Saturday, October 27, 2007

Insane Skills!

As noted in the prior post, the skill cards needed a little updating. Both the Mage and Sage cards total 15, which meant that I had space for one more skill for each Ark (as the layout fits 8 to a page). So, there's two more Skolar skills for WEGS 101, and boy, are they insane... Insane because they use the Insanity stat for their success base. So, the more insane and Ark is, the better they will be at these...

Praetervision - Mage
Action Skill. Cost 1SP. Duration 4 innings. Range = Sanity (squares)
Allows Mage to sense unnatural things that dwell in the shadows or Etherlandish entities. Mage tests Insanity+20%.

Curses - Sage
Reaction Skill. Cost 1 - 4SP. Range = Spell Point Strength (squares)
Allows Sage to decrease any target's success base by 40% (thus the 4 spoint fee). These spoints are not factored in to the Sage's per inning total. As it's a Reaction Skill, it can be used at any time during the inning. This penalty can be lumped against one target or spread across multiple. So, the Sage can spread 40% across the field.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dodger and The Blitzy...

In the post below, I reference a skill called Dodger. My bad, that's technically not a WEGS 101 skill - but it is part of the Trickster Skill cards that we use at conventions. So, for those of you furiously paging through the rulebook - it ain't there. It is a powerful skill - the power trade-off is that it is a Reaction Skill, so using it forfeits an aggressive action. It's a big "get of of jail almost for free" skill. Def makes the Trickster hard to hit.

Funny story behind this skill and The Blitz. For the card layout, I can fit 8 cards per page. Warriors, Rangers and Tricksters start with 7 skills. I just couldn't stand the empty spot on these pages, so I added 1 more skill to have 8 per page. The Mage and Sage end up with 15 skills each (4 skills and 11 spells). So, those guys could use 1 more skill each. I'll fill it with a new spell...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dark Tower Days....

I've begun running demos of WEGS at a local gaming store called Dark Tower. They've got my WEGS 101 books on the shelf now, too! Sweet. Tonight's game/demo had three players:

Elf Ranger
Elf Ranger
Gnobbit Trickster

I tried to persuade them to have at least one Warrior, but didn't push it. They fought the following minions:

Hobgoblin Warrior / 66
Hobgob Warrior / 44
Hobgob Ranger / 44
Hobgob Ranger / 55

After 6 innings, I introduced a Hobgoblin Hero / 88 with extra wounds.

A simple demo that ended happily for the players. They managed to whack all three Warriors, and I had the two Hobgob Rangers run off for the hills. The game was quickly played and spoints were used freely. Two players burned some Phew! for Spoints - which is always a good sign! All three players picked up the game amazingly quick - and, as all three were Warhammer mini guys, they brought a strong strategy sense to the game.

The Trickster used the skill Dodger a lot during the game. At times this gave him 90% Invulnerabilty from my 88 attacks. This seemed a little too powerful, but it is a Reaction skill which causes a Skill Free Inning. This is critical to remember to keep the balance of the game.

Skill Free Innings matter, man!

Monday, October 22, 2007

WEGS At The Movies (WATM)...

The last four posts were all movie reviews - no, I haven't forsaken gaming. I've been vegging out with some horror flix the last couple of days to get me into the Halloween spirit. Watching good action/horror flicks is almost as much fun as gaming. They almost all boil down to an adventuring party with different weapons/skills who set off to face impossible odds. The first third of the movie is the character creation, the remaining two thirds is the encounter and resolution stuffing and frenzied dice rolling.

For as long as I can remember, I watch movies with WEGS in mind. I'm sure other folks do this for their own game systems, too. I'm always asking "How does WEGS handle this encounter?" I find that horror and adventure movies are easy to break down into a WEGS inning structure. Movie storylines are (mostly) chronological and the blow-by-blow action/fight scenes fall right into the game flow. I've always said to folks who don't understand this type of gaming that:

It's like playing your favorite movie, but the ending is up to the dice.

From Dusk Till Dawn...

From Dusk Till Dawn starts of as a crime thriller and switches midway to an all-out vampire horror fest. Inevitably, the movie boils down to one great good versus evil battle – more like bad versus evil given that all the “heroes” begin tainted. Clooney and Tarantino are ruthless thieves/murderers. Keitel is a man-of-god sans god. The rest of the denizens of the bar are bottom-of-the-barrel types. It’s the group’s conversion in the face of true evil that makes this a fun ride. Can’t help but to break down the characters to WEGS Arketypes:

The Sage
Harvey Keitel. The holy man, ‘nuff said. His “spell” use was the way his convictions boosted morale in the final battle. Once he found god again, the others all jumped on board. You could say that their combat stats were all raised by him (a la Blessed Warrior spell). He was also able to bless the water (spell effect that caused enchanted wounds to vamps) and keep the vamps at bay with his holy symbol (spell effect).

