Category Archives: Tabletop Gaming

Ideas for Upcoming Posts

So, I am throwing around some ideas for upcoming posts, seeing as how I’m not currently running anything.

  • Get back to more coverage of Starfinder… how it differs from Pathfinder, media inspiration, and maybe some example characters.
  • Short reviews for games that I have acquired recently. The short list of these at the moment would be: Mighty Protectors: Villains & Vigilantes 3.0, the current Conan RPG, Mercenary Planet, the Schlock Mercenary RPG, Blue Rose (AGE), 7th Sea 2nd, and Coriolis.
  • One idea I had long ago was to write up a character for every RPG I know. That’s obviously a long term project and would likely require that I find a way to host a wiki, or find a wiki service.
  • Then there’s the game ideas I have, but some of that would result in giving away spoilers for my potential players.
  • Some sort of Tabletop tool review. Last year at Dundracon, Ken Hite expressed the opinion that we’re sort of living in a new golden age of RPGs. That the cost barrier to entry has dropped low enough that we’re seeing all sorts of new and different things. It occurred to me that the same could be said of tools for tabletop gaming as well. Software, etc. I wish I had the bonafides to lead a seminar at Dundracon on this.

So far I have only seen comments from two people, so I’m not entirely sure what my audience is. Yes, I know I need to find a way to promote this more so that the audience issue is no longer true. That said, what, if anything is of interest?

Thoughts on Hero Lab Online & Starfinder Support

I will lead with the fact that I understand WHY Lone Wolf has gone this way. This gets them Android devices, which is not insignificant in and of itself. The argument that it allows them to take HL forward to be more than just a character and statblock builder also makes sense.

That said, I’m not thrilled with the decision for Starfinder to be HLO only (at least at release). While it’s true that they won’t be able to do things like group starship combat with HLC, that shouldn’t keep them from releasing the features that it can support.

To be fair, they’re not saying they *won’t* support Starfinder in HLC, but they’re also pretty carefully not saying they will either.

For this to work for me, Starfinder needs support for both HLO and HLC. Until it has both, I have no reason to subscribe.

They do say that, ultimately, purchased content will work for both once legacy game systems are supported. It would help if they were pulishing some sort of timeline on when they expect legacy game systems to be supported.

It’s also not clear to me how or if they will accommodate those that purchased additional secondary licenses.

Additionally, it’s not clear if you will still be able to make use of custom user data files with HLO. If not, that’s gonna hurt for me, which encourages me to stick with HLC.

So… for now at least, I’m going to hold off on adoption until there is Starfinder support in HLC. Hopefully more of my questions will be answered by then.

It also means I am now less enthusiastic about running Starfinder, at least until it’s supported for both.

Toss off character ideas for Pathfinder…

One of the curses of being the GM is that you can have all sorts of great ideas for characters, but you rarely get to use them since you’re the GM. Sure, you can turn them into NPCs, but it’s just not the same.
Here’s a short list of (odd) character ideas I’ve had over the years based on either the kitchen sink setting of Golarion, or inspiration from character crunch…

  • Golarion Goblin Bard, with Perform (Puppetry)
  • Tengu Plague Doctor – *takes mask off* “You have got to be kidding… Really?!”
  • Sanctified Rogue of Abadar – “Credit is a sacred trust, it’s what our society is founded on. Do you think they give a damn about their bills in Rahadoum?”
  • Android Monk (yes, I know, not terribly optimal) with the Apotheosis (Story) feat. This one has a name. I call him Rild.
  • Goblin Gunslinger (Gun Scavenger) – Utini!
  • Halfling Bard (Archaeologist) with all of the Halfling helper feats and Halfling Luck. Just need to get him a cigar, some sort of fancy hat, and a bullwhip.

More Starfinder Thoughts

Sorry for the scattered brain dump posts like this, but if I don’t put this to bits, I’ll likely forget it later.

Subtle difference between 3.x and Starfinder: Typically, you are only caught flatfooted when you are surprised in Starfinder. Previously, you were flatfooted if you were surprised, or until your first action in the round.

