Saturday, December 31, 2011

Zatannurday: Happy New Year!

Time to say goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012!

So how about Zatanna and Cedric Poulat show us the way.



zatanna -new year card by *J-Estacado on deviantART

Here is to a great new 2012!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking Forward to 2012: Willow and Tara

I have been missing my Friday Willow and Tara posts.

I have been reading and re-reading a ton of my old supers games (and new ones) and I have been thinking that maybe I need to revive Generation HEX.  I think it would be a good time and frankly, I miss the girls.

Expect to see some supers related posts in 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Looking Forward to 2012: Other Features

I'd love to get some more games and useful crunch out to you all.

Books I am working still are "Here There Be Dragons..." and a couple of books for Elf Lair Games.
I might have more material coming out from Eden, too soon to tell right now.

I am also working on a first for me, a Sci-Fi game that I hope is a twist on many sci-fi games.

Here's hoping I get some good writing in.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Looking Forward to 2012: White Dwarf

This week I am going to continue some posts of things I want to do in 2012.

I have a stack of White Dwarf magazines sitting here at home.  They cam in handy to stop the purge of many D&D related articles on Wikipedia a while back and I generally get a big kick out of them.  There is something so British about them to me.

So in 2012 I am going to try to do "White Dwarf Wednesdays".  I am going to go through issues #1 to #100 each Wednesday and pull out what is good.  Less of a review or a "Where I Read..." type post.  But we will see.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Looking Forward to 2012: Reviews

In 2011 I wanted to get 400 new reviews done and up at DriveThru RPG.
The trouble is that 400 products take a long time to do.  I did get about 200 in all said and told.

So this year I'd like to get some more reviews up.  I want to share what I like with you all and hope that you return the favor and tell me what you like, or don't like.  Sometimes this is the best way to learn of a new product.

Most of my reviews, the vast majority really, will be on DriveThruRPG / RPGNow.  Though I'll continue doing longer reviews for RPG Net and Amazon.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Looking Forward to 2012

This week I am going to be posting a series of posts on what my plans are for 2012.

2011 and 2010 were big years here at the Other Side and I want to keep that up.  So stayed tuned all week and post your thoughts!

You can expect to see more Zantannurdays and of course my take on what is going on in the OSR and other areas of the hobby.

Of course we have have some great movies coming up that go to the very heart of our hobby, "John Carter of Mars" (now just John Carter) and the first part of "The Hobbit" (not to mention the new Dark Knight movie too).

Here are my new year's resolutions for this blog and gaming in general:
1. Play more with my kids.
2. Try more new games.
3. Get more reviews done.
4. Get more of my works in progress done.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Hexmas!

Great Christmas day!

My boys got me the Dresden Files RPG!  Yeah!
My wife picked up "Hammer Glamour" for me.
This was a great gift.  While the rest of my friends growing up were lusting after women with names like Farrah and Cheryl, my first serious lusts were Ingrid Pitt, Pippa Steele, Caroline Munro, and Madeline Smith.

Hope your holiday was equally as good.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Return of the Dragonslayers

I got home early from work today and my boys wanted to play some D&D.  Like a good Daddy I agreed.

We continued going through the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, the Lesser Caverns, and they got to the stairs to the Greater Caverns.  I pulled out my 3.0 version of the Book of Vile Darkness to up the "demonic" content a bit.  I figure that caverns are a stopper for the forces of the Abyss, so the boys are bound to run into the worst types of demonic scum.

The original adventure had the Greater Caverns were protected by a gorgimera.  Today it was the largest abyssal chimera ever seen (well by them).

It was a great time today.  Looking forward to the Greater Caverns and the search for Iggwilv's greatest treasure.

What are you getting this year?

To all the good little boys and girls (and to the bad ones too!) what are you getting for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Solstice/Yule/Festivus this year?

I am hoping for The Dresden Files RPG in print and maybe some fudge dice to go with it.
I'd also like one of then Kim Harrison books.
But mostly I am hoping for some time to do some gaming with my kids.  That would be best of all.

What are you all hoping for?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

First Day of Winter, celebrate with Ice

Since today is the first day of Winter I'd thought I'd celebrate with something for my oldest son. Here is one of his favorite super-heroes, Ice.

I have always liked Ice.  Like Tara I felt she was totally shafted; killed just make a point that was soon forgotten.  I am glad she is back in the comics now.



Ice Wallpaper by ~Ziggyman on deviantART


Cool as Ice by *SebbyWhite on deviantART


Riddle1 Ice by *AmericanNinjaX on deviantART


Cold as Ice by *eisu on deviantART


Ice by *olivernome on deviantART


Ice by ~Dani-V on deviantART


Ice by ~ArtNerdEm on deviantART

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Updated pages

I am going to be making some mostly cosmetic changes to the old Other Side here for the new year.
Not changing scope or posts or anything like that.

I am though working on how information is organized and how things look.

So yesterday I started with the Pages.  Those are the links above, just under the banner.

I added a new Mystoerth page which details my *D&D campaign world. There are a lot of internal links to material I have written here and links to outside sources that I also like to use.  If you know of a blog or website that should be linked here, let me know.

