Sunday, February 27, 2022

Maps! Been a while...


Couldn't sleep last night (thanks Putin) so I decided to fall back on an old habit that always helps me sleep better, it appears to clear my mind. The bad side effect is that I feel like I need to finish the map. I opened up my drawing app on my Samsung S7 and discovered it had been updated since I last used it, excellent upgrades! I also discovered that I could record a timelapse of me drawing! This may have been available before and I was not aware....wouldn't surprise me.

You can check it out (and my rudimentary YouTube editing skills) here:

Map sans paper background:

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Star Wars ICRPG

I have recently fallen for ICRPG. I know, I know, many of you old schoolers are going to cry and whine, probably click away. That's cool, be well.

The rest of you that! First off, I had this silly idea of trying to run a Star Wars 'one shot' using ICRPG without a major muscle movement. I did not want to spend days creating new bioforms, creating weapon lists, equipment details, etc. I wanted to see if I could run it as is but get the feel of Star Wars. So, to that end we used the rules as is, we made nothing, created nothing and just went for it.

Using the image-not-a-map method I discussed previously here, I dropped in some concept art for The Lodge (where Lando plays Sabac) from Solo. I used the Runehammer VTT, which is a quite slimed down and easy to use VTT. Many of you have used other VTTs will balk at the limited powers of this but that is actually it's strength. This no-frills VTT allows you only enough tools to run the game using the ICRPG rules.  
Lox and his pilot, K-3SO ;-) were hired to take Kaz and Torb on this heist: robbing an Imperial Conveyex Train of a small portion of coaxium hyperfuel without being detected.
Our adventure was a riff off the train heist in the film Solo with a few added bits. The tracks had sensor towers that could detect a ship coming in, so our hero had to be dropped in out of sight, trek to the cliff above the sensor, then rappel down to the sensor. To add to this, the wind was violently dangerous and could rip him from the cliff face, building in strength every so often. I used a countdown timer to predict when the wind's howls would increase and a moment later the wind would blast him. Roll and repeat.

In addition, Imperial probe droids patrols the track, coming by every so often (again, determined by a countdown timer). Lox, our little hero managed some amazing rolls and was able to get down very quickly and easily. Then he had the fantastic idea of hiding in the sensor tower's probe droid ports (they had to hide from the strong winds too). Hiding inside, he again made amazing rolls with the idea of hacking the system to close the door over the port. Instead, he managed to close ALL the port doors, effectively trapping the incoming probe droid just as the wind picked up. That sucker was bashed against the cliff by the strong winds and destroyed immediately (he rolled a nat 20 here). Next, Lox quickly disabled the sensor tower and was picked up by his ship.

Lox, Kaz, and Torb dropped onto the train and began searching the cars, looking for the coaxium. I rolled randomly, counting from the back and sadly it was in the most forward car. Here I added a countdown timer (a d6 this time, sorry Hank) that determined when the train hit a sharp turn and basically went completely sideways. This would require characters (not wearing those fancy magnetic boots, standard issue for Imperial Range Troopers) to make a DEX check to stay on the train.
As they got to the next to last car, the Range Troopers climbed out of the first car and began to defend the train. The fight went very fast, deadly, and fantastic. 

A few points:
1) I used the Effort mechanic for Lox to climb down the cliff face and for hacking the sensor tower. I honestly questioned this before the game. I have to say this is SUPERIOR to any other method of determining the resolution of something that might take multiple attempts (like bashing through a door, hacking a computer, repairing an engine). I absolutely love this mechanic. My friend who played Lox stated the same thing. This alone is worth the price of admission. 

2) This game is deadly! Troopers used blasters, which use d8 effort and when most beings have 1 Heart (10hp for you grognards), two hits....or a single hit with a critical is very dangerous. When you roll a critical, you roll your normal effort die, in this case d8 for guns, PLUS a d12 ultimate effort.

3) The ease of creating a SW adventure with little effort has me wondering what other games/genres could be ran using this. My friend wants to run an adventure in the vein of Dresden. Can't wait. I am really interested in an Colonial era Vaesen-style game.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Solo Conveyex Sensor Tower (ICRPG)


Drew up a sensor tower for my upcoming ICRPG Star Wars game, this is similar to the towers that were lined along the train in the film Solo. I have added three portals, these will be small slots that the Imperial Probe Droids will drop into when the wind becomes too strong. I am changing a few things from the Solo film to make it a little more interesting.

Friday, February 18, 2022

ICRPG - Star Wars!

I have found a new love for ICRPG, mostly from watching Kane's Kiln videos on YouTube. If you want to understand how ICRPG runs and works, I highly recommend these videos. Certainly changed my thinking on the game. Above is the KX model droid I made last night for the game.

I am going to be running a small game, what I call a mini-series, for a friend of mine set in the Star Wars universe, ripping off of Solo a bunch for the general concept. I will be using many of the ideas Kane discusses in his videos. One I particularly really want to give a go and see how it plays out is using art instead of maps in the VTT. 

Now, hold on. I know what all my OSR peeps out there are saying. What?!?! No map, Matt?? How??? What the fu...??? If you watched this video:  there is a moment where Kane uses an image of a town and has the player move through the town, consulting with merchants here and there looking for Rings of Power.

Not finding them, he pushes on to another merchant.

Not finding them still, he pushes to a third merchant

The thing I really like about this is that you can convey a theme, atmosphere, or feeling for a location through artwork far better than a map. This works for encounters too and can really set up a scene beautifully. For an example, look at this amazing artwork he found online to use for an encounter at a waterfall.

I know what my OSR grognards are already thinking; "But..but...the tactical positioning...yadda yadda". I get it, I thought the same thing at first, how do players move around the map, how do you measure distance, range, etc. What it comes down to is "Does that really matter?" or does the dynamic feeling of the image matter more? Depends on your style of game I guess. 
Me personally, I really like the use of that image, and players can still drop their tokens/minis on there and move around. I do not see how the differences in measurements across that image would make that much of a difference. IMO if you are measuring inches on the map and determining if characters can do something based on a difference of a few inches or a foot....that sounds less than exciting, but maybe that just me. 

Another example of atmosphere being conveyed in ways that a map probably never could. I am actually not sure how one would draw a map of this location!

For example:
old school style
Player: I want to blast that ghost with my Fireball of Spookblasting spell!
DM: (gets out ruler, measures distance) Sorry, the range on that is 15 feet, and that ghost is 16 feet away.
Player: ....bummer

ICRPG style:
Player: I want to blast that ghost with my Fireball of Spookblasting spell!
DM: Looks like you are in Near range, blast that sucker!
Player: (happily rolls some dice)

I have always been a little loosey-goosey with the nitpicking of rules anyway, so I am starting to think this fits my style of GMing anyway.

A couple other interesting locations you could use that would be difficult to use in a map form and still get the atmosphere and feel of the place:

Friday, February 11, 2022

Tenkar's Map


I was suckered into hanging out with Erik and Joe on their bi-weekly video show, Rob Conley & Tim Shorts. Joe was kinda boring for a while so I passed the time by drawing a map. One of the viewers asked if I would post the map, so here you go! If you want to watch a bunch of old guys talk about gaming, NFTs, and reminisce about the good old days of gaming, check it out: