Category Archives: Other Systems

Every Other Sunday DCC Game

I sat in on a DCC game ran by Roy Snyder. There were 3 players with existing characters and one other experienced player who was rolling up four zero level characters like I did.

We had fun and avoided any deaths so far, and had 4 combats. It is a module, the name I did not get, but so far it is off the wall and fun. I’m not used to such off the wall thinking, so it is a stretch to get up the that level of the others. It suits my sense of humor and quirkiness. I am not used to being plopped in with no clue of why we are there and winging it. This kind of role playing stretching is good for me and forces me to step it up a notch. Having four zero level characters to run made it more challenging to differentiate them, but in the 6 hours of play, I was just getting them sorted.

Two members of the party encountered two basilisk type creatures after managing excellent sneak rolls. One creature fell to a back stab, and the other got off two gaze attacks, and through a halfling being at the right place at the right time, was able to burn enough luck for them to make their saves. In our previous combats, we made some very close rolls to avoid falling off slick stairs in the side of a canyon.

I didn’t need to refer to the rules, other than a few pages in a handout from Roy, so I never referred to my tablet. I only needed a couple of dice I didn’t have, so I borrowed from other players for those few rolls. Roy mentioned some options for dice, so I will continue looking into those and try to get some ordered to arrive in time for the next session.

We had fun and I look forward to the next session in two weeks!

My Sunday Game

Sundays had been reserved for running my AD&D campaign with my oldest son and his girlfriend. We were playing almost every Sunday for over six months. It was a lot of fun and they both kept coming back for more.

At the end of September, they moved in with me to pay off some bills and save up for a nicer apartment because they had a baby on the way. One of the selling points my son made of their moving in with me, is that we would get to play more. We haven’t had one session since they moved in. I am OK with that, Now that my granddaughter is here, they would rather spend the time my son isn’t at work figuring out how to be a family and enjoying Nikola while she is at the tiny stage of life. This past Friday she was one month old. I don’t mind. I should have done more to flesh out my campaign.

I have thoughts of perhaps getting things ready where I can run my campaign on Roll20 with Google Hangouts. Perhaps someday I will.

Last weekend I played DCC for the first time and two of the players were Roy Snyder and Jared Randall. We had a blast playing together in Adam Muszkiewicz’s first session, and Roy and I were in Adam’s second session. Roy has a group that gets together every other Sunday, and he invited me. Since I am not gaming, I decided to join in. We meet this afternoon, so perhaps I will post a play report for tomorrow. It will be DCC, so their will be character generation. I don’t know if we are doing a funnel, or if we are starting at first level. It will definitely be interesting.

I have the DCC PDF that I got for free or low price in April of last year. I was proactive and put it on my tablet and put the Purple Sorcerer Crawler’s app on my tablet too. I also downloaded and printed the blank character sheet PDF, that has four character sheets on one page. I packed up my game bag and have it ready to walk out the door.

The only thing I don’t have are all the funky dice: d3, d5, d7, d14, d16, and D24. The d6, d10, d16, and d24 are easy to emulate with existing dice. D6/2 = d3, d10/2 = d5, d8 & d6 to emulate d16, and d12 & d6 to emulate d24. For example emulate a d16, roll a d6 and a d8. If the d6 is 1-3 add 0, if the d6 is 3-6 add 8. If I had either a d7 or a d14, I could easily emulate the other. I read online that one can use a d8 and ignore rolls of d8, but that leads to extra rolling that slows things down. I guess I can use my tablet, or borrow dice until I can snag some of my own.

Marmalade Dog 20 – 2015 Post Con Write Up

Welcome To Marmalade Dog
Welcome To Marmalade Dog

The first slot started Friday at 3:00 PM. I was too late to join in a game, so I visited with Roy Snyder and Adam Muszkiewicz  and Pete Schwab  and others until the 7:30 PM slot when I was set to run T1 – The Village of Hommlet.

When Adam and I were talking the topic of random tables and drop tables and all the dice tables came up. I mentioned that I am slowly crafting an all the dice type table to help me generate area of an ancient “abandoned” city for houses, building, and other features. Adam pointed me to a display at Roy’s booth for Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad, Winter 2014, Issue #1. Pages 10 and 11 have a neighborhood generator, and pages 12 and 13 have a gang generator. The neighborhood generator has a lot of ideas that I am looking for so I bought it.

