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  1. Like
    Spence got a reaction from pbemguy in What Have You Watched Recently?   
    Well anime is a pretty wide field with all kinds of storylines and visual presentations.  There are a lot of them that I really enjoyed, but for everyone I did there are four or five I couldn't stand.
    Most of the stuff yiu find readily available falls into what I call Pop Anime.  Like Pop music, it consists of the anime currently popular in anime mainstream.  Many of which i personally don't like. 
    I really enjoyed Cowboy Bebop and now that you have reminded me I will watch it again.
    You said you couldn't put a finger on exactly why you liked it, so I won't ask.  But if you like CB you may like Black Lagoon or MadLax. They are not sci-fi, more like 80s mercenary on an anime earth.  But good character development and action.  They are also not trendy pop anime.
  2. Thanks
    Spence reacted to zslane in Puffin Forest’s In Depth Review of Pathfinder 2e   
    To my mind this is the Roll Playing vs. Role Playing debate, and while I fall somewhere in the middle on that, my old school gaming background pulls me closer to the role playing camp than to the roll playing camp. When it comes to mental and social activities in the game, I want the players to do most of the work themselves, and not rely on dice rolls. My rule of thumb is simple: if you aren't comfortable portraying a character with high mental and/or social abilities, then don't make one. Turning everything you do into a dice rolling exercise places too much emphasis on the Game and takes too much focus away from the Role Playing. Combat is different, of course, because the usual flow of play is suspended while everyone plays a skirmish-level wargame for a couple of hours.
  3. Like
    Spence reacted to Scott Ruggels in Puffin Forest’s In Depth Review of Pathfinder 2e   
    This has been a pet peeve of mine for decades. Sure the lack of a skill system would force verbal improvisation l, but it advantages the glib smooth talker, and slights the introvert. This is my beef against a lot of minimalist or diceless systems, where it becomes nearly “Tyrrany of the Theater Majors”. As a GM, I love good role play, but I also like gaming with my friends, a few of which are not good role players, and it’s my job to make sure they all have a good time. So, I tend not to force those who aren’t sparkling conversationalists into socially uncomfortable situations, so I ask them to specify their approach, and then make a roll. I know nothing of bureaucratically and administration, but my Traveller character does, so I roll. It’s a balancing act, but I tend to err on the side of player comfort. 
  4. Like
    Spence reacted to zslane in Puffin Forest’s In Depth Review of Pathfinder 2e   
    Well, to be fair, in The Hobbit the DM had the charitable sense to give the hapless 3rd level Halfling Rogue an enchanted short sword and a mythril mail shirt, and to make a Ring of Invisibility available during the quest, knowing full well that the climax of the campaign was going to be an encounter with an ancient red dragon and a large-scale battle involving five armies and a huge werebear. And yet despite all that wonderful gear, said Halfling Rogue talked his way out of his encounter with the dragon rather than trying to fight his way out of it. And in an Old School game, this would be resolved through in-character conversation between player and DM, not a "skill roll".
  5. Like
    Spence reacted to Duke Bushido in Widening Gyre   
    Can we get a little bit of clarification?  Because as it's presented, it seems like writing a book is part one of a very grisly ritual pact....   
    I don't even understand this.  Ni; forgive me-- I understand quite clearly what you wrote.  The behavior you describe is something I have never been able to understand.  So you really liked a book, but then you decided you don't like the guy who wrote it, so now you hate the book! 
    (the exemplary "you," of course, and not you or anyone else in particular.  I should have been more clear on that). 
    Not only does it come off a bit asinine and self-deceptive, I have always viewed it as demonstrating a character weakness and an inability to accept who you are, as well as an intellectual inability to separate things properly. 
    But that's just me, I suppose: last of the curmudgeons in a world where activism has gone from righteous ideals to the bully stick with which all who don't conform are beaten about the brows. 
    Let's just pick an author who I don't believe has ever managed to offend anyone.  I'm going to assume that youre familiar with John DeChancie.  I am only assuming that because of the range of his writings: he has dabbled in several genres.  Personally, I find most of his stuff falls in the range of "okay" to "not bad.". He is by no means my favorite author, and a small portion of his work has disappointed me.  Most of it, though, I can read and enjoy well enough. 
