Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mars Attacks Miniature Game !!!

You totally should go pledge for it NOW! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1744629938/mars-attacks-the-miniatures-game?ref=live

Download the playtest rules and other goodies too. You may fall in love immediately!
The material below has NO relation to the real game’s playtest, but I was feeling inspired and made up stats for the Martian “Giant Stompy Robot” … then saw the blog post for heroes, and re-imagined it that way too, since the “heroics” mechanic fits well, IMO.

That said, I haven’t seen any vehicle rules and the robot may fall under that umbrella… but whatever, I’m just geeking out here, because I already love the Mars Attacks Miniature Game.

To better understand the stuff below, the lower a stat, the better, because you roll that number or higher on d8 to succeed. The standard board is 8x8, so a range of 7 is immense.

Giant Stompy Robot, imagined two ways:
1)      As huge, bad-ass figure

Shoot: 4+
Fight: 3+
Survive: 3+
Range: 7
Notes: Stomp, Really Tall
That heat ray is deadly at long range, but the enormous claw can really crush you in close combat. It’s very difficult to harm this huge metal monstrosity, so its survive stat is very strong.
Stomp: If the robot moves into a square with enemy models, they must automatically check their Survival skill or be stomped on squashed into a finely spread paste (killed, if that wasn’t clear).
Really Tall: Remember to check for sightlines from the cockpit/robot’s head. It’s hard to hide from such a tall adversary. Conversely, Giant Stompy Robot never received benefits for cover.

2)      As huge, bad-ass Hero unit
Shoot: 5+
Fight: 4+
Survive: 4+
Range: 7
Heroics: 3
Notes: Stomp, Really Tall – as above, Toss
Heroic Ability: Toss: Giant Robot can pick up cars, dumpsters, motor cycles, cows, schoolgirls, etc, that are in the same square with it, and hurl them with deadly force. (It’s probably simpler to just use the “Flying Car” card for each Toss, but nevertheless…) Using Toss, the GSR gains an extra Shoot attack at range 5 with the thrown projectile. The projectile will continue moving 1 to 4 squares past its target square (if roll is 5 or more, subtract 4). Any enemies in these squares suffer an attack at 7+. If any scenery blocks the projectile’s path, it will stop there. If the GSR’s Toss attack misses (rolls 1-4), use the scatter rules to determine where the projectile lands.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Apple Season

Long time readers (both of you) might recall that ostensibly I blog about cooking. So, since it’s the peak of apple season, here are a couple apple-centric recipes I made this weekend after taking my daughter apple picking! Here’s a complete dinner and dessert. Enjoy!

4-6 Brats
3 teaspoon butter
1-2 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, sliced thin along long axis
2-3 shallots, sliced thick, along long axis
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock (if store bought, go light on the salt later on)
3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1-2 teaspoon prepared mustard
Bouquet garni* made of thyme 50%, sage 35%, rosemary 15% (approximate proportions) (or use dried herbs)
2 apples, peeled and chopped
S & P (salt & pepper to taste)
1-2 Tablespoon cornstarch (mix well into about a ¼ cup cold water)

Short version:
Use one large pan for the entire recipe.
·         Sauté brats in butter or rendered bacon fat until browned on all sides.
·         Add butter. Sweat onions, then shallots, then garlic.
·         Deglaze with stock.
·         Add everything else except the starch (i.e. sugar, cinnamon, mustard, bouquet garni, and apples).
·         Snuggle the brats in so they're at least half covered in the liquid.
·         Simmer, covered, 8-12 minutes.
·         Remove food with slotted spoon and make a pan sauce with the starch slurry.

Long version:
Use one large pan for the entire recipe. The onion and shallot slices should end up a similar "diameter" so they cook evenly.

If using raw bacon, cook it first, remove it, and sauté the brats in the rendered bacon fat. If using prepared bacon, just chop it and add it with the apples and onions later.

Sauté brats in half the butter (or bacon fat) over medium to medium high heat, browning on all sides. If butter darkens, add a tablespoon of oil to the pan and lower the heat. Don't let the butter burn. Some fat will render out of the brats, and that's ok. You may wish to start with less butter.

