Sunday, May 14, 2023

TS&R Ruby Bestiary & Treasury now available!

 It took me longer than I thought to finally proof and edit the TS&R Ruby Bestiary & Treasury, but I got it done last night. This morning (just now), I uploaded the file to DriveThru, so you can go grab it! 

The book has most of the Classic D&D monsters you know and love, plus some creatures from other editions converted to Classic style stats, and some originals as well. Those of you who remember my old Monster of the Week feature from many years ago may recognize some of the creatures (the Sauron didn't make the final cut, but some others did), but there are some completely new ones, as well. Not only that, I've got some different takes on some of the classic creatures as well. Oh, and a few name swaps to avoid WotC lawyers and Pinkertons bothering me. 

Oh, and there are also the treasure tables, magic item lists (some new things here, too!), and the reference tables, wandering monster tables, etc. 

As with the other TS&R titles, it's pay-what-you-want so go grab it. Feel free to take it for free, but if you like it and appreciate my work, I'll always be thankful to those who decide to pay me for it. 

Treasures, Serpents & Ruins Ruby Bestiary & Treasury

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

I've got a good feeling about this...

Last Thursday was May the 4th, "Star Wars Day" and on the 5th (Children's Day in Korea and Japan), we not only went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (as mentioned in my last post), we played another session of my Star Wars d6 campaign. 

We don't play often. I've been trying to make adventures that are fairly small and contained, because despite knowing more about SW lore than most (all?) of my players, it's a BIG galaxy, and I'm still not 100% comfortable just winging things with the d6 rule set the way I am with D&D. And that's to be expected. I've been playing Classic/AD&D for nearly 40 years. I've only been running this SW d6 game for four years or so, and it's my side campaign. So we get a session once every month or two. 

But this past session was a bit different. 

I started out with another fairly tight, not quite scripted but fairly limited adventure. But then I ran out of time to finish fleshing out every planned encounter, so I went into it with just some notes on locations, NPCs, enemy forces, and a general timeline of events that would happen if the PCs didn't intervene (knowing that they were likely to intervene). 

And I also had my notes from the previous couple of sessions handy, with encounters that I'd planned but they didn't run into, just in case I needed an idea or an interesting NPC or some impromptu stats. The PCs are on a world called the 4th Moon of Bogden, a lawless world of criminals (and maybe where Jango Fett was hired by Darth Tyranus to become a clone host). So having a few criminals and their schemes handy seemed a good idea, even though this adventure took them out of the spaceport and into the nerf herding territories.

I ended up winging the session. Not only that, very early on, as the players were information gathering, one of them got a 1 on the Wild Die. I gave them the information they were after, but had them suddenly accosted by a group of Nikto gangsters demanding to be paid off or dire consequences would result. The party bluffed and wheedled, and used their connection to Bumpomo the Hutt to gain an audience with the gang boss instead of paying off the shake-down artists. 

Well, they still had some information to gather, so while they were searching the meat markets for information on the various nerf herder farms (and the dewback ranchers), I was thinking of what sort of "boss" the Nikto would have. I ended up giving them a Wookiee for a boss, with a big fat Nikto sidekick/translator. When the party ended up at the gang HQ, they mistook the sidekick for the boss at first (He's fat, like a Hutt! Must be the boss!) but then were shown in to see the Wookiee. 

They managed to bargain their way out of paying dues (for now), and may actually try to form an alliance with the Hutts and the Nikto/Wookiee gang. 

Then they went to visit the nerf herders (making a deal to feed their Mandalorian refugee buddies), and while things didn't go as they planned, they ended up discovering that the dewback ranchers now have contracts with the Imperials, so have been expanding and taking over the nerf herders' water source. The party wants to help the nerf herders, but doesn't want to go directly against the Empire. And the Mandalorian allies just fled the Night of 1000 Tears/Great Purge of Mandalore by Moff Gideon, so THEY sure don't want any Imperial entanglements at the moment. 

Things are shaping up for a fun next session. But the thing I was happy about was that in this session, I finally just allowed myself to improvise and go with the flow. And it all worked out for a satisfying session. They didn't get into any fights, but I had stats to use if they had gotten into one. They have various NPCs to interact with, and they have multiple possible goals they could pursue, and I was ready for any of them. 

Next session, I do have a little set piece vignette that I want to throw at them to up the tension/force some action, but after that, I think I'll again just see what they do and react. I've got the stage set. I'm ready to ad lib the rest now. I'm finally feeling comfortable with opening up the game.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Yesterday (Friday) was Children's Day, so the boys had the day off from school. We celebrated by seeing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and having lunch at a pizza/salad bar buffet. Oh, and I ran a session of Star Wars d6, but I'll save that for another post. Let's talk about the movie! 

First off, since Google searches for movie title + curse word tend to direct people here, if you're worried about curse words in a movie, this one had a small amount, but as you may have heard, Star Lord drops the first F-bomb in the MCU. It wasn't where I would have expected it to be, and so it comes off as rather inconsequential. So anyway, be warned if you don't want your kids to hear that kind of language.

How was the movie? So good. There is an interesting plot line, not a ton of exposition at the beginning but you don't need it anyway, and the emotional stakes are clear through the movie. And they don't all resolve the way I expected them to resolve, which was a nice touch. 

I've got to say, like a lot of other people, I thought Phase 4 of the MCU was weak. And maybe it's just hard to follow something like Infinity War/End Game with lesser stakes, lesser intensity movies. And Phase 4 was also an expansion/set-up phase, which Marvel needs. They can't just keep milking the same characters forever if they want to keep audiences involved. I thought Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania was a step back towards the sorts of movies we expect (although it has some flaws). This movie, though, was not just getting back, it was overdoing it. 

I don't want to give any spoilers this early after the movie's release, but as I said, the movie makes you care for these characters and their troubles, and forces them to confront a lot of issues, but it's also got that GotG humor throughout. The movie has lots of crazy locations and action set pieces, an interesting and differently motivated villain, interesting new characters, some old familiar supporting characters returning, and a lot of heart. James Gunn knows how to make a movie, and I'm actually looking forward to him setting the DC hero movies on the right track after the years of whatever they've been doing (which mostly hasn't worked for me). 

Go see this movie. Even if you're sick of Marvel, even if you're not a fan of comic book movies, go see this. It's a rare trilogy ender that is better than the previous two entries.