Thursday, 30 August 2012

LEGO Lord of the Rings Orcs

Sometimes, the old trope is true -- our orcs are different.  And if you need any proof that this is the case for the Lord of the Rings LEGO orcs, look no further than this sweet video by the Brotherhood Workshop.

It really reminds me that maybe, just maybe, orcs are people too.

Also, to buy more LEGO.

Mantic Games - DreadBall vs Blood Bowl

Just a quickie.

In my first post when DreadBall was announced/teased I incautiously criticised Mantic Games for stealing the idea directly from GW's Blood Bowl.

Mantic Games DreadBall RefBot
The RefBot cautions me that any further unfounded accusations will not be looked upon lightly
To be fair, it really did look like Blood Bowl In Space.

But Jake Thornton on his Quirkworthy blog has said the differences are numerous, and DreadBall isn't designed to copy Blood Bowl.  And I can respect that.  And he makes a good case, to boot.

So, I formally retract my accusations of thematic theft*, and I won't speculate further until I've played the game.  And some more Blood Bowl.

* And quietly apologise to Jake, too.  He was always my favourite White Dwarf editor, y'know.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

D&D Next / 5th Edition - Sexism and Shadism

I was lucky enough to attend a pretty cool presentation a few months back on the distinction between racism and shadism, and how the latter is insidious in its tendency to affect people regardless of ethnic background.  A week ago, over at the Douchey DM, HyveMind raised a few points about the perceived ethnicity of demi-humans in D&D, specifically as it relates to the D&D Next playtest.

very pale elves
Vulnerability to sunlight comes as standard
As a white male, I'm lucky.  Part of that luck includes always having images I can relate to whenever I flick through my roleplaying books (not to mention when I watch TV or see adverts on billboards or look at the covers of boardgames).  But should I be alone in this?

Josh Fox doesn't think so, and I agree.  He's asking Wizards of the Coast to be more representative of their imagery in the new edition of D&D, showing a larger percentage of non-white and female characters depicted respectfully.  He's also hoping the demi-humans will not be described as an all-white club any longer.

So, dear readers, if you feel similarly, I suggest you pop on over to the online petition here to ask WotC to consider seeing things our way.

Meanwhile, on a more personal note, I'm all set to give that D&D Next playtest a first run tomorrow.  It'll also be my son's first chance to try roleplaying, and not just hear the noisy idiots downstairs whooping and making fools of themselves.  Me nervous?  You betcha.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Ghostbusters International RPG - Character Sheet

printable ghostbusters rpg character sheet
Even more presents for my loyal readers.
My ongoing Ghostbusters RPG campaign has taken a break for a couple of weeks, set to resume very soon.  When we started, I handed out character sheets printed off from scans of the rulebook, and looking through them today they look tatty.

So, I've gone ahead and made some fresh ones from scratch.  Here they are, for you, dear readers, should you be able to make use of them (which I heartily encourage -- the Ghostbusters International game is unquestioningly one of the rules-lite classics).

Ghostbusters International RPG PDF character sheet at 1 per page (A4/Letter)

A bit of Google Fu tells me this isn't the first GBI character sheet on the web, so I'm going to give a shout out to the unknown hero who released this in 2007.  Well played, sir or madam.

Mini-teaser: this might not be the last mention of this character sheet here; I've got some plans.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Mantic Games - DreadBall

Mantic Games DreddBallSomething just came and hit me out of left field (do you see what I did there?).  And that's Mantic Games sending out a teaser for their new game DreadBall.

Mantic has already established itself as the Company Not Afraid to Rip-Off Games Workshop (which has a poetic justice to it if you consider how often GW can be accused of intellectual theft).  Where GW were afraid to include Squats in their Warhammer: 40,000 universe, Mantic stepped in with their Forge Fathers.  Where GW didn't want to release Space Hulk again, Mantic stepped in with Project Pandora: Grim Cargo.

Wait, hang on.  GW did re-release Space Hulk, and it was a huge hit for them.
Mantic Games Project Pandora Grim Cargo
The cargo is grim.  It's rats.

And Studio McVey are doing their own take on it with Sedition Wars.  Meh, what am I complaining about, I like Space Hulk, and welcome all new takes on it.

Back to Blood Bowl being ripped off.

