Monday, January 23, 2017

Wearing the Cape - Kickstarter Announcement

As you may have picked up from my previous posts.  I am a huge fan of Marion G. Harmon's Wearing the Cape Series of books.  He has announced that the Kickstarter for the upcoming Role-playing game based upon his book series, of the same name,  is going live on February 1st!  The game will be using the Fate System.

Wearing the Cape -Kickstarter Announcement

I urge anyone taking time to read this post to take a few minutes and check out Mr. Harmon's post.  If you have a little more time, pick up one of his novels.  I think you will enjoy the world he has crafted.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Marvel Superheroes - Issue # 1 "Convention Gone Wild"

Our first MSHRPG Issue #1 “Convention Gone Wild” starts off with our not-a-hero yet characters arriving at a large Comic Book Convention, in an unnamed town, that oddly enough never gets referred to by name during any actual scenes.  Yet, most comic fans inherently know where the soon to be heroes are, and what kind of Nerd/Geek lunacy too expect during a large gathering of comic book aficionados.  
Al and Simon arrived separately and met up in the main foyer while waiting for the doors to open for the convention floor.  Our ex-military and current teacher Al, hit it off with Simon, our meek and timid grocery store general manager, over small talk concerning comics and heroes.   A quickly growing crowd was gather around our heroes, all eagerly awaiting to charge the convention!  It was during this time when a middle aged man, dressed up in costume as a Satyr, walked up next to Al and Simon, and engaged them in conversation.  As they casually check out the “weirdo” dressed up in “goat costume” they noticed he was very excited about getting into the hall and talking to someone in the vendor area.
As the doors opened to the main hall the heroes were caught up in the excitement as much as the other convention goers.  They quickly moved across the floor and were amazed with all the displays and booths filled with a cornucopia a nerdom!   They moved from booth to booth and aisle to aisle and eventually found themselves near the back corner of the convention hall when they were approached by Darkness, You know the big demon looking guy played by Tim Curry in Legend (1985).  He approached our heroes and demanded they tell him where the horns of the unicorns are hidden!
They walked away from the large and very convincing Legend cosplay, talking about how committed that guy was to the role.  Then a fight broke out between Darkness and what appeared to a Darth Maul cosplayer with an amazingly real looking double-bladed light saber.  The fight quickly escalated until Darth Maul executed a sweeping light saber strike and separated Darkness from the bottoms of his legs.  
Darth Maul then approached the duo and demanded to know where to find the Jedi!  The two looked around dumbfounded as the hall erupted in chaos, as all the cosplayers were turning into real versions of the characters of which they were dressed.
[At this time, I would like to take quick break in the description of the events of the game and acknowledge that I have stolen this idea from the Author Marion Harmon who wrote about similar events in his most recent novel:  Team-Ups and Crossovers (Wearing the Cape Book 6).  Shhhh, don’t tell my players!  Also, big thanks to Mr. Harmon for such an awesome idea!  Back to the action…]
Simon, who had come to the convention dressed as Iron Man in his self-crafted suit of armor then also changed into the “real” Iron Man.  Catching Darth Maul by surprise with a quick Uni-beam to the face, put Maul out of commission.  Iron Man then launched himself into the air and went to save the other convention attendees from harm, leaving Al standing next to the bathroom with very realistic looking light saber at his feet.
It was at this point that Art3mis from Ready Player One by Ernest Cline ran up to Al and said that she needed his help stopping the individual responsible for this fiasco before anyone else got hurt.  So Al, who had been looking for a moment like this his whole life, snatch up the light saber and told Art3mis to lead on!  Art3mis then promptly lead Al into the men’s restroom just a short 30” away.  With only a small amount incredulity Al followed her into the restroom and ignited his red double bladed light saber.  
Meanwhile, Iron Man (aka Simon) was flying around the convention center doing away with as many villains as possible, while trying to rescue the civilians, when he is ambushed and knocked from the sky by Thanos.  He rolled to a stop near the very same bathroom that Al had just entered.  Simon returned to his senses, as his armor (now normal plastic again) began to fall off of him, damaged from his ambush and fall.  At least he managed to stop Cthulhu from devouring the eastern side of the convention hall.  Simon heard several shouts and yells from the bathroom and moved to investigate, especially since one of them sounded a lot like Al.  
What had confronted Al and Art3mis was our friendly neighborhood Satyr clutching a gnarled looking branch.  He was talking to himself in hushed tones as purple light pulsed from himself and the staff.
“No, I am in charge!  I am the Locus!” he bellowed as the purple pulse grew in magnitude before he continued to mumble and argue with himself.  Art3mis and Al then moved to the end of the bathroom and attempted to talk him down, but he didn’t even react to their questions.  Finally Al told Art3mis they need to get the staff away from him, only to be interrupted by the Reverse Flash zooming into the bathroom in a blur of Yellow and red lighting.  He was quickly stopped by Al’s light saber igniting and leaving a damaged and poorly made Reverse Flash costume on a very confused looking teenager.  
When Al turned back to Mr. Locus/Satyr, he saw Art3mis thrown across the bathroom and into the glass mirrors above the sink.  Turning to face The Locus he swung his light saber but as it struck the glowing branch it returned to an aluminum prop that only looked like Darth Maul’s light saber.  Simon then slowly entered the bathroom and saw the commotion and a nearly naked teenage Reverse Flash quickly backing away from the glowing staff and The Locus.
Simon looked at Al and they both charged The Locus.  Simon went for his legs while Al’s flying tackle took him down and back into the bathroom stall.  As the three fell to the floor in a tangled heap, the purple glow cut out.  The unconscious Art3mis transformed into a normal looking young woman with a decently constructed but damaged Art3mis costume.
Al scooped up the now inert staff and turned to Simon and quickly exited the bathroom, after making sure that normal Art3mis wasn’t hurt badly and The Locus was still unconscious.   They quickly exited the convention center avoiding the confused and beaten up convention goers, police, and who looked to be the FBI arriving.  They returned to Al’s hotel room on the 10th floor of his hotel to compare notes and take a closer look at this "magic" branch.
This is where the first issue ended.  We will pick up with Issue # 2, next time!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Munchkin Pathfinder Guest Artist Edition - Review

