Posted in: Conventions, Dune, Music, Reviews, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Westerns

Of Conventions and Concerts

Loot from SaltCON-Summer 2023

So this past weekend was a very busy one. I had not one, not two, but three events. SaltCON-Summer, a smaller event from the same people who put on the March SaltCON. Then there was the Duran Duran concert on Saturday and a concert put on by The Cure on Sunday.

For my SaltCON after action report, I have to say that I had a lot of fun at the event. I had a chance to catch up with several people that I had met at the previous convention. I also made some new contacts as well. This is one of the things that I enjoy about the role-playing community, meeting new people and discovering what interests that you may have in common.

This convention only used half of the convention center. So the primary gaming room was where the dealers room was in March. The bulk of it being the board games. The various RPGs were located in a section of the main gaming room or in a side room dedicated to role-playing. Sometimes a table would be moved to another room without a notification so on one occasion I had to go hunting. But I was able to find where I needed to be. The dealers were placed in the large hallways. This made it convenient to quickly see what was available. Because of the limited space there were fewer dealers. But a dealer that I had been seeing only at cons was there and I picked up a physical copy of the Shackleton Expanse Campaign Guide for Star Trek Adventures. I was really hoping that he would have had a physical copy of The Discovery Campaign Guide, but the physical book may not have reached vendors yet. There was a game swap room where I was able to find a copy of The Dark Eye. This is a fantasy RPG that has been very popular in Europe. For some reason, it’s been popping up on my radar a lot recently. So since I could get a physical copy at a reasonable price, I picked it up. While I may never have a chance to actually play the game, I will be using it in the 2024 Character Creation Challenge. Since I could also see myself attending future SaltCONs (as long as it remains at the location it is held at now) I picked up a SaltCON badge holder.

So the first game that I signed up to play as Dune: Adventures in the Imperium. I have to say that the GM was very well prepared. He had several fan made reference sheets prepared to help new players (see photo above). The one that helped the most was the Skills and Drives (the main attributes that most characters have). I need to see if there is a Star Trek Adventures version of these reference sheets. Like STA, Dune is using the 2D20 system with slight alterations. From what I’ve discussed in my John Carter of Mars Character Creation entry, Modiphius has done with with all of their 2D20 entries. While we played Dune, I could see some similarities to STA, but I could also see where somethings were different. Both games are cinematic roleplaying instead of tactical. But this helped because the players were planning and working together. I played the spymaster and I had a chance to put some of my skills to use. If I could get into a group for Dune, I could see myself playing in a campaign setting.

As for Weird Frontiers, I had a lot of fun as well. I think that the players at the table got into the spirit of the game. I played a gambler (think of a thief in D&D terms) who had a magical deck of cards (as well as a long range rifle so I was doing a lot of sniping). It was a little weird having to draw a card from a standard deck of playing cards after each shot (the value of the card could benefit or hinder the attack). Sometimes the Aces or Eights (a bad hand to have in western tropes) would come up at the wrong time. I’d really like to read more of the world the writers have put together for this game. Apparently there was a demonic incursion into the 1800’s which was partially driven back by some heroes. Leaving a world scared by demonic creatures that the players had to go hunt. I also enjoyed that I was able to use my special Dungeon Crawl Classics dice that was prepared for the CC-style systems.

Battlestations is a combination board game and role-playing game that the GM had used in a Star Trek setting instead of the in-game universe. The first half of the game was set in the board game scenario, and I kinda just held on for the ride. The board game pieces that were assembled to create the two starships were interesting, but having the odd movement and equipment overheating (limiting what I could do) was a little frustrating. Once we had moved past the board game portion and actually got into the roleplaying, then I really started enjoying myself. I quizzed the GM after the game and he showed me in the book where you could create your own character, so yes there was an RPG element in the game. While I was glad that I had a chance to try a new game, I don’t see myself making a return to this system.

