Thursday, September 27, 2018

Games and expansions: Part I. Board and Card Games

Expansions in games have been crossing my mind as of late, including board and card games, DLC for video games, and supplements for RPGs. I feel each one of these should be talked about as their own topic.

Card games.

I like to play a lot of card games. Normally they are fast and easy to learn, except in some cases when expansions are added in. Munchkin, I'm looking at you!

The basic set of Munchkin has 168 cards, now add in 9.5 major expansions with 784 cards for a total of 952 cards. That number alone makes the game unwieldy, but then you add in the new rules that come for those expansions. This causes delays to look to rules up, which I don't find fun at all.

Munchkin isn't the only game that has this problem. With some it's the number of cards and other its the expansion rules.

Board Games
The same complaint can be made with boardgames. Carcassonne, Catan, Arkham Horror just to name a few all have expansions. The same issues apply, more options and more rules add delays.

My Coda
My advice on expansions is before you purchase one and add it into your game night is, ask yourself "What does this add to my game?" and really think about it before you get it. If you are just getting the expansion because it looks cool but you never play the game, its a waste of your money,

Next time, DLCs

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Harry Potter GO or Harry Potter and the Battle of Ingress

I know some of you out there play the Naintic games and most of them know that there's a Harry Potter one coming out, Harry Potter:Wizards Unite. Here is what I know and what my some of my guesses

First, we have the name, Harry Potter:Wizards Unite. The name tells us nothing other then the game is set in the Wizarding World. "But wait" I can hear you say, "doesn't that mean Harry is going to play a role in it?" Nope, because there is another game, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery set in Hogwarts in the years before Harry attends.

We have a website, and a Facebook page The website tells us "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite uses state-of-the-art augmented reality technology to reveal the magic all around us. Explore real-world neighbourhoods and cities to discover mysterious artifacts, learn to cast spells, and encounter legendary beasts and iconic characters along the way!"

The only other fact we know is, according to news reports, that it is coming soon.

Now for the speculation:

1. The maps and important locations will be the same Ingress and Pokemon GO. I'm fairly certainof this. The Ingress maps were used for PkG, so its a pretty safe guess.

2. There will be a faction system, but it won't be the Hogwarts Houses. There's too much fandom over the Houses. Maybe a group like the Order of the Phoenix or by the magical schools.

3. There will be in-game resources and a currency system. Its in the other ones, HP:WU will too.

4. The game is going to be released in conjunction with Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. I'm not sure about this one, but I'm sure the marketing team at Warner Brothers would want it at the same time as the movie.

5. The other games communities jump ship, temporally . It happened to Ingress when PkG came out, the same will happen with this release.

So what are you thoughts and what would you like to see?

Sunday, January 28, 2018

SCA research project A, Part 2- What I know so fa

So it make it easier to for me to find later,  I'm putting my documentation here so I can find it later. 

"Gutenburg, Johannes or Henne, also called Gensfleisch, claimed by the Germans to have been the inventor of the art of printing with movable types, born at Mainz; for some time lived in Strasburg as a polisher of precious stones, mirrors, &c.; he set up his first printing-press at Mainz about 1450 (1400-1468)"  -The Nuttall Encyclopædia. 1907.,_Johannes

