Monday, December 31, 2012

Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls - Weekly updates from Ken

There is a new site that will be following the development of the Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls (DT&T). Ken has posted a message today that he plans on making a new post every Monday during this process.

Click here to see the latest post.

I have added a banner as well to the left to easily navigate to the the DT&T site. Hopefully the Kickstarter will be up soon - I plan on being one of those early birds...

Cheers to all involved!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

T&T Magic - Fire Spells

If you have ever played my AD&D game, you would know that I have had a house rule in my game since I started playing with a group in Cleveland back in the early 1990's. We have always used a spell point system for magic users because we have always thought the 'x times a day' spell casting was just too limiting.

That is the first thing that I love about T&T magic. WIZ points are used to cast spells. If you have WIZ, you can cast spells. If you are out of WIZ, you cannot cast spells. Easy and makes sense.

One issue I do have with T&T has always been an inconsistency in the spells that are available. In my mind, spells that are lower level should be potentially weaker while spells of higher level should be potentially more formidable. All too often in T&T, there is not much use to cast anything other than TTYF as an offensive spell choice since there is not much else that is as effective.

I looked at the Fire based spells I could find in the T&T 7.5 rule book:
  • Call Flame (1st Level - Conjuring)
    • WIZ Cost: 7
    • Range: Touch
    • Duration: Instant
    • Damage: 1d6 
    • Power up? - Yes/+1d6 for each level increase
  • Blasting Power (3rd Level - Combat)
    • WIZ Cost: 9
    • Range: 70 Feet
    • Duration: Instant
    • Damage: d6 equal to caster level + Combat Adds
    • Power up? - Yes/double damage dice for each level increase
  • Fire at Will (3rd Level - Combat)
    • WIZ Cost: 10
    • Range: 10 Feet
    • Duration: 1 combat turn/level
    • Damage: equal to level of the spell
    • Power up? - Yes/double duration for each level increase
By way of comparison, here is the standard TTYF spell
  • Take That You Fiend! (1st Level - Combat)
    • WIZ Cost: 6
    • Range: 100 Feet/Line of sight
    • Duration: Instant
    • Damage: Equal to INT Attribute of Caster (Double previous amount with each level increase)
    • Power up? - Yes/double previous damage with each level increase
Here is an example for a wizard casting each spell at 3rd level:

Jherrrii the Great Wizard (3rd Level Wizard)
INT: 20
WIZ: 33
Combat Adds: +10
  • Call Flame - powered up to 3rd Level - 3d6 (21 WIZ - up to 18 damage)
  • Blasting Power - 3d6 +10 (9 WIZ - up to 28 damage)
  • Fire at Will - 3 damage for 3 rounds (10 WIZ - up to 9 damage)
  • TTYF! - powered up to 3rd Level - 80 damage (18 WIZ - 80 damage)
*     *     *     *
There is no doubt that TTYF! is so powerful at any level that you cast it, it will always be the offensive spell of choice. For a spell that is available at 1st Level, it increases perhaps a bit too much, making it very unlikely a spell caster would use anything else if you are targeting another combatant.

Looking at the 3 'Fire' Spells:

Call Flame
I think Call Flame is good as a first level spell. It presents an opportunity to deal some decent damage at a low level. It also does not get overly powerful as you level up. You would more than likely use this spell in situations where you would want to save on WIZ points when fighting a weaker foe. I think the WIZ cost is a bit high though. Compared to TTYF (6 WIZ), it does not make sense that something would cost more to do less damage.
  • I would keep Call Flame a 1st Level spell, but reduce the WIZ cost to 3.
Blasting Power
This spell will be as powerful as your combat adds, which would vary based on the wizard. I think it is odd to have a spell that uses combat adds. The fact that the power up will double the dice rolled, it makes it a very powerful spell to use by a more accomplished wizard. The WIZ cost seems to be fine at 9.
  • The only change I would think about for this one is to either keep it a 3rd level spell and limit the power up ability to one additional d6 per power up, or increase the level to a 4th or 5th level spell.
Fire at Will
It would make sense to me that 'Fire at Will' should be a 1st level spell. The WIZ cost is way too high for what it does and the damage is just not going to make a spell that would be used very frequently as you get higher in level. It may make sense to use it at lower levels until you get a chance to cast a better spell, but why would you even cast this if you have TTYF at your disposal? If you were to power up this spell, it does increase the damage for each power up by 1 and extends the duration by double. This does make it a bit more formidable. Also, I guess if you could cast other spells while this ball of fire is able to fire at will and change targets, then there could be something there.
  • I would make this a 1st Level spell and reduce the WIZ cost to 3. I do not see a reason to use this spell as a 3rd level spell that costs 10 WIZ. As a lower level spell that could be powered up to be a bit more effective, I could see using it

Monday, December 24, 2012

T&T Spells - A Deluxe Look

One thing that is nice about T&T is the ability for members of Trollhalla to have some influence on the game and what direction it is going for future editions. Ken St. Andre is currently working with a host of others on the new 'Deluxe' edition of T&T.

