Friday, January 8, 2010

Bitten by the "Old School" bug

Over the past few years it seems that everyone has jumped on the old school bandwagon. Something I've had no real desire to do, until recently.

I've often thought about breaking out my AD&D books or trying to get a better understanding of the Palladium system, but there are just so many new, great games to play that I always found reasons to put them off. Granted one of those reasons was that my group isn't too fond of Palladium, and find the system to be too clunky, but that's a post for another time. Still I have made it a goal to try relearning these systems for the New Year, but now I may be putting those two games on hold. I've become somewhat obsessed with two other older systems.

Some time last year I stumbled across Villains & Vigilantes as I was nosing around on RPGNow and added it to my wishlist. The game stayed there until a few days ago when I finally broke down and bought the core rule book. It was less than $5, and who could pass that up?

I am really enjoying this system. Sure it has its flaws and doesn't offer as many options as Mutants & Masterminds, but there is an elegant simplicity that I find appealing. I've actually become excited about running this system and can't wait until my group's winter break is over so I can try a supers game using V&V.

I sat down and within 10 minutes of printing out the rules had a character written up. There aren't many of the newer games that will allow you to have a ready to use character in that little time. Even the streamlined systems usually take a bit longer.

Granted I haven't had an opportunity to actually run the game, but so far even the combat seems just as simple. It does suffer a bit from the tendency to rely on charts a bit more than I like, but considering the book is just shy of 50 pages, finding the chart you need couldn't be that hard.

Once my group finishes our Dragonlance/Pathfinder campaign, V&V is going to be my first attempt at getting them to try another system. I figure that since I've been dying to run a supers game anyway, why not use a simple little system like V&V?

I was so taken with the system I went ahead and downloaded Supercrooks and Criminals and the Alone in the Night adventure module. At the moment, without having actually run the system I don't feel qualified to actually write a review, but if my plan to run the game works out I will do a more thorough post at a later date.

V&V isn't the only older game that I have been smitten with of late. DC Heroes is a game that I wanted to play as a kid, but as the only comic book fan in my gaming group, at the time, I was the only one that wanted to play anything other than D&D. So I never got the chance.

I've been looking for affordable copies of this game for years and just yesterday I got my hands on a copy of DC Heroes 3rd edition as well as a few sourcebooks. I haven't had the chance to read any of the books yet, just thumb through them, so I'm not ready to comment on the system just yet.

I've had most of the Marvel Superheroes books for a while now,  but since I'm not really the biggest Marvel fan I haven't really felt the urge to read them. However, as a huge fan of DC comics and characters, this is the one game I have always wanted to play, but never got the chance. Every time I would go to the mall as a kid, I'd stop by Something To Do to pick up a new D&D book or an issue of Dragon magazine and thumb through the various DCH books. So now, years later, I finally have the long sought after system and plan to at least give running it a good try.

While all of the old school fantasy games that others are now so fond of may be very good games, they just don't appeal to me. I'm a fan of the Pathfinder/3e fantasy system and have no plans to change that anytime soon. Instead the old school superhero rpgs have not only piqued my interest, but made me anxious to run a supers game.

So this year I plan on introducing these older games to my group. We'll kick the tires and hopefully try a campaign using each system in the near future. I'll follow up with more detailed reviews, my thoughts on the systems as well as updates on what my group thought about them as things progress.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

RPGNow 20 for $10

I've been out of the loop for a bit so I don't know if anyone else on the RPGBN has posted about this, but it still deserves another mention.

RPGNow is trying to "jump start the gamer economy here at the start of the year" by offering 20 pdfs from various game publishers for only $10. Normally I only give deals like this a passing glance because most of the titles are likely on sale because no one really wants them. This is not one of those times.

The sale features books from Margaret Weis Productions such as the Battlestar Galactica core rules, Geist: The Sin Eaters core rules from White Wolf and Mutants & Masterminds 2e core rules from Green Ronin, among others. There are a few titles listed that I'm not familiar with and that don't seem like my cup of tea, but I want copies of at least half of the books on the list. Even the M&M 2e books, which I already own in hardcopy. I don't actually need it but $10 is too good to pass up for a portable copy. Just don't tell my wife, she'd probably kick my butt.

I finally broke down and bought the Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition pdf recently, so am thinking about picking up  Deadlands for SW to use as I learn the system. For $10 a piece I can afford to buy a few books and at that price I think I can tolerate printing them out to use.

These are the prices that pdfs should be all the time. I'd buy a lot more of them if that were the case.

RPGNow 20 for $10 page.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year, New Outlook

Happy New Year RPGBN!
After taking a break from the blogging world to reassess some things, I have decided to return to the fold. 

When I last posted I was aggravated and considered not only leaving the RPGBN but to close down this blog all together.Things that were happening here, in my personal life and in the comic and gaming industries were simply getting on my nerves. I took my dissatisfaction to heart and pretty much left this blog sitting cold. Looking back that was a bit of a drastic move to make.

I enjoy blogging, though I admit I'm not as active as many of the other member, and I do like writing about things which interest me. Namely comics, movies, books and of course gaming. So I figured it was about time for me to quit pouting and get to posting.

This year I'd like to try posting more than just reviews and opinion pieces, though those will still be posted just because I like them. I plan to post summaries of the games I run. Granted most of them will be Pathfinder, but I am going to try to fit in a few Mutants & Masterminds, Silver Age Sentinels, AD&D, Hollow Earth Expedition or Rifts adventures during 2010 as I try to coerce my group into genres other than straight fantasy as well as other systems. In a way everyone that reads my blog will be right there with me. Following my group through the ups and downs of our gaming experience. For some this may be helpful or to others it may just be humorous. Either way this will allow and hopefully encourage something I am very fond of, discussion.

You will see posts about adventure ideas I come up with, settings I am working on, how I try to convince my group to try a new system, whether it worked, and then how things went. If you have suggestions for my failed attempts, comments on my successes or even just wanna say hi, feel free to jump right in.  Everyone is welcome.

One thing I may explore this year is my experience trying to learn and relearn various systems. You see during my hiatus I went back and read many of my old game books. Doing so caused me to realize something, I don't know my favorite systems as well as I thought I did. I've been gaming for at least 20 years and honestly found out that I still have a few things to learn, even about old systems.

I've taken a great many of the things I know about my favorite games for granted. Assuming that I knew what I was talking about, until took the time to really read the books and found that sometimes my way of doing things wasn't exactly correct. I blame this on my tendency to throw out things I don't like upon first reading a rule book. Generally, as I've stated here before, I take the parts I like and run the game the way I want. So one of my goals this year, call it a resolution if you like, is to not only thoroughly learn some new systems but to relearn some many of my older games.

I've even decided to go back and relearn AD&D. Partially because of the old school resurgence, and partially out of nostalgia. Only one member of my group  has stuck around since or was even gaming when we made the switch from 2e to 3e nearly a decade ago. To the younger guys it will seem like a whole new system. I'll let you guys know how well I think the system held up or whether nostalgia has made me remember the game more fondly that it deserves.Plus I'll give you the new kids' opinion of the system. That should spark at least one good debate.

So for 2010 I'm going into this new year with a slightly different outlook on gaming and blogging. Hopefully it will be fun for all of us.

 Also I want to give special thanks to my friend Jason James from the Nut Gallery Review for his fill in posts over the past month.