.GUTENBERG, JOHANN (c. 1398-1468), German printer, is supposed to have been born c. 1398-1399 at Mainz of well-to-do parents, his father being Friele zum Gensfleisch and his mother Elsgen Wyrich (or, from her birthplace, zu Gutenberg, the name he adopted). He is assumed to be mentioned under the name of “Henchen” in a copy of a document of 1420, and again in a document of c. 1427-1428, but it is not stated where he then resided. On January 16, 1430, his mother arranged with the city of Mainz about an annuity belonging to him; but when, in the same year, some families who had been expelled a few years before were permitted to return to Mainz, Gutenberg appears not to have availed himself of the privilege, as he is described in the act of reconciliation (dated March 28) as “not being in Mainz.” It is therefore assumed that the family had taken refuge in Strassburg, where Gutenberg was residing later. There he is said to have been in 1434, and to have seized and imprisoned the town clerk of Mainz for a debt due to him by the corporation of that city, releasing him, however, at the representations of the mayor and councillors of Strassburg, and relinquishing at the same time all claims to the money (310 Rhenish guilders = about 2400 mark).[1] Between 1436 and 1439 certain documents represent him as having been engaged there in some experiments requiring money, with Andreas Dritzehn, a fellow-citizen, who became not only security for him but his partner to carry out Gutenberg's plan for polishing stones and the manufacture of looking-glasses, for which a lucrative sale was expected at the approaching pilgrimage of 1440 (subsequently postponed, according to the documents, although there is no evidence for this postponement) to Aix-la-Chapelle. Money was lent for this purpose by two other friends. In 1438 another partnership was arranged between Gutenberg, Andreas Dritzehn, and Andreas and Anton Heilmann, and that this had in view the art of printing has been inferred from the word “drucken” used by one of the witnesses in the law proceedings which soon after followed. An action was brought, after the death of Dritzehn, by his two brothers to force Gutenberg to accept them as partners in their brother's place, but the decision was in favour of the latter. In 1441 Gutenberg became surety to the St Thomas Chapter at Strassburg for Johann Karle, who borrowed 100 guilders (about £16) from the chapter, and on November 17, 1442, he himself borrowed 80 livres through Martin Brechter (or Brehter) from the same chapter. Of his whereabouts from the 12th of March 1444 (when he paid a tax at Strassburg) to the 17th of October 1448 nothing certain is known. But on the latter date we find him at Mainz, borrowing 150 gold guilders of his kinsman, Arnold Gelthus, against an annual interest of 7½ gold guilders. We do not know whether the interest on this debt has ever been paid, but the debt itself appears never to have been paid off, as the contract of this loan was renewed (vidimused) on August 23, 1503, for other parties. It is supposed that soon afterwards Gutenberg must have been able to show some convincing results of his work, for it appears that about 1450 Johann Fust (q.v.) advanced him 800 guilders to promote it, on no security except that of “tools” still to be made. Fust seems also to have undertaken to advance him 300 guilders a year for expenses, wages, house-rent, parchment, paper, ink, &c., but he does not appear to have ever done so. If at any time they disagreed, Gutenberg was to return the 800 guilders, and the “tools” were to cease to be security. It is not known to what purpose Gutenberg devoted the money advanced to him. In the minutes of the law-suit of 1455 he himself says that he had to make his “tools” with it. But he is presumed to have begun a large folio Latin Bible, and to have printed during its progress some smaller books[2] and likewise the Letter of Indulgence (granted on the 12th of April 1451 by Pope Nicholas V. in aid of John II., king of Cyprus, against the Turks), of 31 lines, having the earliest printed date 1454, of which several copies are preserved in various European libraries. A copy of the 1455 issue of the same Indulgence is in the Rylands Library at Manchester (from the Althorp Library).-Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.,_Johann

Gutenberg (gōō′ten-bĕrg), Johannes, the inventor of printing with movable type, was born about 1400 in Mainz (Mayence), Germany. His proper name was Gensfleisch or Gansfleisch, which means Goose flesh. In 1434 he lived in Strassburg, teaching stonecutting, mirror-polishing and other similar arts. Between 1444 and 1448 he returned to Mainz, where, in 1449 or 1450, he entered into a partnership with Johannes Faust, who furnished the money to set up a printing-press. This partnership was dissolved in 1455 by Faust bringing a suit against Gutenberg to recover money advanced, and Faust gained control of the press. Gutenberg however, assisted by Dr. Homery, set up another press, at which he wrought until his death in 1468. A bronze monument, the work of Thorwaldsen, has been erected to his memory at Mainz. There are a few copies preserved of books printed by him, which bring enormous prices. See Memoirs of Celebrated Characters by Lamartine.-The New Student's Reference Work. 1914.,_Johannes

So this seems to prove that he knew how to make metal mirrors and there was a financial venture regarding them around 1440 that flopped.   Nothing about periscopes....yet.