Mantic Games Warpath Enforcer SergeantMantic aren't the first to this, either.  Impact! Miniatures have Elfball, and there's a handful of other companies with other fantasy sports titles to boot.

What makes this one different?  Well, for starters, it's sci-fi not fantasy, so it's more Speedball than Grave Yardage.  From the teaser image, it looks like it'll use Mantic's Marauders from their Warpath game and pit them against the recently released Enforcers, who to my mind look like the lovechild of a Necron and Iron Man.

I can't say I'm 100% sure about all this, but it's quite stimulating news regardless.  Given my cash flow issues at the moment, there's no way I can guarantee I'll even seriously consider a purchase.  But if someone else offered to host a game with their copy... I have to admit, I'd jump at the chance.

D&D Next - Saving the Industry or Killing It?

I'm going to make three contradictory statements in a row.
    Wizards of the Coast Magic the Gathering
  • The pen and paper roleplaying industry is in decline.  It has been for a long time, since the release of Magic: the Gathering in '93 which thinned the number of people already in the roleplaying scene by providing an alternative, addictive hobby in the form of collectible card games.
  • The pen and paper roleplaying industry is in decline.  It has been since the popularity of the internet spiked, and anyone with a scanner could upload an electronic version of a book, sharing it with the world, thus decimating book sales.
  • The pen and paper roleplaying industry is in decline.  It has been since massively multiplayer online roleplaying games came on to the scene, and stole the hearts and minds of kids who find their monster-slaying needs more than fulfilled by a monthly subscription.

Which of those three is true?  To an extent, each of them.  Yet the roleplaying industry persists.

In understanding why that should be so, we're faced with an underlying truth of marketing and economics.  No matter how perfect a model we create to understand a market, it will still be innately less complex than the reality of a given situation.  There are multiple caveats and addendums to the above three statements, for example, and counters to all of them.
  • The CCG market isn't what it used to be, and can be considered a complimentary element to the roleplaying hobby not an opposition.
    World of Warcraft
  • E-publishing is bringing fresh ideas into the hobby by allowing indie products to come to prominence as never before.
  • MMORPGs are sparking an interest in fantasy gaming bringing it further into the mainstream and attracting an audience that the roleplaying industry alone never could have.

So, there we have put a different take on each of the three causes of decline in the industry.  Maybe you agree with one statement more than another, maybe you disagree with me entirely.  Hey, feel free, the comments are just down below all this text, all views are welcome and nothing will be deleted.

But, despite how each of us feels about the above, I think we can all pretty much agree with the following two statements.
  • We need people buying roleplaying products, or there is no roleplaying industry.
  • We need need people playing roleplaying games, or there is no roleplaying hobby.

With that in mind, I find it difficult to dislike what Wizards are currently doing with D&D Next.  Let me explain.

When Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition came out, opinion was divided, to say the least.  But it was clear that WotC were attempting to open up D&D, making it more accessible to a new generation of players who were more comfortable with the wargaming and MMORPG-like elements.  And that new generation of players is important to the industry, because nobody is immortal, and those of us who intend to roleplay and buy roleplaying products for the rest of our lives are not the only ones in the hobby.  It's true, people drop out of the hobby.  Sometimes to return later, sometimes not.  Real life gets in the way, people decide it's not the best use of their time or will never be as engaging as when they were young.  It's all very sad, but it's a fact, and we can't pretend otherwise.

D20 Dungeons and Dragons Next D&D 4th Edition 4E 5th Edition 5ESo, did Wizards mess up by making 4th Edition something D&D wasn't?  Opinions are very divided.

Will Wizards mess up by making D&D Next different again?  All signs point to them not wanting to.  Whether or not crusty old grognards will loosen their steely grip on their Tunnels and Trolls First Edition, and nervously reach towards the new D&D book, eyes bright and alive like they haven't been since the mid-70s, the industry will plod on without them.  It pretty much has to.

Personally, I see the Forgotten Realms Sundering to be an attempt to make it so new people can get into that setting without reading eleventy-billion books (although the cynic in me does notice that Wizards are releasing eleventy-billion fiction books to get people up to speed on the new setting...).

It's a fine line, walking between pleasing the old crowd, and attracting a new one.

This post here is just the tip of the iceberg.  I could write about this at greater length*.  Instead, let's wrap up with a little slice of what the rest of the internet is saying about all this.

