Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Colonial Gothic Episode 1

Episode 1

Staying for a few days at the Tavern with the rampant red lion on its sign (one day to become the name sake of Red Lion, PA.) the Heroes have grown to be familiar with each other and call each other friends. While breaking fast they overhear a local talking about the fact that theres a person running crazy around Yorktowne (one day to become York, PA.). They immediately start questioning him and he says that he's heard that the lunatic has been running loose ever night and disturbing the town something horrible.

The heros then gathered their truck and headed to Yorktowne. After a short time along the road they saw 2 anger hunting dogs running across a field at them. Knowing about dogs Erich Hauptman (Brian B.) tried to calm them down before they got to close. When that didn't work Doctor Sullivan Rane (Dave) killed one of the dogs with his pistol while Erich took the other with his rifle. After reloading they walked up to look at the dog. Across the field they could see a farmhouse and a farmer looking out the window at them. Seeing them he closed the window quick like he was going to get his rifle and come after the Heroes.

Coming into Yorktowne in the late afternoon the Heroes made their way right to to courthouse in the center of town. Within two militia men guarded the door while court was being held. At the head table two judges in robes and powdered wigs sat next two well dressed gentlemen. In front of them a local seemed to be explaining something with much vigor.

Quietly the Doctor asked the guard about lunatic that was running wild telling him that they where there to find him. Not knowing much about it he told them he had been staying at the White Hall Inn before the moon made him mad. Finding out that the White Hall Inn was on the corner of High Street and Beaver Street, just outside behind the open market attached to the Courthouse.

Entering the White Hall Inn the Heroes made their way to the bar there and tried to talk to the lady proprietor only to find that she only spoke German. They then noticed that everyone around them where speaking in German After a drink they tried again to talk to her about the lunatic, the doctors little bit of German enough to make her understand them.

The proprietress then led them to a small corner room upstairs. Through hand signs and German she told that that they found the room in a shambles, the windows and shutters thrown open and broken and the cross she had on the wall was missing. and that the Lunitic escaped by going out the window and down the shed roof, into the back yard. Examining the room Ian Ferguson (Brian W.) found scratches on the floor that lead him to notice there were clean areas where the scratches where. Both the Doctor and Ian noticed the clean spots had the shape of occult ritual symbols.

They then noticed that there was a new candle in the room. Asking about it the lady made them understand that when she came into the room there was wax all over the floor and she had to use a knife to scrape it off her floors.

Erich searched the back yard looking for track of the lunatic but all he found was the broken cross from the room above. While they were out there the proprietress ran out with a small sack in her hand and gave it to them pointing to the room of the Lunatic. In the bag they found some basic belongings along with 2 Pennsylvania notes, a knife and the remains of a burnt paper with some block printed writing still decipherable.

Reading what remained on the paper they found the first part to be a warning to never evoke the name of God when reading the rest of the paper. The paper lead them to look for a person that cold do such basic printing here in Yorktowne. A few blocks away on Queen street between King and Princess Street's they found a shop that did small printing like the remains of the page they were given.

As the Doctor started to talk to the Printer in German the Printer offered to speak English since his is better then the Doctor's German. They found that there was a young man that was working for him and he was named Jeremiah Knotts. He was from Shermantown far to the north and had come to Yorktowne to make his fortune and had not come into work for several days.

Its here that we stopped for the night.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Atomic Highway 5 to the end

Heading down the highways they had to take a off-ramp to keep following the road to the Race Strip. There they ran into a group of raider that they had it out with. It ended with Roach jumping from the hood of the Hauler onto Gorbo's Gunny-Car as the Hauler veered off the highway and exploded in a ball of flame. This was after Roach had killed its crew with repetitive shotgun blasts through the window slits.