Next up to the library and ILL, to get my next resource.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

SCA research project A

So there I was, bored in front of a computer browsing Wikipeda.  (Yes, I a research tool it sucks,  But as a place to start it isn't that bad), when I stumbled on an article on periscopes.    There I found it.

 "Johannes Gutenberg, known for his contribution to printing technology, marketed a kind of periscope in the 1430s to enable pilgrims to see over the heads of the crowd at the vigintennial religious festival at Aachen."

WHAT?!?   Periscopes were in use in the 15th Century?   That's amazing!   Astounding!   And on Wikipedia, so not real proof.   Looking at the resources used  they don't reference anything about Gutenberg.   Frustrated, I stopped but kept the idea in the back of my head.

I remembered it over the weekend,  chatted with a friend and the spark is alight again.  Looking at Wikipedia again, I find this under Johannes Gutenberg: 

"Around 1439, Gutenberg was involved in a financial misadventure making polished metal mirrors (which were believed to capture holy light from religious relics) for sale to pilgrims to Aachen: in 1439 the city was planning to exhibit its collection of relics from Emperor Charlemagne but the event was delayed by one year due to a severe flood and the capital already spent could not be repaid. When the question of satisfying the investors came up, Gutenberg is said to have promised to share a "secret". It has been widely speculated that this secret may have been the idea of printing with movable type."

Hmmm, this begs more questions.    What was this misadventure?   What belief were around mirrors and relics?   Could the mirrors be used in periscopes to look over crowds?

Clearly more research need to be done.      I'm going to be emailing the Gutenberg Museum soon and see what I find out. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Star Wars:Saga Edition: Episode VII-Notes for the players.

Please raise your characters to Level 13.  Any Talents, Feats, Prestige classes and Force Powers from the Core Book may be used without review.

Talents, Feats, Prestige Classes and Force Powers from Starships of the Galaxy. The Force Unleashed*, Scum and Villainy, Jedi Academy, Galaxy at War, Galaxy of Intrigue , and The Unknown Regions may be used with GM Review.  Most likely I will say yes to your requests.  No other books will be used. (*Note: No Unleashed abilities will be allowed.)

Please make sure to know where your equipment is, on your person, waiting on your starship or onboard the Resurgence.

Synopsis of the game for far.
Very long.

Episode I : The Traitor’s Gambit.

The story of the Dawn of Defiance campaign opens over the Core World of Brentaal, on a little space station called Sel Zonn Station. After a brush with some agents of Bail Organa, the heroes find themselves drawn into a conflict with the Empire. Delivering vital information to the Senator on Alderaan earns the heroes his trust, and soon Bail Organa sends them on a mission of his own. It seems that a former Imperial Admiral by the name of Gilder Varth has been funneling information about the Empire to the Senator for some months now, though he has gone silent since being arrested and imprisoned on the planet Felucia. The heroes travel to Felucia, encounter some of the natives, and locate the Imperial prison facility where the Admiral is being held. After making their way through the facility, they rescue Admiral Varth and take him to a safe location. The rescue not only cements the heroes as trustworthy agents (earning them more aid and work from Bail Organa) but also marks the first step in building a resistance against the Empire.

Episode II: A Wretched Hive

Freed by the heroes from the Imperial prison facility, Admiral Varth once again begins revealing valuable information on clandestine activities of the Empire. In particular, he mentions that he was responsible for funneling money and resources to something called the “Sarlacc Project.” Among those he sent funds to was a Hutt crime lord named Darga, who operates out of a ruined city on Cato Neimoidia. Traveling to the Neimoidian colony world, the heroes manage to infiltrate Darga’s palace and step into a den of vile debauchery. While in the palace, the heroes attempt to obtain more information on the Sarlacc Project while avoiding the wrath of the Hutt gangster. The heroes’ searches lead them to a startling discovery: Darga has been keeping a Jedi Master and veteran of the Clone Wars in a coma in the dungeons of his palace. After the heroes free Master Denia, she helps them deal with the Hutt’s majordomo, a Force-sensitive criminal who has been using the Force to rise in power within Darga’s organization.