No one signed up for my slot, so I played in Adam Muszkiewicz‘s Kickassistan session. Roy, Pete, Andrew Moss, Jared Randall, and Laura Williams all joined in. I had never played DCC and it was great! Adam had an interesting concept. Our character sheets where blank 3×5 index cards. We rolled for random professions, and birth portents. We did not roll any stat until we needed it. Each character was first level, so we got to pick a class. Adam had different players make up why we were their based on our known information. If we were rolling for our main ability for our class we got two re-rolls, but had to put the rolls on another stat. This was with 3d6.

This was the first cooperative role playing session I had ever played. Normal roll playing is cooperative, but this was a few notches up. It gets all the players involved in making an interesting story. After the game, I talked to Adam and we were on the same wavelength and agreed that it either had to be a rules system that the GM had total mastery, or something so simple to make mastery trivial. We both agreed that Delving Deeper would be a good one. Adam had a rough idea of what he wanted to do and greatly encouraged us to come up with something creative, even if it was off the wall. The most hilarious thing was that Roy Snyder invented the Minotaur Class. It would take too long to recount all the hi-jinks the Minotaur got up to. I can’t wait to see the write up for that.

The way this worked is if one was a fighter, they rolled their strength and other associated scores when there was combat or some other reason to know that score. For wizards, we got to pick two spells and toll for two. My character rolled a secondary profession of a sage with a dagger, quill pen, and piece of parchment. Based on this, I though a wizard made sense. I rolled intelligence and it was a 13 so it gets a +1. There is a table in DCC for Mercurial Magic effects. Also there is the concept of point burns, where one can use a point of a physical ability to boost the chance of success. This point burn is temporary. So the first time I cast a spell, charm person, I elected to burn two points of strength, then I had to roll my strength, and I rolled a 4. Thankfully, I did not say I used 4 points of strength, because when an ability hits 0, you are dead. The mercurial magic effect for that spell was then rolled, and it requires spells to be cast with point burn or suffer corruption. There were two other spells that I used and found out their effect. For Flaming Hands, the effect is gender bender that lasts an hour. Finally, Color Spray had the effect of memories of a dying god. I had to roll a d20 to determine the effect. If I rolled low, the dying god would take over my body, if I rolled moderately well, I would avoid the worst, but still have to roll every time. I rolled a natural 20! Adam was amazed. By rolling a 20 this meant that I had mastered the dying god’s memories and a new one would be revealed each time I cast the spell. Plus, it supercharged my casting and I always roll a d24 instead of a d20! Each time I cast Color Spray, Adam asked different players what the specific memories were of the dying god, and it was quite entertaining. I don’t yet know what happens if I use Magic Missile or Spider Climb. I also never took a hit, so I don’t know how many hit points I have.

I like the magic system. It is simple, but requires tables to determine effects. Each spell has its own table. If one does not like fire and forget Vancian Magic, the DCC system or similar is easy to mimic. The wizard can cast their spells at will and just roll a d20 for effect. The point burn mentioned above can give a boost to help insure success. The bonuses to the roll without point burn is +1 per level and  and pluses for abilities over 12. One can add another plus for each point burned from physical abilities, Strength, Stamina, and Agility. If the roll is bad, but close to success, one can burn luck points, but those don’t regenerate, but GMs can award luck points.

The only complication to playing DCC, besides needing a new set of rules, is the need for non-standard dice and in the all the dice tables in the issue of Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad, i.e. d3, d5, d7, d14, d16, and d24. I finally got a d30 this past summer at GenCon, but need the others. By the time I decided I needed to buy more dice, the vendor selling dice had already packed up and left before the end of the night Saturday. It is easy to simulate the d3, d5, d16, and d24 using other dice. I am tired and not thinking how I would simulate the d7 and d14. If you had either a d7 or a d14 you can easily simulate the other. So, an online search for more dice may be in order.

After the game on Friday, we went to a bar and closed it. I only had one beer, since I had to drive 15 miles back home. I had not closed a bar in a long time, but we sat around talking about various RPG related topics, from systems to genres, to play, to Kickstarters, and more. It was a lot of fun!