Move the brats off the heat or remove them from the pan. Add the remaining butter and sweat** the onions a few minutes. Add the shallots and sweat them until both shallots and onions are translucent and fragrant. Add the garlic and sauté until it becomes fragrant. Do not let the garlic burn (never let garlic burn!).

Deglaze*** the pan with the stock. Add the sugar, cinnamon and mustard, then add the bouquet garni, and apples. Snuggle the brats in so they're at least half covered in the liquid. Simmer, covered, 8-12 minutes.

Remove brats and apples and onions (the solid goodies), set aside in a warmed bowl and cover.

Bring the pan liquids to a boil (you could strain them into a saucepan but I don't bother). Mix the cornstarch into a little cold water or apple cider or sauerkraut juice (or a mix of these). Make a smooth slurry of the starch and cold liquid and whisk half of it into the simmering liquid in the pan. Cook 1-2 minutes, whisking constantly. This will form a smooth sauce. Keep adding starch slurry and letting it cook a minute or two until it gets as thick as you like. It will thicken slightly as it cools, and you can’t take any starch out, so add it a little at a time. Turn off the heat (take the pan off the burner if it’s electric, because they stay too hot) and add a pat of butter. Stir the butter to melt it in.

To Serve: portion out some of the onion/apple goodness and top with a bratwurst or two. Ladle or pour some sauce on top. Pass sauce in a gravy boat.

Serve with drained sauerkraut or red cabbage and baked potatoes, baked carrots and parsnips, salt potatoes, or sage-sautéed spaetzle (my favorite of these options).

A good Marzen, Oktoberfest, wheat beer or lager make a nice beer pairing. Sparkling or still cider (hard or soft) or sweet tea work well also. For a wine pairing, you're on your own, LOL. A moderately sweet white? German, ideally?

                Food geekery:
* A bouquet garni is a bundle of herbs added to soups or sauces that adds all the flavor of the herbs, but is easy to remove since it's all in a little bundle. Just grab a few sprigs of thyme about 4 or 5 inches long, 1 sprig of rosemary 3 to 4 inches long, and 5 to 10 sage leaves. Tie them together with a food safe twine and you're all set. You can also drop them into a cheesecloth pouch.

** To 'sweat' veggies is sauté them at a lower temperature so that they soften and become translucent and fragrant, but don't caramelize as much as a high temperature sauté.

*** When you sauté proteins, yummy brown "fond" will form on the bottom of your pan (unless the heat is too low or you're using a nonstick pan) ((don't use nonstick pans for this. They’re really only best for omelets and eggs)). I don't know why it's called "fond" but I do know that I'm quite fond of it! Deglazing a pan removes the fond, aka yummy brown goodness, and adds it to the liquid you pour into the pan. It's best to use a yummy liquid like wine, beer, or stock (broth). You can use water if you insist. Simply pour the liquid into the pan, lean back so you don't scorch your face in a huge billowing geyser of steam, and rub a spatula or back of a spoon on the pan to help remove the fond. The fond dissolves into the liquid, and as the water (and alcohol) boils out, the flavors concentrate into a thin but yummy sauce. You can go nuts, and after deglazing, let the liquid simmer away until the pan is nearly dry. This will laminate the food in a thick tasty glaze. This is called cooking it "au sec" meaning something like 'nearly dry' (pardon my French).

Aside: This deglazing technique done with plain water and maybe a drop or three of detergent will clean a pan with burnt on schmutz. It’s thorough and saves you the scrubbing. Not so tasty, though.

1 Box Spaetzle, or a pound of home-made (in a pinch, cavatelli or gnocchi are nearly adequate substitutes)
½ stick butter
1 or 2 shallots, chopped
⅛ cup fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
Dash red pepper flakes and or cayenne pepper powder
Generous dash ground black pepper
⅛ to ¼ cup fresh parsley
S & P

Note the time package directions say to Boil the Spaetzle. This has to be coordinated to that about two minutes before they’re ready, you put them in the pan with the hot butter sauce and finish cooking them in that pan.

