Monday, February 23, 2015


I love Tactical Role Playing Games or TRPGs. I loved the Ultima series, Disgaea Series, Final Fantasy Tactics and currently I am re-playing Dungeons and Dragons Tactics for the Playstation Portable. If I could I would love to create my own.

The reason I would like to create my own is that every TRPG I have ever played has had some things that they just did not get right. Sometimes its a technical limitation like the lack of elevations in Ultima III. Other times its there is no way to ensure the plot advances without the device like the traitor in one of the Krynn games in the AD&D gold boxed games. There is always something.

In the Dungeons and Dragons Tactics game the controls are clumsy and the rules of DnD 3.0 are simplified but it seems true to DnD. That is until I finally encountered two trolls with a 6th level sorcerer. The distance was right so I nailed them both and did 30 hit points each to them. Then on the first troll's turn it moved towards the party and regenerated 5 hit points. I nearly quit right there. I could understand a mistake like this from a non DnD game but this was a licensed game.

I kept playing. I like the game and it gets many things right. That and there are not that many good TRPGs out there and DnD versions are rare. So does anyone else have a favorite TRPG? Any other flaws that drive you crazy?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

My subscription is expiring...

A few years ago a new company sprang up under the name of TSR and offered subscriptions to a new magazine called Gygax. There was controversy from the start because Gary Gygax's widow did not want his name used this way. The name endured because Gary's sons Luke and E. Gary Jr. were involved in the production. The list of contributors was impressive so I purchased a subscription.

The format of the magazine was very similar to the old versions of Dragon magazine. The heavy paper cover and high quality pages filled with art, text and comics in the back. The first few issues were good but I felt they were redundant. They seemed to focus more on the history of roleplaying than its present or future. There were good non-nostalgic articles in each of the first four issues so things still looked promising.

Last night when I got home issue 5 was waiting and a pink slip packaged with it that stated "This is your last issue". I still have not read all the articles I intend to but I can already tell this is the best issue so far. There are several features that are beautifully illustrated and grab your attention right away. There is a story about a character type that makes an effort to include every version of Dungeons and Dragons. There are great comics in the back including "Order of the Stick" and "Full Frontal Nerdity". A cool one page dungeon from a contest. Pull out game materials as well as an adventure to go with them. And a Kaiju stat block!

The publishers at TSR are sure making it difficult to walk away from Gygax Magazine. It is definitely a throwback to a bygone age when all your news about role-playing was delivered in the form of a monthly magazine. They have made PDFs of each issue in attempt to modernize the concept but its the magazine that makes it. Its the smell of the ink and the feel of the paper as you sit down and immerse yourself in gaming goodness.