I combined the "About Me" and "My Books" page into one About Me page.

My Links Page is still the same, I might add the awards I have gotten though since those are to be linked back to other blogs.

I have added a few new builds to my Willow & Tara page and my Characters page.

Ghosts of Albion still gets it's own page.  As does my OGL declaration.

Let the Adventure Begin

If you are like me then it all started here, with an Unexpected Party.




December 2012 feels like a long way away.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I asked, you repsonded!

Earlier today I asked a simple question. "Using only Mundane means how can you kill a ghost?" here are the responses I got!






Blogger Trey said...
Destroying the item/location it's tethered to?
December 20, 2011 9:58 AM

Great post. I guess I was thinking more of attack the ghost itself. But that is a tried and true way to do it.





Blogger farawayeyes said...
A ghost is already dead. You can't necessarily kill them. Best to just send them on.
December 20, 2011 10:03 AM

I think I was thinking more of the attacking kind of Ghost.  So yours and Trey's would be to figure out why it is here and use that.




Blogger Simon Forster said...
Reciting the ghost's history, up to its death, reminding it that it has lived and died, thus sending it to whatever afterlife awaits it.
December 20, 2011 10:18 AM

Neat idea.  Something that would be perfect for an Occult Poet in Ghosts of Albion to do!




Blogger The Happy Whisk said...
I'm going to agree with Trey. Destroying them by removing whatever is holding them here.

Then maybe they can move on.

I've heard salt before though, but never tried it so I can't tell you if it really works.
December 20, 2011 10:18 AM

Salt has a long standing connection to the supernatural.  It is also simple to get and use.  I am sure there is a connection there.



OpenID seaofstarsrpg said...
If ghosts are ectoplasm and ectoplasm has a physical existence, fire.

If the ghost believes, an exorcism should send it away.
December 20, 2011 10:23 AM

Kill it with fire! Always a good choice.



OpenID keithboyle said...
Depends on the type of ghost being killed... er, dispensed with, I guess. Working from a ghosts-as-electromagnetic-fields perspective:

Death echoes could be dispersed by setting up a counter-noise generator - like the ones in noise-cancelling headphones, but on a room- or house-sized scale. Remember those multiroom speakers that transmitted sound through the house wiring? this would be the lo-fi DIY way of implementing this.

Intelligent/Interactive ghosts would be best handled through negotiation. The trick would be to get them to stay still long enough to have a meaningful chat. So I'm thinking EM Pump combined with Carnacki's electric pantacle with Spirit Box as vocal translator. Then have the conversation - what you want, what they want, how to find agreement, that sort of thing...

Poltergeists as rogue PK in children/teens also fits this model, so ground them via conductive jewelry, cutting their hair shorter, and good old patience as they grow out of this phase should work as well.

You said no supernatural, so I'm going to call the "demonic hauntings" of current TV ghost hunting fashion "anomalous idiopathic EM fields" and recommend Faraday cages around the sensitive spots. It doesn't destroy it, but it does contain it...
December 20, 2011 10:26 AM

Well thought out. So a Spirit Zapper or Spirit Trap in a way.



OpenID keithboyle said...
The lore on salt goes something like this: it's the only rock that's pure enough that we can eat. That purity is incompatible with the "uncleanness" of the spirits, Thus, ghosts can't cross it. Getting shot with it would just be forcing them to not cross themselves and causes dispersal.

Not a huge fan of calling that sort of thinking"mundane only," but salt's about as mundane as you can get.

The Kripke Trinity - salt, iron, burn the bones - works really well as weapons for adventure stories like SPN, though their meaning and uses in traditional ghost stories is quite different...
December 20, 2011 10:36 AM

Cool. I like this approach.  I always figured that it was something that you can bring into your home, salt is something that is like life.




Blogger Woodclaw said...
Given the "no supernatural" rule I think that the main methods are already covered by the previous posts.
Either destroying the links of the ghost to the mundane world (if possible) or destroy its mortal remains might work.
The whole reminds him/her that he/she is already dead is tricky because I'm not sure a ghost is willing to listen.
Keithboyle pretty much covered the scientific/technobabble angle.

Another option is running water. According to the Celtic tradition large bodies of water (especially rivers and lakes) are doors into the afterlife, for this reason a ghost can't cross running water. If someone can force a ghost close enough to a river or a stream the proximity might do the trick.
December 20, 2011 11:12 AM

So if I am facing a ghost, then a fire hose.  I like it!



OpenID tarotgames said...
@Technobabble: EM Pumps and Spirit Boxes are considered legitimate tools for ghost hunters/paranormal investigators, in the same way EVP is. Granted, it's a pretty biased piece of reasoning to go from unexplained phenomenon to explainable and exploitable technology, but truly critical thinking isn't normally a well-used tool in a ghost hunter's bag. It's akin to forgetting what the U in UFO stands for and saying that the odd lights in the sky are aliens here to rule the world...

I threw out the Carnacki reference because, frankly, it's Tim who's asking the question. The real-life analog to what Hodgson described is a Faraday cage - aka the shielding & grounding frame inside the computer that you're using to read these words.

