Friday, December 30, 2011

Dungeon Mapping Idea

Have any of you seen this mapping site? It is pretty easy to generate a simple dungeon pretty quickly. Dave, maybe we all focus on making 5"x5" "geomorphs" similar to those used in this program for use in creating quick and dirty dungeons.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Putting Nigel to Bed

I was just putting Nigel to bed for the campaign winter, and since I should answer to someone, I just wanted to give a quick sketch of what I did with him.

I paid my 5% dues to the Order of Shadows.

1 paid maintence for Nigel, Judas, Wulfgang and my home lackies for January, February and March.

I bought a replacement for my horse (El Destructo) and for Wulgang and Judas' horses.
I replaced the 2 first level scrolls I used on the adventure by scribing new ones.

I re-armed Wulfgang in better gear, re-carded him as "Trusty Wulfgang" and installed him as bailiff of my wooden great hall,.  I bought a bunch of furniture for the great hall too.

I gave Slippery Judas 1500gp.  He spent 1000gp to get 500xp.  He kept 200gp for spending money, and spent 300gp to write 3 first level scrolls (magic missile x2, jump x1).

I hung my pictures of Blastocles and Septimus's mom in my gallery and created a secret spot to store my arsenal of magic weapons (+1 whip, +1 spear, +2 poleaxe), for safe-keeping between adventures.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sci-Fi Mashup

I was reading online over lunch and I came across this post. In it, the author argues that sci-fi games suffer because you can't draw from many sources and make it feel right. I would like to go on record that Dave's "Kingdom of Orion" campaign from 2006 did just that which is why I want to go back to it. He had Jedi and armored troopers fighting off Cylons and Sith. It was awesome!

In retrospect, perhaps it was because he *also* threw in cowboys and indians, along with a healthy dose of feudalism that made for interesting play. Also there were monkeys. So many, many, monkeys. I'm surprised we didn't bring bananas to the game.

For those of you who played the campaign, what was your favorite part of the Knights of Orion?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Next Session

Next game, Sunday January 1st, 4pm.

Remember we will be starting Andrew's "Kings of Orion" Savage Worlds game.

We'll be suspending the Badlands campaign for 6 real months, or so, and for 3 in-game months. I'd ask that you advance your characters through 3 months of expenses (Jan, Feb, March of 1422). If your characters or henchmen can make potions or scrolls, they can spend those winter months on those things. When Kings of Orion ends we'll take up Badlands at April 1422.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Kings of Orion

I'm looking forward to the new Kings of Orion Campaign starting on New Year's Day. I hope to start each session with a in medias res opening, followed by some exposition and bookkeeping, and then turn the session loose as a sandbox. The heroes will have options to spend their "richies" on, and be able to accumulate experience through play of their "Knightly Motivations" as well as their "Dark Secrets". Check out the most recent Player's Guide here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Return to the Badlands

Regarding Dave's interest in returning to the Badlands campaign following a "Kings of Orion" interlude. I read this interesting article at Gnome Stew about switching between game systems within the same campaign.

Dave, would you be interested in perhaps opening up your world to other campaign possibilities using different game systems in this way in the future? Do you plan on sticking with the current ruleset when we return to the Badlands, or do you plan on doing some rule tweaking? What happens when our PCs get over sixth level and our NPC flunkies start to simply get too weak to make any sort of difference in a battle? Will we have the option to hire more powerful NPCs?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Kings of Orion - Preview

A preview of the Kings of Orion Player's Guide is now available on the Lords of Hack server. Please feel free to download and check it out.

If anyone has some Dark Secrets to add, or is interested in helping to build out the Succession of Kings, or has any questions or additions please post a comment here.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Orion Time Frame

Jason, Bob, Marlon and I were talking a little about when Andrew's Kings of Orion game should start.  I think we all want to see the Badlands campaign continue.  But, I know that the winter months are just the worst for me wanting to do gaming "homework," while the summer months are when I'm really in to doing game work.

It seemed to me that if Andrew wants to start Kings of Orion,  it would be best if he started in January and ran into June.   I'd make that out as about 10-13 sessions which seems about normal for a Savage Worlds game, and then in June or July we'd take up the Badlands again, allowing either continuation with old characters or a new start with new ones (either way we'd start with mid-level characters).

I for one am really starting to see the long-range effects of building lairs, networks of henchmen etc., and would like to start expanding the vibe with NPC contacts more and more with Badlands.   The time-frame, maintenance, henchmen, hireling, randon event draw, nexus is all developing in a most satisfactory manner, and I'd like to see that continue longer-term than previously.  So, when we are done with Kings, I think that going back to Badlands has a lot of appeal to several of us.