  We had family in to visit for New Years weekend.  So of course it was a good opportunity to pull out a few games and give them a try.  Personally I have only played the basic set of Munchkin in the past.  The game is fun, quick, and comical.

This version is all about Pathfinder, one of D&D 3rd Edition spin-offs.  Just like the other munchkin games you play a hero who is out to reach level 10 and win the game.  You then take turns exploring and fighting monsters and gathering equipment.  You can gain a character class and equipment that will make you strong enough to defeat the various monsters you draw or have played against you via the other players.

Our four players managed to get in two quick games.  One of which I won and the other being by stepson's girlfriend.

The game was fun and and fairly cheap, we picked up a copy at our local game shop for $20.00.  If you are a fan of Munchkin and Pathfinder, its a good buy but if you don't care for the pathfinder then you may be better off with the original Munchkin or one of it many and varied spin-off versions.

Pros (Things I like)

  • Its Munchkin, I love the humor!
  • The board is a nice addition from the basic game.  It helps keep track of the player levels.

Cons (Things I don't like)

  • I wanted more of the basic classes in Pathfinder, not just the Assassin, Eagle Knight, Summoner, and Witch.
  • A little pricier than the base game.  Over all not a bad product for ~$20

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu - Review

One of my Christmas gifts this year from my mother was Pandemic:  Reign of Cthulhu.  Now my mother loves me very much and wants to support my interests and hobbies, even when I am 39 years old and just want to play board games.  My wife and I are both fans of Pandemic and the legacy version of the game.  We are also well practiced in the two player game and the difficulties you face with a bad shuffle.  That being said we were excited to try out Reign of Cthulhu.

It was my responsibility to read the I mean instructions.  Our mistake lies completely in my hands.   I set up the board and decks of cards as instructed.  The game takes place across 4 cities, that any one who has read H.P. Lovecraft's stories will recognize immediately, Arkham, Dunwitch, Kingsport and Innsmouth.  You play investigator who are moving from city to city and locations within the cities trying to stop cultists from gathering and summoning Shoggoths that will seek out portals and allow the ancient ones to affect the world.  You have to gather clues and relics and use those to slow the tides of evil and madness and then finally close all four portals.

We played 1.5 games on New Years Eve, the 0.5 game was our first one that we goofed up the rules.  We didn't see how the portals are opened up, but eventually figured out they start already open.  So we reset and played our first correct full game.  Alas we lost.  It was a close game, we had all the cards needed to close the last two portals but we ran out of cultists to play before we could close the last portal.  The players lose if you run out of cultists, all players go insane, run out of Shoggoths, player deck runs out, or if Cthulhu awakens!  Meanwhile the players have to close the 4 open portals before Cthulhu does wake up.

If you are a fan of the original Pandemic game from Z-Man Games then I would recommend you pick this up and add it to your collection.  If you are a Cthulhu fan, it is a cool game that reflects the dark world of H.P. Lovecraft and would be a neat addition to your collection.  The game is currently available on Amazon for $35.00 and you can find it other places such as Barnes and Noble ranging from $35-$55.  So if you are interested in picking up a copy, make sure you shop around a bit and save yourself a few dollars.

Pros (Things I like)

  • The board is beautiful in its own dark Gothic Horror fashion. 
  • I really like the way it recommends that players choose the investigator for each game.
  • As the Old Ones are able to affect the world (get turned over) the game rules can be changed to negatively affect the players and make the game harder.
  • It was a quick game and you may be able to pay a couple times in a row with out it being an all night experience.

Cons (Things I don't like)

  • We were confused in our first attempt to play because we didn't know how the portal opened up.  We didn't realize they start the game open, it made it much more difficult playing the right way!
  • The rules are a little difficult to read, but I am not fond of the dark background that is often used in horror settings for printed games or RPGs.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Marvel Superheroes (MSHRPG), aka "the FASERIP system," - Issue # 0

I have recently started a ongoing Marvel Superheroes campaign via Roll20.  I don't have much experience with using online platforms for my RPGs but this one has been a great experience.  It is a small group of only two players.  Our play time is short (about 1-2 hrs.) and sporadic as to when we can actually play.