The only game I played on Saturday was Twilight 2000. While it was neat to return to World War III ravaged Poland, I really wish I could remember how the original version of this game played. We primarily went through a hex crawl avoiding ambushes, attacking enemy troops and dealing with villages just trying to survive. This latest edition had to use special dice which was a little clunky. I found the system a little crunchy at times. I looked at the GMs copy of the players manual and enjoyed reading some of the background stuff, but wondered if I could use another system for this setting.

Sunday morning I arrived for my Old School Essentials game and started up a good conversation with a RPGer that lives in the same area that I do. As we were talking, the RPG coordinator came and informed us that the GM had come down with con-crud and wouldn’t be able to make it. While I was glad that the GM was responsible enough not to spread anything around (I’m still a little cautious after the past few years) I was disappointment not to get a chance to try OSE. The RPG coordinator then offered to run a quick pick up game for us. Originally we were going to play Scum and Villainy, but it turns out he didn’t have it in his car, so he brought in Monster of the Week. The coordinator ran us in a western scenario (lots of cowboys this weekend) and I quickly created a character loosely based off of Indiana Jones. The system was very light and practically prefect for a quick scenario. We had fun playing this game.

The last game for the con was the Star Trek homebrew that I had been looking forward to. The creator had a basic combat system for the times when physical combat took place. But there was also a social combat system where you could react in different ways and use different types of voices (are you being truthful? bluffing? forceful? bluffing? etc.) and depending upon various rolls, you could weaken your opponents social standing. The creator was observing us playing the game being ran by a friend of his from out-of-state, so there were a couple of times that we turned to get a rule clarification. But the creator is looking at creating an IP-free version of the game in the near future. I may have a chance to look over the rules and provide feedback. I had fun playing this game as well.

Character sheets I got to take home.

Yes I will be going to SaltCON-End of Summer. My wife purchased a ticket for me as an early Father’s Day gift. So I will let you all know about my schedule when it becomes available. According to the website, it’s larger than the summer event, but not as large as the spring event. It will be interesting to see how it compares to the other two.

Duran Duran on stage.

As for the two concerts, the first was Duran Duran. The opening acts were Bastille and Neil Rogers and CHIC. It was an interesting combination of 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and current. I’ve been wanting to see Duran Duran for a LOOONGG time. When they were having their residency in Las Vegas a few years ago, I explored the option to go and discovered that the tickets were well beyond the price range that I wanted to pay. So I am very grateful that they have returned for a standard tour. I was really hoping that they would have played something from the Big Thing album (one of the first that I purchased from them), but with how many songs they had to choose from, it didn’t make the playlist. Seeing the entire arena sing Rio along with the band was a blast.

The Cure on stage

I had much better seats for The Cure on Sunday. If you get a chance to see this show, go do it. No only was the admission prices much more reasonable, but the merch prices were reasonable as well. I picked up a t-shirt to wear later. The band itself played for over three-hours. It was very late by the time I got home, but it was very much worth it.

Have you seen these two bands in concert? If so, what were your thoughts? Have you been to any gaming conventions lately? This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com with any comments.

Posted in: Conventions, Dune, James Bond, Role Playing Games, Star Trek, Westerns

Prepping for SaltCON-Summer 2023

I’m finally going to be able to play the Dune RPG.

Wait Carl, didn’t you just attend SaltCON in March? Well yes, sorta. That was the main SaltCON event which is the largest. The organizers also have SaltCON-Summer in June and a SaltCON-End of Summer in September. After the fun I had at the March event, I picked up a ticket for the June event. And then without thinking about it, purchased two concert tickets that happen on the same weekend. Hey it was an opportunity to see both Duran Duran on Saturday and The Cure on Sunday. These are two bands that have been on my bucket. So when I scheduled my games online (which I’m really glad that I’m able to do) I made sure to leave time to travel down to Salt Lake to see the concerts.

Game lineup for SaltCON-Summer:

Dune: Adventures in the Imperium– I missed out on this game last time because there was only one table and it filled up fast. So I jumped on this as quickly as I could. The GM who is running this also ran the Star Trek Lower Decks inspired Star Trek Adventures in March. I’ve also been corresponding with him via email about various STA questions. So I can’t wait to see how Dune compares to STA.

