Monday, January 23, 2017

Adding Too Much to My Adventure. When is Enough...ENOUGH?

Well, what was supposed to be a quick mini-dungeon using the DAGGER FOR KIDS rules turned into a bigger beast than I had originally planned. My daughter is getting impatient.

I’ve been promising her another round of dungeon crawling for quite some time now, but I have a couple things holding me back: First, my time is limited, so I end up writing at oddball hours and making little headway. Second, I keep wanting to add MORE to the adventure. Meaning, I am slowly walking up the downward escalator.

Sure, I could run her through what is essentially an outline of the adventure (DAGGER is pretty good at on-the-fly ideas), but my need to have all the “t’s” crossed is dragging the creative process out. Plus, dammit, I want this dungeon to be cool…or at least something that will add to her already-piqued interest in playing more and more.

As a side note, the DAGGER rules come with a cool introductory adventure titled “The Vile Worm”. Yes, it is a very tasty mini dungeon, but to me it came off WAY too brutish an adventure for a game meant for kids 5 and up. Again, I like the adventure a lot (and will, in fact, run it someday), but for my kid’s adventure I’m leaning more toward wizards, dragons, unicorns, and gold, and less about giant worms impregnating characters with eggs.  

I’ll wait until she’s 10 before I introduce dispiriting wormy chest-bursters into our games.

So as for my original DAGGER adventure, its working title is “The Disappearance of the Seasonmil Leprechauns”. Rockin’!

Initially, the dungeon was going to consist of a simple three-level tower with a total of 15 or so areas to explore. Complete with the missing leprechauns’ stolen pot o’ gold and the indispensable giant rainbow leading to it, Seasonmil sounds like a nifty mini module for little kids, yeah?

Well then, my head gets too involved, see? After all, the leprechauns’ tower is right outside the town of Seasonmil, which became more than a passing detail within the scenario. So now, with a little influence from Dave Bezio’s new Phoenix Barony setting, I’m developing the town as well. Also, doesn’t EVERY town have that one creepy abandoned house about a quarter mile into the woods? And don’t forget the centuries-old mines, which some of the town’s hunters found while out trapping food. Somehow, the tower, the house, and the mines are all connected and…AHHHH! More oddball hours and the escalator keeps moving…maybe a little faster now.

Let me quickly add that I’m not necessarily lifting things directly from the Phoenix Barony. No, I pilfer from Michael Curtis’ The Dungeon Alphabet. Hee hee! Yeah, I’m doing that. I don’t even care.

Also, I’m drawing in oodles of crazy inspiration from the new Black Pudding zine from James V West. Wow! What a fun piece this publication turned out to be. Even if I don’t use BP’s material directly, just flipping through the zine is brain nourishment for spawning creativity. True dat.

Sorry. Sidetracked.

Anyway, while I’m juggling all these ideas and pouring over my go-to books and blogs for inspiration to help complete this new adventure, my poor daughter just wants to kill some monsters with her dad. After all the promises I made to play with her, it’s time for me to step back and decide that enough is ENOUGH for this adventure and just get it finished.

So I’ll keep to the original idea of the adventure, which includes the three-level tower. I’ll minimize the town setting and strip out the creepy abandoned house and the mines. Those ideas can bloom into their own mini-modules someday.

For those of you who find pleasure in devising your own homebrew adventures, do you find it difficult to swat away fun ideas unnecessary to the main plot of the scenario? How are you able to focus and stay on target, allowing yourself to get an adventure written within a reasonable amount of time (or at least in time for your next gaming session)? OR, do you say “screw it!” and, timing be damned, add any and all awesome ideas that pop into your noggin while in the throes of dungeon writing?

For me, it’s difficult to put on the breaks, but if I don’t, I’ll NEVER get to play…and as a consequence, neither will my daughter.

