Monthly Archives: July 2010

Android Karenina

{jcomments on}Gameable Literature: Android Karenina

Android Karenina

Having decided to end a rather long period where I haven’t done a great deal of reading (given I used to go through 2-3 books a week and I’ve been barely doing one book every month or two, it’s pathetic), I have also decided to try to make some use of this reading time in terms of adding some content to this blog. Thus, as I finish any book which might even be vaguely useful to gamers, I will compose an essay/rant/review on it here, in the vauge hope someone finds it useful. This time, we shall be looking at “Android Karenina”.

(And if you find this article intriguing and/or useful and seek to purchase the book, well, I’ve just set up an amazon affiliates link.)

Read on for an exciting tale of Robots and Russians, of Androids and Angst, of Cossacks and Calculators! (All of which would make great circa-1978 game titles, except Androids and Angst, which is something the Forge would publish.)

 

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Earth Delta, Beta 1

Earth Delta, Beta 1

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Man, it took me a lot longer to write those words than I’d ever imagined it would.

Anyway, at long last, here’s the Heroic Tier Beta for Earth Delta (there’s still some higher level stuff in there, but it’s 90% of so for levels 1-10). Earth Delta is Lizard’s take on classic Gamma World style roleplaying, using the current Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition rules as a base.

By “Beta”, I mean, “I believe the main mechanics have been tested enough that there’s not going to be any radical, ‘rip everything out and start over’ changes. There will certainly be small adjustments to powers, to items, to mutations, to darn near everything, but they’ll be on the level of errata, not system replacements. Because it’s “Beta” and not “Release”, there will be a good number of them.

The next major phase, which mostly means “After GenCon”, is of course Paragon Tier, as well as updating all the monsters to the new MM3 standards.

Then Epic, of course.

In the process, I expect to add in lots and lots of Mo0r Stuph, especially technological items.

Also, look for (probably in the next Beta release), something which will make using guns a lot more attractive for classes which aren’t Rangers. I can’t say more because I don’t have much more than a nascent idea.

You can click here to download Beta 1.

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More Bunnies, More Burrows

Further Down The Rabbit Hole

(Why Didn’t I Use That Gag In Part I?)

(I mean, it’s not like there’s such a thing as “too lame and predictable” for this blog.)

OK, when we last we left our intrepid bunny,  (who is named Hickory, just in case you forgot) I was distracted by trying to figure out why the paging mechanism wasn’t working and it seems to have been related to a backslash in the category name. Now that that’s been taken care of (I hope), I can get back to writing.

We were discussing Dexterity… well, more technically, I was discussing it and, in theory at least, you were reading it… though hopefully the new comment system will lead to a few more posts here and there… and this led to the fact you need dexterity to carry things, and that led me to go off on a tear about how the cover and interior art of the book promises one kind of game (humanoidish rabbits with at least iron age technology) and the actual rules of the game deliver something completely different, namely, a much more “low key” experience where you play a sapient but decidedly non-humanoid rabbit, the ultimate in anti-powergaming. This was way ahead of trends from the 1990s, where “munchkinism” was sneered at and the more inept and useless you were, the better. (And this led, in turn, to the trend where the game text and the game rules were horribly out of sync, a trend mostly exemplified by White Wolf, which had endless pages of black-on-dark-grey prose discussing your gloom, angst, and personal horror, and then even more pages, oddly enough far more legibly laid out, which detailed a seemingly infinite list of cool, kick-ass abilities. “This is a storytelling game of personal discovery” said the marketing, and “Here’s detailed and complete mechanics to RIP someone’s HEAD off and then SPIT down his THROAT!” said the rules. Or, sort of, the opposite of Bunnies & Burrows, which sold you this and then gave you this.

And it took me like an hour to learn enough CSS to get that to work, so, please, click “Read more” to read more!

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Bunnies And Burrows Part I

Bunnies And Burrows

Well, I did get a request for the Midnight At The Well Of Souls RPG, but after doing an exhaustive look at one sci-fi RPG, I wanted a bit of a change of pace, and B&B was in the same section of my library (The “really rare shit I’m really proud to own and will grab in a fire once I know the cats are safe” section). Bunnies & Burrows was the first game published by Fantasy Games Unlimited (FGU), also the makers of Space Opera.