Weird Frontiers– Think Lovecraft meets Wild Wild West. It is using the Dungeon Crawl Classics engine and I’ve never played this before so it will be something new. I’ve already been messaged by the GM advising me to bring a deck of cards. I wonder how this will go?

Red Alert… Battlestations!- A Star Trek inspired game. This being presented by Studio Radd which ran two of the games I attended at the last convention. Again, this is a system that I’ve never played before.

Twilight: 2000– I played the original Twilight: 2000 back when it first came out. I don’t recall a thing about the system but I do remember having a fun time with the group. I wonder how this edition will run?

Old School Essentials– An OSR game, I had to jump at the chance to play an OSR game. I believe this is being run by the GM who ran the GURPS-Aliens game at the last convention. Not only did he do a really good job, he inspired me to go out and purchase the unusual white-board map that he was using (review later).

Where No Man/Species Has Gone Before- The GM of the James Bond game that I played at the last con showed me his home-brewed Star Trek RPG system. Well this time around he has someone running for him at the convention. When he saw that I had signed up for it, he reached out to let me know that this was his game. I think he’s really looking forward to seeing some feedback.

The above mentioned James Bond GM had his game fill up first before any others. So I wasn’t able to sign up for that. However reading the description, it continues the adventures of the ResQ Branch. I’ll have to see how it turns out.

One game that isn’t being played is the Modiphius entry into the Conan franchise. They are currently having a 90% sale at DriveThruRPG on all the books. Since I’m always a bargain hunter, I had to snap those up. It would have been nice to see the game in action at the con.

So this is going to be a busy and interesting weekend with the con/concert combination. Will I find any special deals in the dealers room or swap meet? Will I run into more friends that I gamed with years ago? Look for an after-action report that I will post sometime next week. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go finish packing for the con.

Will you be at SaltCON? Do you have any convention stories? This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com with any comments.

Posted in: Dungeons and Dragons, Role Playing Games

I backed an RPG creativity kickstarter

So I’ve posted about some of the Kickstarter rewards that I’ve received in the past. These have included the 2nd Edition X-Treme Dungeon Mastery and the BX Advanced Bestiary Vol. 1. I’ve also got several rewards coming to me later this year that I’m looking forward to seeing. However another Kickstarter campaign just came across my desk that really caught my attention.

For those of you scratching your heads, let me explain. David Flor wrote this adventure back in 1983 when he was twelve years old. He had it printed out and then lost it as he moved through life. Well, as he explains on his Kickstarter Page, it was recently found and reunited with him. David had returned to gaming life a few years ago and even had some adventures published. So when this example of 1980’s creativity was returned to him, he knew that he had to share it with others. Thus a Kickstarter was launched to scan the original (which is part of the rewards), update it with new artwork (also part of the rewards) and (if certain goals are met) update the adventure for such systems as Dungeons and Dragons 5E and Dungeon Crawl Classics.

So why did this catch my attention? This is the stuff that I would do back in the 80’s and 90s. I was lucky enough to find my homebrewed starships for the FASA Star Trek RPG and my Book of RPG character sheets. I’ve been sharing them here as a way to give my creativity to others. This type of creativity is what inspires me to post on my blog. So I wanted to share it with others. If you can back the Kickstarter, please do so. I’d love to see what is generated from this with all of the stretch goals accomplished.

And yes, I will make a blog post with my first look when the rewards have been released.

What roleplaying game KickStarters have you backed? Tell me about them or ask any questions about this book on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord page.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 26: Star Crawl

So in the first year of the Character Creation Challenge, I created a set of zero-level characters for Mutant Crawl Classics. In the second year, I created a set of zero-level characters for Dungeon Crawl Classics. I loved the concept of the zero-level character because you didn’t know if they were going to survive, and if they did survive, what class would they end up being? At the upcoming SaltCon, I’m already signed up to go through a DCC funnel for zero-level characters and I can’t wait to give it a try.