While the spaetzle boil, melt the butter over medium high heat in a large pan. Sauté the shallots. It’s ok for the butter to darken, but not burn. This is called burre noir (again, forgive my French), or “brown butter.” It’s sort of toasted, to develop a nutty taste, but not burnt. If it starts to burn, you can take the pan off the heat and add a dash of oil. Add the chopped sage and the peppers to the pan. These will fry a bit and infuse the butter with their flavor.

Scoop the Spaetzle out of the water with a strainer or wide slotted spoon and drop them directly into the butter sauce. They don’t need to drain completely, the pasta water’s starch helps form a sauce. Toss the spaetzle in the pan to coat evenly. Add the parsley and the remainder of the spaetzle. Toss to coat evenly and sauté everything until the spaetzle are cooked. If it’s too dry, you can add a dash of stock, pasta water or white wine to help steam the Spaetzle so they cook all the way through.

This is a good way to prepare gnocchi or tiny ravioli, by the way.

Recipe in four parts:
1)      Apple yumminess
2 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice OR apple pie spice
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins (optional: I never use them)
4 or 5 Apples, peeled,  cored, chopped*

2)      Dry ingredients
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional: I never use them)

3)      Wet ingredients
1 cup oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ to 1 teaspoon butter flavor

4)      Glaze
½ to ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
Just a wee bit of water

* Chop one apple coarse and the others fine. Fine being about 1 cm cubes, and coarse being any larger size you like.

Prepare the Apple Yumminess: Blend the sugar, spices and salt evenly. Stir in the apples as you chop them so they don’t get a chance to turn brown. Mix from the bottom of the bowl to the top so that all the apple pieces are evenly coated. Allow the apples to macerate (be sure to pronounce that correctly, LOL) about an hour (no more than two), stirring from bottom to top every 15 minutes. Pretty soon, you’ll see the sugar pulls moisture from the fruit and makes a tasty syrup.

Preheat oven to 365° F. Grease and flour two 9x9 pans OR one 9x12 pan PLUS one 8x8 pan. Crack a beer and wait for the apple yumminess to macerate.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (except walnuts, if using).

After macerating the Apple Yumminess, whisk together the wet ingredients. Fold them into the Apple Yumminess until it’s all well blended. Fold this wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Add walnuts, if using. Stir everything together just until blended and there are no dry spots in the flour mixture. It forms a thick batter.

Immediately pour the batter into the prepared pans, dividing them evenly (if using same sized pans), and filling the pans about ¾ of the way to the top.

Bake 45-60 minutes at 365. Rotate pans halfway through the baking time. Cake is done when toothpicks come out clean and cake springs back when pressed gently. Allow to cool in pan on a wire rack about 15 minutes. Flip pan onto another rack, and lift the pan off the cake. This allows steam to escape the bottom so the cake doesn’t get soggy. After 20 minutes or so, put the pan back on the cake, and invert again (you probably don’t have to bother with this step).

Make the glaze by adding water to the confectioners’ sugar a few drops at a time and stirring well. The glaze will form all at once. Mix it smooth and pourable. If it gets too loose, simple add a little more confectioners’ sugar and stir it in. Drizzle the cooled cake with the glaze. Cooling can be accelerated with a gentle breeze, but a fan can make cake stale quickly.

Knock it out of the park edition: Bake two 9x9 cakes or two round cakes. Prepare a Cream Cheese Frosting (link http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/classic-carrot-cake-with-fluffy-cream-cheese-frosting ) and assemble a layer cake. Decorate with autumn-colored sprinkles and or nuts.

Pictured: the Apple Cake and an Apple Pie I made. There are thousands of great apple pie recipies out there, so I won't bore you with one here.

If you’re not from upstate NY you may not know Salt Potatoes, but you should find out because they are SO GOOD!
The wikipedia article really says it all: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_potatoes.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

In Honor of Gencon...

