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Sword and Board

This blog is for roleplaying games, comics, and movies. All materials published here are considered to be Public Domain or OGL, though no ownership is implied for conversions of existing copyrighted properties.

Updated: 2018-01-18T01:25:13.262-05:00


Director George Romero passed away.


Hard to believe he's gone. I've seen all of his movies. He's the man who made everyone know what a zombie is. Night of the Living Dead is still one of the best horror movies ever made. RIP.

It's hard to do horror in D&D


I love the Ravenloft setting, but I have to admit that it is really hard to pull off horror games with Dungeons & Dragons. The biggest issue is clerics. They can heal everyone, possibly resurrect the dead, and curb-stomp the undead. Even if clerics are heavily limited, mid to high level fighters and mages can handle the vast majority of monsters.

I can see why level-draining monsters were added to fight this, but I think that mechanic is very unfair (not to mention a terrible paperwork mess). In any case, I've done what I can to make it scary for the players, but oftentimes, it is not an easy sell. 

Life is Strange - best video game I've ever played


What a fantastic game. I'm still kind of in shock over everything that happened. If you like mysteries, where your choices actually matter and affect the outcome. I highly recommend it. Easily the best video game I've ever played. 10/10


I feel really bad for Max. The whole time trip where Chloe was in the wheelchair was really rough. I think just that segment of the game made this a 10/10. It was so well done, but so hard on Max. It does show just how much a handicapped person is helped when one of their friends will come and visit them. If you know anyone who got into this situation, go visit them, even if it makes you uncomfortable. You are doing a world of good for that person.

There was no happy ending for Max, no matter what she did. If she saves Chloe, everyone else she knows in town dies. If she saves the town, Chloe dies. Even worse, Chloe dies never even knowing Max came back, or what happened to Rachel. Max is very aware of this, and will have to live with it the rest of her life.

I also really feel bad for Joyce and David. They also get screwed no matter what choice Max makes in the end. If Chloe is saved, Joyce dies (I'm pretty sure David will still be at the barn, but he may also be in town).

If Chloe dies, Joyce will have lost both her and her first husband within a 5 year span. In addition, David is the one who discovers Chloe's body in the bathroom with Nathan. He does love her, even if he doesn't show it. Finding that shitbag Nathan standing over her must kill him inside.

In the end, I saved the town, but damn, I felt bad about it. I actually had to stop the game and think for a while before I finally made my choice.
I really wish there was a way to get an actual happy ending, but I know it really wouldn't fit the story.

Fantasy AGE


I recently bought the Fantasy AGE rulebook from Green Ronin. I've mostly just skimmed it so far, but it seems like a really nice system. Roll 3d6 with stunts. Once I finally give it a good reading, I will hopefully get to run a game of it.

In any case, just on first impressions, this seems like a really good game.

RIP Carrie Fisher - Princess Leia has passed on


I have been a huge Star Wars fan for almost all of my life. As a little kid, I had most of the Star Wars toys, and played with them every day. I have seen all of the movies (barring the current release, which I will see this weekend).

Carrie Fisher was just a huge part of all things Star Wars. She led a wild, crazy life, but accomplished so much. It's hard to believe she's gone.

RIP John Glenn - Astronaut and Senator


John Glenn was one of the last great heroes. He did so much, and had a long life, but he will be missed. I have so much respect for the man.

RIP Joe Dever - Lone Wolf author


When I was a kid, I played through a number of Lone Wolf books. Joe Dever wrote a great world, with fun adventures. RIP, you wonderful man.

Where I review some pens I have


I write a lot, mostly just notes for gaming, though also short stories and poetry. In any case, I use pens a lot. I have a strong fondness for gel pens. They tend to write the best, and don't require me to press real hard while writing. In any case, here are my own opinions on the pens I've been using lately.

Promate Grippy 1.0mm gel pen - Cheap pen, but it feels good in the hand. Writes well, if a little thick. Definitely wouldn't hold up to extended use. Rating: 2 out of 5.

Uniball Signo 207 0.7mm gel pen. Looks great. Feels nice in the hand. It skips for me, though. Not sure why. Maybe it's just the way I write. The lines are neat and look great, except when I write loops, where it skips. Rating: 3 out of 5.

Parker Jotter stainless steel ballpoint pen. Looks nice. Is a little too thin. Tends to clump on the roller, so that there's a splotch when I start using it after it's sat for a little while. Have to press fairly hard. Once it starts, it writes well. Rating: 2 out of 5. (I've ordered the Schmidt Easyflow 9000 refills for this pen. I really hope they improve it, as the included Parker ink kind of sucks).

