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Thursday, 24 May 2018

My Latest Video: If Every D&D Setting Looks Like 2018 Seattle, it Gets Boring

Check it out!

If all your Nobles are either decadent or incompetent or corrupt or evil, and all your religious authorities are cruel and secretly the bad guys, you may be infected with post-modernism. And if all your game worlds look like that it gets boring fast.

In this day and age, the boldest change you can make to a DnD setting is to make knights and nobles and priests actually heroic.





RPGPundit

Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Solitario Egg + Navy Flake

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Classic Rant: Appendix N is the Most Useless DMG Appendix



Back when 1st edition was the newest edition, which was when I started playing, we used the crap out of Appendices A to E. 
A, B, and C probably saw the most use. These were the ones with random dungeon terrain, random wilderness terrain and random monster encounters. They were immediately useful in the preparation for and application during actual play. You used the fuck out of these; in fact, outside of the sections on magic items and gems, those three appendices were undoubtedly the MOST used sections of the entire book for me. It was a big part of where I got my love of random tables, and also learned the lessons about using them properly (for example, making a dungeon with Appendix A 'by the book' would almost never work right, so you needed to learn how to adjust tables to fit what you actually wanted and what actually worked).



Appendix D was for "lower planes creatures" and became a huge inspiration for weird and crazy monsters.
Appendix E was purely a practical section: it listed in pure stat-block all the monsters, which seems not that sensible but was in fact essential for a young kid that didn't own the Monster Manual yet, or for someone who didn't want to carry both books around with him. In the days when a D&D game might happen anywhere, and where you already had a backpack full of textbooks, that was damn useful!

Even beyond these key choices, though, ALL the other Appendices had some basis in actual PLAYABILITY. Be it tricks, traps, summoned monsters, or the gambling rules; they were all for using.

All except Appendix N. In actual history, as I lived it at least, Appendix N was the one you just skipped over. The only memory I have of it was once or twice comparing with friends as to how many of the books on it we'd read, and it was always a near-tie, because we'd mostly all read all of the books that were actually popular and none of those that weren't.

Now, even if you were to believe the nostalgia and ideologically-driven delusions of certain OSR segments, even then Appendix N wasn't for using; it was for ruminating on, and thinking deep literary thoughts about, and assigning a seriousness to D&D that in no way matched how we tended to play. But no one I knew did that kind of bullshit back then; not until "Vampire: the Masquerade" showed up.

Which kind of makes sense, because the retroactive "importance" of Appendix N was largely invented by a reject White-Wolf fanboy and total johnny-come-lately to Old School D&D: James Maliszewski.

Appendix N's popularity only arose because of this entryist, "JMal": an internet kickstarter fraud, World-of-Darkness fanatic and pretend OSR guy, who only got into it when he had the sense to see that White Wolf was dead and that there was rubes to fleece and money to make off the OSR. It makes sense Maliszewski would claim to love and promote the endless study of the minutiae of Appendix N: it has no play content, but tons of pretentiousness-potential. Appendix N itself was nothing more than just a list of 'cool shit Gygax liked', but in the hands of Maliszewski and his cohorts it was all about pretending to be literary critics and getting to be judgmental about what is "real old school", and finding some kind of quasi-esoteric "primordial UR-D&D" to show you're more old-school than anyone else.

It's all about trying to push an OSR that's exclusionary and reactionary, rather than innovative and creative.

If you want to do stuff that's about creativity, look at EVERY OTHER Appendix in the DMG. Let those inspire you. Let the random tables and the lists and the ideas for play inspire you, rather than looking for some kind of bible of Gygax-Approved books to tell you the only right way to play D&D.

Nobody is suggesting that you not read the books on the list! I've read quite a lot of the books and authors there myself, though certainly not all.

What I am saying is that the J. Maliszewski Serial Wankers Club For Talmudic Studies that has formed around the least-useful appendix in the DMG has chosen to dedicate hours to the study of that Appendix N, and not to Appendices A, B, C, D-M, or O or P, because N suits a goal of creating the attitude that the way one group thinks old-school should be run is the 'right', 'true', 'original' version of some kind of primordial Ur-D&D of which all other versions are just sad falls from some golden age that never was.

