The Terminally Nerdy Podcast #7 – Mercernaries (April 2019)

Back in March of 2019, I had a chance to sit down with Matthew Mercer, famed Voice Actor & Dungeon Master on Critical Role. I got talk to talk to him for an hour and a half about his life, his interests outside of TTRPG, video games, cooking, and more. Originally this was a “video” on Youtube, but I decided to take it down from there, and host it here instead. The audio is a little rough, and due to how we recorded (Via Discord) there are some hiccups, but overall I think this is a decent interview.

BTW the Video we reference where I critized Critical Role can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdmbLjNzlwI

This is a reupload of the original interview, however its in Pure Audio Form.  You can find the episode at any of the links below.

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TN Talks with Matthew Mercer – Yes, Really.

Yes, you are reading that correctly.  Back on the 31st of March, I had the privilege of sitting down with the man, the myth, the legend known as Matthew Mercer for an hour and thirty minutes to discuss all sorts of things.  Comically I released this to my Patrons and advertised its existence on the 31st of March…and April 1st.  I imagine a lot of people assumed it was an April Fool’s joke, but I assure you, as you can see here, it was not.  Timing is not my strong suit obviously.

For the talk, rather than focus on Critical Role the Show, I decided to take a different tack.  We discussed cooking, his voice acting career and how he got into it, video games and his history with them, his early days with tabletop RPGs, and then both Critical Role as a Business and the CR Kickstarter.  It was a fascinating dive into the man behind the name, and I hope you enjoy listening to this as much as I enjoyed talking to Matt himself.

Also, we mention another video of mine, the one that got me & him talking originally, and for reference that video is this right here:

My stance that video originally discussed has since changed, and I do go over those changes in this post on this very site, so please bear in mind the video is old and I am only posting it for reference.

Perhaps, in the future, I will have a chance to talk to others in the world of video games and tabletop rpgs, but that is a thought for another time and only assuming people enjoy this.

So Enjoy, share it around, and I hope you all have a great day and as always thanks for reading everyone and Stay Nerdy!  Make sure to follow me on TwitchYoutubeTwitter, and join my Steam Group and Steam Curator pages!  Pledge to my Patreon!  Spread the word on social media & help me get out there so I can bring even more content to the masses.  You do want more content yes?

State of the Nerd: December 2018

Alright time for the monthly State of the Nerd post!  Look, I am actually doing a second post about this topic wee! With it being the holiday season and the family issues on both my side and my wife’s side of the family (personal stuff, not effecting us directly, but we gotta help out) I am going to be even more busy then usual on top of my usual madness.  GOOD TIMES INDEED.
So let’s dive right into how things have been going!

TABLETOP

In the tabletop world I am hoping to finally spend 12/3 Sunday recording, editing, and uploading my Heralds Savage World Setting book review.  I cannot keep putting it off, and I am feeling up to doing a video so that should be fun.  I also might do a video on the Pugmire Core Rulebook as well since I have read that and could review it.  Even though I won’t be playing Pugmire or Streaming it for a while (because again, family matters).

I also was able to pick up the Indie Bundle of Holding. I got the Max Tier of that one, and got 6 games. Honestly, 3 of em are horror themed and not my jam, but the other three I absolutely want to read: Spire, Tiny Dungeons 2e, and Dusk City Outlaws.  I actually have read most of the Tiny Dungeon 2e Core Rulebook (I am in the Microsettings section) and honestly I have fallen in love with the Tiny d6 system.  It’s easy to understand, superfast to run, and the way characters are built is excellent. They use a trait system rather than stats, so instead of having a 12 Strength you could have the “Athletic” trait, which would give ya a bonus.  Supposedly at some point Gallant Knight Games will be sending me a goodie box full of Tiny D6 stuff (no idea what) and once I get that I am probably going to go over the contents of the box and do some videos / posts about the stuff within.  Whenever it is they manage to get it out.  Again, Holiday Season.  It’s a mess right now over here.

Also the day I am writing this is the day Pax Unplugged has kicked off.  By the time most of you read this, Pax will be over. I wonder what news and exciting things are going to come out of the convention, what treasures and cool pictures and new games to get excited over.

I mention this because you might have seen me talk about my change in Tabletop “tastes” on twitter. I realized that the crunchier, prep heavy games like Dungeons and Dragons 5E and the like are becoming less and less appealing to me as a GM.  I don’t want to spend even 2 hours writing up dungeons, balancing encounters and treasures, and all that jazz.  I am much more comfy doing Improv styled GMing, working off what my players want to do.  DND 5e CAN do that, and I have done that, buts its much harder to manage and requires a lot of tools and books (like books of Encounters) to make it run smoothly.  I mean, Sly Flourish has an entire book called the Lazy GMs Guide whose sole purpose is to lower your prep time for 5E!  Other systems do not require this.

After reading Tiny Dungeons 2E it hit me that the kind of game I like is more Crunchy then say FATE, but less than 5E.  Stuff like Tiny Dungeons, or Michtim, or Savage Worlds.  Things that are rules lite but still have SOME Crunch to them, and are easily moddable. I mean, I can come up with custom baddies in all three of those systems in moments, making Improv super easy. Do I need a bandit for example?