In 2022, I won a copy of Star Crawl from an online auction. I’ve always been a science fiction fan and to find a crawl version of the game thrilled me. When it arrived, I discovered that it wasn’t published by Goodman Games, but by a company called the Tuesday Night Fiend Club. Star Crawl is based on DCC and MCC and licensed through Goodman Games. Kewl, I didn’t know they were doing that. So I’m using this game for today’s entry into the challenge.

The Star Crawl book has 112 pages with the character creation process starting on page five. When you actually get to 1st level the character sheets are a single page. The crawl games are based off of the D20 system with some minor changes. The Star Crawl rulebook states that the party could consist of characters generated in DCC or MCC or Star Crawl, but all of the characters that I’m making will be from the Star Crawl book.

It is recommended that you have a copy of Dungeon Crawl Classics or Mutant Crawl Classics for reference while using Star Crawl.

The first step is to roll for the attributes of Strength, Agility, Stamina, Personality, Intelligence and Luck. This is done with 3D6 and is rolled in order. I have four zero-level character spots on the sheet so I’ll be making four characters. Three of the four characters had some decent stats (dare say, good?) but one was almost in the hopeless category. But I left him in anyway because you never know what will happen in the funnel.

The next step is to roll for the starting occupation and birth sign. These are standard steps that we saw in DCC and MCC. I rolled a percentile for the four character occupations. The occupations also came with some basic equipment and some credits. For the star sign, I needed to roll a 1D30 (it said percentile in the book, but the chart only goes to 30). Luckily I have one in my dice bag that I had purchased back in the 90s. When I roll on the star sign, I add the Luck modifier. The star sign tells us what type of rolls the character can use their luck modifier as part of the roll. This could be good or bad.

Since we are making level-zero characters, we can skip the racial profiles. However during play, if inspired, a race can be chosen. I don’t know if they would get any of the adjustments at that time or after the funnel is completed. So the next step after that is to fill in the rest of the character sheet. The only addition in Star Crawl is the perception (add Intelligence and luck modifiers to get the perception modifier). Hit points are determined by a 1D4 modified by Stamina. I also calculated the savings throw modifiers, combat modifiers and speed.

The Star Crawl book doesn’t say if we get any other equipment other than the items provided by the occupation. The book is very, very thin compared to the thickness of DCC and MCC. I think that these characters are done. Here they are, but will they survive their first adventure?

Afterthoughts:

When I was printing up the character sheets for all of my challenge entries, I could not find any zero-level sheets for Star Crawl. They had character sheets for various classes after 1st level, but none for zero-level. So, as you can see from the scan, I “borrowed” a MCC zero-level character sheet and used it to note down my victims….err…. characters.

It could be interesting to play a Star Crawl game. However I don’t know of anyone playing this. Usually there are quite a few other science fiction games out there. But I really enjoyed the look of the book. Sure the art wasn’t the best, but I think this added to the charm of the game being put together by a fan of the crawl system and adapting it for sci-fi scenarios. Some of the aliens look hilarious (there are the Pigs in Space muppets).

Additional Notes:

We only have five more days left in the challenge. I can see the finish line from here. We can do it. We can make it.

Coming Up Next:

GURPS 4th Edition

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com with any comments.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games

2022 Character Creation Challenge after action report

Note: If you made it through 31 days of the challenge, read to the bottom of the post.

So the 2022 Character Creation Challenge is now in the books and this was a bit different from the 2021 challenge. I don’t know if I was more enthusiastic about the games in 2021 or if it was something else. Not knowing if there was going to be a 2nd challenge, I used a lot of games that I really wanted to run/play. For 2022 there were more games of “well it’s there, let’s take a look at it” which may have been the wrong attitude. But I’m glad that I used those games. While there are some that I’ll never play and may even trade the games away, I can still say that I’ve dipped my toe into the water. I was worried that my lack of enthusiasm for that game may affect the creation process. There was a few times I told myself “smeg it, I’m done”. I still want to do a variety of games, but I’m wondering if I should just limit it to the games I would actually want to play? I’ve got some time to think about this.