 How badass is a necromancer riding a fire-breathing war elephant? (Click to see entire image)

 Taking down a Green Dragon requires team work!

Gark Swaplord tends his prized, award-winning orchid, which only blooms once every 2d6 years.

Blooper: Gark is no match for a Colossal catbeast!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Getting Closer...

YARR is nearing completion, and I'm totally geeking out with joy about that. It will be available on RPGnow and DriveThruRPG by month's end! Special thanks to Jordan and Sir Ironside (whose real name I can't recall right now, sorry dude) for proofreading!

I'm hoping that Talk Like a Pirate Day lunacy will get people excited about it! TLAP Day comes September 9th every year!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Can anyone help me with some proofreading?

I updated the links so they should actually work.
Thanks all!

Yarr Character sheets

UPDATE: nearly ready.... you'll be seeing Yarr! on DriveThruRPG.com soon!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

X-plorers Quick Start

Here's a quote unquote final version of an Xp Quickstart I edited, if anyone's interested.

I condensed it a ton and made a couple conscious changes for space (space in the booklet, not outer space). It's got six level 2 pregen characters and a short adventure. There are suggestions for expanding the mission and a few extra NPCs and critters for the Referee to play with. Also links to the Brave Halfling website and the Google+ community for X-plorers.

The QS prints nicely as a digest sized booklet using the "booklet" printing option if your printer supports it. I've left a few copies around town as  guerrilla marketing.   :-)

Anywho, it fits in your X-p white box, and maybe is useful for pick up games or a quick introduction for newbs. I hope y'all like it! If nothing else, hey, pre-gens. :-)


Apologies to those who've seen this thru the X-plorers Google+ Community already.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Even though it didn't really move or do anything interesting, this robot horse was one of my favorite toys back in the day.
and I still feel Fisto is underrated. He's got banded mail, a long-ass longsword, and a robot hand or Gauntlet of Ogre Power or somesuch Fist of Death. All with a stylish, well groomed Riker beard. The jury is still out on how Fisto sits.

Friday, July 5, 2013

What's this Blantant Geekery?

Here's a home made (obviously) play test kit for Rocket Regatta, the board game I'm designing! It's getting nearer to a point where I feel comfortable sharing it with people. I've begun play testing and have one volunteer so far to give it a go and will be shipping one to him shortly.

Blind play testing is obviously critical to see if the rules make sense, if the directions make sense, and most importantly, if the game is actually fun.

If all goes well, you (and many others, dare I say it) will be seeing more of this as it gets better and "real-er" in the (hopefully) not too distant future.

Naturally, I'm totally pumped about it. :-)

P.S. My phone is SO not iPhone level quality. I'll get a better photo up this weekend.

Happy 4th!

A day late, sure, but I was having some quality family time yesterday.
Hope you were too!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

So far, not so much

Postings of more substance, that is.

That said, how awesome is this?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New Favorite Painting


Friday, May 17, 2013

I'm ready for today's National Holiday

I took today off to celebrate the National Holiday. It's really a shame that the significance of today isn't recognized with Federal Holiday status so that everyone has the proper time to attend the appropriate gatherings.
It's the same with Columbus day, which should be a national holiday in order to allow us to appreciate Italian American culture more fully.

But I digress: I've scheduled a day off, I'm ready to celebrate properly, and I'm quite pleased.

I've got everything I need ready to go:

1) my advanced ticket to the first (daytime) showing of Star Trek Into Darkness, in IMAX 3D!

2) A geeky T-shirt:
Web fluid and spleens not included

3) And some excellent reading material for before the show starts.
I loves it! Me mum was Irish, donchaknow.
I loves it! and me Mum was Irish, donchaknow.


Have a great weekend everyone! Live long, and prosper.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Top 10 things I'm into that proove I'm geekier than ever.

In honor of my milestone Ten Followers, I'm posting a top ten list. I've been nerdy all my life, but I've really become very geeky in the past year or three, and I'm loving it, frankly. Perhaps as I get older my WISDOM has enjoyed a +1.

