Lacking Natural Simplicity

Random musings on books, code, and tabletop games.

D&D always had "mook" rules?

James Maliszewski points out that D&D always had “mook” rules:

Under OD&D, a fighting man can attack a number of times equal to his level when facing foes of 1 Hit Die or lower. This rule carried over into AD&D in modified form, with multiple attacks being allowed only against foes of less than 1 Hit Die.

I'd completely forgotten that, if I ever knew. That's tremendously interesting.

Eternal Nazi, Take 2

I got to run the “Eternal Nazi” one sheet for Savage Worlds again, for adults this time, M.A.H and C.A.H from my adult group. We did character generation for a new D&D campaign with the regular GM, who then had to leave. After that I ran “Eternal Nazi”.

It went ok, I guess. It ran much longer this time, probably for several reasons:

  1. I added a new encounter to it.

  2. It was the first time the players had played Savage Worlds, and to complicate things they were each playing two characters.

  3. I was not at my best. (Too little sleep, too much stress elsewhere in my life.)

I think I'm going to run this for yet another group, so I'll discuss the specifics of my changes to the adventure then.

The new maps did make things a little more interesting, although the design of one did provide a great deal of advantage to the PCs. I'll have to rethink that.

I should really sit down and come up with some better tactics for the BBEG.

I was not at my best, so I kept forgetting the simplest things, and I know I actually made a couple of serious errors with the rules. You'd think that since I've been playing Savage Worlds for a while I would remember. In my defense, I was using a couple of sections of the rules that I'd only used once before. Still, I need to get more rest before I GM something!

Old Man Indy

I enjoyed the new Indy film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It had a few flaws, and it wasn't as good as either the first or the third, but it was fun. I happened to run across a blog post today that essentially thought it wasn't worth seeing because Indy was old. That's actually one thing I liked about it: it's nice to see an old action hero occasionally.

Gaming Weekend: 2008/07/20: The Eternal Nazi

Actual Play

Savage Worlds

Second, I ran “The Eternal Nazi”, a Savage Worlds pulp one-sheet for them. Like many of the one-sheets, it didn't come with a map, so I made one a couple of nights before using printable PDF tiles. The kids had fun, but I can see why Kator the Ape Boy wasn't in the most recent pregenerated pulp characters download intended for use with “The Eternal Nazi”: as the sole melee-only character he was at a serious disadvantage.

I think this was actually the first time I've used modern weapons in Savage Worlds. It went ok, although I did forget each shot on auto-fire counts as three bullets expended. I think I'll add some grenades to the PCs gear the next time I run it, suggest the PCs other than Buck pick up some of the germain submachine guns, and up the number of extras with the big bad.

Gaming Weekend: 2008/07/20: Toon & Savage Worlds: Reflections


I was trying out some new technology (for me): using printable PDF tiles from Skeleton Key Games (SKG) for the battle mats. I especially like the SKG tiles for a couple of reasons. First, the tile graphics in the PDF files can be easily extracted (just right-click and choose copy) and munged to produce custom tiles. Secondly, the tile sets include thumbnail catalogs of the tiles, which can easily be extracted and added to the tilesets of programs like DungeonForge. This makes it a lot easier to design the map layouts to begin with (virtual tile flipping replaces physical tile flipping) and makes it easy to produce small scale maps for reference for laying out the tiles on the table by exporting the maps from DungeonForge as .PNG files and adding labels with the tile numbers with the GIMP. (This is especially useful when using wilderness tiles!) On the printed tiles I wrote the tile number on the back, again to make things easier when laying them out on the table.

Overall the tiles worked pretty well. The worst problem was that the tiles tended to curve up at the edges, a common problem with cardstock printed on inkjet printers: as the large surface area of ink dries the edges curl up. This didn't prevent their use, and curling them in the opposite direction before laying them out helped, but I think I'll try laminating them and see if that helps. My first map designs using the tiles were not as interesting as I wanted, but the tiles themselves looked good and worked pretty well. The kids occasionally dislodged the tiles a little, but that was easily fixed, and once while dealing initiative cards I accidently slide one under the tiles, which got a laugh.

After we played I redesigned the maps to give a more dynamic environment, since I'm planning on running “The Eternal Nazi” for another other gaming group. I got a couple more of the SKG sets, and used GIMP to make three custom tiles. This let me make a much more interesting environment. Part of the problem I had with designing the map in the first place was inexperience with the tiles, but part was because the tile sets I had were heavily slanted towards fantasy, and I was constructing something more out of the “lost race” pulp adventure stories, set in the 1940s.

One thing that I'd like to see is a bunch of tiles with items that could be dropped on top of other tiles, like piles of metal barrels and so forth.

DungeonForge has a couple of annoying bugs, but it's free and works well enough, as long as I remember to save often and not put tiles against the edges of the map.


Todo: I'll try to edit more actual play details into this post when I've got a moment and my notes are handy.

Gaming Weekend: 2008/07/20: Toon


First, by request, I ran a session of Toon.


I ought to see if I can find my notes for this and see who was here.

Actual Play

I set it in the “Old West in Space” and the toons had to rescue the kidnapped daughter of the richest toon in town from the bandit chieftan Big Ape, the “Fastest Banana in Space”, and his bandit gang of monkeys, who were hiding out in an abandoned asteroid mine still inhabited by mining robots.

Gaming Weekend: 2008/07/19: D&D

Well, I certainly got in a lot of gaming this weekend!

Today was D&D: my nephew D.B. D.M.ed the concluding session of our run through the Wizards of the Coast adventure “Scourge of the Howling Horde”. Great fun was had by all. I especially enjoyed being a player rather than D.M. Kids attending were L.B., D.B., T.A., E.A., and M.A.


I'll edit more actual play details into this post when I've got a moment and my notes are handy.