Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday Trivia Tragedy

Do you dream of Dryads, converse in Cant, wonder about wands, think THAC0?  Are you geek enough to reach 5th Level?  Then step on up to the Troll's Trivia Tragedy!

Every Friday (except when I forget and until I get bored of it) I'll post five questions, one from each level, from my AD&D 2nd Ed Trivia Game.  Bragging rights will be bestowed. Prizes, not so much.

Comment with your best guesses, no fair looking answers up!  Bonus points for humorous, sad, poignent or otherwise anecdote involving the answer. I'll post the answers later, Mondayish.


1st Level
What character class has the ability to influence the reactions of others through music, poetry, and stories?  [hint: what is the lamest character class?]

2nd Level
Which of the following is NOT a special ability common to all rangers?

A. Tracking.
B. Use of clerical spells at 8th lvl.
C. When wearing light armor, can fight two-handed without penalty.
D. Can accurately identify plants and animals.

3rd Level
What is the maximun number of missiles permitted by a magic missile spell?

4th Level
What specific advantage do characters gain by parrying?

5th Level
Francis casts polymorph other on a lesser basilisk (INT 1) turning it into a chipmunk. What is the chance that the basilisk will take on the mentality of Chippy the chipmunk?

[bonus question: will Chippy's gaze turn to stone?]

Austin Game Scene 2011

Another year of gaming in Austin awaits!

FLGS and Meetups

Google map of Austin Area RPG / Game Stores I maintain (let me know if I'm missing something).

Battleforge Games like Thor's Hammer before failed its Save vs Business Reality.  Taking a good gaming space with it (same as Thor's).  Austin lacks (like everyplace I've lived) public gaming space.  RPG's just aren't commercially viable.  They run long 6-10 hours, take 5-10 peoples worth of space, require infrequent and/or minimal purchases, and few people are willing to pay say $5 to have a place to play.  Metro Seattle's Gamers is/was? kind of working that pay to play model.  Don't think they break even, and are subsidized by Dragonflight Con, and MSG is an exception.   The only game stores surviving in Austin are supported by comics sales and focus more on CCG/miniatures and recurring income games such as Hasbro's 4ed.  They certainly have (some) shelf space for all sorts RPG's but can't justify having much playing space for them.  It's not their fault, it's just business.


Dragon's Lair
 is the only (AFAIK) "not way the flip up North" public place for RPG.  But is very crowded, often booked and too noisy for me.  [I was just there utilizing my xmas gift card (thanks Paula!) and space has been rearranged, with several more tables in different areas.  So, I must reserve judgement on crowd, availability, and noise until I get a chance to play in the new setup.  Looks promising though]  They do have the largest selection of games I've found.  Standard stuff, oddball stuff, indie stuff, local stuff, OSR stuff.  Some of everything except wargames.  They also have many events, tournaments and author/celebrity signings.  Definitely should subscribe to Dragon's Lair email newsletter.  DLair also started a podcast, but I'm not podcast kind of troll so know zilch about it.

Tribe Comics and Games is still the southernly place for RPG, board games, minis, and of course comics.  Also, still, not letting people game in their store :(.  But a great store, with friendly folks, a varied stock of RPGs and other games.  Will order anything you may want that's not in their store, pay when you pick up.  I've used this service twice it was painless and quicker than waiting for USPS delivery.

Tribe "sponsors" S. Austin Game Night, Tuesdays 6pm-late at Rockin Tomato on S. Lamar.  Great group of people, great place (tables, booths, beer, and pizza!) But for board games only.

Great Hall Games (a bit north for some) still has great board game, historical minis, wargame, Go, and other game nights.  The place in Austin for wargames and historical minis.  No RPG games or gaming.

King's Hobby still has RPG section and is worth an occasional visit.  And if seems to be Austin's modeling HQ.  Although, I'm not into that scene and could be wrong.

I believe the "modern" D&D Meetup folks have moved from defunct BattleForge to Dragon's Lair. But, it seems the D&D meetup activity has died down (could just be holidays). The GeekingOutOldschool contingent of the D&D Meetup has been gathering at the Troll's house in S. Austin recently.  More activity with Austin's RPG Meetup group of late is encouraging.  Sadly I don't believe Redbox BCS ever built up enough steam.

Georgetown RPG Meetup (too far for me).  Another, Friar Tuck Meetup, for the Northerners.   This thread about Options for gaming in Austin.


Game Conventions


OwlCon XXX Jan 28th-30th, Houstin Bam!  If I could, I'd clone myself and go twice.

ChimaeraCon April 1-3, San Antonio "Chimaeracon is a South Texas festival for Gamers, Sci-Fi enthusiasts and Anime fans. Come and enjoy video games, miniatures, card games, RPGs, live action role play and much more. "  Probably won't make this one.

North Texas RPG Con June 2-5, Irving.  Heck yeah! I'll be slamming the early-bird registration page when it opens on July 1st.  I went last year and had the best time.  The size and old schoolishness of NTRPGCON give it a unique atmosphere.  Pics.