If you think the OSR should be about innovation and creativity, about how to create, within the 'box' of the design rules of old-school, amazing NEW stuff, instead of rooting through the Gygax family home's garbage bags in search of old shopping lists to try to get some grasp of how to play D&D as 'purely' as possible, then I would strongly recommend you try to put some real hard time into carefully examining, studying and experimenting with every appendix in the DMG except for Appendix-fucking-N.


RPGPundit

Currently Smoking: Italian Redbark Billiard + Argento Latakia

(June 6, 2016)

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Another Last Sun Sourcebook: Bondian Supervillains and Derpy Horses

So RPGPundit Presents #32: Goldhalcon and the Demon Lands continues to expand the setting material for the Last Sun gonzo-osr fantasy setting (which is the setting of my totally crazy DCC campaign).

In this new issue we look at the lands of the Demon lord Zozzsz, who rules a vast and brutal realm of terrible oppression and is pretty much your stereotypical evil bad guy.



He's got orc armies, Wraith Prince generals, a pit to the Nether-regions, and the wish to conquer the entire world.   He can only be stopped by the Derpy Horse of Destiny.

In this book you ALSO get full details of the great gold-mutant city of Goldhalcon, ruled by the Bond-esque supervillain known as Goldeater. Find out about his secret lair, his bodyguards, his unfair tax policies and more! 

There's encounter tables for both regions, and also details on the Furry Plains, and the Dreadlands of Lord Dread, an evil warlord that might secretly not really be very evil. There's even an overview of the famous city of Highbay!





So, if you're a fan of the Last Sun setting, or you just want a bunch of ideas to infuse into YOUR gonzo campaign, be sure to pick this up! You can get Last Sun: Goldhalcon and the Northern Demon Realms from DTRPG, or buy it at the Precis Intermedia store!  It's just $2.49!



And while you're at it, be sure to pick up the rest of the great supplements in the RPGPundit Presents series:


RPGPundit Presents #1: DungeonChef!

RPGPundit Presents #2: The Goetia  (usable for Lion & Dragon!)

RPGPundit Presents #3: High-Tech Weapons


RPGPundit Presents #5: The Child-Eaters (an adventure scenario for Lion & Dragon!)









RPGPundit Presents #17: The Hunters (an adventure for Lion & Dragon!)




RPGPundit Presents #21: Hecate's Tomb (an adventure for Lion & Dragon!)











Stay tuned for more next week!



RPGPundit

Currently smoking: Brigham Anniversary + Image Latakia

Monday, 21 May 2018

Tell Me What YOU Want for Future RPGPundit Presents Issues!

Hey all! First of all, let me point out to you that the latest issue of RPGPundit Presents #31: The Arcana (Medieval-Authentic Tarot) is now also available in Spanish.




El tarot fue una invención del periodo medieval tardío. Algunos dicen que fue creado como herramienta para la magia, mientras que otros aseguran que sólo se trata de un juego. Este número está dedicado al uso del Tarot para técnicas mágicas, desde leer las cartas para la adivinación hasta invocar los triunfos, e incluso hacer viajes astrales--visitar los planos a los que cada triunfo está vinculado para interactuar con seres espirituales.


You can buy RPGPundit Presents #31: Los Arcanos (spanish) at DTRPG, or from the Precis Webstore.





But while I've got you here, I would like to know what things YOU would want to see more of in future RPGpundit Presents issues!  

If you're into Lion & Dragon or Dark Albion and you want more medieval-authentic material, please tell me if there's something in particular about it that you'd like. 

If you're more interested in the Gonzo issues, please tell me what kind of Gonzo stuff you'd love to see!


And if there's anything else, feel free to suggest it too. Here's your chance to get me interested in writing something you'd like to see in the OSR.


RPGPundit

Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti half-volcano + Blue Boar 




Sunday, 20 May 2018

Wild West Update: Nothing at all Happened (Except a Song)


That's the perils, sometimes, of running a sandbox-style game. There were adventure hooks in there, but for the most part the players didn't bite, and nothing much took place.

Kid Taylor's hotel had a minor fire, which cost him some money.