  • Michtim: He has 5 wounds, a 3 in Anger, 3 Fear, 3 Grief, 2 Joy, 1 Love. Can make 2 ANGER actions a round and move.
  • Savage Worlds: Not a wild card, D6 Fighting, D6 Str. 4 Parry. Uses a long sword, does STR+1d6 damage.  Notice d4
  • Tiny Dungoens 2e: 4 HP, Carries a Heavy Weapon, is Athletic and Perceptive.

Those are all valid enemies in those systems, and I just made them up typing this out.  I can’t really do that in 5e.  This is why all those tools exist FOR 5E and games like it.

So expect to see a focus on more indie games, more small games, and lighter games from me. Pugmire is most likely going to be the last 5e based game I run for a long time. It’s not a bad game, by any means! It’s just not what I am after much anymore.

Finally, Patrons should expect a Tiny Dungeons 2e One Shot in January.  And I might switch to the Tiny D6 games for the Gen Con 2019 games that I run (the 2 of em) instead of Savage Worlds.  Yes, I like the Tiny d6 stuff THAT MUCH.

STREAMING

I haven’t been able to stream much.  Either been too tired, or too busy to really get to it. I did manage to stream a bit of Hellgate London and The Secret World Legends recently.  My current plan for the Mass Effect Trilogy Run is to start that in January after the Holidays. I don’t want to get into that and not be able to do it fairly consistently.  As mentioned above, I am hoping to have a Tiny Dungeons 2e One shot (or several) starting in January as well.  Once things settle down a bit.  I might do some Grim Dawn when I have time, or something along those lines. A good mindless Grinder game so I can chat with my viewers.  And Speaking of Games!

VIDEO GAMES

I have gotten ahold of, and started playing, a couple of different games in different genres.  I am still working, slowly, on Final Fantasy 9 and Dot Hack GU Recode.  I play them when I am in the mood for some hot JRPG action.  However, I am starting to get my Anime Game fix from another game that I am actually playing with my wife: SoulWorkers.

SoulWorkers is a Korean MMO Dungeon Grinder Action Beat em Up RPG.  Yes it’s a mouthful.  Its free to play and on Steam, with all the wonderfully grindy time wasting shit that it comes with.  Hell it even has an Energy System to limit play!  But its actually a ton of fun to play and feels very Dynasty Warriors.  You basically spend time in small dungeons made up of themed rooms, killing hordes of bad guys and then a boss at the end.  You get loot which you can sell or break down (for crafting) there is some HIGHLY EXPENSIVE Player Housing (holy shit the gold cost for items is obscene) and character customization is kind of…non-existent.  You are playing a CHARACTER like a JRPG, with a story and personality to them, rather than a blank slate like in most Western games. My wife is playing, no joke, a guitar wielding demon dog summoning Loli (Little Girl) who is obsessed with eating and biscuits. I chose the girl who wields a Scythe and she is literally insane. She goes from Tsundere Proper Lady to ABSOLUTE BONKERS in seconds! She actually said during a mission, quote “AHAHAHAHAHA I WILL KILL THEM ALL!” followed by “COME INTO THE BALLROOM!” like WUT.  I might see if my wife wants to stream it with me one night so you all can see it dear readers.  Its wild.  And if I have already streamed it by the time you read this, well there ya go.  You will have gotten to see the wild gameplay of this brawler haha.

I also, at my wife’s urging, got Fallout 76 so I could eventually play with our friends Kraven Gaming and Saevrick.  I haven’t had much time to play Fallout 76 to be honest, and when I do I…get kinda frustrated.  Each time I pick it up I find something I enjoy…and something that irritates me.  For example, I love the crafting system, but hate the weight limits! I want to scour and scavenge and collect things so I can make cool shit, but instead find myself leaving a lot of loot behind because I can’t carry it…and if you go over limit your AP drains when moving AND YOU CANNOT FAST TRAVEL.  Given how big the damn game world is that’s a nightmare.  I have also had issues involving the damn latency of the game.  It’s always online, and data has to be transmitted right?  Well I have had, no joke, multiple instances of the game taking 5-10 seconds to register damage on the enemy, but they hit me just fine. I shot a ghoul who had almost no health point blank with my shotgun.  He ignored the hit, ran up to me, hit me, and ONLY THEN died to the shot I fired moments prior.  Stuff like that has to be fixed.  Once a few patches are in I see myself coming back and really digging in because it’s basically Fallout 4, only with some Multiplayer and in a MASSIVE world.  Although at times I am not sure the game knows what it wants to be.  It’s hard to explain.  And I personally don’t mind the lack of human NPCs at all.