Billy J Syths race strip was a paved runway back before the big death. Now for 5 gallons of gas a car load of anybody can come in to watch the race. The old air strip now has 10 foot high metal plating 8 feet off each side of pavement for the length of the strip. Above both side of that a scaffolding holds rows and rows of bleachers with Syths own viewing stand above and centered on the north side of the track. Any driver can put his vehicle into the pool to be called to race. Racing involves both cars facing off and flying down the airstrip at each other with guns blazing. At anytime a driver can give up and drive out of one of the ends of the strip but then he lost. what do you get? Nothing. what do you get if you win? Usually nothing, unless you kill the other drivers crew then you get salvage rights on his vehicle. So why would people race for nothing? Thats were Mr Syths's real money maker comes in. Gambling.

Any salvaged items you want are collected and given a value. Their then traded in for chits that can be used to bet on the races with. Winning are then claimed from collected salvages. Trading in their salvage Rambler and Hank started placing bets on the races. After a short time Rambler had won over and over and found himself with a load of chits while Hank found himself over his head in dept to the track. Telling the Sec men he owned a car they put him and Gunny car into the pool of drivers.

Rambler found himself taken up to the private booth of Mr Sythe, the man he was sent to look for. Talking for a short time Billy Sythe seemed to like Rambler. It was that Rambler saw Hank and Gunnycar being taken out to the track as the announcer said that he was driving to pay off dept to the track. Rambler then convinced Billy Sythe that Hank was to good a battlecar warrior for a regular race. Billy Sythe called of the race and put Hank back into the pool to run during the mixed class.

Rambler then told Billy what had happened in Big Springs and how Solar Tower 3 had sprung a leak and that the city wanted more molten salt to resupply the tower. Billy said that north west of New Platte there a storage area that had a tank of molten salt from before the Big Death. They would have to find it, heat the tank up so it becomes liquid and get a transport to get it out of town, and no they wouldn't get any help from him. But the information was free.

Roach then striped Jesus's car, Lady, for part for Gunnycar. Loading it out with an extra machine gun a grenade launcher and ram and solid tires they were done in time for their race. The mixed class put Gunnycar up against a huge armored pickup with a heavy machine gun in the back bed.

As the match went on Hank was able to get the upper hand by tear gassing the rear gunner. The race ended with Gunnycar all but destroyed and the pickup a smoldering hulk. Talking their winnings the group then paid to get both cars fixed up.

They then drove north to Chappell and spend the night in the walled city that made its money from selling fuel. The next morning they saw a tanker truck leave town escorted by a armored pickup and 4 battlecars. The party talked about attacking the convoy to get the truck and then decided that it be easier to get jobs as battlecar escorts and then they would only have the pickup and 2 battle cars to deal with.

Finding the convoy boss they asked for a job and were told they have to interview with the big boss first. Going in the towns tavern they were taken upstairs and into a large office with lots of Sec men around. Behind the desk was Billy G Ray Sythe who knew immediately what they were up to. he told them to get the hell out of their town and if he ever found them causing him any problems he would have them maimed and left for raiders along I80. As they were being escorted out of the room he told Rambler to stay. He poured Rambler a drink and told him that he'd have tried the same think in his youth. Laughing and talking for awhile he them left him go.

Heading east to New Platte they didn't find any real problems. At one rest stop they came across some nomads who they traded for a big cowboy hat for Gorbo and a huge #8 NASCAR belt buckle for Rambler.

At the exit to New Platte they found allot of activity. One quarter of the exit seemed to be a lite up memorial in front of a Inn turned into a church hospital. Heading North off the exit they passed a huge wooded fortress with the words Trading Post across it. Entering the ruined city Rambler noticed gang symbols right before they were forced stop when they noticed mines in the street in front of them. They then were shot at from a hotel to their right and from the second story of an office building to their left. With Gunnycar being shot Gorbo got out and ran at the hotel room with his hammer as Ramblertook the drivers seat of Gunnycar. Gorbo broke into the hotel room and started hammering on raiders as Rambler opened fire on the side of the hotel somehow missing Grobo and killing the raiders that gorbo hadn't gotten to.

