Monday, June 27, 2011

Quick Tip: A substitute for 3d6

Do you just have one of those 7 dice (d4, d6, d8, d10, d100, d12, d20) tubes and need to roll 3d6 (rolling up characters, playing GURPS, etc.)? Rolling 1d6 three times is lame and tedious. Just roll your d4, d6, and d8 together. You'll get the same result as using 3d6.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My first look at the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG

The beta rules and Free RPG Day module have both been released now for the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG and I've seen enough to decide that it probably isn't for me. That's a bit sad as I've been enthusiastically following it's development for a while now. I do think it will probably do pretty well since it has superb art, nice production values, some nifty and interesting mechanics and will be strongly supported by Goodman Games modules.

What puts me off of it? Here are the things I really don't like-

  • Appendix N. As the game is supposed to be mainly based on them, I went back and read some of the old books referenced by Gygax in AD&D and I found that outside of Tolkien and Howard, there's not a whole lot that I really enjoy. My fantasy reading tastes and influences are usually pretty modern and the flavor of this game doesn't match up well enough with my tastes.
  • The Adventures. More Dungeons? Even though I like dungeons, I was expecting something more than just more dungeon crawls for this game. I already have plenty of games that do dungeons. Plus I like my fantasy to have much more of a LotR flavor than what they are obviously shooting for here.
  • Zero level play. I've run a game like that before using Labyrinth Lord rules. It was a lot of fun and very fast to play. I don't think I'll do it again though (TPK - 12 character deaths). I don't like using multiple characters per player and the jump to level 1 just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Fighters and thieves gaining their skills in play, ok. Wizards and clerics just picking up how to do magic, no.
  • The frigging dice. I just told you, I hate GS dice. Now you want me to buy another expensive set of them? I like the way the dice are used for the Fighter's attacks and for multiple attacks, but the need for yet more dice still seems like an unnecessary burden to play this game.
  • Way too many tables. Now I love tables - to read and for use in game prep, but in actual play I find having to constantly reference tables to be a big source of irritation. The spell tables take up way too much space and will bring the game to a screeching halt each and every time a spell is cast. Plus I pity the poor GM who has to keep track of the spells for all his villains. Combine those with the critical hit tables, fumble tables, deeds of arms tables, maneuver tables, counterspell tables, mercurial magic tables, corruption tables, etc., and my eyes start to glaze over.
  • Corruption. Say goodbye to ever having a magic user character like Gandalf in this system. Every wizard will eventually sprout horns or chickenfeet or some other nonsense. Every wizard is doomed to become hideous and shunned - no matter what. It's not because you chose to traffic with demons or tried magic that was beyond you - it's simply just because you will eventually roll a one.

I'll still be keeping an eye on the development of the DCC RPG as I know some things will change by the time it comes out in November, but I don't hold any real hope that it will evolve into a game that I would want to run. That said, I'd still love to play in a game sometime.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I hate Gamescience dice

I know this will get me thrown out of the old-school he-man munchkin hater's club, but I really dislike using those "precision" Gamescience dice. Yes, yes, I've seen Lou Zocchi's videos on why his dice are the best things since sliced bread. I've also read countless posts from gamers who love them. And now the DCC RPG practically requires you use them as only Gamescience produces most of the weird dice types needed to play.

Well, I've tried to embrace them. I've bought three sets over the past couple of years and while researching how to buy the additional ones needed for the DCC RPG, I just recently dug them out again. Now I remember why I hardly ever use them. Here's the top 5 reasons why GS dice suck-

  1. They're expensive. They usually cost about 3 times as much as other rpg dice.
  2. If you go the cheaper route and buy the un-inked dice, they are a pain in the ass to ink yourself. I'm way too lazy for this and plus they never look as nice as the ones that are inked at the factory.
  3. Defects. Precision, my ass. All of the dice usually have burrs or nicks in them. The d6's are typically slightly concave. You might enjoy spending your evenings sanding down your dice. I've got better things to do.
  4. They feel... wrong. Their light weight and sharp, poky bits combine to give me a negative tactile experience.
  5. They're just ugly. Compared to pretty much any other dice on the market they are really bland looking.

I know people swear by them because of their supposed fairer distribution of randomness. Well, I've done my own tests on my dice and sometimes the GS dice come out better and sometimes they come out worse. In any case, the differences in fairness are so minor as to make very little impact upon actual play. The differences certainly aren't worth the extra expense and time the GS dice cost you.