Additionally I finally installed Grim Dawn the Action RPG (with its DLC Expansion) and started trying that out.  I tried the game when it first game out but was rather burned out on ARPGs at the time, so never really did much to grab me.  I am playing it now as a Necromancer / Shaman and its pretty damn fun. Inventory management is key, just like the old Diablo 2 days, which doesn’t bother me, and the fact that I can run around with 4 skelebros and a big ass Axe hitting things makes me giggle.  I love the Theme though so far, although I just got access to the first town and cleared out the sewers to fix their water source.  When I looked at the world map though I admit my eyes bugged out a bit cause HOLY SHIT is Grim Dawn a huge farking world.  I definitely want to play more of this though, so that’s always a good sign! Gotta get my Skelebro army up and running.

Finally I did manage to pick up two games on Black Friday, both for my New 2DS XL.  One was Persona Q Shadow of the Labrynth for $10 and the other was Blaster Master DX for $5 via the EShop.  Blaster Master was just for me (I loved the game on the NES) and this is the remake, so its prettied up but still the same game.  Persona Q is really my only way to experience Persona right now since I dont have a PS4 and thus cannot play Persona 3, 4, or 5.  And yes, I already played 4 to completion and loved it.  I am considering down the road, after Gen Con, maybe doing a Ko Fi campaign to get a PS4 so I can finally play some of the exclusive JRPGs.  Thats assuming Persona 5 does not come to PC (come on papa Sega give it to me)

Oh, and as much as I like Hellgate London and am happy to see it back?  Its apparently optimized EVEN WORSE than it used to be, to the point where my stupid computer that can run Dragon Age Inquisition, AC Odyssey, Fallout 76 and more HAS ISSUES WITH INSANE FPS DROPS IN HELLGATE!  I mean, we are talking SLIDESLOW 1 FPS LEVELS HERE.  It’s insane.  Sooo yea, avoid Hellgate London’s release on steam for a while, it’s kind of hot garbage right now.  I wish it wasn’t the case but it’s a mess.

Finally I am still messing around with Hyrule Warriors Legends when I am in the mood (but SoulWorkers is scratching THIS itch as well) and also Rune Factory 4 when I want a good farming sim.  Secret World Legends is going to be saved for Streams when I want something that doesn’t take too much effort to play.  It’s an easy MMO now to be perfectly honest.  Hell I did the first dungeon live on Stream and basically was the tank…as a character with a healer and DPS weapon setup!

Oh and I am back to playing Final Fantasy Brave Exivus and Siralim 3 on my phone as well.  What can I say, I am a sucker for FFBE.  And Siralim 3 is just an awesome indie monster catching dungeon crawler (and its $5 on IOS and Android!)

So there you have it.  The State of the Nerd as of this month, December 2018!  How are things looking in your life?  What have you been up to?  Leave a comment below and let me know, and always Stay Nerdy my friends and have a great Holiday where ever you happen to be!

A Terminally Nerdy Update

Hello everyone! I figured I would sit down and post here on my blog my current and future plans for Terminally Nerdy. You all might have seen my Patreon post (it was public) going over things a bit but I wanted to go more in detail about what is coming up and why I am doing all this.

First, you all need to understand I suffer ADHD, or Attention Deficiet Hyperactivity Disorder. In my case, its a chemical imbalance in my brain that effects my attention span and my focus along with my short term memory. I was diagnosed back in 1987 (roughly) before “EVERYONE” had ADD. I was on Ritalin until 1999 when I took myself off of it due to the horrible mood swings and anger it caused me as a side effect. For those unaware, Ritalin is Amphetamines. Its Speed. Literally. Thats why its a controlled substance, and why people back in the day tried to get it to get high. People with chemical ADHD like me, according to studies, are uneffected by drugs in that class the way others are. Has something to do with receptors in my brain or something.

Suffice to say, my attention and focus wander frequently. I describe it as “Living in a Room full of Butterflies. My thoughts flutter, and whichever one lands on my table in my head is what my brain wants to deal with”. XKCD did a comic once showing thoughts as Balloons, and I have also heard it described as a room full of fluttering sticky notes that pop on and off the inner walls of the brain. Basically, I can’t force myself to deal with things if my brain just doesn’t want to. In fact, attempting to do so cause me actual mental stress, and can cause MASSIVE amounts of frustration.

In fact, the only reason Terminally Nerdy as a “thing” still exists is because I shift my focus so often. From Tabletop RPGs, to Video Game reviews, to Streams, to Twitter, and back again, because I have so many outlets available to me I am able to stay “focused” on the broader Terminally Nerdy Brand (I hate that phrase, by the way)

I did go over this briefly on Twitter a few weeks ago as well so that might be old news to some of you. But that is the part of the reason why it might seem like I have shifted my focus around. Because, frankly, I have. Its what my brain wants to do at the moment.

Additionally, work has been extra stressful for me as of late, with a lot of changes and things going on that make it much worse on me. I still have my wonderful 55-60 hour work week (and I still only get paid for 40 hours, thanks commute!) and thus still have limited free time, but now the actual job has become much more of a stress inducer. This causes me to have less drive I suppose you could say. Streaming video games like I have these past few weeks has been a way to both Destress (gaming relaxes me) and provide some content.

For those who want to know, I stream at twitch.tv/terminallynerdy and its generally on Saturdays & Sundays, from 10am EST till 2pm EST or so. The end time varies. However I recognize that not everyone LIKES Video Games!

