Category Archives: Random musings

Happy New Year!

At first let me wish all my readers all the best for 2016! In addition I hope 2016 will be better than the last years.

Some of you might remember that I was signed off work in 2014 for about half a year and again I am suffering from depression since early November. I am slowly getting better but the fact that my grandma died on January 1st  didn’t really help. Even though she was almost 84 years old and suffered from dementia, everyone was surprised and shocked about her sudden death. Luckily she didn’t have to suffer and had a long and fulfilling life.

There’s a lot to do right now, especially since I will probably take responsibility for my grandma’s house. It’s the house I grew up and lived in for the last 30-something years. It’s a pretty big house (for a time four generations of my family lived under one roof) and there will be a lot to fix over the next years, but with the help of my girlfriend (and future wife) I think I’ll manage.

That’s actually the other big news in my life. If everything goes as planned I am going to marry my girlfriend of almost 16 years in 2016. Wow! Now I said it on the internet … no going back. 😉

Roleplaying-wise there’s not much new to talk about. We’re already in the middle of organizing our annual roleplaying convention in Limburg. Because of recent events and my health I probably won’t be as active as in previous years, but I hope I can at least run two session on the big day.

On New Year’s Eve I first ran Mutant: Year Zero for a group of friends and even though I didn’t really learn the rules that well, things went pretty smoothly. We had a lot of fun and decided to expand the one-shot to a proper campaign. Luckily MY0 is almost prep-free and is prefectly suited for improvising.

I really hope I can get back to posting more often and more regularly but it seems there will be a lot of real life in the way – at least in the first half of 2016. Let’s hope things will slow down after that.

Gamer Rewatch Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

In preparation for Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, like almost everybody out there, I’ve decided to re-watch the Star Wars movies once again! The Internet is abuzz with retrospectives, new reviews of the original movies, and so much more. This is my contribution to that great effort!

When Star Wars (before it was Episode IV – A New Hope) came out I was four years old. I Watched in theaters, many times, and I’ve been a fan ever since. As a gamer, part of that experience was the role-playing games, from West End Game’s Star Wars D6 (not called that back then, it was simply Star Wars the RPG), to the Wizards of the Coast versions, to the myriad fan conversions to other systems. I’ve yet to buy the Fantasy Flight Games version, but if they publish a Force Awakens book they may get me to try their funky dice version of the game.

Before I watch the new movie on the 17th (yes we get it a day early in Puerto Rico!) there is a plan in place to see at least all six original films. I’ll be sharing my impression on the re-watch, rom a gamer’s perspective, perhaps offer some insight on what could work for a Star Wars game, and definitely some rambling along the way, we’ll see what comes out of this experiment. Let’s get this started: Continue reading Gamer Rewatch Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Is Anyone Still Playing Alternity?

TSR’s Alternity Roleplaying Game is one of my favorite games which I never actually played. It’s a generic science fiction roleplaying game which has some interesting mechanics, is somewhat related to AD&D, and powered a couple of interesting settings. If you want to learn more about this out-of-print game, I can recommend checking out AlternityRPG.net or Shaun Welsh’s review here on the blog.

So why am I writing about a rather obscure and out-of-print roleplaýing game today? I guess I am in a somewhat nostalgic mood and I am always thinking about this great SF campaign I want to run someday. When it comes to systems I could use for that project, Alternity is pretty high on my list.

The majority of games I enjoy are rather rules-light but Alternity is an exception. I guess you could call it rules-medium, especially if you add in all the optional subsystems like FX (supernatural abilities like magic etc.), psionics, space combat and so on. In Alternity every weapon causes different damage according to the degree of success of the attack roll, and armor has different armor values for each type of damage (low impact, high impact, energy). For some this might be a tad too fiddly, but I think it fits the genre nicely.

The skill system is also quite intersting with broad skills (think of skill categories) which can only be bought once (and will not be improved afterwards) and speciality skills which allow the characters to specialize within these broad fields. Again this is a bit more complex than my usual fare, but it fits the scifi genre perfectly, especially if you’re favoring realism.

For several reasons Alternity never was a huge success. It had been released at a time when WotC had already been bought by WotC (or shortly before that) and WotC obviously favored a 3rd Edition of D&D over continued support for Alternity. At least some of the elements from Alternity made a reappearance in WotC’s d20 Modern line. Sometimes I wish they would at least make the Alternity books available in PDF form, as they’ve done with older editions of D&D. But I doubt that will happen anytime soon.

Since I am thinking about using Alternity as the rule system for a campaign I want to run in the future, I am interested in your thoughts on the system. Is anyone still playing Alternity? Has the system worked for you so far, or do you houserule a lot? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!