Sunday, April 26, 2009

T-plus Two Days and Counting

So two days into work on Post-Apocalypse20 and I have 13 pages.

Even for me, that's nearing the record productivity mark.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

First Look at Post-Apocalypse20 over at RPGObjects

Only days into the writing of the next big thing for Modern20 and already a preview has appeared. So head on over to RPGO and read about some of the survivalist goodness you're going to find in Post-Apocalypse20 in the Return of the Air Rifle.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

So... this podcast we recorded

Chris and I recently recorded RPGO podcast #12.

One thing that was edited from that recording (redacted?!?) was our discussion on what will be next for us.

Well I guess I'm a whistleblower cause here I am to break the embargo!

Up next is.... drumroll... wait for it...


This will do for the PA genre what supers20 did for the 4 Color genre and be about the same length.

It will be an add-on for Modern20.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wizards is not who we think they are

This is something that's come to mind with the continuing brouhaha (technical term) of WOTC no longer selling PDFs.

I've said this before, maybe not here, but probably here and definitely around various fora I inhabit:

Comparing Wizards of the Coast to any other RPG company is not informative and more often than not leads one to a very bad set of conclusions.

It's like comparing the following businesses:

1. A small New England family farm that sells organic produce in season to a family-owned restaurant.

2. An enormous corporate-owned agro-business that sells direct to the largest supermarket chains in the nation.

They might *technically* be in the same business but at such a different scale that the best practices of one tell you nothing about best practices of the other.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Two Worlds

Awhile back Chris and I did a complete tabletop RPG for the deluxe edition of the Two Worlds XBox 360/PC game. This work was a major impetus for the creation of Modern20, as I saw how complete a game could be in a very small package.

Now the fine folks at Southpeak Interactive have given us permission to offer this RPG as a free PDF, which you can download now over at the RPGObjects official site.


And speaking of heroic legacies

The two favorite creations of mine ever, Old Glory and the Savant are not absent from Dark Future.

That's right, you've seen them as the best of friends, in the WWII-era supplements for Supers20 (found in the Modern Dispatch), you've seen them and the agencies they lead as the worst of enemies, in the modern era in the USHER Dossiers campaign model in the Supers20 core rules and in Dark Future you'll get to see how these complex characters continue to interact.

I'm going to be a tease here and not actually give it away. But I will say that, those familiar with the characters should be interested (and hopefully pleased) at the next part of the tale. As you may know, Old Glory is more or less immortal and it was the Savant's mortality that caused the rift between the two in the modern era.

With Dark Future taking place in the near future, which would make the Savant roughly 100 years old, his mortality will again play a part.

In the Dark Future there walks a hero

Over at RPGO we have another preview of Dark Future, this time focusing on one of the good guys, 3rd generation hero Betatron.

A little background on this hero: Ground Zero is a character I created in the 1990's for my Champions campaign. In that guise, he was a tragic figure, a living atomic bomb unable to control his devastating powers.

When I did the character supplement for my self-published Vigilance d20 superhero game, Ground Zero was one of the first characters I thought of including and his backstory remained almost unchanged.

For this version of Betatron, I "changed" Ground Zero's backstory a bit. I say "changed" because he has never actually appeared in any Blood and Vigilance or Supers20 books before, so unless you're one of those real early adopters who bought Darkness and Light or Vigilance" Absolute Power (printed by Mystic Eye Games) then Ground Zero is an all-new character to you.

For Dark Future, I liked the idea of there being a beacon of hope, someone similar to the role Old Glory played in my WWII-era of the Supers20-verse.

I had come across the name Betatron and instantly thought "that should be a superhero/villain" (cause that's how my mind works) and the radiation led me to want to link him with Ground Zero.

To make him from a long line of heroes, Ground Zero got moved from the present day into the Cold War and was a fugitive by choice. His son, another new character, was added into the roster of the New Coalition, one of the most important hero teams in the Supers20 comic universe timeline.

