Character Sheet 1: Salty ‘Jack’ Willy

 

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Jack with his Parrot Flip

Character Sheets are something very cool to keep. It’s a character that you build, and then lives in the minds of a group of other players. You had adventures with him for a couple of months. Which brought him to life. His abilities, character, skill and possessions were written down on pieces of paper.

All the pieces of paper of the group creates a living world…

Salty ‘Jack’ Willy.

This was Jack. Jack was a Druid of the coast. A pirate who’s most priced possession was his boat, called ‘The Flower Mate’. He also had two pets. The first one was the parrot ‘Flip’. Sadly, Flip died while being stranded with the group on a desolated Island. Then he got a new pet. An Ape called ‘Choco’. He and his crew were looking for a treasure on the other side of the world.

While traveling the oceans of the world, they had to overcome many dangers. Sea monsters, being stranded on desolated Islands, other pirates on a pirate Outpost. They also had to manage their boat, have enough provisions to get to the next outpost and do repairs or upgrades.

His boat could also fly, thanks to a magical cauldron he found in a cave on the desolated Island. The magic cauldron fulfilled every crew’s wish. Jack wished to have the ability to wildshape (morph into an animal) infinitely. But the drawback was that he couldn’t choose into what animal. Sometimes he wildshaped into a snail, sometimes in a bird. What the other members of the crew wished for, he never knew. But after one lost his legs while doing his wish, the boat could suddenly fly.

Jack died, in battle. In an orc encampment. He died together with Choco. Trying to bring magical goodberries to his unconscious crew-members. He didn’t have any energy left to cast any other healing spell to wake them up. It was his last hope. He wildshaped, and wildshaped into different animals. But every time the animal died he came back as himself. So the attackers could hit him between his wildshapes. It was horrible. The cauldron gave him only weak animals. Snails, snakes, small turtles, bunnies, chickens, birds,… The attackers had to kill him multiple times before he himself was death.

Jack died very rich. He had experienced crazy adventures all over the world. But a pirates life is a dangerous life…

This is a Character that I have played for 6-7 months, playing every week on Friday. Here are some pictures taken while we were gaming…

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Just Jack, on a dice
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We find the magic Cauldron
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Jack in a dungeon
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Jack dying.

 

The character sheets themselves:

Salty Willy_1Salty Willy_2Salty Willy_3Salty Willy_4Salty Willy_6Salty Willy_5Salty Willy_13Salty Willy_20Salty Willy_19Salty Willy_18Salty Willy_17Salty Willy_16Salty Willy_15Salty Willy_14Salty Willy_7Salty Willy_12Salty Willy_10Salty Willy_9Salty Willy_21

Formula Fusion

R8 Games Ltd! A company whose team consists of people from the legendary Studio Liverpool! Also known as PSYGNOSIS. I love psygnosis! Everything I have played from this studio is perfect. The wipeout and destruction derby games were my favorite ps1 games.

Wipeout Pulse and Pure were also the only reason I have bought a PSP.

They also teamed up again with the designers republic for this game! Another studio with a crazy reputation.

And because of that, I know this game it’s one of the better futuristic games on the PC. The state of the game is rough, not finished. There is still work to do, but!!! It still receives updates.

Morrowind (2001 PC Game)

I think this game sums up most of my childhood. There was a time when I played this game more than doing anything else… It was my life in 2004-2005, 2007-2008 after being dissapointed of Oblivion and its DLC, and also in 2010. In 2012 I’ve also played it a short while. I’ve put months an months of time into it… Completed main quest, some guilds and houses storylines, and many many side quests… But still not all of them. After all those years of playing I still find new things to do in the game.

It’s a huge and unforgiving hard world. No hand holding, no level based enemies or quests. If you join 1 guild or house, you can’t join the opposite guild or house. If you make a barbarian, forget magic, it will be almost impossible to learn and if you do, it doesn’t count for level progression. If you don’t think and plan your journey, you will break the game. For example: If you join a house, you will get quests where you have to kill main NPC’s of the game: thus breaking other quests!