I am a huge fan of Modern Superhero fiction that has grown in popularity over the past several years.  I decided to approach this game with a similar mentality.  The most common method of how the authors approach these worlds, is to present these super powered individual in a fashion that is very close to our modern world.  How would the governments react to people who develop powers?  How would the world be shaped by those same people?  It is an exciting prospect to consider, and to see how my players are going to react to those changes and how those actions will affect them and others around them.

The world in which my player live is just like the real world we all live and play in today.  The playera also chose a very non-traditional way to generate their characters.  They wanted me as the GM to roll up the characters and only reveal powers and abilities as they came into play during the story.  I would like to stress that they wanted me to roll them up and not just create what I thought would be cool for the story.

I went a bit farther and set up a couple of pre-game session with Roll20 so that each of the two players could do the actual virtual rolling in the interface and I would then compare rolls to the Ultimate Powers Book and Player's Book as appropriate.  The players then created a very brief origin and background.  I plan on sharing the team's ongoing exploits on this blog and i hope you all enjoy our antics as much as we do during the course of the game.

Now that we are a few session into our campaign, and the players have been exposed to their characters powers.  I am sharing the characters stats below:

Superhero Name:  Undecided
Character Name:  Simon Vladimir Odinkirk
Origin: Normal Human

F TY (5)  Health: 23
A TY (7)
S GD (8) Karma: 13
E TY (5)
R TY (5)  Resources: GD (10)
I TY (5)
P PR (3)  Popularity: 5 / 0

True Flight - RM (26), Max Speed:  225mph
Resist: Atmospheric Friction - RM (26)
Lung Adaptation: High Speed Winds - RM (26)
Energy Emission: Kinetic Blast RM (26), Range 1 area. Power has to “recharge” from air friction during flight




Grocery Store Manager. One estranged sister. Quite life and self sufficient but has confidence issue and worked at Money General for the past 6 years and it is his first day as Store Manager. Netflix binge watcher. Terrible at video games. Lives in Bolder City, Nevada

...and up next we have my other players character:

Superhero Name:  Undecided
Character Name: Al Crowley
Origin: Normal Human

F TY (5)   Health: 45
A EX (16)
S EX (16) Karma: 13
E GD (8)
R PR (3)   Resources: EX (16)
I TY (5)
P TY (5)   Popularity: 5 / 0

Catalytic Control - EX (16), Touch Only
Crystallization - IN (36), Touch Only
Energy Absorption - PR (3)




2 years in the army didn’t work for him so he got out and became a teacher.  He is an inner city school teacher around Baltimore. Only family is mother and coworkers that try to be friends at work. Kind of a loner.

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 - A year in review

2016 was an interesting year, I am going to list a series of events below that occurred this past year:

  • Watched a new Star Wars movie, I love it and it didn't even have a light saber in the movie
  • Lost our cat Phyllis to cancer
  • Went into year two of my new job with a new employer
  • Traveled with work to Arkansas 11 times, ~10 more than I really would have liked
  • My son passed many, and I do man many, mile markers during his 2nd year on this planet.  I try not to gush too much on this one. 
  • Learned that my sister is dying of cancer and she has survived longer than the Dr's told us she would.
  • Started this blog!
  • Finally joined the world of owning an iPad and it's not so bad
  • Sold our car and truck and bought a new truck (which is just like the old one, only newer)
  • Read a lot of good books, Old Man's War series by John Scalzi, Don't tell my parents I am a Supervillian,  by Richard Roberts, and the last two books in the Wearing the Cape  series by Marion Harmon.  All of which I highly recommend!
  • Played in a beta test of the new Wearing the Cape RPG by Marion Harmon.  I am really excited for the Kickstarter for this one!
  • Interviewed for a new position in my company.  I didn't get the job but I felt the process was really good for me and owners, to get to know me a little bit better.
  • Supported my wife with her new interest and hobby - Bullet Journal
Thing that I didn't get to do this past year but want to change in 2017:

  • Work in the wood shop, I have a bunch of project ideas.
  • Visit old friends, especially the ones that are fairly close.  Such as some old Army buddies in Atlanta.
  • Go to GenCon in Indianapolis.
  • Take my son to the Zoo, he wants to see an Aardvark!
  • Take a family vacation in an RV to the Grand Canyon. 
  • Convince my mother to come and stay with us and when that doesn't work, talk her in to staying for a couple of weeks.
  • Just so I can be like everyone else at New Years, loose about 20 lbs.
  • Write more, practice practice practice!
I know its quick and just a list of experiences but I feel better getting them down on paper.  I do have a few game reviews that will be coming up in a couple of weeks.  I also am going to strive to be more regular with updates, and share more of my thoughts and stories.  Happy New Year!

- Jeremiah