Thursday 21 May 2009

Dollhouse system follow-up

Thanks to everyone who put forward suggestions for a system to run Dollhouse in. Savage Worlds and FATE came up more than once, as well as Primetime Adventures and Tri-stat DX. However, I was drawn to Aaron's Dollhouse system, What You Don't Know, that he based on Risus, a nice rules-lite game that offers flexible mechanics that are easy to use. I read over the rulebook he made and I found it to be a pretty good adaptation of the show. It allows for quick character creation for each imprint and includes various rules that make the setting feel true to its source material. It's worth checking out if you want a lite system to run a Dollhouse game. I'll also be checking out the other rules that were suggested by my commenting delvers and see how they weigh up against each other.

So, thanks again.

Wednesday 20 May 2009

English folklore in T&T

I'm going to start talking about incorporating creatures and characters from English folklore into your T&T games. I'm a huge lover of all aspects of world folklore, but as I'm from England, something in our quirky little tales resonates with me more than any other. I mean, we have Wibblywoos for crying out loud: strange jelly cows that flop around in bogs. The green man is also a big folklore icon over here, symbolizing new growth in nature.

I want to cover quite a lot so I will probably set aside a day for it - shall we say Folklore Friday? I'll probably travel from the north of England, making my way down south, checking out the weird and wonderful beasts, folk and magical items to be found around England and how to put them into your game.

Sunday 17 May 2009

Suggestions for Dollhouse RPG system

Now I've pretty much finished university, having handed in my dissertation, I can concentrate more time on the blog.

Us Dollhouse fans are celebrating Fox's decision to renew the show for a second season or transhuman angst, albeit on a lower budget. For those who haven't seen the show I'll explain it. There is an ominous organization called 'the Dollhouse' that takes in volunteers (at least we think they are at the moment) and wipes their brains of all memory and data apart from basic functions, essentially putting them in some creepy complacent kid-like state. The cool part is that these 'dolls' can be programmed with different personalities in order to be hired out by wealthy people to do, well, whatever the hell they want. The main character, played by Eliza Dushku, is called Echo and to date we've seen her become a negotiator, assassin, midwife, dominatrix, security guard, spy hunter and more. However, without giving any spoilers away, Echo has started remembering things and is becoming slightly self-aware, which shouldn't happen.

It's an excellent show and would make a brilliant RPG as it has almost unlimited possibilities. But I was wondering what system would fit best for the premise? I'm pretty sure T&T wouldn't work as well as other mechanics, but I really want to use it so I can call it Trollhouse.

Any suggestions?

Saturday 9 May 2009

Mythological weapon : Gram

I'm eagerly awaiting the postman this morning. At any minute a brown box will drop through the letterbox and inside it will be the latest posthumous work by J.R.R. Tolkien - The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun. The book is an epic poem based on a famous Norse tale in which the writer drew much of his inspiration for The Lord of The Rings, including a corrupting ring and a sword that was broken and reforged like Aragorn's Anduril.

The name of the remade blade is Gram, which is pretty damn strong as it can easily slice through an anvil. How cool would it be to use that in your game? Well, here are the stats:

Dice + Adds: 20 + 70
STR req: 30
Dex req: 26
Value: 100,000
Weight: 180

Notes: Gram cannot be found in any old tunnel in any old chest or on any old goblin. When the delver comes across the sword it will be stuck in a tree called Barnstokk and she will have to try and remove it. It was stuck in there by Odin in the story but you can change the deity to suit your campaign. Nevertheless, it takes a unique hero to remove it from the tree. Make a level 9 saving roll on strength. Success means you slide the sword out with ease, although it breaks as soon as you do. You must get it reforged if you want to use it, otherwise it is useless. Once reforged Gram taken on the stats shown above.

Friday 8 May 2009

Spreading the minotaur love

I haven't been updating regularly lately because of university work, so I apologize for that. I have another week to go before I can cool off and dedicate more time to the blog.

I was happy to see that Character For Every Game had recently posted up a T&T minotaur rogue character and a little bit about what they think of the game.

I have to say that minotaurs are definitely the way to go. They're so damn cool, I just wish my warrior delver, Golon Bloodslinger, was still alive. I miss that big lug.

Tuesday 5 May 2009

Pixel to paper

By now you'll have likely heard that Green Ronin Publishing has been sought out by game developer Bioware to create a pen and paper version of their Dragon Age: Origins game, aimed at further expanding the Dragon Age universe.

Pen and Paper Portal quite rightly pointed out how amusing the situation is, what with Bioware's first popular game being Neverwinter Nights, which based on D&D.

Stepping into the realm of the 'real' RPG is a pretty clever move as it allows for those interested in roleplaying to check the video game out and the gamers who may have never played a pen and paper RPG to have a go at it, which is good for the hobby.

This is not the first time video games have been converted into dice fodder. In 2002 Sword and Sorcery Studios released a D20 Everquest game and shortly afterwards White Wolf published rules for a World of Warcraft game, which was later converted to D20.

Creating p&p RPGs from video games allows a world which was once limited to become a sprawling and unending epic, only limited to the imagination. I wouldn't be surprised if more game developers started looking to the p&p crowd to produce RPGs to provide a more immersive experience to their game.

Saturday 2 May 2009

Solo review: The Amulet of the Salkti

This is the first in a series of reviews covering classic and new T&T solos.

Tunnels and Trolls is well known for being a balls-to-the-walls deadly game. It's a system that likes to keep the old-school RPG 'you will die at any instant' mantra, rather than new D&D which coats dungeon walls with silk padding and gives first level characters powers to rival Superman.

Although in T&T the GM'd games are deadly, the solitaire adventures often actively seek out to destroy anything that sets foot in them. The Amulet of the Salkti is one of these solos.

Designed by David Stephen Moskowitz, Salkti is a classic solo where you have to seek out the lost amulet to save the city of Freegore from Sxelba the Slayer, a wicked demon who looks like he got his name one day from a random string of alphabetti spaghetti, and his orc army.

Sxelba was accidentally summoned by one of the ancient people, the Salkti, and proceeded to wipe the Salktians out of existence. Some of the Salkti fled for their lives, whilst others began to forge an amulet to destroy Sxelba. Unfortunately, the demon found the amulet-makers just before they could finish the item. They used it, but not to its full potential, trapping Sxelba for at least 200 years.

The thing is, that was 300 years ago and Sxelba is back doing naughty things like destroying towns. Finding the amulet is the only hope the people of the region have of combating the evil menace.

The adventure has 209 sections and is written for delvers level 1-8 with up to 33 personal adds, but you're going to have a hard time going in there with a low-level character as it's simply too difficult for most. Your delver will be tested to her limits in the dungeon and will most likely get her brains splattered all over the walls if you're not skilled enough.

Salkti introduces an items matrix that could be referenced to see if you can use a certain item on a specific page number. Once you have cross-referenced the chart you will be told to flip to a page that will give you the outcome of your action. There is also a button matrix for all your button mashing needs, and a travel matrix. They are all really nice ideas that are simple enough to use.

There are some cool traps that require a little noggin use and some tough opponents to battle. The toughest part, though, comes in the form of many, many saving rolls at one point in the adventure.

Salkti is fun and full of nice ideas but taking in a delver any lower than 4th level would probably be suicide.

If you want a copy of this solo you can find it at Paizo.