Wednesday, January 20, 2021

[James Mishler Games] Now Available -- Runemaster Class

Runemaster Class
By James Mishler with Jodi Moran-Mishler

Compatible with Labyrinth Lord

The Runemaster Class includes the following new additions to Labyrinth Lord:

Runemaster Class details;
Runemaster Rune List, including 34 new runes;
Rules for Drowning and Fear effects.

Designed for use with Labyrinth Lord, easily used with any Old School RPG system!

32 page booklet-sized PDF (25 pages of content) – Normally $2.99 – $1.49 for a limited time only!

Friday, January 15, 2021

Player Typologies... Huh...

Check out Jon Peterson's post on Player Typologies.

Well, ain't that something...

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Nothing new under the sun... just certain points of view...

Addendum: Below is the post that went with it, from May 2009.

It is hardly complete and of course, completely debatable. I never really found the styles of Gygax and Arneson to be incompatible; they were merely along different points on different axes, and really both fall within the broad grouping under "High Adventure." That Gary advocated more along the lines of pure Adventure, while Dave emphasized the Role-Play aspect, does not mean their philosophies were at odds.

A few definitions are in order:

The Adventure element of gaming refers to the Character or party of Characters going forth and making their way through a setting, having adventures, killing monsters, looting and pillaging, and generally doing what adventurers do, regardless of whether the Players are emphasizing the Role-Play or Roll-Play aspect of the game. However, what is certain is that though there is a campaign setting, and the Game Master may even have some over-arching plot points and ideas for what is going on behind the scene, it is the PLAYERS that drive the game by their desire to have Adventure. In essence, Adventure gaming isn't about the destination, it's about the journey there... and there may very well be no "there" toward which one is striving.

The Narrative element of gaming is almost, but not quite, the reverse. While all the same things may occur in a Narrative game, the overarching interest of both Players and Game Master is the telling of a story within the pre-existing milieu created by the Game Master (and quite often, with the assistance of the Players). Often there is a Goal, and specific Antagonists, and all the other bits and pieces that come into play through the nuts-and-bolts concepts of the literary end of things. In essence, Narrative gaming is all about where you are going, and getting there in the most apropos and character-driven method possible.

Role-Playing gaming emphasizes the Player taking on the Role of the Character; at the furthest end of this axis, you are actually dealing with full-immersion into the character, with reams of background and names of allies and enemies, likes and dislikes, and a full list of all goals and dreams, etc. A Role-Playing game at that level might not even use scores or any sort of dice to determine results!

In Roll-Playing gaming, the Character is little more than a collection of scores and derived attributes to be used to chart the "score" a Player has at any one time. In some of these games, names are unimportant, histories are mere flavor text, and the goal is to advance the Characters scores and derived attributes ever onward and upward.

Gygaxian, Arnesonian, and Rein*Hagenian should all be understood; Jacksonian needs a little clarification. Jacksonian refers to both Steve Jackson (the British Jackson, not the American), who wrote the Fighting Fantasy series back in the day; it also refers to Gary Jackson, the fictional creator of the HackMaster game featured in the Knights of the Dinner Table. I should also note that for Dungeons & Dragons purists, you can substitute Hickmanian (Hickmanite?) in place of Rein*Hagenian if you don't want to get vampires mixed in with your dragons...

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Year End and Stuff and Online Gaming

So with this post I will hit 40 posts for the year which is the third most annual posts in the ten years of this version of the blog. Not too bad, though you'd think I could have posted more with the Pandemic and all, but things just did not work out that way.

The big news today is that for the first time I will participate in online gaming, playing some 5E Dungeons & Dragons: Rime of the Frostmaiden using Zoom. Not sure how this is all going to work out, I am a bit of a Luddite, after all but I am going to give it a try. I will be playing rather than game-mastering, which in itself is a rare enough experience for me. But I definitely want to get some experience playing online before I try judging online.

I believe I have also hit upon a format that I will use with my published products going forward. I have never been satisfied by the simple PDFs I've been doing, they don't seem to have any character. Thanks to picking up a bunch of issues of Echoes from Fomalhaut, I have been tinkering with going back to the booklet style format I had used in my AGP days. We shall see what comes of it, but I am really liking how it is working out so far.

Between the works of Gabor Lux and Geoffrey McKinney, I am re-working my prose style, which recently has devolved into an exercise in explosive verbosity, which has been no fun for me to read, and I can't imagine it would be fun for others, either. So I am working on tightening up my various works -- gazetteer entries, geography entries, dungeon room entries, etc. -- to focus on a less explicative and more evocative language, as was used in the old days, and which Gabor and Geoffrey have mastered so well.

Oh, and if you have found my Marvel Cinematic Universe musings at all interesting, let me know... there seems to be far less traffic on those, and no comments, so I am not sure people find it at all as interesting an areas as I do...

Anyway, that's where things stand for now. Next year should see more products published, more reviews published, and I am going to concentrate on doing some interesting blog articles.