As I said before, character generation is fairly straightforward. Pick a race, a theme, and a class. The combination of theme and class effectively is your class archetype (though it’s not called that). For example, Envoy plus the Outlaw theme can be a Scoundrel. These are, effectively, suggestions for how to build a type of character more so than an actual archetype.

This combination is fairly versatile, and easily covers a lot of  characters from fiction. Han Solo? Envoy/Outlaw. Chewie? More complicated but I would likely go with Soldier/Outlaw (an argument could be made for multi-classing). Luke? Solarian/Ace Pilot.

I could totally do Jim Starlin’s Dreadstar with Starfinder. Vanth is so obviously a Solarian it’s not even funny.

I can only guess what the various inspirations were to the creative team (I miss having a Bibliography like in GURPS books) but some of them are pretty obvious. Star Wars, Mass Effect (Biotics is basically space magic) and Guardians of the Galaxy are all pretty clear.

Since the setting is tied to Golarion, there is a chapter for Legacy Races, such as Elves, Dwarves, etc. I’m not sure I’ve ever wanted to play a Half-Orc so badly as I do here. One of the more common choices for the Half-Orc is basically a professional pioneer. They go in do the hard work of taming the world, and then they sell their stake and move on to the next world.

I think that’s it for now. I need to finish the tactical combat chapter and see what other changes they’ve made.

Green Ronin’s Advanced Bestiary for Pathfinder

If you’re a Pathfinder GM and you’re only going to purchase one single third party product, my recommendation would be this book right here.


The Advanced Bestiary was originally released for D&D 3.0, and it was a good book but kind of got lost in the glut of 3.0 books that everyone was doing.

However, it was getting regular use by the folks at Paizo on their early D&D 3.x adventure paths. This and Tome of Horrors were a mainstay in section 15 of their OGL listing.

So, when Paizo decided to publish Pathfinder, it was only a matter of time before both the Advanced Bestiary and the Tome of Horrors were published as Pathfinder compatible. Both books are excellent, and I recommend both, but this post is focused on the Advanced Bestiary.

In a nutshell, the Advanced Bestiary is a book of monster templates. As a GM, I have found this invaluable… there are roughly 120 templates in the book. Multiply that by however many bestiaries you have, and well… 🙂

For example…

http://gojira-and-gaming.tumblr.com/post/119898227316/another-example-of-how-awesome-the-advanced

GREEN RONIN TO PUBLISH THE EXPANSE RPG

Covers of books from the Expanse setting by James S.A. Corey

James S.A. Corey’s Sci-Fi Epic Comes to the Tabletop

August 17, 2017—SEATTLE, WA: Green Ronin Publishing announced today that it has signed a licensing agreement with James S.A. Corey to adapt The Expanse series of novels as a tabletop roleplaying game.

“The Expanse is the most exciting thing to happen in science fiction in the last decade,” said Green Ronin President Chris Pramas. “It’s not just that they are cracking good stories—which of course, they are—but like all of the best science fiction they reflect the issues of today. We could not be more delighted to bring the Expanse to roleplaying games.”

“The Expanse began as a gaming concept nearly two decades ago, and was played as a home brewed RPG for years before becoming a book series,” said Ty Franck. “To have Green Ronin taking the universe of The Expanse back to its roots is very exciting. I’ve loved their game adaptations of other literary works, and I couldn’t be happier to be partnering with them on this project.”

“I came to the story first as a RPG, and clearly I had a great time with it,” added Daniel Abraham. “I’m delighted to have other gamers get the chance to make their own stories in this setting.”

Green Ronin will run a crowdfunding campaign for The Expanse RPG next year and publish the game in August, 2018. The Expanse RPG will use Green Ronin’s popular Adventure Game Engine, which powers its Blue Rose, Fantasy AGE, and Modern AGE RPGs. More information about The Expanse RPG will appear on greenronin.com in the coming months. Read Full Post…