A recent Troll Mail from Ken indicated that he is putting out to vote whether or not spells in T&T should require a saving roll for success, or should be an automatic success for casting. The current 7.5 rules requires a INT saving roll that increases with each level of spell that is attempted to be cast. He did not want debate or reasons from anyone since he had an extensive discussion already with someone else, just whether we are for or against 'automatic' spell success when casting.

Ken did not want an explanation for my answer, so here it is...

Spells in T&T work fine the way they are. It is not like in other games where the wizard is totally inept in combat/melee fighting where he is of no use other than his spell casting. A wizard with a high DEX can be good at firing missile weapons. Likewise, a wizard with good stats that contribute to combat adds can also be quite formidable in melee, even with the restriction on the weapon that can be used.

I had mentioned that I was OK with going to a non-SR spell system, but I thought the SR should be retained for all spell casting just for the chance of the critical failure, which should always be in place to represent the chaos of the scene or just bad luck.

Instead of working on one of the things that actually kinda works in T&T, I would prefer the team work on making spells in the game more balanced and useful. There are spells listed as 3rd or 4th level spells that seem to cost way too much WIZ for what they do compared to a 1st level spell. There are also just spells that do not make sense whatsoever. Now, I understand there is a nebulous area regarding copyright with that other game, but I do believe some real improvement can be made in this area.

I will do some research to back up my statement and compare some specific issues I have with the current Spell List in the 7.5 rule book. But not right now...time to celebrate the season.

Be back soon - Merry Christmas all!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Holiday Game Bash: Aftermath

The event this year was in Parma (Ohio) as opposed to the clear other side of Cleveland, so the drive was just under 2 hours and to an area I was a bit more familiar with. It was raining a bit during the drive, but nothing too bad. I arrived at the Rock City Tap House right around 9:45 am, giving me enough time to get in with my auction items and figure our where my 10 AM game was.

All kinds of pictures are located at the North Coast Gamers Meetup page.

I checked in and received 26 raffle tickets. My one hour Fleet sessions earned 8 tickets (4 players - 1 hour each) and my T&T session earned me a cool 18 tickets (6 players - 3 hours). I collected them and took the four games I was selling to the stage for the Silent Auction.

The registered events were all assigned to a table and each table had a sign-up sheet for the events running at the table. Not a bad system at all. My first Fleet game had no one signed up, but I did get two players. The two boys were younger than 10 years, but they actually caught on to the game rather quickly and seemed to enjoy themselves.

I had an hour between my Fleet game and my T&T game, time I intended to use to read a bit more into the 'Dungeon of the Rat' adventure before the game started. I also filled out about 9 or 10 of my raffle tickets and dropped them into some bags for Raffle #1 that was going to commence at 3:30pm, following my T&T game. (See that copy of 'Lords of Waterdeep"?)

No one was signed up for my T&T event, so I sat down at the table and tried to get in some reading in case I did end up with a few players. Around 11:45, a few guys showed up so we started talking and creating characters after explaining the extreme basics of T&T with them. After I got John and Josh started on creating their characters, another player showed up. Dave knew a bit about the history of T&T and D&D, remarking about that story when he remembered seeing both D&D and T&T when they were originally released: D&D being the game with what looked like artwork by an 11 year old on the cover, while T&T had the artwork that looked like it was drawn by a 7 year old. He bought D&D and was interested in actually learning a bit about the other game, T&T.

Of course, as we were finishing up the character creation, got all the equipment situated, and about ready to start and another player showed up, but Richard had played T&T before. In fact, he had played in my T&T Stay Alive! game at BASH Con in Toledo earlier in the year. I talked to him about BASH Con in 2013 where we are expecting to get Ken St. Andre to be a guest, which he seemed to be interested in. He also asked if I was running my SA! game again, which I told him I was, a continuation of our game from February. Thanks Richard!

John created a Fairy Wizard, but ended up with a sizable Combat Add total since he had such a high DEX and LCK from the kindred modifiers. Josh created a Leprechaun Rogue and really had a good time with it, selecting 'That's a Natty Beard' as his only spell and the reason why he did not become a Wizard like other Leprechauns: because he liked that spell so much, he could not focus on learning any others. Both Dave and Richard created dwarf warriors, and we were ready to go.

We got through a bit of the 'Dungeon of the Rat' adventure starting with some role playing in the bar that sits atop to the dungeon where the dwarfs got the fairy and leprechaun drunk and proceeded to use the fairy's money to buy all their drinks. The leprechaun causes some mischief by going behind the bar and stealing the rat statue back there. Once in the dungeon, the first ratling was killed with a thrown knife as he ran away, the giant frog was dispatched after trying to pull in Richard's dwarf with his tongue. The fairy and his 35 combat adds was able to get a sizeable chunk of tongue on an attack. The Leprechaun then decided to swim in the tepid bathtub the frog was living in, only to find the chain connecting to the stopper and almost getting sucked down the drain with his measly 3 STR, flailing in the current until Dave's dwarf pulled him out. Dave's dwarf then went into a story about how human traps could never full a dwarf and any trap that only takes out the lead party member is not very effective...he then triggered a pit trap because the fairy was first and flying. On his way down, he screamed 'Human Trap!'.