The magic system is still the best thing ever made in a computer game. You can create the most sick items and spells ever. And If you have high level spells you can do the most awesome things ever. You feel more powerfull than in any other Elder Scroll game.

This is a small video of me playing 4 min showing conjuration magic, fast travel and how to level very fast

Skyrim

Why do I not recommend this game? Even after 80+ hours of time I’ve put into this game. Because this is not a RPG. It just is a handholding – follow the compass – game without depth and very very lazy writing. ALL quests in this game are really badly written. (just as this review is badly written 😉 )

What takes the immersion out of this game (and also out of Oblivion) is the fast-travel system. It doesn’t really work well in this kind of game. And the cool thing about travelling arround in the older elder scrolls games was that you had to “plan” and understand the traveling system. In Skyrim it’s gone, you can take a cart. But it isn’t important anymore. In previous games you had special magic spells which you could fast travel with and it was awesome. But it doesn’t exist anymore since Oblivion. Still… The COMPASS sucks. Play without it.

The spell system is not complex enough. They even deleted a magic school: Mysticism!! The coolest school of them all. Also the amount of spells is very low. Enchanting? Too simple. Crafting Armor? There is a loophole in the system, where you literally can level up 15 levels in like… 5 minutes… I remember leveling up from level 35 to 45 in 15 minutes by crafting insane amounts of armor and doing enchanting stuff. Selling them, buying new iron ingots or whatever and just begin again crafting armor.

After the idiotic dungeon design of Oblivion, the dungeon design in Skyrim is better. It’s atmospheric. But… if you finish the game… you still wonder why the very first dungeon of this game and the very last one of the main quest is THE EXACT SAME DUNGEON? With the very same puzzles? It’s again… laziness.

The combat is not action oriented enough, but also not C-RPG enough with dice rolls like in morrowind. It’s probably something in between so it just is meh.

They have deleted minor and major skills, so there are no classes anymore in the game. You can become the almighty do it all guy. But I’m the type of guy who says: “over-specialise and breed weakness”. Well in this game you can become everything at once. You can become the arch-mage, gray-fox, fighter guild leader,… and dragonborn – guy! And then start the dark brotherhood quest and people over there will still not know who you are… (???)

I never liked voice acting, because it makes conversations too simple and you hear too much the same actor for different characters. But what bothers me more, is that voice actors are overwhelmed by the music in epic moments, stop in the middle of their sentences to enter a door and never finish whatever they were saying. Or actors are saying important things together, making a cacophony of voices.

I’m currently playing Morrowind again, I haven’t even played the expansions yet. And while browsing YouTube I’ve found a video about Morrowind and Skryim. Just watch it and understand why Skyrim is NOT the way elder scrolls games should evolve to. Elder scrolls online is like everything the elder scrolls shouldn’t be, nor should skyrim, nor fallout 4.

Bethesda is destroying itself…

The only thing this game does well: the landscape and graphics. The architecture.

Video, which I found after writing this review on Steam:

Postal 1 (1997 game)

I heard many rumours about this game as a kid. At school many other kids talked about a game even crazier and bloodier than GTA 1, which at the time (1997 – 1998) was the most brutal game on PS1 we knew. But nobody knew anybody that played Postal. Later I discovered Postal 2. A friend found it on Bearshare together with some crazy malware and we played the ♥♥♥♥♥♥ out of that game.

But I never saw Postal 1 till I bought this game recently for 1 euro on steam and it’s indeed crazy. It’s like they took the rampage missions from GTA and made a whole new game with that concept.

It’s a dark twin stick shooter. You are just a murdering maniac shooting down as many people as you can in public places.

It takes you back to the nineties, when brutal, bloody political incorrect games were something new and threating. Feeling like you were doing something that you shouldn’t do. Making parents scared that you were being turned into a terrorist.