In the first slot on Saturday I played in the DCC funnel ran by Mike Carlson. All four of my characters leveled to 1st level and survived until the last roll of the adventure. We had to make a luck roll, below our luck. One of my characters started with a 16 luck and had burned one, so I had to roll a 15 or lower and rolled a 20. Two of the remaining three characters also failed. One player had non of her four survive. The other three players had two of their characters survive. Mike made a stamp for dead characters. It had a skull and crossbones on the handle and he used red ink to stamp the dead characters as dead. We had a blast.

Dead Characters
Dead Characters

In Saturdays’ second slot, two other GMs did not have full tables, so I had 8 players for Hommlett. So as my first time running a convention game, this was the first time for only two of the players at a convention game, but they were experienced role players. It was fun to see how Adam and friends, and Pete and Roy made this their own thing. They made it to the dungeon under the keep when we ran out of time. Everyone had fun, and I asked for any advice for me. Adam and others agreed that I should have gotten them to the keep sooner for a convention game. They all agreed that I ran it well for normal play.

First Session Player's View
First Session Player’s View

 

First Session DM's View
First Session DM’s View

 

In the third slot of Saturday, I played again in Adam’s Kickassistan session, and brought my character from yesterday. It was great! I still don’t know my HP…. We had most of the players from the day before and some new ones and had a blast! Shane Harsch didn’t have anyone for his 5th edition session, so he joined in. His wizard character, mine, and another were planning great things!

Adam demonstrating how he flosses. ;)
Adam demonstrating how he flosses. 😉

Sunday, there is one slot and I ran Hommlet again. I did not have anyone signed up for my session and Pete did not have anyone for his session. Eric Piper got called into work, so his full Castles & Crusades session was cancelled and I ended up with 7 players for Hommlet. I felt that I ran it much smoother and even though Pete knew what was there from the day before, he did not meta game. This group avoided some of the trouble of yesterday’s group, but the cleric of this group went down the secret passage while the others were doing other things, and they found him dead. They rested until morning and went back to town, and I let them equip with the other cleric I had rolled. They only had one character in their group get knocked down. They got a lot farther in the lower level. It was fun and I see how I would run it differently still in a convention setting. Most of the players in this group turned out to be from the town where I lived, and we did not know each other, although two of them know my oldest son.

Second Session Hommlet
Second Session Hommlet

My analysis of running a module at a convention is that initially, I thought it would be easier, since it was all planned out. However, I did not know it as well as if I had put something together on my own. I was way over prepared. I wish I had put that much time into my own campaign, and I would have had a whole new area planned out. I am now able to run Hommlet any time with a quick review of the rules. There was talk from my first session crew of trying to finish it. I would like that, or if the second session crew wanted to keep going. Perhaps next year or at another con.

All of us who signed up to run a session are interested in meeting up for Marmalade Dog 21. If that group is there every year, I will be glad to go and run sessions and play.

Several of us also plan to go to UCon in November. I can’t wait!

My DM Badge
My DM Badge

 

Con Shirt Front
Con Shirt Front
Con Shirt Back
Con Shirt Back

Marmalade Dog 20 OSR Track Handout

I had the idea and volunteered to put it together. It is a one page, front & back listing of the GM’s for the OSR track and what games and rules systems they used, plus a listing of the websites for those rule systems and other OSR related information.

This page will be the home of that handout with a QR Code to send you here for the PDF with the clickable links.

I will also have a few handouts available at the con, with enough for each of the 6 slots in the 3 sessions I am running, plus two for each GM. The QR code should minimize the need for most to need a physical copy.

Marmalade Dog OSR Track Handout

March Madness – Non-D&D OSR Blog Challenge

The March Madness – Non-D&D OSR Blog Challenge came on my radar as I read other blogs. Just having come off the D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Challenge in February, I was not up to scheduling another month. I will do as many other have done and do one post for all the questions.

March Madness 31 day Obscure Game Blogging Challenge

1 What was the first roleplaying game other than D&D you played? Was it before or after you had played D&D?

It was either Metamorphosis Alpha or Gamma World that came after Blue Box (Holmes) Basic D&D/AD&D.

2 In what system was the first character you played in an RPG other than D&D? How was playing it different from playing a D&D character?

Playing a mutant or human with high-tech gear was in line with a lot of the Science Fiction movies and stories I had read. I was more of a science fiction guy before getting into D&D. I think I comfortably move between genres in my reading. I haven’t played anything other than D&D for decades.