Mongo avoids the [tech] like the plague: even if the terms aren't that familiar, they're not entirely meaningless or made-up if I can help it...
December 20, 2011 12:16 PM

I think I was going with "things I have laying around the house or garage".  Granted that also rules out fire and the fire hose.  I have a garden hose though and a sprinkler that looks like a turtle for my lawn.  I am so screwed.


Blogger JWRouseIII said...
Blow it apart with a leaf blower.
December 20, 2011 12:40 PM

That's only good for guys dress in sheets going "boooooo". ;)


Blogger Laura said...
Using a lot of moxy and deduction, I'd reveal that it's only Old Man Grimley, the owner of the abandoned amusement park, out to scare off the current owners so he can collect his money. He'll call me a meddling kid, but a good day's work is worth it.
December 20, 2011 1:06 PM
Haha!! Scooby Doo for the win!



Blogger Jensan said...
Treat it like a hiccup: scare it away!
December 20, 2011 2:20 PM
Be scarier than the Ghosts.  Of course!  The Doctor Who Offensive.


Thanks all!

Question for my Readers

So I have a great collection of readers and followers here.

I have RPG types, Horror fans and para-normal/supernatural authors and fans.  A great group really.

So here is a question for you all that I have been pondering the last couple of days.

Given you have only "mundane" means, how do you kill a ghost?

I was thinking something like a shotgun full of rock salt or something.  Silver buckshot?  Something else.

What do you all think?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Krampus for Ghosts of Albion

Krampus is an old legend, but one I never heard of growing up.  He/It is a reminder that the Christmas legends of today are part a of a larger variety of Winter Solstice celebrations.  Krampus, though is interesting to me this year because he has come up time and time again, from completely unrelated sources.  So here he is.
Krampus for your Ghosts of Albion games.  I am taking a large number of liberties with this write up.  So please keep that in mind.

Krampus, The Christmas Demon
Long ago, long before children would know of the kindness of St. Nicholas there was a demon that tormented the long Alpine winter nights.  This demon, know locally as Krampus (from the word meaning Claw) would torment children and punish wrongdoers. Sometimes Krampus would even carry off a child that had been particularly wicked.
The trouble was that Krampus was more or less in a pact with the parents of the region that had used him as a means of controlling unruly children. Over the decades since their un-witting pact Krampus had grown in violence and deceit.
That is till the coming of St. Nicholas.
St. Nicholas was able to confront the demon and was well on his way to dispatching the fiend (Santa was a bit more of a fighter in those days) when the issue of the pact was brought up.  The pact made with the demon was strong, and even though not one adult in area had made it an overt one, built up over the centuries with a little tale here, a story there, made it as strong as any pact sealed with a soul.  St. Nicholas then employed Krampus as a personal assistant, he could still torment bad children, but now under the eye of St. Nick himself.  Krampus also got more children as he traveled with St. Nick.  Since St. Nicholas was know as Sinterklass in some areas and Father Chritmas in  others, Krampus also received more names such as "Belsnickel" or even "Black Pete".
Sometimes it is even said that his travels with St. Nicholas has tempered his evil.  Or he is just bidding his time.

Krampus
Motivation: To punish wicked children
Creature Type: Demon
Life Points: 45
Drama Points: 1

Attributes
Str: 4
Dex: 3
Con: 4
Int: 3
Per: 3
Will: 5

Ability Scores
Muscle: 14 Combat: 15 Brains: 14
Qualities and Drawbacks: Acute Senses (taste, sight, smell), Adversary (St. Nicholas), Attractiveness -2, Cause Fear, Hard to Kill, Honorable (1), Innate Magic, Unique Kill


Manoeuvers
Name Score Damage Notes
Claw 15 8 tries to limit the damage he causes, dead things have no fear.
- Grab 13 - Krampus attempts to grab a child. Only a contested STR roll can let the child break free.
Deflect 17 - Magic defence action

Description
Krampus appears as a particularly nasty looking satyr or demon.  He is covered in fur, but is sometimes wearing a coat covered in soot.  He has one cloven hoof and one animal-like paw for feet.  His legs are like that of a goat and his upper body is human.  His hands are human, but end in terrible claws. His face is a twisted snarl of evil, with goat like eyes and a mouth full of sharp teeth.  His long tongue lolls out of his mouth and constantly drips saliva.  Despite this he can still speak eloquently.  He uses his tongue to lick a person, typically their face, to know if they are naughty or nice.  His head supports to long curved horns.  He smells of burnt coal. He is sometimes seen carrying an old rusted chain. It is not clear if the chain is for himself or for the children he terrorizes. He also carries a satchlel of switches that he uses to beat children with.
His overall appearance is menacing and demonic. He cowers though from any stern word from St. Nicholas.
Krampus does have a weakness.  If given a piece of fruit, typically an apple or an orange, by a child, he will sit down to eat the gift, sharing it with whomever is there and engage is polite conversation.  Krampus will then leave the area, harming no one.
Krampus may be a demon, but he is fair and impartial. "Good" children have nothing to fear from him, "Bad" children are only punished in relationship to the severity of their "naughtiness".  Of course Krampus will attempt to use any trick he can to get someone onto his naughty list. For truly evil children he carries a sack to put them in. He will either drown them or take them off to Hell.
It is suspected though that he is fact feeds on the children's fear and the tales told by the parents.

