Monday, May 30, 2011

Geeks & Goblins is Back With More RPG News and Reviews

After a long hiatus Geeks and Goblins is back and better than ever. We will be bringing you more RPG news and reviews.  Stay tuned for more.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ke$ha "Tik Tok" Music Video Parody "Warlock"

I thought I would post this parody of Ke$ha's "Tik Tok" called "Warlock" for all you WoW gamers out there.



Sunday, September 19, 2010

GM Flashback: After the Bomb - Gun Bunnies

In "GM Flashback" I talk about various campaigns that I have GMed over the years, some memorable and others that I would rather forget.  This week I am writing about a particularly fun After the Bomb adventure that I ran several years ago while I was living in Lowell, Massachusetts.  For all of you that are unfamiliar with the After the Bomb system, it is a Palladium Books system that allows for the creation of mutant animal characters, and has a feel similar to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The standard setting for this system is a post-apocalyptic future in which a society of mutant animals fights against the tyranny of the Empire of Humanity.

My group had just created a band of mutant animals consisting of a bunny, a chimpanzee, a badger, and a rhino.  These characters were part of an animal resistance movement designed to destabilize the human war-machine. Recently several animal outposts had been attacked by the Empire of Humanity and many animals had been taken prisoner.  One of the animals that had been captured was the bunny's husband, and it was that event that drove her to join the resistance. The group was assigned the mission of scouting out the area to the west in hopes of finding out what had happened their compatriots.

After traveling for several days on foot, the group came to the top of a ridge that overlooked a military fortification in the middle a forested valley.  The facility consisted of a large two-story building and a courtyard, surrounded by a fence and watchtowers.  Inside the courtyard were an APC, some jeeps, and a helicopter.  It also looked as if there was a recess bay with a lift build into the floor of the courtyard.

The group surveilled the base for a day.  They noticed that there didn't seem to be a large presence of military personnel, and at one point they observed mutant animal prisoners being escorted into the facility.  The players felt that this was likely the base where their friends had been taken and decided that they needed to act quickly to help rescue them.

The players devised a plan to breach security and gain access to the base.  First, the team would approach the facility and dig a tunnel under the base to the side of the building.  There, they would detonate an explosive charge and breach the wall of the building on a basement level.  They would then attempt to rescue any animals they could, create a diversion, and steal an APC, which they would use for their escape.  A good idea if all went as planned, but we know that never happens.

Everything seemed to be going well as the team descended into the valley and approached the base.  The badger began to quickly dig a tunnel from the forested area toward the large building.  The badger's claws and natural digging skills allowed him to dig a 50ft tunnel in a matter of only four hours.  At the end of this time, the badger dug his way to a concrete wall, which he assumed was the outer wall of a basement level.  The chimpanzee, who had be trained in demolitions, attempted to placed a C4 charge on the concrete wall and set a timer with enough time to exit the tunnel before it exploded.  This is where it gets interesting.  The chimpanzee player rolled a 100 for his skill check, which in my game is always a fumble, and a fumble on a demolitions skill is never pretty.  The chimpanzee accidentally bridged a connection on the C4 detonator as he attempted to set the charge, causing it to explode in his face.  The rest of the party was seized with terror as chunks of chimpanzee shot out from the tunnel and rained down on them.  Amazingly, the tunnel remained intact and the concrete wall had been breached.

A klaxon sounded as the blast alerted the base to the presence of intruders.  The players rushed into the tunnel and hoped they would find there friends quickly.  They found themselves in the middle of a research facility.  As they rushed from room to room they saw all kinds of horribly botched experiments involving the fusion of animals with cybernetic components.  The players encountered a series of automated defenses, including a ceiling mounted mini-gun, which they dispatched with the use of a couple grenades.  One of the players decided to hack into the facilities computer networks and download crucial research data that might be useful to the resistance.

After fighting a squad of human soldiers and researchers, they came across a room with a rabbit strapped to a chair.  Most of his body had been replaced with cyborg parts, including his arms and legs and half of his face.  The bunny character recognized this was her husband.  She was terrified and angered by what had happened to him.  She freed him from the chair, as he explained what happened to him and the other animals.  He told them where the others were being held, and the group rushed off to save them.

