Thursday, July 28, 2011

Old School Hack at SoCal Minicon!

Just a few updates on this weekend's Minicon in Anaheim:

1. Nick had to drop his Saturday evening Stormbringer game due to work obligations.

2. Kirin Robinson is stepping in to run a Saturday night session of his Old School Hack game! This is a Red Box-inspired D&D retroclone that looks pretty awesome. Sign up now!

3. A seat has opened up in Steve Perrin's Saturday morning game.

4. A handful of seats are open for the Sunday games run by Grodog, Telecanter, and Bedivere.

If you want to RSVP for a game please email me through my blogger profile!

See you soon!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Southern California Minicon This Weekend! (UPDATES)

I'm getting pumped for the 4th Annual SoCal Minicon this weekend in Anaheim!

Click here to view the up-to-date SCHEDULE and PLAYER RSVPs.

Click HERE for various event details and directions.

UPDATE (July 27):
Nick can't make it due to work issues. Therefore:
(1) The Saturday Stormbringer game is cancelled.
(2)  A seat has opened in Steve Perrin's Saturday game

There are still a number of player slots open on Sunday July 31:

Allan Grohe (Grodog), an authority on the Greyhawk setting, is flying out from Kansas for the minicon. On Sunday morning he will be running an AD&D Greyhawk session. There is still one seat open for this game.

Telecanter is running a morning Swords & Wizardry session. There are still two seats available.

Greg (Bedivere) is running an afternoon AD&D game of his Puzzle Tower, for which four seats are still available.


See you this weekend!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

3d6 Ability Checks in 1977 (Underworld Oracle #1)

I rely heavily on d6 ability checks in my games. I like them because I can adjust the number of dice rolled to reflect the difficulty of a check, yet the rolls still maintain a bell-curved probability (SEE HERE for my previous description of this approach).

To be honest with you, I don't recall where I first heard about this method, but I think I initially read about it in an online forum a long time ago. At conventions I've seen a few other people use the method, but it doesn't seem to be common. Chris Kutalik mentioned that Rob Kuntz uses this method in his games, which got me to wondering how long this method has been around.

Well, now I know the answer is at least 34 years. I was browsing through some issues of the 70s U.K. fanzine Underworld Oracle the other night and I noticed in the first issue, from 1977, that there is a 3d6 Intelligence check described. Specifically, it is called for as a defense against a PC viewing an Apparition. I also recall seeing similar checks in later issues of UO as well.

Great! So d6 ability checks officially get the Old School Stamp of Approval and I won't have to worry about tearing up my OSR membership card anymore. Whew...

Here's the evidence:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

YEAH! Found My 20+ Year Old Bag-O-Dice!

Over the last few weekends I've been helping my momma clear out her storage units in preparation for a big move. Some of the stuff I found included:

A bottle of human teeth
Two pistols
A sweet Witco owl
WWII Army Survival kit
1000+ NASA stock photos
A couple bags of human hair
A huge collection of Garbage Pail Kids cards
A 2-foot long slide rule in a belt scabbard
Mary Hartman! Mary Hartman! board game
My old dice bag!

Lords of light! I've been looking for this dice bag for years! My sweet momma made that little drawstring baggie for me when I was 9 or 10 years old. I lost track of the bag when I stopped playing RPGs in the late 80s, and subsequently built up another collection of dice which I use today. Here's what I found inside that old blue baggie:

This collection of dice has been frozen in time since the early/mid-1980s. They are mostly either TSR Dragon Dice or GameScience dice. A few observations and memories:
  • That blue Dragon Dice d20 on top was my main rollah back in the day. It was the only d20 I had that actually went all the way up to 20.
  • Most of my other d20s were Zocchi / GameScience dice that went to 0-9 twice, but they had a little "." or "+" next to some of the numbers to signify 11-20.
  • No pip d6s. I liked the ones with the numbers - especially that groovy green one. I thought that spherical d6 was cool (got it in a trade), but I never used it.
  • No d4s, although I distinctly remeber having a well-worn Carolina-blue Dragon Dice d4 and a yellow Holmes Basic Set d4. I guess they escaped from the bag along the way.
  • Those blue and red d10s were from a separate Dragon Dice percentile set.
  • That light red d6 was from an early printing (i.e. included dungeon geomorphs instead of Module B1) Holmes Basic Set I still have.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

TSR's 1993 Wildspace Video Trailer: Spelljammer VHS Game!

Joethelawyer just posted the link to this. I found it to be so utterly amazing I just had to share it with you, my dear readers.

Apparently Wildspace was supposed to be a Spelljammer-based video game "cartridge". It seems that "cartridge" in this case meant VHS tape. Does anyone know anything more about this apparently abandoned venture?


UPDATE: Here's a picture of the Wildspace prototype game (from BGG - thanks to ze bulette for pointing this out!):

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

D&D is Totally Realistic. Example One.

Check out this article in today's N.Y. Times.

The sealed vaults under the 16th century Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala have yielded a major hall of GP, as described in these article excerpts:

"A court-ordered search of vaults beneath a south Indian temple has unearthed gold, jewels and statues worth an estimated $22 billion, government officials said Monday... Searchers have found bags of gold coins, diamonds and other jewels and solid-gold statues of gods and goddesses. On Monday, searchers started to unseal “Section B” of the vaults, a large space that was expected to reveal another sizable collection, said P. T. Chacko, the spokesman for the chief minister of Kerala, Oommen Chandy."

The temple looks suitably awesome too. It even has a "Cloak Room" at the entrance!

Friday, July 1, 2011

1903 Alice in Wonderland Movie

Like peeping into another dimension. The Cheshire Cat part is very weird...