Friday, October 29, 2010

Star Fleet Technical Manual

I (well my older sister) had a copy of the Star Fleet Technical Manual from ADB (who went on to use that material and Star Trek License to make Star Fleet Battles).  It was really, really cool to my adolescent mind.

Adrenaline and other compounds.
In a big auction lot I recently picked up a different version (red cover) and SF Medical Reference Manual (blue cover) which I had never heard of before.

Flipping through the pages made me wonder how cool it would be to base an TOS campaign on just what's presented in these two books.  Other projects got in the way.  The main effect was I started hunting for old FASA Star Trek RPG books. I dig the Triangle Campaign / Trader Captain "campaign".  Playing Klingon "Privateers", Romulan "Traders" (aka spies), or Harry Mudd type "Merchants" seems more fun than encountering new and dangerous aliens, seducing their women, then warping away before you have to deal with any consequences of your actions.  Actually that sounds pretty neat too ;)

Medical procedures for those suffering from a Mugato bite.

More pics from the Star Fleet Medical Reference, which is really a bizarre and interesting collection:

Note: not a red shirt.


Skulls of the Universe

Monday, October 25, 2010

Patent Searching for Ideas

BoingBoing mentioned Using Google Patent Search as coloring book generator.  Trying a few searches seems like a great idea.  Of course I tried looking up a couple "game" terms;  Role Playing Games, Dragons.  Found some really interesting drawings and ideas.   The patent drawings are typically nice clean line art with labels and descriptions.  Not that I need another endless rabbit hole to dive down, sigh...

If I had endless time and energy I'd put together a RPG coloring book!  But instead I'll just mention it on my blog in the hopes someone else does it ;)

Totally Awesome Dragon pistol! Just what every Shadowrun street samurai needs!

Reading those patents, mostly (esp the software/system/idea patents) just made me sad over how much time and energy and money to lawyers is wasted on patents.  Stupid, trivial, obvious.  Ideas worth less than the patent application forms they are on.

Friday, October 22, 2010

15 Games with Annotations

"I rarely participate in these blogosphere trends (mainly because I tend to come to them too late), but here are the fifteen most meaningful games to me, not necessarily in order.  I've provided a little explanation for some of them, as well:"
From the Sorcerer's Skull
Well I'm a blogwhore and jump on any meme, even ones I read about tangentially and aren't even sure exist ;)

1. D&D - Blue Box!  Norm's first RPG ever, nuff said.

2. Rolemaster - When 2ed and TSR's money grubbing, splatbook whorring ways became apparent to me I fled D&D.  And fell into Rolemaster's warm embrace.  (the warmth was from the 4/hits round of bleeding I suffered from the Fall/Crush 'C' critical I had received)

3. FUDGE - The messiah that wasn't.

4. ICE MERP - Middle Earth Roleplaying. I had most if not all of the 1st ed supplements.  Showed me how bad ass a wilderness map could be.  Gave me interest in Flora and Fauna, Herbs and Poison tables. Taught me everything I knew about Middle Earth before the movies came out.  And sold along with MTG cards funded a 9mo bike trip around Europe.

5. ToEE PC game (and module, one of my most successful campaigns. Lareth the Beautiful most fab villain ever).  The game that brought me back to D&D (3.5).

6. D&D 3.5 - Taught me exactly what I like as a DM and a gamer (it's not 3.5)

7. Arduin - Arrived very late here.  The Parlament Funkadelic of RPGs.

8. Go - subtlety, sacrifice, the whole, humility.

9. SPI's War of the Ring - My first (of very many) paper chit and hex wargames.  Wow, just realized this is probably the only item I've managed to retain from before age 14, certainly the only game.

10. Star Castle - Arcade video game, the first I ever played.

11. MTG CCG - Learned very much about game mechanics/theory.

12. Settlers of Catan - My first (of very many) modern/adult/euro style board games.

13. Traveller RPG - Space; it's really, really big and still you can't get away from "Hard" Sci-fi dweebs.

14. Labyrinth Lord - The game I most want to play, and by play I mean houserule beyond all recognition.

15. "Basic Computer Games" - Start of my tech career which has given me joy, stress, bad posture, pale skin and best of all; time and the money to play all the games I want.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

So, what have I missed?

I took a long (multi-month) hiatus from blogging and reading the deluge of great material all the peeps in the blog roll to the right produce.  The choice between playing and reading/writing about playing is what separates "bloggers" from "gamers".  Me definitely in the gamer camp.  I've luckily been doing more gaming.  So the blogging suffers.