One more encounter with a Rat Ogre, and our time was about up. While most of the players new to game agreed that the system was promising with its SR system and the flexibility of the Talents, everyone agreed that the combat system was lacking, which I have always had some issue with as well. I think everyone had a good enough time though - they all look happy in that picture at least.

The first raffle was next. Last year, I did not win anything. This year, I won two games in the first raffle alone:  'Lords of Waterdeep' and the 'Netrunner' TCG.

Here is a view of the hall from the back stage where the Silent Auction was being held.

At 4pm, I had my second game of Fleet. Richard from the T&T game joined Pam and Sheila. Pam dominated the game. Sheila and Richard had some bad luck, not getting some of the ship cards they needed to get their fleet's going...or they did not listen to my advice as well as Pam. Either way, I think the game went A-OK.

Now by 5pm, I realized I had not eaten anything all day. I went next door to the bar and grill and got me a beer and a burger and fries, which was the best damn burger I have eaten in a long time...probably due to my excessive hunger. After that, I played on my kindle fire a bit, wondered around a bit, and then by 8:30pm, it was time to settle up at the Silent Auction.
  • Runebound - sold for $15
  • Cosmic Encounter - sold of $15
  • Nexus Ops - sold for $17
  • A Touch of Evil - sold for $26
The buyers got some good deals, but I will gladly take $73 for games I have never played. After the auction results, we went right into the second raffle, of which I was prepared to accept my luck had been spent earlier. However, I did get one more game, 'Frontiers: Liberty or Death'.

With that,the evening was over for me, at least at the Game Fest. I drove over to Cleveland to meet Kopfy and Peryton at Applebees. A few beers, some half off appetizers, and good converstation was had in great company. The waitress gave me an iced tea for the road and I headed back to my brother's house in Vermilion, Ohio where I promptly passed out after a long, but fun day.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Holiday Game Bash 2012 Preview

I am attending a game day out in Cleveland on Saturday (Dec 8) where I have a T&T event scheduled. This event is more 'Board Game' centered than RPG, for sure. Last year, I was the only attendee for Robin's Peryton RPG game. The people that do run and play RPGs for this group seem to play some specific games, so while I am not anticipating to have any/many players, I will be nonetheless prepared.

My day will start with running a newer card game called 'Fleet'. I am also running this again after my T&T game.

Then I will be running (or attempting to) a T&T event. I will have 'Dungeon of the Rat' ready to go if needed, or I will be winging it with some of my own Baru-Kesh stuff.

I am also bringing some games to sell in the Silent Auction:

There are a few other games I am tempted to sell that I never play...but still deciding (like Arkham Horror).

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mail Call: Delving Dwarves of Stonehaven

I have a fondness for dwarves. I remember when my Mom bought a full complement of D&D/AD&D books for my 11th or 12th birthday. I got the Basic Set, the Expert Set, and the AD&D DM's Guide and Player's Handbook. The very first character a created was a dwarf named "Talon"...I want to say that he was named after the character from 'Sword and the Sorcerer', which I remember my awesome Mom also taking me to see in the theater. I am sure she later regretted some of the nudity scenes...but I was more into the awesome shooting sword the guy had, although that bath scene has always stuck with me as well. I also recall watching "The Hobbit" cartoon dozens of time on VHS. To me, dwarves are just cool.

My second Kickstarter has once again ended well. We are having a lot of fun playing Fleet...and now I have even more miniatures to paint. The Dwarven Adventurers project was something I followed from the beginning and the final product is pretty darn good. Despite what Scott had mentioned here on the Trollish Delver, both my experiences with Kickstarter have been on time and as promised.

Within the slightly mangled and over packed flat rate priority envelope, there was a box of miniatures, 2 bags for the 2 trolls I ordered, and a heavier cardboard envelope.

This project was loaded with flex goals that expanded the original project from 5 to over 15 miniatures. Dice, scenic bases, bit sprues, character cards, and some PDF downloads were also added to the project.

Additional add on goals were also included as optional purchases. I passed on the t-shirt, but did go for 2 of the trolls cast in resin for only $10 each. I might have to paint one of these for the Trollgod.

 Also included in the package was an autographed card depicting the original concept art for the project.

I took some pictures of the miniatures, but you can see the ones professionally done here, at the Stonehaven blog site.

Instead of writing this blog, I should be painting by Space Hulk 2nd Edition miniatures, and these dwarves, and those reaper miniatures for my zombie game, and those zombies for my zombie game, and....