Pilot G2 0.7mm gel pen. Works great. Feels great to hold. Perfect lines with no splotches or skips. Wish they made fancier versions that weren't plastic. Rating: 4 out of 5.

Fantasy Age from Green Ronin - any good?


Just wondering if anyone has played Fantasy Age from Green Ronin. It looks pretty interesting. I know it was based on the older Dragon Age game. I've read a couple reviews, but I'm not sure how well the game would work in regular play.

1st edition demons were scarier


Maybe it's just me, but the demons as presented in 1st edition were the scariest. Heck, a number of mid to high level spells were all about summoning and controlling them. Maybe it was just the artwork, or Gary's writing, but it seemed more dangerous than the editions that followed.

2e really did drop the ball by renaming everything, and 3e was just too numbers-heavy to give any feeling of dread. 4e was a joke, and I still haven't picked up 5e (so maybe 5e finally fixed them). In any case, I loved the whole set-up and feeling of danger created by the writing in the 1e books.

Also, the Demons boxed sets made my Mayfair Games were fantastic. I have both, and if you ever have a chance to grab them, do yourself a favor and do it. Not only do they add tons of cool demons, there are great examples of investigators going crazy, etc.

Berserk (anime)


I'm currently watching Berserk. It's a fantastic show. It reminds of a cross between D&D and Dark Souls. The characters are all mercenaries in a world with hidden magic and monsters. I'm still only halfway through, but I suspect magic and monsters become much more prevalent as the series goes on.

The series starts with Guts fighting a monster lord, and then goes back in time till when he was a younger mercenary. Much of the series is taking place in the past.

Lots of nasty politics, big battles, and bloodshed. Another neat thing is that the armor appears to be a mix of medieval for leaders and English Civil War for the more common troops. I like it.

I haven't finished the show or read the manga, so no spoilers, please. Just wanted to say this anime is perfect for D&D fans.

Runequest 2e - I finally have a copy


Chaosium has published a reformatted version of Runequest 2e, that also includes all errata in it's correct locations. I've heard of this game for years, and it's always been very expensive on eBay, so I finally got myself a copy.

I like it, though I don't know that it would be my preferred version for d100 gaming (Openquest is the best version I've tried). I was also surprised that no Sorcery rules were included. I guess they got introduced in 3e by Avalon Hill.

I was also surprised that the rules really aren't that Glorantha specific. Yeah, the cults included and some of the monsters are definitely Gloranthan, but the way lots of old gamers talked, I thought this book would be stuffed with it. I think the RQ Deluxe Set from AH had more Glorantha info in it. Just a weird thing I noticed from what forum-goers say vs. what is actually in the product.

Gurps Fantasy Set Kickstarter reached goal!


Well, as of now, they are over $104,000, on a goal of $100,000, and still have 11 days to go. I'm glad this was a success for them, and I expect the product will be very well done. I normally would hesitate on a Kickstarter project, after going through the Dwimmermount fiasco, but I expect Steve Jackson Games won't have any trouble meeting and exceeding everyone's expectations for this game.

More info on the upcoming Gurps Fantasy box set


The Gaming Ballistic blog has collected a bunch of Sean Punch's quotes on how he's going about writing the set and what's in it. I, for one, think it's pretty interesting, and I really wish that SJ Games had published this set years ago.

Gurps Fantasy on Kickstarter


Steve Jackson Games is finally going to do a Fantasy-specific Gurps adaptation (Kickstarter here). All you need in one box set! I have high hopes for this!

Glorantha - I love it but...


Glorantha has been around in gaming since the late 70's. It was the default system for the Runequest rpg. If you are interested in bronze age roleplaying, it's one of the best options available (outside of ancient Greece).

However, it went through a long period of navel-gazing, with products focusing heavily on daily life, spirit quests, and pre-ordained battles. This stuff is really cool to read, but is largely worthless at the gaming table.

I'm also not a fan of the Heroquest/Hero Wars system. I like the 100 word character essay, but I just don't "get" the actual system. It's very poorly explained. I suspect that if someone who knows it could actually sit down and teach it, it would work well. Trying to figure it out from reading a book didn't, at least for me.

Runequest itself has gone through a whole bunch of editions lately. I'm not even sure which edition is the current official one, or if one even exists right now. RQ6 was published and then Chaosium yanked their license (not sure how, since it was released under the OGL). In any case, I like the world, but the rules situation is stupid and finding players is very difficult.