So here is my plan going forward, schedule wise.

Firstly, my Weekends will be as follows (assuming my wife is working, if she is off work she gets priority):

Saturday – A “Clay” Day or Work Day. This will be me either prepping for upcoming Tabletop Games (see below), reading/writing for Terminally Nerdy the Website, recording a Youtube Video, Streaming a Game of some sort, or just taking a day to relax and recharge. Basically I am giving myself one day a week to just take care of business.

Sunday – A Stream day. I will stream something in the mornings on Sunday. Generally starting at 10am EST and running till 2pm EST. This could be a video game I am working on to review, an RPG I just wanna share, or even a Tabletop RPG One Shot.

Now, one of my Patron rewards, which I admit I have been slacking on, is Patreon One Shots. I have done a couple, but I keep pushing em off. No more. My Patrons will be getting a One Shot at least every 2 months, using the Savage Worlds ruleset. They (my patrons) know my plans, and I hope to have the first one ready by End of October.  These will be streamed publicly on Twitch in my Morning Slot on either Saturday or Sunday depending on my schedule. They will be using the Herald: Lovecraft and Tesla setting created by Ravendesk Games and will be titled “The Order of the Raven”.  If you want to become a Patron, you can visit my Patreon here to learn more.

Additionally, I will soon have an Evening, Once a Month live stream, of PUGMIRE! This will be a Tabletop RPG Campaign featuring my wife, Saevrick, Walking Virus Gaming, MK, and Kraven Gaming. Pugmire, for those unaware, is a variant of DND 5E but instead of traditional fantasy races, you play as Anthropomorphic Dogs (or Cats if you got Monarchies of Mau). This will run once a Month on a Saturday Night, from 530pm EST till about 830pm EST. Yes, I will be GMing a game, that you can watch, at the twitch channel above.

Finally, I intend to have at least one blog post or youtube video posted every month. Preferrably every 2 weeks but I need time to get my head on straight and not go completely mad from stress ya know. My health, both physical and mental, demands I take some time off for me.

So those are the plans for now. But as we always know, plans change, things change, and life changes.

I am currently working on Rune Factory 4 for the Nintendo 2DS/3DS systems, so that is a review that will be on the way. I am also streaming Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning, which will be reviewed down the road as well. After Amalur I might do Dragon Age Inquisition OR Divinity Original Sin 1 EE (I just picked that up on Sale today!).

So basically more streaming content, still more blog posts, still more stuff in general. Its just gonna be a little random as to what I do. Also I will most likely NOT be taking anything new to review until I catch up on my backlog. I just have to…get my brain to be interested in DOING that.

Also, quick update for my Gen Con 2019 plans: I am at 60% funded, which means I have $800 more to go before I am fully funded for Gen Con. Thats kind of unreal when you think about it really. Of course, in 13 days my personal challenge of being fully funded by End of September will be over, and that means that unless I get the remaining $800 / 40% in 13 days, I will not have to run 2 public Savage Worlds games at Gen Con. If you want to donate to my fund, you can visit my KoFi.

Pretty sure that won’t be happening hehe.

Anyway, thanks for reading, let me know in the comments if any of this catches your fancy, and remember to Stay Nerdy everyone!

My Dream Virtual Tabletop

Picture this:

You open up this Software, punch in or select the server you want to connect to. When you load up, you are looking out in First Person into a 3D World. The DM is already there, of course, and is invisible. You hit a button and pull up your character sheet, checking your inventory. Your friends all load in, and over the voice chat, you hear your DM start to speak “When last we left off, you had entered the Caves of Dread, to hunt the goblin warlord Smark. Before you stands a set of iron doors” and you turn your camera around to SEE the doors, standing there, surrounded by the rough stone of the cave. One of the others in your party goes up to the doors, and you can see their character model, a dwarf in heavy armor. They say “I open the door!” and the GM has the door open, and through it you can see 6 goblins, all standing around beds and tables. “The goblins appear to be engrossed in something and don’t notice you!” You all get ready to enter combat, and you hear the DM say “Roll Initiative!”

I love tabletop RPGs. But I never play in person anymore. Thanks to technology, I actually don’t have to. Between Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, Power VTT, and then other options like Play by Post forums, Tabletop Simulator, or Discord RPing I have a wealth of options for virtual tabletop.

But I still feel we as a hobby are not fully utilizing the power of technology. You see, right now the big Virtual Tabletop systems mimic one very specific style of play: Grid maps + Tokens. Tabletop Simulator enables the use of minis and terrain, but it has its own issues (which I will discuss later).

What I want to see is an advancement in tech for Virtual styled tabletops. Above, I give an example of the kind of thing I really want to see. A Fully 3D world, explored by the party in First Person and built by the DM for their game. Imagine that.

The idea came to me from a literal dream. I had this dream that someone had, essentially, modded Minecraft. They had added in a full DND Character Sheet, with clickable rolling like Roll20 has. They added in a dice roller as well, and monster sheets for the models. Someone had created models for the game as well, stuff like Dragons, Beholders, and so on. In my dream, I was the GM, and the players got to explore a full 3D town, climb around, and look at things in detail. While shopping they got to enter a shop with shelves full of items that I described, and got to talk to a shopkeeper who had a stationary model in place. It was a wild dream. And its stuck with me for a long time.