(in no particular order)

1) Zazzle Store for the Tesla Graphic Novel

1a) A Tesla Graphic Novel, you say?

2) I've become a huge fan of TableTop

2a) and a big fan of Wil Wheaton in general

3) The Big Bang Theory: Not just watching, but understanding most of the science stuff and actually agreeing with Sheldon a lot. A lot.

4) I literally gasped in joy when I saw THIS

5) and this

6) I spend way too much money buying new games and RPGs on Kickstarter

7) I'm developing a KS or two myself...

8) After taking a "Geekiness Test" where it said you can count to 31 on one hand, I had to find out how, and now I do it all the time.

9) I'm a huge cooking geek. Like This Guy and This Guy... and both publish outstanding books or magazines to help us all cook better! I don't just cook, I science my food to excellence!

10) I collect / horde DICE. Even if I don't use them... it's a sickness.

bonus: Zombie Cookie Cutters


(P.S. "Huzzah" might be # 11.....)

Saturday, May 4, 2013


I'm up to 10 followers!

I'll have to actually post things that aren't inane! EEK!!!


UPDATE: 2nd landmark: I'm at 100 posts.  attack of the multiples of 10... hmmm.....

Monday, April 22, 2013

Water on the ISS

dig this:

This is incredible.
(unlike my blogging, LOL)

Monday, March 25, 2013

X-plorers Pulp -o- Mizer 1

got me some homework to finish the others....


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dungeon Roll Kickstarter coming to a Close

18 hours to go! get in on the KS for a ridiculously great value!
$15 gets you a $20 game + $5 expansion + several other goodies.

See it on kickstarter!

(not a paid advertisement, I'm just totally geeking out over this game) :D

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Shame on me!


I'm late for my tribute to Gary Gygax, who passed away five years ago, on March 4th, 2008.

The game, hobby and industry Gary helped create have been a significant part of my life and I'm comfortable assuming I would have turned out not half as good as I am now if not for Dungeons & Dragons.  I owe a great deal to this man I've never met.

I think the plaque from Gencon 2008 speaks well for all of us who appreciate Gary's legacy:

The first DM,
He taught us to roll the dice.
He opened the door to new worlds.
His work shaped our industry.
He brought us Gen Con,
For this we thank him.

In fond memory of Gary Gygax
and in celebration of his spirit and accomplishments.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Dagger House Rules

My Dagger House Rules:
I hope they add to your fun!

I prefer Ascending AC, and made a To-Hit progression as follows:
Knight: add level to attack rolls
Dwarf and Elf: add level -1 to attack rolls
Halfling: add +1 for each Odd level
Wizard: add +1 for each Even level   

Class          To-Hit progression
Knight:       +1 +2 +3 +4 +5
Dwarf/Elf:   +0 +1 +2 +3 +4
Halfling:      +1 +1 +2 +2 +3
Wizard:      +0 +1 +1 +2 +2

I changed the Dwarf ability to find things to succeed on 1-5 on d6 instead of Automatic.  I made the Halfling sneak succeed on 1-4 on d6.  I also made Halflings immune to fear (because they’re, you know, Brave). :D

I made all the spells into 4 standard ranges, and added and tweaked the spells a little:
Ranges: Touch; Close 60’ (20); Medium 120’ (40); Far 240’ (80)
(so the 30' spells now reach 60' and fireball is a little shorter, it was the only one at 150', IIRC)

Only new/modified spells listed here:
1st level:
Cure Light Wounds: R Touch; D Instantaneous; The caster heals 1d6+1 Hit Points on themselves or someone else. Roll 1d6; on 1, 2 or 3, this spell also restores paralyzed characters.
Knock/Lock; R Close; D Instantaneous/Permanent; Opens any locked door, or magically locks any door.  The magic lock is permanent until the door is forced open or another Knock/Lock spell is cast on it.

Magic Missile: R Med; D Instantaneous; An enchanted arrow flies from the caster's pointed finger and unerringly strikes the target for 1d6+1 points of damage (no saving throw permitted). Add one missile at character levels 3 and 5. Each can hit different targets or the same one.

