Episode2screenshotEpisode two went really well, but it wasn’t really an episode.  We had two new players join us for this session, but they were the only ones able to make it.  The three players that started the adventure the week before couldn’t come to the game.

So instead of a regular game, we had a character creation session, then we did a quick combat with our two new guys to see how their characters would do and to get them up on the rules.  All in all, it went very well.  You can see the screenshot to the left of the combat.

I was also testing out a screencapture program that I had downloaded called CamStudio.  It is a free download and you are able to set it up so that it will take screenshots every 5 seconds or so (or however often you want it to) and make a movie out of it.  I think the software is okay, but I would like something better.  The screen quality isn’t as good as I would like.  Anyone have any ideas?  I will be posting the video if my server allows it, it did get pretty large.

I also recorded our ventrillo session, but it is a large file, 34 megs, even as an mp3, so I will not be posting that.  I need to figure out a better way to record our sessions.

I am a fan of savage worlds.  I haven’t been able to play a savage worlds game recently, but all the ones that I have ran or played in have been a lot of fun.  Because of that reason, I have been looking for a new campaign to run with Savage Worlds and decided to buy Hellfrost by Triple Ace Games this weekend.  I have now read through most of the setting and decided I would give it my review.  I bought the pdf so keep that in mind as you read the review.
 
First off, Hellfrost had a nice layout.  The pages were colorful with quite a bit of artwork throughout the book.  Nothing to big though and not so much that it took away from the book.  The material was well organized and referenced other sections by page numbers when it referred to them.  I did not have trouble locating any information in the book so far.
 
The book is well written.  I did not notice many over mistakes in the writing, and it was actually a pretty pleasant read.  The story world was engaging and the authors created a world all their own in this book.
 
There are many things I like about the setting.  I like the world they created and the constant battle with the cold.  The races are mainly the same ones you always see, but I enjoyed a few of the twists they added to the different races available.  I feel like all the new edges and hindrances really added to the setting.  The setting is also rich with details on deities, everyday life, and organizations.
 
There were several new magic hindrances as well as different approaches to learning magic.  I also enjoyed the fact that powerpoints are not used in this setting.  The backlash system for magic is also great, but with my one complaint being that it might be just a bit too brutal.  I understand why they made it that way, to prevent magic users from becoming to powerful, but I feel like there are different ways to do this.  You can make a magic user worthless with the first cast of a spell in this setting, and I think that is too punishing of a system.  I will probably houserule a system that takes into account how many spells they have cast that day before getting to that point.  Overall though, I really enjoy the detailed magic system that Triple Ace Games put into the Hellfrost campaign setting.
 
However, there are some aspect of the Hellfrost setting that I didn’t like.  Some of these cons are probably just my own personal opinion and you might not agree with me, so take what you will from this.  First, the book does not have any maps in it.  I don’t know about you, but when I pay for a campaign setting, I would expect at least some type of sketch of the world.  At first I couldn’t believe it wasn’t in there and looked through it a second and third time to make sure, but I did not find a map.  I will relent a little on this though because I did find a map for free download on the site, I would just expect to see it in the book.  Remember this for future settings/adventures/whatever, we by pdfs usually because we are going to use them to game online, and maps are invaluable for that.  Just take a look at all the expensive RPG map making programs out there.
 
My second complaint is one that people may not agree with me on, but I hardly ever like coming up with a different, hard to pronounce name for things that are already well known.  Mage and wizard are standard for the fantasy world.  I understand wanting to come up with your own name for it, but if you are going to use something, at least include the pronunciation for it.  They did at least include in parenthesis what it would compare to when they are first introduced.  Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t all bad, but TAG reused many of the common names for classes except when it came to magic users and I’m not sure why.
 
My last complaint is my biggest, but again, it might just be the fact that I need to suck it up and get used to it.  While reading the book, in one paragraph it plainly said that a GM will need this book, which is called the players guide, as well as the bestiary and the gazeteer (sp?).  This is where I was the most disappointed.  I like Savage Worlds because it has always been one small book of rules and all the campaign settings so far that I have bought have been all encompassing in one book.  This is the only book where they tell you that three books will be required.  That was a bit of a shock to me when I read it.  I realize this is the player guide, but it is the only book available for Hellfrost and why would they release it without enough info to run a game?  Usually the campaign setting comes first, then the light players guide comes next.  I just feel like they are trying to be a bit like Wizards of the Coast and I got away from DnD because of Wizards of the Coast.
 
Again, these problems are probably just me and I shouldn’t get bent out of sorts because it is called “The Players Guide.”  Don’t let me dissuade you though, Triple Ace Games put together a good product and I would recommend it for players wanting to play in a Hellfrost game.  However, for all the DM’s like me out there.  I would advise you to wait until there is some more products for this setting since they plainly tell you in the book that you need more than just that book to DM a game.  I’m going to use it next week though for a game and we will see how it goes. 
 
Overall, I think I have to give the book only 3.5 bears out of 5 bears, at least for now.  I reserve the write to change this rating at anytime.  Just to be clear, this does not dim my excitement to run a game in a new campaign world.
Inkheart

Inkheart

I just watched the movie Inkheart today and thought it was a great movie.  I went looking online for more about it and was disappointed to see pretty low reviews of the movie, so I decided to review it myself.