Wyatt Earp's horse got stolen, but the Earp brothers failed to find it.

(Earp, looking deeply troubled at the theft of his horse)

Curly Bill Brocius got into business with the Chinese in "hop town" (Tombstone's Chinatown) acting as an opium dealer to Crazy Miller's high-end brothel. He's also very obviously partaking in the merchandise.
The Chinese boss tried to double-cross Bill, but he got warned, and took care of it.

A crooked lawman came into town, looking for a bank robber he'd been after. He actually wanted to recruit people to join him in hunting the guy down and splitting the money the guy had. None of the PCs wanted to join him.

That was about it.

Oh, and we made up a song about Crazy Miller:

Wyatt's a fighter,
Doc's a killer,
Elephant Rutabaga Crazy Miller!


Stay tuned next time when hopefully more stuff will actually occur. Anyways, the main thing is that everyone seemed to have a good time in spite of not much going on. It was like the Seinfeld of Westerns.

RPGpundit

Currently Smoking: Castello Fiamma + Image Virginia

Saturday, 19 May 2018

New Video: The OSR Will Change The Way You See DnD

So, here's a brand new video, and this time I'm not ranting about something. Well, mostly. Instead, I realized some people who watch my channel might not be too familiar with the OSR.

So for all those D&D fans that only  know 5e, here's a video to give them a quick educational overview:




RPGPundit

Currently Smoking: Raleigh Hawkbill + Image Virginia

Friday, 18 May 2018

DCC Campaign Update: It's Probably Full of Starcraft Porn




In our last session, the PCs had just gotten out of the dungeon where they'd found the legendary Advanced Magic Missile spell, a version of magic missile that is capable of being cast at darkness.




Now:

-"I'd almost forgotten about the Catboy's Player's weird pasta-eating habits!"

-The PCs had exited the dungeon to find the area littered with the withered bodies of most of the Resistance, and a powerful-looking Wraith Prince floating toward them!
"So does he have a penis or doesn't he?!"

-"Are all the Resistance dead?"
"It looks like it."
"What about the one green mutant guy?"
"yeah, he's dead."
"Aw, I sympathized with him."

-"As the Wraith Prince nears, the Vegomagus screams like a little bitch and runs away."
"That's what I was going to do!"
"What level are you?"
"2."
"You fail your saving throw, so it is what you do, too!"

-"Who has the Advanced Magic Missile scroll?"
"The Vegomagus."
"What? You guys seriously trusted him with it? What's wrong with you?!"



-"Well, right now since the Vegomagus' player couldn't make it today, the scroll is actually in the safest place imaginable; being not in the session is like a kind of dimensional pocket of immunity"

-"Well, Vizi, it's your turn to attack; after Lady Halcon, Heidi, and Sami all failed, and Roman chose not to even try."

-Vizi fires a full burst from his machine gun at the Wraith Prince, and gets a natural 20!
"For once, my fire is not suppresive!"

-The shot is good, but the Wraith is still alive.
"Damn. I guess it's going to attack me now."
"Probably."
"Remember someone was saying about how their strike is death?"

-Sami tries to cast a divine aid to help the fight.
"You didn't roll high enough; your tablet glows for a few seconds but then fades out."
"Hey does anyone have a charger on them?"
"Do you have a USB-to-Jetpack adapter?"

-"I love how Roman doesn't even put up a facade of helplessness anymore. He just makes it totally obvious that he could blow away this dude but chooses not to for some reason."

-"The Wraith Prince isn't hitting so far, lucky for you guys he's slow like all wraiths. You never really see a fast wraith, do you? These assholes are always moving in dramatic slow motion."

-Lady Halcon, who doesn't have a jetpack and is having trouble reaching the wraith, borrows a gun from Sami, and after firing it, she throws the gun itself at the Wraith Prince. She misses and the gun breaks.
"You're not allowed to borrow any more of my stuff!"

-The Wraith Prince is finally slain!
"Does it like, dissipate?"
"Yes."
"Does it leave anything behind?"
"A ring maybe?"
"No, that would violate copyright."



-"I'm sorry I broke your gun. It was necessary."
"No it wasn't!"
"That's true."
"The really sad thing is you're still my closest female friend."