Erik Tenkar of Tenkar's Tavern suggests that D&D Next is shaping the way for the whole industry.

Andrew of the Iron-Bound Tome contends that changes to D&D would be more readily accepted if not done as part of a continuation of the editions (and that it's kind of sad).

Timothy Brannan of The Other Side played the whole gamut of D&D editions with his family at Gen Con, and loved it.

Share your thoughts below.

* But won't.  Breathe a sigh of relief, dear readers.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Advanced Heroquest - Character Sheet

Advanced Heroquest Character Sheet Hero Quest
Click above if you're happy using a PNG file, look below for the PDFs
Not quite a board game, not quite a roleplaying game, definitely a miniatures game but entirely unlike a wargame, Advanced Heroquest is somewhat of a forgotten gem, in my mind.  Preceded by Milton Bradley's Hero Quest and succeeded by Games Workshop's Warhammer Quest, it has the difficulties of the middle child, but it's somehow always been my favourite of this type of game.

And, arguably, the internet's least.

A good few years ago, I ran AHQ regularly for a group, and we had a blast.  As a result of that, I made up loads of my own houserules, and supporting miscellanea -- like this character sheet I'm posting today.

The character sheets that came with the game were printed on the back of the rulebook, and occupied one half of a page of A4 -- the other being given up to graph paper that dungeons would be mapped out on by the players themselves.  My players always found that to be insufficient cartography room by far, so I always handed out full sheets of A4 graph paper for them to map away to their hearts' content.

The character sheets I'm posting today have been updated just a bit to be suitable for the outside world.  It's 100% my own creation based off the original design, but otherwise this is a product from an age that has passed.  It's my fond hope that at least a few of you will get some use from it.

Advanced Heroquest PDF character sheet at 1 per page (A4/Letter)

Advanced Heroquest PDF character sheet at 2 per page (A4/Letter)

Tudor Risus Characters - Henry VIII

Do you ever use real-life famous figures in roleplay?  It's a pretty hot topic in fiction, with opinion firmly divided into those who think it's cheesy and cringeworthy, and those who think that (if done well) it increases the audience's appreciation of a historical setting by giving them something familiar.

Does the same hold true in roleplaying games?  I'd love to hear some thoughts.

In the meantime, for those that fancy giving it a shot, I've started writing up the Tudors as NPCs for S. John Ross' ultimate beer-and-pretzels system, Risus.  Risus is absolutely perfect for writing up NPCs if you're not sure what system you're going to use them in yet.  If you're on the bus and an idea for one pops into your head, you can scribble it down on the back of a chewing gum wrapper if you have to.

The system is easy to remember too - ten dice, no more than four in each pool.  Later on, if you decide you want to use them in a crunchier system (though Risus is perfect for the larger-than-life Henry VIII), you can pin down the concepts in more detail. 

"Hello, laaaadies..."

Henry VIII

Debauched Old Lecher (3)
Angry Old Man (3)
Dyslexic Agnostic Insomniac (2)
Bard to the Bone (2)

Henry VIII cliche guide:

Debauched Old Lecher

Best known for having 6 wives, numerous dalliances and possibly dying of syphillus.  Before marrying Anne Boleyn, Henry was accused by one of his parliamentarians of sleeping with both her mother and her sister.  David Starkey writes: "The double charge of incest stunned Henry into blurting out 'Never with the mother!' It was left to [Thomas] Cromwell... to try to rescue the situation by insisting 'Nor with the daughter neither!'"

Angry Old Man

Estimates of the number of executions carried out by Henry VIII range from 57,000 to 72,000, including two wives, his good friend Edward Stafford (who carried Henry's crown at his coronation) and poor old quick-thinking Thomas Cromwell (see above) who got Henry his break from the Catholic church and his first divorce.

Dyslexic Agnostic Insomniac

Okay, so we don't really know if Henry ever did lay awake all night, wondering if there was a Dog.  It's likely that he was certain in his own mind that there definitely was a Dog... God, I mean.  But he was given the title of "Defender of the [Catholic] Faith" and went on to get excommunicated for separating from it... so, it's fair to say he had flexibility in his approach to belief, even if he wasn't actually agnostic.

And he was given the title for writing a pro-Catholic book called "In Defense of the Seven Sacraments" so he probably wasn't actually dyslexic.

