Gaming books on the cheap

Picture by topfer
So you want the latest gaming book but don’t or can’t pay the off the shelf price at your local gaming shop? Perhaps the answer is half.com, this is the site we used to buy our 4th edition D&D books at just less then 1/2 off the shelf price. And the condition of the books you may ask? They were both pretty much brand new books, no markings, no cover damage, not even bent spines. Of course half.com is just a place for people and stores to sell the books they have, and if no one is selling your desired book on there then the only option is to wait for it to come up. But there is no harm in looking.

Man vs Dice – Part 3

Clipboard

ClipboardSo what happens when your dice mutiny all together???? When that happens you sit down at the game table, clipboard of characters, maps and miscellaneous information in hand and find that you have everything but your character sheet. You dig through the gaming bag that the gaming clipboard lives in, all of which only ever visits your bedroom, car or gaming table only to discover that you will be accepting the blank character sheet the DM is handing you with a grin. Now the fun part of trying to remember what darn stats your character had anyways. Not so bad on some games, but really bad on others where there are tons of skills.

Fast forward to game the next Friday night, mostly same group of gamers and same darn table, though this time Man sits at the other end of the table hoping for better luck. There is no better luck for Man. Now he finds that the whole gaming clipboard had been abandoned at the last gaming table. Lucky for him the owner of that gaming table is coming over for game tonight, perhaps he will have brought it along. Again no luck for Man, the owner of the gaming table lovingly placed the clipboard in his spot for “abandoned gaming gear” and moved on with his life. Yet another blank sheet for yet another game.

Good thing this particular saga only lasted for two games or Man would have felt truly defeated. Until next time, may your dice roll well for you.

Man vs Dice – Part 2

As promised here I am again to bring you up to current on the continued, and ever ongoing Man vs Dice saga.20-Sided Dice

While the great game of awesome roles continued to elude him, many an attempt has been made to understand the psychology of the bag of dice that our man keeps.  Each member of the group has worked together to help him out by suggesting different ways in which his dice seem to be acting.  However it all started with Man deciding that his dice desired to be acting on the “Color Coded Theory”, where red dice were for rolling high or “hot” roles and blue dice were for rolling low or “cold” roles.  Of course I am sure you are wondering why one would want dice that rolled both ways, but that is simple as he is playing two games that both use percentiles but have reversed charts.  In Legendary Lives high is good, where in Call of Cthulhu low is good.  And in both systems when you go to improve a skill you must fail your roll.  However by the second session it was clear that this system was not working and indeed his dice were giving out the same fail upon fail rolls he was used to.

So on to the next theory, which was the “Wrong Character Theory”, to understand this you must first know that our Man keeps all of his active character sheets, maps, treasure lists, general information, space ship specs and the like on one clipboard.  At the start of each game he shuffles the current characters’ paperwork to the top of the clipboard stack and clamps it firmly in place.  The theory for his poor roles was that his dice were not rolling for the top sheet on the clipboard, but rather for 3 sheets down on the board.  So the current night’s character was shifted down three sheets and the evening of game play continued.  And while for the first several roles it did seem like at last the dice might be triumphed over, it was quickly determined that the dice were on to the ploys of the Man and were not going to follow this theory either.  Back to the drawing board.

So to take this even further into the murky waters of Man vs Dice, another theory was unveiled.  Perhaps the thought pattern fell under, “Wrong Game Theory”.  Just maybe, he was rolling for the next game and didn’t know it.  So the the theory was put to the test, the first game was my game of Legendary Lives, all rolls for the night were recorded on a sheet of paper, but also used for the current game.  The next week’s GM plays in my games (we alternate Fridays) and agreed to go along with it.  The next Friday night, Man rolled but only recorded his rolls, the actual “rolls” for game that night came off the log sheet from the week before.  Game went pretty good for Man, well until about half way through when those pesky dice decided to revolt and rolled horrible rolls.  That is horrible rolls for the next week, they would have been awesome rolls for the current game.  Truly the dice are evil.  So much for that theory.  There is no new theory yet, but I am sure that next game session the table will come up with yet another plan for Man vs. Dice.

Until then, may your dice rolls be plentiful.

Man vs Dice – Part 1

Dice Shirt - Cafepress
Cafepress - Dice Shirt

In my twenty years of gaming experience, trailing over a good number of gaming groups, I have found one thing to be true. At the gaming table there will always be someone whose dice simply hate them. Now I don’t mean the guy whose dice are just cold that night and can’t pull themselves together enough to take on a squirrel in a staring contest. I mean the sort of person whose dice feel that perhaps a new hobby is in order altogether. Though these gamers are truly dedicated for the forage on despite the odds being stacked against them, even and especially by their own “random” number generators. I should know, I am one of them.

But this post isn’t about me, I solved this problem by running games more often then I play them. Though perhaps in the future I will post on the great saga that is my relationship with my dice. This is about a member of my current gaming circle. But first a bit about this gaming circle; it is the circle of guys that my husband has been gaming with since his college days (and in one case before even that), so one could say they have a history and know each other well.

At their suggestions I am adding this ongoing section to my blog to chronicle the love/hate, but mostly hate, relationship our luckless player has with his dice. In fact it is so bad that in honor of attending his first Gamestorm in 2009, I bought him a shirt that said “Help my dice are trying to kill me!” Which he wore to con for both the warning to other players as well as the general humor of it all. I will call him “Player X” out of thoughtfulness of his need to still have people sign up for the games he does when he attends Gamestorm next year.

Over time he has been working on a number of different theories to further prevent his dice from working on racking up a string of TPKs (Total Party Kills). In my next post on this I will cover his last three attempts to find a cure for the affliction of CPDR (Consistently Poor Dice Rolling).  Seeing as we are unsure if the current method will work, but 99% sure it won’t, I will keep you briefed in the saga as it progresses.  Perhaps one of the hair-brained, Wile E. Coyote schemes will work for you!