BTW; remember Phobia II? Probably not…. That was also another sick twin stick shooter from WAH software. It was a cheap game based on Starship Troopers. I played that game with a friend. One played with the wasd keys another with the arrow keys on the keyboard. And somehow it brings that nostalgic feeling back… Totally different games but released the same year… The graphics are on the same level… Whatever, buy this game. It’s part of gaming history, essential to play.

The Dark Eye – Core Rules – A more European approach to role playing games

 

The Dark Eye Core RulesThe Dark Eye Core Rules by Markus Plotz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This game is really difficult, very crunchy. The rules are very comprehensive, which makes the game interesting. It feels more ‘realistic’ than Dungeons and Dragons.

Character Creation

Character creation is very interesting. You can choose between pre-generated pc’s or create your own. The interesting part is that you start from a certain experience level, with action points or AP. Every race (human, elf or dwarf) has a certain AP cost. There are multiple kinds of human, dwarven and elven cultures. And then there are professions. Professions, cultures and skills are all ‘packages’ and have a certain AP cost.

You can also begin the game by creating totally something classless and do your own thing. You can do whatever you want. If you earn EP, you also earn AP and you’ll can spend them whenever and however you’ll like. ‘Leveling’ as in DnD doesn’t exist.

Advantages & Disadvantages and Special Abilities.

You’ll remember Feats or Character Traits from DnD? These also exist in TDE. But in another form. Disabilities also exist in unearthed arcana in the DND 5e. In the TDE these are all Advantages & Disadvantages. There are also special abilities in the TDE, these are most similar to feats from DnD.

Advantages are extra abilities, improvements to your character that you also can buy with AP. Some give you the ability to regenerate faster, others to withstand cold or heat. Some of them give you better technique with certain weapons. It’s very similar to feats in DnD 3.5.

Disadvantages are more role playing restrictions and also disabilities to your character. These don’t cost AP, they give AP back. Like for example: you can choose to be a blind person. Or you can’t hear anything. Other disadvantages are that you have certain obligations, or that you are superstitious. You can’t walk further if you see a black cat on the left of the road. Certain unlucky numbers  frightens you or makes you suspicious.

Skill Checks

Skills are connected to 3 abilities. And you’ll have different qualities of success. When you have to roll a skill check, you’ll have to roll under your skill number with your three abilities. You can use the points you’ve invested in that skill to lower your score to your die roll under your ability score. The unused points determines the quality level (QL) of your action.

The party of players can also do group skill checks. Where the unused skill points of the group determines if the check was successful or not. There are also checks over time. Like for example if you want to build a house, you have to get to a number (determined by the DM) with your quality points. So you can build everyday on your home, your skill check takes a certain amount of in-game time. For example: Keep doing skill checks every day getting to the predetermined amount of QL points before the house is completed.

Combat

Combat is also pretty complicated. (It’s already explained in detail in my blackguard review)

You want to hit an enemy with your sword! You have two actions. One is moving toward the enemy, the other one is swinging with your sword trying to hit him. Your PC has an attack value of lets say 8. Your Rapier has an Attack Value of +1. The Rapier’s special attribute is agility, for every 3 points in agility above 8 you get a +1. You Agility is 14. 14-8= 6. You get a +2 to hit. This means you have to throw lower than 11 with you 20 sided die.

This means you have 55% chance to hit. (This would be a starting level character btw).

If you hit, the following happens.

Your enemy can parry or dodge with his parry or dodge skill. His parry skill is 13. Which is calculated by his DEX. Now he can use every 3 points above a base value 8 for agility. He has an agility of 12. 12-8= 4. So he gets a +1. Which is 14. Now he tries to parry with a short weapon against a medium weapon. He receives -2 on his parry. He has to roll lower than 12. He has a chance of 60% to parry the weapon.

He can also dodge the attack. A Dodge is your agility divided by 2. 12/2= 6. But he has a skill body control which gives him +1. He has a dodge of 7. Which is too low to use.