I've no idea if he suffered from insomnia or not, but I really wanted to get that joke in.

Bard to the Bone

You can see from above that Henry VIII was a bad boy, but he was a lover as well as a fighter.  In his youth, as well as being great at the typical manly pursuits of the time (jousting, hunting, riding etc.) he was known as an excellent dancer and could play the lute and sing pretty well too.  He may or may not have written Greensleeves, but even if he didn't, his love letters to Anne Boleyn were hot stuff.

"MY MISTRESS & FRIEND, my heart and I surrender ourselves into your hands, beseeching you to hold us commended to your favour, and that by absence your affection to us may not be lessened."

Be still, my beating heart... (as my head bounces into an executioner's basket).

So, that pretty much wraps it up for Henry VIII, the giant of a man who so over-shadowed his daddy Henry VII and his much-wanted son Edward VI.  Unless it turns out that I'm the only roleplay nerd who has a favourite Tudor, next time I'll do the ultimate Other Woman - Anne Boleyn, recipient of the love letters.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Ghostbusters GB Roller - Minor Update

I've cleaned up the code for my Ghostbusters RPG dice rolling programs GB Roller and GB Roller Legacy.  It's only a tiny bit of cleanup, so if you're already using either one of them, don't trip over yourself in rushing to upgrade.

Since I've upped them to version and had to re-upload, I thought I might reconsider where I'm hosting them.  And you know what?  FileFactory sucks.  So, no more of that for my dear readers, oh no.  You're all much better than that, and you're dear to me.  So instead, find them hosted below for your convenience, where you won't have to wait to download them or enter a validation word or anything silly.

Download GB Roller

Download GB Roller Legacy

Double Review: Hive & Hive Pocket

Title: Hive
Title: Hive Pocket
Publisher: Gen42
Players: 2
Play time: Around 20 minutes per game
Prerequisites: A flat surface

I'm going to save a little time, both for myself and you, dear reader, by reviewing Hive and Hive Pocket simultaneously ("Is he allowed to do that?!") which is pretty easy since Hive Pocket is basically a travel version of Hive, so they're different versions of the same game.

Let's start with the gameplay.  Hive is sort of like chess, with the different minibeasts* each having its own movement rules (for the record, utterly different to those of chess).  The aim is to completely surround the opponent's queen bee, either with your own pieces or your opponent's, or any combination thereof.  Basically, if she's surrounded, it's croaksville for her.

It's dissimilar to chess in that there's no board to play on.  The playing area is dynamic, dependent upon how play goes -- the hive is made up as hexagonal pieces are added and generally grows through play.  Which neatly brings me to the two choices a player has.  Every turn, a player may either place a new piece, ensuring it is connected to the hive and only touching others of its own colour, or move a piece, not breaking the links of the hive.

Hive Pocket being played on a chess table outdoors in public
The ThoughtonBOT once again forces me into submission, proving that she is amazing and talented, and I really should just give up on games permanently
There's a lot of strategy to it, and practiced players will likely dominate lesser-practiced ones.  That said, I think there is a point where the game can be mastered, although I'm not personally there yet.  I also don't think that Hive could be played indefinitely, but honestly I think I'd say the same of chess, so make of that what you will.

Let's talk about the physical components and practicalities of play.  I've mentioned before, Hive is a play-almost-anywhere game, and because it's relatively short-form I recommend taking it to exotic places to play, like beaches, restaurants, mountain tops and your friend's houses.  There's no board, and the pieces are made of sturdy Bakelite.  I've dropped them a few times, and none have ever cracked or chipped (warning: that's not to say they can't or won't).

So what about Hive Pocket, and how is it different?  Well, as expected with a travel version, it's smaller, which means you need less space to play it in -- not that Hive was really demanding much space to begin with.  It's also lighter, which for me means I'm much more likely to put it in a bag that I take with me "just in case a game breaks out".  It also comes with the two expansions, namely the Mosquito and Ladybug, all as part of the standard game.  The original Hive didn't have these pieces -- to get them, you'd need to buy the expansions, which my own LGS carries, though asking a little more than seems fair for two hexagons of Bakelite.  The new pieces do change up the game just a little bit, but nothing is compelling you to use them; just put them back in the drawstring bag if you don't feel like including them today.

