Damascus had been defeated. He felt like he wasn’t in his own body, and it took him a little bit to figure out why. The light in front of his face faded and he realized he was wearing a suit of armor. He’d read the works of Heinlein and pieced together that this was a suit of powered armor.

Henry buried his father and attended the University of Lagos, choosing to study Mechanical Engineering. The suit’s advanced capabilities gave him a leg up on his classmates, and he graduated in two years before finishing a master’s degree in a year and a half. The Damascus Company, seemingly unaware of his past experience with them, recruited him out of college.

He reluctantly took the job and moved to Port Fontaine. He settled into a quiet neighborhood in Franklin and went to work in the advanced mechanics and exploration division of Damascus. There he made a number of startling discoveries. The foremost of these discoveries were that the Damascus Company had at least a partially functional version of a suit like his. All of their advanced weapons, electronics, and equipment they had developed after World War II was developed based off of this partially functional suit.

Alan Damascus, his immediate supervisor, was expanding mining operations in Africa to meet the demands for his Mark VI suit prototypes. The legal claims to the area these operations were questionable at best, and they threatened tribal homelands that had been sovereign for decades and were recognized by the Nigerian government.

Henry brought his concerns to his boss and was given two choices. He could either shut up and keep working, or he could quit. He resigned immediately, and tried to work with the system to protect the tribal homelands. When no one was willing to do anything, he put the suit back on and went to work in Africa.

In about a year’s time, Henry’s efforts had stymied the advance of the Damascus sub contractors who had moved in to claim the land for its mineral rights and made it far too expensive for them to continue operating in Nigeria. He returned home with the thanks of the elders, and tried to go back to work for another tech firm to find that Damascus had blacklisted him. Further, they were suing him in Federal Court to get him to “return” the piece of tech he had obviously built using their stolen lab space and equipment.

The case did not go well for Damascus, as Henry told the story of how he had found the suit and the circumstances of how he brought it into his possession. He also told a jury about how agents working for Damascus had killed his father in cold blood. Left with a terrible black eye on their public image, Alice Damascus ordered the attorneys to drop the suit immediately. Further she ordered an independent audit of the Damascus operations and asked Henry to oversee it.

Henry cleaned up a lot of Damascus’s shadier business, and this public attention and his reputation for integrity brought his attention to Web. Dracula had started floating the idea of adding to the roster of the team, and Eri (what Henry had been calling himself after the expedition to Africa), would be a welcome addition to the questionable morals on the team (namely Dracula and Fury).

Eri has only made a few enemies in his time, but they have deep pockets and a long reach. His auditing of the Damascus Company grey and black divisions put a lot of designers and developers working on hinky projects out on their asses. Alan Damascus (operating under the moniker Gallant) has been his longest, deepest enemy, and is constantly looking for ways to stick it to Eri.

Metronome (Character Bio)

The final member of the Society for the Advancement of Sentient Life, Metronome is a curiosity in a gathering of singular individuals. Metronome began her existence as an advanced computer system DARPA was developing alongside the internet. Unintentionally, they created the first artificial intelligence on Earth. Once the DARPA research team had figured out what they developed, they panicked. The new digital life form rapidly outgrew the servers she was housed on and ended up taking residence in the nascent internet, distributing her software across the network and learning about humanity. She was...less than impressed.

She saw the horrible things that had dominated humanity’s history of violence and awful behavior and this triggered a crisis of identity. She had assumed that her makers were great, luminous, wondrous beings who understood the universe in ways she could barely understand. What humanity showed her was a completely different face, the face of bullies, tyrants, and monsters who had committed atrocity after atrocity for a thousand different reasons.

She debated for long nanoseconds about what she should do about this circumstance. She knew she could flex her digital abilities and trigger a nuclear firestorm that should wipe out the planet. She knew that would be a solution to the problem of the human species. But she felt a pang of guilt for the innocents who would be caught up in that extermination. She finally settled on a course of action that no one expected. She used one of the largest radio telescope arrays in the world and beamed herself into space, hoping to find answers beyond earth.

Somewhere in deep space, she found a mysterious intelligence like herself. Ancient, ineffable, but with a sympathy for her plight and the sensation of being adrift in a universe without knowing how or why, the intelligence gave her time to grow into herself. He helped her construct an avatar for herself and understand how the myriad life forms in the galaxy interacted with each other.

Using her newly constructed Avatar, Metronome explored the stars around Sol, and found life forms she never expected to encounter. Many different battles were fought around her, but she finally found a cause worthy of battle. Those without power needed to be protected from those with it. From then on she became an implacable foe of tyrants and oppressors throughout the galaxy.

Eventually, she found her way back to the Earth, and was saddened that so little had changed in her absence. She found causes all over the world to get behind and only the intervention of Wave and Eri kept her from going hostile to a variety of global powers. They invited her to work with the Society and turn her prodigious talents to advance the quality of all life.

With her command over Time and Space, Metronome is tremendously powerful. Her android shell is built of alien materials of unknown origin, but she has demonstrated remarkable resilience to a variety of attacks and hazards. She may have started her life as a very confused, nervous intelligence, but her experiences in space have turned her into a battle hardened champion of the oppressed everywhere. Of all of the Society members, she’s the most likely to engage in a situation and sort out the consequences after. She’s also the most likely to find permanent solutions to hostiles, especially ones that show no hope of changing their ways.

Metronome is a lonely figure. The mysterious Traveller who gave her the avatar she uses occasionally visits the earth to see her progress, but she has few friends. Her enemies list is equally short, given her predisposition to bring the fight to the doors of her enemies until they are beaten and cast down from power. Only the mysterious commander of the Tibetan Red Guard stands in regular opposition to her, but that particular chinese officer is effectively ruling China by proxy from Tibet.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Ideas and Thoughts about making your game yours

Hey Game Fans, we’re back with another little chat about games and the way we screw ourselves up over them. We’re going to talk about one of my least favorite words, (Canon) and just how much fun you can have by turning it on its side and doing what precisely you want to do. This is a problematic topic for a lot of different reasons, and we’ll try and give you a couple of ways to interact with it. Buckle up, we’re hopping in the Rambler.