Category Archives: Advice

Buck Rogers XXVc: Gear Quality


Before I even knew that pen & paper RPGs existed I was a fan of computer RPGs like SSI’s Gold Box Series. My two favorite games from that series were actually the games based on TSR’s Buck Rogers XXVc game.

While doing some research in preparation to next week’s game I watched some “Let’s Play” videos of the first game in the series: Countdown to Doomsday. There I noticed a something which is missing from the pen & paper game: gear qualities (or it’s not mentioned in any of the books I own).

Gear qualities are basically the “magic weapons and armor” of the Buck Rogers game. Standard weapons have a +0 to hit and a –0 to AC. So far so good. Martian weapons on the other hand are +1 to hit and –1 to AC. I think you get the drill. So if you want to provide your players with a particular useful piece of treasure you can make use of this. I’ve added a table of the various Gear Qualities available in the Countdown to Doomsday game below.

AC to hit
Standard -0 +0
Martian -1 +1
Venusian -2 +2
Mercurian -3 +3
Lunarian -4 +4

You can use something similar in your D&D games as well. If you don’t want to hand out boring longswords +1 or daggers +2, think of more descriptive terms fitting your game world. For example Imperial plate mail sounds way better than plate mail +1, don’t you think?

RPG Blog Carnival: Technology in my Games


Greetings dear readers! Michael recently wrote about our efforts to revitalize the blog, and I think we’re off to a good start. He invited our readers to discuss the types of posts and topics they enjoyed, and in one such comment Voidman said he liked one of my earlier pieces about using technology at the gaming table. Thank you for the kind words; it’s a pleasure to have you, and so many others as our readers.

This topic, the technology I use as a GM, is constantly evolving, and is one that deserves some revisiting periodically. On this post I’d like to discuss the technology I currently use to run our Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition campaign. It also happens that the topic of the RPG Blog Carnival for September 2016 is Game Master Tools, Aids, Apps & Hacks, so it all comes together rather fortuitously!


Continue reading RPG Blog Carnival: Technology in my Games

More Prep–More Props


I am a terribly lazy GM. If possible I try not to do any prep at all and usually rely on my improvisational skills to run my games. But this had led to a certain problem. I am not sure if my players have noticed yet, but I definitely feel it: the game is often not as exciting as it could be. Back in the day, I created cool props (like newspaper clippings, maps, etc.), prepared complex plots, and came up with memorable NPCs. I still do this, but on a much reduced level. Especially my weekly game could need some more “flair”, if you get my drift.

Recently my friend Marcus posted about his upcoming Fallout-themed Savage Worlds game. Wow! Check out the photo below and tell me that’s not totally awesome!


The character sheets look like the Pipboys from Fallout, he created Nuka Cola bottlecap (for use as bennies) and if I am not mistaken he even aged the deck of cards to look like they were from a post-nuclear-war era. This level of dedication and preparation immediately lifts the game to a different level. I am pretty sure most players honor such dedication to the game and it also should help to establish immersion into the setting.

If I am looking at my game sessions, this is what they are most lacking. Yes, my players are enjoying themselves, I usually do so, too, but I am sure things could be so much more awesome. There are a lot of reasons why I haven’t done that much prep work (or created props for that matter) anymore: work, family, the house, my mental health, computer games … But I think some more prep work and perhaps a few more props will help to improve my GMing and make our games much more memorable.

Of course not every game needs custom bennies and aged playing cards, but sometimes a simple handout prepared before the game can make a huge difference.