Would I recommend Hive?  Absolutely.  This is a fantastic little game, and a perfect gateway boardgame (even if it technically has no board) to get people interested in playing more than Monopoly, as well as standing on its own as a fine game for veteran gamers.  It asks players to think strategically, but can happily be played while conversing or drinking tea or beer or motor oil**.  Between the two versions, I'd recommend Hive Pocket.  While it might be a little easier to lose the smaller pieces, it comes in at about 60% of the cost with two expansions included, and the game doesn't seem to suffer or get fiddly due to the smaller physical components.  Now I own both, I think the travel version is the one that'll see the most use by far, and there's really no reason to break out the bigger set unless two sets of people want to play simultaneously.

So, yeah... go ahead, push some bugs around, it's good fun.

* A more accurate term for bugs or insects.  But there's a spider in there, which is technically neither of those two.
** Hey, I'm not judging.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Gen Con 2012 Keynote Speech - The Future of D&D

Elminster of the Forgotten Realms
I didn't get to go to Gen Con this year, or any year (yet) for that matter.  I'm sat in a Starbucks 3,800 miles away, yet thanks to the magic of the internet, I can watch the keynote address on the future of Dungeons & Dragons.  (For the record, the internet is also what told me the distance... what a world we live in.)

If you're interested in seeing it, it's available here.  Kinda long at over an hour; you might want to skip to 8 minutes in to save some time.

It's full of nerdly references, with real-world references to initiative, box text, and Star Trek (...yeah, that felt a bit odd to me, too).

Ed Greenwood creator of the Forgotten Realms talking about Dungeons and Dragons Next at Gen Con 2012
Ed Greenwood and the mystery of where Elminster's beard came from solved!
I really haven't been into D&D for a while, bypassing 4th Edition completely (although I did give a couple of books a bit more than a skim).  With the way the Forgotten Realms have been brought to the forefront for D&D Next, the ethos feels a lot more like when I first started learning about D&D (or AD&D as it was then).  Obviously, the announcement that Wizards are going to republish old editions and sourcebooks didn't hurt this feeling whatsoever.

Is this a return to the roots of D&D?  It's hard to say, right now.  But feel free to comment if you think you know the answer. ;)

(And, for the record, I could listen to Ed Greenwood speak all day...)

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Secret DM Competition

Fine readers, I know amongst you are those that show bafflingly intimidating competence in the creative arts, and who also love a good old-school dungeoneering expedition.  You may be interested to know, then, that the Secret DM is running a competition, inviting writers to honour the memory of Gary Gygax by submitting 10 - 20 room dungeons in old-school style (yet OGL friendly) to win a complete set of 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Reprints and have their submission converted into a professional quality .PDF for e-publishing.

Submissions should be sent to with the subject line "Gygax Contest".  Full rules and details can be found at the competition page.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Random Roleplay Table - Special Creature Details

Sometimes, you've got a bunch of monsters to throw at the players and it's nice to mark out one (or more) amongst them as special.  This could be the leader of the group, the alpha, or maybe the designated champion.  Perhaps it's the one that's carrying the treasure the players are after, or is otherwise important to the story -- it could be the one that crept into town and killed that old man.

These little extra details will help the players, too.  Not only will they better imagine the critter (it'll stand out more in their minds if it's exceptional in some way), but they can more easily discuss tactics if their foe is easy to name, and can do so in-character too if there's an obvious detail.

This table is mostly useful to games where hoards of monsters or hostile creatures are common, like in fantasy settings such as D&D.  I haven't included any system-specific rules, but there are suggestions in the second column (feel free to ignore these if you'd like the detail to be purely cosmetic).  Some of the details represent different levels of experience (a critter with one less eye might easily be a veteran), others denote minor biological differences, and could be used to trace genetic lineage ("That must be the brother of the one that ambushed us a week ago!").