And the simple fact is: We have the technology to DO THIS!

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are options out there that sorta kinda do this, such as Divinity Original Sin 2’s DM mode, or Neverwinter Nights, or even the aformentioned Tabletop Simulator, but they dont do it exactly the way I want. To break it down, here is what my dream VTT would have:

System Neutral, with support for multiple character sheets.

  1. 3D World. Whether Voxel based (Minecraft) or more like Skyrim, I want 3D Explorable spaces
  2. GM Control. The GM can add or subtract anything they want, teleport characters around, ect.
  3. Character Customization. Players should be able to make their avatars look like their characters, as best as they can. Not with equipable gear mind, but at least hair, eye color, species, ect
  4. Dice Roller, and Clickable Character Sheets. Look at Roll20 and how they do their character sheets and you get the idea
  5. Non Grid Movement for Out of Combat, and Grid Movement (if wanted) for IN combat.
  6. Voice Chat. You don’t really need Webcams in this case built in, because you will BE your character, but having built in voice would be handy
  7. First Person perspective. I want to feel like I AM my character when playing.
  8. Community Content Support. Similar to the Roll20 Marketplace, I want people to be able to sell new Prefab buildings, new tiles, new monster and character model options.
  9. Multiplayer (OBVIOUSLY).
  10. Persistence. we need to be able to save the world state at all times, so people can load in right where they left off.

Imagine if you were playing Skyrim, but with a GM controlling everything around you. Thats the kind of vision I have (although graphically I would be fine with Minecraft TBH)

When you enter the Invulnerable Vagrant, you could SEE the shop, SEE the shelves, SEE Pumat Sol!
When you explore Waterdeep you could go find the Yawning Portal Tavern, go into the back and see the descent into Undermountain! See the patrons, hell hear the music!
You could wander the streets of your homebrew world, in realtime

Immersion would be off the charts. And thats what I really want.

Not everyone will, however. Personally, I love the idea of merging Tech and Tabletop more and more, at least for those of us who play online exclusivly. And if people did not want immersive enviroments I am pretty sure things like Dwarven Forge would not exist. The entire point of that is to create 3D maps for players to move their minis through and see the amazing visual representation of the world.

I want that but for us online players, because right now? We do not have it.

Now bear in mind, there are some alternative options out there that kinda sorta do this, or have tried to.

First, we got Tabletop Simulator, a piece of software that does exact what its name says. It simulates an actual physical table. You can play board games with it, wargames, and yes Tabletop. It even has a store with models that could mimic Dwarven Forge style boards. The issues however is one of performance. The thing renders each item in real time, and all of the items have physics, which means the bigger you make a map or the more details you have, the slower EVERYTHING gets. My PC struggled with a card game I played on it for a stream because it renders EACH CARD. Its an option, but its not first person which removes the immersion factor I want. Cost for this is also $20 a copy. You can purchase it on steam here.

Next we have an older option, Neverwinter Nights. I played the HELL out of this game when it was released, both the main campaign for the base game and each expansion, and TONS of custom modules. Its honestly a great option…if you want 3rd Edition DND only, and dont mind Isometric Perspective. But honestly, if this were first person, with the town / world design options, and I could run 3rd Ed, 4th Ed, Storyteller (World of Darkness), 5th Ed DND, Savage Worlds, ect in it? It would be almost perfect. It was BUILT to be a digital tabletop option for DND, and its still the BEST option for 3rd Ed gaming if you want to use it. Seriously, if you play 3rd Ed DND, and you can drop $20 on the Enhanced Edition this is a great great GREAT option, especially with all the community added content, adding in things like Prestige Classes, new base classes, models, ect. Just the Isometric View may not be for everyone. The 3rd person camera mode is…kinda bad (control wise) so I never used it. It MIGHT work ok? Maybe? Thought, to be honest, even single player the game is worth your time so ya might wanna snag it on steam here.

Finally, we have Divinity Original Sin 2 and its GM mode. Now in this case, its a newer game, good controls, and solid option with tons of customization. However, the game you play will STILL be Divinity Original Sin 2. Mechanically, you have to effectively learn a whole new system in order to play this. Its again Isometric as well, and I want first person. Thankfully the single player is well loved, and has co op, so its still a good game, but for what I am after this really does not fit the bill whatsoever. Its also $45 a copy on steam here.

The simple fact is we have the technology for some enterprising dev out there to create this insane idea, and I hope that in the future someone DOES grab onto this. Without using VR this is as close as we can truly get to living and playing in the worlds we all create together, and I for one would love to be able to explore Faerun, Sigil, and my own worlds in 3D with my friends, taking them on adventures, showing them the magical places created by myself and maybe others, and feeling like we truly are our characters.

Thanks for reading, and one day I hope to explore some magical worlds with you. Stay Nerdy everyone.

Clay vs Cons Part 3: What on Earth is Happening?!