3 Which game had the least or most enjoyable character generation?

It has been so long, I just don’t remember. I have read about other’s talk of Traveller and death as a possible result in character generation, but I don’t remember it.

4 What other roleplaying author besides Gygax impressed you with their writing?

I liked a lot of the regular authors in The Dragon. Kim Mohan comes to mind. I’m drawing a blank as I write this. I no longer have my collection of Dragon Magazines.

5 What other old school game should have become as big as D&D but didn’t? Why do you think so?

Metamorphosis Alpha, Gamma World, Boot Hill, Top Secret, Gangbusters, Villains and Vigilantes, Star Frontiers, Marvel Superheroes, and Traveller were all games that I played back in the day. Part of it may have been not every kid in high school could afford or had parents who could afford to just buy whatever we wanted. I earned the money for all but the AD&D Player’s Handbook, which was a Christmas present the year it came out. I also had to get the others in my group interested in a game. The only RPG that I encountered in college was AD&D. I am sure there must have been others playing other RPGs, but I didn’t have time to go seeking them out. I think the bulk of the hobby was pre-teen and teenage boys back in the day and by the time they were in jobs, real life altered their style. I didn’t pick a wife based on her interest in RPGs. In hindsight, I probably should have.

6 What non-D&D monster do you think is as iconic as D&D ones like hook horrors or flumphs, and why do you think so?

I don’t recall a specific monster/creature from other games, as it has been too long since I last played them.

7 What fantasy RPG other than D&D have you enjoyed most? Why?

The group I played with did Boot Hill and Top Secret the most.

8 What spy RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.

I have to say Top Secret, since that is the only one I played.

9 What superhero RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

We played Villains and Vigilantes and Marvel Superheroes. I don’t recall specific game mechanics. I liked the Marvel as it had all the comic book characters, but you could stat them in other games.

10 What science fiction RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.

Traveller seemed clunky to me and had too many different books. I liked Star Frontiers, but I struggle to recall specifics. The homebrew SF game we made called Scout was my favorite, because it borrowed from every other game we played for different features. I don’t have any materials. If I had any survive to my adult life, they were lost in the water leak incident. My brother, Robert, wrote a series of short stories about Scouts that kept us all enthralled and we kept bugging him to write more after we had our turn of reading his hand-written story.

11 What post-apocalyptic RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

Metamorphosis Alpha and Gamma World seemed to be the same game in different settings. I know that character generation, etc. was not the same, but that’s how I remember them. You have characters that don’t know what the stuff is that they find and have to figure it out without killing themselves.

We also had Escape from New York. I don’t recall if that was really an RPG, or a boardgame with RPG qualities.

12 What humorous RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.

I bought Toon but could never get anyone to play. In the groups I have played with, there is always something humorous that happens intentionally or not. In D&D I have played gnomes that were quite the instigators of humor. There is also the hilarity of too much caffeine and not enough sleep. Things that no one else would find funny still bring guffaws and giggles to grown men who were kids and young adults when some said or did something really funny.

13 What horror RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

Call of Cthulhu is another one we played. I did not like that there was no avoiding going insane. That was before I had read any of the stories. My brother, Robert, did and told me so much detail, I did not read them until the last 6 or 7 years.

14 What historical or cultural RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.

I never played any of that style RPG.

15 What pseudo or alternate history RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

I see all RPGs as fitting that category.

16 Which RPG besides D&D has the best magic system? Give details.

I don’t recall the specifics of T&T, which I played once. I think it was Runequest I played once.

17 Which RPG has the best high tech rules? Why?

I don’t recall, it has been too long.

18 What is the crunchiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?

There were a few times we played some other games only once, but I don’t recall the one I am thinking of. It had so much detail it was crazy. I believe it was a fantasy RPG, maybe Runequest.

19 What is the fluffiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?

20 Which setting have you enjoyed most? Why?

MA and GW made the biggest impression on me, other than D&D. I think that is because I grew up in the Cold War when the idea of nuclear annihilation was a common theme in real life, not just books and movies. I was born a few years after the Berlin Wall went up, and I never thought it would come down in my lifetime. I was amazed when it came down when I was in college. The idea of the U.S.S.R collapsing was far from everyone’s mind. The made for TV movie “the Day After” occurred in the Kansas City area, where I grew up. That was one weird and compelling movie to watch, knowing it was new my home. I did love to play MA & GW. I guess trying to find joy in spite of the horror is what we were doing.