Shield: R Close; D 1 minute / caster level; If cast on self, adds 1d6 + caster level to AC. If cast on another, adds 1d6 to target’s AC.

2nd Level:
Pyrotechnics: R Med; D Referee’s discretion, usually instant or 2 minutes per caster level; This spell allows the caster to manipulate fire in one of several ways; by igniting a small flame such as a candle, lantern wick or pinecone; to snuff out a small fire or to change an existing fire to emit think smoke or scorching sparks, or to
make it brighter or dimmer; or stoke any fire and make it grow. The Referee may allow this spell to cause a burning fire take the shape of a rolling sphere that the caster can control with their mind.

Read Languages: R Self only; D 1d6+level hours; The caster may read any written language.  (I'm a big proponent of literacy, LOL)

3rd Level:
Dispel Magic: R Close; D Instantaneous; At the Referee’s discretion, this spell cancels permanent magical spell effects (but not curses) on a character, monster, or item, or in an area 10ft x 10ft. Powerful artifacts may resist this spell entirely or regain their power after a while. Examples: dispel the webs from a Web spell, or a Magic Wall (or section, at Referee’s discretion).

Water Breathing: R Touch; D (Caster's level +1d6) x 10 minutes; Allows target to breathe water the same as they would air.

4th Level:
Cure Serious Wounds: R Touch; D Instantaneous; The caster heals 4d6+4 Hit Points on themselves or someone else and always heals paralyzed characters and cures diseases.

Magic Wall: R Short; D 2 hours; Creates a wall of force, fire or ice up to 20 ft high, 50 ft long and 3 ft thick. The Force wall is invisible and has 10 hit points per caster level for purposes of drilling or
hacking through it. The fire or ice inflicts 2d6 points of fire or cold damage to creatures within 10 ft of the wall. A Saving throw for half damage is allowed. The wall may be straight, curved, or even a ring.
Wizard Senses: R Long D 1 hour; Allows caster to send a mobile invisible “eye” to scout for them. The eye moves at the caster’s running speed. At fifth level, the eye also hears.

5th Level
Minor Creation: R Close; D permanent or special; This spell allows the caster to create real objects of normal quality from nothing, with approval of the referee. Guidelines include a feast for four people,
 rations and water for six or eight people, one suit of armor or one or two hand weapons, a dozen or so arrows, a small tent, 50 ft of rope or two or three sets of plain clothes. The Referee may allow the
caster to create tiny creatures like hamsters, rats or frogs, or even a small servile humanoid, though any creature should clearly be a magical figment and/or last only 1 hour + 10 additional minutes for each of the caster’s levels.

Solid Wall: R Short; D 2 hours; Creates a wall of stone or iron up to 30 ft high, 70 ft long and 3 ft thick. The wall may be straight, curved, or even a ring. These walls are too strong to damage except with exceptional force, at the Referee’s Discretion.

Telekinesis: R Medium; D 1 hour; The caster can move objects using mental power alone. The amount of weight they can lift and move is up to 50 pounds per level.

I also added scrolls, but to cast them, you have to roll 1d6, and roll equal or less than the spell level -5 (so no 5th level scrolls).  If a roll fails and is an even number, the scroll blows up.

Review: Dagger Kid's RPG by Brave Halfling Publishing.

A short review of Dagger Kids' RPG:
Next post: house-rules (see? it's THAT good).

In a word, Dagger is Superb! GET DAGGER if you have kids or even if you enjoy rules-light gaming as an adult. It uses any OSR game as a base, so you can use Descending or Ascending AC, whichever you like better. But even if you don't have your "big" books with you, You can play Dagger on the fly, so it may serve as a good, cheap, on the go pick up game or a simple game to introduce new players or to take camping. But to introduce kids to tabletop RPGs, it's perfect.

I think I'm becoming minimalist in my gaming preferences because Dagger has no Attributes and I find that liberating! That's right, no STR, DEX, CON etc... how is this possible?  You know what? it totally works!