Anyways, the Lunar Empire are the good guys and the Orlanthi scum should be crushed under heel immediately, other than this cool Vingan warrior:

Greyhawk - my favorite edition


I know this is probably sacrilege  to the OSR, but I don't really care for the Greyhawk box set with the Darlene map. Yes, it is wide open so you can do what you want. There's not really anything going on, which a lot of DM's probably love. However, it feels very bland to me.

I'd have to say my favorite version is the Player's Guide to Greyhawk, which was published for 2e. It's still pretty open, but a lot has happened. The world actually feels alive. The Greyhawk Wars changed a lot of countries, the Circle of Eight was broken and rebuilt, and Iuz became a god. The Scarlet Brotherhood is also a great villain.

Another thing I like about this version is that even the evil countries fight each other. Ahlissa and the Scarlet Brotherhood are fighting in Onnwal. Heck, most of the evil countries would fight Iuz if he got near them. There are active wars going on (the new Shield Lands and Geoff are the best examples of this), but large parts of the world are relatively peaceful, or at least a good spot for adventurers. Heck, the area right around Greyhawk City is loaded with stuff for players to do.

In any case, if I get to run another Greyhawk campaign, this is the version I'm using.

I also have the Living Greyhawk book, and I like it. I don't think it's as good, though. Maybe the writing style is too dry, or stuff changed even further as the timeline moved. I'm not really sure, but I don't like it as much.

Currently published fantasy valley settings?


I was just wondering if there were any currently published fantasy settings.

Settings similar to what I'm looking for:

1. Haunted Highlands (Castles & Crusades). I like large parts of this setting, but it's certainly not perfect. I'd have preferred more stuff like the first couple books, and less on a big war against the orcs.

2. Nentir Vale. WotC really dropped the ball with this. A fully-fledged campaign box or hardback would have been great.

3. Griffin Island (Runequest). Good stuff, but I prefer more medieval settings.

4. Thunder Rift (D&D). This was pretty good, but also had some silly stuff like ninja rakasta.

Someone made a white box Dark Souls conversion


The OSR blog "games with others" has three posts on Dark Souls and the Original D&D rules.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

I think it's really cool, though I don't know about starting as a 0-level character. If nothing else, there's lots of usable bits for people interested in dark, gritty games.

Also, a cool 5e conversion is HERE.

Dark Souls and Greyhawk


I was thinking about running Dark Souls atmospheric game set in Greyhawk. The characters wouldn't be undead, but the area would be dark, filled with monsters and undead. I would probably run this with one player, who would be a follower of either Pelor or Pholtus. I'd probably make a new class, similar to the Paladin, but with no holy mounts and more fire-based magic.

In any case, is there a region that would fit easily for this? I'm thinking of either the Hellfurnaces west of the Sea Princes, or somewhere around Iuz. Any suggestions?

Demon city


I recently rewatched the anime Demon City Shinjuku. It gave me an idea. Have the biggest city in your setting have a demon gate open in it. The demons take over part of the city, turning it into a literal hell on earth.

For a fantasy city, I'd think the local mages find some way to use the walls around that particular neighborhood to contain the demon outbreak. The demons can't get out, but entering the area is a death sentence.

Maybe the local government uses this as a way to execute criminals. Maybe heroes come from everywhere and attempt to seal the gate. Sneaky demons may actually get over the walls and corrupt the rest of the city. The sorcerer who initially opened the gate may be dead, or he may have become incredibly powerful, but with his death, the gate might close.

A tree diagram showing Earth's religions


Here's a tree diagram showing current Earth religions: I've heard of most of the big religions, but there are so many sects in each one. I'm surprised more fantasy games don't go into that a bit more. Imagine a Forgotten Realms where the different churches of Lathander fight each other based upon whether to use the term Dawn or Sunrise during services.

Bushi D6 updated and available again


Comcast removed webpages for their users, so all of my internet stuff was unavailable. I wrote Bushi D6 a while back. If you like samurai and the Mini Six/D6 system, you might like this.

Rules: Bushi D6 Rules pdf

Map: Bushi Setting Map

WFRP and Doctor Who rpgs on eBay


Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd edition lot:

Doctor Who RPG:

Thanks for looking!

RIP David Bowie


Ground Control to Major Tom. You are cleared to land. Welcome home.

RIP. One of the greatest rock artists to ever live passed away from cancer. He will be missed.