Not quit ready to jump back into the 2-6 hours / day reading I was doing before.  But, I'm curious what big things have I missed?  I just ordered FO! #9 and #10. Doesn't seem to be a newer than #4 Knockspell which I got.  Gamma World has been shat out by Hasbro.  Their use of Dungeon Majesty / Awesomist D&D video ever in selling the 4ed Red Box (esp commercials on almost got me to buy it, just barely made my save on that one.  [btw, does anyone know are the makers of that video getting any credit / compensation or did Hasbro just rip it off with a clause in their contest rules "we get to use your stuff anyway we like"?]

Anything interesting happen in commercial RPG world?

But, I'm more wanting to know what OSR/blogger stuff I've missed.  Seemed like every few months there'd be some colossal shitstorm over NOTHING.  Proly missed a couple of those, eh?  Proly better off for it.  Who are the up and coming bloggers, who's gone on "hiatus"?  Any new community projects of note?

So, what are the top posts of last few months I should check out?

I live in Texas, so the bars have chairs made of cow horns...
Replace that cow skin with some Dragon hide and it looks like a barbarian throne to me.  Or, perhaps a giant's chair made from Mastodon tusks.  Whatever, it should surely be irresistible to curious characters and thus deviously trapped.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Central Texas Mini-Con

[Yeah this happened months ago, sue me for being slow ;) ]

Great little event, hope it happens again.  Thanks to the organizers, DM's and all the players that showed up.  I ran my mutated B2 Caves of Chaos using Labyrinth Lord.  One of the players, Hill Cantons has words and pics.  [asmall correction "ape-like orcs", ape-like Hobgoblins! Well organized, militant, 2-3HD hobgoblins that the party did great just to survive an encounter with.]  Thanks for the write up!

Some pics I found still in my camera, waiting patiently for the day I get around to uploading them.

Gamers, Grub, and Goblins.  Perfect Trifecta!

Fun for all, young, old, and in between.

I should create a website for hand drawn character portraits.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Old Post Reread

Someone found an old post of mine and commented on it, which made me reread that post, which made my day.  It was written just about a year ago and it's a message/theme that's good for me to be reminded of.  So, I'm linking to it.

I liked one of the bits of that post so much that I added to the top of Troll and Flame's sidebar as the motto / theme / purpose of this blog.
This supplement is offered in the hopes that it will infuse new life into the amateur side of fantasy role playing games, and stimulate the free idea exchanges so sorely needed to keep this type of gaming alive and viable. This supplement does not seek to replace or denigrate any other fantasy role playing supplement or game, either professional or amateur. 
-- David Hargrave

Some other Troll and Flame posts on Arduin.  I doubt it but maybe I'll get in gear and finally review some of this stuff.

Monday, October 18, 2010

October Gaming

One of Austin's local game groups usual meeting place a FLGS closed it's doors a couple months ago.  So, we've been playing at my house.  Yesterday's session was the first in my new (since move) "Game Room".   Here's some pics of our 1st/2nd AD&D action.  If you're in Austin, TX area and want to game (of anytype)  get in touch, I probably know where/who to go for that.

Frogs! Slimy, bulging eyed frogs. Love'm. Their watery lair was packed with loot.

Maybe I should have had everyone smile/look excited before pic, eh? :)

Teamwork! Thief goes onboard ship, everyone else stands as far away as is physically possible.

Our illustrious GM, actually everyone in that pic GMs now and then.
See that big ass grin, that's cause his frogs be chomping up our party:( 

Friday, October 15, 2010

"The Wilderness Alphabet", a review

[Several months ago a kindly dude, James Pacek, asked me to proofread a project he had been working on.  A while after (but still several months ago) he sent me a gratis printed copy of his project, "The Wilderness Alphabet" (thanks James!).  I've owed him a review for a long while now (sorry it took so long).  This is one slick supplement, I would be enthusiastically reviewing it even had I not received a free copy.]

In the mold of "The Dungeon Alphabet"'s randsomely description of the dank below, "TheWilderness Alphabet" takes on the great expanse of adventure between civilization and the local mad wizard's dungeons.  The subtitle says what this fun, little book is all about.
"A Collection of Random Charts, Tables, and Ideas for use with various Games of Imagination."
[aside: Games of Imagination, that's pretty bad ass description of how I view RPGs.  Very much like that "game" is first.  Imagination encompasses much more of the fun I have than 'role playing' (which always made think of maid costumes...).]