MillenniumCon Nov 11-13, Round Rock - RPGA, Historical Minis, Boardgames.  By November might be feeling the need to get my Wargame On! Will hafta wait and see.

Maybe there will be another Central Texas Mini-Con.


ARGH!
Austin Region Game House!

Starting Sunday, Jan 9th I'm opening my house for gaming almost every Sunday.  Since SAGN covers board games pretty well, ARGH! will "focus" on RPGs and wargames, but I'm open for what ever.  I'll be running my new Labyrinth Lord campaign "Gold & Glory" on some of those days. GeekingOutOldschool may still be meeting there 1/mo, at least until a more centralish location can be found.  If interested email me. 


Next update 2012.  Hopefully my enthusiasm and stamina maintains for the next 52 weeks!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I am 40

I was born on this date.

I'm a 40yr old nerd and proud (overly so I'm sure) of it.  I have a great job, recently promoted to Director of Server Development, boo yah!  I own a house, share it with my demon dog!  At my awesome birthday party the Piñata was filled with D&D mini's.



Rock Out the New Year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Malware Site No More, I hope.

Thanks again to all the people who took the time to email, post comments, send me screenshots, links.   That was really impressive of effort and goodwill.  Seriously.

From this Google Safebrowsing Report:

What is the current listing status for trollandflame.blogspot.com?
Site is listed as suspicious - visiting this web site may harm your computer.
Part of this site was listed for suspicious activity 2 time(s) over the past 90 days.
What happened when Google visited this site?
Of the 7 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 5 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 2010-12-27, and the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 2010-12-27.Malicious software is hosted on 2 domain(s), including digieyar . ru/,
caxdermain . ru
1 domain(s) appear to be functioning as intermediaries for distributing malware to visitors of this site, including hackslash . net.
Has this site acted as an intermediary resulting in further distribution of malware?
Over the past 90 days, trollandflame.blogspot.com did not appear to function as an intermediary for the infection of any sites.
Has this site hosted malware?
No, this site has not hosted malicious software over the past 90 days.


I've removed hackslash.net from my blog list, and am asking google to review TF's status.  Hopefully it will clear up for the new year.

Monday Morning Trivia Answers

Finally, what I'm sure you've all be anciously awaiting, answers to last Friday's Troll's Trivia Tragedy!





1st Level
On average, which of the following groups enjoys the greatest booty of initial funds when play begins?

A. Warrior  PH page 66

2nd Level
Schools of magic allow wizards to specialize in a particular type of magical study. What is the corresponding concept for clerics?

Spheres of Influence.

3rd Level
Which giant-kin most resembles one of the Three Stooges? 

Verbeeg. [lamest question/answer evar!]

4th Level
If a creature with magic resistance fails its resistance check, does it still get a saving throw (if appropriate)?

Of course!

5th Level
There is only one way to slay a Tarrasque. What is it?

Reduce Tarrasque to -30 or fewer hit points. Then cast a wish spell on it. That or get Chuck Norris to round house kick it.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

oh noes!

lots of people are telling me their browsers report this blog to be attack site or malwarelishous.

i didnt do it.

probably some bad link(like a old blog in my blog roll whose domain is now a bad site) or maybe someone commented with a naughty link.  unfortunately not in posostion to figure this out now (typing this on my phone)  so, feel free to stay away until after i resolve this. before this happened  i scheduled up a few posts for during my vacation from computers (which im theorectically n right now) when they post dont assume malware issue fesolved.

ill post blog when i figured out and remove whatever is triggering malware alerts.


thanks to everyone who alerted me about this.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday Trivia Tragedy

Do you dream of Dryads, converse in Cant, wonder about wands, think THAC0?  Are you geek enough to reach 5th Level?  Then step on up to the Troll's Trivia Tragedy!

Every Friday (except when I forget and until I get bored of it) I'll post five questions, one from each level, from my AD&D 2nd Ed Trivia Game.  Bragging rights will be bestowed. Prizes, not so much.

Comment with your best guesses, no fair looking answers up!  Bonus points for humorous, sad, poignent or otherwise anecdote involving the answer. I'll post the answers later, Mondayish.

Ah hah! Seems I'm not the only one with a copy nor the idea for a blog post series ;) Dungeonmum beat me to punch.


1st Level
On average, which of the following groups enjoys the greatest booty of initial funds when play begins?

A. Warrior
B. Wizard
C. Priest
D. Rogue

2nd Level
Schools of magic allow wizards to specialize in a particular type of magical study. What is the corresponding concept for clerics?

3rd Level
Which giant-kin most resembles one of the Three Stooges? [huh, wtf? this question is lame.] (Hint: They're sometimes called "human behemoths".)

4th Level
If a creature with magic resistance fails its resistance check, does it still get a saving throw (if appropriate)? [A basic rules question seems much lower level than knowing random giant's that don't resemble the Three Stooges at all.]

5th Level
There is only one way to slay a Tarrasque. What is it?

AD&D 2nd Edition Trivia Game

I didn't know this existed until I put a eBay bid on it.  I won and it arrived a couple days ago.  Early present for me, yay!

