Season 3 Episode 12 - Let's Go to a Ball and Wear Masks

Welcome to Season 3 Episode 12 of RPG Circus

Episode Topics

  • Interview with Phil Vecchione and John Arcadia from the Gnome Stew about Engine Publishing's Product Masks
  • We offer up suggestions to Mark about his campaign of new players
  • We talk a little about the Sociology of RPGs


Show Links

No votes yet

Season 3 Episode 11 - To Skill or Kill

Welcome to Season 3 Episode 11 of RPG Circus

Episode Topics

  • Playing the Sidekicks
  • Skill Overkill


Show Links

For completeness, Here is the sections of Alex's Comment that we read online.

I have two comments regarding the discussion of playing in large or
small groups. The first point is about the difficulty of providing
equal spotlight to all players in large groups. In my groups of up to
seven players, I usually have one or two really quiet people. When I
ask them, they say they enjoy the game. I figured that they are either
casual players that just enjoy the company and the chaos at the gaming
table, or they just like imagining the events without necessarily
feeling the need to share what is going on in their head. That's how I
stopped worrying about unequal spotlight. The only thing I pay close
attention to is when shy people want to say something but they get
interrupted all the time. I'll make sure that everybody gets their
say, and if necessary that means we'll go around the table, player by

The second point is about NPC characters in the party, or secondary
player characters. In my D&D 3.5 campaign with up to seven players, I
still encourage people to create secondary characters. I have a house
rule saying that all player characters will turn into NPCs of the
campaign setting when they reach level 10 because I don't like how the
rules slow combat down at higher levels. I also have a house rule
saying that new characters start at level one. Thus, there is an
advantage of bringing in secondary characters: if your primary
character dies, or gets taken out of the game, your secondary
character is no longer on level one. I had read about this so-called
entourage approach in the old school fanzine Fight On. Secondary
characters get half XP and that really works for me.

No votes yet

Season 3 Episode 10 - There be Dragons Here!

Welcome to Season 3 Episode 10 of RPG Circus
Episode Topics
  • Our Views on the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG Beta
  • Dragons as Pets, Cohorts, and Mounts
  • Investigative Games - Moving Goalposts and Changing Endpoints
Show Links

RPG Circus Season 3 Episode 9 - How Do You Say 'Drow' Anyway?

Welcome to Season 3 Episode 9 of RPG Circus

Episode Topics

  • Why Drow Need to Eat Babies
  • Using Leads instead of Clues in Gaming
  • Legal Systems in Game Settings


Show Links

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (7 votes)

Review : Lamenations of the Flame Princess Grindhouse Edition

Last week, in Season 3 Episode 8 of the RPG Circus Podcast, we talked to James Raggi about Grindhouse Edition of Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Before that show, he was nice enough to send us a copy to prepare us for the show as well as to review. Since we done the show, it was time for a review.

One of first things you will notice about the product is the fact it's small. I think that's a selling point, This is something you could easily throw into backpack, luggage, or messenger bag (which is why I use for my gaming stuff). The books are about 7 inches by 9 inches. It bit of odd size, but since the printing is done in Europe and I'm an American, I'm not really familiar with the International Paper size standards.

There are three books in box with around 350 or so pages.

  • Tutorial
  • Rules and Magic
  • Refree

One of the more interesting pieces in this box set is the Tutorial book. I assume that the person reading it doesn't know what Role-Playing Games really are. For experienced people this seems like a waste of pages, but the truth is that things like this are needed. Hell, there is a D&D 4ed for Dummies book. I think this tells us something. It tells us there are people that want to Role-play but don't know how because the rule books themselves don't really tell you anymore. Why do you think the old Red Box was so important to so many gamers. It was where they learned to Role-play. I think my absolute favorite thing about this book is the essays on recommend reading authors. All too often we see a recommend reading list and we don't know anything about a certain author. Here James Raggi has put together some of recommend authors and written a short essay about each. This gives those reading them an idea about the author and the type of stories that they have written. I think this wonderful. All to often, I meet people who don't quite know who Jules Verne and H.G. Wells was.

In the Rules and Magic Book, you will find the rules. They are based in many ways on the older versions of D&D. Here will find where race does equal to class. Still James has his own spin on all these things. I think one of the ones I liked after giving it some thought was the rouge/thief class to specialist. I think this more accurately describes the class. After all most of the players are not common thieves. Hell anyone of any class/race could be a thief. All you have to do is still. Here the specialist takes on a more natural role of an adventurer with a wide range of skills to do just that. You will also not find hundreds of spells in this book. Not to sound lame, but most players can't remember all those spells and what they do. Here the choices are limited by varied. Something I think a new player could easily grasp while old players could instantly absorb and then move on to actually Role-Playing instead of looking up Spells and what they do. This is the only book that players will need to reference. Hell, just the summary charts on the back of the book enough for most people. One last note, I like how most weapons grouped into the Great, Medium, minor, and small categories, with those categories saying how much damage is done. I think this just makes for faster reference. Players can then also choose weapons based on what they think their characters would carry rather than based on the damage differences between a two-handed sword and a great axe, Here both weapons would do a d10 as they are both Great Weapons.