    He wrote a sci-fi trilogy, though, that I absolutely adored. It has been called both the Skyway Trilogy and the Starrigger Trilogy.   I enjoy those books so much that I make it a point to reread the first two at least every five years since they were first published.  I try to reread the last one every twenty ("try" being the operative word: it want very good, and actually reads exact like what it is: a long slow plod through all the loose ends that need wrapping up.) 
    Now suppose I learned that DeChancie was wife-beating crackhead who routinely tortured stray children and brutalized dogs. 
    Well, obviously I would be very disappointed in the man.  I don't think I would go so far as to do the trendy thing and go online and yell "me too!" on every "I hate DeChancie" thread that popped up, no matter how much people today seem to think that's the only acceptable response to something you don't like.  I'm not saying I wouldn't, but its not really "me." 
    At any rate, I would certainly not start hating the books.  They were already written.  I have already enjoyed them-- repeatedly, at this point.  As this new knowledge in absolutely no way changes anything about the books in any way whatsoever, I expect I would continue to enjoy them (for the record, they aren't great treatises on the world that may someday be; they are not rife with cutting edge understanding of various fields of science-- they are nothing but pure, unbridled fun, and I love them for it.  Well, except the last one.  That one's just a slog under the best of circumstances.) 
    But I know so many people who would do just that:  "oh my God!  I can't read that again!  It was written by a horrible person!" 
    The fact of the matter is that we are _all_ horrible people.  No matter what we do, there is going to be a percentage--alaeger-than-you-think percentage--of people who are going to be absolutely disgusted with you.  Grow up and move on. 
    Being unable to distinguish one from the other is baffling to me. 
    I completely agree. 
    But don't get me started on canon. 
  6. Like
    Spence reacted to massey in Star Trek (The Original Series): What's the Best Episode?   
    Bald chick was very sexy.
  7. Thanks
    Spence got a reaction from tkdguy in Star Trek (The Original Series): What's the Best Episode?   
    TOS for the win.
  8. Thanks
    Spence got a reaction from Scott Ruggels in Star Trek (The Original Series): What's the Best Episode?   
    TOS for the win.
  9. Like
    Spence reacted to Badger in Star Trek (The Original Series): What's the Best Episode?   
    What does the Discovery Channel have to do with Star Trek?
  10. Like
    Spence reacted to DShomshak in Star Trek (The Original Series): What's the Best Episode?   
    I will give you Measure of a Man. Some of the ones on your list I don't remember at all, possibly because the titles are so boring.
    I did like the episode with Ardra -- I think it was called Devil's Due. A romp rather than high drama, but I give it props for showing the Clarkean possibilities for Federation tech -- and that Picard isn't fooled.
    My nomination for an actually brilliant ep was the one where, by a series of accidents, a village of people on a primitive planet think Picard is a god. His attempts to fix this violation of the Prime Dorective are indeed high drama: "Picard must make a decision" rather than merely "Picard must solve a problem." But like I said, I can't remember the title.
    (And I do agree, DS9 was better than TNG in just about every way.)
    Dean Shomshak
  11. Like
    Spence reacted to Black Ops in Reboot the CU Uuniverse, WWYD?   
    Personally I think the fixed timeline needs to go.
    It sort of killed the 5th for me
  12. Like
    Spence got a reaction from Hermit in Star Trek 4   
    Meh...they are desperate to make STD something.  They are using Picard to promote their new universe complete with space orcs and a Star Fleet where armed mutiny is an acceptable method for advancement.  They have already said that the new show will be in their re-imagined 
    I get that the current CBS gurus are too deeply invested to admit error.  But I haven't met a single Trek fan in the flesh that does more than spits on it.  On line posters of course laud it as the next coming of the fantastic.  Normally in the flesh real life opinions tend to somewhat reflect the online version.  But in this case it seems to be all faceless posters that love it.  Adding yet another non-Trek show with a Trek name will not make the non-Trek drek any better.   And shoveling more money down the drain in an attempt to convince people that the turd smells like a rose isn't really working.  
    Perhaps they should have watched a little Star Trek before trying to fix it. 
    I really hope Patrick Stewart and the rest survive the coming bomb.   The small screen is littered with actors that signed on to the wrong show and disappeared from public view.  Flipping off the fan base isn't really good for the future. 