-The Catboy and Lenny had fled the fight with the Wraith, having run back into the dungeon. They snap out of it just in time for the Catboy to avoid falling down a slope into a pile of manure; and just in time for Lenny to actually fall into it.
"Well, at least I didn't fall into the pile of shit."
"Yeah, you're just lying on a slope full of shit, which is better, relatively speaking."

-"Lenny is the nicest NPC!"
"Yeah, he's the nicest guy apart from being a cannibal."
"Well, his cannibalism doesn't hurt anyone."
"...except the people he kills and eats?"
"They don't matter."
"Yeah, not anyone important."



-"Lennny are you alright?"
"Yeah, I'm OK!"
"Well, you won't be in a second, there's a giant tentacle coming out of the shit about to attack you!"

-Back on the surface, the Resistance leader Bort comes out of hiding, as soon as the Wraith is safely dead.
"We did it! Once again the Resistance has triumphed!"

-"Catboy, you better save Lenny. If you let him die the party will have to rely on you as the thief."
"Yeah, I can't have that."

-The Catboy amazingly manages to hit the Tentacle and do serious damage.
"You're doing really well.. that's weird."
"Yeah, when no one can see me."
"That's true, not even Lenny because you have no light source and he can't see in the dark like you."
"His reputation as an incompetent will remain intact."

-Lenny gets caught in a tentacle!
"This is so wrong! This terrible thing is trying to eat me!!"
"Dude, do you not get the irony of this?"

-Catboy's 3rd shot is a critical hit!
"So we now know how to make the catboy effective: no one can see him doing it."
"Any time he makes an attack roll we all have to close our eyes!"

-"That thing tried to eat me. It was the most horrible experience of my life. What did I ever do to deserve that?"



-"Reluctantly, we need to find the Vegomagus. He has the scroll of Advanced Magic Missile!"
"I have a better idea: I'll just use Divine Aid to get the scroll back."
"Without the Vegomagus? That's an idea I will give money to support!"

-"We should leave behind Catboy and Lenny too. I mean they're probably dead."
"Yes, we should fight on in their memory. By the way, I've changed my mind and will be coming with you."
"Now that all your resistance soldiers are dead, Bort? What a surprise."

-Sami wants to free Lady Halcon from the control of the Halconlords; supposedly for the sake of the quest. But really, it's because she wants a "Bestie".
"The saddest thing is that Sandy isn't really all that different personality-wise from Lady Halcon. Sami would be totally disappointed."

-"So we still need to find the Derpy Horse of Destiny."
"What's with the horse?"
"It has the power to make Zozzsz's presence on this plane permanent. But alternately, it can also be used to seal Zozzsz's gateway to the Nether-regions."
"Can we call it the Netherlands instead?"
"Nether-regions just sounds weird."
"Netherlands is weird"

-"Hey Sami can I buy your sonic tool?"
"No."
"I'll give you a tiara..."
"Why would I want that?"
"because it's symmetrical."
"it is not, it's only symmetrical on one axis! You can't fool me."

-Heidi purchases the Tiara instead.
"I'm wearing it over my helmet now, it adds to all my Bling."



-"So Bort is our new Vegomagus, right?"

-The party finally gets out of the range of Zozzsz's anti-teleportation field and teleports back to the Sun. But something is very wrong! The teleportation control room looks like it's been wreck and there's blood everywhere! They find a very badly injured Republican Jesus holding his own intestines.
"It... was.. the bunny!"
"Carl?"
"Can you help us, RJ?"
"Too wounded... take me to the resurrection room... save Mongo!"

-"The bunny turned out to be a killer? So now we're in a Monty Python sketch."



-"So the bunny was a plant?"
"yes, and maybe a demon."
"Or maybe the bunny was just out for revenge. Maybe the Jesuses killed it's entire family."
"You're saying it was... the Bunnisher?"
"Oh god that's bad."




-The PCs move through the battle-scarred complex, and are horrified to find Baby Jesus' head impaled on a shard of metal. Historical Jesus is dead too, body parts spread over a large area of corridor.
"Wow, he did say eat my flesh and drink my blood..."
"He did? Wow, great! I'm going to be a little while here you guys!"