The group located the room with the remaining prisoners, dispatched the guards, and freed the remaining six animals that have survived experimentation.  They rushed to a large cargo lift, on which was a truck.  The bunny attempted to hotwire the truck, as ceiling opened up and the lift came to rest on the ground level in the middle of the courtyard.  Waiting for them was a squad of human soldiers and a large robot.

The rhino attempted to go toe-to-toe with the robot, while the badger laid down cover-fire with a machine-gun.  The bunny was having a hard time getting the truck to start.  The cyborg rabbit took out many of the infantry, by jumping into the high into air and landing on them.  The rhino realized he had bitten off more than he could chew, as the robot landed a gut shot that sent him flying into a stack of cargo crate.  Luckily, one the cargo crates the rhino landed on contained a bazooka and two rockets.  As the robot went after the cyborg bunny, tearing off one of his legs, the rhino loaded a rocket into the bazooka, took aim, and fired at the robot.  The explosion tore off a large chunk of the robot's armor plating, revealing it's sensitive electronics inside.  The badger noticed this, and capitalizing on this opportunity, ran up to the robot and jammed a live grenade into the exposed area.  The explosion caused the robot to collapse into a pile of rubbish.  Meanwhile, the bunny had managed to get the truck started, and they all loaded on board.

They crashed the truck through the base's gate and proceeded to drive back toward their home.  Soon, they heard the tell-tale sound of a helicopter in the distance, and a missile streaked past them, causing them to almost crash as the bunny swerved to avoid the giant crater the explosion had left.  The rhino loaded the last rocket into the bazooka, took aim, and BLAM, a critical hit!  The chopper came down in a flaming twisted mess.  The players had saved the day, and so ended a great adventure, as our characters drove off into the sunset.


Have you and your group had some wild adventures you would like to talk about?  Please tell us about them in our comments section.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

King Richard's Faire Review

This past weekend, looking for some excitement, I decided to venture back in time to the year fifteen-something-or-other to attend the festivities at King Richard's Faire.   King Richard's is a Renaissance Faire held from September through October in Carver, Massachusetts, just south of Boston.  Renaissance food and drink, shops, and various shows can be found within the fair grounds, which reside in the middle of a quaint forested area. King Richard's Faire has an atmosphere that is a mixture of historical Renaissance, medieval, and Tolkienian fantasy, which can be seen in the multitudes of fair-goers dressed as elves, fairies, and other mythical creatures.  All of the performers and shopkeepers, and about half of the fair-goers, are avid enthusiasts who dress in character for the event. The architecture and design of the fair grounds seem to be reminiscent of a carnival with brightly colored stages and games of chance mixed in with Renaissance-esque cottages which are homes to many of the fair's shops.

There are several stages throughout the fair that offer a range of entertainment including stunts, dance, comedy, and animal shows, just to name a few, and tournament field where the fair's jousting tournaments take place.  The stage performances were better than what I had expected for a Renaissance fair, and I actually felt like I was getting my money's worth for the entertainment.  While at the fair, I witnessed several shows which I truly enjoyed. "The Torture Show", a stunt/illusion show, features a performer that breathes and juggled fire, hammers spikes into his face, and inserts weighted hooks into his eyes.  "The Mud Show" is a gross-out comedy performance in which two beggars compete to be the most disgusting men of the fair by doing such things as drinking and eating mud.  "The Challenge of Champions" features several armored knights on horseback competing in numerous games, including jousting.  The jousting was entertaining, but seemed to lack historical authenticity, while taking on a more WWE male soap opera feel.  I was also present for one of the contests that the fair runs every Saturday.  This week it was "The Cleavage Contest." This was one of the most entertaining pieces of the fair and not for the chauvinistic reasons you might expect.  The contest, in which all of the contestants are fair-goers, involved a tremendous amount of audience participation and was filled with spontaneous comedy and wit.  One thing that I felt was a bit annoying about the entertainment was the constant begging for tips. At the end of every performance a hat is passed around while the performers beg.  After paying $26 just to enter the fair, I felt that this was a bit of a slap in the face.