The Rangers
Both the kids in the film are Rangers. Juliette Lewis due to use of crossbow and guns. Ernest Liu due to use of water-pistol and holy water grenades. These two held down the ranged weapon attacks during the final battle. Due to their age, I’d even categorize them as Gnobbits (wee folk). The way that Juliette invades the same square as Clooney during the final shoot out is evidence of this…

The Warriors
Tom Savini with high Trickster marks (due to use of whip/gun and stealth combat techniques). Fred Williamson is a straight up hand-to-hand warrior with amazing Prowess stats.

The Tricksters
Clooney and Tarantino are Tricksters. Clooney’s main weapon was his Get The Point skill, which he uses beautifully throughout the movie. He gets high Warrior marks, too (due to his use of brute force/fists). His gun skill (ranged weapon) is pretty bad (couldn’t even hit the clerk in the first scene), so he must have a pretty low Ruggedness (or his dice rolls just suck!). His jackhammer weapon at the end is a wacky weapon that loans itself to equal parts Stealth and Prowess. I’d have to say that the Clooney character is a straight-up Trickster who has chosen Tough over Lucky (more Wounds than Spoints).

Tarantino is a tough one to call. He is equal parts Trickster and Ranger. He’s more of a shoot ‘em up type and gets high Ranger marks due to his gun/ballistic skills. He stinks at hand-to-hand combat and doesn’t stand a chance when the vamp jumps him. Even after Tarantino turns into a vamp, he still stinks in hand-to-hand, and is easily destroyed by the others who hold him down. He’d have Insanity marks higher than Sanity. I’d say that he’s a Lucky Trickster who uses his Spoints to counter his Insanity stat. He’d have to have a high Spoint pool as he’s the one the vamp selects to feast on first. He seems to be the Spoint prize (normally this would be the Sage, but as Keitel starts faithless, his Spoints have bottomed out).

In the end, only one Humnz Trickster and one Gnobbit Ranger survive.

That’s WEGS at the Movies, folks!

(or WATM - New tag for this blog...)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Evil Dead...

Yup - watched this one, too, this weekend. The movie wasn't as good as I remembered it. I totally forgot about the original Hills Have Eyes poster hanging in the root celler. Ha! All in all, the movie seemed goofier this time 'round. Toward the end, I got tired of the gore and fast-forwarded a bit (especially the cheezy undead melting effects).

Watching this was pre-con prep. We're running a WEGS scenario at Ubercon called From Dusk Til Dead, which is (in part) based on this movie. We're even equipping the party with a chainsword, which should be a very, very, interesting weapon. Kinda like the good, ol' vorpal blade on steroids... Powered by spoints, naturally. The weapon will be only as strong as the person wielding it - and it's not something that will last forever. That's why I like WEGS...

Noche Del Terror Ciego...

Another film review. Sorry - I'm on a movie kick lately, particularly horror, due to the season and the upcoming con. Noche... is a horror film from Spain, 1973. Called Night of the Blind Dead for the US release (they were cashing in on Night of the Living Dead craze). It was also called Revenge of Planet Ape to cash in on the Planet of the Apes craze (even though there isn't a single simian in it...). Is this movie about undead apes? Nope.

The movie opens with twelve or so Knights Templar riding into a Spanish castle. They have a virgin sacrifice with them. They perform a dark ritual with her that ends in each Knight biting her, and this imbues them, somehow, with eternal skeletal life on horseback. Ringwraiths, of sorts. The plot quickly switches to modern times (1970's). Two swinging Spanish girls (who share some dark uncomfortable college secret) have an accidental pool-side reunion (both in their bikinis). They are joined shortly by the one's boyfriend, who likes what he sees, and then invites the new girl (who he was just introduced to) to go "camping" with them. A threesome, of sorts. His girlfriend (Girl A) is none to happy about this. The next day they all get on a train to go camping (in their polyester leisurewear). On the train, there's some flirtation between the new girl (Girl B) and the boyfriend which sends Girl A steaming out of the railroad car. Girl B follows in pursuit and the two discuss the "uncomfortable situation" between them. We are treated to a flashback: the two girls in their college dorm room. Girl B makes some unwanted advances on Girl A. The flashback ends in a kiss.

Shortly, Girl A jumps off the train, leaving her boyfriend and Girl B to get on with their travels. These two see her running off into the woods and ask the conductor to stop the train. He informs them that the train can not stop at this point. It is an evil, evil area... Instead of jumping off the slow-moving train, they decide to just double-back the next day to find her. She, of course, must spend the night in the haunted castle of the Knights Templar, who arise from their crypts and slowly chase her for, what seems to be, hours. (The only thing slower in this movie is the earlier train.) The action culminates with the mounted skeletal Knights Templar chasing Girl A on horseback (she somehow gets a horse). This scene is a dead-ringer for the scene in Peter Jackson's Fellowship Of The Ring, where the wraiths chase Liv (sorry, I'm not in the mood for typing Elvish names at this point, especially when I've been reduced to calling the other characters Girl A and Girl B...).