Hank and Roach killed several of the raiders in the office building and they last one disappeared into the building. From behind the building there was a roar of engine and a Humvee took off across the parking lot. Behind them Rambler followed once Gorbo got into the car. Roach gave chase and as they got near he told hank to take the wheel as he climbed out the window and jumped onto the Humvee. The Humvee then sideswiped Lady making Hank loose control of her and crashing nose first into a ditch. Rambler continued to give chase until Gunnycar ran out of gas. Gorbo quickly got out and continued to chase the Humvee on foot. Hank climbing out of Lady finding himself surrounded by ganger's of another gang.

On the Humvee the driver made a sharp turn as he came to the barrier at the edge of his gang territory. Hanging on Roach shattered the windshield and then reached in and yanked the steering wheel as hard as he could sending the Humvee up and over the barricade in a flying barrel roll. Waking up Roach found himself, Gorbo and Hank all tied to crosses surrounded by 20 flesh loving cannibals.

Rambler found himself surrounded with ganger's and dropped a grenade out his window. Using one of his points, he found that his car hadn't ran out of gas and the grenade explosion was enough to restart the car. Rambler then took off to follow the trail of the cannibals.

Rambler managed to find the clearing and his friends tied up. Reeving up his engine Rambler flew into he middle of the clearing opening up with the cars weapons while running over others. At the same time the tied up member managed to break loose and join the fight. left with only the leader who had a gun to Hanks head there was a shot fired from outside the clearing and the leader slumped to the group with a bullet through his brain. In the distance, on a horse was a bearded man who introduced himself as Buffalo Bill.

Buffalo Bill lead them back to his ranch that was just across the rail lines to the North. The Cody ranch was nice and they starting point from where the Codys were bringing order to Norther Platte.

Over dinner the group told what their plans were and the next day Buffalo Bill had his men take the group to the tower of molten salt and took them o get a hauler with a tanker trailer. Roach then started the heaters on the storage tower. The group noticed that there was a rail line behind the storage area and lines that connected large special tanker train car to the salt storage tower. Gorbo then, while no one was around, hooked up the tank to the tanker trailer and started to transfer molten salt into the tanker. Roach was able to turn off the flow when he noticed that the molten salt was melting the tanker trailer.

The group then decided to get a diesel engine from the rail yards. They also hooked up a car transport train car for Gunnycar and a flatbed train car for the hauler. After some talk about getting a caboose the idea was forgotten and the group headed to Big Springs.

The train consisted of the engine with Rambler and Hank driving, then the car carrier with Gorbo in Gunnycar. The molten salt car and then flatbed with the hauler tractor and Roach on it. On the rails some raiders along route 30 decided to try to attack the train. As the 3 raiders vehicles caught up to the train Roach started shooting at them aiming for their tires managing to shoot out 2 of the pickups tires it gave up the chase. Hank sped up the train getting up to about 70mph. As the cars passed the train Gorbo jumped onto the lead car. As he fought for his footing the car passed the engine and the passenger started shooting out at the trains fuel tanks from across the roof of the car. Rambler shot the passenger and the shot the driver sending the car out of control. The car severed onto the tracks in front of the train. Hank gave the train more speed as it collided with the car smashing it to pieces. As the car crumbled Gorbo jumped from the top of the car onto the speeding train. At the same time Roach made a called shot on the driver of the last raider killing him. The last raider car careened off the road and under roaches flat bed train car. As the train cars rear wheels drove over the wreckage of the battle car Roach spent adventure points to make sure that the train cars rear wheels landed right back onto the tracks safely.

Back at Big Springs the group was hailed as hero's and paid well for their adventure.

This is where we stopped playing Atomic Highway.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Please check out this blog, which brilliantly sends up bad RPG game art over the past 36 years. It's well-deserved and a long time coming. Be sure to check out their section on the Original D&D rule book from 1974. The art is truly criminal, but is great comedy fodder.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Playing Castle Ravenloft

Tonight the Gaming Syndicate or whatever our name is will be playing Castle Ravenloft at Comic Store West. I think our plan is to play 2 different adventures and then do a PODCAST review of the game.

Check back later for more info.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Great Debate: Do Gamers REALLY Want Cinematic Gaming?