The food and drink of the fair was descent carnival-type food, but seemed to be lacking in historical authenticity.  Turkey legs, stew in bread bowls, and chicken tenders, are just some of the items available at the fair.  For drinks, beer, wine, and mead (a drink made from the fermentation of honey) are available.  The yards of beer (Coors light and Killian's) are served in long plastic decanters (which many fair-goers stacked to make into walking sticks).  I felt the beer choices limited and not very authentic and would have preferred a choice of several ales.  The fair requires that all food and drinks be paid for with food tickets, that must be purchased in lots of five dollars at booths throughout the fair.  I felt this to be a little deceptive and an annoyance, forcing me to return to the ticket booth several times when I was just one ticket short of being able to buy a snack.

A multitude of shops are scattered throughout the fair grounds.  These shops feature wares including period clothing and costumes, weapons, musical instruments, and other accessories, most of which are hand-made by the shopkeepers.  I felt that there was a great range of items available at the fair, but the prices on those items were a bit exorbitant (nearly $500 for a sword).  I also felt that in many of the clothing shops the associates were friendly and helpful, but often very pushy. In one store I was forced to try on a leather vest that I wasn't even interested in.  This pushiness was also present in many of the barkers for the rides and games of chance at the fair, and many times I was heckled just for walking by a game.

In all, I felt that King Richard's Faire was a worthwhile experience.  The shows are fun and refreshing, the food is good, and the shops offer specialty wares that can be hard to find.  While it has it downsides, like the heckling and begging of the performers and relatively high prices, the positives seem to outweigh the negatives.  I had a great time and would definitely recommend this fair to anyone.



Come see all the great pictures of this event at the official Geeks & Goblins page on Facebook.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

D6 Star Wars Revival

I recently started a Star Wars campaign with my group.  At first I had planned on using the D20 version of Star Wars.  I have used D20 Star Wars in the past and I have never been fully satisfied with the overall feel.  It's always left me feeling that I had just spent a couple hours play Dungeons & Dragons but with blasters, lightsabers and wookies.  Whenever I searched for Star Wars role-playing I would always come up with posts about West End Games D6 Star Wars, a system that has been out of print for over a decade.  I had never tried this system before, but the forums seemed to be loaded with nothing but praise for this system, so I decided to give it a try.  I was able to locate a pdf version of the revised and expanded second edition of the game floating around in the torrents.  I read up on the rules and fell in love with this system.  I liked it so much that I ended up hunting down a real copy off of Amazon.

There are a lot of things that I really love about this system.  First, is the deadly nature of combat. D20 always irked me when a level 20 character could take shot after shot from a low-level character and just shrug it off as nothing.  In this system, blasters kill, and if combat breaks out you better duck and cover before you end up a smoldering pile of ashes. This makes players think twice before drawing that blaster or lightsaber, and if combat is inevitable, then they better be smart and use cover and appropriate skills and tactics.

Another problem that used to bother me with the D20 system was how combat between characters and vehicles seemed to clash, and there had to be three different sets of rules for combat: one for characters, one for ground vehicles, and one for starships. The D6 system resolves this simply by using a scaling combat system that unifies combat with character, vehicles, and starships. Weapons become progressively less effective as they attack larger-scaled vehicles and more effective as they attack smaller-scaled vehicles.

The next thing I really loved was how West End Games dealt with character classes.  Instead of character classes they used a character archetype system, where players could either choose characters from pre-made templates or make their own.  The pre-made character templates are great for players new to RPGs. They are all very well designed, with full write-ups for background, and there are many to choose from.  More advanced players will love the fact that they can design there very own archetype from the ground up.  If you want to play a ewok bounty hunter or a twi' lek loan, shark you can.

I also loved how D6 made Jedi hard to play.  In D20 it is too easy to play a jedi character, they honestly have a severe advantage over other character classes with the force skills and feats they receive.  In D6 Jedi are still powerful, but they actually start off somewhat weaker than other character archetypes.  Players that want to play Jedi character really need to invest time and character points in their character in order to get the eventual payout of very powerful force skills.  Falling to the darkside is also a real threat to force sensitive characters, especially Jedi.  If players don't role-play their Jedi carefully they may end up losing that character to the darkside forever. 