Read PART 1 HERE, to understand where this all started.  Read PART 2 HERE to understand my plan and budget concerns.  On to Part 3.

48 Hours since I started this Gen Con 2019 Fundraising.

– 43 Donations
– $451.78 Raised out of $2000
– Total Percent Achieved: 23%

Thats done in 48 hours. Thats…mind boggling

But it gets crazier.

First Squid Kittens decided to give dice away to the first 5 people who sent her proof of a donation. No idea if she ever sent 5 or not.

Then, Mithril Punk decided to dive in, stating that once I hit 100% funding, they would provide one of their adventures for FREE for a week!

Out of nowhere following this, Shimmerwind decided he wanted to run a Giveaway for when I hit 60% funding, offering up his Wyrmgear Dragon to someone who likes / retweets his tweet!

Then I made a comment about how I might try to figure out how to Cosplay, as my Twitter Icon. One of my followers / Patrons Aras Sivad decides to chime in with the promise that once I meet my goal of 100% funding, SHE WILL MAKE THIS COSPLAY HAPPEN! Complete with Greg the Red Dragon!

After that I got a DM from Dungeons and Diapers offering a copy of his book, A Parents Guide to Classes, once I hit 30% to someone at random.

Following that, I decided to jump in, and posted a CHALLENGE where if I hit my goal by 9/30/18, I would run 2 Public Games at GenCon, using Savage Worlds. (I later amended it would be most likely in the morning, not night)

But we are STILL not done! Later in the afternoon the Savage Worlds Brand Manager decided to, in support of all this, created a Custom Edge for Savage Worlds NAMED AFTER ME!!?!?

And then, just a bit ago, Meditating Munky, a fantastic Roll20 map creator, decided to tell me that once I hit 100% funding, he will run a contest to give away 1 Custom Roll20 Dungeon Map created by him for free, with the requirements that it fits in Roll20 and is under 10mb in size, so no MegaDungeons.

And right before I go to bed, Tales of a New DM decides they want to give away one of their Custom Dice Trays once I hit 50% of my goal!  Along with Kanthos deciding to offer a drawing for a full 15 Printed Custom Monster Codex created once I hit 100%!

The outpouring of support for one random dude on the internet just astounds me. ASTOUNDS ME. The number of people who are cheering me on, sharing this nonsense, telling me I have to run a meetup one night if I go so people can find me its just…

Its unreal.

ITS UNREAL.

DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW UNREAL THIS ALL IS FOR ME?!

Even if this fails. Even if I dont make the goals, if I never reach 100%, if I dont go to Gen Con in 2019, this has shown me something. This has shown me the power people really have to make a difference in other peoples lives. And apparently, I make a difference in some folks lives because, well, they are sure as hell showing it here.

CURRENT STATUS: 26%. 494 Ko-Fi donations to go as of 8/9

Can I make it? I dunno.

But its gonna be a hell of a ride. Click the Goal Link to join the madness.  And below that will be a handy InfoGraphic showing the current status of giveaways, and amount raised!

My Favorite Tabletop RPG System

Is not 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons.

Hell, it’s not ANY edition of DND, or even a d20 / OSR based system.

Despite the fact that I started my Tabletop life with 2nd Ed DND and Tunnels and Trolls, and while these systems hold fond memories and great enjoyment for me, they are not my favorite system to play in or run.  No, that honor goes to a simple game, with a setting agnostic feel, able to handle Fantasy games, Sci Fi, Supers, and more, while being Fast! Furious! And FUN!

If you recognize that tag line you might have guess but my favorite RPG system is Savage Worlds.  And for those who have never played it, I am betting you are wondering why.  Let me explain the system, why I love it, and some of the things that I don’t like (because nothing is perfect).

Let’s start with the tagline of Savage Worlds.  Fast! Furious! Fun!  Savage Worlds was originally developed out of Deadlands, and was designed to be a pulpy action game that was fast to setup, furious with action, and most of all fun.  It hits all those notes.  You see, Savage Worlds is a system built in such a way that you can get up and running very quickly with easy to understand ruleset.

For example, Attributes and Skills, the two major things that make up your character, and not static numbers.  You don’t have a 12 Strength, you have a D8 Strength.  You don’t have +8 to Knowledge Computers, you have a D10 in Knowledge computers.  It gets rid of modifiers, and numbers, and simplifies everything down to the kind of die you roll.  And, to make things even easier, 90% of the time all you need to beat is a 4.  That’s it.  That’s your TN or Target Number (DC for those DND folks).  If a GM wants to make something harder or easier, you simply add or subtract from the die roll (usually a +-2).  Additionally, every player gets to roll a d6 on TOP of their normal die for Attribute and Skill Checks.  This is not added to your roll, but rather you take the higher of the two.  If you need to make a Strength Roll, and your Strength is only a d4, well you get to roll a d4 and a d6, and take the higher number, trying to beat that 4!

Now you might say “But what is the point of such large dice, like a D12, if all you need to do is beat a 4?”.  Well there are three reasons.  First is that a higher die (d12) makes it easier to beat the 4.  Second is that there is a system called Raises.  Third is that your dice can explode.