-Catboy manages to get Republican Jesus into the Resurrection Room.
"Catboy, I have to rest. It's up to you. You have to go and make sure Anema and Fabritzio are alright."
"Me? Oh shit."

-The other PCs get to the archive room, which is a huge mess too. There's no sign of Korean Jesus. Vizi uses his psychic power and sees a vision of Black Jesus telling pushing Mongo into the room and telling Korean Jesus to get him out of there.
"Wait, there's a Korean Jesus? How many of these guys are there?!"
"well, a lot less now for sure."

-Catboy gets to the corridor leading to Anema's rooms. There he sees Black Jesus, all dressed up in battle gear like Blade or something, fighting a giant bunny-demon.
"Does it look a bit like the one from Donnie Darko?"
"Sure."



-Unfortunately, Catboy arrives just in time to see Black Jesus get torn in half. Catboy makes a desperate surprise attack, emptying a burst and blowing all his available Luck; he manages to blast the Bunny Demon to shreds!
"Goddamit, it's really true: Catboy is a badass when no one is around!"

-It turns out that Anema and Fabritzio had been romancing each other in the bedroom the whole time and had no idea about the Demon Bunny attack.
"What the fuck happened to Black Jesus?"
"The Demon Bunny slaughtered him."
"OK, and who killed the Demon Bunny, Catboy?"
"I did!"
"No really, who was it?"



-The party was heading to Anema's room. Lady Halcon spots Anema and Fabritzio.
"Wight!"
"Lady Halcon nooooo!"

-Lady Halcon slices Fabritzio clean in half!
"Shit."
"We really should have warned her about this."
"We got so used to weirdness that we forgot that friendly talking Wights aren't normal."
"Maybe we can fix it?"



-Sami desperately prays to G.O.D. to retrieve the Soul of the Sun from Fabritzio's corpse and return it to Anema.
"Natural 20!!"
"Well, fuck me!"
"You could have brought Fabritzio back, you know."
"Nah, he was never good for Anema."

-"Where could Korean Jesus have gone?"
"I have no idea."
"Maybe we could check his browser history in his office?"
"...I'm not sure I want to do that."
"Yeah. It's probably full of Starcraft porn."

-"ohh.. I feel weird. Maybe I shouldn't have eaten that Jesus..."

-The PCs raid Republican Jesus' armory.
"It's got all kinds of guns."
"Has it got any other weapons?"
"Yes, but only the 'cooler' kind of melee weapons, like nunchucks, ninja stars, big fancy knives, and katanas."
"Any light sabers?"
"No. Those are for nerds."



-Roman and Vizi take a break to smoke in the hydroponics lab. Lenny walks in suddenly looking human, and glowing.
"Something really weird is happening to me guys, ever since I ate that Jesus."

-They go to see Republican Jesus, still slowly drawing his intestines back into his body in the Resurrection Room, to ask about what's happening to Lenny.
"So, is Lenny a celestial now? Like you guys?"
"Nah, man that's just dumb. I think he's turning into a Saint."

-"Hey, RJ, how long until you're recovered?"
"Oh, about 3 days."

-Heidi had been drinking. He wakes up with Lady Halcon, who had been drinking very heavily with Anema and Sami, lying next to him in bed. He gets up and goes to the control room only to find Captain Harry looking at him funny.
"Harry... is Lady Halcon your grandmother?"

-When everyone else gets up that morning, Lenny is now glowing like crazy.
"I ate all the Jesuses I could!"

-"Korean Jesus' office has a lot of selfies."
"Well, are any of them clues as to where he might have gone with Mongo?"
"No, they're almost all just pictures of him in his office, wearing different funny hats."
"Korean Jesus has a weird life."



-Lenny had a vision of Bort, lost and terrified somewhere in the labyrinthine passages of the Sun.
"That might not be a hallucination. Maybe it's where he really is, we lost track of him shortly after we all got teleported here."
"Maybe Lenny has superpowers now!"
"Yeah but I don't know how they work. I just know I'm a saint now... so I can eat anyone I want."
"I'm not sure you get what being a saint is about, dude."