It is a real shame that this system went out of print, considering it is vastly superior to their D20 counterpart. These rules really added that "Star Wars" feel to the game.  Hopefully D6 will make a comeback in the future once people realize that D20 is more about making money than making a decent game.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Best Role-Playing Game Movies of All Time

The Gamers: Dorkness Rising
While being the sequel to The Gamers, Dorkness Rising in many ways surpasses its predecessor.  This movie follows the adventure of a new group of RPG players as they invite a new player into the group, a girl!  Dorkness Rising is filled with the same biting sense of humor that was in the original movie.  The hilarity of this movie is complete with a lascivious bard who gets killed at every turn, a gender bending chaotic evil sorceress who love to nuke innocent villagers, an elven monk (occidental might I add), and a female fighter with a low strength and high intelligence that would rather talk her way out of a bad situation. Watch The Gamers: Dorkness Rising

<a href="http://www.linkedtube.com/EwtH5oQqHPg1e1448ea673ff605afd38db0f8d16b1b.htm">LinkedTube</a>

The Gamers
The first movie to follow a group of role-playing gamers as they embark on an adventure to confront "The Shadow."  While done on a low budget, the writing in this movie is superb.  You will never forget the backstab with a ballista, the loooong shot critical, the failed trap sneak attempt, or the unforgettable ending of this film. Watch The Gamers


 Gamers
While not related to the other two The Gamers movies, this movie is still funny in the same.  This mockumentary follows the escapades of some long-term gamers as they attempt to break the world record for number of hours playing Demons, Nymphs, and Dragons.

The Guild
While technically a webshow and not a movie, I just had to add this series.  The Guild follows the daily lives of a guild of MMORPG players.  If you were ever into WoW, you need to see this.  Watch The Guild 

<a href="http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-us&amp;fg=Xbox_Channel_guild_player_final&amp;vid=6f31eb66-4360-439a-ad62-f2bdf28f550e" target="_new" title="Season 3 - Episode 1: Expansion Time">Video: Season 3 - Episode 1: Expansion Time</a>


Dungeons & Dragons: Wraith of the Dragon God
While not the greatest movie in the world, Wraith of the Dragon God definately did capture the feel of 3rd Ed. D&D.  Please do not confuse this with Dungeons & Dragons, which this movie plays sequel too, Dungeons & Dragons is one of the worst movies of all time.

 Krull
This classic B fantasy movie from the '80s is one of my favorites.  In Europe it was actually released as Dungeons and Dragons.  It is a great mix of high adventure fantasy with a comic twinge.  The best part is that you get to see a young Liam Neeson as a bumbling rogue.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Overcoming a Critical Impasse

After being at a critical impasse for several weeks about certain game dynamics concerning game theory, I was finally able to think of a solution which involves a change in the use of attribute numbers and skill dice.  Due to these changes in game dynamic I will need to re-write a portion of the game, but the revised version should have the feel I am looking for while retaining the games integrity on a mathematical level.  I am truly beginning to feel that this game will be vastly superior to any other role-playing game that is on the market today.  These changes have also had an impact on play-testing, and a new schedule for a beta release will be announced once the changes have been applied.  Thank you for your patience.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Progressing Slowly But Surely, Playtesting to Begin Shortly

I am still working deligently on Epic Fantasy TM, although it is taking a lot longer than I originally had planned.  I have a working logo, which I will post on here once I get it trademarked.  The manuscript is still very rough.  I have a couple of friends working on illustration, which will take a while to finish.  I am still looking for someone to do the cover art.  The good news is that the game is nearing the playtesting phase.  If anyone is interested in playtesting the game, please contact me.  Anyone that playtests and gives substantial feedback on the game will be given a free PDF version of the game when it is finished.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Creating My Own RPG

Hi, sorry I haven't posted in a while.  I have been busy working on my own pen & paper RPG.  The system will be entitled Epic Fantasy.  It is a fantasy RPG with a setting similar to D&D, but should be a complete reinvention of the genre.  I am shooting for a streamlined dice system that will be easy for beginners, but get progressively more advanced as characters progress.  It will have about 20 classes with 10 distinct races, an extensive magic system with arcane, divine, and mental magic, and a combat system that is both realistic and easy to use.  This comes from over twenty years of role-playing experience.  I am currently about fifty percent done.  I still need to finish some GM chapters and a bestiary section, get the artwork finished, then type-set it in publisher to make it look nice.  I plan on having it ready in PDF format by the end of March or April.  I will post a play-test version here when it is finished, and the full version will be available on RPGnow.  I will keep you guys updated as it gets closer to being finished.  If you have any suggestions, I am all ears.  Thanks, and wish me luck!