A raise is when you beat your TN by 4.  It’s kind of like a critical, but it scales up.  For every 4 points you beat your TN, you get 1 raise.  In combat this can do additional damage, or if you are trying to Notice something you will get more details, ect.  The GM gets to decide how much extra you get based on the total number of raises.  If you were hacking a computer, and got 2 raises, perhaps you did it so fast that it took almost no time, and you were not detected.  Stuff like that.

And because dice explode, you can get a lot of raises.  What do I mean by explode?  If you roll the maximum number on the die, you roll it again and add to the total.  If, say, you roll a d12 and get 12, you roll the die again and add it to the 12.  What happens if you get another 12?  Roll again!

A good example of this is when my wife was playing an Orc Space Pirate.  She used a hammer in combat, and on her hit roll she rolled a total of 66.  That was something like 8-9 raises on her hit roll, which meant her damage roll was going to be crazy high (damage in melee scales up with raises, basically they are each a crit).  She essentially did so much damage on a single hit that the enemy was splattered, and I even decided that the sheer force she hit the guy with made every other enemy immediately give up.

Fast, Furious Fun.

There are two other things I adore about Savage Worlds as well.  One is easy, it’s a classless system.  Your character is made up of a few things.  Those are your Attributes (Strength, Agility, Vigor, Smarts, and Spirit), and your Skills.  You also have Edges (think Feats), and Hindrances (negative traits).  That’s it.  Your character can do or be anything as long as it fits the setting.

And that’s the second thing.  Savage Worlds is SETTING NEUTRAL!  The rules are designed that it can be played in any setting, in any genre.  Want Fantasy?  Easy enough to do.  Hard Sci Fi?  Do it!  Cyberpunk?  Yea we can handle that.  Supers?!  Oh yea, totally.  Pirates?!  Give me a challenge!

Seriously.  The base rules are designed to run virtually anything.  And with Savage Setting books and expansion rule books, you can add even more.  The system uses Powers to emulate basically any special ability from Magic to Psionics to Super Powers, and everything is really really flexible.  In fact, I am thinking up how to adapt the ideas from Magic the Gathering into a Planeswalker Edge, so people can play a magic user built around the ideas in MTG.  No, really and its super simple to do stuff like this.

Now I mentioned the Savage Settings books.  These are basically campaigns and setting books in one, and Savage Worlds has been doing this long before 5E ever started with their adventure books.  If you want say horror, you can pick up Rippers, or Deadlands, or East Texas University.  You can do supers with things like Necessary Evil, or fantasy with Evernight.  These books have special edges, hindrances, and more in them so you can easily mix and match to create the perfect game for you and your group.  Hell, I just got a setting book that I am going to be reviewing called “Herald: Lovecraft and Tesla” which is super science meets the Cthulhu Mythos set in the Roaring 20s.  Yea, that’s a thing someone did (it’s based on the comic series of the same name!).

Now I did mention there was something I did not like, and thats the advancement systems.  Sometimes, it feels like advancement is very slow and small.  There are no levels in Savage Worlds.  Rather, you earn XP (usually 1 or 2 points per session) and can spend that to advance your Attributes, Skills, or purchase Edges.  If you super specialize your character early on, it can feel like you have nothing to spend your XP on.  My wife had this happen to one of her characters, for example.

If you asked me what is the one tabletop RPG I will return to, time and again, its this one.  I love Dungeons and Dragons, don’t get me wrong, but when I want to play ANYTHING other then heroic high fantasy (which is all DND is built to do really) then I am going to go to Savage Worlds.  Hell, I might even run Fantasy from time to time with it.  It’s really that awesome.

How about you, dear reader?  Whats your alltime favorite Tabletop RPG system and why?  What brings you back to it, time and time again?

Adapting Your Favorite Fictional Worlds to Tabletop (Guest Post)

This is a guest post by fellow blogger Goluptious Geek.  You can find him on twitter here, and on his own blog right here.  Today he decided to discuss adapating your favorite fiction worlds to your tabletop games!

One of the many frequent pains I experience as a role-player, is the all too common desire that I get to adapt every fictional universe that my group and I fall in love with, that’s even remotely interesting. I would imagine I’m not the only GM that deals with this compulsion on an almost daily basis. While yes it’s true that many popular fictional settings have their own roleplaying games associated with them, many do not. Many of these settings are new, or just haven’t achieved the same mainstream popularity as other properties, but would still make very appealing games. And if we’re being completely honest with ourselves, some of these roleplaying games that are made for specific settings…well, they just suck. So what do you do if you want to play a game in a setting that either doesn’t have its own published roleplaying game rules, or the only one you can find just turned out to be a horrendous pile of garbage? There’s a couple of options for GMs who want to run these types of games.

Universal Game Systems

Universal game systems provide a one size fits all gaming experience for just about anything your heart can dream up. This includes systems like GURPS, whose primary goal is not bring a specific setting or world to tabletop, but rather to give you a set of tools that allow you to create your own worlds, or in the case of this post’s example, adapt one from your favorite storytelling source material.