Dagger is designed to distill OSR/D&D down to the minimum to make it accessible for kids as young as 5.  I dare say it does this flawlessly.  This Sunday, I 'ran a combat' with my 5 year old daughter, and she basically got it on the first try.  She just turned 5 in January and it was a hoot.  I can totally see this working for kids 5-10. I can see how using figures would totally help with younger kids.

The spell list captures the iconic spells of the game, and the rule book states it's a suggested list.  With only 4 spells of each level (levels 1-5) you may want to add more, and it's super easy to do (which was the bulk of my house rules). You can basically just plop in spells from from S&W, OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, C&C, D&D Oe, 1e... not hard to fudge it on the fly even. That said, since this is for 5 to 10 year olds, keeping a tight focus (that is, short spell list) is wise. Also, with no Ability stats, spells like (Bull's) Strength and Haste simply won't work.

The characters are simple but effective at capturing the essence of each class, and here, as you may expect, Dwarf and Elf are classes.  You can of course, call the Knight an Amazon or Warrior Princess or the Wizard a Fairy Princess or whatever any player wants, really.  They can be a Gorn or zombie, even, and the rules support this on the fly make-believe fun; as they should!

So in brief, Dagger does what it sets out to do, and it does it well.  It's great as an introduction to gaming for the young or for older kids or even grown ups who are afraid of dealing with a ton of rules.

              Recap of playing with my five year old daughter (no story play, just a combat):

"Blue Knight" aka "Sir Mikey" and "Red Knight" aka "Fight-Fight" (we have the real figures but I thought the photos from the net were better) took on Nightmare Moon (a villain From My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic (which it must be said, doesn't suck)) with the help of a benevolent giant beaver (I know, WTF?).

So I statted each fighter as a 1st level knight, the beaver as a halfling, and gave the evil Pegasus/Unicorn 3 HD... All damage was d6, and I set a d6 with the 6 facing up for the knight's hit points.
The dice started rolling, then my wife's eyes...

It was close; Fight-Fight was reduced to 2 hp and the beaver took a hit too, but the knights prevailed, "knocked out" the monster, took the treasure (which was the dice) and marched home singing. Naturally, the knights then shared the treasure with the community of nice beavers because they catch fish for the knights.  :-)

Aside: isn't the imagination of a five-year-old AWESOME?!  This was approaching Axe Cop territory. What a joy to be able to approach the unbridled wildness of a child's imagination once again!

My point is, never having played with dice this way, my daughter could grasp the concepts, and learn about taking turns, sequencing, counting and subtraction and addition... this wouldn't take the place of home-schooling, but it really confirms what we already know: RPG people are just smarter, and RPGs make people smarter. :-)

My Five Year Plan is to make Dagger games happen a lot this year, then in 2-3 years segue into S&W White Box and X-plorers (my modules should publish by years end), and eventually into Castles & Crusades.  WOOT.  I'll save Crypts & Things and Paranoia for College.

We can be an odd lot...

Tabletop RPG players, I mean.

One of the best compliments to a game seems to be, "it's easy to house-rule!"  So it's like, "I love it... I only made a dozen or so changes" or it's like the old joke, "I love you, now change." You'll find on the Troll Lord Games forum a few postings of house-rules that are pages long.

But whenever I see people do this, it's clearly with love and enthusiasm for the game they're tweaking, so it's a good sign, I think.  The games with no house rules aren't getting played much, I guess?

(it's just like a good segue) I recently got a copy of the Dagger Kids RPG, and love it!  Review in the next post. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

As if...

... I needed ANOTHER reason to love Taco Bell!

LOL! Rock on, venerable party people!

Years later, I still laugh at this old gem:

Aside: Am I the only American Dude who didn't watch the game?  We had a small electrical fire and a lot going on in general, so I just didn't prioritize it this year.  If the Giants were playing, that would have been different.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Best Timesuck EVER!


You've seen it countless other places because IT IS SO FRICKIN' COOL!!!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Here's hoping 2013 is better to you and yours than 2012 was!