Friday, November 27, 2009

EVONY - Review


Recently, you may have seen a lot of ads for an internet game called Evony. It seemed pretty interesting, so I decided to give it a try and review it for you guys.


First, I would like to say that the advertisements for this game are a little misleading. They show pictures of big breasted women dressed in medieval clothing with sayings such as "save the queen". These ads have nothing to do with the game.

Evony is a medieval MMORTS (Massively-Multiplayer Online Real-Time Strategy) game, in which you build your our city, raise an army, and use it to attack other players. The concept is simple, but game can actually become pretty complex. Evony is completely free to play and is free of in-game advertisements. Players can purchase game coins with real money that they can use to buy in game power-ups in the game shop, giving these players an advantage. The purchase of game coins is entirely optional though and not required to play the game.

The real-time strategy component works well in the massively-multiplayer context. The players city goes on working, whether they are logged in or not, leaving players constantly worrying that their city will be attacked while they are gone. Players can plunder the cities of other players, robbing them of their vital resources. To counteract this, players can defend their cities with various fortifications and traps. Players can also band together into alliances to better help defend themselves. One aspect that is unique to this kind of game is that Evony gives new players a 7-day window of protection, during which they cannot be attacked by other players, allowing them to build up their defenses.

I have been playing for a little over a week now and the game just keeps getting better. If you want to give it a try head on over to http://www.evony.com/. I am currently playing on Server 100, character name StrykerX, feel free to say “Hi.”

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition- The Vista of the RPG World


When I first heard that a fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons was coming out I was psyched. I thought, maybe they will streamline the system and fix some of the minor flaws that still existed in 3.5. I got my hands on a pre-release edition a couple months before its actual release, and I was mortified by what I saw. I knew I should never have trusted Wizards of the Coast. They turned D&D into nothing more than a miniature table-top war game.

Gone are the days of TSR, when background and plot trumped the rules, when a battle grid and 500 miniatures weren't part of the requirement to play the game. When WotC made D&D 3.0 I was angered by the start of their merchandising trend. When 3.5 came out I began to feel a little better, at least the rules made sense, but 4th Ed. come on! It's just 300 pages on how to play a combat game.

Granted, I understand the business reasons behind why WotC did what they did. The more products you make necessary to play the game, the more profit you will make. It started in 3.0 with all of the supplemental material, most of which is useless. But why push even harder with miniatures, didn't they learn their lesson with the Chainmail line of miniatures. This move will backfire on them.

What really pisses me off is their move to give everyone tons of special abilities. There is no explanation why some of these classes even have powers. I can understand why a cleric can heal someone; they have divine healing power, but explain why can a warlord do the same thing? Leave the special abilities to the magic classes and just leave the fighter as the hack 'n slash class, please!

In all, I think that Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition is a step backward in the evolution of RPGs. WotC has produced a table-top product that aims to mimic the action of computer role playing games, such as World of Warcraft, at the expense of the true nature of pen & paper RPGs. In my opinion D&D 4th Ed. is the Vista of the RPG world.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Get Started Playing RPGs

This is for all of the people out there that may have heard of Dungeons & Dragons or other RPGs and are curious as to what they are and what you need to start playing.