21 What is the narrowest genre RPG you have ever played? How was it?

Top Secret and Boot Hill would have to be the narrowest.

22 What is the most gonzo kitchen sink RPG you ever played? How was it?

I don’t know what this means.

23 What is the most broken game that you tried and were unable to play?

I don’t think there were any broken games. GM’s that didn’t know the rules and/or how to run a game were the biggest issues.

24 What is the most broken game that you tried and loved to play, warts and all?

With a GM that knows the rules, but more importantly, HOW to run a game and make it fun for all would do the trick. But I can’t think of a game with broken mechanics.

25 Which game has the sleekest, most modern engine?

Does that mean a post-OSR style rules, or OSR clones of original games? I think old school style rules, like the original games of the 70’s and 80’s were pretty sleek. I like the idea of ascending AC and fewer books and tables needed to play a session.

26 What IP (=Intellectual Property, be it book, movie or comic) that doesn’t have an RPG deserves it? Why?

I can’t think of one. I am sure that there is at least a homebrew set of rules for every little niche.

27 What RPG based on an IP did you enjoy most? Give details.

I guess it would be Marvel Superheroes. The only other would be Call of Cthulhu, which was ok, but not my cup of tea.

28 What free RPG did you enjoy most? Give details.

I haven’t played a free RPG, other than our homebrew. I do have S&W and have read the white box and complete rules and it is a game I could play.

29 What OSR product have you enjoyed most? Explain how.

I like the abundance of free and low cost materials available on the internet, like tables, maps, modules, and other tools to facilitate the job of GM.

30 Which non-D&D supplemental product should everyone know about? Give details.

I don’t know as I have not looked at other genres for supplemental material.

31 What out-of-print RPG would you most like to see back in publication? Why?

I always had a soft spot for Metamorphosis Alpha and Gamma World, but I understand those progressed into newer versions and MA 1e is still on DriveThrough RPG, and I picked it up just last week, mostly for nostalgia sake.

Boot Hill and Top Secret were others I enjoyed. I wouldn’t mind having copies just for nostalgia’s sake.

RPGs I have played.

RPGs I have played.

D&D, AD&D – Basic blue Box D&D started it all.

Metamorphosis Alpha, Gamma World. Hiero’s Journey was recommended reading for Gamma World. To me, reading it sounded like a script for what play transpired in a game session or sessions of Gamma World.

Star frontiers, Traveler.

Gang Busters, Top Secret

Villains and Vigilantes, Marvel Superheroes.

Boot Hill

Games we invented back in high school: Space Pirates and Scout. As I recall pirates was more about ship combat and getting the cargo off the target ship. Scout was role playing and small ship combat.
I once owned rules for Metamorphosis Alpha, Gamma World, Boot Hill,  Top Secret. I don’t recall if I had Star frontiers, or just played it.

I own Mega Traveler, but never played it. I got is so I could have an RPG without grief from my now ex.

I also once had a game about being a carton character, Toon. It was a simople booklet like in the blue box D&D or Metamarphosis Alpha rules. I could never get anyone interested. I lost it in the leaky pipe disaster that trashed a lot of my gaming materials.

Swords And Wizardry Retro Clone

I read the Swords and Wizardry Quick Start, White Box, and Complete Rules just to make sure the three magic items that I submitted to the OSR Superstar Contest were according to the rules of the contest.

I found the rules to be well organized and easy to start using them.

I am tempted to make them the go to rules and tweak with stuff from AD&D, like spells, monsters, etc.

I like the simplicity of classes. I don’t like the level limitations of non-Human characters and the class restrictions. This is the same balk I have with AD&D. No problem, HOUSE RULES TIME!

I like that the system strives to keep the ability to customize and encourages it!

I have joined the Swords & Wizardry Discussion Group to keep up with ideas of others.

I see it beneficial to have these rules, which are freely available, should I ever get an online campaign going, others will need the rules.

I like the S&W SRD and it’s ideas, and I like the generators for NPCs, NPCs in taverns, and treasure map generator. Simple tools to fill in gaps fast.