And so now we have the 3rd generation, fighting to bring light to a dark future.

Monday, April 13, 2009

And now- something deadly

Meet a member in good standing of the Mutant Army of Nationalism (MAN) a terrorist group at the heart of Dark Future.

Stench a.k.a. Stephanie Worthen (Empath 10): HD 10d8+30; HP 90; Init +6; Spd 40 ft; Defense 23, flatfooted 17 (+6 Dex, +7 Class); BAB +7; Atk +13 melee (1d4+2, knife), or +13 ranged (9d4+0, psychic blast); SQ Resolute; AL MAN; SV Fort +10, Ref +13, Will +8, Rec +8; Rep +5; Str 13, Dex 22, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.
Background: Criminal
Occupation: Soldier: Perks 2+2 power stunts (Tumble, Wall Crawling; Durable Illusion, Swinging)
Hobby: Weapons
Skills: Acrobatics 13 (+19), Athletics 15 (+16), Crime 8 (+8), Firearms 15 (+21), Influence 4 (+3), Outdoorsman 6 (+7), Power Control 13 (+16), Stealth 13 (+19), Streetwise 13 (+16), Weapons 4 (+5)
Feats: Blast, psychic (PL +2 non-lethal only), Illusion, Nauseate, Power Level x7, Superhuman Dexterity, Teamwork (MAN): +4 skill checks, Well-Oiled Machine
Access/Contacts/Followers: Code: Mutant Superiority (DSR 5)
Wealth: 12
Possessions: None
Character Disadvantages: Code: Mutant Superiority (DSR 5), Hideous Appearance (DSR 5)
Background: Stephanie Worthen was a quiet, intelligent girl from Utah until her mutant abilities surfaced during puberty. Since then, she has been emitting pheromones akin to those emitted by insects. However, the default state of these scents (which are felt more than consciously perceived) is one of revulsion. After running away, Stephanie honed her gifts on the streets, learning that she could intensify her natural pheromones to cause nausea, hallucinations or even unconsciousness. Seeking revenge on the world, she has become one of the most powerful terrorists in MAN.
Quote: “Go to sleep, bug!”

Note that the Nauseate feat is a new kind of power feat, one powered by a required disadvantage, in this case Hideous Appearance. The more Hideous Appearance you take, the more powerful the Nauseate feat will be.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Dumbest movie reviewer ever

Short form- a reviewer for Fox News downloads a pirated version of a Fox movie, the currently unreleased X-Men Origins Wolverine, then writes a review of the unfinished print that Fox is livid is even out in the wild.

Then Fox fires him.

You know what, I agree with this 100%.

The reviewer was D_U_M_B. My only real concern is for this poor writer's editor, who should have the common sense to tell him he was about to drive off a cliff.

Were I Fox, I think I'd fire the editor too. He obviously has no problem letting his writers put dumb stories out.

Read the entire sad tale here.

The Continuing Voyages

So, after Voyages of Discovery, what then?

I've been giving some thought to a "new" type of adventure support, and what I came up with isn't new at all, in fact you could say it harkens back to the ORIGINAL adventure support.

The working title is Isle of the Near Men and it's a place for the PCs to explore and exploit.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Modern Dispatch

Looking back, the Modern Dispatch is one of the things I'm proudest of. How many people can say they helped found an e-zine with 133 issues and counting that was good enough people were willing to pay for it?

I don't KNOW the answer to the question off hand, but my guess is not many.

Beyond just being proud of its continued existence, one of the things I love about the dispatch is its short-form nature makes it a perfect place to hammer out some ideas, almost like a think tank.

If you look back at the earliest dispatches, where I take on armor as damage reduction (Modern Dispatch #1), how Reputation affects an investigation (Dispatch #2), and how to make reputation a more integral part of modern games (Dispatch #9) you'll see the seeds being planted that would one day blossom as Modern20.