Finally, there is the Referee book, It's much smaller than the Rules and Magic Book. There really are not that many rules in this book. It mostly tells you how to be a Game Master and things you have do. It gives advices on NPCs, Adventures, Maps, Cultures, and even has an adventure. What you will not find in here is a list of monsters, instead they offer up rules on how to make the stat's you need for Monsters. I think Tim Kask would be proud, having once played Tim Kask at GenCon. I can say he was very much into creating Stuff on the spot without the need of rule books. Even if you don't like the idea of no monster stats, I think the monster section is a good read just for a different point of view.

So, your wondering, should I spend my hard earned money of this thing? Even if you never play LotFP, I think there is much to get out of simply reading the rules. However if you do that, I think you would be missing out on a lot. One last thing, while one could say that LotPF is "old school", I don't think so. While it has many elements of so called "old school" , It is a modern game with influences from games that James Raggi liked. Those games just happen to be what people call "old school"

If you want to pick up a copy of Lamentations of the Flame Princess, you can order it from the Lamentations of the Flame Princess Online Store.

Unboxing Pictures

The box before opening.

Everything is packed really tight

These are the second smallest dice I've seen.

The three rulebook of LotFP:Grindhouse Edition

No votes yet

Announcement: RPG Blog Alliance Open For Business

Greetings Fellow Bloggers and Podcasters,

I'm happy to announce the official opening of the RPG Blog Alliance. The RPGBA is the start of new Blog Community for RPG related Blogs and Podcasts. Like many such communities, at it's core it provides an RSS Aggregation Feed. So what set's the RPGBA apart from other such services you may ask? I think the following are some things that set us apart from other services.

  • User Profile, which can be updated by user
  • Ability for Users to Hide Posts From being shown in Feed
  • Email Verification of New Users
  • New Blogger and Podcaster Help via Wiki

Even with these features, some will ask why this even required, as there are similar sites out there. To which we say, Yes there are. The issue for me has always been that they just didn't seem like a community. We wanted to start a community. I wanted something that users could edit their own profile information without an administrator. I wanted simple to use administrator functions. We think we done that. We should note that we do not believe that the RPGBA is a replacement for any such site. For us, it is just simply a new community that we would like you to join.

We want you to help the community grow. We want the RPG Blog Alliance to be thriving thing. We want to hear your comments, we want to try to create new features based on user feedback. Basically, we want you involved. We look forward to seeing you join our community.

To join simply to go to RPG Blog Alliance, and click join us.

No votes yet

RPG Circus Season 3 Episode 8 - We have an invasion from Lamentations of the Flame Princess.

Welcome to Season 3 Episode 8 of RPG Circus

Episode Topics

  • We interview James Raggi from LotFP about the Grindhouse Edition of LotFP
  • We interview Zak S and Mandy from Playing D&D with Pornstars and I Hit It With My Axe about Vornheim: The Complete City Kit Relased by LotFP
  • We Discuss why you can't use your Creative Writing Course to run a RPG Session


Show Links

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

Faking Class, Or Can You Impersonate a Class and Win Friends?

Being an old gamer does have it's advantages. For one thing, I have a library of old gaming stuff that I can look through from time to time. Last night I was doing just that. I started reading an old Dragon magazine article about using Magic-user (This was for AD&D) spells to simulate another class. It even had lists of spells that could be used to simulate spells from other classes. There were even spells that could be simulated by faking it. After all a spell like Detect Evil, What's to prevent someone from saying they cast it and there was not results? This got me to thinking, could a player actually get away with saying that their character was another class?

One thing to start with is the fact that there are two points of view for the players. There is the in-character and out-of-character (meta-gaming) knowledge and perceptions. For example, if a player was wizard and trying to say he was rouge a few things would come up. First most players share too much meta-game information to make this work on a player to player basis. Second, even without share, meta-information players have might ruin the ruse. After all, players are going to demand that other players use certain class features and feats that other classes don't have. Take the rouge's sneak attack ability. People are going to suggest/demand that a rouge to use that ability. It sort of ruins the ability of players to "fool" other players . So on the surface player to player is sort of out.

What about player to non-player character (NPC), or NPC to player? Here is an area that has possibilities. As the Game Master, your not going to forcing your players to use certain class feats or features. This means that the players can make an NPC think the player's character is of a certain class, race, or even alignment. As a Game Master, you base an NPC's reactions based off of what the players present. The same is true of NPC's. Heck, it even works better that way. Many NPC's can just be a name and basic description. There is no need for classes, skills, or feats for NPCs that players are just going to interact with and not fight. As Game Master you may need to fake a stat, skill, or other characteristic, but you don't normally need to do so. In these cases, you can actually write that the NPC claims to be one class and the players normally take that at face value. Now, some of you might think you need to have disguise or bluff checks. I would say that things like that are only required if the NPC is doing something that might make someone guess that they are not who they say they are. Let's face it, you see a guy in a pointy hat. He has a wand and claims he's Mandrake the Wizard. Initially, do you think most people might guess he's not? Now, if a someone was dressed like a beggar and claimed he was a wizard, then you might be a little skeptical. Still for the most part we tend to accept people initially for who they claim to be. So at least from the in-game point of view, it's very easy to handle player's characters pretending to be other classes and the like. All they need is the right attitude, a few basic skills, and maybe a few spells or magic items to simulate another class. Although, the right attitude will get them pretty far.