Krampus is most often seen during the first two weeks of December.  All other times he is bound to his cave somewhere in the Alps.  There is no known way to dispatch of Krampus permanently.  Like many of the supernatural creatures associated with Christmas, as long as one child believes then he will return next year.

Edited to Add:






More Krampus at

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Half a millon hits

Sometime, maybe about an hour ago I reached 500,000 page views.

Not too bad really.

Thanks everyone for the interest!

Zatannurday: RPG DC Heroes (Mayfair)

Given my love for Chill and DC, it should be no surprise then that I also liked the DC Heroes RPG from Mayfair.  I did, but it was never a "love" of mine.  It was a cool game, just not something I got to play a lot of.

DC Heroes used Mayfair's MEGS system, Mayfair's Exponential Gaming System who's DNA I can still see in Mutants and Masterminds.

Now I did love the Magic supplement that later came around and thought it was one of the better magic books for an RPG I had seen in a very long time.
I was flipping through them all recently and thought I'd post some stats for Zee for anyone still playing this game.

And given when this book came out let's use her costume from about that time.
These are not the same stats that appear in the books...mostly.

Zatanna (DC Heroes, 1st Edition, Boxed set)

DEX: 6 STR: 2 BODY: 5
INT: 7 WILL: 4 MIND: 5
INFL: 12 AURA: 14 SPIRIT: 14
Initiative: 19 Hero Points: 80


Powers:
Mystic Link: 
Air Control: 12, Earth Control: 12, Flame Control: 12, Flame Projection: 6, Fog: 12, Ice Control: 12, Lightning: 12, Plant Control: 12, Water Control: 12, Weather Control: 12

Limitations:
Power Limitation: All spells must be spoken backwards.


Skills: Artist (stage magic) 6, Gadgetry 4, Occultist 10, Scholar (Magic) 7


Connections:
Justice League, Supernatural, United Nations (high level)

Motivation: Responsibility of Power

Wealth: Affluent

Job: Stage Magician, Adventurer

Race: Human (Homo Magi)

Origin: Mystical Heritage (Major)

Alter Ego/Aliases: (none) Zatanna Zatara, The Witch

Base of Operations: Shadowcrest; San Francisco, CA


I think I should give Raven a try next.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Willow & Tara: DC Heroes

DC Heroes from Mayfair Games was one of the "Big Games" for me back in the day.  One of those games that was like entering into an entire sub-culture, not just a game.  You know like old World of Darkness, Call of Cthulhu, Rifts or Exalted.  One where they have their fans and they are very loyal and the entry seems to be a bit high.

I loved DC comics at the time, though I was slowly going over to Marvel.  I never got into DC Heroes.  Villains & Vigilantes seemed easier to get into coming from D&D and when I finally got back around to Supers, it was Marvel Super Heroes.  I feel I missed out on something though to be honest.

DC Heroes has a certain style to it.  A certain elegance I see now on the other side of several graduate level statistics courses.  It is a game I'd love to give another chance too. Course parts of it seem pretty dated too. Tables with "column shifts" and exploding doubles.  Course that sounds exactly like the kind of thing that would get the OSR's blood pumping.  I also like it because in many ways DC Heroes is the antidote to "grimdark" and "gritty", not that you can't do those with this, you can rather easily, but DC Heroes was about being a hero, being the good guy.



I have not done a lot of posting of Willow and Tara in a while.  When "Season of the Witch" died down and "Generation HEX" never took off I had run out of creative juices.  Plus I had moved on Ghosts of Albion by then and other games.  Though Gen HEX was going to be my supers/animie/comics game.  I still have great plans to run each "issue"/episode/adventure with a different rule set.  But I am not likely to get to it all now.  More's the shame.  In any case here are my girls, in their Generation HEX best.
Since these are very seasoned vets of many battles they are starting higher than your average character.

Willow Rosenberg

DEX: 2 STR: 1 BODY: 3
INT: 9 WILL: 4 MIND: 5
INFL: 11 AURA: 13 SPIRIT: 12
Initiative: 22  Hero Points:  20



Mystic Link:
Empathy (Will) 2, Magic Blast (Spirit) 6, Magic Shield (Spirit) 6, Mystic Shield (Will) 5, Telekinesis (Will) 7, Telepathy (Int) 5 (9 with Tara), Teleportation (Will) 4, Truesight 3

Limitations: Since the events in "Season of the Witch" Willow has no limitations on her powers.