This one doesn’t have stellazon space pirates, or sentient asparagus, but it does have bunnies. And burrows.

Click for more. With pictures of bunnies! (But no sexy space pirates.) (Well, there’s a rabbit space pirate…)

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Alma Mater

Alma Mater

This is a test, this is only a test. Perhaps, someday, I’ll do AM — I have it, with the glorious Erol Otus quasi (and not so quasi) porn illustrations, but not now. i’m trying to figure out why “paging” isn’t working in B&B.


This is only a test.

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Star Rovers, Finale

Star Rovers, Encore

Well, here we are. Barring a response, or libel suit, from Mr. Stocken, this will most likely be my final Star Rovers article. (There’s a temptation to begin producing new material for a game out of print for almost 30 years, surely the ultimate in both retro-gaming and quixotic gestures, but I will finish Earth Delta before embarking on any other large undertaking. I will, I will, I will. (Beta 1 is in heavy, active, "I was editing it last night and will be playtesting it tonight" development. Really. This is not going to be one of those projects where I post annual messages declaring I’ll be getting back to work on it soon.))

Anyway, while the focus of the "Characters From A Thousand Games" section is supposed to be solely character creation, with other game systems looked at as needed, I’m going a bit beyond the scope with this look at the cosmology of Star Rovers, because a world in which more people know about hyperspace trenches and rainbow holes is a better world.

After the break, yadda yadda. There’s also a picture. You like pictures, right?

 

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Star Rovers, Part V

You Gotta Have…Wait, I Did That Bit Already

Alright! After a long trek through space corporations, exchange rates, equipment failure, bodily improvement, and mining, we are staring at the skill listing for the Spacer class. This gives us the attribute prerequisites, which helps me figure out what classes I qualify for before I pick one. It’s also illustrated by an attractive, eye-patched space pirate lady (I assume she’s a pirate ’cause of the eyepatch, it is a fundamental law of the universe that naval officers or guys who haul space-beans from one forgettable starport to another either don’t lose eyes in fights at Moondog Maude’s or else can afford prosthetics) with a wonderful 80’s style "do", and her somewhat more butch looking crewmate, and because I’ve spent way too much time on the Internet and I’m a dirty old man, I’m going to have to speculate on just what they do to celebrate a successful raid. But since there’s no space combat rules (bitter? Moi?), I might just assume they have to keep busy while waiting, during those long, cold, nights in space… yeah, I’ll be in my bunk.

Picture (and some text) after the break.

 

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Star Rovers, Part IV

Star Rovers Part IV

Well, this is the first time in the history of this blog anyone actually commented to say they were looking forward to/waiting for something, so I suppose it’s a good idea to actually write it. I also have a special treat for you… some scanned art from the game, so you can see a bit of what I’ve been talking about.

A minor digression, here — something you ought to be used to if you’ve been reading this blog, or, well, anything I write that’s longer than a Facebook status update. Comments help. A lot. There’s often a feeling of screaming into the wilderness, here. Any kind of feedback which isn’t coming from a spambot trying to sell fake watches or link you to malware sites encourages me to keep writing. My game collection is immense, and includes a lot of fairly rare old games and fairly obscure newer ones… if there’s a particular game you’d like to see me work through/review, let me know, and I’ll see if I have it. A lot of my "game design" time… well, OK, all of my "game design" time… these days is taken up with Earth Delta, but these types of articles occupy a different sphere, so I don’t feel I’m "getting distracted" if I work on them. (PS: Today I wrote the words "Earth Delta Beta 1" on my ever-growing rules document… it may be a bit before that’s actually posted, but it really is happening.)

Links are cool, too. You link to me, I link to you. Based on the overall readership of this thing, that’s a lot more benefit to me than to you. Hey, I’m honest, at least!

OK, enough of this stuff. On to the actual article.

Read more for amazing art, interesting classes, and maybe even a look at the equipment lists…

 

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