You have 55% to hit and the defender 60% chance to defend himself. Which gives you 33% to hit I think…

Lets say if you have to roll lower than a 19 to hit an enemy. He lies on the ground, this gives you an advantage: making your *chance* 100% to hit: this can even go over 20. Lets say you have to roll lower than 23 to hit. This means that if you roll a 19 + a random disadvantage of + 2 making a 21 still is a hit. But the fumble rule still applies. If you roll a 20 it’s still an instant fumble and the gamemaster may get creative and invents a random failure. An archer misses on 19-20 rolls. So there is always a 5%-10% chance you fumble, and a 5% chance you crit (on rolling a 1).

Later you are in a house with a low ceiling. Your enemy lies unconscious before you on the ground. Let’s kill him in cold blood! You swing your sword full of rage. Outgame you have to roll a d20; let’s say that everything except a 20 hits. You’re unlucky: you roll a 20. The DM decides what happens: your swing your sword above your head in full rage and your sword gets stuck in the ceiling.

Conclusion

What I’ve learned from past RPG sessions, is that if you play unknown or lesser known rpg’s, the players sometimes don’t know the rules and most didn’t bother to invest time into learning the RPG. So it becomes a confusing mess of players that don’t understand what’s really going on, or why they are throwing certain dice or what the consequences are of their chosen actions. They didn’t really understand why certain actions were not a good idea, thus failing the action. I think this game has the same problem: you have to know people who want to invest time learning a system this complex.

Very fun game, but very crunchy

A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

A Scanner DarklyA Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book made me sad… Some of the conversations and weird thought processes in this book brought up sad memories…

I remember hearing conversations about cows needing to live above the clouds because they are the main source of global warming. Theories about an utopia, in which people live in pyramid or disc shaped cities, were there is no money and all the work is done by robots. A society were the structure is based on herds of cows. Because that would be the utopian society that aliens would force upon us…

How death is something permanent in life, or how everybody should learn kung fu and free running so they can take the fastest route to the toilet and shit better… Damn… people laughing because the room has corners… or people running because the houses are laughing at them, dwarves chasing them.

The authors note at the end of the book confirms my sad feelings. This book was written in memory of lost friends. There is no moral. It just is about people thinking they have fun, without realising the consequences of paranoia, psychosis… psychological damage and brain damage.

Also it handles the problem that governments are indirectly profiting from drug trade. So they keep it illegal, but don’t really fight it or do something about it, so they can make profit out of it.

It’s sometimes a fucked up world we live in.

It’s a very good book. Philip K Dick was a genially good writer.

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Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-01: Portent’s Peril

Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-01: Portent's PerilPathfinder Society Scenario #8-01: Portent’s Peril by Scott Sharplin

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Played this book as a player, not as GM.
So I’ve not read the book, but played it.

This story is a huge mess, based on too many skill checks to uncover the story. There is no place for roleplaying, or getting anything out of the npc’s without doing skill checks. Probably the GM could give us more, but he played it according to the book. We failed all the checks, all checks were below 10… We uncovered NOTHING. We didn’t know what to do, we didn’t know what happened. It sucked.

When the story was explained… Damn, it was unlogical. Made no sense. There are no choices to be made by the players. There is no option to roleplay (when I tried DM’ing a Pathfinder session there was no place to roleplay either…).

I begin to feel that pathfinder scenario’s or campaign books are just mind dumb – rail road adventures where the PC’s just follow mindlessly a trail and don’t have much to decide in the outcome. There is no room to be creative.

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Blackguards – Game review + Why a hit rate of 100% doesn’t hit.

Original Review was posted on my Steam Account

The real reason why I’m writing this review is because of the hit chance percentages. EVERYBODY COMPLAINS ABOUT THIS. For everybody who doesn’t know The Dark Eye rule set this is indeed very confusing. A 100% chance of successfully hitting someone  doesn’t give you a 100% chance of doing actual damage, and I think the percentages are misleading, also, the rules aren’t explained anywhere and the rolls aren’t shown in the battlelog. I don’t really know how you can have 100% for certain in the game.