Girl A's body is found and this kicks off a whole investigation that culminates in the boyfriend, Girl B, a Spanish smuggler and his girlfriend spending one swinging night in the castle. The dead rise and all hell breaks loose until dawn. There's a big subplot wherein Girl A reanimates as a zombie and then hunts down Girl B's office assistant in a city many miles away...

I'm not sure why any one of the twelve of you who read this blog would want to watch this. The movie is soooo bad on so many levels - but its soooo easy to enjoy. I'm sure none of the script quality was lost in translation either. See it for the pre-Jackson version of the Wraiths. I think these guys are creepier - especially the bearded one (who could have been Dr. Zaius, I suppose). See it for the creepy guy who hangs around the morgue playing with frogs. See it for the plethora of female mannequin torsos (there's a LOT of them and this film borders on strange fetish stuff throughout).

This film is weird - really weird. It's just one more reason to realize that the 70s were the last great age of entertainment when movies could be made just 'cause folks had a free weekend, a couple of cans of film, a semi-finished script and some skeleton props. And these flicks actually made it to the theatres without a single commercial product endorsement in this flick - end rant.

The best part is that this is just Part 1 of the director's quadrilogy. Yes... There's four of them! I'm tempted to see the next one - and that's more than I can say for the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise... As per the original movie poster for this film "It makes Night of the Living Dead look like a pajama party!"

Time to watch From Dusk Till Dawn...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dog Soldiers...

Quick movie review. Dog Soldiers (2002). Saw this film last night - British werewolf flick. Basic plot: Full moon. Small troop of solidiers doing some field training in the remote mountains of Scotland encounter a pack of werewolves. The troop stumbles upon a suspicious enviromentalist chick who happens to be in their neck of the woods and who takes them to a suspiciously empty farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. With limited ammo (which does nothing to the wolf pack onslaught), the heroes basically need to make it until dawn... Depite the goofiness of the werewolves (monstrously tall and rather rigid rubber costume), the film has enough flair and quirky humour/suspense blended in to make it a fun watch. It is almost identical to the action of Night of the Living Dead (heroes inside, monsters outside, until the monsters get inside in more ways than one) - but there's a whole Agatha Christie-esque blending of the plot, characters and mystery to keep this one from sinking. Just like in The Mousetrap, the little bits of humor never kill the suspense. And there are some very funny moments - like when one of the soldiers who finds himself facing a werewolf with nothing but a stick in his hands, just throws the stick and shouts "fetch". Another soldier just decides to start boxing with a wolf when his ammo runs out. And then there's the moment when a wounded soldier with his guts torn out is fighting with a normal dog who is trying to steal off with a piece of his intestine... And the Goldilocks undercurrent is just too good not to mention. Good stuff. There's a bunch of twists/turns to the plot, almost all predictable, but its still one I can highly recommend. And it would make the perfect WEGS Horror scenario, too...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Uber Flashback!

During the first week of November, WEGS is returning to our "home" con - Ubercon. I'm working on a press release for a local paper, and had to dig up some facts on WEGS. This Ubercon will be the official two year anniversay of launching WEGS games. I first unveiled WEGS at Ubercon in 2005 (seems a lot longer ago though... ). The game was then being called WEGS Copper.

Here's the original promo blurb I ran:

"An Ubercon premiere! Ages 16+. Rules taught! Familiarity with rpgs helpful. Join us round the gaming table for an introductory session of WEGS-Copper, the entry level for the Wickedly Errant Game System. WEGS is an old school sword and sorcery rpg that revels in the "let's get a game together tonight" mentality. Flavored with an air of whimsical high-fantasy, the rules are energized by an errant rule system which encourages players to take risks and, most of all, have fun. Players should do all they can to defy the odds because there's never any knowing what's going to happen next in the Wegsworld. It's all a matter of odds and gods - the odds of making the roll, the gods of chance. Come join us for marvelous adventure!"

I still use little bits and pieces of this for my current press releases - but, boy, has the system changed! There was a solid year of playtests and then re-writes all the way up to July of this year. With WEGS 101 now behind me, I'm focusing my energies on getting Copper to print.

And Ubercon is so close now, I can smell it...

Only a few weeks to go!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Dex Machina...

Last night's game with the NYC Nerds rocked. It was the perfect storm for me - great players, a superb scenario, frenzied dice and a new card mechanic to drive the plot. I ran the game solo (sans minion masters) for six players - which is probably my max for players. I always say seven players are best, but that's just my personal penchant for the number 7.