I recommend this system and I would gladly play these rules, since they are so close to my “home” rules.

Well, I have spent so much time blogging and updating this Google+ page and collecting information, etc. that I am behind on direct work on my campaign.

OSR Superstar Contest

Tenkar’s Tavern is hosting the OSR Superstar Contest.

There are three stages. If you make the cut of the first stage you move on to the second stage.

The first stage involves submitting a magic item. You can submit up to three of them. Don’t post it on the blog, it will be disqualified, it must be emailed to the specified address. The deadline is “Sunday, February 16th, at 1PM Eastern (NYC) Time.”

I have decided to participate. So far, I have two magic items sketched out in pretty good detail. You have to use the Swords and Wizardry rules, so I am having to refer back to those. I can do AD&D without a lot of thought and just for specifics. At least it will be flexible to work with any OSR like rule set.

If you make the cut with the magic items, next is a monster.

If you make it to the third round you must use an assigned dungeon map to craft an adventure using the magic item and monster.

 

OSR Superstar
OSR Superstar

Other RPGs

Yesterday, I wrote about science fiction RPGs: Metamorphosis Alpha, Gamma World. Traveller, and Scout – a home-brew RPG.

Today, I will touch on the others that my old group from high school played.

GangBusters was based on the gangsters and FBI of the Roaring 20s & 30s, a la Al Capone and Eliot Ness. I do not remember playing that more than a few times. This was a TSR product.

Top Secret was a TSR RPG based on James Bond, and other spy movies. This is one RPG that our group got into and we played quite a lot. I still have my hand-written character sheet on notebook paper from the 80’s. We just sort of drifted away from this game. I think after high school graduation and the separation of our gaming group, we no longer had the large base to take turns GMing so that one GM would not get totally burnt out preparing all the time. It is hard to prepare one game, let alone attempt to GM multiple games in multiple systems.

Boot Hill, also by TSR, is a western based game. We also played this one quite a lot. I actually owned this game and was working on a campaign and preparing to GM, when for some reason it never happened. I don ot recall what happened to my game materials.

Game cross-over. One of the problems our group encountered was that when one person was a player in one game and a GM in another, that person could be vengeful on the players when their turn came to be GM. We played one scenario in AD&D where two good-aligned characters killed the evil Drow character of the guy who was our GM for Boot Hill. He was very unhappy and swore to kill our characters in Boot Hill. He did kill our characters in Boot Hill, but at least he made it a memorable “Alamo” scenario, and while we did not appreciate the vengeance angle, at least he made it enjoyable.

Another similar scenario occurred when another DMs campaign had a player whose character was extremely evil and high level. My brother, Robert, and I had two new players in this campaign, and our stated goal was to get powerful enough to top this evil. So here we were 1st or 2nd level and this powerful 10th or higher level bad-guy is allowed to hear about these two new upstart PCs and tracked us down. We were no match for him, but my first level M-U used magic missle to blind one eye before he was struck down. This same evil character was played by the same evil character in the other D&D campaign that we slew, and who was the Boot Hill GM.

These problems with cross-over and what I would consider poor DMing to allow a high level evil character to even hear about the minor threat two low level characters posed, helped lead to the shrinking of our base of players. The DM did not have to tell this other player what we had stated our purpose was out of character.

Have you faced similar cross-game problems? How have you handled them to avoid hurt feelings?

I think it is one thing to have a party of NPCs be the nemesis of the player party, but it is troublesome to me on how to handle to player parties in the same campaign to interact in a way that brings enjoyment to both groups. If there are of opposites with one evil and the other good, I see it as a recipe for disaster and a sure-fire way to shatter a group. If I had to GM such a situation, I would try to discourage one player or group of players from trying to kill another, no matter the motive, or at least explain to them that it needed to be in the purview of the game and to be careful not to break friendships over it. As DM, perhaps put obstacles that prevent such incidents, unless there was a stated shared mindset that such activity was acceptable and that no hard feelings would result.

Roleplaying, like acting, touches on our real emotions and can soon lead to conflict, if one is not careful to make boundaries and limits. This is why people with untreated mental illnesses should not role play, as it can lead to problems. Such things lead to the bad name D&D had in the 80s, and was the source of the real problems of that gamer played by Tom Hanks in that TV movie in the 80s. It is meant to be a game that is fund, not the source of anger that dissolves friendships or drives borderline nut jobs over the edge. No disrespect intended to those with mental or emotional issues. If we are well-adjusted and approach it as a game that is meant to be fun, there should be few disappointments.