My group and I have recently taken up the task of adapting the universe presented in the John Wick movies. No, I’m not talking about the John Wick that writes roleplaying games, I’m talking about the movies starring Keanu Reeves. Those who are familiar with these movies, can rightfully criticize that it isn’t exactly the hardest setting to adapt to a roleplaying game. That being said, it was harder than I had originally anticipated. After looking at several options, we decided that GURPS was the best system to emulate the worlds realistic, yet somehow also over the top action sequences with excessive amounts of gun-fu and hyper violence. I know what you’re thinking, “that’s every roleplaying game”. And yes, many groups tend to let this type of mindless action dictate the entirety of their roleplaying games, which there is nothing wrong with. That being said, my group typically doesn’t play this style of game, so it was a bit difficult to find a system that fit exactly how we saw the universe. I’m not saying that universal systems are perfect for every system, only that it’s a wonderful option to consider, if you r goal is to adapt a setting that doesn’t already have its own system. There are other universal systems other than GURPS of course. Among them are games like Savage Worlds, Hero System, and Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game. (Note by TN: I had no idea this existed.  Which is funny given I have read the entire Chronicles of Amber series and reviewed it!)

Tweaking Game Systems for Different Settings

Another option, is taking your favorite roleplaying game, scrubbing all of the lore, and stuffing it full of your own setting, or the setting you want to adapt to the game. This is easier with some settings than it is with others whose systems and rules are directly a product of their world and setting. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but it can sometimes require a bit more effort. For example, a friend of mine is currently in the middle of adapting the system for 4th edition Legend of the Five Rings to an old republic Star Wars game. For those familiar with the L5R roll/keep system, this might seem like a great idea, and I’m almost certain it will be when it’s completed. However, the system for L5R is very much specific to its setting, and the way it was intended to be played. This of course is part of what drew him to it in the first place.

What’s important about this, is that just about any game system can be converted to another setting. In this case, the setting that you feel is lacking a system that is right for your group, or is lacking its own system entirely. Focus one only the equipment and classes that fit your new setting, rename a few races, completely swap out the lore, and suddenly the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying Game can become the world from Game of Thrones. Or Call of Cthulhu can become the world of The Walking Dead.

Basically, if you want to run game in a setting that doesn’t have a dedicated game system, or the only one you can find is trash, there’s a way to do it. Universal game systems can allow you to take a vague tool kit, and fine tune it into whatever setting you might like it to be. If that doesn’t fit your style, you can just strip down your favorite game or system, and make it into the universe you wish to portray at the gaming table. Personally, I would almost always prefer to use a universal system, rather than trying to shoehorn my own twisted demands into a game system that was not designed to provide the type of world that I’m asking for, but I have done it before with rather decent success. Do you have a fictional setting you’d like to adapt to a roleplaying game, or one that you have already? Some of the worlds and source materials I’s still like to see great RPG adaptions for are Harry Potter, Full Metal Alchemist, and Star Trek (the published ones suck guys, they’re just awful). Tell me some of yours on Twitter! Tweet the settings you would like to play at the table @Goluptiousgeek.

-Goluptious Geek

Ideas and Plans for my Savage Worlds Supers Game

So I play Tabletop RPGs.  AMAZING RIGHT?  Who would have guessed.

Well starting up this coming October, I will be running Savage Worlds with a Supers setting / theme.  I have never done supers, but I thought about it for a bit and think I have come up with some basic ideas and I wanted to jot them down.  This is all background and world building stuff.

Furturistic City on a planet called Casiopea. Humanity has moved into the stars, and as part of this evolution, MetaHumans have occured. Alien races also interact with humanity. Think Mass Effect almost but with Supers instead of Spectres.

Main City is “Eden Groves” on this planet. Very large, almost state size. Very advanced. The planets are now protected by a human police force, and then government sanctioned supers.

Ranks / Area / Points

Bronze: Sector (neighborhood) 0-20
Silver: City 21-50
Gold: Country 51-100
Platinum: Planet 101 – 1000
Diamond: Galaxy / Super Threats 1000+
Concept is that every hero goes through training, and upon graduation is given Bronze Rank. They are then given a bit of money to get settled, create a hideout, and start working. Every crime / case a hero or team works earns both money and “points”. If a team / hero earns enough points they are granted a chance to take the Advancement Test. If they pass, they move to the next rank, getting access to more interesting and dangerous crimes and cases.  If they fail, they lose half their points and have to regain them.

To access these cases a team or hero access the HNN, Heroes News Network. This is a special intranet that provides news, gossip, shopping, and cases/crimes.

The police can also call in Heroes in their region if given leave, based on threat level/rank.

The players are a new Bronze level team who have just graduated as a group, and are making their way back to their home sector “Atrayu Sector”. They need to find a place to establish a base, and slowly work their way up the ranks to eventually be the best heroes possible. They will face a variety of villains and cases, ranging from bank robberies, super gangs, drug rings, murders, and so on. As they grow in strength they will face larger issues, more prominent baddies, and bigger crisis.

I think I am on to something here.  It lets me do short scale events / missions / storylines, while also letting the group basically form their own narrative.