Do you have someone like this in your group, lets here about it!!!

Part – The mishaps continue

So when we left off our ragged group of adventurers had not yet figured out that they were destined through PC aura to be together. The best laid plans of mice and DM’s go astride often I have found.

The draconian, being afflicted by the ratling disease ability, had left an easy to follow trail on his way to the abandoned, abandoned, toy factory (suggested by my PC’s who I think may watch Scooby Doo too much). The remaining group of rag tags followed his there with thoughts of a sizable, forged bounty in their minds. Upon arrival at the factory they gained entrance through a partially opened door. While moving in to the large warehouse with its crate lined walls they were ambushed by a dozen or so life-sized puppets that had come to life. Through the use of fire magic and control spells the walking dolls were quickly dispatched of. During the battle our Ratling Necromancer determined the whereabouts of the owner that the puppets were protecting.

While the Nomad took down the remaining mannequins, the Ratling and Goblin dug up the owner and used their Commune magic to speak with him and determine if he might still have valuables in the land of the living they could relieve from his corpse. They discovered that he had a house on the outskirts of town where his most valued possessions had been safely guarded during his life. The party determined to head there to find the treasure, right after they tracked down the Draconian to get their bounty.

Thankfully for them, but not our Draconian friend, the Wolfling had used this time to track him after he made his escape during the heat of battle. Tracking him down to a small shack the party finally manages to take him down, rendering his unconscious and drags him to the nearest lock up to collect on their doctored wanted poster. The Draconian get locked in the brink for the night, not so bad for him as they healed some of his wounds incurred in the previous two scuffles, and the party collects on the ransom. However their attempt at forgery is easy to see through when compared to a standard copy kept at the jail, so much for the big reward they had hoped for.

Now it is off to the factory owners house to collect his treasure, he sure won’t be needing it anymore…

Trade your old gaming stuff for new dice

Another day, another cruise through some of my newly bookmarked websites. And what did I find you might ask? Why I found a barter offer from GM Dice (I wrote about them the other day). They are bringing barter back to gaming, and on the web even! According to the barter section of their website they will gladly take your old rpg books, board games, and even old gaming pieces all in exchange for gift certificates to spend on cool new dice.

But you don’t have anything in your collection you could bear to part with, me either to be honest. Well all is well as they will take anything in exchange for a gift certificate. You will send them information on what you are offering, as well as specifics like condition and quantity and they will let you know what amount you will get on your gift card. If you all are chummy and agree then you ship them the stuff and they will ship you a gift card upon receipt. Perhaps next time I will do this rather then donating my things.

I am not sure what I would ever need a d5, d14, or a d24 for in my games, but they would be great conversation pieces at Gamestorm. Though what I really want is The Amazing Everything Dice, but they are sold out. Perhaps it is time to see if I have any old games to send off.

Legendary Lives 2nd Edition Review

Legendary Lives 2nd Edition is a fantasy based RPG published by Marquee Press in the mid 90s. I discovered it at Powell’s Book store in 1995 and fell in love right away. The system only takes one book and the character sheets have most all of the information a player needs on them.

The system uses percentile dice and all rolls are made against a table on the character sheet. Each roll is giving a rating between Catastrophic and Awesome and that rating is used to determine success or failure and to what degree. When a character rolls one of the two extremes they mark it with a check (one per adventure) and this allows them to perform a skill check later to possibly raise the skill, somewhat like Call of Cthulhu. Another feature of Legendary Lives 2nd Edition that is reminiscent of the much darker Call of Cthulhu is the sanity skill and how you can gain phobias and mental illnesses should you roll badly enough in the wrong situation.

With a choice of 26 different races and about as many non-magical and magical types there is a huge flexibility in the character choices. Also each character roles on tables to determine events that have happened in their character’s past both benevolent and tragic. This not only helps to shape the character but often provides the Game Master with plenty of character hooks to keep things moving along.

The magic system of Legendary Lives 2nd Edition is unlike any other I have ran or played. There are a number of different spell skills each representing a broad area of magic, such as Fire Mastery or Protection. After the player describes how they are going to use the spell skill and the effect they are looking for the Game Master will tell them how many points it will cost in temporary skill reduction (usually between 0 and 5) and the character will roll for success on the reduced skill level. Having such an open system allows for a level of creativity in spell use that is rarely seen in more rigid rpg games and is one feature that really sets this often unheard of game above most others in my mind.

While print copies are hard to come by these days, the author has seen fit to put his Legendary Lives 2nd Edition rulebook up (minus the artwork) online as opensource for all to enjoy. I suggest you not only look at this game, but his others as well. Also there are a number of useful charts and adventures online as well. I hope you enjoy this simple, yet highly creative rpg system.

Update Jan 29, 2017

I have added a few new items on The Halfling that are in support of Legendary Lives 2nd Edition. Here are the links for quick access to these new items:
2nd Edition Legendary Lives Character Sheet – PDF Form that you can fill out on your computer
Automated Class Option Finder – Enter your character’s base stats and get back a list of all available classes

Legendary Lives 2nd Edition

My favorite game to run is Legendary Lives 2nd Edition.  I have been running this fantasy based RPG since the mid 90’s.  In particular I like the open magic system and the ease of game play.  Since Marquee Press went out of business the authors have put the rule book on the web at www.hauntedattic.org.  There are several other RPG books available on the site including Lost Souls which I have always wanted to run but have not yet had a group interested.

I will be using this blog to post an update of my current groups adventures every other week.  Look for the first post telling about how they all met in the next few days.