Thursday, March 16, 2017

Vampire Powered by the Apocalypse

Well, I know. There are already some works for doing vampires with the Apocalypse World engine, at least two that I know about.
One is the extensive add-on for the Urban Shadows game, made by +Tommy Rayburn, his add-on is huge and detailed, and is excellent for playing a World of Darkness campaign using the Urban Shadows game. You can find it here. In my personal opinion, though, this can be better exploited in a mixed game, with werewolves, vampires, wizards, hunters, and so on. Because that's the nature of Urban Shadows.
The other game is Undying, by +Paul Riddle. This is a vampire game, powered by the apocalypse. It looks quite interesting and it seems to explore the predatory nature of vampires quite well. I've never played a diceless game, though, and I would have to find a willing group to test it someday. Needless to say, this game is an original commercial product that has nothing to do with the World of Darkness universe. You can buy Undying here.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Castlevania on D&D

I don't usually love franchises in video games. A few have got my attention, from time to time. Assassin's Creed was one, but they lost me when Desmond story arc came to an end. And the movie? Well, I rather don't go there.

Netflix's Castlevania Poster
Another one I can consider myself a fan is Castlevania. Even thou I fell for it with Symphony of the Night, and I've not played all the games—specially the original, which I have tried but not played thru to the end. However, the theme is one of my favorite themes in fiction and gaming. And the music! OMG!
Lately, I've been working on a game design for 5th edition that I would likely try to publish via Kickstarter in the future. Is a thing I've been wanting to get going for a while now, based on this theme I said I love: gothic fantasy. So this project for the 5th edition of D&D is not just a setting, I want it to be a stand-alone game, and my main ingredients are the campaign setting I most love: Ravenloft, the plane I like the most: Innistrad, and one of the aforementioned gaming franchise: Castlevania. That's right, I'm aiming for a Ravenloft-Innistrad-Castlevania mash up I like to call Gothic Fantasy Action. Because I don't want a Gothic Horror genre, where the atmosphere and the story swallow helpless protagonists... the horror, the horror! Don't get me wrong, I love that kind of stories too, but not for this project. Nope, what I want are bad ass hunters—tragic perhaps, but not helpless—figthing fire with fire while trying to keep the corruption within themselves at bay. That's why I'm going for an action oriented system like 5th edition.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Adari or the power of Cosmos

I started playing D&D in the mid 90’s, with the AD&D 2E ruleset. It was—of course—a blast, like it did for most of us who started playing as teenagers. In those days also, the Saint Seiya cartoon was running in my country for the first time, and we were all—as good teens—crazy about it. So, my DM created this overpowered rules he called Cosmo, of course inspired from the cartoon. D&D plus Saint Seiya, what could possibly go wrong? Needless to say, the game went into crazy town, but it was epic and funny as hell.

Nowadays, as I’m trying to do serious game design and my players wanted to play epic levels, I revisited my friend’s idea and give it a more balanced and modern form with the 5th edition rules, trying to keep the original spirit. First thing of course was to rename the power, and thus the Cosmo became the Adari.

The Adari is fit into my own campaign setting, with its own cosmology and gods, not set into the classic D&D multiverse. However, is a concept that can easily be imported into any Epic D&D campaign, with little or no changes needed.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Stranger Things, and back again

New Netflix series Stranger Things is all over our social media circles right now. And when I say "our" I mean us, the role-playing gamers. So here I am, returning from a really long hiatus, writing again about this strangers things we love!

I knew nothing about the show until I opened my Netflix account the day it premiered and saw it there on the home page. I sometimes put series on while working on my computer—I have two monitors set up—so I clicked it with no expectations and thinking of using it just as background noise while I worked.

What a big surprise!

The first couple of minutes I saw this typical lab scene where something has gone terribly wrong and poor "Scientist Number 1" dies a horrible dead. OK—I thought—seen it before. So I kept working while watching. But next, there are these kids playing D&D in a basement and, obviously, that instantly caught my attention! I stopped what I was doing to focus on the scene, and I cracked open with laughter!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Crafting and D&D

Dwarven Forge dungeon tiles
A few weeks ago I opened the Pandora's Box of D&D Dungeon Crafting... yes I'm now doomed, because —let's admit it— as with dice, you can never have enough dungeon terrain for your table top gaming.
I've been looking —for a while now— at those gorgeous images of 3D dungeons people post in table-top gaming forums. I'd also pondered —for a while too— about buying some molds (Hirst Arts seems to be the staple) and start working on my very own 3D dungeon tiles.
But two things had been stopping me from buying them, a) I'm not sure the required materials are easily acquired in my city (I'm from Mexico), and b) I'm sure I won't have enough time to do all the cool things I would like to do.
Another option could be to buy pre-made sets, like the ones made by Dwarven Forge, but a) my budget is already thin enough gaming-wise and b) do I need to mention a point b)?
Nonetheless, this is a part of the hobby that's been flirting with me since the mid 90's, when I used to buy at my local magazine store the White Dwarf issues printed in Spain, just for the cool pictures and crafting tips, even if I couldn't get any Warhammer minis at that time.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Ravenloft for Halloween

Halloween is coming once again, and this year I finally got to DM the legendary I6 Ravenloft module, the one that started it all.

At first I wanted to run it using the original 1st edition rules, but I've never played that edition and for time-frame reasons (too much to read and learn) I've decided to go with 5th edition, which is the edition we're currently playing. I also wanted to play it as a 1-shoot since we're currently in the middle of another campaign. But some of the players begin to ask when we'll be starting it, and because I've been wanting to run this classic a good 10+ years ago, I've decided to savor the pleasure of having Strahd play cat and mouse with the helpless PCs for more than one session.

And indeed I'm savoring it. Castle Ravenloft it's a beauty and the myriad of paths the players can take makes it really alive. Also the Fortunes of Ravenloft add an extra level of excitement to the gaming sessions (not to mention the re-play value).

Monday, August 17, 2015

Dark Sun: The Gladiator

The Fighter class in the world of Athas is pretty much unchanged, the only thing was to remove the Eldritch Knight from the Martial Archetypes options, and to compensate I created the Gladiator as a Martial Archetype.
Some people suggested me doing the Gladiator as a completely separate class of its own. But I think that would be redundant. I was even tempted to use the Champion archetype and just change the name to Gladiator because it kind of fits. but in doing so, I was leaving the rest of non gladiator fighters with no option but the Battle Master.
So I worked on the new archetype. I looked at some of the gladiators from previous editions. The one on the original 2E box didn't had much to choose from, and the prestige class from 3.x was too dependent on the crowd cheering up. I somehow implemented that in one of the features, but also added the ability to impress the enemies, in case there's no crowd around—no, the party does not count as a crowd!
So here it is, my take on the Gladiator of Athas, as a Martial Archetype.

EDIT: I just changed the previous Favored Weapon feature for the Pit Fighter feature, to make it feel more like the original box gladiator.


The life of a gladiator is brutish and brief, but it is the one occupation a slave can hold that also brings respect. Gladiators are heroes to the common people. Their trials and victories are the stuff of legend, and many slaves grow comfortable from the accolades their conquests bring.