Nevertheless, I do get the itch to actually play a character more and more, so I'd welcome the Kings after Christmas.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


While we are talking about resources for the KoO game, let me ask you guys what you think about ammunition. In our previous game, only the wild card PCs ever kept track of ammo. I didn't keep track of bad guy ammo at all, and I'm fairly sure that we barely kept track of our henchmen's ammo use.

I'm kind of on the fence about normal ammo (as opposed to grenade-like ammo where the ammo IS the weapon -- there it should be counted). I want to say that every weapon more or less has "unlimited" ammo, and leave it at that. However, then we can't do cool things like three-round-bursts and double-tap shots. It would unbalance things because you would do those shots ALL THE TIME with unlimited ammo.

What do you guys think? Should we count ammo or not? Or maybe only count ammo for wild cards, allowing only them to do 3RB & DTs? Maybe we use a different mechanic where a roll of a one indicates that you have to reload?

Wealth Mechanism

If you're using Savage Worlds, why not use a Savage Worlds style mechanism for wealth.   Have each character have an extra Ability Score:  Wealth.    To buy something you'd make a normal ability check to see if you could afford it.    Perhaps saying that ordinary gear is free, and only extrordinary items require a roll.   You could impose a -2 or -4 for really big ticket item.  Your "richies" could be one-time bonuses or re-rolls to a wealth roll.

I'd probably disallow the "Wild Die" for wealth rolls.

Everyone would start with a d4 in wealth.  So, if you wanted to buy a car or a motor boat, or something like that, you'd need to roll a 4 to do so.   If you took the "Poor" flaw, you'd have a d4-2 on rolls.   If you took the "Rich" advantage, you'd start with a d8 in wealth (and so forth with super-rich and noble advantages).    You could increase your wealth by spending an advance (once per tier).    If you got money somehow and didn't spend advances, you obviously didn't invest your money properly and wasted it on liquor and blow.  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Campaign Questions - What Behaviors Does My Campaign Reward and Punish?

What Behaviors Does My Campaign Reward and Punish?
  • The campaign is about action. Standing around planning and/or searching for traps is frowned upon and wandering monsters will result. Narrating the action is rewarded with "spiffs". This should help players remember that rather than saying "I shoot at this guy", he can narrate his action with something more evocative like "I draw a bead on the Grundorian, hoping to put the laser bolt squarely through his chest".
  • The campaign features subtle player conflict through the "Knightly Motivations", but in the context that their overarching motivations are the same -- the commitment to the Knights of Orion.
  • The campaign also features huge player conflicts hidden as "time bombs" within the campaign in the form of the "Dark Secrets". If these conflicts run the campaign off the rails, I'm okay with that and there will be no punishment. We'll just reboot the campaign.
  • The campaign is kind of an open sandbox in terms of plot since there is no single antagonist, and no single king. The aim of the Knights is to re-unite the kingdom under a single new king, but who that king is, and how unification will be achieved is truly in the hands of the PCs alone.
  • Loot will either be specific items or artifacts, or else just "richies" that represent wealth that player characters collect in-game. I want to get away from looting weak weapons off of mooks, and move toward a game economy where loot is more abstract and meaningful. Basically, anyone with at least one "richie" in their hand should can assume that they may buy one or a few of anything that costs under a richie for free. Only when the player character wants to feed or outfit and army would low-cost items actually cost the player anything.
  • Campaign Questions - How Does the "Kings" Campaign Do That?

    How Does the "Kings" Campaign Do That?
  • Rather than using coinage, player characters will be rewarded with "richie" chips that will take the place of cash/credits/gold. These "richies" can be cashed in to purchase henchmen, equipment, vehicles, etc. These chips will be the basis for the campaign's economy. Players will also be given a single "richie" at the start of each game session.
  • Players start with three "bennies" a game as well as a spread of hero cards in order to allow the players to exercise some narrative control over the game.
  • Players may earn "spiffs" for narrating what their characters do in a particularly illustrative or entertaining way. In this way, we can stay away from lazy, basic commands and force the players to actively participate in the narration of what is going on. "Spiffs" can be used to increase damage, and four "spiffs" can be traded in for a "bennie".
  • The campaign hinges on all the player characters joining forces into a force of knights dedicated to the preservation of the King and Kingdom. In order to encourage this play, as well as to provide different angles for doing so, each player character must choose a Knightly Motivation to follow.
  • Players must also choose a Dark Secret for each of their characters that is essentially a really big secret about that character which will add further intrigue to the mix for the party of PCs.
  • Players will be rewarded experience not only for participation, but also for role playing their "Knightly Motivation"as well as for dropping a subtle hint and/or roleplaying their "Dark Secret". That way a player could gain 1-3 experience points per session.
  • Campaign Questions - What is the Campaign About?