So what about the first case, player to player. Could you fool other players? Normally, I'd say no. However, if you have a Game Master that willing to do the work with player then it's possible to do it short term. The reason I say it's short term, is that it's going to be a lot of work to keep things from the other players. First off, the player should know the game system pretty well. They are not going to be able to normally ask other players with help with certain rules or spell descriptions. They are going to have to work with Game Master how to do certain things. For example, let's say someone is pretending to be a rouge. The player could roll for the sneak attack damage, but give the Game Master the normal damage and the sneak attack damage. The Game Master would then just apply the normal damage. Since this sort of thing can not be kept up for long, I think both the player and the Game Master should find ways to work in clues that things are not what they seem. After all, this is going to be hard to do , even if I actually think this is interesting Role-Playing challenge for a player. I don't think the Player or the Game Master is going to be able to hide it from the other players for ever.

So what about you? Have you ever had your character to pretend to be another class? Was it just for NPCs or did you try to fool the party? If so, how hard was it? I look forward to seeing your answers.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Review: Weird West

Want a little Kung-fu, six-guns, and wizardry? Well that's what Weird West hopes you do. The description at Drive ThruRPG is as follows.

The streamlined and fast playing adventure roleplaying game for weird western worlds of cowboys, kung-fu, magic and otherworldly malevolence.

The entire rulebook so to speak is only 8 pages. It was done this way, so it can be in pocketmod format. As matter of fact when you purchase it off of Drive ThruRPG, you get both a pocketmod version and the standard version. The standard version is easily readable by both my Droid X smartphone and my Kindle DX. On my Kindle DX, I think the font seemed too big, but since this was designed to work with much smaller screens, I can understand that.

Character Generation is simple as a starting character you get four points to split among 4 attributes: Fighting, Grit, Magic, and Skill. The only one you need to have at least one is Grit. It is used to determine your Stamina Points, which is sort of like Hit Points in D&D. Each character will then choose a path: Adventurer, Gifted, Fighter, or Magician. These will provide the attributes modifiers as the characters advance in level. One thing that I did find interesting was how stamina points worked. Each session you roll you stamina points. You roll one die based on your path for each Grit point you have, which is why you need at least one when you first make up your character. If the roll is higher than what's you have currently, you use that one instead. I'm not sure if I understand the idea here completely. I guess it is meant as a way to make sure players have as many stamina points as possible.

Level advancement is at the groups choice. They get to decide when and if characters advance. Normally, I might consider this a cop-out but since this is simple game and I would not think that this is something to run a long term campaign with, I don't see this as a big issue. Like most level based games, players are assumed to start at level one

As was noted in the description, there is magic available. For each point of Magic, a player gets one spell/weird ability. In sense, nothing covered under mundane skills or mundane fighting is considered Magic. For example, if you want to be Kung-Fu person, you would need to have 1 point of magic so you could take Shaolin Monk. There are only a few abilities listed in the magic section. Enough to get you started, but there could be more in the future.

When your player attempts to do things, they are called 'Tasks'. A Task is resolved with a d6 with a five or greater indicating success. You get to add the relevant attribute and subtract the challenge level. All and in all pretty simple.

Combat in Weird West is pretty simple. Initiative is based off level, higher level characters go first. A fighting action is chosen. This can modify your fighting and your skill for that round. The attacker's modified fight and the target's modified defense is compared is cross referenced on a chart which gives you a target number to beat on d20. After looking at the chart, I would simply say, 10 + target's defense - modified fight is the number you need.

In addition to the rules to handle damage and healing, that's all that is in the rule book. Like many PocketMod games, you have to add additional material yourself. This is not a bad thing. games in this category are suppose to be simple and fast to play. A good Game Master should be able to scenario for this genre.

Overall, I think the rules do what they need to do. Be simple and allow someone to run a quick game. I'm likely going to print out the pocket mod version and put it with my Microlite20 PocketMod Rules. Which of course is in my backpack. The only thing that would help is an adventure in PocketMod format. Sadly because my current group doesn't do much beyond D&D, I'll have to wait for some people that are open to non-D&D games.

Weird West is available for 1 USD at Drive ThruRPG

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Season 3 Episode 7 - So a Guy Walks Up to You in a Bar

Welcome to Season 3 Episode 7 of RPG Circus
Episode Topics
  • The Environment in Which We Game
  • The Number of Players a GM Can Handle
  • Pros and Cons of Patrons
Show Links
Syndicate content