And of course, when we released Modern20, the Dispatch was an important part of developing the game. The Hunters campaign model introduced FX to the game for the first time and laid the groundwork for things like Fantasci and Supers and Modern Supplement #1 was the beginning of a process of improvement and expansion that led to Modern20 Revised.

In fact I think it's safe to say that the dispatch was a big part of Modern20's development into something I consider an unqualified success. Maybe the book I'm most happy with of all the books I've ever done.

I mean, yes, Blood and Fists arrived more or less perfect, like Athena from the thigh of Zeus. But Modern20 was perfected by me actually honing it, which is infinitely more satisfying. I don't often have the time to put an extra coat of polish on things.

So what's next for the dispatch?

Well, now that Voyages of Discovery's draft is done (you heard that right!) and has gone to Chris for development, I've been giving that some thought.

There's some things Modern20 doesn't cover, or covers rather basically that I'd like to give a closer look to.

It always bothered me that poisons in d20 were just ability damage. I stayed with the status quo mostly because I never had anything better. But some ideas have recently occured to me.

So at the very least look for that in upcoming issues.

Editing is like magic!

So- as reported- Chris and I had a pretty wide-ranging conversation touching on a number of topics.

But listening to the podcast, it seems exactly one of those topics made it into the show.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Podcast Madness

We recorded a podcast today about Voyages of Discovery, Wizards pulling PDFs, Fallout 3 and other miscellaneous stuff, including us trying to figure out what to do for the next project.

Look for it soon.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Voyage of Discovery Transformation magic preview at RPGO

And I've posted a couple of preview feats over at RPGO.

Adventures in Playtesting

My players were upset that they don't get anything "free" when changing shape.

By "free" they mean no damage bonuses from claws, no ability modifiers for changing your size, shit like that.

You know, the incredibly broken way Wild Shape works in 3e.

You "only" get the ability to take feats no one else can (like Flight and Water Breathing and Size Increase) and have a selection of feats that you can rearrange to fit the circumstances.

Supers on the brain

I literally had a dream about writing and releasing a book for Supers20 last night.

Apparently some part of my brain is screaming to be heard.

Friday, April 03, 2009

So, uh, Punisher: War Zone

I really am a fan of both Ray Stevenson (Rome) and Dominic West (The Wire) but P:WZ was... not good.

At least the half of it I saw before I got bored and left the room wasn't good.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ok- this is just wrong

I saw this ad in the little banner under my Yahoo IM today.

It's "the only online bar and Happy Hour".

Got that?

It's a dating/social networking site.


Do people really not know what fubar means?

"Is your dating life Fucked Up Beyond Recognition? Yes? Then I have just the site for you! FUBAR! The only dating site where you're bound to meet *someone* more fucked up than you! Join today!"

Simply the Best

Gary Gygax is the greatest RPG writer who ever lived.

Certainly the greatest module designer of all time. The fact that some people have made a career both trying to design from a "anything but Gary" philosophy and have tried to denigrate his skills is what often happens when lesser talent is confronted with true genius.

Oh, and the Roger Moore era of Dragon Magazine was the magazine's golden age too. You know, back when there were Top Secret, Marvel and Gamma World articles.

What are your influences: Voyage of Discovery edition

1. The Aubrey-Maturin series (Master and Commander)
2. Conan
3. Star Trek (TOS)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Blood and Space 2: Galactic Edition gets 5 star review

Good stuff, thanks Shane! Anytime someone uses the phrase "must have" in a review, I get extremely, stupidly, happy.

Check it out.

New Editorial at Beyond Reviews

Today at Beyond Reviews we look at Gamespot and the state of the site.

April Fools

Any post I make today, or any April 1st really, is actually a real post.

I submitted my opt out form for National Idiots Day a few years ago and have not rescinded it since.

Night Ride Part 1

Night Ride Part 1 “Look, Pa, it’s my turn. Also, Nana is having one of her spells again and she has no idea who I am when she gets this w...