I've heard it said lately by some gamers that they want a "cinematic" experience in a RPG. First off, why does everything have to be like the movies? Comic books want to be more "cinematic," whatever that means. Our TV screens are now the size of a movie screen. Books are written with the movie (to be produced later) in mind. And now RPGs are suppose to be cinematic? REALLY? I don't think so.

At least, not if, by "cinematic" you mean, "like the movies." Cause I gotta tell you... I don't think you would enjoy playing the main character(s) from most movies.

Action movie characters often face overwhelming odds, split up the party, have little control over what happens to them, get few rewards from their battles, and often win based on sheer luck or the actions of "NPC" characters. Let's look at some examples from some movies I recently watched.

In "Live Free or Die Hard" or any of the Die Hard movies, John McClain is outmanned, outgunned, and gets the crap kicked out of him. Do you know how many times players would be crying "fowl" if their GM treated them like the moviemakers treat McClain? Even when he "wins" his life just gets worse and worse.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone? Harry's "victory" is through sheer luck.

Any Terminator film? You're hopelessly overpowered by a superior force that you can't even damage. In gaming terms? Attack - fail, attack - fail, attack - fail... repeat 500 times. Sounds like fun!

Indiana Jones? Always gets captured and he wins by keeping his eyes closed, invoking the name of Shiva, running away from an earthquake, and a alien ship taking off. Those don't sound like satisfying RPG wins.

Even movie franchises with RPGs based on them such as Star Wars wouldn't be nearly as fun if you ran them like the movies they are based on. "Wait, I'm a JEDI! How was I beat by a wampa in a single round?" "Okay, so you're entering an asteroid field... you need to roll a "1" and a d3,720 to survive."

I Am Legend? 30 Days of Night? 3:10 to Yuma? All feature main characters hopelessly outmatched. Not much fun at the gaming table. But see, that's what movies do. Movies put the character in the darkest, most hopeless place possible before saving the character from inevitable doom.

I like all of the movies I listed above - as movies, not as a model for my RPG gaming experiences. Bottom line - I don't wall out of many movies thinking, "Boy, I wish my RPG experiences were more like that!" So why do some players insist they want their gaming experiences to be like the movies?

That's my opinion. Agree? Disagree? Feel I cherrypicked my movie examples? Post a comment with your thoughts!

What's in a name?

Gaming Syndicate? What does that even mean? I ran a focus group and it didn't test favorable. Not to mention how it was implemented. Plot hammer anyone?

I liked "Local Gaming Group"... It was inviting and universal. Kinda like "Friendly Local Game Store" is in The Knights of the Dinner Table. Everyone has a LGG and can relate to that. Everyone has sat around with friends and shared their thoughts on games. A cool motto would be "Pull up a chair." Syndicate? What are we, the mob? Sounds tough which we definately are not.

Let me make a third name suggestion.... it fits with our "review on a six sided die" motif, which is pretty cool. My suggestion...

5D6 Gamer Blog

D6 is our review style. There are five of us. Brian, don't make me spell it out for you.

Debate? Post your comments, contributors and *ahem* fans alike...

Of course, I was also a big proponent of "Critical Blog!" See, we're being critical by reviewing games and "critical" is also a gamer term for an outstanding success so... never mind.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

CR Test

Bryan B's Gaming Bio

I'm mostly a video game kind of gamer. On my computer I play Civ City Rome, Rome Total War (and expansion pack), panzer general 2, pirates, Civilization 3, and Blitzkrieg 2. On my old PS2 I usualy play Star Wars Battlefront 1 and 2. On my 360 I play Red Dead Redemption and Civilization Revolution. As far as roleplaying, I've played DnD 2nd, 3rd, and 4th editions, Judge Dread, Traveler, Warhammer, Aces and Eights, and Atomic Highway (obviously). I also have a group of my friends that play DnD 2nd edition at my house that I GM, which will most likely be the only game I ever GM. I got started playing when I was a little kid and my dad took me to his games on Mondays with historical and wargames (The Susqeuhannah Historical Gamers), and this is also how I became a history buff. Panzer General 2 got me interested when I was 5 and rolling over the Allies as the Wehrmacht. I love gaming and am open to just about any game.