Random roleplay table - special creature details
D10 Extra DetailRules
1. One less eye than normal.  If the critter usually only has one eye (cyclops, beholder, etc.), the eye is milky or looks cracked, or it has other notable scars or old wounds. Minor penalty on ranged attacks, minor bonus on morale.
2. Horns.  If the creature is usually horned anyway, it has two sets, or an especially long set. Gives the creature a bonus attack with the horns.
3. Unusually gnarled-looking skin, maybe scaled or rock-like.  If the monster has no discernible skin (gelatinous cube, ectoplasmic ghost) it has a film over it, like custard. Extra constitution or resistance to physical attacks, minor agility penalty.
4. Musical or noisy.  The creature continually barks out a war hymn in its own language or whistles an eery melody (if intelligent), or howls or screams with ear-shattering volume for the entire duration of a combat (if low intelligence or mindless). Depending on your whim, the critter might gain a sonic attack.  Makes it impossible for the creature to hide or surprise once it starts making noise.
5. More teeth.  If the critter doesn't usually have teeth or a mouth, it does now. Gives the creature a bonus attack with the teeth.  Might intimidate enemies if particularly unnerving (a slime monster with teeth is a bit more scary than one without).
6. Not the same creature as the rest.  You can go subtle with this one, or crazy.  Perhaps introduce hybrid creatures or unusual modifiers (a lizardman-orc, or a vampiric gnoll).  Sci-fi settings may feature mutations and artificial hybrids, fantasy settings may have magical hybrids. Modify as appropriate.
7. Marked with runes.  If the creature has armour, it can be the armour that is marked; if not, the runes could be carved in the skin, or tattoos.  Runes could be sigils, or an ancient language. Pick your favourite rules modifiers for whatever the runes represent.  Alternately, could just denote social superiority.
8. Big bones.  The critter is notably more heavy-set than usual, or if not a creature supported by a skeleton is of greater mass than expected. Extra constitution or hit points, minor agility penalty.
9. Elemental affinity.  The monster is surrounded by a field of fire (think phlogiston), or can summon bursts of air at will.  Perhaps it is electrical or plasmic in nature and gives shocks to anything conductive that touches it with an appearance like St. Elmo's fire, or is frosted over and immune to cold attacks. Modify as appropriate.
10. Decorated.  This could be in war paint, or fancy clothes or jewellery (if intelligent), or in blood, or the creature could just be an unusual colour. Slight morale boost to the other creatures around it.

Friday, 10 August 2012

D14s and D18s

Oh my.  Impact! Miniatures (y'know, the ones who make loads of Blood Bowl and other fantasy sports miniatures) have a Kickstarter going to make D14s and D18s.

I'm not much of a fan of most Kickstarter projects, in truth.  The concept of Kickstarter is sound, if not amazing, but usually the projects don't interest me beyond 5 minutes fascination.  But if you say you're going to start making awesome new dice available, well, that's a bit of a different story.

They've also got D16s made by another company available (which were already readily available in the market - who knew?) and a dice game called Dice Farmer.

My pockets run a little empty at the moment (or I'd get on to ordering a bunch of custom-made Ghost Dice for GBI like I've been wanting to for a while now) but I'm going to have to consider this one seriously.  Hmmm, what organs go for the most on the black market these days?

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Random Roleplay Table - Hobbies and Interests

When writing up a character, it's all too easy to get caught up in a theme, and forget to add those little details that give depth.  This is true whether you're a player putting the final touches on your trusty alter-ego that'll see you through many an adventure yet to come, or a GM writing what seems like a billion NPCs for the next session.

The strange thing is, the answer to adding depth is staring us right in the face every time we interact with another person.  Small talk covers all the basics, such as job, family and weather (and most characters will have some answer to each of those already), but then it moves on to interests, hobbies, passions.  So, throw some dice and use this table if you're stuck for ideas (or do as I tend to, and read them all picking the ones I feel like using).  I've written this with modern settings in mind, meaning it will work with most sci-fi settings without any effort, but shouldn't be too hard to bend to the majority of fantasy settings either.  Street racing becomes chariot racing, playing guitar becomes playing lute, and so on.  It's not exhaustive, and isn't meant to be, but hopefully will give some ideas that wouldn't have sprung to mind otherwise.  Comments are always open (especially for suggestions).

