Archive for April, 2013

So things have been quiet here at the Toolbox; a part of that is because I’m doing a lot of prep work for a thorough investigation of Pathfinder feats, but an even bigger part is boring “personal life” stuff, like a big move for work that I’m in the middle of.  Anyways, hopefully I’ll have interesting things to talk about here soon, but my “hobby time” has been pretty scarce lately.

But that’s for another time.  Today is Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day!

So, Swords & Wizardry is one of many game systems that are indicative of the “Old School Renaissance  movement in tabletop RPG gaming. The idea is that RPGs these days aren’t like they were “back in the old days,” and that we’ve lost something in modern games that we had back then.  I generally agree with the notion, with the caveat that I don’t think modern games are bad, just different, and there’s value in reviving this older style of play.  S&W itself claims to be a “restated” version of the “Original Game” written by Gygax and Arneson in 1974.

In a lot of ways, I feel like Swords & Wizardry matches up a lot better with my assumptions about characters and the world than modern interpretations of Pathfinder and Dungeons & Dragons – not because those games don’t match my expectations, but because they are more-general systems that allow for a wider range of experiences, and Sword & Wizardry intentionally restricts itself to the grittier core of fantasy RPGing.

So, let’s look at some of what S&W does and how it does it, and I’ll throw my thoughts in as well.

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I’m generally loathe to talk up products on this blog; it’s not really what I’m about, and it feels a little bit vulgar. That having been said, I spend a lot of time on Kickstarter backing various neat games, and this one at least feels like it might be pertinent to my readership. And since I’m already backing the already-successful project, any increased funding gets me more awesome stretch goals, and I like getting more awesome in my games.

The game is called Myth and it’s a cooperative-style dungeon-crawl type game.  Players choose a deck to represent their character’s class (Soldier, Archer, Acolyte, Apprentice, Brigand, Trickster, or Skald), and the cards represent actions and abilities that character can use to fight the monsters spawned by the board.  Killing monsters lets you get treasure, and treasure lets you kill more monsters! (We all know that formula.) The board is powered by The Darkness, which has it’s own deck of actions and rules for how the bad guys behave. One of the neat things is that The Darkness reacts to your play style, sending stronger challenges as you get more treasure and show off your moves, and punishing you for being too cautious. If you’re character is kicking ass and taking names, the monsters are likely to notice and gang up on you. The game is played in Stories which are comprised of three Acts which can be played successively or in separate gaming sessions, and each Act can take a couple of hours to play (so most gamers will probably play one Act per session, unless you’re a college kid during Finals – then you might do two or three Stories in a massive gaming binge… I miss college some times).

The project was successful at $40,000 and they’ve raised over $200k by this point; all of that means the game is getting more and more awesome as they’re able to add in new characters, villains, and features. They have stretch goals listed out to $400k and they claim they have even more tricks up their sleeves, but they’re down to just about a week before the Kickstarter ends. If it sounds like the sort of game you and/or your buddies might be in to, please go check it out and pledge for your copy.  If we reach $400k and get the multi-headed Ratling Boss I will be ever so grateful.

MYTH -- Kicktraq Mini