First, if you don't know what an RPG (Role Playing Game) is, imagine your favorite movie. Now imagine that you and your friends get to play the characters in that movie, making all of the decisions and moving the plot forward to the final resolution. You will be the ones that go on the epic quest, solve the riddles, slay the dragon, and loot his treasure horde. Basically, you and your friends get to sit down together and create a story by playing something similar to board game. RPGs, like board games, are governed by rules and probability. There will be a book, or series of books, that explain the rules and setting for a given system, like Dungeons and Dragons or Vampire. Each of the players will create a character or persona that they will play the role of during the game. One person will take on the role of designer and referee, this person is typically called a GM (Game Master) or DM (Dungeon Master). The GM/DM's role is to learn the rules well and then use them to create a basic outline of an adventure that the player will go on. The GM/DM will also play all of the other characters and monsters that the players will encounter on their adventure. The players will then go on the adventure created by the GM/DM, making decisions governed by the games rules and using dice rolls to determine the success of their actions. When an adventure has concluded, the players are awarded experience points that they can use to improve their character's abilities and powers. If the players and GM continue to play the same characters over the course of several adventures, then this is typically referred to as a campaign.

Now that you know the basics of what an RPG is and how one is played, here is what you will need to get started:

1) Friends - Your will need at least two other players, preferably four or five, to play the game with you. You can run a game with as little as one other person, but it usually isn't anywhere near as much fun.

2)Books - Every system has at least one core rule book, some may divide the system into two or three books, one for players, one for GMs, and one with monsters. There are many different genres: fantasy, sci-fi, horror, super heroes, etc. If you are unsure what game system to play, here are some good ones to start with:

 Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 (D&D 3.5)- This is a basic and easy to learn fantasy role playing game. Characters can make wizards, warriors, thieves, and other similar medieval and magical characters. D&D 3.5 should not be confused with D&D 4.0, which I feel has some major flaws.


Buy the D&D 3.5 Player's Handbook from Amazon
Buy the D&D 3.5 Dungeon Master's Guide from Amazon
Buy the D&D 3.5 Monster Manual from Amazon

Vampire: the Reqiuem - This is a role playing game made by White Wolf that allows player to make and play different kinds of vampires in a dark an gloomy modern setting.





Buy Vampire: the Reqiuem from Amazon


Call of Cthulhu - This is a horror role playing game based on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft. It is typically set in the 1920's. It is a very unique and wonderful setting, highly recommended if you have ever played any of the To Host A Murder games but want a supernatural twist.


Buy Call of Cthulhu from Amazon

You will need to at least purchase the core books for the system. For Dungeon & Dragons 3.5 this means the Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, and Monster Manual. There are plenty of additional source books available as well that will provide pre-made adventures, extra classes, races, abilities, monster, and complete game settings, but these are optional.

3) Dice - Depending on the system you are playing it will require sets of different sided dice. Hobby dice typically come in sets with dice that have 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 20 sides. Some systems uses all 10-sided dice, while other use only 6-sided dice. Dungeons & Dragons will uses the full set, and it is recommended that you have two sets and a couple extra 6-sided dice.

Buy Hobby Dice from Amazon

4) A GM/DM - Someone will have to devote themselves to learning the rules well. They will then create the adventures for the group to go on and referee the game.

5) An Adventure - You will need an adventure for the players to go on. The GM can either create his own adventure from scratch using the rule books, or he can purchase a pre-made adventure. For a first-time GM I would recommend using a pre-made adventure, they are very well designed and will take off the pressure of designing an adventure, so that the GM can just focus on the rules for the first game.

Buy D&D Adventure: The Sunless Citadel from Amazon

Well, that's about it. You are on your way to having some awesome adventures. Good luck with your game!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Worst Players Ever

Over the years, I have had many players come and go in my campaigns. Some were awesome players that blew my mind with their roleplaying and would always be able to out-think my traps in puzzles. I will always remember them. But also, I will remember my worst players. The ones that would cheat and steal and backstab their comrades. They will forever live in infamy.

One such player came into one of my Rifts campaign, already being an expert on the game. I should have known then that he would be a rules nazi, but I gave him a chance, figuring that he was an experienced player and might be a good addition to the team. I was wrong. When he made his first character, a glitter boy pilot, I new I had a power gamer on my hands, but I told myself "maybe he will actually play the class correctly for once." Again, I was wrong. He was an ingenious player, I will give him that, I have never seen a glitter boy used in the ways that he attempted. First, he tried to make a shield out of MDC plate for his bot. I explained to him that the suit was never designed for that purpose, but he begged and pleaded, and I eventually caved and gave him drastic penalties for using the shield. Next, he started to abuse the sensors that the glitter boy suit has, and even made up some that it doesn't. I caught him on those lies. The final straw, was when another player saw him steal change from my couch. He was not invited back for next weeks session.

Leave a comment and let me know about your worst players.

Pen & Paper RPGs Vs. MMORPGs


With the prevalence of MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and The Lord of the Ring Online, I am constantly being confronted with the question of "Why play pen and paper role-playing games, when WOW is so much better?" It is obvious when I hear this that either these people have never played a pen & paper RPG or have done so with a bad GM. I have played WOW and several other MMORPGs extensively, but yet I still keep coming back to pen and paper RPGs time and time again. In my opinion, pen and paper RPGs are vastly superior to their computer counterparts for many reasons.

First, there are severe limitations to the game play in MMORPGs. It seems that the major focus of most MMORPGs is combat, plain and simple. Almost all of a character's abilities are combat orientated, or if they are not, then they are used to support the group in a combat situation (ie. buffs and heals). Rarely in MMORPGs do I see abilities that allow players to alter the game environment in permanent and lasting ways. In fact, quests which should have a lasting impact on the world, just simply reset once the player completes them, as if nothing had ever happened. Only in a pen and paper RPG can players go on meaningful quests, which have a far reaching impact on the world that they play in.

Second is the creative component. MMORPGs can only be played from the player character's perspective, unless you happen to work for Blizzard. With pen and paper RPGs an experienced game master can build and design the world in which he would like his players to adventure in. As a GM, I often find the design element of pen and paper RPGs to be much more fulfilling than playing in someone else's world. When you run your own games, it is very rewarding to hear the excitement of your players and know that you were responsible for it.

Finally, there is the social factor. While MMORPGs may have some social components, like guilds, they lack the true interpersonal component that pen and paper RPGs have. For the most part, people only come together in MMORPGs in order to complete a dungeon or a boss, or to form teams for PvP combat. In pen and paper RPGs, people come together face-to-face and actually engage with each other in more meaningful ways. Many of the friends that I have acquired over the years were the result of my gaming groups. Creating a story together with friends creates a permanent bond that brings the group closer together. My friends and I can still reminisce about the great adventures that we went on together many years ago.

Top 10 Best Pen & Paper RPGs of All Time

10) After The Bomb

This unique RPG by Palladium Books was originally titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and like the comic books and cartoons which featured those characters, this RPG revolves around creating your own mutant animal hero. A flexible character creation system allows you to create virtually any type of animal you can think of, from a raging, super-strong rhino, to an ultra-intellectual chimp named Bonzo.


9) Unknown Armies

This creepy RPG allows players to be part of their very own cult, and unlike Heaven's Gate, players can actually acquire some pretty cool powers for being a follower. One of my favorite aspects is that magic in this system can be powered by some interesting things, like alcohol or sex. Give this RPG a try, just don't drink the cool-aid.


8) Serenity

Based on the very popular sci-fi show Firefly, this space-western RPG does an excellent job at mimicking the feel of the show. It allows players to build a ship, get a crew together, and start earning money. This RPG works off of a variant of the Cortex System, in which players assign die values (ie. D6,D8,D12) to their stats and skills. Much less complex than Traveller, but the game play is so much smoother because of it.


7) Vampire: The Masquerade

White Wolf's best game ever, period!









6) Rifts

This is Palladium Books' shining gem. If you didn't read my review of this system, look here. It is one of the few games that has successfully fused sci-fi and fantasy into one setting. Here's to the Megaverse!




5) MERP (Middle Earth Role-Playing)

This older system from ICEs (Iron Crown Enterprise) is one of the best to emulate the action and feel of J.R.R. Tolkiens' The Lord of The Rings. MERP is basically, a cut-down version of ICE's Rolemaster system, but they did a good job modifying a lot of their monsters and classes to give the game that Middle-Earth feel. Please do not confuse this game with the D20 version, which is a horrible system and will easily make the list for the top 10 worst RPGs ever.