I tried to use the time that would have been allotted to me in a session zero time frame to create a character for the challenge. For some games that I am not familiar with I would probably need a lot more time to learn the system. For games that I am familiar with, I would need time to think about a character concept that would go with a party. During the 31 day challenge I also made a Far Trek character for an online game. That was done in free time and it took a few days because I had to confirm what positions were still available. Unfortunately the Engineering spot had already been taken up otherwise I would have requested the use of the character I made in 2021.

My biggest suggestions for game writers, a checklist or worksheet is a big help. Give a start and an end to the character creation process that includes the allocation of equipment. There were some really funky and weird equipment guidelines in some of the games. Some kewl and some made me scratch my head and wonder what they were smoking. Also explain your system before character creation starts. I mean explain it simply and save the extra details for later in the book. If you are going to have a player pick a value or belief for the character, give more than 2-3 examples. Even if they don’t get used they may inspire other ideas.

I would like to say that I’m very surprised by a couple of things. A thank you has to go out to the companies that still have character sheets available online for games that they haven’t touched in years. I was also surprised that some of the dead games were still available on DriveThruRPG. Especially the Farscape RPG since it is based on an intellectual property.

Last year I only printed out the character sheets just before I needed to use them. This year I had this drive to have all sheets printed out and ready to go before the challenge started. I was really glad I did this. When I discovered that one game (sideways glance at Fantasy Imperium) had a six-page character sheet and that I had scheduled it for a weekday, I moved that game to a day I had off. I’ve played with character sheets in excel, fillable character sheets and even sheets provided in a virtual table top. But I have fond memories of writing things down on a printed out sheet and loved doing that as part of this challenge. When I found my three-ringed binder full of old characters that I had played, I had a blast remembering the past games.

Yes there will be a 2023 Character Creation Challenge. Details won’t be posted for quite some time however as I’ve got to decompress.

The reaction to this year’s challenge is one of the many things that blew me away. The 2022 Character Creation thread on the RPG.net forums was named a Staff Pick by the moderators. This year’s thread has made it up to (at the time of this posting) 128 pages. This was three times larger than the 2021 thread of 42 pages. I loved reading all of the different blogs that participated. If I don’t have your blog on the Character Creation Page, please send me the URL. On social media I could not keep up with all of the entries using the hashtag #CharacterCreationChallenge. This was particularly true on twitter, that place was gangbusters. I tried to like and re-tweet as much as I could but some days that got to be too much. If I missed your post, don’t feel bad. Ten days into the challenge I realized that I should have kept a tally of how many entries there were for each system, but in 20/20 hindsight I’m glad I didn’t. That could have taken up a ton of time. Perhaps I’d do this if I wasn’t actually creating characters, but I really want to roll dice since I haven’t been able to get together with friends on a regular basis. There was a number of entries also posted on Facebook and MeWe. It wouldn’t surprise me if similar threads were popping up on other social media sites and message boards. If you hear of any that I don’t follow, please let me know.

Speaking of reactions, I added a new plugin for my site this year that tracked the number of visitors. It showed the sites that you guys would read. The top five games that brought in the most visitors was Dungeons & Dragons: Holmes Basic, Classic Traveller, Espionage! and Dungeons & Dragons: B/X edition. I still need to find a way to enable followers to comment on blog posts without having to worry about spambots infiltrating everything.

The 2022 games that made the most impression on me are Dune: Adventures in the Imperium, Star Trek Adventures-The Klingon Empire, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Boldly Go!, White Lies! and Covert Ops. I want to take deeper looks at Tiny Dungeon 2nd edition, Amazing Adventures 5E, Modern Age, Castle & Crusades and Classic Traveller. While I may never get a chance to play them, I do have a greater appreciation for Werewolf: The Apocalypse and Paranoia 2nd Edition. The low points of this challenge were Fantasy Imperium and Blue Rose.