Even though 2nd ed is my least played and least favorite edition of all, I'm still pretty stoked.  has some tokens, neat (if you like 2nd ed era art, I do) player cards and oh I don't know 1 box (500?) trivia cards plist into 5 levels.




3rd Level Card

Dragon and Dungeon Magazine Insert
  

Thursday, December 23, 2010

3d6 in order, another quick point

I'm not a fan of demi-human level limits.   I've often heard people support them because they desire demi-humans to be rare / have a human centric world.  I'm not that into human centric campaigns either, but if I were the demi-human level limits haven't been in my experience an effective means of making them rare.  Nor does it balance them at all in most campaigns cause those levels aren't reached often.

I was noticing (I believe Labyrinth Lord) had some modest ability requirements for demi-humans.  Which reminded me of the really tough ability requirements of 1st/2nd ed Paladins and Rangers.   It donned on me that ability requirements combined with "3d6 in order" are an effective way to make certain classes/races rarer.   The Paladin and Ranger requirements are way, way too high making them virtually impossible to qualify for unless you use one of the multiple dice stat methods.  But, say requiring elves to have >= INT 9 would make them less common just by virtue of dice rolling statistics.  Also elves would gravitate towards Magic User.

I've often read at Grognardia the author's belief much more thought than we give credit for went into the earliest editions of D&D.  Much of what many (myself included) consider(ed) an arbitrary hodge podge of rules.  Are actually tied together in subtle and elegant ways.   I'm still undecided how much I believe it was intentional vs survival of the fittest (there were tons of RPGs the one(s) that happened to be elegant survived, the others not so much).   But, I'm definitely seeing more and more of what James talks about re: how effective the rules are when taken as is.   Changing one thing ability rolling has a tremendous effect on many other parts of the game.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

3d6, in order

After using it on both sides of the screen I've become a serious fan of rolling up characters using 3d6 and assigning the rolls in order.  That is no rearranging of scores.  Even in games where the DM doesn't require it I sometimes assign ability scores in order.  This morning, in the shower, I was thinking about 3d6, in order, what was lost when game rules moved away from that.

We need feats and doo dads and more rules to differentiate characters!
I'm sure you've heard that.  I hear it from friends and read it online.  Where I don't often hear it is from people playing "3d6, in order" games. Of flippin course every fighter is gonna be the same if you rearrange scores (esp if you roll tons of dice, reroll '1's, etc. to "guarantee" one or more 18's) so that they all have 18 STR, next highest rolls in DEX/CON and WIS/CHA dump stats. Duh! If you decide to play a fighter and then roll 3d6 in order. A lot of interesting, fun to play characters will emerge.


The player characters should be Heroes, well above the common folk.
I like campaigns were the characters are average schmucks as much, maybe more, than when they are near super-humans and "destined" heroes.   But, assuming we are interested in heroic play the above is often claimed as reason for rolling lots of dice, rerolling 1's, etc. So as to greatly increase chance of high stats.  Instead of elevating the PC's and introducing substantial power creep (thus requiring increasing monster & magic item power and leading to endless splat books, 1-up manship, and rules) I suggest degenerating NPC and esp common folk.  Farmer Bob doesn't have 3d6 abilities, he has 2d6 or 4+2d4 or 8+/-2(Fudge Dice are wonderful things), or simply 8.  Or really old school it, "normal" folk are 0lvl without stats or significant abilities of any kind.  Only PC's and henchmen have levels.

3d6, in order isn't for every game style, it isn't more better, I don't always use it. The point of this post is to encourage you to try it for yourself and find out if you enjoy it as much as I have grown to.

Monday, December 6, 2010

OwlCon XXX

I'm going to OwlCon again this year and if you're in Texas area late Jan, so should you!


One of the best convention experiences I've had was last years OwlCon.  The organizers do a great job.  There's a nice variety of RPGs, boardgames, miniature games, interesting vendors, and other events. The location, Rice University, is great.  (The Student Union's bar in the basement sells beer!)


I'm running "B2 Caves of Chaos" using Labyrinth Lord on Sat at 8pm and continuing Sun 10am.  I wanted to do something new, but 1) Been busy, 2) it's been a blast for me and seemingly popular with the players every other time I've run it.  So, why jack up a good thing?

I was surprised at the relative lack of OSR type games.  Seems to me that there's a lot of old-schoolish interest in Texas, what's up guys?  I did find and sign up for some S&W space adventures.  But dawdled for too long, missing out on the single session of "Barbarians of Lemuria", its slots are all full :(  At least The Paradigm Traveller got in so he can tell me about it.   Got in on some Atomic Highway which I know nothing about other than both "atomic" and "highway" where in the title.  Which is enough.  More Burning Wheel (cause the GM last year was phenomenal and I'm hoping it's the same guy.)

I highly recommend OwlCon.  $20 gets you a full weekend of great gaming. Or if you GM games for two time slots you get in free! Hint, Hint OSR DMs, events like this is how to get the word out (if you're into that).  Preregistrations must be received before pre-registration closes on Friday, January 21, 2011.

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