Friday, May 8, 2009

Star Trek-With spoilers!!!!

I tried to put the original series out of my head as much as poss able in watching this movie, so I found it to be an enjoyable summer blockbuster, but ultimately forgettable. I'd say its worth seeing on the big screen but not on opening weekend.

I first should say that the cast was incredible. Everyone did a phenomenal job filling in the shoes of the original cast. Karl Urban as Bones, Zachary Quinto as Spock and Simon Pegg as Mr. Scott stood out from the rest. Casting gets: A++

The rest of the film left me unimpressed. I really dislike J.J. Abrams camera work, with the return of the 'very shaky cam' from Cloverfield; it was very distracting. As were the quick cuts in the fight scenes, I know they can make a fight more exciting but they were too much. Filming gets:C-

The story was disappointing but it had a lot of action to make up for it. The writers also didn't seem to have a grasp for basic space science either. I do think they did an OK job with the time travel aspect, even though at certain points I wanted to stand up and yell something like "Black holes don't work like that!!!". All the Treks had more respect for science, even though they sometimes got it wrong. The Story gets:B

Overall I have to give the film a solid 'B'. Nothing ground breaking but an good movie. One thing does trouble me, why do the below deck scenes remind me of Space Mutiny?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

4E feat

Here a feat I made, that I hope brings a little of the 3.x D&D feel to the 4Etable D&D.

Skill Specialization
Heroic Tier
Prerequisite: Training in chosen skill

Benefit: Choose a sub use of a skill in which you have training. You have a +3 feat bonus to checks with that sup use of the skill.
Special: You can take this feat more than once. Each time you select this feat, choose a different sub skill. Will stack with Skill Focus.
In example, with the skill Thievery a Player can specialize in Disable Traps, Opening Locks, Picking Pockets, or doing Slight of Hand.

Because this feat was designed with 4E in mind, it should work with Star Wars:Saga Edition with little or no changes.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Critical hits and fumbles

I remember my first encounter with critical hits and fumbles, way back in the days of AD&D 2nd edition. Back then I enjoyed the idea of killing a monster with one hit if I got lucky or breaking my +1 long sword if my luck was bad.

Now I realise that they are NO FUN. For the most part anyway.

Why, you ask, are they not fun? Here are a few reasons

1. They are unfair to the players. Yes, cutting off a goblins leg is fun but having a PC you've played for years gain brain damage isn't. The goblin was meant to be killed, but your PC was meant to last.

2. They take too much time. Most of the tables for these rules are either expansion or home brewed rules hidden in binders that the GM must dig out. Then rolling and interpreting the chart takes a while. All this takes out the rhythm in a combat.

3. It steals narrative control from the players and the GM. I like describing combat, both as a GM and a player. These charts don't let the one who did the critical hit or miss come up with a description why their actions were so successful or miserable. And isn't that one of the keys of roleplaying?

Monday, May 4, 2009

D&D Game day

I was asked to run a D&D game day on May 23rd. I ran the last one for the release of the Players Handbook 2 and I there were some issues. I don't plan to have them again.

The bigest one was reading the quickling entry wrong, I thought its Fey Shift power was usable more then once a day and as a move action as well. That lead to the party expending too many healing surges and attacks. It also made the first of the three combats last way too long.

The other issue was the players wern't familar with their charicters. I lay some of the blame on WotC for using 11th level PCs. The next game day, the prerolled PCs are 5th level; that should help out quite a bit. To make it simplier for new players, I plan to make color coded power cards for each PC.

I will be keeping notes on my preperation for this Game Day. All I know right now is the tilte, Journey Through the Silver Caves, and the book it's promoting, Monster Manual 2.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Revenge Squad

One of the problems I have with many Superhero RPGs is reactionary nature of the adventures. In a typical game, there's a problem and the heroes go and solve it. That set-up has gotten a bit stale to me. So here's an idea that I've been kicking around for a while now.

The (Fill in the Blank) Revenge Squad!
Its a classic trope in comics, a band of villains who have never worked with other before team up to destroy the hero that they feel wronged them. Off the top of my head, it's happened in Spiderman and Superman comics; if I tried searching I'm sure more would turn up.

For the Players
The players create PCs who have a grudge against a major heroic NPC. Their backgrounds should feature him very prominently, maybe even responsible for a current prison sentence. At the beginning of the campaign the PCs are individually contacted by a mysterious benefactor, with a pledge to help them gain vengeance.
I'd also suggest for the PCs to take some social drawbacks, such a a gimmick that the must do involving their crimes or must gloat before finishing an enemy. It will give a nice silver age feel o the game. Secondly, players should avoid playing psychopaths. You can play a villain with out being evil. The other players will thank you for it.

For the GM
This one is going to be a bit hard, you have to let the players take charge of what they are going to do. Preparation is the key to this, you must create a detailed world, the main hero, and if you like a group of backup heroes. One of the first things you should do is who the benefactor is,, how much help he can provide can provide and at what cost. Other questions, is there a jealous villain who wasn't invited, where does the money come from or what happens when the hero is finally destroyed.

This idea can also be used in other genres, fantasy and sci-fi pop to mind. Hmmm...hunting down Drizzt sounds like it might be allot of fun.

I recomend Mutants & Masterminds: RPG - 2nd Edition to use with this. It's chock full of super goodness!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

G.I. Joe trailer #2

Via Henchman Publishing

I grew up watching '>GI Joe, so I plan to be picky about this film.

The good: The battle scenes look awesome. The effects will kick butt on the big screen.

Is that Destro? No, mask for him I guess but for his troops. Ok I can see that.
Cobra Commander wasn't seen yet weird

The bad: Delta-6 accelerator suits. Lame. Turning the Joes into Iron Man wanna-bes doesn't work for me at all. Yes, I know the millatary is working things like that but still lame.

I one thing I do hope for from this movie is a cameo from Sgt. Slaughter.