Kickstarter: Shadow, Sword & Spell

0
0

Shadow, Sword & Spell by Rogue Games is a game very dear to me. I still have fond memories of the game Zachary Houghton ran for us at GenCon 2010. Originally Richard Iorio II, the owner of Rogue Games, had planned to run the game for us, but unfortunately a very nasty cold stopped him from actually doing so. Shadow, Sword and Spell is – even in its 1st edition – a very easy to learn and to play sword & sorcery RPG with some interesting mechanics. The new mechanics which will power the 2nd edition of this fine game have been revised and now work better than ever. A Kickstarter project to fund the 2nd edition has just been started and at the moment of this writing has already reached more than a fifth of the goal of $5000.

For full disclosure I have to tell you that I worked with Richard on a couple of projects. I did nothing major, just some proofreading for several of his books, but this should be mentioned especially when I try to convince people to back his Kickstarter project. I also consider him a friend.

So, why should you invest some of your hard-earned money into this Kickstarter? For one Shadow, Sword & Spell is a great game which – in my opinion – is not as well-known as it should be. As I said before, the changes to the rules make the game even better. There will also be new artwork – which looks absolutely awesome by the way – and a completely new layout.

503ef046e5af0c9e07c13a839917a731_original

Did I mention that everything from the 1st edition’s Basic and Expert books will be combined into the new 2nd edition rulebook? For a pledge of just $10 you not only support this project but you’ll also get a PDF, ePub, or Kindle copy of the game including all of the funded stretch goals. If you are willing to invest more, you can get a softcover or hardcover version of the rules.

What I really like about the Shadow, Sword & Spell Kickstarter is that it has a reasonable goal of $5000 and is not going crazy with pledge levels and stretch goals. I have seen too many Kickstarter projects fail because the goals where to high or the stretch goals could never be fulfilled.

In my opinion Shadow, Sword & Spell is a game which should be in any gamer’s library, especially if said gamer has a soft spot for the swords & sorcery genre. If you haven’t checked out the game yet, you should definitely give the Kickstarter project a look, or get the 1st edition from your local store or via DriveThruRPG!

Caves of Qod

1
0

Yes, this is first and foremost a pen & paper roleplaying games blog, but sometimes I just need to sneak in a post about related topics. Today I want to talk about Caves of Qod, a very intriguing roguelike computer RPG, which I was interested in for quite some time now.

qud

Roguelikes are games which are similar in gameplay to the original Rogue, which is – in a nutshell – an old-school dungeon crawl simulator. If you are familiar with the first editions of D&D you know what to expect: the game is quite lethal, there are countless monsters which are out to kill you, there are deep dungeons and countless treasures. Even though computers are now capable of almost lifelike graphics and sound, the classic roguelike genre with minimal graphics and turn-based action is still alive and well.

One of the more recent games in this particular genre is “Caves of Qod”, which is a game with a lot of depth and an intriguing world. The world presented in the game is set in a post-apocalyptic world. But from what I’ve seen so far, it’s no radioactive wasteland like in many other games of the genre, but it reminds me more of Monte Cook’s Numenera. You can either play a mutated human (and there are a lot of cool mutations to choose from) or a member of the true kin (which are – I guess – unmutated humans).

At the surface CoQ looks like any other roguelike, but after a couple minutes of play you realize that there’s more to it. One cool aspect is a very detailed skill system, which allows you to develop your character in any way you want. Currently I am playing a mutated human with the ability to regrow lost limbs and to suck the life force out of enemies who also happens to be a gunslinger. Just recently I acquired enough skill points to buy the Akimbo skill, which allows me to wield two pistols at once! I have started exploring some caves to the north of the starting village and already I have stumbled upon countless wondrous animals and plants.

There is a quest system and I already had a couple of interesting conversations with NPCs. It seems Caves of Qod is not just killing monsters and taking their stuff, but there’s also a story for you to follow. I have just started delving deeper into the game, so I can’t tell you that much about this aspect of the game though. But what I know is that the game is extremely addicting. I actually had to force myself to go to bed last night and that’s even though several of my characters died horrible (but unheroic) deaths. Being killed by some kind of snail is not the best way to go…

If you are looking for an exciting game with an interesting world and some old-school charm, you definitely should give Caves of Qod a try. It’s available on Steam for about €10 or you local equivalent. At the moment it’s on sale, so you get 10% off.

P.S.: There’s also a free version (which uses ASCII characters instead of graphical tiles). You can download it from here.

How I Stopped Worrying And Just Played The Game …

3
0

Sometimes being me sucks. If there’s something I am really good at then it’s worrying. I can worry about the most minor things all the time. And don’t me started on the really serious stuff. It’s probably not a surprise if I tell you that I worry about my hobby a lot. I fear my players might not like the game I picked. I worry about my choices as a GM. I worry about rules, about settings… Unfortunately things haven’t gotten a lot better since I started blogging. I eventually became quite well-known in the RPG blog community and my game Warrior, Rogue & Mage is probably among the better known free roleplaying games out there.

Recently I had the urge to run some White Box and to my big surprise it went extremely well. What surprised me the most was that I was actually able to enjoy the game without worrying too much. Even when I ran my Ultima-based game I didn’t worry too much about the fact that the classes, the magic system, and a few other aspect didn’t fit perfectly. Sure, my perfectionism regularly poked me, and I seriously considered rewriting the whole magic system, to fit the source material more closely, but at this moment I am more like “stop worrying and just run the game”. We all were having a blast even with D&D magic shoehorned into the Ultima world. It was a huge relief when I was finally able to stop worrying. The game was fine as it is. No, I don’t need to “fix” it.

I actually think this change started with me running Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st Edition a while ago. I know that the game has its problems. The magic system is definitely wonky and there’s the “Naked Dwarf Syndrome” (in WFRP dwarves often have ridiculous high Toughness values which means they can’t easily be harmed even if they are not wearing any armor). Nostalgia probably helped me ignore this issues and just enjoy the game.

I noticed that something has changed when I was looking into other games to run. Games which I would have discarded outright earlier now become viable choices. Just weeks ago I wouldn’t have even thought about running a game like Shadowrun 3rd Edition (or any edition for that matter). As I see it now, it’s definitely playable and I can easily run it. My players usually don’t mind if I don’t get every rule right at the first time, and we usually just improvise and move one when a rule is unclear. So why should I worry about not knowing any single rule and exception? It just doesn’t make that much sense. Suddenly even crunchier games become more interesting again. I think for a long time I avoided rules-heavy games because I worried getting things wrong. But is making mistakes really that bad if you are a GM?

I know that I am a pretty good GM. I can improvise like the best of them and my characters are usually memorable. My players keep coming back and openly share their excitement about my games. Of course I still worried I might suck. But right now, I am not worrying that much anymore. And this is a very, very good thing!

A Roleplaying Games blog