The heroes overhear a conversation between the majordomo and Imperial Inquisitor Draco, which introduces them to one of the main villains of the campaign. By the time they handle the majordomo, the Hutt has fled (not wanting to engage in direct conflict with a Jedi Master), and the heroes leave Cato Neimoidia.

Episode III :The Queen of Air and Darkness

After dropping Master Denia off with their Alderaanian allies, the heroes learn that Darga the Hutt has fled to the famous world of Bespin—more specifically, to Cloud City. Still needing the information the Hutt possesses, the heroes travel to Cloud City only to discover that their quarry has vanished. However, in their search for the crime lord, they discover that another Imperial officer who dealt with the Hutt will be visiting Cloud City to take part in its annual sabacc tournament. The majority of the adventure centers around the tournament. The heroes can choose to enter the tournament, work for the tournament’s administrator as hired help, or simply observe the tournament in order to get close to the dirty officer. After a series of event-based encounters, the tournament ends and the heroes convince the Imperial officer to reveal the Hutt’s location. When they go to confront the crime lord, they discover that he’s attempting to make his getaway. The heroes face Darga in the hangar bay of his personal luxury yacht and learn the awful truth—the Hutt was using his contacts in the Tibanna gas industry to funnel large amounts of the gas to the Empire in exchange for slaves. 3 Chapter In fact, one such transaction was supposed to take place under the cover of the tournament, but the heroes’ involvement spoiled those plans. Now, the Empire is determined to erase any trace of the transaction by crashing a slave ship into the Tibanna gas hauler in orbit, destroying them both. The heroes, commandeering Z-95 headhunters, race against time under fire from Imperial starfighters to stop the crash and save the slaves’ lives.

Episode: IV : Echoes of the Jedi 

After a bout of downtime the heroes are gathered by Master Denia. Their encounter with the slave ship over Bespin indicates that the Empire is trafficking in slaves, but the slaves were members of a species that Denia had never encountered. To discover more about these mysterious slaves (and perhaps unravel the mystery of the Sarlacc Project), She sends the heroes to the planet Almas in the Cularin System, once home to a Jedi academy. There, the heroes must retrieve a lost Jedi holocron that can teach Denia special farseeing techniques, which she hopes will lead her to the mysterious aliens. The heroes arrive at Almas to find the academy in shambles, having been destroyed from orbit when the Empire rose. The heroes dig their way down through the ruins to reach the academy’s archives. Along the way, they discover that the dark side has grown strong in the ruins of the academy, and it has become a domain of evil—much like the cave on Dagobah where Luke fought the false Darth Vader. The heroes face dark side spirits and their own fears as they press onward into the wrecked temple.  

 As they approach the archives, they discover that they are not the first to explore the ruins. A small contingent of Imperial troops has arrived ahead of them and defends the archives with lethal force. Eventually, the heroes confront the leader of the Imperial contingent, Inquisitor Draco. They defeat him and retrieve the holocron, which they take back to Denia.

Episode V:  The First to Strike

The holocron taken from the ruins of the Almas academy proves helpful, and Master Denia is able to use the Force to locate the mysterious alien slaves. They were members of the Nazren species from the planet Nizon in the Maldrood Sector. The heroes travel to that world to see if they can discover more about the Nazren, but they find the planet under Imperial occupation. Even more troubling, the Empire has allowed Trandoshan slavers to harvest slaves from the planet at will, provided that they also transport some of the slaves to Imperial projects. A core resistance group of Nazren has formed, but they seem to be waiting for some kind of catalyst to begin their open opposition. The heroes are just the catalyst they need. Working with a charismatic Nazren resistance leader in the capital city, the heroes incite a riot against the Imperial oppressors. The city erupts into violence, and the heroes assist the Nazren in overthrowing the Imperial invaders, rescuing Nazren slaves from Trandoshan slavers, preventing the riots from claiming innocent lives, and seizing Imperial facilities to help defend the planet. The heroes help the Nazren reclaim their world for their own.