Friday, January 20, 2017

I Missed the LL Box Set News

Now I know I’ve been out of the RPG circles for quite some time, but how did I not hear of a freakin’ Labyrinth Lord BOX SET…and when can I get one (meaning: When will the English translation hit the shelves at my local Gaming Store/Barnes & Noble)?!

Again, since I’ve been missing out on what has turned into a cornucopia of material within the OSR, I’ve been trying to do a little catch-up. I’ll noodle around on the various blogs and whatnot, but when I searched for “Labyrinth Lord” on YouTube and found THIS…

…at first I thought, “Wait, is this…THE Labyrinth Lord game that I know and love?!”  THEN I thought, “Dammit, I don’t understand Spanish.”  THEN, after I saw the sparkling new books with a fresh layout and art in this video…

…I thought, “Dammit, I don’t understand Spanish.”

This box, coming from a company called Nosolorol instead of Goblinoid Games, eh? Well, no matter who or what printed these beauties up, I’m a sucker for a nice box set. The separation of the LL gaming rules into the traditional player’s guide, GM guide, and bestiary is…well, neat looking, although seemingly unnecessary except to appear to have more goodies in the box. However, if this set combines the traditional LL rules with the Advanced Edition Companion maybe the separation is for the better. If someone familiar with this product could shine a light on that bit, please let me know.

The overall look is definitely more of a modern twist than the original “purple” and “black and red” editions of Labyrinth Lord. Yes, I absolutely adore the aesthetic of the original LL rulebooks, but the new art/layout wouldn’t deter me in the least from purchasing the box set. I’m sure others feel the same way.

I’d like to think the look of this game (and its marketing as well) will help get this box in the hands of people who never would have looked twice at the previous editions. The original edition got MY attention because it promised, through appearance alone, that THIS was old-school. You want in-print B/X D&D? Here ya go!

Now that the OSR has split into 100,002 different iterations of our favorite games to satisfy even the hardest-hearted old-school gamer's style of play, maybe it’s a good time for the original retro-clones to go after some new blood. NOT by changing the rules, but providing an appetizing visual hook that appeals to young gamers.

Hell, even as a gamer over 40, this box set gets my salivary glands pumping (…yum!).

So my discovery of this alluring box set is a blessing and a curse, I reckon. I love to see the old-school games growing and branching out to potentially new gamers…I just wish I could read it!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My daughter, new dice, and rules-lite gaming

Hello again!

So it’s been nearly six years since my last post. My time off from the hobby wasn’t particularly interesting, but while chugging along with the unstoppable beast known as Real Life, I kept myself busy with other endeavors, all which eventually came to an end. It was fun while it lasted, though, I’m telling’ you.

Throughout this time, there were passing words of interest to start up a new Labyrinth Lord game with my old gaming buddies, but such pleasures never came to pass. I still maintained an interest in the hobby (however minimal), and bought the 5e Starter Set and downloaded the Basic Rules. I really, really dug ‘em and figured if I start up another game, I’d definitely incorporate some 5e ideas in my Labyrinth Lord game.

Still, it never happened. Boo.

So why am I turning the lights on here at the Prime Requisite Games blog? One reason: My 9 year-old daughter.

You see, I DID play the occasional game with my daughter. We might have played our first RPG together when she was 5 or so, using VERY bare-bones rules, such as:

• Class: Fighter, Wizard, or Elf
• Hit Points: 10
• Weapons: Sword, dagger, or bow/arrows

Combat: Roll d6 for initiative. Roll d20 to hit. A roll of 10 and over hits with one point of damage.
Spells: Whatever she could think up.

Ridiculously rules-lite, but the fun for her was her involvement in the story (explore a magical forest, save the princess, kill the dragon, etc.). Plus, she LOVED to roll the dice.

Fast-forward to this past December. It had been almost a year since we last played. Sure, she would occasionally ask if we could play, but there was always something else going on, and eventually she just stopped asking. That kills me. Ugh.