I’m going to explain it a little bit with the actual rolls of the core rules. This is by memory and to be honest I haven’t played the actual P&P game so far. But I have read the core rules some month’s ago:

You want to hit an enemy with your sword! You have two actions. One is moving toward the enemy, the other one is swinging with your sword trying to hit him. Your PC has an attack value of lets say 8. Your Rapier has an Attack Value of +1. The Rapier’s special attribute is agility, for every 3 points in agility above 8 you get a +1. You Agility is 14. 14-8= 6. You get a +2 to hit. This means you have to throw lower than 11 with you 20 sided die.

This means you have 55% chance to hit. (This would be a starting level character btw).

If you hit, the following happens.

Your enemy can parry or dodge with his parry or dodge skill. His parry skill is 13. Which is calculated by his DEX. Now he can use every 3 points above a base value 8 for agility. He has an agility of 12. 12-8= 4. So he gets a +1. Which is 14. Now he tries to parry with a short weapon against a medium weapon. He receives -2 on his parry. He has to roll lower than 12. He has a chance of 60% to parry the weapon.

He can also dodge the attack. A Dodge is your agility divided by 2. 12/2= 6. But he has a skill body control which gives him +1. He has a dodge of 7. Which is too low to use.

You have 55% to hit and the defender 60% chance to defend himself. Which gives you 33% to hit I think…

I think the percentages shown in game are your own hit percentages. Because you can’t know your enemies stats beforehand.

Now why still miss on a 100% hit percentage? Two reasons. Probably the game rounds up. Lets say if you have to roll lower than a 19. But if your enemy lies on the ground, this gives you an advantage: making your *chance* 100% to hit: this can even go over 20. Lets say you have to roll lower than 23 to hit. This means that if you roll a 19 + a random disadvantage of + 2 making a 21 still is a hit. But the fumble rule still applies. If you roll a 20 it’s still an instant fumble and normally in the P&P the gamemaster may get creative and invents a random failure. An archer misses on 19-20 rolls. So there is always a 5%-10% chance you fumble, and a 5% chance you crit (on rolling a 1) .

(If you played Drakensang, the first game wich uses the same DSA rule set, there you can even fumble on picking up a flower.)

So in the original P&P, lets say you are in a house with a low ceiling. Your enemy lies unconscious before you on the ground. Let’s kill him in cold blood! You swing your sword full of rage. Outgame you have to roll a d20; let’s say that everything except a 20 hits. You’re unlucky: you roll a 20. The DM decides what happens: your swing your sword above your head in full rage and your sword gets stuck in the ceiling.

Now about the game… It’s a difficult and unforgiving game. But it’s somehow still entertaining!

Daedalic is known for making point and click adventure games set in the Dark Eye world. This game is a story driven turn based strategy game with the occasional cut scenes which have some dialogue options for the fluff. The towns and outposts are like in an adventure game, where you can click on merchants or NPC’s. The cut scenes are ok, the way the story is told feels a bid like a normal P&P RPG session. Where a DM narrates what happens and you are given the ILLUSION of choice. But in this game there is NOT much choice, doesn’t matter it’s entertaining.

The turn based strategy is very difficult. Gamers without patience will have a hard time restarting the same combat over and over.

It’s fun, It’s hardcore. Its worth playing.

Blackguards

Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG Limited Silver Foil Edition by Goodman Games

Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG Limited Silver Foil EditionDungeon Crawl Classics RPG Limited Silver Foil Edition by Goodman Games

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an extremely interesting rpg. Even if you don’t plan to play this, because it has very interesting concepts for every OGL d20 fantasy rpg.