Happy New Year to you and yours, and certainly, hopefully, a BETTER year for all...

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

[Marvel Cinematic Universe] The Rise of the Multiverse of Madness

OK, so how is the Multiverse of Madness going to work?

From what we can gather so far, with various heroes and villains from non-MCU film incarnations appearing in upcoming movies it is clear that the Multiverse already exists.

First I should note that the destruction of the Infinity Stones did not create the Multiverse; instead, it unraveled the Marvel MCU Universe – also known as Earth-199999 in the litany of Marvel Earths for the comic-book Multiverse.

And now, apparently, because the Universe of Earth-199999 is unraveling, it is crashing into other Alternate Universes – and other Marvel Universes in the already extant (but unknown to residents of Earth-199999) Multiverse are crashing into it.

There exists a storyline in Marvel Comics that fits this exact scenario – the World Incursions that led to the Time Runs Out crossover event that led to the second massive Secret Wars event.

Now, there is a LOT in that series of stories that just simply won’t work in the MCU. Lots of the characters involved in the MCU are already dead; there is no “Illuminati” in the MCU as most of the characters in that organization don’t even exist in the MCU; and a lot of the super-Cosmic stuff that went on just won’t work for the style they have created for the MCU.

But a lot of the basics from that series of events can be adapted to Phase Four and Phase Five of the MCU.

“The events known as incursions are the result of a contraction in the Multiverse's timeline. They exist in a paradoxical nature, as this contraction was caused by the early death of an unknown universe approximately 25 years in the past, when its Molecule Man was killed by the Molecule Man of Earth-616.”

Of course, Molecule Man does not exist in the MCU; in the case of the MCU, the precipitating event is the “destruction” of the Infinity Stones in Endgame.

In the Time Runs Out series, when two Alternate Universe collide, they are after a short time destroyed. Now, that is not going to happen in the MCU… at first. But that will be the end result unless the process of “Universal Contraction” (the “Multiverse of Madness”) is stopped.

Phase Four is going to show us the beginning of the process, and in the end, the discovery that, without something to stop the process, the entire Multiverse will collapse in on itself, bringing an end to everything.

Well, everything except the re-forming Infinity Stones.

So at about the same time that it is discovered that the Multiverse will collapse in on itself, it will be discovered that the Infinity Stones are reforming, and that the key to stopping the collapse is gathering the Infinity Stones to “set the MCU Universe right” and thus stop the process – Phase Five.

But until then, the process of collapse continues, until like in Secret Wars, all but a handful of Universes are destroyed, and perhaps then we see the formation of BattleWorld.

Possible, but we will see. It seems a little “super-Cosmic” for the MCU. Maybe, like Sakaar in Thor: Ragnarok, we will see a “BattleWorld,” but it isn’t a bunch of Alternate Earths (including Earth-199999) glommed together, it is something else… shards of other Earths glommed together, likely leaving Earth-199999 intact but still endangered. But you never know…

Note that it is interesting that Marvel has started bringing back World Incursions only just this summer, in the X-Men title Excalibur; see Excalibur Just Brought Incursions Back Into the Marvel Multiverse.

So… would this not be an excellent way to bring not only the Fantastic Four, but also the recently-acquired X-Men into the MCU?

Saturday, December 12, 2020

[Stuff] Dungeon Defensive Magic

One thing I miss about G+ is how you could just quickly post a couple of ideas and leave them hanging there for later consideration. Doing so on a blog like this is not as easy or as simple, but still is a lot better than scribbling out an easily-lost note.

One thing that has struck me recently is dungeons -- a lot has gone into discussing why dungeons exist in such ubiquity in fantasy game worlds, other than the obvious need for adventurers to go into them, raid the monster lairs within, and bring out treasures. One obvious reason, of course, is that there are actual subterranean races in the world, so naturally, they are going to want someplace to live, and unlike the surface races, who built out and up when they left the caves, the subterranean races built in and down. Another major reason discussed is for safety against large monsters, such as dragons and giants; stone buildings just won't cut it, so dungeons are more common as being easily defensible.

You can't tell me the walls inside aren't enchanted...

Another reason is for defense against magic. Lots of magic spells are inoperative through more than so much metal or a larger stretch of stone, so a home deep within the rock of the earth is going to be nicely defensible against such spells. Add to this the ability to enhance that defense in all three dimensions and dungeons look even more appealing. You can't cover an entire surface city in lead or three feet of rock but if you build your city underground, the entire thing is immune to certain spells... and if you put defensive runes on the ceiling, you have even more defense against magic. If you build out the walls, you have even stronger magic built in to the defenses (why are there dressed walls everywhere in dungeons? Simple... to put magic in the walls, which is even stronger than runes alone).

Of course, there is no system for such kinds of defensive magic at all in the game; but then, there is also no system of magic in the system for clerics of agriculture or druids to enhance harvests and such, yet it is kind of assumed that they do. So that's a system of magic that might need be detailed for long-term campaign play...