As noted below, I ran a brand-new scenario called "A Plump Half-Dead Merchant" based on the details found in the mother-of-all adventures, Keep On The Borderlands. This is a perfect adventure for WEGS 101. Sure there's lots of system modifications for the minions, but the setting is perfect. I highly recommend running it for your friends if you're into old skool antics. I'm partial to it, but I think it runs better under WEGS than the original D&D system.

I also introduced a new mechanic which I'm calling the "dex machina". Deck ex machina or the deck in the machine. Using a standard deck of playing cards with jokers in, each player starts with one card (no jokers allowed though). These cards, though held independantly, can be grouped by the party to forge the plot developments they want. Depending on the likelihood of their request or "wish", the kreator determines the card challenge from 1 to 12. 1 being easy, 12 being impossible. Based on this level, the same number of cards are dealt. So, for a Level 3 challenge, three cards are dealt. The players need to beat the cards that are dealt. If they do so, they win the plot. If they lose, they surrender an equal amount of cards back into the discard pile. Prior to each challenge, players may expend Phew! points for one or two additional cards for their hands. They can only hold three cards max in their hand at any one time (similar to the Dunge O' Doom mechanic). All players have to declare if they are in for the challenge or out. They either pledge their cards or they don't. The party can even fight each other for the outcome, splitting the table for those who want Option A to happen and those who want Option B. Whichever side ends up with the highest hand wins.

In last night's game, the party starts chained to a wall. The party decided that one of the shackles was shoddy and would allow a party member to escape. I determined that the likelihood would be a Level 6 challenge. All players pledge their cards. I dealt myself 6 cards and pulled a pair of fours and a Jack as my best hand. They looked over their cards and beat me with a pair of sevens. So, a plot point was set - there was a set of shackles from which one party member could escape. I rolled a supplemental die and determined it would take the party member 3 innings to get free. Since they won the plot, the cards that were played were discarded (the pair of fours, the pair of sevens and the other two cards). The remaining 3 cards from the kreator's hand were surrendered to the players who distributed them as they saw fit. So, in addition to winning the plot point, they also had a minor card replenishment. In the meantime, the Gnoll Mage had begun to cast/blast the spell Ethereality, and was soon making his way to the keys to release the full party from their chains as well...

Dex Machina is just in its infancy and ended up being a little too powerful in last night's game. It was a lot of fun letting the players create the plot. There's other rules to it that I did not cover above though. It certainly has potential for an interesting way for plot development.

I'll be posting a full review of the game on my site - so stay tuned!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Ye Old Skool...

Tonight I'm running Keep On The Borderlands, the classic D&D module that all us old-skoolers cut our teeth on. Should be interesting to see how it functions with WEGS as its engine. For those of you who know this module, I'm starting the players off as prisoners in the caves of the Hobgoblins. And for those of you who really, really know, that would be Room 24... As per the room description, there are six prisoners chained to the wall of this room. Tonight's players will have to pick one of the six as their character. Then the fun begins...

I've been knocking around with a new card mechanic, much different from the one I use for Dingbitt's Dunge O' Doom. This one allows the players to "wish" for things or direct the story arc in their favor. It also forces the players to come together as a team - at least for a short while.

Should be fun! Details will follow!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Three Innings Out...

Over the summer, at Origins specifically, we were running a Wegshog Round Robin (a session where each player has his hero character and a random group of minions to command). During these games we go head-to-head trying to prove who's the better player. The banter amongst the Wegshogs turns playfully vicious. This isn't just an in-game phenomenon, though - we're constantly berating each other every chance we get...

Now as some of you know, WEGS is played in innings, with a top and a bottom. Just like in baseball, one team goes and then the other. End of inning. As I recall this specific game, I was singlehandedly winning a two-front assault from Bob and Willy the 2. In my cocky "what did you expect, I created the game" way, I berated them prior to every roll of the dice. In an effort to make sure they realized who their daddy was I launched lengthy criticisms of why they sucked at playing the game and why I was, naturally, the better player. The crux of my argument was that:

I played the game three innings out...

At length I explained how (1) they only thought of their strategy the moment they picked up their dice on their turn, (2) that they had no concept of the word strategy, and (3) that I could actually start another game with some other players while I waited for them to finish a game I had already won last inning (which was still two innings away). It was great fun while it lasted, but needless to say, the "three innings out" line has been thrown in my face time and time again since then.

You can't win all of the games all of the time, but when the dice behave like proper steeds and allow you to command them to pull your chariot of the gods across the sky, ride it well into the night and drink heartily from the mighty cup of Hubris. Just know that the dice will abandon you as is their whim, and you will fall Icarus-esque to the feet of your friends who will then take turns plucking each and every feather out of your battered wings.