Skills:  Detective 2, Gadgetry 5, Medicine 1, Occultist 7, Scholar (Supernatual) 7, Scientist 5

Connections:  
Business (high),  Supernatural (high)


Motivation: Learn more about her power

Wealth: Affluent  (maybe a bit higher, but not Multimillionaire)

Job: Semi-retired software designer and CEO, teacher

Race: Human (Homo Magi is what she would be in the DC universe)

Origin: Mystical Heritage (Major)

Alter Ego/Aliases: none

Base of Operations: Boston, MA


Tara Maclay 

DEX: 2 STR: 2 BODY: 3
INT: 8 WILL: 5 MIND: 4
INFL: 10 AURA: 14 SPIRIT: 12
Initiative: 20  Hero Points: 20


Powers: Mystic Link:
Empathy (Will) 6, Heal (Spirit) 4*, Magic Blast (Spirit) 2, Magic Shield (Spirit) 3, Mystic Shield (Will) 2, Telekinesis (Will) 4, Telepathy (Int) 5 (9 with Willow), Truesight 5

(*Heal is not in the rule book, but something Tara can do.  At 4 AP she can heal 4 AP of damage per touch)

Limitations: Since the events in "Season of the Witch" Tara has no limitations on her powers.

Skills: Animal Handling 2, Artist (dancing) 4, Artist (singing) 5, Artist (painter) 4, Occultist 6, Scholar (Witchcraft) 7

Connections:  
Supernatural

Motivation: Responsibility of Power

Wealth: Affluent

Job: High school art teacher, girls counselor

Race: Human (Homo Magi)

Origin: Mystical Heritage (Major)

Alter Ego/Aliases: none

Base of Operations: Boston, MA

Willow and Tara in Generation HEX
In Generation HEX we pick up a few years after the events from Season of the Witch.  Magic is outed and the first generation of magic using children are reaching high school age. One of which is their own daughter. Tara is an art teacher and girls counselor at a school for magical teens.  Willow, having sold off her software firm is also teaching.  They relocated to Boston, MA and despite being older, there is still plenty of adventure left to have.

Willow and Tara in the DC Universe
Personally I would think that the girls would have fared much better in the DC Universe than in others.  I can easily see them both joining the Teen Titans, or depending on when we do this, Young Justice.    Though Willow would need something else to do than turn evil since that was already done by Raven.
Given their backgrounds I would expect they would be viewed as resources into the occult and supernatural worlds the same way that Zatanna, Doctor Fate and Madame Xandu are.  Only less dangerous to deal with.  In the DC universe though, the nod has to go to Zee.   I am assuming a more magic-rich world than the 1st edition rules laid out, maybe something closer to what we saw in the 3rd ed DC Heroes.

In either case the girls work as a team.  Willow is the heavy hitter, but Tara has a greater store of power and more subtle powers.

Déjà vu: Scaring the Dickens out of Your Players: Ghosts of Albion

Here is my post for the Déjà Vu Blogfest.



This post was originally posted on December 19th 2009 and was viewed by what I could tell as many as 9 people since.  I felt it deserved another look due to the timing (it is close to the Anniversary of A Christmas Carol's publication) and now Ghosts of Albion is out in stores, so it is all a good fit.

Scaring the Dickens out of Your Players: Ghosts of Albion

On this day in 1843 Charles Dickens published A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, also known more simply as A Christmas Carol.

The story of Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the Ghosts is now a timeless Christmas classic retold in prose, stage, film (the 1951 version with Alistair Sim is my personal favorite), even animation and various parodies, homage and pastiches.



Such is the timelessness of this tale that it is perfect fodder for a Christmas themed episode. Even it is good enough for Doctor Who it is good enough for us right. Given that is a quintessential English tale of ghosts in the early Victorian age then it is perfect for Ghosts of Albion.

Jacob Marley
Motivation: To walk the Earth for his sin of greed, warn Scrooge of his fate.
Creature Type: Restless Spectre
Life Points: 30
Drama Points: 1

Attributes
Str: (2)
Dex: (2)
Con: (2)
Int: 4
Per: 3
Will: 4

Ability Scores
Muscle: (10) Combat: (0) Brains: 16
Qualities and Drawbacks: Attractiveness -1, Cursed, Ghost, Telekinesis, Unique Kill

Manoeuvers
Name Score Damage Notes
Deflect 19 - Magic defence action
Telekinesis 17 varies Effectiveness Str 5

Jacob Marley is the former business partner of Ebenezer Scrooge. He had died seven years before on Christmas Eve and is now confined to Earth to pay for his sins of greed and not helping his fellow man. He wears the shackles of his sins in form of heavy chains attached to ledger books, money boxes and heavy keys.

Marley cannot be killed or dispatched by normal means. He is similar to a Poltergeist, but even the means to remove those troublesome spirits are not effective on him. Marley consequently will not attack, nor even reveal himself to others but Scrooge. Though anyone with Magic or Innate Magic will be able to see him and interact with him.

Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist is a German word meaning the Spirit of the Times, used to describe the general feeling or atmosphere of a particular period in time. In the Ghosts of Albion game Zeitgeist is quite literal. Each time can manifest as a spirit or ghost. This is not a ghost of someone that has passed as most spirits, but more of a collective consciousness given magical form. A Zeitgeist can have any power, quality or drawback that a ghost may have. Since they are more of reflection of a particular time a Zeitgeist also can't be destroyed, though many exist only under very specific conditions.