    As promised, here is my treatment of the campaign questions from earlier. Please let me know your thoughts.

    What is the "Kings" Campaign About?
  • The new Kings of Orion is an echo of Dave's original Knights of Orion project. The original campaign was essentially a series of pulpy adventures strung together by the conceit that the player characters were all in the service of the King of Orion in order to protect and serve the people of the kingdom. I would like to continue in that tradition.
  • The Knights of Orion are still beloved and admired despite being outlawed over the past twenty years or so. They are a combination of special forces and rock stars.
  • Action will lead the plot in every game. I would like the players' trust to allow the game to start In Medias Res on nearly every session. By starting at the middle of the story rather than at the beginning, we can get through more and have more fun. If that becomes a problem, we'll make the appropriate changes.
  • Each session will feature steadily increasing stakes. As the PCs get stronger and have more to loose from failure, the more that they will be squeezed for resources.
  • The arc of each session will feature steadily increasing stakes as well. I like to call this the "out of the frying pan into the fire" principle.
  • I hope that this campaign will feature more shades of grey than Dave's previous "Knights of Orion" project. There is no single clear cut "king" for the player characters to serve. Those PCs who lust for power need only reach for it. Although the motivations of the PCs are straightforward and free for all players at the table to see, each and every character will have to choose a "dark secret" that could potentially unravel the entire campaign. The characters' "dark secret" will also be kept from all the other players at the table. If the "dark secrets" run the entire campaign off the rails, so be it. That could be pretty entertaining as a matter of fact.
  • Despite being a sci-fi campaign, hand to hand combat will remain very important since I've scaled the weapon tables so that only melee weapons have armor piercing values needed to reliably crack open powered armor. Powered armor will also be rare enough that it is only worn by wild cards.
  • Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Next Session

    Our next D&D game will be this, Sunday, November 6, 2011, 4pm. Let's all see what Dave has cooked up in the lab for us this game.

    Saturday, October 29, 2011

    They Always Take the Bait

    In game 22, the Old Ones set a fire across the river, just to draw the leaders of the PCs across the river away from Boscovania, so the summoners could attack the settlement. No matter how many times the bad guys try this tactic, using a distraction to draw the PC's in a particular direction, they always fall for it.  Always,  Every Single Time.

    They even fell for it a second time the same game.  The attack on the north wall was meant to draw guards away from the other wall to make it easier to attack.  Every Single Time.

    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Campaign Questions

    As you all may or may not know, once Dave closes the box on the current Badlands campaign, I hope to start a new Savage Worlds Campaign. I was inspired by Dave's Badlands campaign being built on top of a previous Lords of Hack campaign, and so I went back to the same well for the "Kings of Orion" campaign I'm working on.

    I stumbled over this post on three campaign questions to answer on Gnome Stew today. When I get a chance I will answer these questions for the new campaign. I would appreciate your input on my choices once I have them posted so I can understand if you like where I'm going or if you would prefer something a little different.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    The main question about forthcoming Kings of Orion

    Of course, the most important question about Andrew's upcoming campaign "Kings of Orion", is of course, whether there will be a deck of henchmen or not.

    Interesting Links

    I've added a widget to the right-hand side of this blog to include a list of interesting links across the Internet. I've started with our main website and Dave's blog. However, I want to include links to sites that we all would find inspirational and/or interesting to the group. What are the "go-to" sites you all visit on the Internet when you start up the Web? Let's discuss.

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    I've had all I can stand and I can't stands no more

    I'm really bewildered about posting comments.   I sign in with my google account, and it says, both on this blog and Dr Skull's Workshop, that my google account doesn't have access.   I can post comments using the "Name/URL" option on Dr Skull's, but this blog doesn't give you that option.  I seem to be able to post actual posts on both blogs, but not comments.  Seriously, what the H?   Andrew, could you enable the "Name/URL" option for comments?

    Somehow, I posted a comment under the Early Memories thread, but now am powerless to do so.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011


    I've been working on a new Savage Worlds campaign based on our very first campaign, and I'm doing my best to generate as many ideas as I can. That way, when the campaign starts I have a whole lot of material to bring to bear to make the characters' adventures interesting.

    I'm finding that I'm coming up with a lot of great new ideas in new and strange places. Where do you Hacklords find that you come up with the best gaming ideas?

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Early Memories

    What is your first memory of RPG gaming? Who was in your very first game group? What game did you play? How old were you?

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    The Lords of Hack

    Welcome Hacklords! At Dave's suggestion, I have created a blog just for the purpose of posting and sharing tidbits of random information for access as a bulletin board so that all may read and respond. If you wish to post, I'll make you a co-author and you may make any sort of game-related post you wish.