Monthly Archives: March 2016

April 1st

I will not be on the internet at all tomorrow, no good ever came on the internet on April 1st.

RE: Dogma!

We once again find ourselves play a bit of AD&D 1E. My favorite style of play is of course Dogma!. Here is the basic rules for this style of play, somewhat house ruled by myself for the sake of faster leaner games.

Dogma!

You have 10 minutes to roll up a character, if take longer than that, you will not be able to enter the game until after the first combat.

Roll 4d6 for each attribute, taking the best three.

Attributes are rolled in order in which they appear in the book and you
play what you get: Str, Int, Wis, Dex, Con, and Chr.

You get max hit points for first level and roll hit points for all
levels after that.

You get max starting gold for your class to equip yourself.

You are not allowed to name your character until you reach 3rd level

You are not allowed to choose an alignment until 3rd level, unless your
class requires it.

The dungeon, monsters and treasure will all be generated randomly using the table in the back of the Dungeon Masters Guide.

Experience points are awarded on the spot for all kills, treasure and
magic items.

When you get enough experience points to level, you level on the spot.

If your character dies, you have 10 minutes to roll up another
character. If it takes you longer than 10 minutes, you will not be able
to enter the game until after the next combat.

The idea behind this style of play is fast, furious and hilarious.

The original intent of the group that developed Dogma! was a way to power level characters. They wanted to play high level modules like the Tomb of Horror, but did not want to risk the characters they had spent months or even years building. What they discovered was a unique style of play that had the feel of a 1980’s video game.

Original Article – http://bluebones.net/dogma/comment-page-1/

Is the OSR movement dead?

The Old School Renaissance (OSR) started in 2001 when HackMaster 4th Edition hit the stands. This made a lot of people realize there was still a nice cozy niche of older gamers who liked the way gaming was in the 1980’s. HM4E was followed by Castles & Crusades, which adopted the Open Gaming Licence (OGL) rules to a more old school feel style of game. From there things exploded, over the next several years retro-clone after retro-clone appeared. Basic Fantasy, Labyrinth Lords, OSRIC, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, BlueHolmes Project and many Many MANY others.

The Cons: My basic problem with this movement is there was a lot of re-invention of the wheel. If you go and look at all these projects, most of them all do the same thing and come up with nearly identical rule sets where the only real difference between them is the writing style. Functionally Basic Fantasy, Labyrinth Lords and Lamentations of the Flame Princess are the same game. Rather than settling on 1 or 2 rule sets, or even 2 or 3, practically every person interested in publishing OSR material, created their own retro-clone. So now there are at least 20 variations of the same game, none of which can claim any significant audience.

The Pros: Along with all those retro-clones came a lot of support material. You can now buy piles of modules, supplements and setting material from different companies that are all more or less compatible. This movement also caused Wizards of the Coast to start selling their OD&D and AD&D catalog again as PDF’s. They realized as did those clone makers, that there is a market for this stuff. WotC even reprinted many of their core rule books.

Is the OSR movement dead?

As I have stated in previous posts, I have embraced the digital revolution. I have a very extensive PDF collection of gaming material. My PDF game books exceeds my physical gaming books by at least one magnitude. The only physical books I buy these days are Dungeons & Dragons 5E. As a side effect of this, I have all or most of these retro-clones in my collection. Most are free, but I have actually paid for a couple of them as well. The problem is, I don’t need any of them. All of the versions of D&D that these retro-clones are emulating are now available from www.dmsguild.com at very reasonable price. If I wanted to publish my own module WotC has setup some very nice guidelines for doing so. The OSR started as a way to publish old school material, that is really no longer necessary. Combine this with the fact that nothing innovating has come out of the OSR in a couple of years and you begin to see the picture.

My hopes are high

I am a man of the digital age. Although I was born into a time before computers were anything people thought they may someday own, I have embraced the idea of digital technology and everything it has to offer. I do not remember the last time I read a paper book, a comic book, magazine or newspaper. For that matter, I don’t remember the last time I bought an actual music CD. All of these things have been replaced by digital versions. I no longer play Dungeons & Dragons in person with my friends, we play using an internet chat and mapping program. In fact, most of my best friends are online rather than people I physically talk to everyday.

I think about how my Grandmother must have felt. She was born in a time when horse and buggy was the predominate mode of transportation of the world and she lived to see a man walk on the moon, can you imagine that? When I was born, cars were the predominate mode of transportation and it still basically is and that technology really has not changed much in the last 50 years. On top of that, we pretty much lost interest in manned space flight, we pretend to play at it, talk about going back to the moon or even Mars. The reality is though, there will be no manned space vehicle leaving earths orbit again in my lifetime. We as a people simply do not have the will or the sense of adventure we had 50 or 100 years ago.

What has changed in my life time, is computers. I marvel at how far we have come in my lifetime. When I was born computers still filled buildings and ran on vacuum tubes and had very little connectivity. Today, the phone I carry in my pocket has more computing power than there was in the whole world on the day I was born. In the early 60’s they used computers to calculate trajectories of missile, today we use them tweet about our bowel movements.

I am no longer waiting for my chance to go to space, I am no longer waiting for a personal jet pack, I am no longer waiting for life extension treatments. What I am still waiting for is usable consumer grade virtual reality, Occulus Rift is not quit there, but we are on the verge. I am also waiting for truly useful wearable computers, smart watches are getting us close, but still not it. I would also love to see the first true AI in my lifetime, again, there are some good smart systems out there and some interesting work being done in computers that learn, but we are probably still 20 years away. My hopes are still high.