It is all too easy to become emotionally attached to our characters, and to feel loss or pain when that character has a setback in the game or dies.

Metamorphosis Alpha & Gamma World

In our gaming group I GM’d for Metamorphosis Alpha. I am not sure whatever happened to our game materials. I remember a big map for the starship, and that the rulebook had tables for the characters to determine if they figured out how stuff they found worked.

I remember one session where I had the party find an airlock and a hangar bay, and in the hangar bay was a Cylon fighter. I grew up when the original BattleStar Gallactica series was new. We often “stole” ideas from TV and movies and books. I think I even had some token Cylons for them to fight. The players got to the ship and figured out how to fly it and flew around the exterior of the Warden.

We cracked up at some of the ridiculous things we through into the game and were able to do. We did not play more than a few sessions, but we cracked up and had a lot of fun.

I do recall, although it has been a long time, that the rules had a lot of similarity to Gamma World. I did a little Googling, and am right, MA was before GW and had an influence on the rules, which were based on D&D.

Gamma World was a game where we had a lot more sessions. I am not sure what happened to those materials over the years.

I see the Gamma World has been updated several times over the years, and that a company has licensed it from WoeC for the current incarnation.

I also found that Jim Wrad still controls MA and has a new version soon to be released. There are also MA materials on DriveThruRPG and RPGNow. The first edition PDF is availabe, and there is a lot of information in the free 6 page preview PDF. It is amazing how well a single rulebook can encompass all one needs to know to play an RPG. I guess it helps if you have played one already, or have experienced players to show you the ropes.

I remember when the High School Science Fiction club was the focus of an article in our school paper. It had a hilarious typo in the list of games that we played, “Camel World” instead of Gamma World. Our group made a lot of references to mutant camels after that, and is an inside joke that still brings a chuckle to this day.

I am not having success finding a science fiction book that reads like an adventurer’s log of MA or GW. It was easy to tell how much that book influenced both MA and GW. It finally came to me and was able to Google it: “Hiero’s Journey” by Sterling E. Lanier. I have not read it since the 80’s.

One person in our group was fond of DMing modules from TSR, and one time we did play Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, and encountered the ferocious Vegepygmies. That is about the only thing I remember from that module. I am not sure how much our DM stuck to the module, and how much he modified it. I did not have the cash to afford lots of modules, so I only purchased two for AD&D, Village of Hommelet and Ravenloft. I remember the ooh and ahh factor of the perspective maps in Raveloft. We never played those modules, but we loved the cool maps. I bought my copy of the Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide this year, just for the information on how to do these maps.

We did do our own home-brew games. One was a space pirate combat game, that morphed to be a two planets in a solar system at war game. We did not play those more than a few times once we bought Imperium, and had a friend with the Star Treck game with ship to ship combat.

We did play Traveller a few times. It was unusual in that it relied solely on six-sided dice. The person who introduced us to it was not very skilled as a DM so his interest in the game did not translate well for the rest of us in the Science Fiction Club in high school.

We did come up with our own RPG, called Scout. Scouts were interstellar explorers who also were like a combination of marines and modern day Spartans. They were tough and could take you out hand-to-hand or with weapons. Although when we played we tended to focus on the use of weapons. We borrowed from other games to cover the situations that we needed. We played several sessions. My brother, Robert, was GM, and he wished that our characters would rely on martial arts before resorting to blasters and disintegration grenades. We just sort of stopped playing, but Robert started a couple of short stories, based on Scout, and his vision of what a scout was. We were all anxious for his next installment every few days. Robert is the kind of writer who can just sit down and write high quality stuff of the top of his head. Soon the bits of the story just stopped too.

I am sure we could probably resurrect Scout as either a module/add-on for another system, or update our home-brew rules. Robert may still have them, I will have to check. It would be fun to have our old materials as a PDF and used by other gamers around the world. Maybe even making a little money via RPGNow might be possible.

What games did you explore and play for awhile, but then settled on one game as “your game”? For me my game is AD&D.

Did you ever make up your own games? Board game or RPG?