Kickstarter Update: Dark Legends RPG Becomes Slayers of Arkaeus RPG

In a recent article I wrote about the Dark Legends RPG Kickstarter project and the fact that the project had temporarily been taken down as the result of an intellectual properly dispute.  I contacted James Wood, the creator of the project and the game, and he was kind enough to give me more details.

As some of you may know, there’s an online money-sink RPG created by Spacetime Studios that goes by the name Dark Legends.  They asserted that Mr. Wood was infringing on their trademark of the Dark Legends name.  Mr. Wood told me that he would continue with the name Dark Legends if he could, but if he couldn’t the project would continue with a new name.

I researched Spacetime Studios’ trademark and it very clearly says that the trademark applies only to online games, computer games, and computer software, none of which applies to the Kickstarter project, which is a traditional tabletop roleplaying game.  Mr. Wood also informed me he had been using the name Dark Legends for his game since before Spacetime Studios existed as a company.  Despite Spacetimes Studios’ trademark clearly not applying in this situation, either they were able to bully Kickstarter into getting their way, or Mr. Wood decided to just take the easiest path and rename his game.

Either way, the Kickstarter project has now been renamed from Dark Legends RPG to Slayers of Arkaeus RPG, and the project continues.  At the time of this writing the project has passed $600 in funding, meaning the first stretch goal of a guide to the world of Arkaeus has been achieved.  If you’re a fan of tabletop gaming, give this project a look.  As was said before, it has a lot of potential.

Kickstarter Dark Legends RPG

There recently arose a Kickstarter project for a roleplaying game called Dark Legends RPG.  The project had a reasonable goal, only $500, which it had achieved and was on its way to the stretch goal of $600.  As the name implies it was supposed to be a dark fantasy tabletop RPG using a slightly different dice mechanic that showed some promise.  However, it could be that now the game won’t happen at all.

The project’s page is currently down, with a message stating that the project is the subject of an intellectual property dispute along with a link and some text encouraging backers to log-in and manage their pledge, practically inviting them to pull their pledge from the project.

There’s no information as to what the dispute is over specifically or what will become of the project.  It will be interesting to see if the project happens at all now.  Updates to come as they’re available.

Advanced Fighting Fantasy Quickstart

Remember those Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, which were like big choose your own adventure games with a character sheet and some roleplaying elements?  There’s a full RPG available based on those books called Advanced Fighting Fantasy.  It has a simple, streamlined system with an old-school feel and is a great alternative for those looking for a system that’s a little more old-school and retro but want to try something that’s not just based on D&D.

You can checkout the quickstart for free here.  It comes with the basic rules of the game as well as a sample adventure.

Thoughts on THAC0

There are many varying opinions on THAC0 (To Hit Armor Class Zero), the combat system used by 2nd Edition AD&D (Advanced Dungeons and Dragons).  Many people seem confused by it and therefore don’t like it.  They find it to be counterintuitive.

Using the THAC0 system, each character has their own THAC0, roughly representing their overall combat ability.  To figure what number you need to roll in order to hit a particular target, you take the target’s AC (Armor Class) and subtract it from your character’s THAC0.  Lower ACs are better than higher.  This is where people get confused and find it to be unintuitive, because you end up subtracting positive ACs from your THAC0 and adding negative ACs to your THAC0.

But there is an easier way.

Instead of adjusting the character’s THAC0, leave their THAC0 where it is and add the target’s AC to your to-hit roll instead.

For instance, let’s say your character has a THAC0 of 20.  Now let’s say you’re facing a target with an AC of 5.  Make your to-hit roll, then add 5 to the roll.  If the result is 20 or higher, you’ve hit.

Now let’s say you’re facing a target with an AC of -5.  Again make your to-hit roll, and this time subtract 5 from your roll.  You would still need a result of 20 or higher to hit, which in this instance would be a pretty neat trick.

By having ACs affect the roll instead of having them affect THAC0, using THAC0 becomes much faster and easier to understand.

Hasbro and the Dungeons and Dragons Movie

Recently, Warner Brothers announced that it was working on a new Dungeons and Dragons movie.  Because of the recent popularity of fantasy with Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, they intend to put all their resources and attention behind it, so it could turn out to be very good.

However, now Hasbro, who owns Wizards of the Coast and in turn owns Dungeons and Dragons, has claimed that they in fact have the rights to make a Dungeons and Dragons movie, and they want to make their movie with Universal.

First, if Warner Brothers is putting all their resources and attention behind the movie, I think they have a better chance of making a good movie than Universal does.  And second, especially if Warner Brothers is going to do a good job, Hasbro should quietly let them make the movie.  Even if Hasbro doesn’t directly get a piece of the movie profits, it’ll raise awareness of Dungeons and Dragons even more and it’ll get more people to buy the game to try it out, so Hasbro would still make money off of it.  It’s essentially advertising for them.

Pass the GM

Time for another fast, light, simple, and free RPG.  Pass the GM is a role-playing game which can be used with any setting where you can trade back and forth who plays the part of the GM.  It can also be played in a more traditional fashion with one person always playing the part of GM.  Check it out.  After all, it’s free.

Pass the GM

Thinking of Classic Gaming

There are about fifty billion D&D / AD&D retro-clones out there… games which to varying degrees copy the retro feel and mechanics of classic Dungeons & Dragons and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.  Despite that, I’m feeling the itch to create my very own OGL (Open Game License) retro-clone, giving it my own special twist.  If I do, I’ll keep you updated here to let you know about the game’s progress.

Henge of Denravi

Guild Wars 2 is a MMORPG, that also has a strong PvP component in the form of WvW (World vs. World).  This is where servers are categorized into tiers and then three servers at similar tiers are pitted against each other, with members of those servers meeting on a special battleground where they fight for control of certain control points, gaining points for the server overall.

At the launch of Guild Wars 2, Henge of Denravi (HoD) was one of the largest, if not the largest, servers in the game.  They were tier 1 and undefeated.  But, as the stories go, people started transferring from other servers and joining HoD WvW so they could relay HoD’s battle plans back to their servers of choice.  Also, there can only be so many people in WvW at one time, and the stories say people would transfer from other servers to HoD and join WvW then just stand around to fill up the queue, preventing the more skilled and organized guilds from joining the fray.

Those guilds eventually got tired of these tactics and left the server, joining other servers instead.

Originally Arena Net’s idea, the company behind Guild Wars 2, was to make world transfers, where you transfer your character from one server to another, free at first so players could be sure they were on a server they liked.  Then, after a time, world transfers were supposed to start costing real money, but that hasn’t kicked in yet.  That’s what allowed all of this server hopping to happen.

Because HoD was in first place for so long, it’s still ranked in tier 1 despite now having a much lower population than it used to.  This means that it keeps getting pitted against much larger servers where it can’t make much of any gains, with point spreads of 100,000 for the large servers and HoD with something like 5,000.

It’s expected that HoD will move to a lower tier at some point.  When world transfers are no longer free and when the tiers are reshuffled and rebalanced, it’ll be interesting to see how well HoD starts doing.  Who knows, maybe it can climb its way back up the ladder again.

Smeg! v1.3

The free role-playing game Smeg! has been updated to version 1.3.  A new entity type has been added, some of the rule explanations have been cleaned up to make them more clear, and a few other silly words were added.  Download it by going to the Role-Playing Games menu above then click on the Smeg! entry to go to its page.