Thursday, February 21, 2019

Turning the Page

Upon a second (or third) re-reading, I'm not really happy with yesterday's post on class. It's just not very constructive (IMO) to spend a bunch of time writing (close to 3000 words!) only to come to the conclusion, "yeah different people like a different number of classes." Judging from the comments (both on the post and elsewhere) that seems to be the main takeaway.

Not especially helpful (though it was fun to reminisce about my old AD&D campaigns).

Why did I start blogging about classes anyway? Oh, yeah...superhero games. Well, it sure as shit doesn't help that cause: I'm definitely NOT going to be writing up 40 (or even 20) different supers archetypes...hell, I'm hard-pressed to even think of 7 to 10. Okay, maybe not "hard-pressed," I said, not a helpful exercise. More meandering mental masturbation.

Let's turn the page, shall we?

Here's a mental palette cleanser (apropos of nothing): has anyone considered...or run a Scooby-Doo style mystery game using the Call of Cthulhu rules? I think it would be pretty darn easy to do with very little modification. Stuff that initially jumps out at me are things like being able to regain sanity by eating Scooby Snax and eliminating actual death from the game (probably eliminate "hit points" altogether and just use the Sanity pool for both mental wellbeing and physical endurance...tired/injured characters are more likely to faint, breakdown, or run scared). If I have the time later,  I might type up a one-sheet rules mod for download (it would be for use with 5th edition CoC, since that's the only version I own at the moment). I dig on old Lovecraft stories, but I've never thought they made great grist for an RPG (I prefer my horror investigations to look more like BTS). A Scooby-style Cthulhu game (similar to the Mystery Incorporated series) sounds more fun.

Eat hot lead, star spawn!
[I'm not knocking or mocking standard CoC play, just by the way...I know plenty of people dig sitting around scaring themselves in shadowy rooms with mood-induced play. These days, though, I'm often thinking of games my kids would like and my youngest gets scared just watching Goosebumps. Bringing a little "wa-hoo" to the table provides more player agency than Cthulhu's tentacles usually allow]

All right...palette cleansed?

I don't often write about other designers and one guy I've completely failed to mention over my years of blogging is a dude by the name of Aaron Allston (1960-2014), mainly because I didn't associate his name with any particular product (good or bad, I'm just not one of those people that follow particular designers any more than I follow particular artists or writers when selecting comic books for purchase). A couple-three months back I picked up a PDF of Allston's Strike Force based on a number of positive reviews I'd read. Although Strike Force is written specifically for Champions (a game I don't play) several people touted the book as having good advice applicable to ANY supers game. As my particular supers game of choice (Heroes Unlimited) is a little light on "good advice," I figured the PDF couldn't be a terrible investment.

[and it's not]

Skip forward to a couple-four weeks ago when I was getting back to finishing up a couple writing projects in the hope of (maybe, finally) publishing a "for money" book (my last was in 2013!). Anyway, one of these...a B/X supplement first started back in Paraguay (I think)...would really like to have an example "setting" to go with it. And me being the lazy guy that I am, I thought I might file off the serial numbers of the original B/X setting: Karameikos. Imagine my surprise and amazement when I dusted off my very old copy of GAZ1 and found Allston's name on the cover! The guy was writing for BECMI?! I thought he was a Champions writer!

Oh, my.

Turns out, I'm an idiot. Not only did Allston pen several of the old Gazeteers (especially some I loved, like Thyatis/Alphatia), he is credited with putting together both the Rules Cyclopedia and the Wrath of Immortals "re-write" of Mentzer's Immortal rules...two volumes that I made great use of back in the early 2000s ('round about the time I chucked 3E to the curb). Wow. I feel pretty darn stupid for not paying more attention to a guy who was responsible for a large chunk of my (adult) gaming life. Ugh...I should know this stuff!

Notice: Allston's name
is NOT on the cover.
But I I was reading through my old Gazeteers and waxing nostalgic (ah, I love and hate thee at the same time...) I started doing a deep dive into Karameikos. And I found myself thinking there're the makings for a fairly good campaign setting here. Not as written, mind you: it's far too sanitized and cloying in only the way BECMI can be (even 2nd Edition wasn't this wholesome and "family friendly"). But there's the skeleton of something here that could be easily re-purposed to MY purposes...B/X purposes, baby!

SO, I conceived of a possible post (or series of posts) about how I'd like to revisit and reimagine the Grand Duchy of Karameikos for my own amusement. Even went so far as to starting a draft post which, per blogger, was around the 18th...of January. Since then I've had birthdays and illnesses and snow days and a whole lot of busy-busy going on. But I'm ready now, baby...ready to get back to it. That's my plan for the upcoming few days as I try to shake the dust from this "class" dust-up off my train.

Well, right after I finish my Call of Scoobthulu write-up.
; )


  1. That guy Shakespeare write a couple of nice love notes too.

  2. It’s a little joke, like about how you knew Aaron Allston for his Champions work. I mean no harm.
    My wife knows the show Cheers as “that one Frazier came from.”

  3. Synchronicity...I was reading GAZ1 earlier in the week and thinking along similar lines. I look forward to learning where you will take this.
    If anyone isn't familiar with GAZ1 it describes a recently conquered territory with an indigenous people ruled over by their invaders similar to Anglo-Norman England. Add in magic, D&D monsters, dwarves, gnomes and elves for the usual fantasy flavoring, make the countryside a bit dangerous and position in an evil baron and that's pretty much what the Grand Duchy is all about. It's an environment rich for adventure.

  4. For a supers game, I suggest Mystery Men 2nd edition by John Stater. Very B/X IMO.