Ghost of Christmas Past
Creature Type: Zeitgeist
Life Points: NA
Drama Points: 5

Attributes
Str: -
Dex: -
Con: -
Int: 5
Per: 6
Will: 5

Ability Scores
Muscle: NA Combat: NA Brains: 18

Qualities and Drawbacks: Archaic, Ghost, Manifest, Telekinesis, Unique Kill

The Ghost of Christmas Past appears to be both young and old at the same time. His hair is long and white, but his face is smooth. He speaks in a somewhat archaic manner.

This spirit shows their charge their memories of the past. A bitter old man like Scrooge is shown times when he was young and denied love from his abusive father and the loss of his sister. There are wonderful scenes in the 1951 movie with Scrooge and Marley that typify what this spirit does.

Ghost of Christmas Present
Quote: Come! You have never beheld the likes of me!
Creature Type: Zeitgeist
Life Points: NA
Drama Points: 5

Attributes
Str: (4)
Dex: (2)
Con: (5)
Int: 5
Per: 6
Will: 5

Ability Scores
Muscle: NA Combat: NA Brains: 20

Qualities and Drawbacks: Ghost, Manifest, Telekinesis, Unique Kill

This spirit is the most living of the lot. He appears as large man wearing green robes. His image invokes comparisons to Father Christmas or even the Pagan Green Man or Winter King. Though his appearance can vary greatly from year to year. He tells Scrooge that he has over 800 brothers, implying that he will no longer exist after midnight on Christmas and next year there will be a new Ghost of Christmas.

His task is to show Scrooge what he is missing and what his own greed has wroght.

The Ghost of Christmas Present has two horrible companions with him. They represent the greatest sources of suffering in the world. A boy, Ignorance and a girl Want. The spirit warns Scrooge to beware them both but especially of the girl.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
Creature Type: Zeitgeist
Life Points: NA
Drama Points: 5

Attributes
Str: -
Dex: -
Con: -
Int: 4
Per: 4
Will: 7

Ability Scores
Muscle: NA Combat: NA Brains: 14

Qualities and Drawbacks: Chill of the Grave, Ghost, Manifest, Telekinesis, Unique Kill

This spectre is more horrifying than all the others. He is a grim Death-like figure shrouded in a robe and hood that never speaks but shows Scrooge visions of his future; the death of Tiny Tim, his own lonely death and callousness in which people view his passing.

Using the Ghosts in Your Story

Dickens used A Christmas Carol not only to pay some bills, but to address some serious social issues. The same set up can be used as a special Christmas episode in your on going game. The set up may seem a bit clichéd now nearly 170 years later, but they still work. The trick is not adding the Ghosts to your game, but figuring out the proper character or plot hook.

Keep in mind that as Directors you are not likely to get the same change of heart Scrooge had out of your characters, so instead focus on using the Ghosts to tell an important tale or show the characters a brief glimpse into their (possible) future.

A good example for a modern Cinematic game would be a demon hunter who is dedicated only to her mission ignoring family, friends and loved ones, in a sense becoming like the monsters she hunts. The Ghosts then in order show her what her life has been like in the past before her calling, what her friends and family are doing without her around, and then her grim and dark future. Too easy? Yeah, the future is likely to dark and grim regardless, but this where the twist comes in. Our demon hunter is still alive, but everyone she loves is either dead or lost to her. She finds that she is becoming less human (metaphorically speaking) and have more in common than the monsters she kills. Maybe she breaks into nest of vampires and they have set up a small Christmas tree and are giving each other presents. Sure the presents might be live kittens, but it is the thought that counts.

The purpose is to show our chosen demon hunter that without family, friends and even love, none of what she does matters. You can kill a 1,000 monsters, there is another 10,000 right behind him. Loved ones are often all you really have.

Merry Christmas!

Who else is doing this do over day?  See all the participants here: http://dlcruisingaltitude.blogspot.com/2011/11/deja-vu-blogfest.html

Thursday, December 15, 2011

DriveThruRPG/RPGNow December sale

It's that time again for the DriveThru RPG monthly sales.
They give me codes to pass on to you for deals on products.
Here they are.  This month I wanted to add a bit more than just list the products.
  • Adventure Companion  for FantasyCraft
    Some more tools for the tool-kit game Fantasy Craft. I have not played Fantasy Craft, nor do I own the books. But what I have seen looks very cool and looks like it is a neat extension of the basic d20 rules. If you have played this or bought this, let me know what you think!
  • Age of Cthulhu 5: The Long Reach of Evil for Call of Cthulhu
    An adventure from Goodman Games and for the Call of Cthulhu system. 5th in the series. Looks cool.
  • Smallville: The Watchtower Report for Smallville
    Part "Bad Guy Sourcebook" and part "Season 10" update. This is the book that makes Smallville feel more like a Supers game to me. If you are a fan of the Smallville RPG, then this is a great choice.
  • Huxtropy for D&D 4e
    I had not seen this one till getting ready for this post. It is an interesting concept to be sure. It is well done and a neat addition to magic rules. The book itself is nice looking and certainly "looks" like it is worth more than the 5 bucks (or 4 bucks for you using the code below) they are charging. I will consider using this in my games.
  • Shambles for the Brains (?!)
    Interesting take on the latest round of Zombie craze. The twist here is you get to play a zombie. I got it as something to mine for All Flesh Must Be Eaten, but it is a good game in it's own right.
Here is the code that gives 20% off the entire list above: HolidayHooplah2011
This is good until January 18th, 2012.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

One last test

I know.  Messing with your Reader notifications.

One last test of Blogger and Google+.

Just another text of Google+ Blogger

This is just another test of Google+ and Blogger.

So far it look like this will be posted to my Google+ page and people can comment on Blogger or Google+.  So two places I'll need to check on to keep track of the conversation.

I'll keep an eye on the stats to see how many people are coming here from Google+ to see if it is worth it.

Here are some links.

First you need to be using "Blogger in Draft"
http://draft.blogger.com/

And here are the specifics
http://buzz.blogger.com/2011/12/connect-to-google.html
http://bloggerindraft.blogspot.com/2011/10/use-your-google-profile-with-your.html

Hope this helps!

Blogger+ integration

I see you can now integrate Blogger and Google+ now.  This move has been coming for some time I think.
Not sure what it means for me or even your the reader, but I have them all connected now.

I know quite a few people in the OSR and Gaming blogs are doing this, so I guess this means it is a good thing.  I have been looking for ways to use Google+ more.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Best RPGs of 2011?

I was thinking back on this past year and the absolute ton of material released.  While it is has been a good year in terms of quantity (rumors of the death of the hobby continue unabated since 1986), I am not sure I could name my favorite product from 2011.

My favorite purchases that were new in 2011 were the Heroes of the Feywild, Call of Cthulhu Anniversary Edition and the DC Adventures Heroes and Villains book.  There are others I know.  I reviewed them here.  But for the life of me, nothing is sticking out.

What were YOUR favorite games out in 2011?
Why did you like them?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Kid's Games

I have signed up to run some games at my kids' elementary school.

It is part of their after-school program.  So in February I am running 2 sessions of two-weeks each of D&D.  Totally introductory, 1st level.  I am even going to buy dice for the kids.

My plan was to run D&D 4e out of the new Red Box.  But this weekend I also picked up the new Pathfinder boxed set.  It is really, really nice.

The two are comparable on every level to be honest.  Figures or tokens for characters and monsters, maps, player's books, DM's books, a starting adventure.  Nice sturdy box and dice.
But now I find myself in the situation of which one to run?



Both have their merits and I know I could both justice and my audience justice with either.

I was talking to my friend Greg who runs a Pathfinder game with my son and his own kids.  He suggested run both, D&D4 one session and Pathfinder the next.
I think that is a great idea to be honest.  Though it is twice the work for me.

I would run the same adventure for 1st levels. So I might have to make something up.
Here is what I am looking for:

  • Appropriate for new players 
  • Plenty of chances for everyone to be a hero
  • Should include teamwork
  • I'd like them fight a dragon, even a small one, at the end
I guess the Pathfinder adventure is the box is close to that, but I have not checked it out in detail yet.  If so doing a 4e conversion will be easy.

Now before anyone says "Why aren't you play XXXX game?", simple, these are the ones I have chosen.  These are the ones that have the mainstream appeal and the kids will be able to then later go to the store and get them.  I am trying to entice the next generation of players and to do that I need to be able to steer them to product they can play on their own in their own groups.

I'll keep you all posted on what is going on with this.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

All I Want for Christmas is...

The Dresden Files RPG.


I have been going back and forth on this one for a while, but I want to have my own hard copy now.
I bought the PDFs at DriveThru and I thought they were fantastic, but never thought I want the hard copies too.

Well now I do.

Gotta tell my kids.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Random Stuff Friday

I had a cool post for today, but on re-reading it this morning I realized it might need some edits first.  Game stats and trying to get day-job work in at the same time is not good for either.

So instead here are some random things I'd like to share with you.

My friend Kim Pauley has a new book coming out, "Cat Girl's Day Off" about a girl whose super power is the ability to talk to cats.  If it is like her last books, the "Sucks to Be Me" series, then is should be fun.  Expect to see some stats for Natalie Ng here in the future!
http://www.kimberlypauley.com/2011/12/09/the-cover/
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1037171487?ean=9781600608834&itm=8&usri=kimberly+pauley

Douglas Wall would like you all to check out his fun game "Adventures in Oz".
It is a fun game in and off itself, but I also think it is a good supplement, like an Oz source book for whatever game you are also playing now.  I already did a "Wicked" version of the main good guy, er, wait, sorry main witch (I can't help it, the Wicked Witch of the West IS the hero for me, has been since I was little).
I think you should check it out.
http://fdouglaswall.blogspot.com/2011/12/why-you-should-be-playing-adventures-in.html

IO9, the website obsessed with all things in geek culture has a cool "Rules of Magic" chart up and it is huge.
I did notice some errors, but they expected there would be some.
http://io9.com/5866306/the-rules-of-magic-according-to-the-greatest-fantasy-sagas-of-all-time

Enjoy!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

You are playing what??!

I am sitting here.  Avoiding work. Starring lovingly at my stack of DC Heroes books and wondering why I don't have more of them.