Inkheart the movie is based off of a book with the same name by Cornelia Funke.  I have not read the book yet but intend to now since the movie was so good.  Maybe I’ll review that too when I finally get around to it.

The movie is of a genre that I like to call fairy-tale.  This is the same genre that wonderful movies like The Princess Bride and Stardust belong in.  (If you have never heard of either of those movies, then you must queue them up in Netflix or run to a rental store immediately! I’m serious, why are you still reading this!)  These movies are wonderful escapes from reality that the whole family can enjoy, and as a father of two, that is very important to me. 

Inkheart is full of action and adventure that amazingly is able to remain clean.  This movie contains a love story, fighting, monsters, treasure, and the journey home.  It also is based on one of my favorite hobbies, the wonderful world of books. 

Characters of books actually come to life in Inkheart thanks to the main character.  I will remain vague so that I don’t give away any details.  Let’s just say that there are villians, people that need to be rescued, and wonderfully flawed main characters.  The characters range from the believable to the magically, but all of them are fairly well developed.  I was able to connect with the characters very well thanks to the developement.

The plot of the movie was wonderful and kept me on the edge of my seat.  It also ended in a pretty feel good way so that the whole family was satisfied.  Also, as a side note, I did love the actors in the movie.  Brendan Fraiser, Sienna Guillory, and Paul Bettany did a wonderful job in this movie.

I give Inkheart the movie 5 out of 5 bears and I encourage you all to watch it when you get a chance.  Fortunately it is already out on DVD and Bluray, so you can just rent it.  The reason that I gave it 5 out of 5 bears because I consider the movie an “own worthy” movie, which means I am going to buy it.

I did a guest post over at my friend Snikle’s blog on Risus RPG character compendium and just happened to do Dora since we had been talking about it.  My baby girl loves that show so it is on all the time over here.  For that post, I did the characters Dora and Boots.  However, no RPG is complete without some bad guys.  So here is a Risus character post for Dora the Explorer bad guys The Grumpy Old Troll and Swiper.

The Grumpy Old Troll

  • Grumpy Old Troll (4)
  • Wellspring of Riddles (2)
  • Short, Hairy, and Harmless (2)

The grumpy old troll (who lives under the bridge) is a classic character in Dora’s adventures.  There is almost always a bridge to cross and when they did to cross it, the troll is there to stop them.  He does not want anyone crossing his bridge unless they can solve one of his many riddles.  If they can, he proves to be harmless and allows them to pass.  I wonder what would happen if Dora and Boots couldn’t solve his riddle?

Swiper

  • Sneaky fox (4)
  • Master thief in it for fun (2)
  • Cleverly hides what he steals(2)
  • Honors those who call out to him thrice (1)

Swiper is a clever fox who likes to swipe items of interest from Dora and Boots.  The thing is, he isn’t interested in keeping the items for himself, but instead likes to hide the items he has swiped.  He will also leave someone alone if they call out to him three times to stop what he is doing.  (I think its a fairy creature thing)

These are two great antagonists that anyone could run in a Risus RPG that add just a little bit of fun to the game.  Hope you like them!

24HourRPG
The 24 Hour RPG contest is held 1000 Monkeys, 1000 Typewriters site, or 1KM1KT for sort.  It is a contest that I stumbled upon this year thanks to my friend Snikle.
 
This is a very cool and very fun contest that they have held every year since 2004 (if my facts are wrong guys, let me know).  Let me give you a run-down of the way the contest worked this year.  They gave several wacky phrases as themes or ideas for the rpg and we had to incoporate one of them.  Then we had to have an NPC somewhere in our game book named Keeton.  Then we had to submit on the forum the theme that we were using so that they would get the start time.  From there, we had 24 hours to put together as much of an RPG as possible.
 
Amazingly enough, there are a lot of entries to the contest and some of them are pretty awesome!  The best part?  They are free!  You can go and download them right now and have a cool new game to play on your next game night.  Can people cheat?  Sure they could, but I like to think that us gamers have a code of honor that would never allow us to do that.
 
Sounds pretty crazy right?  Trust me, it is.  It is also a whole lot of fun.  I never thought I would even make an attempt at an RPG, but this was a challenge I couldn’t pass up.  I took the theme of “I think I’m a clone now” and went at it.  Unfortunately for me, it was a holiday weekend and people ended up visiting and several other things happened, so I didn’t get as much time to work on it as I wanted, but I did it.  I sumbitted my super hero RPG called “The Awakening” 23 hours and 54 minutes after I started it. 
 
Was it what I thought it would be?  No, I wasn’t able to add near as much to it as I would have liked.  Being creative actually takes a lot of time.  But the important part is that I finished…well, sorta I guess.  I sumbitted it, so that means its finished!  There were several things in my head that I wanted to get down, but I just didn’t have a chance.  The adventure that formed in my head that sparked the whole thing didn’t even get put in.  I still plan on adding though.  Let me know what you think!  Here is my entry:  Awakening
The original forum entry can be found here: Awakening.

Well, I just finished moving my website over to its own server and I gotta say, I like it.  There was a real moment there when I just could not decide between WordPress and Joomla, but in the end, the ease of use of WordPress just won out.  Joomla could do some cool things, but with the right plugins, I think WordPress can handle everything I need here. 

And if not, well, I’ll just switch over to Joomla!