On Something Priceless

Clockwork wonderment!

On A Collection of House Rules and How You're Ruining Your Game

Do you like the game your playing?

So much that you'd never play another game ever again?

What if every time you sat down to play a new game, you turned it into exactly the same game you always play - how would you ever discover something new?

By the way if your first thought is that you can sit in a white room, and do some math and magically know how something is going to work, then you lack a little thing people in the know like to call experience with life.

The fact is, cooperative and competitive games are not played in a vacuum. Certain things which look bad on paper, may in the course of play, turn out to be awesome, and certain things which look awesome may be clunky.

But if you don't sit down and, you know, actually play a game RAW (that's rules as written), without changing 1000 different rules to the 'way you think things should be', then you will never be playing anything other than the game you are currently playing.

A blog is pretty big on opinion, but you can ask yourself why MMO's or RPG's have betas - or why people playtest games, and how they change in development before they are published. Trust me, if the companies didn't have to spend money on testing and development- they wouldn't. The money spent on testing and development insures a higher profit after release. Because it makes the games better (more fun, more equal, etc.) upon release.

I have played a great many games "rules as written" and find it difficult to think of one that is *just* a collection of house rules. As in, my experiences of playing Hackmaster, are as different as my experiences of playing 4th edition, are as different as my experiences of playing second edition, as they are of playing Shadowrun as they are of 3.0/3.5/Pathfinder. These are just a fraction of the RPG's I've played.

Having actually played the DCC RPG I can say that the 'funnel system' of character creation is unlike all of those other different games listed above. It is, in combination with many of the new rules, and the new dice, one of the things that truly makes DCC RPG its own game.

I challenge anyone out there to point us to a system that they've played that is nothing *but* a series of house rules to an existing system. I can think of one example - Pathfinder is a series of house rules for 3.5. I heartily approve of the reason behind those changes, and therefore play pathfinder over 3.5 - any others?

On a List of What We Don't Need.

A lot of the communication around the BlogOSR has been terrible of late and this is because of several things.

Someone has forgotten that


Seriously, what the hell is wrong with people - anyone read 1984? or like 100 other books? censorship of any kind is bad. I didn't think this was nearly the complicated issue that it appears to be.

In short, I think the problem is that American society is both founded on puritan principles and is an unsustainable anomaly in the history of man - 5% of the worlds population can't keep using all the worlds resources without it at some point turning into oppression.

Also, Dungeon Crawl Classics, the RPG is the single greatest RPG of all time - only it happens to do about 1000 things almost right. Lots of correctable issues.

There's a longer post in that - but I want to finish the beta games with my two groups before I comment. I'm also collecting the comments of my players.

Also: and I'm just throwing this out here. But a half page on NPC stats and skills is never useful. Should I stop the role play to look that up?

There you go. Three things we don't need - Censorship, non-corrected issues in DCC RPG, and pages of NPC data without info about personality or character

On Collective Nouns for Fantasy Dungeons & Dragons Monsters & Creatures

My friend over at Gamemaster: A day in the life is writing series on the battle tactics of monsters which I'm finding pretty interesting.

During the discussion of Ankheg battle tactics, the question of a collective noun for them came up, and hence, the idea for this post.

Ankheg - An army of ankheg
Animated Objects - A clutter of animated objects
Azer - A cinder of azer
Aboleth - A horror of aboleth
Angel - A grace of angels

Bugbear - A filth of bugbears
Beholder - A gaze of beholders
Barghest - A nightmare of barghest
Basilisk - A statuary of basalisks
Bulette - A shudder of bulette

Carrion Crawler - an army of carrion crawlers (or infestation)
Centaur - a herd of centaur
Chimera - a nest of chimera
Cockatrice - a flock of cockatrice

Devil - A sin of devils
Dragon - A weyr of dragon (or generation, wing, or flight)

Elemental - A core of elementals

Gargoyle - A gallery of gargoyles
Ghoul - A rot of ghouls
Gnoll - A clann of gnolls
Goblin - A chaos of goblins (or mob, or horde)
Griffon - A pride of griffons (or convocation)

