Category Archives: RPG

Caves of Qod

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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.

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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 …

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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!

RPG Blog Carnival: Technology in my Games

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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!

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