-Sami is freaking out about Mongo's continued absence and the failure of anyone to make progress.
"OK G.O.D.! Tell me where my baby is OR ELSE!!"
"ha!"

-Anema wakes up with a massive hangover after getting drunk over the death of her boyfriend.
"Here, take a really long drink out of this decanter of endless water."
"Is it natural spring water?"
"...sure."

-"Lenny.. why are you human now?"
"I'm a saint."
"You are not!"
"No wait, I think he is... were you eating the flesh of Jesus?"
"Yeah, all of them!"



-Anema is less hung-over but still depressed.
"Sami, you have to stop me from taking the catboy for cuddles."

-"Lenny is kind of creepy for a saint.."
"Yeah, actually, he was less creepy before he became a saint."

-Sami's divine aid locates Mongo, and it turns out he's somewhere on Lol. They teleport there, near Princess Fairywinkle's tower. There are tons of posters of the Archemaster with typical banana-republic slogans all over the place, and Wizard Council guards everywhere.

-Some weird guy signals at the catboy from an alley.
"You are from Roman's group? We have the same goals."
"I doubt it."
"Our goal is to overthrow the Archemaster."
"Yeah, we don't care about that."
"Then our goal is whatever your goal is."
"Is this dude even human?"
"Let me try to control him with my ring... nope, not human."
"Says here he is part robot. Wait, did BOLT-1 send you?"
"We have the same goals!"

-"I knew BOLT-0, in a different time. He was annoying."
"BOLT-1 isn't so much annoying, Lady Halcon, as he is psychotically dedicated to killing all humans."

-Sami had no time for any of that nonsense, and went on ahead. She runs into two guards.
"I'll use Lotus Stare and Jedi-Mind-Trick them."



-The same guards run into Catboy, after the rest of the party decided to stop talking to the robo-man agent of BOLT-1 and go looking for Sami.
"What's your name, citizen?"
"Um, Catman."
"Catmann? Is that Jewish?"
"I think it's Mewish."

-"You didn't bring your identity card?! We're going to have to take you in."
"Really? Hey can I take my friend Roman in with me? He's just over there."
"ROMAN?!"
"Hey Lady Halcon? kill them."

-While Lady Halcon is eviscerating the guards, Sami has made her way into a courtyard in an alley and runs into a couple of the unfortunately named local street-gang of Lol, the Almighty Gaylords.
"Are they armed?"
"They have crowbars... retractable crowbars."
"Sami just kills their leader and keeps walking."



-The party is tracking Sami, and they find the dead Almighty Gaylord and his traumatized friends.
"I take his crowbar."
"I ask the other guys if they saw where Sami went."
"She went that way.. she just murdered Lenny!"
"Wait... Lenny? My name is Lenny too! Hey guys, hold up a second, I've never eaten a guy with the same name as me!"

-Lenny has a vision of Mongo.
"What did you see?!"
"He's somewhere close by. On a roof. With some yellow guy."
"Yellow guy?"

-"Can you find him?"
"Maybe. Maybe I'm the patron saint of lost people?"
"The patron saint of lost retards.."
"You watch your mouth!!"
"I'm pretty sure that Lenny is the patron saint of cannibals."



-"Wait.. 'yellow guy'? Holy shit, could it be my 'differently abled' yellow mutant PC? The last time we saw him was on Lol!"
"He couldn't possibly be still alive; could he?"

-"It's like some family TV movie from the '80s about some retarded kid who gets lost in the big city and is protected by a mentally ill homeless person!"

-They find the roof, and the differently-abled Yellow Mutant. And Mongo! Roman translates.
"Mongo is more or less saying that Korean Jesus was captured by the Archemaster, and that he told Mongo to run away really fast, and that then 'banana man' saved him."



-"So now Mongo is saved. We'll send him back to the Sun. Then we just have to go face the Archemaster and free Korean Jesus from the Infinity Pit. Great."


That's it for today! Will the PCs be able to rescue Korean Jesus? Will the Archemaster keep being a massive asshole? What's BOLT-1 up to? Stay tuned for the possible answer to these questions and a bunch more nonsense in our next session!

RPGPundit

Currently Smoking: Ashton Old Church Rhodesian + C&D's Delta Days