My daughter is an extremely creative girl. She’s cut from the same cloth as those of us who enjoy crafting, writing, reading, and even filmmaking. She WANTS to use her imagination, and if she’s anything like most of us, playing and reading RPGs will only excel her creativity. So last week I kicked my laziness to the side and sought out an RPG my 9 year-old could take on and run with.

My research brought me to Brave Halfling Publishing’s DAGGER FOR KIDS, a wonderful “lite” take on the old-school D&D rules. I snatched up the pdf.

My research also kickstarted my slobbering NEED to play a GAME. I started making my rounds through the OSR blogs and the digital stores to see what news/products I’ve missed. A lot. I’ve missed a lot. Also, I discovered most of the OSR crowd have hightailed it to Google+. Great. I’ll eventually get there, I’m sure.

Now that I have the game system picked out, it’s time to make this OFFICIAL: I need to take my daughter to the local gaming store and have her pick out her very first set of polyhedral dice. You all remember YOURS, right? It’s an awesome moment for the novice gamer, and I was thrilled to share that experience with her.

She was giddy as we opened the door to our awesome local gaming store TableTop Game and Hobby. Before we checked out the dice at the front counter, we took our time cruising the game isles. Her eyes were wide. Mine were equally as wide when I happened upon a copy of the Labyrinth Lord module Idol of the Orcs for $6.00! I tucked that treasure under my arm as we made our way to the dice display.

My daughter must have spent a solid 15 minutes looking over the dice sets before she made her decision on some purple gems. After our dice run, the plan was to hit a couple other stores to pick up a few items, but the effect of the gaming store was overwhelming.

“You want to go home?” I asked.
“YES!” she said, grinning ear-to-ear.

Yeah, we’re gonna go kill some monsters and take their freakin’ treasure!

When you’re beaming with ecstatic anticipation, a ten minute drive home can seemingly take hours. My daughter knew how to pass the time. “Where’s my DICE,” she asked. I heard her pop open the plastic container and afterward, the comforting clicking of poly dice hit my ears. *Sigh*

When we arrived home, we quickly made our way to the dining room table, gaming materials in hand. Housed inside my hardback copy of The Dungeon Alphabet was my handmade rule booklet of DAGGER FOR KIDS, a bunch of DAGGER character sheets, and David Bezio’s short and sweet Labyrinth Lord adventure LOST DAUGHTER (from his original Phoenix Barony setting for Labyrinth Lord).

As a quick side note, Lost Daughter was the first adventure I ran when I first got back into role-playing way back in 2008. So I figure it’s only fitting to run this adventure as a wink and nod to my most recent return to The Game. Plus, Lost Daughter is a slam dunk for on-the-fly conversion to the Dagger game.

We quickly rolled up three characters: Geoff the Knight, Mad-Pants the Dwarf, and Bob the Worm the Wizard.

The Worm and new dice!
Another side note. THIS is why RPGs with kids is so much fun. You see, her character is not named Bob “the Worm”, as in the character is a “wormy” kind of guy. No, he’s a worm named Bob. The Wizard.

While this might get under the skin of some of the more “serious games only” types, I just kept in mind that my little girl just wants to have fun and I want her to run freaking CRAZY with her imagination. Because, why the heck NOT?

So when I ask her, “What kind of character do you want to be,” and she says, “I want to be a worm who is a wizard.” Fantastic. Also, Bob the Worm the Wizard’s “steed” is a giant pig named Pork-chop. Good to go!

For the next two hours, Geoff, Mad-Pants, and the Worm killed some goblins and saved the Lost Daughter. My girl had a blast (as did I). Afterward, she immediately asked, “When are we going to play again?!” (“TOMORROW!” I wanted to say. “And EVERY day after that!!!”)

I’m in the process of putting together an original mini-adventure for the DAGGER rpg, and I’m hoping to set some time for her to conquer it within the next couple of weeks. Heck, if it plays well, maybe I’ll post it. It’ll give me an excuse to keep the lights on a little bit longer around here.