Sunday, February 7, 2016

Guardians Q&A

A few Guardians questions answered.
First, I love the game but some things seem to be missing. Traits like Robotic Body, Computer Brain, Undead, and Super Training are mentioned but I can't find a formal description. Also, are there any modifiers to initiative? Help!
Thanks! We love that you love the game (because we love it to, its the superhero RPG that coulda-shoulda-woulda been).

Robotic Body and Computer Mind are less an omission than an informal explanation, something of an OSR tradition, but are supported in the rules. They are not powers but rather the racial traits innate to the Cyborg and Robot origins.  That is, the qualities of having an electrical body and a machine mind. Their effects were not spelled out in any one place. Rather, there are several references in the rules to how powers affect characters who have these traits: under Electrical Control, Repair  HP, Illusion, EMP, Electrical Shock, lightning, magnetic control, neutralize power, transmutation, and sleep.

Undead is simply a descriptive optional trait you may take for a supernatural character that is included for the purpose of integration with other OSR games where certain characters have special powers against the undead (e.g., clerics, magic items that affect undead, etc.). As it's an optional trait , it has no 'cost'.
Will there be a print version of this? And for Colonial Troopers as well? -James
Yes. RPGNow requires the publisher to get a proof and approve it before making the print version available. This usually takes a week or two for them to print and a copy to arrive by mail. (According to USPS tracking a copy is scheduled to arrive tomorrow, if all is well I can make the print version available to the public. Colonial Troopers is still a few days away)
How does this game differ from similar OSR-like Superhero games like Hideouts & Hoodlums, Mystery Men! and Sentinels of Echo City?
I'm not familiar with those games you mention. What I can say is Guardians is very stripped down to the basics. It has classes, levels, HP's, AC and all the familiar stuff from 0e DnD. The closest game I can think of is 1e Mutants and Masterminds (one of my all-time favorite superhero RPG's), but it is very different in its treatment of the source material. David Pulver, the co-author, worked on the original Marvel Super Heroes and there are some similarities in terms of ease of use and distillation of the very complex nature of the myriad of superhero powers possible.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Colonial Troopers Concept

Star nursery in the Gemina cluster

Thank you so much for the overwhelming positive reception to Colonial Troopers! This is a project that goes way, way back and is the evolution of a sci-fi universe I imagined many years ago. Originally it was going to be a card game much like Dungeoneer (and still may be someday), but it developed into such an interesting collection of worlds and ideas that an RPG seemed to be the best expression for it. Then Steve added his own special take on the whole concept that got me excited to publish it and start supporting it.
A G+ community has already sprouted up and I've been receiving excellent feedback from various players. I'm actually caught a little by surprise. I guess part of it is there really was a missing hole in the OSR for hard sci-fi. I mean of course there is the classic Traveller. But Colonial Troopers is focused squarely on the military expression of the concept, which I'm sure many GM's appreciate as it can make adventure design a little more straightforward and easier to manage where players choose to go. For me that has always been the difficulty in running space adventure games is that players can just warp to whatever planet they feel like and it can be extraordinarily taxing to constantly have to come up with new worlds, NPC's, and adventures when you don't know where they may end up!
In the coming days and weeks I'll try to make sure Colonial Troopers is supported with adventure material and the like. I think the first thing I need to work on is a useful character sheet. I better get to work on that.

Friday, February 5, 2016

All About the Original Edition

Jon Peterson once again doing a great job taking us through the hallowed halls of D&D history.

Now this is a Hoop

This is what a Hoop would look like in real life!

(Yes, I know this is a kangaroo, but still...)

This illustration of Hoops, by the inimitable Dave Trampier, in the first edition Gamma World always informed my mental image of what the game was about.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Colonial Troopers

View of Kapa Nova in the Zim cluster
This leaked out a little earlier than intended. Steve Perrin and I have been working on a hard sci-fi game utilizing the Original Edition format. Just in case you don't know Steve Perrin is the creator of Runequest along with many other roleplaying games. His design work goes all the way back to the very early days of RPG's and he has a great handle on "old-school" gaming.

Robert Heinlein is one of my favorite authors and I've read every one of his books I've been able to find, some of them multiple times. In particular Starship Troopers. This book has been influential inspiring the colonial marines in Aliens, battle-mech games and shows, and was the first to have troops with powered armor, as well as being a brilliant commentary on the responsibility of citizenship. Contrary to its portrayal in the Starship Troopers movie the lead character is Philippino, not vanilla, and it does not glorify fascism. It does honor heroism and military service.

This served as inspiration for a re-imagining of the Original Edition as a hard sci-fi game. From the back cover:
What if the first RPG was inspired by hard Science Fiction as written by Robert Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov, and Frank Herbert instead of Tolkienesque fantasy?
Colonial Troopers is a science fiction RPG compatible with the original fantasy roleplaying game and subsequent editions, and other “OSR” games that follow in the mould of the original like Swords & Wizardry, Adventurer Conqueror King, Labyrinth Lord, Guardians, and Warriors of the Red Planet. If your tastes run towards battle hardened combat armor, some attention to real physics, and explorations of just what it is to be human, you’ve found the right book. As in the fiction of the above writers, the players are confronted with an unforgiving universe full of wonders and deadly quirks of science ready to astound and enchant, and cull the unwary.

I think Steve did a brilliant job on the book and meshed the source material together in a cohesive, compelling, and exciting game book. It is chockfull of great ideas and substance that you can play in this stand alone book or pull into your other OSR game. Just like Warriors of the Red Planet and Guardians it is fully compatible with the Original Edition fantasy roleplaying game and related systems.

The PDF is available now, the print edition will be available as soon as it is approved by RPGNow.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Guardians at #4

So far it is looking like OSR fans are enjoying Guardians! When I checked this morning it was at #4 on RPGNow. I know these standings move around quite a bit, but it was still exciting to see. Thanks for your support! And please tell your friends about it.

Murder of Crows - Custom Card Maker

Not really OSR related, but a fun game nonetheless! I made Murder of Crows a while back. A fast playing simple set-collection game where you spell the word MURDER before anyone else, first to do so reveals a unique murder story. Fun, quirky, a bit gothic in the Edward Gorey & Chas Adams style, easy to learn, and fast to play.

Atlas Games in conjunction with DriveThru cards has made an online custom card creator where you can make your own unique cards and put you or your friends pictures in as victims/perpetrators. Check it out if you're looking for a fun light game to add to your gaming night.