4) Star Wars D20 Revised Edition

There have been several attempts to create an RPG that can encompass the geekdom that is Star Wars. Many have fallen short, but in my opinion the D20 Revised edition comes closest to the mark. This system was built on a modified Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 rule set, and in some ways its modifications make it superior to D&D 3.5. What's great is that they treat force powers as skills instead of magic spells in this system. Also, the multi-classing that D&D offers works well with Star Wars because many of the characters from the movie take arching paths that lead them from one way of life to another. If you want to give this one a try, then May the Force be with you!


3) Call of Cthulhu

This RPG is based on the writing of H.P. Lovecraft, a horror story writer from the 1920's. What is wonderful about this game is that it plays so differently than many other RPGs out there. Because it is in the horror genre, characters are much more likely to die during an adventure. This element always keeps players on their toes and thinking about the consequences of their actions. This is not a bash-down-the-door type of game. This game also introduces the concept of Sanity points. So, even if the players manage to survive the adventure, they may be stark raving mad by the end. This system treats magic very differently. While spells may be very powerful, they often exact a price on the caster and will eventually cost him his sanity. In all, this is a great mood-driven game.


2) GURPS (Generic Universal Role Playing System)

This amazing RPG by Steve Jackson, father of Munchkin and many other games, is the first truly universal RPG. This is the only game out there where a game master can build whatever his heart desires. If you want to play a game where characters are super heroes battling in World War II, it can be done. If you want to play a game where people travel back in time to correct the errors of the past, it can be done. The system is so flexible, pretty much anything can be accomplished. The only downfall is that creating these worlds takes a lot of work, everything has to be built from the ground up. If you are willing to put in the effort, you will be well rewarded with this system.


1) Dungeons & Dragons 3.5

I'll admit, I was a die-hard AD&D 2nd Ed. fan for a long time. I bashed D&D 3.0 to no end when it first came out. I finally cracked when 3.5 was released and began to see the potential of this new system. D&D 3.5 was one of the first games to balance combat and skill systems. It made combat more than just swinging a sword, and it made skills a rich and diverse system, not just background information for you character. The amount of source material for this game is astounding, providing a lot of information and resources for new DMs. Unfortunately Wizards of the Coast got a little full of themselves and made D&D 4th edition, possibly the worst RPG ever, but more on that next time. 3.5 is probably the easiest RPG for starting players and the richest RPG for advance players, offering them infinite option in a fantasy setting. In my opinion D&D 3.5 is the best RPG currently in print.

Rifts - A Hidden RPG Gem

Most of you should know that I am a hardcore pen & paper roleplaying game fan. For those of you who have never heard of a role playing game or RPG (here's the Wiki), shame on you, for you are not yet a true geek until you have delved into a dungeon or two. To those of you who have played, or at least know what I am talking about, there are many great games out there, but one of my personal favorites is Rifts.

Rifts is a sci-fi/fantasy roleplaying game thought up by Kevin Siembieda and the people at Palladium Books. There are many things that make Rifts a really unique roleplaying experience and set it apart from other game like Dungeons & Dragons.

First, Palladium Books has done an awesome job of integrating Rifts in with there multitude of other games that they have published, like Heroes Unlimited, After the Bomb, Ninjas and Superspies, Nightbane, Palladium Fantasy. Players can play any of the characters from these games in addition to a multitude of great characters that appear strictly in the world of Rifts. What other game out there allows you to play a group where a superhero, a wizard, a mutant turtle, and a giant robot pilot can all work together on the same team. This concept, which Palladium calls the Megaverse is very well put together and plausible within the background setting of Rifts.

Another great aspect of Rifts, which is unique to the system, is the concept of Mega-Damage. With Mega-Damage, normal weapons, like knives or machine guns hardly leave a scratch on giant robot or a dragon, only high-tech weapons like lasers and rail guns, or magic and other supernatural things can damage them.

In all, Rifts is an excellent RPG and I would recommend it to both new and experience gamers alike.

Welcome to Geeks & Goblins

Welcome to Geeks & Goblins! This is an RPG Blog, but I will also be discussing other geeky things like sci-fi and fantasy movies, video games, and technology. Basically, if geeks love it, it will probably be on here.


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