Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cross-Blog Promotion

I love internet contests.  I also love the fact that so much gaming material is available online.  When I started out as a gamer I had to wait for the next issue of the General or Autoduel Quarterly to read the lastest rules explanations and expansions.  Now all one has to do is a quick Google or forum search and  one can have rules clarificaitons and a whole adventure at their fingertips.

William Dowie over at Ramblings of a Great Khan is running a contest of his own.  He's looking for people to write rpg adventures with an Ancient Rome theme.  He plans to put all of these adventures online after he gets them.  That is awesome because free adventures are the GMs best friend.

Part of the reason that I started this blog is that I want to be more creative and productive with my gaming habits, rather than just buying and collecting stuff.  My short term gamer goal is to enter an adventure into this contest.  I hope some of you will, too.  As a GM with tons of other stuff to do, the availability of free rpg adventures on the interent has been a big help to me.  Check out William's blog and send him an adventure so we can have some more awesome free adventures out there on the web.

Also, congratulations to William for winning my copy of Himmler's War.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Episodic RPG Campaign

My group ran into an issue last year.  We were in a rebuilding year; our old GM had moved and we were tentatively adding more players.  We got to a point where we had a nice stock of PCs in the campaign.  The issue was that it seemed rare to have everyone able to make it to our sessions.  Someone had to work, someone had to go out of town; the real world was assaulting our ability to run an in depth campaign.  Players gave me the option of running their PCs for them in absentia but that just didn't feel right to me.

I had an idea.  Rather than try to run a long campaign, I would break up each session into an episode.  We have been playing a standard fantasy "kill monsters and take their stuff" game so I would run each session as an independent kill the monster scenario.  My rationale was that the PCs had become famous for their daring deeds and were now being hired out as monster exterminators.  Whoever showed up to the session determined which PC's were hired for that episode.

I now plan for each session to be a self-contained 3 hour episode.  Whoever can show up to play will be in that session, and if someone can't make it then that's okay.  I just make up a reason for their PC not being there.  For each adventure is the basic challenge and when it is defeated the PCs "win" that adventure.  Next session there will be a new challenge, and whoever is around to fight it will.  I have had to change some of the long running plots but overall we are keeping out momentum.

That's how we have dealt with the issue of having players who can't show up every session regularly.  I know this is an issue every group deals with.  How does your group deal with it?  Feel free to comment.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Free Book Giveaway!

I love internet giveaways.  I have received quite a few cool things from them and have given out a few cool things as well.  I am a collector of stuff and I have to work hard to make sure my house doesn't collapse under the weight of all the games, books, and action figures that I bring home.

So I am giving away a copy of the book Himmler's War by Robert Conroy.  I wrote a review of it in my last post, it was okay in my opinion but you might think it's awesome.  I was going to take this puppy down to the used book store but I would rather send it directly to someone who would enjoy it.  The book is still in excellent condition; I am a bibliophile who  cringes at the sight of a broken spine on a paperback.  I will ship it for free to US residents.  How can you win my copy?

Send me an email at 4d6drop1 AT earthlink DOT net with the subject line "Free Book".  In the email,  tell me your name, address, and the title of the last book that you read.  That's all.  Send your emails by midnight CST on January 18.  I will randomly pick a winner the next day and send you the book.  I don't think many people are reading this blog so your odds of winning are favorable.  Good luck!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Review - Himmler's War

Besides gaming I love to read.  In fact I think that loving to read is a must if you want to play rpgs.  I read mostly science fiction, although my tastes are varied.  For a few years I have been recording the books that I have read.  Since I want to share things on this blog, I guess I will share a book that I recently read.

Himmler's War is an alternate history novel written by Robert Conroy.  If you are not familiar with the genre, alternate history involves "what if" scenarios depicting what would happen if historical events went differently.  Harry Turtledove is an author who has written a whole series of books based on the idea of the South winning the American Civil War.  Robert Conroy has written other books in this genre that I have read.  I enjoyed his other books and I thought the tank on the cover was cool, so I decided to give this book a try.

The main idea of Himmler's War is that Hitler is killed in a bombing raid in 1944.  Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, takes control of the Reich.  With Hitler out of the picture the German army can finally make rational military decisions and the war continues.  There are also hints of a German super-weapon in the making.

I like history and I really like alternate history.  I like Robert Conroy because unlike some other authors I read he focuses on the historical characters and doesn't insert a bunch of awkward sex scenes into his book.  Unfortunatly, Mr. Conroy's editor must have asked him to insert a bunch of sex scenes into this book.  There were a ton in Himmler's War.  It is like someone said, "Do you know what readers want after this scene with Eisenhower?  A steamy sex scene!"  There were so many that it detracted from the main plot.

The overall book was ok.  I would give it 3 out of 5 stars.  If you are a fan of alternate history I would read another one of Mr. Conroy's books instead of this one.  Try Red Inferno: 1945, which deals with a  war between the US and USSR right after WWII.  That book makes me want to run mash-up game of GURPS WWII/Twilight 2000.  As for Himmler's War, I got some enjoyment out of it but I will be taking my copy to the used book store.

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

I am a gamer.  I love to play board games, role playing games, card games, you name it.  I love gaming because it is an active and creative hobby.  I enjoy using my mind and my imagination.  Because of my love for games I tend to collect a lot of them.  I have many awesome games that sit on my shelves, tempting me with their coolness.

This brings me to my gaming resolution for 2013.  My goal is to play 10 board games that I haven't played before, and 2 rpgs that I haven't played before.  I also plan to write about the games I play, since things are better when you share (to paraphrase Oprah).  My hope is to channel more energy into the enjoyment of the games that I own.