Episode VI: The Core of Corruption 

While on Nizon, the heroes discover Imperial transmissions regarding the Sarlacc Project. The messages indicate that the engineers of the project are in an Imperial facility on Coruscant—and that is where the heroes must go. Traveling to Imperial Center, the heroes sneak past the world’s defenses and take their first steps on the capital planet of the Galactic Empire. Under the watchful eye of the Empire, the heroes pinpoint the location of the project’s architects and travel to a massive skyscraper still under construction. Moving up through the skyscraper, the heroes soon come face to face with the engineers of the Sarlacc Project. Unfortunately, they are all being watched by several members of the Inquisitorius, who fight the heroes to the death. When their defeat seems imminent, the Inquisitors detonate explosives at the base of the skyscraper, which begins to collapse. The heroes must fight their way back out of the collapsing building and make their way to safety. However, the heroes finally learn the details of the Sarlacc Project. The Empire is constructing a massive new starship 12 kilometers long— many times larger than a Star Destroyer, and an early prototype (though not the final version) of the Super Star Destroyer. The new vessel will serve as the flagship of the Imperial fleet, and the Sarlacc Project nears completion.  

Friday, November 3, 2017

GMing doldrums, sort of

I'm currently running two prewritten campaigns,  a D&D 5E: Rage of Dragons and Star Wars Saga Edition: Dawn of Defiance.   I hate to say sometimes I get bored as a DM.  This boredom effect both games but since I have developed other problems with SW, I'll just focus on the 5E game. 

My problem is my players, they are wonderful. They create deep PCs and that are attached into the world,.  Most modules assume the PCs follow the pattern of itinerant wanders looking for adventure, or in the vernacular "Murder Hobos".  The campaigns do offer a broad story and a clear path from start to finish.    They also trap the DM, and to a lesser extent, in a narrative.

 While I can mitigate some of this by changing the encounters,  the're still are on rails.  The story may change but end is known.  While I do add things special for the PCs,  I don't feel that this allows for the to plum the depths of the their story, the world and/or the lore. 

I am going to finish both campaigns, but the next one I do will be self written. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Campaign/Organization Idea-The Nameless Legion

In pop culture there's a trope called The Legion of Lost Souls, with notable examples of the French Foreign Legion and The Night Watch from The Song of Fire and Ice. It's  military unit where people to go to start a new life fresh without burden of their past, they hope.     You don't join a unit like this out of honor,  patriotism or glory;  you join to escape a prison, the stain of dishonor, or to forget the pain.   Here is my take on them.   

The Nameless Legion.
The Affiliation of Independent Systems  spans over a hundred stars.   Ever expanding,  the Frontier grows larger each year.  Warp ships exist, making the trip between systems a matter of weeks and the frontier a matter of month. Carrying communications between systems

While not a true central government, the Affiliation requires its members to standardize their currency, weaponry and normalize trade.  The affiliation does maintain a space fleet and an army. and the systems each have their own militia. After a disastrous operation in 3582 it became clear that something need to fill in the gap in the middle between the Affiliation military and the militias,  an asymmetric force to solve asymmetric problems. Tthese problems are the mission of the Nameless Legion.

The Legion is small compared to the fleet, underfunded compared to the planetary militia, and have a 95% casualty rate. So why do they join? For a chance of new start, the affiliation will seal all records for anyone who enlists. Bank records, criminal files in business deals, it doesn't matter. You get a new name and a new life. If a Legionnaire survives long enough they will get a discharge.