A lot of participants were posting their list of games before the challenge started. While I had a spreadsheet created to help me with my entries, I’m glad that I didn’t post it. I swapped out a couple of games when two new games came into my possession. The two I rotated out was Rocket Age and The Frontier, which should be on my 2023 challenge list.

Here is my final 2022 Character Creation Challenge list.
Day 1: Dune Adventures in the Imperium Character: Tarkin Dal of the House Nimoi
Day 2: Wendy’s Feast of Legends Character: Garthos of the Order of the Spicy Chicken Sandwich
Day 3: Dungeons & Dragons-Holmes Basic Character: Dylath
Day 4: Men in Black The Roleplaying Game Character: Agent C
Day 5: BASH! Sci-Fi Edition Character: TaChar
Day 6: Star Wars Saga Edition Character: Keet Apaal
Day 7: Espionage! Character: Devron Marcus
Day 8: Star Trek Adventures-The Klingon Empire Character: Nurot son of H’unos
Day 9: Pirates and Plunder Character: Jason “Jake” McCabe
Day 10: Modern Age Character: Raymond Ray
Day 11: Farscape Roleplaying Game Character: Drellith
Day 12: Castles and Crusades Character: Godfrey of Cloverdale
Day 13: The Judge Dredd Roleplaying Game Character: Judge Stark
Day 14: Boldly Go! Character: Tigrox Carvor of the SFS Valiant
Day 15: Covert Ops Character: William Greene
Day 16: Paranoia 2nd Edition Character: Car-R-PET-1
Day 17: Fantasy Imperium Character: William Moore
Day 18: Cyberpunk v3 Character: Freejack
Day 19: Amazing Adventures 5E Character: Derick Fieldstone
Day 20: Dungeons & Dragons B/X edition Character: Brother Alexander
Day 21: Prime Directive 1st edition Character: Kovil
Day 22: Werewolf The Apocalypse Character: Hans Brulker
Day 23: MERC Character: Mark Powell
Day 24: Dungeon Crawl Classics Character: Multiple
Day 25: White Lies! Character: Ronald Denton
Day 26: Classic Traveller Character: Tyrell Balto
Day 27: Blue Rose Character: Valk Starn
Day 28: Bubblegum Crisis Character: Taxun
Day 29: Technoir Character: Arron “Trench” Chambers
Day 30: Dark Conspiracy Character: Dale Laslow
Day 31: Tiny Dungeon 2nd edition Character: Rek Son of Talk

While I’m not trying to think of the 2023 challenge yet, I’m really hoping that I can find a copy of Star Frontiers for it. I’m also having doubts that I’ll ever find my Top Secret S/I collection. I may have to break down and see if I can acquire the rules again.

Also, if you purchased anything after clicking on the link to DriveThruRPG, thank you. I’m not doing this blog to make money, but the kickback helps when making game purchases for future challenges.

So did you complete the challenge and make 31 characters? If so, please email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com. My art school kid in college loved hearing about the characters I was making on a daily basis and the challenge in general. She created a badge for those who completed the challenge. If you buzz me, I’ll send you the badge to display.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games

2022 Character Creation Challenge Day 24: Dungeon Crawl Classics

In the 2021 Character Creation Challenge I had the opportunity to create a character for Mutant Crawl Classics. I was really impressed with the game after I had made my character. I had the opportunity to pick up a bunch of PDFs for Goodman Games Dungeon Crawl Classics in a charity sale, so I knew that I was going to use it in the 2022 Challenge. Then a few months later I was able to find a dead-tree version of the core rulebook at a good price, so I picked it up. Once again I love the feel and weight that a game book brings up when I’m holding it in my hands.

I really want to try a Dungeon Crawl Classics or Mutant Crawl Classics game for a few different reasons. But one of the big ones is that I want to experience this idea called ‘The Funnel’ where you make multiple level-zero characters and see which ones (if any) survive to make it up to level one where you actually select your class.