This got me thinking.  What games are you all playing that you don't think anyone outside of your group is still playing?

For me it's True 20.  I still like it.
I'd love to get a good Superhero game going again; Silver Age Sentinels would be cool, V&V, DC Heroes, I am not picky.

What are you all playing that you are sure no one else is?

Now this is disapointing

Was checking on my stats today and noticed a few new hit coming from the OSR's pet troll.  Went there to see what "she" was saying and saw this instead.


Well.  At least she didn't get all dramatic and ragequit.  Or maybe she did, I might have missed it.
I was at least getting 5-6 hits from this blog a week.  What am I ever going to do about the loss of traffic.

Actually what I find most disturbing is the number of hits I am getting on my Houri write-up from a website forum of people looking for rape-themed RPGs.  Guys, not here.

The Witches Three: 4e v. Pathfinder v. OSR

We are at an an interesting time in the history of D&D.  Today we have two games, but fun and great to play, that are the heir's of the legacy that is D&D.  The first is a direct descendant of the previous version with some of that version's best and brightest minds; Pathfinder.  The other bares the name, but is very different in structure and play, but no less fun and no less of an adventure: Dungeons & Dragons 4th Ed.  BUT that is not all, like buying two and getting the third for free we also have the large and chaotic mass that is called the OSR.  In it are many games that also claim rights to the throne.

I am not going to delve into the relative merits of one game or the other. Or even talk about play style or anything else.  Play the game you enjoy, the way you enjoy it.  Personally I like to play all of the above.

No today I want to drill down my attention on one thing in particular.  How the witch class is presented in the rules in these games.  For the first time we have what can amount to an "Official D&D Witch Class".

The 4e witch was just introduced in Heroes of the Feywild and the Pathfinder witch was introduced in the Advanced Players Guide.
For the moment I want to recuse myself from commenting too much on the OSR witches.  Both "The Witch" and "Eldritch Witchery" are off to editors, but still I don't think it would be the most proper thing to do.  That all being said I don't have issues commenting on these witches since a.) they have already been written and published and b.) all my ideas are already on "paper" and sent off, so I am not likely to change anything at this point.

So what do we have here?
Both the 4e and Pathfinder witches use Intelligence as their prime ability and the one tied to their spellcasting.
Both require the use of familiars to learn their spells.
Both can form covens for an added benefit or coven related benefits.  The 4e witch handles covens a bit like builds.  The Pathfinder witch can only join a coven with a hag.  I don't like that at all really.
Neither offer much right away in terms of higher level class options; ie no Paragon Paths (outside of the Legendary Witch) and no Prestige Classes.

The 4e witch, as mentioned previously, is a "type" of Wizard. This bugged me at first, but I got over it once I saw the advantages.
The Pathfinder witch is a base or core class.

The 4e powers are very much in line with charming, controlling and turning enemies into animals.  There are some "striker" like powers, but not many really.  The authors took care to make the distinction between Witch, Wizard and Warlock a lot clearer.

The Pathfinder Spells are similar, but lot are pulled from both the Arcane and Divine lists.  The Pathfinder witch with Hexes and a familiar gets an absolute ton of spells.  I'll need to go into detail on the Pathfinder witch on a later date.

I am using my checklist from Tom Moldvay as a means to identify how witchy these classes are, at least for a start.

Ability 4e Witch Pathfinder Witch Basic Witch
1. Ability to use Herbs skills skills ability check
2. The Power of Fascination powers spells spells
3. Clerical and Magic-User magic Yes Yes Yes
4. Sympathetic Magic limited to powers limited to spells new spell mechanic
5. Worshipers of forbiden religions yes yes yes
6. Powers based on natural cycles "Moon" builds no spells
7. Covens Yes only with hags Yes
8. Ritual Magic In PHB I only limited Yes

Based on that, the Pathfinder witch is a little short, but nothing that can't be fixed with role-playing and some supplements.  I do notice that Moldvay's list does not include the ability to use familiars.  I think that is rather important too.

I am getting a chance here in a bit to play some more of the 4e Witch so I'll know better how she plays out.  I am still looking for a chance to play the Pathfinder witch some more.

Negatives
Here is what I don't like about the classes.

4e Witch: There is still some confusion over the roles between a Witch and a Fey Pact Warlock.  Maybe this is on purpose.  Warlocks and Witches should have animosity towards each other and this could be where it comes from.
While it is nice that the Witch has some of the same options as does the Wizard, it also means the witch can take "Fireball" or "Lighting bolt" as spells.  Two very iconic wizard powers.

Pathfinder: I hate what they have done with covens for the Pathfinder Witch. It robs the witch of one of her key elements to be honest.  The hexes are cool, but some of them are too focused on curses and less on the other aspects of witches.
Where are the Prestige classes?

Both/Either:  Intelligence as a prime stat?  I can see why, but really it should be Wisdom or maybe Charisma. They supposed to be members of the craft of the wise.

In any case it is an embarrassment of riches. I am not sure if I'll ever have enough time to play the games I have now, let alone anything released in the future.  I like both of these classes and would love to see more for both of them.

It's a good time to be me! ;)
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