Harpy - An aerie of harpies, (or a colony, or wake of harpies)
Hippogriff - A herd of hippogriff (or a cast)
Hobgoblin - A troop of hobgoblin

Kobold - A warren of kobolds (or pack, or nuisance)
Kuo-toa - A tide of kuo-toa

Lizardfolk - A tribe of lizardfolk
Lycanthrope - A curse of lycanthropes

Manticore - A destruction of manticores
Mind Flayer - A ponderance of mind flayers
Minotaur - A maze of minotaurs
Mummies - A wrap of mummies
Nightmares - A terror of nightmares

Ogre - A club of ogres
Ooze - A slime of oozes
Orc - A horde of orcs
Owlbear - A congress of owlbears
Otyugh - A filth of otyugh

Sahuagin - A catastrophe of sahuagin
Salamander - A heat of salamanders
Skeleton - A horde of skeletons
Shadow - A darkness of shadows
Sladd - A bane of sladd
Spectre - A sneak of spectres, (alternately, a vision)
Sphinx - A riddle of sphinx
Stirge - A swarm of stirge, A blood of stirge
Sprite - A mischief of sprites

Tarrasque (!) - An armageddon of tarrasque
Troglodyte - A slope of trogs
Troll - A growth of trolls, (or a soak of trolls)

Umberhulk - A siege of umberhulks, (or a confusion)
Unicorn - A purity of unicorns (or grace)

Vampires - A coterie of vampires (alternately a lick, or a den or coven)

Worg - A route of worg (or pack)
Wraith - A shade of wraiths
Wyvern - A quiver of wyvern (or nest)

Zombie - A horde of zombies (or invasion)

If during your augury of far realms you come across any other terms used in the common parlance, please leave them in the comments below, and I will note the phrase, and if given, the realm of origin.

WWI: Rift

I'm skipping the standard format this week to talk a bit about Rift. Skip down to the text below for my summary of the game, and less about me.

I'm traditionally not a fan of MMO's. In fact I am the opposite of a fan - I generally hate them. Fundamentally MMO's are about social interaction, with many people who you don't know and who have the strength of the anonymity of the internet, and let's be frank, may in fact be playing an MMO because they have trouble with actual IRL social interaction.

Can you tell I've had my loot needed by an off-class pick-up "for my alt that really needs it"?

Now before I lose all the non-players with the heavy jargon (and my god is there a lot of it. It's like a highly specialized job you pay to play.) I just want to say a few things.

Rift is Fun. It is about Fun.

Now it's an MMO - that hasn't changed, you run around and do quests. Also, it's new, so "The Very Next Patch (TM)" could magically suck all the fun out of the game. It's not something magically different; if you're not a fan of MMO's, you won't suddenly have Rift change your mind.

But it is genuinely fun to play.

Why is this? It does many of the same things that a lot of old school blogs recommend. It awesomes up the players. It doesn't require a bunch of effort to start having fun. There are things going on all the time, and you can fail at them. It rewards skillful play, but doesn't over-punish mistakes, and yet there are consequences for your choices.

Traditionally players "have to" do certain things to make in game content work. Rift provides many ways around that. The soul system and the fact that you can have five roles allow you to play whatever you want. You can just take stuff that is cool and looks fun and you will do just fine throughout the content. If by some chance you do need a focused build for a certain area, you can just switch roles and switch back when you're done.

Also, the fact that crap is always going on (BLAM! RIFT, OH GOD RIFT INVASION ETC.) is like playing whack-a-mole while finishing quests. You often are just going to finish something up and get sidetracked for 3 hours because you're having a good time.

And really, isn't that the point of play? To have a good time?

Now I'm not going to play it forever because I like to play a lot of different games, but right now, it's available to try for free. I've purchased the game, but I still have time on my free play.

If you'd like to try the game out for free, here's the link! What's awesome about this, is if you do this trial it will link our accounts, and we can even play together. Now maybe that's too close to your favorite blog writer, and if so, I'll be sure not to bother you. However, it could be cool.

I'm Defiant on Fayblight
and Guardian on Nyx

Just send an e-mail to the address in my profile and I'll friend you in game.

Though with free server transfers (another way Trion is trying to commit to fun being a priority) if you don't like it there, you can switch later if you like.
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