I did a lot of the character creation process breakdown in my MCC character creation. Since that game was based upon DCC it basically follows the same process. I think the biggest difference is that there are more starting occupations in DCC compared to just the two in MCC.

Some idle thoughts that came up while creating characters. Somehow the occupation roll mostly fit what meager attributes the characters had. I wonder if the level-0 characters can trade or sell their extra item before the adventure? What am I going to do with a chicken while in a dungeon? It would have also affected the equipment that I might buy for the character if I can sell a 10 ft chain to a store for half of the cost listed in the book. I still had to look up a few items like speed and initiative. But they were easily found.

I think I filled out the character sheets correctly.

Afterthoughts:

I still like that I can get some use out of my d30 that is in my dice bag. If I’m ever able to play DCC or MCC, I should invest in the other “funky dice” that they describe in the game.

Loved the art in this book. A lot of it was inspired by old-school books that contained interesting art.

Additional: I forgot to mention that there are rules to create standard characters if your GM didn’t want to run a bunch of zero-level characters through the funnel.

Additional Notes:

After yesterday’s post about the Merc RPG, I had a former player contact me on social media. Apparently there was a supplement to the boxed set that made the game feel more like a role playing game.

Coming Up Next:

White Lies

Posted in: Role Playing Games

#RPGaDay2021 Day 19: Patron

Day 19: Patron

Star Trek Adventures is not the only game I’m interested in learning and playing. Over the past year I have obtained the core rulebooks for both Dungeon Crawl Classics and Mutant Crawl Classics. I found a used DCC book at one of my local gaming stores. My hardbound copy of MCC came as a Secret Satan gift that I’ve previously posted about on this blog.

When I first saw Dungeon Crawl Classics at a local store, I thought that it looked like they put a lot of work into it (the book was thick and heavy and lots of B&W artwork) but it seemed like another retro-clone. So I really didn’t pick it up. But after I picked up the books in one of the charity PDF bundle sales, I realized that the rules were classic D&D with some twists to make it unique. And since I like physical books better for my first time learning, I started searching out and books I could get my hands on.

One of these twists was the use of Patrons in the magic system for both games. Wizards (or Shamans in MCC) would bond with a mystical Patron who would grant the spellcaster extra powers. In exchange, the Patron may ask for favors in return. This could be a sacrifice or a quest or something dreamed up by the Game Master. In the fantasy based DCC, Patrons could be a supernatural being, a very powerful wizard, an elder god or a host of other options. GMs were encouraged to create Patrons that would fit their game world. In Mutant Crawl Classics, the Patrons were Artificial Intelligence (AIs) that somehow survived the cataclysm that befell the planet. They would grant wetware (i.e. spells) to the Shamans in exchange for services rendered. GMs were also encouraged to create their own AI Patrons for their adventures.

The spells/wetware granted could have a variety of effects (as most spells in the Crawl games). An entry for a spell wasn’t just a few sentences with some stats. A spell could be several pages long detailing the different effects that could happen depending upon the roll of the dice. Any time that a spell was cast, there was a chance of Patron Taint that affected the spellcaster. Again these could be very minor inconvenience or a major change to the character depending upon the dice rolls. I thought it was interesting that the gods worshiped by Clerics would not allow them to use their healing ability to cure a taint. Standard damage that occurred during a game, yes. But not removing or healing a patron taint. Since the gods were usually opposing some of the supernatural beings, why would they help one of their servants.

I thought it was an interesting magical system. I really wish that I could get together with some friends (we are still having to deal with some of the effects of the pandemic) just to sit and have play test sessions. Afterwards we could decide which one we wanted to run a campaign with.

Final Thoughts:

When I saw “Patron” on the list, I knew I wanted to do an article about DCC & MCC. I can see some posts about “Theme” games or game “Styles”. I’m really curious if anyone comes up with something for “Storm”.

RPGaDay 2021 chart
The RPGaDay 2021 chart
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