Random roleplay table - hobbies & interests
D20 Hobby / Interest Variations
1. Origami Competitive origami, Kirigami (involves cutting), paper engineering, paper making
2. Boating/sailing Boating combined with d6:
1. birdwatching; 2. sunbathing; 3. outdoor BBQ cooking; 4. painting landscapes; 5. paragliding; 6. roll again on main table for combine
3. Paintball Customising paintball equipment, airsoft, gun enthusiasm, hunting
4. Flying kites Kite fighting, kite surfing, kite fishing
5. Orienteering Geocaching, letterboxing, BookCrossing, cartography
6. Remote control cars Amateur mechanics, Formula One/stock car racing, street racing, demolition derby, vintage cars
7. Toy models Model rockets, matchstick models, scrapyard art
8. Poker Bingo, casino gambling, backgammon, boardgames, roleplaying games, chess
9. Amateur astronomy Astrophotography, theoretical astronomy, planetary science
10. Cookery Home beer brewing or wine making, home jam making, vegetable/herb gardening, BBQs
11. Playing guitar Playing [insert any musical instrument here], orchestral performances, being in a band, choral singing,

12. Stamp collection [Insert any collectible here] collection (coins, antiques, artwork, Beanie Babies etc.), bird watching,

train watching
13. Pedigree cat shows Dog shows, sheepdog trials, dressage, polo
14. Meditation Reflexology, aromatherapy, reiki, t'ai chi
15. Quilting Needlepoint, puppet-making and puppetry, cross-stitch, knitting, clothes making, cosplay
16. Dancing Old time dancing, line dancing, tap dancing, pole dancing, belly dancing
17. Pottery making Papier-mâché, sculpting, oil painting, candle making
Amateur wrestling
Martial arts, boxing, professional (entertainment) wrestling
19. Tarot card reading
I Ching, reading runes, water divination, metal detection
20. Movies Theatre, acting, celebrity gossip

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Sound Effects for GMs

So, in searching for sounds to use with my dice roller for the Ghostbusters RPG that I released yesterday, I came across a couple of links, and since I'm in the blogging mood thought I might share.
The HProps website has some of the best sounds for ghost busting equipment, and is certainly no secret amongst the Ghostbusters fan community.  While I don't think I'll ever actually build a Proton Pack, two of my players have put these sounds on their smart phones, so when they want to flip a switch that makes a worrying hum they actually can.  If anyone wanted to use them for GB Roller, you'll need to convert them from MP3s to WAV files, but if you haven't got a solution for that already Audacity ( is free and easy to use.

That's all I've found (so far) for Ghostbusters specific stuff; the next two links are good for GMs of all systems and genres.
SoundFX Now! offers pages of sound effects, some more useful than others for GMs (the machine & technology and weapons & war sections might be the most popular, but the other sections have some hidden gems too).  What's good about this site is it offers the files to download if you click the title, but also presents a page full of effects you can play straight from the browser.
Probably one of the better known sources of free sound effects, though I generally find that, because of its open nature, there's a lot of content there, and you've got to really hunt for the good amongst the average and not-so-good.

Okay, that'll do for now.  If anyone's got any suggestions of other sites they use, or wants to point out awesome software for playing said sounds specifically useful to GMs, comments are, as always, open and welcome.

Old Computer Love - GB Roller Legacy

Something I should have mentioned in yesterday's post is that the GB Roller dice rolling application needs Microsoft's .NET Framework 4.  While that's not going to be a problem for the overwhelming majority of people, since it'll definitely run in Windows XP and later, and the setup takes care of installing anything needed, it does mean that those of you using quite old machines are going to feel a bit excluded.

So, I've spliced up a version that will run using .NET 2.0, and that opens it up to anything as low as Windows 98, fully acknowledging I might be the only person left in the whole world who has a working computer that still uses that operating system.  Here's a screenshot!

So, it's definitely not quite as pretty or functional as its older cousin, lacking the fancy mini soundboard, the switch button, and even the options button.  But, GB Roller Legacy is fully ready to help out those people playing a game from almost 30 years ago on hardware nearly as old!  Plus, it's nicely portable (just one tiny .EXE file) and it has so much love to give.  Won't you help it find a home, dear readers?

Yeah, I completely realise I've gone off the rails a bit with this one.  The chances of a Ghostmaster of Ghostbusters International or Ghostbusters RPG coming along to my site and saying "Perfect!  Just what I needed for my 200 MHz Pentium!" is, shall we say, a bit unlikely.  But I love old computers.

If anyone misses any of the features of the real GB Roller, just leave me a comment (hey... I can dream, right?).  I can probably get everything but the opacity setting working, but I'm not going to invest time on it if nobody would find it useful.

Download link:


Update: Link now points to version, and isn't hosted on FileFactory.