  13. Thanks
    Spence got a reaction from Duke Bushido in Old dog needs to learn new tricks   
    I've been looking for something too.  All the suggestions I ever got on this required PHD's in techno-babble.  I guess my definition of the word "easy" is not the same as others
  14. Like
    Spence got a reaction from Crossfire in Old dog needs to learn new tricks   
    I've been looking for something too.  All the suggestions I ever got on this required PHD's in techno-babble.  I guess my definition of the word "easy" is not the same as others
  15. Haha
    Spence reacted to death tribble in Star Trek (The Original Series): What's the Best Episode?   
    Surely if you want to know the balance of Terra ask Beast Boy or Deathstroke as they both picked her up and carried her.
    what ?
  16. Like
    Spence got a reaction from CGlied in What happened to HERO?   
    So much wrong with this. 
    Basically, if you don't have a lot of free time or don't already have experience in TTRPG then get out of my sandbox.
    Yes, experienced GM's can pick up Hero and literally build anything because they have a frame of reference. 
    But a game company in 2019 doesn't survive on the tiny margin of "experienced in TTRPG GM's". 
    A successful TTRPG company makes new players into experienced GM's by paving the way.
    This philosophy is exactly why Hero has plummeted from the #1 Supers RPG and one of the most well known universal RPG's to virtual extinction.   
    But to be truthful, I a not really up to forum wars and such so I'll just bow out here.  Once the Hall of Champions opens for business I will see if I can turn my concept into reality.  Once that happens we'll find out if I am either a genius or just another idiot tripping over their own feet. 
  17. Thanks
    Spence reacted to Scott Ruggels in Wondering if I'm alone here   
    No death during character creation.  Skill resolution is 2D6 plus one’s skill level.  Skills can be linked to different stats due to situations. (Mechanics plus Dex to fix something. Mechanics plus Education to figure out what parts are needed to buy. ). Combat is pretty lethal but no instantly so. Same “range bands” as classic Traveller, and it’s hard to hit anything moving. 
  18. Like
    Spence reacted to DShomshak in Wondering if I'm alone here   
    Some years back, my FLGS sold novelty soap in the shape of a d20, with an actual d20 at the center of the clear soap. I bought one for a Christmas present for my niece, who counts soapmaking and Pathfinder among her hobbies.
    Dean Shomshak
  19. Like
    Spence reacted to Dracones in Hero Designer   
    My biggest stumbling block with a lot of modern RPGs is the 500 page rulebooks you need to memorize just to start playing. Pathfinder 2 is 600+ pages, Shadowrun is a mere 300+ pages, unless you want to go with 5th edition which is 500. Numenera is two books clocking in at 400 pages each, Shadow of the Demon Lord is pushing 300(quite the lightweight!). Even the 5e D&D player's handbook is 300 pages, with another 300 for the dungeon master's guide. Fantasy Hero is only 250 which makes it practically a modern marvel though it still feels like a 'build your own fantasy game' kit. Also, props to Hero Basic which is 120 pages. It's the only thing that got me started into Hero.
    The old D&D box sets(BECMI) were around 50 pages for the players and 50 for the DM books. The advanced D&D books? 100 pages for 1e players book and 120 in the DMG, with another 100 pages of treasure and tables. Even the GAZ setting books were about 60 pages a pop with modules clocking in at 30.
    So yeah, I think the old red box D&D was probably the sweet spot. A light afternoon of reading the rules, 5 minute character creation, and a blank fantasy sandbox to play around it.
  20. Like
    Spence reacted to johnnyy in What Have You Watched Recently?   
    The Glenn Miller Story (1953), old but still a very good biographical movie with some tremendous music.
  21. Thanks
    Spence got a reaction from Scott Ruggels in Hero Designer   
    You are correct in CharGen being an initial stumbling block.  And a intro that only contains a condensed "play book" for rules, uses pregens and has a small number of adventures that can be played individually or as a micro-campaign is very much a thing.  There are several RPG's that have done exactly that to very good effect by allowing players to actually "play" the game before they try to create a viable PC.  Making a viable PC can be a daunting task for a new player when the game uses limited or focused build routes like class/level style games like D&D, Pathfinder or C&C.  Even games like Shadowrun or Star Wars channel players down archetypes.  Hero on the other hand falters on having too much flexibility for the first time player. 