The first difference you’ll will notice, is the level 0 characters. They call this the CHARACTER CREATION FUNNEL. Every player rolls 3D6 for their abilities, and create 3 level 0 pc’s. They have no further classes, nor race bonuses, no modifiers, etc etc. Their hp is only a 1d4+stamina modifier. Their occupation and possessions are randomized with a d20 and a list for the results. The players play the first part of the campaign till they reach level 1. By then most pc’s will have died and the players choose which pc they will play for the rest of the campaign. the rest can become npcs. Since it only takes 10XP to reach level 1, this will probably be the next gaming session.

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Me in progress of creating a one shot demosession for my friends. You can see some character sheets I’m preparing, and a map of a 16th century abbey where the demo will take place. BTW: this is the special silver foil hardcover edition of DCC RPG

The way you get XP is also based on successful encounters and not on kills. You don’t have to kill to learn something out of an encounter. This way it’s easier to earn XP from doing other things outside combat, in other RPG’s this also the case but the players are more encouraged to kill every enemy they see to level faster.

The range of dice is also unusual. In this one you could use a d3, d4, d5, d6, d7, d8, d10, d%10, d12, d14, d16, d20, d24 and d30!! it’s looks quite complex, but it isn’t. This is called the DICE-CHAIN. When the rules say to use an improved die, you step up one die. So instead of a d6 you may use a d7. This is also cumulative, so you can step up multiple dice.

The combat system isn’t necessarily based on a grid, but it can be played on a grid, on a table or ‘theater of the mind’ . The MIGHTY DEEDS OF ARMS is something I really missed in other RPG’s. A warrior can declare a special move while attacking, so long it fits the situation. The warrior can try to land an attack specifically on the horns of a demon. Just roll a D3 to see if it would succeed to cut off the horns.

SPELL DUELS! It’s the best magical battle concept I’ve seen so far. Basically when a spellcaster, casts a spell, like for example a magical missile, the other spellcasters who come after him in the initiative order can react immediately by casting a counterspell, for example magic shield! When that happens, they give up their actions in the normal initiative order in that round. The spellcasters who dueled must place a d20 on the table with the 10 facing upwards. The winner of the duel may change the dice one number up. The next time the spellcasters duel the difference between the numbers of their d20 are used as a bonus. The cool thing is that they can get in a sort of flow. Like in Lord of the Rings when Saruman fought against Gandalf in the second movie. (I’ve found a nice help chart for this spell system: click here ) Spells have also cool side effects! When casting the spell, the higher your spell check the better the spell results. (More about spells in the video below)

The layout of the book is a mixed bag. Some pages look gorgeous, others not. There are different illustrators and the quality of their work isn’t always of the same height. That’s the problem, when somebody raises the bar, then the lesser illustrators look bad. The text layout isn’t always on a grid, the kerning is sometimes awful, the word-spacing and text flagging is sometimes just cringy… But the overall feel of the layout is pleasant, because it has a retro feel and it’s easy on the eye. The book is also written really well, everything is very clear. For an Rpg that claims to be for hardcore OGL 3.e players. For them it is a very accessible game.

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Alright! If you want to know more about the spell system, and how to integrate it into a 5e game. This video is very helpfull.

Star Wars: Legacy II, Vol. 1: Prisoner of the Floating World by Corinna Sara Bechko

Star Wars: Legacy II, Vol. 1: Prisoner of the Floating WorldStar Wars: Legacy II, Vol. 1: Prisoner of the Floating World by Corinna Sara Bechko

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Legacys vol 2 is set the fartest into the future of the star wars extended universe. My favorite era of the star wars original extended timeline. In a galaxy with 3 kind of knights, two empires and the sith. A very original take on the star wars setting.

Sadly Disney destroyed the extended universe and made everything “legends”. If you read the tales of the jedi and the legacy era stories of star wars, you’ll realise how shallow and small the current star wars Disney universe has become.

This story isn’t that great. But it’s the timeline, history and worldbuilding that counts. I even prefer the star wars invasion era with the yuuzah vong invasion over the current series. now they’re just milking the characters of the main movies. It makes me somewhat angry that marvel’s star wars sales are better than the dark horse’s star wars sales…

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