Digest sized, little more than 60 pages, nicely printed and perfect bound by Lulu, $9.00.  The cover art is
 great.  In fact the whole design/art direction of the book is great.  One of the best "indie self-publication" (and I imply no belittlement by that label) I've seen.  The art is mostly public domain.  But there's lots of it and it has been expertly chosen/laid out. Greatly complimenting the various charts and tables.  Just like the in the best RPG products the art spurs the reader's imagination and gets their ideas flowing.  Included is a list of illustration credits.  It's not only classy to give attribution but also enables the reader to pursue a particular artwork or artist that caught their fancy.  A small touch, but a nice one.

"The Wilderness Alphabet" contains 26 "chapters". One for each letter of the alphabet (in case you were vague on the concept).  Not satisfied with just those the author included additional material at the end; Bonus Tables (undead, places, powers, weapons and the like), Colorful NPCs, Strange Sounds, Gods and Goddesses, Mines and an alternate letter 'L' is for Labyrinth.  Built into the Table of Contents for the 'letter' chapters is a d100 chart, very cool.  One feature I especially like is how the author has put little anecdotes from his own games/campaigns here and there. For example;
"... an annual tournament called the "Mythrilman" competition. Fighters Paladins and Rangers (some Monks too) would compete in a series of three events. Each event testing a different element of their martial prowess. ..."
Mythrilman, that's straight up cool.

Overall "The Wilderness Alphabet" is a great book/tool for DM's, I highly recommend it.  It's handy, short (not overwhelming), fun to read and use.  It inspires.  Immensely useful when creating a wilderness (I recently used it to help fill in some blank spots on my GnG campaign map).  Or even more so, for when your players take the "other" road.  The one that leads to "you have no idea".  Call a 5min snack/bathroom break.  Grab your copy of "The Wilderness Alphabet", some dice, and rock out.  Games of the Imagination indeed!

Temple of Elemental Evil PC Game at GOG

[I've bought a few games from GOG, had no problems / recommend them.]

[UPDATE: I forget to mention the Circle of Eight forum/community that maintains patches and mods for this game.  The patches are necessary! See also]

Many people hated this game. They were wrong.  If you like turn based, party building, D&D and can get over the 3.5ness (btw it follows the 3.5 rules very well, in fact I learned 3.5 from this game) then ToEE is a game you should play.

suck on my Ice Storm bitches!

I've talked (ranted) about ToEE (PC game and original adventure) before and don't have time to "sell' it to you now.  Search this blog for toee or the internet for; njharman toee.  But, really for "$6, don't even hafto get up from your chair" you owe yourself to check it out.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Worldwide D&D Day: Gamma World

[Announcement from my FLGS's newsletter... I'm excited but fear the worst.]

Grab a friend and get ready to celebrate the launch of the new D&D Gamma World Boxed Set. Mutate a brave new hero and be ready to take on just about anything! Experience the return of an old classic in a new play experience using the D&D 4th Edition rules engine! The D&D Gamma World game is a fast, furious romp through a post-apocalyptic Earth where mutant heroes face-off against killer robots, alien weirdness, and strange irradiated creatures.

Gamma World Game Day: Trouble in Freesboro

It’s shocking how the Big Mistake completely obliterated some places while others got by relatively unscathed. Freesboro falls into the latter camp, but if Genghis Tangh has his way, life will never be the same for the mutants of Gamma Terra. Delve into the origins of the Big Mistake as you take on Tangh and his forces! Pick up a D&D Gamma World Boxed Set, a few booster packs of power cards, and create your own characters in an exciting new Game Day experience! A D&D Gamma World Game Day adventure designed for 4-6 characters of 1st level.

An exclusive 4-hour adventure called Trouble in Freesboro, written by Robert Schwalb, includes an online feature to the game that if accessed during game play can provide the players with a valuable clue. Players purchase 2 D&D Gamma World booster packs and create their own characters when they arrive at a participating location to play. DMs are required to have a copy of the D&D Gamma World Boxed Set and the adventure materials, available prior to the event day in the game day kit, to prepare to run their game. In addition to a poster map and the adventure, the game day kit also contains 2 different D&D Gamma World cards, available nowhere else, and awarded to players and DMs just for participating!

Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy® Austin

WHEN: October 23, 2010 REGISTRATION: Register Here!
  • Session I: 1:00 PM
  • Session II: 6:00 PM

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