    I've said it dozens of times.  Character Generation and Adventure Building are not and never have been PLAYING an RPG.  They are tools needed to get to the RPG. 
    I was just thinking last night about creating a very basic set of intro-rules for Champions and one for Fantasy Hero.  Game play rules, not build rules. All of the rulesets that Hero has put out are "complete" rulesets in that they cover everything in detail so the players can expand on them as a "tool kit". 
    An introduction rule-set only needs to contain the specific parts needed in that introduction/demo.  The pregen character sheets would have ZERO BUILD ANNOTATION.  There is no need to print numbers on the sheet when they are not explained anywhere.  Instead the sheets need to be annotated with needed information for just that sheet. 
    For instance:
    Polaron Dude has a 8d6 energy blast, yes I am a 5th Ed person.  ENERGY blast
    Normally you might write it on the sheet as "Polaron Beam 8d6 EB  - 40 Pts - 4 END", but in a pre-built adventure with no build rules those numbers are meaningless.  So instead we say "Polaron Beam - 1 to 8d6 - pay 1 END for every 2d6".  The flavor text can describe the powers an what a Polaron Beam is. 
    Each character sheet, PC or NPC, needs a short description of each skill/ability because there will be no mention of them in the "rules".  A short blurb in the "rules" on skill die resolution, but no list of skills because they are not needed.  Any skill would be on the character sheet. 
    Many RPG's have a quick or intro ruleset that are not near complete, but are just enough to play a basic game.  The idea is that once you play the "Starter Game" you will want to buy the main books.  The RPG's D&D, Pathfinder, Shadowrun, Star Wars and Call of Cthulhu have all used them.  Some games have repeated it over multiple editions as they enable new players to "test drive" a game and have nearly immediate enjoyment without the need of investing a large amount of time.
    Since success of this style of "starter" requires a set of minimalist rules, it would need Hero to be open to reviewing a quick-start ruleset and OK its use.  Otherwise you are back to the same point of requiring potential players to buy the full rules at the start in order to use the adventure.
    The best way would be to have four sets of quick-start rules.  Supers, Fantasy, Modern and Scfi that are no more than 5 pages long in total with the differences being not in content, but flavor.  Bow instead of Rifle instead of Blaster and so on.  They would be inserted into the intro games along with pregens.  I would have sidebars that tie each item to the page in the full rulebook.  For 5th ed the core Rulebook and Sidekick.  For 6th ed it would be 6th Ed Vol 1&2, Basic Rulebook, Champions Complete or Fantasy Hero Complete.   The idea being, we gave you a taste here is the meal. 
    The important thing is that the quick-start have just enough pertinent information to play a pre-build session, but not enough to build a complete game from scratch.  The document Hero In Two Pages is already a solid core for quick-start rules, only needing a few particulars aimed at specific genres. 
    Something to ponder. 
  22. Like
    Spence got a reaction from Chris Goodwin in Hero Designer   
    I'll have to remember this and try it once I am caught up on the books I have bought. 
  23. Like
    Spence reacted to Lord Liaden in Totally Mundane to Secret Magic Campaign   
    Would you mind providing a quick primer on your Ravenna setting? Extensive details not required, but basic premise, overall tone, and any significant plot points and power players, would help me imagine what would fit. (I know what I would do and who I'd use, but I want to conform to your vision.)
  24. Like
    Spence got a reaction from ScottishFox in Hero Designer   
    👍 Nice short synopsis. 
    I've actually been enjoying the manga/anime/RPGLit where the exist in a world where delving is an Adventurers actual job and the characters actually know they have levels and level up.  To me it was a bizarre premise but oddly turned out to be fun to read. 
    It is amazing how this line of thought repeats every so many years.  But the best part is the idea isn't met with the hostility and outright anger it used to. 
  25. Like
    Spence reacted to Shoug in Hero Designer   
    I know people here might be desensitized to this specific recommendation, but My Hero Academia is, IMHO, the finest superhero genre fiction in all the Lords' Realms. All Might is the best, most regal, most literally awesome "Superman" archetype ever manifested.
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